After dropping my sister at the airport, we headed to one of Pumpkin's favorite parks, down by Mission Bay. It is a little out of the way for us, so we don't get there often- which makes a visit to that park a treat. Pumpkin played for about an hour, and then she said she was hungry, so we drove to a nearby coffee shop and split a gigantic cookie.
|Not pictured: Me carrying her to the plane so she wouldn't get sand in her shoes.|
|The upgraded bike|
After orientation, we had a few school supplies to go buy, and Pumpkin really wanted to go find some flip flops without a strap, too. Luckily, there is an office supply store in Pacific Beach, the beach neighborhood nearest to us. So we went to that store to get our supplies, and then went down to the tourist shops near the beach to find the flip flops. We found a pair, and then it was snack time again, so we walked to a nearby convenience store and bought a fruit and cereal bar, some crackers, and some strawberry milk and had snack on a bench looking out at the ocean.
|My California girl.|
This weekend, though, I'm living that saying. The shortness of the years is hard to miss, with Pumpkin getting ready to start Kindergarten. But the days are still long- Petunia woke me up in the middle of the night two of the last three nights, both kids threw a massive fit when Mr. Snarky* tried to give them their bath, I've tripped over and put away the same pair of shoes three times this weekend (the kids keep getting them out to play with them).
I've been trying lately to look past the hard parts more, and enjoy the long days. Back in June, we made a list of fun things to do this summer, and we hit five of the eight things on the list, plus several other fun things that we hadn't thought to list. My favorite item on that list is probably "eat outside more," because it has led to some really delightful evenings, where Mr. Snarky and I sit in our plastic Adirondack chairs and watch the girls run around the yard and play. We had two of those just this weekend, although one did end in the aforementioned fit about bathtime.
Perhaps because of this intention to look past the hard parts and enjoy the long days, parts of the parenthood chapter of Gretchen Rubin's new book Happier at Home** really resonated with me. One of her resolutions for the month in which she focused on parenthood was to "go on Wednesday adventures" with her oldest daughter. She picked her daughter up for school and then went on an outing. She and her daughter alternated weeks choosing the destination, and the only hard and fast rule was that they had to be home by six.
I really like the idea of having special outings with the kids- both individually and together, However, my job is not quite as flexible as Gretchen's, so a weekly outing is out of the question. Instead, I'm toying with the idea of leaving early once per month. One month, I could do an outing with Pumpkin, the next with Petunia, and then maybe a family outing. And finally I could do something for me. We'd cycle through each of these things three times per year. I know it is possible, because we've done two such family outings this summer- once to go to the county fair and once to go to the Zoo at Night. I do not have a writer's level of flexibility in my job, but I have the ability to take off early now and then. Once per month is infrequent enough that no one would be likely to notice, let alone comment. I can catch up on work at home. As Gretchen points out in her book, that flexibility does me no good if I don't take advantage of it.
Still... I'm not sure I'll end up doing this. There is a guilt factor to get past, but I think I could squash any guilt by tracking my time and demonstrating to myself that I am not, in fact, slacking. The problem is more that I'm feeling terribly overloaded already, both with the changes to our routine that kindergarten will bring and with far too many projects to juggle at work. Balls are starting to drop both at home and at work. Today, we went to a birthday party for one of Pumpkin's old day care classmates. It was at an indoor bouncy place. We drove to the one we've gone to several times before for other parties, only to discover that this particular party was at the company's other site, about 15-20 minutes away. Oops. That information was in the invite. There was even a map on the web page I visited this morning to print out a waiver to sign. I just didn't check. I was doing too many things at once, with several other things queued up in my mind.
We made it to the party about 30 minutes late. The kids had plenty of time to jump. At least four other families made the same mistake. But it is not the sort of mistake I usually make. I know that it is a symptom of the larger problem I've been feeling, of having too many things to keep active in my short term memory. My usual processes aren't keeping up, and I haven't been able to find new processes that work better. I want to enjoy these days, but even fun outings with my kids won't add to my enjoyment if they come at the price of my sanity. So I'll stay on the fence about this for awhile more, until I see how we settle into our new routine and whether I'm able to find someone to hire to help me better distribute the load at work. The years may be fast, but I think I can spare a month or two.
We'll keep eating outside, though, and maybe that is enough for now.
*Typing out "my husband" every time bores me. I asked him if he'd rather be called "Hubby" or "Mr. Cloud" and he said he wanted to be "Tubby." He is in much better shape than I am, so I refuse to call him that. Given the penchant for snark that the above comment exemplifies, I've decided Mr. Snarky is the most appropriate name for him.
**Gretchen sent me a free advance copy of the book. There were no strings attached, and there was no compensation beyond the free book. As always, any opinions I express about the book are my true opinions. I may or may not write a full review of the book, but my usual book review policy applies, anyway.