I think it's mostly because he wants to play some of his video games, and he never plays them when the kids and I are around. So if I leave after the kids are in bed, he's got the night to himself.
But, he also recognizes that when I have friends, I'm a happier, more capable mother and wife. I come home from these nights refreshed, smiling, and ready to have a better day the next day.
We met up with my family and got to tour the Ogden Utah LDS Temple. It's the open house right now, where before the temple is dedicated, anyone and everyone is invited to come see the temple, tour the inside, and feel the special spirit that is there.
The last time I tried to take the kids to one of these, Nicholas was three and Ellie was one and, it was kind of a disaster. Nick refused to wear the booties over his shoes and he cried almost the whole way through.
This time, it went much better. The kids were reverent, respectful, and they loved it. Nicholas loved all the sparkling chandeliers, and Ellie loved all the flowers and the stained glass windows that made rainbows on the walls.
What a difference a year makes in little kids!
I officially know how to save a fish from swim bladder disease. Got a goldfish swimming upside down but still alive? Separate the fish and feed them cooked peas. It works, and now the fish are happy and healthy again. Or at least as happy as goldfish can be...
Waiting for their shaved ice. I think they like those. We always use about 300 napkins when we go. Ellie isn't the most graceful shaved ice-eater. Good thing you eat them outside...
The kids were fighting like crazy the other day. I told them if they fought one more time I was going to take away all their toys.
So away the toys went (just for the day.)
And amazingly, the fighting ended. And by the end of the day, they were putting ziplock baggies on their feet and pretending they were "booties" and that they were touring the temple or the parade of homes.
Ponies in Kent's shoe. Nothing unusual here.
This girl. She's wacky. And oh-so-curious. This climbing onto my counter and giving her feet a bath is almost a daily occurrence now.
In the past week alone she's climbed into the watermelon box at the grocery store so she could lick the watermelons, colored all over Kent's nightstand, taken off her pants and underwear while outside more times than I can count, spread "sticky putty" (silly putty...why did I ever buy this??) all over the carpet, fallen into the toilet, picked the flowers off of my wreath, and gotten a bead stuck up her nose.
I think the sentence I've said most often this month is "Ellie, what are you doing?!"
(And in case you didn't know, here's a fantastic Mom Trick. For foreign objects in the nose, lay the child down, pinch the opposite nostril shut, and blow into their mouth, moderately hard. Like a CPR-type mouth-to-mouth breath. The object will come flying right out. ER trip avoided, as long as you do it immediately, before they have a chance to sniff the object up even higher...)
Oh the things I've learned in the short five years I've been doing this job.
There's a fantastic park a few miles from our house. It has the most awesome wooden structure, with castles, hidden tunnels, an indian teepee, rocketship, pirateship, beehives, dinosaur head, sand, slides, swings, and shade. I've taken the kids there several times lately,
because Ellie has stopped napping.
And suddenly, our afternoons are really long. So we jump in the car, play at the park until we're too hot/mom's too tired, and then pick up shaved ices on our way home. The kids love it,
and it helps me with my goal of learning to really enjoy playing with them.
Play used to be natural, and fun. But now, I spend my time playing with them distracted by the work I feel like I should be doing instead. And some of their "games" make my brains melt. But I figure, with lots and lots of practice, I'll get good at playing again.
I need to.
These kids won't want me to play with them for much longer, and I can't miss this chance.
Because I know I'll be sad when they're too grown up to wear helmets and carry puppies and dollies to the scout shop with me.