Monday, January 13, 2014

Family Bonding Between Costco Aisles

When I bring the kids home each evening, it must look like we are returning from a week-long trip. There's Jacob's backpack stuffed to the brim with whatever carefully collected crap he packed for the day. There's Ryan's diaper back which not only holds his diapers, wipes, buttpaste, bottles, and extra clothes but is also home to a random collection of items that find their way in but never seem to find their way out (two month old, half-opened animal crackers, neglected Happy Meal toys, unwrapped suckers, and pieces of "art" and "treasures" collected by Jacob).

On top of this, I have my own purse and the kids' winter jackets (which follow wherever we go but never seem to be actually worn).

Then there are Ryan's special lovies. He used to have one special blanket. "Special Blanket" used to go everywhere with us. But over time Special Blanket turned into Special Blanket and Special Puppy. They then teamed up with Special Bear and eventually invited Special Doggy (not to be confused with Special Puppy) to join in. Occasionally Special Sharky creeps in but he's kinda like the weird cousin and, apparently, is disposable. Most recently, Elmo Blanket joined the ranks of the Specials. The existence of Elmo Blanket is now so integral to Special Blanket that they are collectively known simply as Two Blanket. Heaven forbid that one, just ONE, of these lovies is missing from Ryan's life. There would be hell to pay. I speak from experience. Lesson learned: do not try to wash the rancid urine smell from Special Puppy while Ryan is conscious.

If anyone on my block happened to peek out their window at 6:00 on a weekday evening, they would catch a glimpse of me juggling my purse over my shoulder, Ryan in my left arm, the jackets in my right, and a pile of blankets and stuffed animals swarming all over me. Because taking more than one trip from the car to the house is just way too much work. I refuse to do it.

That is pretty much my usual evening ritual. But tonight, unlike usual, I walked into the house, set all the stuff down on the floor, and marched right to my bedroom where I collapsed like a dead man falling to earth. I woke up 40 minutes later to find that the kids had taken out every single item of toy, stuffed animal, blanket, and pillow from their room and littered my own bedroom floor with it. Apparently, from what I gathered from snippets of their conversation while I was drifted back to consciousness, they were playing a game of "hoarders." I immediately woke up and ruined all the fun by ordering them to put their stuff back.

My boys

Yesterday, we rounded out our weekend with a really nice, low key family day. We left the house fairly early (for a weekend) to run errands. We hit up Costco and the grocery store. Nothing fancy, but honestly, these little mundane outings are often the highlight of my weekends. We get to mingle out in public, the four of us functioning (or dysfunctioning) as a unit, coexisting together.

I guess running errands (aside from dinner time) is really the only time we are all together, in forced close proximity, doing things as a team and giving each other our full attentions. At Costco we strap the kids into the cart and walk down each aisle, moseying along and trying samples. The kids cause a ruckus and make each other laugh, which of course makes us laugh. It's so basic and simple but it really reinforces the fact that all families really need (more than fancy vacations or toys or gadgets) is time together to bond. Forget a Disneyland cruise, bring your family to Costco!

After Costco, we made a last-minute decision to take the kids to the park in the hopes that they would run themselves silly straight into an afternoon nap (didn't happen, for either kid, but we had fun anyway).

Ryan in the middle

So happy!

The only way to slide

"Help, I'm stuck!"

Picking up shells

Have you guys been swinging lately as an adult? The last time I remember being on a swing was days after my 21st birthday with my college roommate. There was an entire bottle (hey, I was a lightweight) of wine involved. And I may have woken up the next morning with sand from Lake Michigan in my pants, puking red wine onto the toilet rug. But it was a blast. As I swang back and forth on Sunday, I felt eerily free. I may have become a wimp in my old age but with each swing back and forth I felt that crazy, ticklish, tingling feeling you get when you stand too close to a high ledge. It was bizarre. I don't remember that as a kid, or as a drunken college student (I don't remember much from being a drunken college student regardless).

Getting dizzy. Note: cowboy boots.

Before we all piled back into our car, we walked along the dock at the end of the park. My husband and I walked that very dock on our second date. The day of our first kiss. Hilariously, our kiss did not happen on the dock were we stood beneath moonlight which reflected brightly on the water. Instead our first kiss was an hour or so later in a dark mall parking lot. Our kiss was broken up by a nagging, overweight mall cop patroling the premises who ordered us to get off the mall property immediately. Oh well. Timing isn't everything. Actually, we were kicked off the dock as well, by a police man. Apparently, young adults are not allowed to be anywhere after dark without being the suspects of criminal activity.

The Dock.

Our Sunday ended as simply as it began. Before bedtime, we riled the kids up by throwing a cardboard box at them and letting them create a fortress. It started out small....

(Ryan imitating Jacob)

But, like me, Jacob never does anything only part-way.

(That damn Halloween bucket reappears all over the house all the time, despite it being nowhere near Halloween)

Finished product. Big fort. Tiny house.

Jacob literally pulling Ryan off to bed.

And Ryan fell asleep like his normal easy self (and stayed asleep all night!). Woo hoo!

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