Call me crazy, but sometimes my wild night includes a large batch of chocolate chip cookies and painting trim.
Actually, its been a while since I’ve had a paintbrush on my counter. Which is funny considering for years and years I probably had a paintbrush on my counter more often than not. And then life shifted. The time and energy I once spent building and updating our home was redirected to other things. What was once the norm has become the exception and as I was cleaning my cookie mess the other night, the paintbrush stood out to me. It looked a little out of place. I have painted nearly every surface of this home and yet it still looked a little out of place. Funny how life changes on you.
We are in an interesting phase of life. We have a revolving front door with all ages running through and its become a little bit of a balancing act. Weekends have to be planned so Hallie and Hunter know when they can brings friends over and have full access to the hangout room. And if neither of them claimed dibs, you better believe the other three are chomping at the bit to host a pool party or a movie night or whatever other genius plan their minds conjure up. I can play referee to 6-year-olds one afternoon and then entertain teenagers the next.
Our home is always open. Is it always clean? Nope. But they know they’re welcome here and I’m not going to freak out when a dozen kids are traipsing through my kitchen with their wet feet after I just mopped the floors (even more reason for me to mop them less often – as if I needed an excuse).
Hunter decided to host a gathering a couple weeks back. The plan was to play frisbee dodgeball at the church and then come back for cookies and swimming and the invite list was extensive. (And in situations like this it’s always an open invite. So every person who asked if they could bring another friend, the answer was always yes.) I’m not sure how many people couldn’t make it, but I do know that 38 people decided to come. And they had the best time.
As a parent, I’m happy they’re here because I get to know every single one of them and that is worth the messy floors and dozens and dozens of cookies consumed.
One weekend evening, our house was quiet and Steve was heading off to bed as I slipped out to grab Hunter from a friend’s house. While picking Hunter up, I was chatting with the mom and catching up when I saw a call come through from Steve. Finding it odd he was calling so late, I picked up the phone, “Hallie’s group just arrived and they don’t want to see me, they want to see you so come quickly!”
And just when I thought my night was winding down, it was in fact ramping up and I wasn’t even sad about it. I was excited at the idea of seeing Hallie’s friends and feeding them cookies.
After a heavy week of hosting every age of kids, I came across this quote on Facebook and I couldn’t relate more – I am a middle mom.
I am a middle mom and this has to be the sweet spot of parenthood. We are in the thick of every age and it’s exhausting, but so great and rewarding. It is rare that a day goes by that we don’t have welcome visitors/playmates and it makes for a busy but joyful (at times joyfully loud) home. Hoping we can make this stage last as long as possible because we sure do love a full home.
Admittedly, I’m not a great “social mom”. I have great friends and those that know me well, know not to take offense if they invite me to things and I choose not to join. We have a great neighborhood community that often find ways to get together and part of me thought maybe when all my kids went to school, I would look forward to those opportunities to gather with friends. Come to find out, it didn’t matter whether I had kids at home or not – its just not my thing.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve been invited to float the river. And as a surprise to most everyone, including myself, I agreed to join on a recent float. In fact, I texted the organizer shortly before the meet up time and she said when she saw my text come through she thought for sure I was cancelling. But I didn’t – and now no one can say I don’t participate! I think I’m officially off the hook for at least another 6 months!
The Salt River is known for its wild roaming horses and the view did not disappoint. Every bend of the river had more beautiful horses – some crossing the river right in front of us.
I’m not sure there has ever been, or ever will be a more perfect line up of weekend games where none of our boys game times conflicted with each other and they were all at the same location. We set up the pop-up tent in the morning and just moved it a couple yards from one field to the next. The only problem with no conflicting times means we are at soccer all day long – we walked out the door at 8:15am and walked back in at 5:10pm. I’d take that every week if that meant I could watch them all play each Saturday.
We started with Bennett’s game where we picked up a late loss…but he scored a goal so if softened the blow just a little bit. Bennett is by far the most improved player – he has grown leaps and bounds from when he started two years ago. He’s hitting his stride and he’s going to have a fun season.
Hunter’s game was next. He is playing a new position…again – which has been his story since he started club. He started as a right back defender, then center defender, then right midfielder, and now attacking/defending midfielder. He’s becoming quite the swiss army knife of soccer. He’s playing for his same team, but it looks drastically different than last year and we’re hoping they rebuild quickly.
Cannon is starting his first season of organized soccer and he’s learning so much. He has the same coach that both Hunter and Bennett had and I think he’s enjoying the familiarity. There are so many kids at Cannon’s age that are already very advanced in their soccer skills, so he’s playing some catch up but he’s working at it. He scored a goal and he couldn’t have been more pleased with himself running back to the center of the field.
Hunter’s second game was with another team in our club in the heat of the day and he had already played an entire game. His tank going into this game was low and yet, he found the energy (without substitution) to keep going. Due to the heat index, they gave the teams 2 water breaks which was his only saving grace. By the end he was spent.
Let’s be real, Steve and I were spent and were sitting in the shade all day. Of course, we didn’t mention our exhaustion to Hunter when he drug himself to the car after the second game. I’m not sure he would have given us much sympathy! 🙂
Steve and I were both able to watch our three boys in four games and I only wish that was the case each weekend. It will be more of a divide and conquer going forward, but we enjoyed it this weekend.
Bennett and his friend were outside waiting for carpool and I got a kick watching their conversation (without hearing what the conversation was about, only seeing hand gestures).
Driving carpool – especially this age group – is always an interesting drive. I can never predict the type of conversations that are going to come out of their mouths. It’s a car full of 6 grade boys so the sky is the limit.
I was talking with another mom who has kids my kids’ ages – spanning over three schools just like us, very involved. And when I mentioned carpools she said she couldn’t relate. I heard what she was saying, but I didn’t understand. She had never had a carpool. Ever. Not for school. Not for sports or lessons. Never.
My mind was blown.
Carpools are what make our after school life possible with a large involved family – and kids running every direction. But evidently, she’s made it work without the need for other drivers. She did share her kids aren’t into sports, instead heavily involved in music/theater/instruments which has allowed them to be a little more in control of their after school schedules, although equally busy. She also shared that she lives in her car for hours every day.
It just gave me a renewed appreciation to all those that are shuttling their kids to and fro. And keeping all the schedules straight. Driving Cannon’s carpool once a week, Bennett’s every 2 1/2 weeks, Hunter every other Thursday and every third Monday…and that’s just for soccer. Thank heavens Hallie can drive herself around now.
On a somewhat related note – we’ve got four soccer games this weekend and I can’t wait. Happy weekend.