Brad returned home late last night after being gone since last Sunday (he spent the week in Chicago on a short-term mission trip with our youth group). This is the third time this calendar year that he has left us here, alone, for more than just a couple days. So I don't know if it's been the frequency of his absence or if things just finally clicked with me, but this was, by far, the best week we've had under these circumstances.
It's hard to be the single parent. In the past, I've tried to arrange for some kind of help (i.e. the grandparents) to plan a visit that coincides with Brad's trips. (Coincidentally, I didn't have any visitors the last two times Brad was gone either.) But while having the extra hands to manage all the littles is certainly a gift, when it comes right down to it, it's still not the same as having my partner here, right beside me, to help love and manage and discipline and play with our babies.
The success we had, I think, is due in large part to my just settling down
a bit a lot and relaxing. I had really low expectations for everything last week - what I would get accomplished as well as the amount of screen time I would allow the boys to have. Hey, something's gotta give when I'm going solo! We tried to get outside every morning to do something - ride bikes, go to a park, that sort of thing - before we settled in after lunch for naps and video games.
But also, and so much more importantly, we had so many people who were willing to take care of us throughout the week. So many friends volunteered to play with us and feed us and allow me time to take a couple breaks. Friends that stepped into Brad's gap and were our village. Often times it's difficult for me to say "yes" - to accept the help - and I don't know why. Perhaps I have some deranged SuperMom complex. But this time I said "yes" - over and over and over again! So many offers and so much fun! It made the biggest difference. Truly.
A bit from our week without Dad...
Peacefully playing all together!
Park play with friends from school.
Our Culver's was celebrating their two year anniversary with $1 daily specials all week long. We had plans to go three times to take advantage (aw yeah!) but ended up just going twice. We go big when Brad's away.
Baby's first shake!
Suppers are the worst. All the time, not just when Brad's gone (hence where Culver's steps in). I took advantage of the kids' propensity to snack and decided on a snack supper - popcorn, cheese and crackers and apples. Yum!
Wednesday we took a field trip to Toys R Us to take advantage of their buy-a-backpack-get-a-lunch-tote-free deal. Quite the decisions to be made.
Ruby decided she needed this lunch box.
Barbie. So chic.
Somehow we got out of the store without it.
Some folks from church invited us for dinner, complete with lawn mower riding...
...and trampoline jumping.
A beautiful morning to be outside!
The boys had their door closed for the longest time, and it was so quiet and peaceful! I was relishing in it...and then, like all moms, decided it was just too quiet for too long. But all was well. Just a little Pokemon card fun they didn't want their little sister getting in the middle of.
See? What'd I tell you about supper?
Killing time at Target.
We found some plush toys from the movie Inside Out and this was Ruby's expression as I handed her "Joy". Nailed it.
So good. So necessary.
When they all play together - awesomesauce.
Yet another friend met up with us at a park and brought us dinner from Subway. Brought all four of us dinner from Subway. The generosity this week just floored me.
Friends called spontaneously on Friday night, asking if we'd like to take an after dinner walk through Dow Gardens. Yes, we do!
We dog-sat yesterday for our neighbor's dog. She likes him a lot.
Brad got home, finally, at about 10:00 last night.
This is how we feel about that.