Monday, May 12, 2014

7 Quick Stoplight Selfies

I realized the other day that I've been in the van more often than usual.  Typically I'm at home, where I am happiest.  Homeschooling a group of kids means that I spend most of my time at my own house.  The introvert in me is perfectly fine with that setup.  I started taking a few stoplight selfie shots in the car to document what I've been up to lately, apologies to all the other drivers who probably think I'm incredibly self absorbed.  Wait, taking portrait pictures to post on a public blog, maybe they're on to something...

1.  Soccer practice chauffeur

I could have taken this type of shot a few times over.  Soccer Boy has practice on Thursdays and Game Boy goes with him.  Doug is coaching the team so I don't have to drive the entire 30 minute drive to the fields, only the 15 minute drive to Doug's office and then he takes it from there.  I usually leave Toddler Boy at home with Firstborn when I do this because he tends to throw a fit about not being allowed to go with Daddy (see unhappy expression in above photo).  I think on that day I had to get out of the van and rebuckle him in plus threaten with consequences if he didn't leave his seat belt on while we were driving.  His newest discovery on how to work the seat belt has it's advantages and disadvantages.  He can get out on his own, which is nice when we arrive someplace I don't have to crawl into the backseat to unleash him (or, let's be real, usually one of his siblings does it for him).  On the down side, there have been times when he startled me by casually walking up next to me while I'm driving down the road!  This is the second car seat we've had him in, he figured out the buckles on the last one too.  At this point it's not such a problem that it warrants purchasing another (expensive) child seat, since he'll be in a booster seat in the not too distant future.

I should note I didn't include a selfie from the drive to the soccer games, but I do have a multitude of game pictures to choose from that deserve their own post.  Coming soon!

2.  Play dates

Note much happier Toddler Boy
Princess has been going on more playdates at her friends' houses, usually once a week.  Since her friends' moms are also conveniently my girlfriends I get to go on a playdate too (read...getting some adult socializing time in my life).  Social time is important for everyone, but I think it is especially important for stay at home moms.  I sacrifice a little bit of my homeschooling day for this but it helps me keep my sanity.  Sane mom = happy family.

I learned a long time ago that Doug cannot meet all of my social needs.  He is a wonderful husband, but he makes a lousy girlfriend.  When I chose to quit my full time job for the home front 12 years ago (has it been that long?!) my social sanity became one of my priorities.  I had worked in an office full of mostly women and came home to a very demanding not yet 2 year old and newborn.  I found it was difficult to find other stay at home moms in my community.  Our neighborhood appeared to be a ghost town during the day.  I quickly plugged in to a local moms group and found myself working to build up a "network" of girlfriends.  We went to indoor playlands in the winter and outdoor pools in the summer.  And of course we would shoot for a kid free "ladies night" or activity once a month.  Sanity saver!

3.  Weekend Family Time

Mother's Day...look at that pie!!
I am blessed to spend time in the van for short trips to my parents' and in-laws' houses.  We spent Mother's Day with Doug's parents.  We will frequently drive down on Sundays to see the extended family.  We make the 20 minute drive to our Protestant church every Saturday evening and the 5 minute drive to my Catholic church every Sunday morning.  Lots of family time in the van, plus Doug usually does the driving because he is a front seat awesome driver.  Bottom line, I get to enjoy the ride!

4.  Gym Dates!

We've been hitting the gym three times a week for some quality couple time.  The gym is just a three minute drive down the road, we could practically walk there but then we couldn't enjoy the sunroof in Doug's car!  We really like working out together, we do weights and then Doug usually hits the elliptical (I loathe that machine).  I usually spend time with my ipod jogging on the treadmill.  Then we stretch and go home.  Win win.

5.  Wait Time

Occasionally we'll go somewhere and I'll end up sitting in the car with some of the kids while Doug runs in to grab something.  This picture was taken on Firstborn's birthday when we got to the restaurant a few minutes early (that almost never happens) and we were waiting for Doug and my parents.  A few weeks back we arrived at a soccer game and discovered it was way too cold for the littles to sit outside.  Lucky for us the parking lot was right next to our field.  So I watched the game from the van while the younger kids played on the iphone and ate snacks in the back seat.  All of this to say I do spend a fair amount of time just hanging out in our van.  This is not necessarily a terrible thing and can lead to some great family discussions and fun memories.

6.  Trail Life

Monday nights are scouting nights at our house.  The three oldest boys are active in our homeschool group's Trail Life troop.  This means Doug or I make the 20 minute drive to the meeting and the 20 minute ride home every Monday night.  We'll be making the three hour drive to the summer camp in August too.  Trail Life is getting ready to start the summer schedule, which means scouts will only meet every other week.  This will leave us time for the swim team, which involves driving Soccer Boy to daily practice and twice a week swim meets, half of which are away meets (only 6 weeks, I keep telling myself).  No wonder I look forward to starting homeschooling again in the Fall!

7.  Reading Time

I will often use my car wait time to catch up on reading.  I love to read but I have to make time for it in my busy life.  If I want to get through something like this book I have to make it an intentional priority or it just won't happen.  The right type of books can be very uplifting and relaxing (who doesn't need that) so I'm also intentional about the types of books I read.  This carries over to the types of books I want my kids to read.  I have been known to veto library books they pick out if it looks like junk.  This may be more about the fact that I'm usually the one doing the read alouds and I hate reading junk.  It makes me feel like I'm wasting my time, I'd much rather read great material (like Little House on the Prairie vs. Diary of a Wimpy Kid).

In all the craziness I did manage to do something for myself and finish my book.  Something Other Than God is one of those "cannot put it down" type of books.  It totally lived up to my very high expectations, book review coming soon.

That's it for my late, late takes.  Click over to Jen @ Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes!!

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