Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Balancing Work and Play

Matt had last week off from work.  We take a vacation every year and he takes a lot of long weekends in the summer but we also aim for a whole week with no plans.

No plans to leave our property that is.  Plans to get things done around the house?  Most definitely.

We gave ourselves a pretty ambitious to-do list for this spring, not wanting any major projects to cut into the summer like the porch foundation one did last summer.  Those projects all just happened to come to a head during his week off.

About 2 months ago we sat down with the calendar and roughly mapped out our weekend plans (Easter, a confirmation, some wedding/baby showers for me) so we could get all our planned projects done by the end of May.  (This was most definitely my idea and not Matt's.  I'm definitely the "plan every aspect of our lives" person in this relationship.) 

So last week was spent doing things like putting 9 coats of paints on various doorways, painting and installing ~100 feet of quarter-round, painting ~100 feet of baseboards, caulking the quarter-round, and putting two coats of paint on the upper half and ceiling of our bedroom.

And that was all just in one day.

We got to put the house back together (YAY!!!!!) but also wrap up more details on various home projects (building shelves in the closet in Matt's office, building a vent cover for our return register that we discovered was half covered by plywood, installing a chair rail in our room, prepping for more shelves being added to the front room, etc.)

We never have a shortage of home projects.  Never.

A few years ago we could put in 12 hour days on projects.  That worked.  Now we have a cute little, ~33 pound distraction.  It can be a challenge when Matt and I just want to go go go on projects but we also have to do this little thing called "parenting".

We also want to do fun family things, especially when Matt has weekdays off.  So despite our house being torn-up and a plethora of projects, we took a 2 day trip to Cincinnati to go to Kings Island.

Every September, for 8 years, we went for GE Day (two of Matt's brothers worked there at various times) when tickets were about $20 and the park wasn't as busy.  A few of these trips fell during my college years when we were dating (and I was in school in Dayton), a few when my sister was going to college in the area, and half in our married years.  I had also taken a few family trips starting when I was 5.  We had fond memories of the place and a few of the pictures are on our rotating computer backgrounds that Luke sees.  He's been asking to go for a few years.

So, having gotten some money for Christmas that was supposed to be spent on something for the family, we went to Kings Island.  And it was wonderful.  Luke was thrilled with the two coasters he got to ride (and everything else he rode, Boo Blasters being the favorite).  Matt and I took advantage of their parent swap so we could ride their two best coasters (The Beast and Diamondback) without both having to wait in line.  We got free water and saw one of my college friends.  It was chilly but a wonderful day.  We spent the night nearby afterwards just to make it more of a family adventure, like our ski trip in March.  We visited Luke's godfather, went to IKEA, and made a stop at UD on the way home.  It was a lovely family time.

It also made us feel a lot better about all the time we were going to devote to projects over the next few days.

We took a family zoo trip another morning and Matt and Luke ran errands together which Luke always seems to find more exciting with Dad than with Mom (maybe because Matt takes him to Lowes where he can sit on lawn mowers while I take him to Jo-Ann to look at fabric?)

I kept wondering if I should feel bad about all the time Luke was spending playing in the backyard, visiting with our neighbors (we have great neighbors) and being messy.

Then I realized that's the kind of childhood I want for him.  I want him to know and be comfortable with our neighbors.  I want him running around in the backyard.  I want him exploring and trying things on his own and being independent and playing.  We didn't park him in front of the tv so we could paint (at least not the whole time...he did get a few shows in there) but running around in the backyard (while we had kitchen windows open so we could hear him)?  That sounds like a pretty good way for a kid to spend the (almost) summer.

I love that he's comfortable playing outside on his own and that he can entertain himself when we are busy.  I'm a Mom, not an entertainer.  And I love reading him stories and playing Duplos and hearing his crazy, imaginative stories, it's also nice he can play by himself.  It's wonderful for many reasons.

We are far from having this parenting thing figured out but every so often there are glimpses that we might be doing something right.  Even if it is just showing Luke the beauty of DIY projects.

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