I woke up, packed lunches while Dowlan made breakfasts and then saw Dixie off to school. I made my indulgent gourmet coffee and sat down at the computer for a bit to pay bills and catch up while the breakfast-eaters ate breakfast. I hopped up, did dishes, cleaned the kitchen, started laundry, folded another load, then got the other two dressed to go to the park.
Melody put on her formal red and black Christmas dress. I reminded her that we would be at a park and that she needed pants and a shirt to wear, so she compromised by putting a pair of too-short orange leggings underneath. We grabbed the gardening tools and a bucket, put them in a basket and headed out the door.
The sun was shining and the wind was blowing as we found our friends in the park. We hung out under a tree while the kids climbed all over a large pile of dirt. Melody was finally convinced of the inappropriateness of her chosen attire, so I dug into the box in the van that has the spare changes of clothes only to realize that the only remaining girl outfit is in size 24 months. No worries, however--the pants made slightly baggy capris on her tiny five-year-old frame.
The kids played and the mommies chatted for a good bit. Charlie alternated between boy, frog and cat and endangered a few squirrels. We shared homemade Rice Krispy treats with friends. Then we fed a few of the reluctant ducks. Then we took off around the pond and the kids played on the giant rocks in a little shady area. Charlie inched closer and closer to the water. First a finger, then a stick, then a toe, then one whole Elmo light-up shoe and then the other.
At this point, we decided it was time to head to the other side of the pond where our cars were parked. Along the way, my bread bag blew off and I got to scale a wall to go fetch it. When I returned to the top, no Melody was in sight. My friend Emily and I called her name and looked about. I decided to go to the bottom of the hill to strap Charlie safely in his car seat. The last thing I needed to lose one and find the other. Halfway there, I realized that Melody was in her car seat, already buckled.
I installed the boy into his spot, threw the stroller in the back and realized that I had just enough time to run through the grocery store before getting Dixie from preschool. Of course he fell asleep on the way, so I tossed him back into the stroller and we made a circle through the store for strawberries, oranges, apples, yogurt and toilet paper.
The problem with shopping with the stroller isn't getting all the groceries, it is getting out with them. So I bought a reusable bag to hook on the back while Melody fed her Buddy Bucks into the machine and got her stickers. We made it out just in time to go grab a Dixie and come home, moving the sleeping boy one last time for the day.
And now the boy is napping, the girls are playing and I'm about to fold more laundry after I sit another minute or two. The groceries are in, dinner is thawing and I'll soon go wash the park out of my hair and head to work for a couple of hours. On days like these, I can almost pretend that I am one of those good stay-at-home moms who has it all together.