The past two mornings, however, this hasn't been working out. Saturday morning, I woke up to Ryan screaming. I walked into the living room and found that he had crawled and had gotten stuck under our entertainment stand. Why would he be lured in that direction when he has plenty of awesome toys sprawled out across the living room, I will never know.
Then THIS morning, I woke up to Ryan crying once again. I jumped out of bed and found that he had crawled away from the living room and his box of toys, all the way to the dining room (I say that as if our house isn't tiny and the rooms are more than 7 feet apart). I found Ryan stuck under the chair of my husband's desk. Poor guy! So. I guess no more extra hours of weekend sleep for me!
This weekend made me feel so full. During the week, I get only a precious few hours with the kids. And during those hours, I'm usually exhausted, grumpy, rushed, or starving (or all three). By Fridays, my kid-fix tank is usually running on empty. Thankfully, my weekends are so full of the kids that by Sundays, I'm drunk on them and ready to tackle another week. This weekend was just like that.
On Saturday, we had one long family day. We went to the gym and my husband and Jacob swam in the pool while I watch ran 4 miles and watched HGTV. I picked Ryan up from childwatch and we hung out while the big boys finished swimming. Ryan and I relaxed in front of the fireplace (yes, my gym is THAT awesome!) and snacked on pumpkin spice bread. Ryan LOVED it. I cannot keep food away from that guy. He is so interested in everything and anything edible. I can't eat anything with him in my hands unless I am willing to share. This explains why, later in the day, he also managed to get his new teeth on a Red Robin steak fry and some bubblegum icecream.
After the gym, we enjoyed some holiday festivities with my sister-in-law, cousin-in-law, and their kids. The festivities were a total let down. But the kids got to ride the escalators twice and that totally made up for the 1.5 hour drive, right? After the escalator rides, they could have cared less about the druming toy soldiers and snow princesses.
Today was just as full. I've been trying to get the kids to church on Sundays. I'll be the first to admit that I am a horrible religious person. I could write a whole post on my faith or my lack thereof. I don't really know what I believe. But I WANT to believe. So, a part of me hopes that going through the motions is a good first step. Plus, I was raised Catholic and I love celebrating Catholic traditions.
I've been adrift spiritually for many years. In college, I studied Islam and Hinduism very seriously. I absolutely loved Hinduism and, surprisingly, found so much of it in common with my Catholic background. But, after exploring other faiths, I know for sure now that I love Catholicism the most. Like all religions, it's not perfect because people are not perfect. But the Catholic church feels like home to me.
Right now, I'm going to church and taking the kids with me because it feels good. It's comfortable. I want my kids to grow up with some religious background and education. I love the traditions and rituals. Our local parish is awesome and has such an amazing community of young families. And I truly WANT to believe. I'm hoping the rest will fall into place if I keep trying.
Today, I somehow managed to get the kids to Mass (only half an hour late). But only after Ryan managed to crawl in some mud. After Mass, I introduced myself to the priest. As I shook his hand and introduced myself as a new parishoner, Jacob yanked on my arm and yelled, "Mommy! I have to POOP! I have to poop NOW!"....Maybe he was trying to get out of talking to Father?
So. Jacob pooped. Then I got to squeeze into his stall and wipe his ass with one hand while holding Ryan in the other, trying to keep Ryan from eating toilet paper, and trying not to breath in the noxious fumes. Then we joined the rest of humanity at the parish hall where we participated in the St. Nicholas festival. Jacob ran around some dangerous looking bleachers with other kids while I held a sleeping Ryan while also attempting to make an Advent wreath out of evergreen branches. At that moment, a mom came up to me and offered to hold Ryan. I hope I didn't sound TOO excited to take her up on that offer. We got to talking and I was so excited to meet another mommy. I don't get to meet or even talk to many other moms because all the mommy groups I know of meet during work hours (lame).
This mom told me that she noticed my kids during church and wanted to tell me how well-behaved they both were. What? Obviously, she didn't see Jacob pretending to be a cat and hiss at the alter server as he walked down the aisle. She must have also missed the major tantrum Jacob threw because I forgot to let him put money in the offering basket. She must not have been paying attention when Jacob told the kid next to us that if he drinks green juice, his pee will turn green. But thanks anyway! And without fail, as this nice mommy was complimenting me on how well-behaved my kids are, Jacob runs up to me starts punching me in the upper thigh and says, "Hey lady, give me juice." Seriously? I don't know where he gets this stuff. Also after dinner today he started calling me "my-lady."
Jacob insisted on wearing TWO ties
The rest of the day was grocery shopping with the kids (which is honestly one of my favorite things to do), hanging out with my little men, cooking dinner (a mix of new recipes and old favorites), bathtime (during which Ryan splashed so excitedly that he covered our entire bathroom and me with water), and bedtime cuddles. Some days, my kids really test me and push me to my limits. Other days, I feel like the most patient person in the world. Today was the latter and it's amazing how having just a little bit more patience can make your day feel so much happier.
Going back to Catholic traditions, this is the first year that I've followed through on one of my favorites, the Advent wreath. I made the wreath myself and decorated it with ribbons and fake berries. I bought the four candlesticks at church today. They are handcarved from Olive wood, a slow-growing tree from the Holy Land. They are so gorgeous. While there are four candles, you only get to light one the first week of Advent. You light two the second week, three the third week, and then you get to light all four of them the week of Christmas. Not only is it pretty, it makes my table smell like pine and Christmas!
As kids, we loved taking turns lighting (and blowing out) the candles before dinner each night. We loved the anticipation of lighting a new candle each week as we got closer to Christmas Day. We also loved spending our meals eating by candlelight. It was awesome to share this tradition with Jacob tonight. He was so excited to eat by candlelight and he nearly jumped out of his chair when I told him that he could blow the candle out. I remember that excitement so well. The holidays are honestly the best time to be a parent. You get to watch your own childhood memories come back to life through your kids.
Like I said, I'm so full tonight. Full of family and drunk on my kids.