Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The comfort of routines, and the discomfort when you're out of them

There's a funny thing about routines, and that is how useful they are.  What is pretty not so funny is the chaos that ensues when routines get disrupted, or when you try to get yourself - or, more importantly, your children - back on to them after a break.
This morning, a mere 4 or so hours after I had finally gone to bed last night, Matt headed off for his Monday morning return to work.  Fortunately thanks to some other night owls on Facebook I was reminded of the fact that we were in the midst of the "supermoon" last night, and I have to admit that the moon was very bright last night, and I'm glad I didn't miss that.  Long after the moon had started to wane this morning, not many of us were awake in the house - and so finally at about 8:50 I had to go wake the boys up for their first day of camp.  Blake instantly decided that he didn't want to go, but Noah seemed pretty up for it.  After a lot of coaxing, cajoling (me), whining and delaying (Blake), we finally got out the door.

The camp is really lovely - held at the local prep school and full of lots of great activities: swimming, gymnastics, a bouncy castle, art, etc, and Blake had been there before at Easter, so it was a bit of a surprise when he had a massive meltdown saying that he didn't want to go.  It was a big 'un: crying, screaming that he didn't want to stay, begging me to take him with me to work, turning around and trying to open the door to go back out, clinging on to me when I finally finally had to leave.  I was surprised that he was willing to kick up all that stink in front of the other kids (all sitting in a circle while they were getting their names called to go to the first activity, staring wide-eyed at the drama!), but it sure didn't bother him.  Noah, meanwhile, had just gotten right into line with his age group and trotted off, sporting his totally ghetto London baseball cap which he convinced us to buy him a few weeks ago (pic below on day of purchase).

Anyway, finally one of the staff suggested to Blake that he could go help set up the games outside, to which he begrudgingly agreed, and I was able to make my escape.  When I picked them up at 4:00, it was like it had never happened and the girl said he was absolutely fine the minute I turned my back.  The things they put us through!

My dilemma is now how I can get myself back into my exercise routine, with a sprint triathlon to do in a mere 3 weeks.  I was doing really well before vacation but now it's all fallen apart.  A bit like my young man did earlier.  Guess there's a reason to get a routine and stick to it...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Black and blue and dog poo too!

We got back yesterday from two and a half weeks in the US, a very good summer vacation with lots of activity and good memory-making up and down New England.  In the coming days I'll try to post some pictures of all of the fun times.
This weekend has been kind of tricky on the internal time clock front, as we tried to adjust to being back on BST.  Interestingly, the UK still is on British Summer Time even though the air has a distinctly autumn feel to it - some of the chestnut trees are starting to turn brown, and the afternoon air had that nip in it that makes you feel that the summer is fading fast. Let's hope it's just an adjustment from New England heat that is making me feel that way.
Today we all slept til noon, which does not bode well for anyone getting to bed at a decent time tonight in advance of a Monday morning wake-up call for everyone.  After several hours of laziness, we went to the local park, where the eagle-eyed Noah spied some wild blackberries in the greenery near the entrance.  His eyes were recently tuned to this sight from a few days ago, when we went blueberry picking in New Hampshire with Lela and LT and the kids. 

There were a few small blackberry patches in the midst of all these blueberries, and the boys enjoyed adding them to the collection. 

After some time on the swings today, we came home to get our Tupperware to go back to do some collecting, and the boys did a really amazing job at picking those suckers!  I remembered the time (described here) when I took Blake down in his stroller while I picked, and he slept.  This time the boys seemingly could have gone on finding berries forever.  As it happens, that possibility became quickly unrealistic as I kept smelling dog poo, and upon further inspection we realized that Blake had stepped in some.  A surefire way to end a wild berry picking expedition!  He then saw that he had some on his shirt (as if having it on your shoe is not gross enough!) so off came his shirt; and then of course, Noah wanted his off too.  So there I am herding two shirtless kids toward the car, when Blake decides he wants to go and get a few more blackberries from the original bramble we started at.  Would you freaking believe that he then stepped in *another* pile of dog shit!?  We finally got to the car with him wearing his shorts and one Croc.  That's how we roll in our urban idyll. 

They wanted to make jam when they got home, which Matt valiantly did, only to realize, after he had put everything in refrigerator to set that in spite of boiling the jars to sterilize them, heating a bowl in the oven to keep that part sterile, and all these other things that you might be prone to skip, he'd forgotten to boil the blackberries for 8 minutes, apparently a crucial step for the pectin to be released from the fruit and for the jam to set.  "Don't worry," I cheerily said, "there are more blackberries and we can always go back!"  Next time, if there is one, I will be on high alert for any signs that other animals had been there before us.