Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Return to Normalcy - Whatever That Means

As a follow-up to my last vent post, I'm delighted to report that things are finally starting to calm down a little and we had our first fun-filled family weekend since moving to Austin.

The past two months have been absolutely consumed by moving-related activities and honestly, it's difficult to focus on much else when you're drowning in cardboard boxes filled with your life's possessions. It turns out that unpacking five people worth of stuff takes longer than one (including me) would think. We've been lucky enough to have my sisters and parents to help with the kids, which has been a HUGE blessing, but I've been feeling pretty guilty that while other people seem to be having lots of fun with our kids, we haven't felt like we could take the time to have fun with them.

This weekend, we'd finally had enough. We shoved the last few unpacked boxes into the garage to be unpacked at our leisure and mapped out a fun-filled weekend, kicked off by Pizza Night on Friday. On Saturday we checked out a fabulous little family-friendly Oktoberfest at a local microbrewery. Talk about a perfect afternoon - gorgeous weather, beer that surprised us by not sucking, and just the right amount of games and other activities for our crew. The afternoon was further sweetened by a surprise Texas win over Nebraska and a trip to one of my favorite college haunts for Mexican food for dinner. The kids surprised us by being on their best behavior all day long - until about the last 15 minutes of dinner at the restaurant. God love the little guys, they can only stand wearing their human costumes for so long.

Despite all the fun things on the list for the day, the Bigs cited their favorite activity as "playing Mario Brothers" on our old-school NINTENDO that Aaron discovered in the unpacking process. Yes - we are the only family in the neighborhood world that doesn't have a Wii, but can still rock Mappyland.

Sunday brought more play. I'm embarrassed to say that while finding a good women's Bible study was at the top of my list when we moved here (check), I had yet to report anywhere for Sunday services. I finally got it together enough to check out a new church this morning, and was comforted by how much it felt like the old one I loved so much in Smyrna. Afterwards, the Bigs and I met friends at a playground while Aaron suffered through a haircut with Joshie, who has been sporting the Cousin It look for several weeks now. In the afternoon, the Bigs and Aaron headed to a kids improv comedy show, while I tucked Joshie in for a nap. While reading his nap time stories, I realized that it was the first time in weeks that we were laughing and snuggling together and I wasn't fretting about needing to be doing something else - which felt really, really good.

Perhaps it's because I jumped back in the church saddle this morning, or maybe I'm just finally feeling like I have a little breathing room, but I was particularly grateful for this normal, average weekend as a family - with everyone in good health and good spirits.

Of course, never let it be said that there is a dull moment around here. In the afternoon, the church kindly sent a welcome committee member by with a welcome packet and a coffee mug. Aaron answered the door, with black grease and debris from fixing our grill smudged across his forehead, and directed the man to me. As I chatted with him, in the background the boys were panicking because somehow Josh had managed to eat the yellow color tablet from their science experiment. I hurriedly thanked the poor man for stopping by and hustled him out down the front walk, right past the boys' pumpkins, painted with robot faces and decorated with green feather boas and little pink cowboy hats (don't ask!). As he left, I apologetically said, "Thanks so much for stopping by - it's a little crazy right now." I wanted to add, "It isn't always like this."

But that, of course, would be a lie.