Right now, the kids are watching Dora as I take a brief pre-bedtime break. We have had a really great day today. We woke up and pretended we were at a camp out, then we played Memory which was really fun until the last couple of minutes when a fight broke out and preschool legs started flying. That's kind of our deal lately. We have lots of fun until they remember that they are brother and sister and should be doing something to antagonize/bother/injure the other one. I spend the majority of my day when we are at home as a referee. That is the primary reason why we get out so much.
So, once they started brawling I knew it was my cue to get us out of the house. We went to the gym where they happily went and played in the bouncer. Then we went to the mall and used a gift card for lunch at Wildflower bread company where we actually had a pleasant lunch together. They sat there with me and we talked and enjoyed our food and no one had a high chair or a difficult time remaining seated. We didn't use a stroller at the mall. They just walked with me (and ran, but not too far from where I was). We went to Barnes and Noble and read books together where no one flipped out about not buying anything. In fact, they happily left the mall empty handed. They enjoyed a bit of the survival of the fittest in the mall play area and then we headed home. We played pet store (which they came up with), ate dinner, took showers and laid down for a movie before bed. And all the while I was able to enjoy their cute comments and just feel so blessed that they are mine. One of my highlights was when we got into a kissing fight where we each tried to smooch each other as much as possible and ended up in big giggles. :)
This all may sound pretty normal and uneventful, however, it is kind of a milestone for us. The biggest accomplishment is that I don't feel like going crazy and we are only 2 nights away from J's return from Africa. Yes, we had a fun day together and we have been without daddy for 5 days. Don't get us wrong, we miss him terribly, but I am not on the exhausted verge of tears that I usually am at this point in his trips. The kids are growing up so very quickly! Not to mention we had some AMAZING help from grandparents on both sides earlier in the week as well as WONDERFUL friends who kept us busy and distracted. I guess I just feel really happy to see how much we can enjoy each other and do more than survive. I credit it to each child only waking up once per night on average, the incredible support system we have here, and the fact that these kids are really growing up. I love days like this...they really make this whole journey so wonderful, event he days that are not like this. And, I really love that we get to pick daddy up at the airport in only 42ish more hours. Even great days are even better when he is around!