We're back from our trip north for Potato Blossom Festival, where we were lucky to get to enjoy beautiful sunny days and cool nights (& Natalie slept through them! Score!). It's always a little weird to head back "home," where my parents' house is without internet or cable and we are miles out of town on a couple hundred acres of potato fields. The view above is from the front steps of the house where I grew up, and it's a view that I don't think I appreciated as much of anything special while I lived there. But now, going back, it feels like stepping into a postcard and I am always kind of blown away by how vast & flat & quiet everything seems from the front door.
Predictably, I took a ton of pictures while I was home, which I will try to share sparingly so you don't feel completely bombarded. Here are a few of my favorites of our first afternoon in the shire, where Natalie got to run and explore to her heart's content without us hovering over her worrying about what trouble she could get into. It really is the perfect place for a kid to just roam free.
We arrived back home on Saturday afternoon, in time for me to change into my Jeerleading duds and speed off to the intra-squad roller derby bout. Mikey had just one night at home in his own bed before packing up the car again for a week away--he's downstate all week for a certification course that will get him set to teach upper level literature to his senior students. Poor guy is back to dorm life for the week--twin bed, box fan in the window, shower shoes. I don't envy him. I also don't love being away from him for a week and being on solo parenting duty.... eek! How do single parents do it? It hasn't even been 24 hours, and I'm already realizing just how much I take for granted in having a partner here to help with all of the household and childcare responsibilities.
So far, I have had to accept that I will be the one responsible for taking out the garbage & sorting the recycling & folding the laundry & waking up in the night if Natalie does & turning off the lights & locking the doors & doing the Sesame Street voices & going down the slide 548 times. These things have typically been Mike's jobs, and I like our division of labor, thankyouverymuch. I know I'll survive it, but it is a humbling reminder of just how easy we've got it by sharing the load. Again, I am in awe of those parents who go it alone.
Natalie misses Mike already, and ended up in bed with me around 2am this morning after calling out for her daddy. Mike is the one who comforts her at night if she has a bad dream or needs a snuggle, and I know it's going to be tough on her this week as she adjusts to this change in her routine. I'm trying to find a balance for her of keeping to her schedule (this kid thrives on routine) and adding some fun stuff to keep our girls' week special and fun. We hit up a new playground last night and made cookies with blueberries for dessert, and I think tonight will be Mommy & Me Movie Night. The circus is in town later this week, and I know we'll be getting to the beach at some point. I'm crossing my fingers that these little experiences (along with nightly Skype sessions with Mike) will help the week fly by without any major hitch for her. Wish me luck. :)