“She’s like a baby, I’m like a cat;
When we are happy, we both get fat and still
It’s never enough, It’s never enough
It’s never enough…
Her life in a nutshell
No way would she want it to change me
It’s not that easy ‘cause
My time is often decided for me” -“Life, In a Nutshell,” Barenaked Ladies
This seems like an appropriate quote for our Thanksgiving holiday (it was also one of the songs we chose to put on our wedding favor CD). Happiness, good food, not quite being in charge of our own time (in a good way), yet still being able to choose what we did (or didn’t) do. We had a lot of time celebrating the holiday with family, but then for the last three days of the weekend, it was just the six of us. We didn’t have any specific plans, and we still had to do things to fill the time and entertain the children, but there was no where in particular we had to go. And that felt nice.
Wednesday, I was able to go into Seth’s school to help out with his Thanksgiving feast. It was fun to see him with his friends, to watch him sample the yummy foods, and to hear him sing the songs his class had been practicing.
As Evan, Nora, and Maya were not in school that day, Jason took the morning off and brought the youngest three out on an adventure while I was at school with Seth. First he took the kids to the Agawam Public Library, followed by a trip to open gym at Whip City Gymnastics, a never-before-attempted feat. Lo-and-behold, the girls were at the perfect age for this unstructured playtime, and all the kids had fun.
As has become the tradition since we moved into our house, we hosted Thanksgiving. The family agrees it is easier for us to provide the space, and we love it! The kids were able to help with the table setting and the decorating. And we are the luckiest because our family brings all the food! Between Geema and Michael, Aunt Michele and Uncle Bill, and Grams, we hardly prepared anything. We really appreciate our family members’ hard work, and we all had a great time. The children were well-behaved (it helped that the boys were focused on putting together a new Lego set for much of the time), and we had a lovely evening enjoying each other’s company. It was really simple, non-stressful, and wonderful.
When Friday dawned, we all decided to head out to the Holyoke Children’s Museum. Seth had been asking to go back there for a couple months, and this seemed like a good day for it. Once we got there, Evan remembered it, too, and even though the girls had been there before, they discovered it through new eyes. It is getting a little easier to maintain the kids in these kinds of settings, at least until they decide to scatter in four different directions. The kids started the visit scampering around the Curvy Climber, and Jason, always the good sport, crawled through the twisty passages with the kids.
We ended the visit, strategically, at the water table, due to prior experience. The children had a blast, and afterwards they all needed a full change to dry clothes before we got back in the car to go home.
Saturday morning we started out by exploring a new library - this time the one in Southwick, MA. Libraries have become our go-to for easy entertaining - so much fun to have a handful of favorite locations. This library was also a hit - the girls liked the fun play house, and Evan and Seth were excited to discover the puzzles and legos they could play with.
From there we headed on to Westfield, with a pit stop for lunch at Five Guys. No better place to get a burger. Enough said.
Then, we headed to the Amelia Park Children’s Museum, a family favorite. As our yearly membership was expiring on Monday, we wanted to sneak in one last free visit. As always, it did not disappoint.
Sunday we decided to be less ambitious, as the girls had tired of taking their naps in the car on the way home from children’s museums. After a leisurely morning at home, we took a trip to Mrs. Murphy’s Donuts in Southwick - we had never actually been there before. They do indeed have extremely delicious donuts! It was extremely gratifying to have a couple we chatted with at the counter tell us they thought our children were well-behaved!
Throughout the weekend there was much snuggling, reading, video watching, lego playing, guitar practicing, whining, parents trading off sleeping in, and sibling interacting. It was just the right mix of wonderful time with family, fun outings, and time at home. It was a nice breath of fresh air before what is sure to be a busy few weeks, and we were just happy to all be feeling better after a couple weeks of sickness.
We capped off the weekend with some brother/sister camp-outs before and after bath, and we were ready to face Monday when it dawned (bright and early). And that was Thanksgiving, in a nutshell.