One of the things my children are really good at lately is trashing the house in a matter of minutes. It's not that they're crazy kids and, actually, the process is often pretty imaginative. They're "building a house," or "doing a show" or "making a school."
The materials used are always rather diverse, though, meaning an interesting outcome for them, and the onset of stress for me. Throw pillows from the couch. Magazines. A blanket pulled off a bed upstairs. My driver's license, somehow. They make the kind of mess you can't simply sweep back into the appropriate bin or basket, because its' origins are house-wide. And, unlike the creation of such bold structures, the tidying up part takes forever.
I know I should make them clean it up themselves, and I do try but the truth is that J or I can take care of it literally 4,000 times faster than the two of them combined, so it's often a group effort.
I don't like it. So earlier this summer I was all, "Ok. We're not going to spend any more time indoors, ever." A noble plan but, obviously, unrealistic.
I have, however, done a pretty good job of getting the kids out of the house as much as possible. Nora's been at a few camps and outside plenty during the day, but I'm often with both kids in the late afternoon, trying to fill those couple hours before J gets home and dinner.
One of our favorite nearby places to go is Lighthouse Point Park. It's a gem for kids and parents alike since there's the beach, a playground and splash pad. It's so close to our house that we often head there on impulse, packing just a couple things.
It's a great activity for me, especially being pregnant, because I can pretty much relax on a bench while the kids do whatever they want.
Like jump off this stone statue. We can't decide if he's a dolphin or a seal.
They did this for nearly half an hour while I sat with my feet in the warm sand nearby, not once anticipating cleaning up the living room before bedtime that night, letting the bright sun sink into my shoulders, still rejoicing in the fact that there is, remarkably, warmth again after that long, frigid winter.