I am not opposed to bribing the children

I had a wonderful afternoon with my son today. It was his last day of school, and it was a half day, so he spent the rest of it with me. Natalie went to daycare as it was still “officially” a school week, and that’s where she always went on Fridays during the school year. So Luke and I had some quality time. We ate hot dogs for lunch, snacked on carrot sticks and hummus, and had a good talk about what it’s going to be like being home with Momma this summer. I told him that I expect him and Natalie to have fun and make messes, but to clean up the messes before moving onto the next. I’ll be monitoring them and scoring them using the reward chart app on my Kindle. They will be able to earn stars by cleaning up after themselves, putting away laundry, helping Momma, etc.

Luke is totally on board with this idea and he already had an idea for a reward to work towards. I was thinking smaller rewards, to keep it going on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but he had something bigger in mind. He wants to go on vacation to Great Wolf Lodge. I want to know who told him about this place, and thank them (<sarcasm font>?), but he tells me he saw a commercial. When? He hardly ever watches tv? Ah, he must have been at Grandpa’s house. We’ll talk later.

Anyway, hopefully a vacation is big enough and exciting enough to dangle above their heads and keep them in line through the summer. We’ll see. I suspect Natalie will lose interest with the reward chart and end up just following Luke’s lead. They are very close, even though they are 2.5 years apart. Also, she loves a clean room, so sometimes that’s all the motivation she needs (she did inherit *some* of my traits).

Oh! I can’t leave you without mentioning the new friends we met! There is an older couple who live around the corner from us, and they remember when Mike was a little boy (he grew up in the house we live in). We ran into them last night at the park at the end of our street. Their grandchildren are visiting for the week, so they were letting them play. Today Luke asked to go over to their house to play, so I accompanied him so that I could exchange phone numbers and make sure it was okay. Turns out, the woman knows my old boss and his wife, and their children. Small world there. And, she knows ASL! Because she used to teach deaf children! Get out of town! So she was using all kinds of ASL with me, and was able to share in my excitement about my upcoming ci activation. And then we scheduled an official playdate next week with the kids at the local waterpark. So exciting.

Oh, and ice cream. Natalie and I whipped up some brownies after dinner and threw them in the oven. I sat down to wait, but 30 seconds later Luke comes to me, excited that Daddy is taking him to Quality Dairy to get an ice cream cone. Mike asks if I want to come too. I am a sucker for ice cream in a cone. So yes, I’m in. We got our ice cream and drove back home and I am trying to sit down to finish the melting messy thing, and Mike and Natalie are trying to get my attention. “What? I’m having a moment here!” They are pointing to the kitchen. Because the oven timer is going off. And of course I can’t hear it. Yup. The brownies are Done. Thankfully they were only in for a few minutes longer than they needed to be, and since I always plan to undercook my baked desserts, they turned out just fine.

I am absolutely loving my new life. Why? Because I’m IN it. No longer working my tail off for some unrealistic expectation or human ideal. Just enjoying my family and friends and all that that entails.

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