“How was your day off?”

Well, it didn’t end up being quite as ‘off’ as you might be picturing. After it took me half an hour to outline the homeschool plan for the day to my husband, I decided it might be a tad bit unreasonable to expect my hubby to get school accomplished while also riding herd on the 2 little girls. This was his first attempt at this, after all.

So I had mercy on him and took theyoungest two with me. This means that breakfast was at McDonalds’, where I spent an inordinate amount of time policing the orange juice. One juice for two kids– what WAS I thinking? But I got a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit out of the deal, which– heaven help me — I ADORE!

After that it was on to my sister’s house, bearing cinnamon rolls as an apology for barging in on her at 9:30 in the morning so I could spend the next hour complaining. Which I did. (Why does griping about everything under the sun feel so freeing with the right person listening?? Thanks, sis)

After I got my crankies out we sat in the sunshine at a picnic table with the breeze blowing our hair, and her little girls and my little girls playing happily in the back yard. Well, there was a bit of scuffle over who got to ride the Kiddie car….and handful or two of sand tossed into cousins’ hair. But that was totally outbalanced by the good conversation, not to mention the sweetness of Niece calling “to the moon, please, Auntie Mary!” when being pushed on the swingset. It was an exceedingly nice way to spend a morning.

With time to kill before I could meet Eldest for lunch, I gathered my two kiddos and headed to the mall. Blessedly I had remembered the stroller, which gave me the ability to restrain the two year old give the two year old a nice relaxing ride, during which time I blissfully browsed the clearance racks in the kids clothing department while ignoring my 5 year old’s pleas to stop looking at ‘boring things.’ While cruising through 3 stores, I found several cute things for several of my children. Most fun was the clearance rack in JCPenney’s featuring ladies tops marked down to $1.97. Jackpot. I found two for me, two for Eldest, and two for Second Daughter.

By then it was time to zip over to the U. to meet college-student Eldest for lunch. Since we are tightwads careful with money, we opted to eat in the school cafeteria. I learned it is extremely challenging to balance a food tray on the canopy of a stroller, especially when the kid in the stroller keeps trying to fold back the canopy so as to better make meal selections.

It is also difficult to steer your stroller between way-too-close tables to find a seat, especially with everyone staring at this crazy lady who is bringing little kids to a college cafeteria. We were getting almost as many stares as the cup-stacking guys across the room — and they had an 11-cup tower going for them.

We managed to trump them though when the 5 year old fell out of her chair, snagging herself by the belt-loop on her way down, where for a moment she hung entirely upside down with a large portion of her bum undies showing. I thought the people at the next table were going to choke on their nachos, they were trying to hard to laugh discreetly. Not me. I laughed til I had to dab at my eyes. So did the 5 year old. Thankfully.

Still, the pizza was good and the Eldest as always was good company. I coaxed her to come with us to Barnes and Noble for awhile. I don’t know how I expected to have any fun at a book store with two tired little kids. I’m pretty sure my optimism was heavily dependent on a little fantasy that involved the two year old falling asleep in the car on the way there, staying asleep while being transferred into the stroller, and then sleeping for an hour in Barnes and Noble so that we could have some browsing time.

Yeah, I’m crazy.

Except it happened exactly like that.

I confess — I spent most of my time perusing homeschool curriculum. But I found just what I needed and then the 5 year old and I each carried our books to a quiet corner where we sat thumbing through crisp new books while the two year old snored and the 19 year old wandered the store happily and we had a lovely quiet hour and could barely tear ourselves away to go home.

I went home with a smile on my face and a spring in my step and new shirts and new books in shopping bags. And when I got home, everyone greeted me enthusiastically with hugs and shouts and chatter. Well, except for the one who was taking his/her turn pouting, and for a minute I felt like I’d never left except then I realized I actually had energy to deal with it. Energy. And I smiled and re-engaged, and a bit later the pouter wasn’t pouting, and I was still feeling fine, and I realized I had indeed had a day off, and my soul had been restored.

A very nice day off, indeed.

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  1. I love the part in the college cafeteria. I can just picture the other college kids torn between you and the cupstacker. Funny! Good story.

  2. You are a mom of ten – when you take two kids with you and still have a day off! 🙂 I am glad you had such a good day!

  3. I’m so glad, mary! sisters are the absolute best, aren’t they? 🙂 We are so blessed!!

  4. Good for you for getting a little time away. I’m glad the two year old cooperated and you got an hour in Barnes and Noble. That is my favoirte thing to do. Our Barnes and Noble stays open until midnight. Many an evening I sneak over their for a little alone time after the young ones go to sleep.

    It’s amazing how a few hours away can totally rejuvinate us.

  5. Wow, your eldest is a REALLY good sport!! Also, I’m amazed that you call that a day off. Sounds like hard work to me, but yeah, getting out of the house for whatever reason always makes it nice to come home.

  6. Reading about your day makes me feel like I had a day off too. Maybe tomorrow for me!

  7. The sight of your 5yo suspended upside-down had to be just hilarious!
    You know you have a larger family when 2 feels like a rest. (Of course I find it does matter WHICH two, in what combination…)

  8. Mary – you are just the best! I look forward to reading your posts every day!

  9. great story! 🙂

  10. Mary, it was SO lovely to have you stop by for a visit. It ABSOLUTELY made my day, too. It is truly amazing how much visiting with a sister can help boost the spirits. Thanks you! B keeps asking when Auntie Mary is coming over again. 🙂 So…when’s your next day off?

  11. I love that time of being refreshed! And getting dad to homeschool? That is amazing! My husband offered to do it for a week for me once, but it didn’t happen, lol. But thats a long blog story.

  12. Hey, great post! Firts time i’ve read your blogs! Love em!!