I've written about this topic before, but when John is out of town, and in particular when John is out of town and my mom or John's mom are here to help, I find myself filling the role of the "fun one" a bit more than I usually do.
John is the most amazing dad, and I can't really live up to his level of fun and silliness, but when he's gone for a long stretch, I find myself naturally trying to fill that void more.
John is in the middle of a long trip in Asia, and his mom came out to stay with us for one of the two weeks that he's gone.
She was all kinds of help with the kids and with the housework, and made this long trip bearable.
Thanks, Linda! We love you and miss you already!
Grandma played endless rounds of chase and construction site with the kids, and she also did things like clean up the dishes while I played outside with the kids for an extra twenty minutes.
Orelia is really the mistress of fun in our house (perhaps Bennett will fill the role more as he gets older). Just like how she was the one who got us all playing on the beach and watching sunsets every night in Hawaii, she also wanted us to eat dinner outside every night that John's been gone.
And we haven't just eaten outside every night, but we've eaten outside in the grass on a picnic blanket.
It sounds dumb, but just this little change in routine makes us take less notice of the empty chair at the dinner table and helps make these two weeks pass more quickly.
And you can bet that if we are eating a picnic dinner outside, we are certainly playing in the yard before and after that dinner, generally making a mess of things, and getting the kids' bare feet incredibly dirty up until the minute before bath time. (What's the point in bath time unless there are dirty toes to clean anyway?)
And trust me when I tell you that almost nothing gets the toes quite a dirty as a water balloon fight in the backyard.
Water balloons seems so small, but they can turn our yard into a mud pit pretty quickly.
The kids have seemed more connected than ever during John's absence.
I think it's all the time the kids are spending together playing in the morning and at bedtime since there aren't two parents to split up and tend to each kid.
Orelia is playing more "mechanic" games and Bennett is playing more "cozy/sleep" games (where we cuddles up in blankets and pretend to sleep).
Grandma is most definitely the "fun one" when it comes to water balloons.
I am always on camera duty during water balloon fights, and Grandma tended to be the willing (?) victim to Orelia's mayhem.
Orelia is the only dangerous one when the water balloons come out, because Bennett just drenches himself by throwing the balloons at his own feet.
Thanks for always being such a good sport, Grandma!
The weekends are the hardest without John, but luckily last weekend we had a "family day" for Orelia's class, and Bennett was thrilled to finally play with all the toys in the big kid class.
Orelia was mostly thrilled to wear her new bathing suit as a shirt.
Orelia's class performed a version of Caps for Sale, and Orelia was excited to be a cap-stealing monkey.
Bennett was happy to find a cap of his own in the sandbox. He loves playing a "construction man" and wants to be one when he grows up.
At "family day," Bennett was mostly far too busy with trucks and airplanes to really pay attention to his sister, but he didn't mind hitching a ride on her wagon at one point.
We are in the home stretch now until John comes home.
I will try to muster up a bit more fun for these last few days. I will try to say "yes" to the last few picnic dinners and water balloon fights. We will indulge in a few more popsicles and open up a couple of Target Dollar Aisle surprises.
I may not be as fun or exciting as Daddy, but I've been learning from the best role model for the past four and a half years or so.