I spent a fun-filled day with the kids while D took a day off and had some quality alone time (well, I'm not sure whether she'd call it quality based on some of the things she did, but she had the day to herself to do what she wanted). I was happy to spend the day with the kids and we made it a full one.
We left the house about 930a and made a couple of pit stops, the first at the coffee store and the second at the dump to drop off some chemicals. After the dump, we made our way to Burke Lake Park, where we unloaded our bikes from the van, strapped on the fishing gear to my bike rack and made our way around the lake. We weren't very successful in the fishing department (I had one bite, but when I was reeling it in, the bass jumped and spit out the lure), nor were they kids successful in the lack-of-complaints-about-being-hot-and-tired department, but we were successful in the having-fun-and-spending-quality-time-together department.
We ended up riding around the lake even though the kids didn't want to, but since we were more than halfway when we decided to call it a day, going all the way around was shorter than going back the way we came. Next time we'll have to not go as far (or they'll just have to deal).
After loading up our gear in the van, we headed down and took a ride on the train (as pictured above). This was the first time N rode the train without feeling anxious. We've tried doing it in previous years, but he was afraid of the tunnel. This time, however, there was no fear whatsoever, which is a good thing as during Halloween, they have "Boo Train" rides where there are kids in costumes along the route, some silly, some scary, tossing candy to the kids. It's a fun time, but not when the kids don't want to ride.
On the way home we stopped by Merrifield Garden Center (or, as N calls it, MerriGardenFields) for some plants. I wanted to plant some mint to use in mojitos and we ended up not only getting that, but also some basil, aloe and some rock garden plant that N picked out, in addition to a couple of planters. The one M is holding below will be taken to my office.
Once I saw it I knew I had to get it. Now I just need to get a plant to put in it. Why didn't I think of that while we were there? (I had originally envisioned putting the plant that I have in my office in it, but am not sure whether it will look good in it. We'll see.)
We checked out and headed home, where D and I planted/repotted the plants. D had enjoyed her day at home and was given some bonus time when I took the kids to the pool. It was hot and the pool wasn't very crowded, although the kids did enjoy the company of the Craig girls.
After the pool, we came home and enjoyed a rousing game of memory with the memory game I got at the Grand Canyon last year. M started out pretty quick and N surprised us with his mad memory skills, but in the end I wound up pulling it off on the backstretch and was first across the line when it came time to tally our matches.
Overall it was a great day. Nothing like spending some good, quality time with the kids on a Saturday. As for how I handled it without getting too worked up, it's simple: I expected them to do exactly what they did (not want to focus on fishing that much, complain about the bike ride, hit me up for a ride, etc.), so everything turned out as planned. Yes, I understand that's not the best tactic, but if you set the expectation that the day will be fun-filled and the kids won't complain about something, you're setting yourself up for failing to meet your expectations.
Oh yeah, it's also helpful not to get worked up when they're just kids being kids.