20 November 2010

Ill-advised, but... we had a good time...

Light-up night in Pittsburgh. Equal parts disaster and fun. A baaaad band played inappropriate music up until Santa, obscured by the crowd, declared that it was time to light downtown. Market Square was ugly - odd lights that blinked in such intervals that it appeared it was not lit at all. Delectable food smells enticed us, but... alas - long lines kept us from partaking. The kids did see Santa, though - through his little hut - and he waved and gave them a "ho ho ho" - which was good enough for them (another line averted :-).

We headed to PPG Plaza where the BIG tree sits, and.... it WAS beautiful, AND there was Christmas music playing, which was exactly what we wanted to hear (not some horrible band butchering a Katy Perry song). We even ran into some people we knew (though missed a friend's daughter skating in the Grinch performance). Now.... there were too many skaters on the ice (not safe), AND another long line, but we did sit and watch and soak in Christmas a bit. We wandered back to our train station, finding decorations, sparkly dinosaurs, ice sculptures and people dressed as elves running about along the way (also a police altercation, sirens, people in the crowd complaining about our stroller or that their kids got to an exhibit first - God forbid we snap a picture first...).

The kids were laughing, enjoying their cousins, making a game of the walk back to the car - found the T ride exciting like an amusement park roller coaster. We had a late night dinner, a bit hurried and chaotic, but yummy and full of conversation, with family.... found a Santa (and Mrs. Claus) who did want to talk to our kids and give them a hug. AND.... glow sticks (one already broken), one pair of pee pee leggings, leftover Chinese food, and some jelly beans in hand, we headed home. Sigh.

It occurred to me last night, as I wrangled my excited kindergartner, my cranky preschooler and my high maintenance "just turned three year old" (all the while texting the teen at a Central play-off game), that these are the crazy (but wonderful) years. Earlier in the day, I was part of a conversation in which someone mentioned that my kids were so big, so my life must be getting easier. Truthfully? And you all know this. Give me an infant any day. They are easy. Because, what you don't hear is that some preschoolers get up all night long BUT don't nap, AND... when you do school pick up for that, still very needy preschooler or kindergartner, the toddlers will run into the street OR take an hour to get into the building OR have one of their tantrums, and.... with kids so close in age..... it becomes a snowball effect.... This, however, is when you hit your stride - when you figure out that you MUST get to the gym - you HAVE to take them all to the grocery store - you NEED to occupy them with age-appropriate activities, and... within all this, you find a zen - an "it is what it is" - a deep breath in the chaos. And remember when you thought that having to nurse an infant every three hours was a big deal? Come on.... your ride is JUST starting. It will not be easier... it will be different.... and trying ..... and fun..... You will lower your expectations, appreciate the little things and take a good, long, hard look at yourself. All good.

Happy, happy all - Thanksgiving is a'comin'. And.... it appears that I am "back", huh? I am still in crazed organizational mode, so.... sporadic postings will continue :-).

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