Thankful for our amazing village

I had one the most epic, sports filled weekends of my life and it was mostly to do with my parents being so great with our kids. I’ll tell you all about singing the national anthem for the first MLS game at Jeld Wen field, watch playoff minor league hockey, going out with Beautiful all dressed up in our prom finest, and seeing the Timbers play 2 games and score 7 goals on their way to 6 points and the Cascadia lead. But first a word about how this was all possible: fantastic grand parents that love having the boys. I have written before about how lucky we are to have both sets of grandparents be so great and capabel with the boys. All four of them can and have had the boys on their own and had no issues. They love the boys madly and care for them even better than Beautiful and I. Talking with other parents this weekend I’ve found this to be rare. There are many that don’t have family close and even those that do find that an hour is too much to ask for. So thank you mom and dad for taking the boys this weekend and for allowing us to have a great weekend knowing that boys are well looked after and having fun.

Here is that national anthem

A small town fourth of July

Clatskanie has about 1800 people living in the city limits but during the July 4th weekend that number must triple at the very least. Beautiful and I loaded up the boys on Saturday afternoon after their naps and our disappointing garage sale, and headed to my parents house to celebrate Independence day in the town my parents met. Growing up I remember the parade and the rides in the park. I remember the fishing contest and the logging competition and I was excited for Beautiful and the boys to see how this quiet town turns into the spot to be.

Saturday night we had a BBQ at my parents house and saw some family from Nor Cal that I am not sure I had met before. One of the big draws to Clatskanie on the Fourth is that everyone comes back for that holiday and our family is a pretty big portion of that population. Walking around the streets we often hear “That’s your Cousin so and so, and that is you great uncle” We joked with the Nor Cal family that dating in Clatskanie requires a family tree to make sure your not related. After the BBQ they were off to do the downtown pub crawl that meant hitting up the 4 bars on main street and joining the shoulder to shoulder throngs for $2 PBRs.

Sunday morning my parents took the boys to the early church service while Beautiful and I slept in. It was such a magical time, sleeping late in a quiet house. It flet like I was getting away with something, like the guy at the candy store gave me too much change back. We joined them downtown for the parade and Primo was so excited for the coming log trucks, floats, and candy that he did three different happy dances. One of which had one hand on his junk, the other stretched out to the side and kicking his leg out to the side while spinning around. Fire Trucks and candy are an intoxicating duo in the mind of a four year old. Segundo was pretty reserved, apparently not fully grasping what was about to happen. The parade started and the boy quickly filled their plastic grocery bag with all kinds of goodies. Primo was giving the paraders the signal, hand out with the palm up, waving the candy in.

The parade was as awesome as I remembered as a kid. Log trucks and princesses, floats with the little league all-stars waving back at us. There were at least fifteen John Deer tractors from the 1920’s on. The Sheriff boat that keeps my uncles from pulling in salmon out of season was there, so naturally my uncle was on the river fishing. The candidates running for office were passing out stickers and the ones that knew their crowd was also throwing out candy. There was even a tree stump carved into a magical woodland creature. The logging and fishing industry was well represented and the whole scene was great.

After the parade we walked down to the park and got some lunch while Primo rode some rides with Papa. The kids ax throwing contest was one so Segundo and I watched that while Beautiful and Grandma stood in line for the food. There were raffles for BBQ/Smokers, Ford Mustang, and a military truck full of firewood and we bought tickets for all of them. Every organization in town was raising money for something and we felt it our civic duty to help. Walking back to the cars to head back for naps the boys insisted they weren’t tired but were both asleep before we even made it off of main street.

We all took long naps and then headed back downtown for the fire works. We went to my cousins house up on the hill overlooking town and had front row seat for the show. It was like looking straight ahead since the fireworks were fired up towards us on the hill. It was a great day, and one of those that held just as much magic as an adult and parent as it had as a kid. I remembered the parade and the carnival, the family and the food and I know that my boys will remember those thing too. Nothing beats a small town fourth of July, and I would hold Clatskanie up to any small town in the U.S.

Recalibrating kids after a big weekend

My kids love the extra attention they get and I love that I don’t have to be the one that gives it to them. That is the benefit of having house guests for the weekend that want to engage our kids. The problem is Monday morning when the guests are gone and it’s just me and the three boys trying to recalibrate to life in the slow lane. The kids are bit more needy, I am a bit shorter on patience and we dance around each other trying to get the rhythm back.

Sometimes the regular schedule needs some adjusting so we can account for the charge clinging to his mom’s leg as she tries to go to work, or Segundo leaning his forehead on the glass front door sobbing as Beautiful heads to the car. I try to give the kids a little more time to adjust but the reality of the situation is there is only one of me now and slowly peeling that bandaid is not gonna be good for any of us. How do you tell a 21 month old to man up though?

That’s where changing up the schedule or daddy playbook comes in handy. Instead of the downstairs play time that we would have done at that time in the morning we called an audible and went into the storage area of the basement and got some boxes out to build a fort. I reminded them that we have a pretty good time, just the four of us, even if there’s just two hands to hold them. This weekend coming up my two boys are going to get some time with my parents for the first part of the weekend, and then Beautiful’s dad visiting Seattle from Indiana for the other part. Next Monday we are likely going to be in the same fragile place after another magical weekend. I better start diagraming some plays in preparation.

Everybody needs a little time away

I can tell it’s happening even as I am in the midst of raising my voice. We have reached the point where neither of us are working with a full tool box and it is Primo that is suffering the most. This happens when I have spent too much times with the kids without an extended break to recharge and remember that they are good kids mostly and that I love them. For the past three weeks Beautiful has worked nearly non-stop and that means that I have been with the boys during that time. I get small breaks when they take naps or when they go to bed but there isn’t much time when the boys are awake that I am not the primary cop on duty making sure they are safe, feed, dry, and happy. For the most part my patience level remains high. I understand that Primo is three and is not trying to drive me crazy, and that Segundo is two and that high pitched scream is the only tool he has found that works and not a targeted attack on my senses. But when the days in a row start getting into the twenties that patience runs out faster and replenishes much much slower. This weekend I got one of those extended breaks that do wonders to the soul. My parents took the boys on Thursday night and I had The Charge for a bit Friday morning before being kid free. Beautiful and I went to a movie, had a fantastic drink made by a true artist, and talked and talked. It was wonderful, invigorating and it made me miss the boys. That is when I know I am recharging and that patience level is back to where it needs to be. I miss the boys again and want to go get them. Spending time with my boys is wonderful and so full of life, but I also need those times when I am not spending time with them. When I am spending time with me, and with Beautiful. Times when I can recharge and be the best version of myself with them. In order to be a good father I need that time.