Thursday, August 23, 2012

Family Trip to the Park

When I got this job, I knew I'd be working evenings and weekends. I had to work Monday and Tuesday, but was off last night and tonight. Tonight is Pirate's kindergarten orientation, so last night was kind of the last family night we'd have before school starts. I wanted to do something with the kids since we haven't gotten out to do much this summer. We planned to take the kids to the big playground at the park. The kids were were really excited. So, we loaded everyone up and headed to the park after dinner.

Getting everyone ready to leave the house, although easier than it once was, is still kind of a circus. While I cleaned up from dinner, Buster fed Superchunk his dinner. Then I changed Superchunk's diaper and put him in the carrier. He's the easiest to get ready to go. Next we send the kids (one at a time or they'll take forever) to go to the bathroom, wash their hands, and get socks out of their drawers. They've been living in flip flops and Crocs all summer, but tennis shoes are better for the playground. It never fails, someone seems to get lost upstairs or distracted with toys and this turns into a fifteen minute process. Once the socks are on, the fun process of getting shoes on begins. Buster started loading the kids in the van while I threw a few diapers and bottles of water in the diaper bag. The plan was to go play at the playground then get ice cream or milkshakes at McDonald's afterward since we had a gift card.

We drive to the park, and the kids are super excited. As soon as we get around the corner to see the playground, I know we aren't going to last long. It is packed. Apparently we aren't the only family trying to get the kids out to play. So, we unload everyone and I get Superchunk's carrier attached in the stroller. Buster gets Curly out of his car seat and immediately realizes Curly pooped. Somehow we forgot about changing his diaper before we left the house. We then got to enjoy the fun that is changing a squirming toddler in the back of the van with wipes that have been in the diaper bag way too long and are almost dry, while also trying to restrain three kids who just want to run across the street to the playground, while the baby in the stroller is crying because he just wants to fall asleep. Again, we were a circus. We overcome this and move onto the next obstacle, the fact that there is no ramp from the street to the playground on the side where we parked. We could either a) walk around the entire park with the 5 kids to get to the handicap ramp, b) leave (which Buster and I both wanted to do!), or c) ghetto-style carry the stroller down the steps. We went with option C. You'd think we would have caused a  spectacle with all the kids we have and the fact that we're carrying a stroller down the steps, but then again, we were at the Westminster City Park. If you've ever been, you know what kind of characters are there. No one even noticed us.

In my mind before we went, I'd push the stroller and follow Curly around the toddler area while Buster would watch the three bigger kids on the bigger playground. WRONG! Crowded doesn't even describe how many people were there. Before we separated, I made sure said out loud what color shirt each of the kids was wearing to keep track of them. I went into the toddler area with the little guys and Buster went the the bigger playground next to it with the other kids. Immediately I realized how wrong I was in my plan. Curly can't climb the steps and go down the slide on his own. I would need to go up with him. And I can't leave the stroller with the crying baby. So I carry Curly around. We try the swings. He freaks out and screams. We try the see-saw. He freaks out and screams. Thankfully Superchunk just gave up and fell asleep, so I only had one crying baby with me. We headed across the playground to where Buster and the kids were, and the look on his face said his experience wasn't going much better. Trouble wants to be big enough to do everything on his own, but he's still only three and needs help. It was so crowded it really was hard to keep track of everyone. We moved over to a less crowded part of the playground and the kids played some more. Finally, we decided it was time to go. I honestly have no clue how long we lasted. I know for sure it felt like 3 hours. I think it was more like a half hour though. Then we headed over to McDonald's and got some drive-thru dessert for everyone. By the time we got home and unloaded everyone, it was kind of melted, but no one minded. At least we had one last night out as a family before the end of summer!

Yes, I have enough kids to fill this weird see-saw thing!

This was a different night at a different playground, but kind of cute with all the kids in it. Apparently that's Pirate's favorite shirt.

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