March 23, 2004

On Being Neighbors

We had a plan for today and then we flushed it. We flushed it right out with the beautiful weather and replaced it with a much better plan - fun and service with our neighbors.

The day began like any other normal day - free play time, breakfast, dishes, reading, then the kids headed outside while I cleaned up and got Sirah to sleep. Sirah feel asleep and we headed out to the driveway to ride bikes for awhile. Then some of our neighbors came over and we had a nice time. We moved to this neighborhood in December and have only met two families so far. That is moving in the middle of the winter in Minnesota though. Now as the weather warms up we see that we have neighbors and are slowly meeting them.

How perfect it was to meet this family though - they live across the street and have a little boy Ciaran's age and a new baby girl a few months younger than Sirah. The boys hit it off and the mother and I chatted for a nice long time. They are similar in age and in careers (she stays home and her husband is also in the computer field) and in life stage with kids our age. It was nice to meet them and to begin to feel more like a neighborhood. We spent a good part of the morning with them having fun.

I got a call from another friend who just had a baby girl and also has two older kids similar in ages to mine. We offered to come and watch the older boys so she and her husband and new baby could take care of some things they needed to. The kids had lunch (fruit salad and tofu) and then a nap and then we headed to the store to pick up a small gift for each of the new big brothers. We were able to choose a meaningful gift for each of the kids and that was nice.

We arrived at their house and helped the parents and baby get ready to go - I took pictures of the parents with their new baby as well (somehow we always forget to get pictures all together in those early days) and then it was me and 5 children under the age of 6. The kids were all very well behaved and did a great job together. I must admit I was thankful for nice weather as they spent a good amount of time outside playing together. Meanwhile I cooked dinner and did some general pickup of the toys and things that were cluttered. I swept and finished cleaning an already clean kitchen and then the kids had dinner and dessert which we brought.

After dinner they were back outside to play more and I swept the floor again (it is quite muddy), did dishes, and changed the garbage, I hung up some clothes, picked up the kids room and thought about doing laundry but didn't want to chance ruining anything. The kids came in and cleaned up and the oldest got out their PJ's and I helped the younger one his. All the kids sat on the couch each with a book to look at while I put Sirah in the sling and vacuumed their living room and made sure everything was nice and clean and calm for the family to come home to.

I had just sat down and began reading a book to all the kids when the parents arrived home to find the kids all sitting quietly on the couch listening to a story believe it or not (Boy - 6 years, Rhiannon 4 year old girl, Ciaran - almost 3 year old boy, and another 2 year old boy, Sirah 7 month old girl) in their pj's and ready for bed. We gave them their gift - the baby blanket I had recently been crocheting and chatted for a very short time and then I rounded up my kids and headed out the door after asking the father to finish the chapter I had just begun for his sons. Hopefully they are able to relax and enjoy the evening for a little while and relax. My kids were thankfully very good on the half hour drive home and got ready for bed without too much complaint tonight.

Sirah is sitting on the floor playing and crawling next to me as I type and the older two are trying to fall asleep. It has been a great day even though we did not touch a school book we learned and did a lot. Some things we did talk about were how big the earth is, the new discovery on Mars, telling time, giving to and serving our friends, and we read several books as well. I really enjoyed today.


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