inside outside

I almost titled this post “full house” but then I thought… better not.

Gwen felt a little under the weather today so I let her stay home from school, but I needed Taylor to stay/work from home as well since I would be busy with Nicky & the daycare kids. We’ve been spending most of our time outside lately (more on this below) and I knew Gwen wouldn’t be up for that. Then Sym was also feeling sick (unrelated to how Gwen was feeling sick) so I let HER stay home from school as well, and honestly… it’s a lot. There are a lot of people here! Spring break starts on Monday and this is kind of a trial run for that and I think it’s going to be a long two weeks! I mean don’t get me wrong it’s nice to have others here to help with chores & child wrangling, lovely not having to walk down to the school with all the kids, and Taylor made me tea while I was out in the backyard with the little ones but I’m just not used to doing my family thing and my work thing at the same time all day.

Recently I read Balanced and Barefoot and much like There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather, it has inspired me to get the kids outside more, as well as just let them play as they choose rather than setting up activities for them, or guiding their play. I will bring up a selection of toys for them and just let them do what they want and they get on just fine. The biggest struggle I had been having was rainy days, because it’s a lot of standing around in the rain for me, and also trying to fit outdoor play around school drop-off & pick-up as well as snack times was a little tricky when the weather was foul. Like we would all get wet going to the school and then take off our outdoor gear to go in and have snack, and then who wants to put, cold, wet, clammy outdoor gear back on to go play? Not I, and not really the kids either, so I’ve been planning a way to put a roof over my little patio so there’s somewhere under cover to eat snack outside instead. I’m hoping to put together a prototype (using my fave material: DOLLAR STORE SHOWER CURTAINS) this weekend.

I’ve also been gathering old bricks to make another, smaller patio area on the other side of my stairs. I’ve gotten enough now and just need a bag or two of sand and I can lay it all out. I’m going to move my outdoor storage shelf & garbage/recycling up on to it and the space right outside the door (which is the most sheltered) can be for the kid’s bikes and muddy boots, etc. You MIGHT be thinking “Tanie why are you planning to keep bikes outside, isn’t that how your giant stroller was stolen?” and the answer is I’M GONNA LOCK THEM UP. I actually have a lock out there already (I have for years) that I used with my giant stroller but the night it was stolen I forgot to bring it down to lock it up. Bikes are smaller, lighter and easier to move down the stairs and don’t need to be folded up like the stroller, plus I think in total they cost about $130… not EIGHT HUNDRED lol so the risk is significantly lower.

I would also like to have a few more options for outdoor toys. Right now there’s some large trucks & cars, balls and badminton equipment (I brought that out for the first time on Tuesday afternoon and it only took two minutes before someone’s lip was busted open by an errant racket swing but I’m pretty sure that’s a learning experience for everyone involved?), and an assorted of shovels, rakes and other beach toys (we also use these when it snows, but I don’t want to just let the kids dig up the shared yard so I’m trying to figure out an area they can use them). I have sidewalk chalk in my storage room that I can bring out soon, and last weekend I used some scrap wood I pilfered from a construction site to make a balance beam, which I’ve so far only let my own kids and their friends upstairs use, NOT the daycare kids. It’s literally just a 2×2 securely screwed to a a pair of 2″ high “feet” to raise it up and stop it from tipping over so I don’t see why they couldn’t use it. I would also like to get some large wooden blocks for outside but I think I might have to make those myself as well, unless someone has a giant Jenga set they would like to donate to me!

Anyway. That’s what is going on around here. Sick kids, outside time, and planning, planning, planning for spring.

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