One aspect of my upbringing that I most cherish is the fact that my parents gave me such a breadth of experiences and viewpoints. My dad took inner city kids out on hikes in the Ohio forests, my mom appreciated beautiful artwork and running; my step mom harbored a passion for writing and funky music. I am committed to providing that same breadth of experience to my kids.
Maria and Mario debating which rocks can be thrown in the river versus taken home
Our Sunday morning began with a trip to the river to throw rocks and a jaunt to the woods to play amongst the trees and our Monday night ended with a bike ride to the dance studio to watch professional dancers waltz across the newly polished hardwood floor.
Sunday morning is our donut morning. I pack up the kids in their pj’s and we stroll down to Tim Horton’s. You know you eat at a place too much when all of the staff members know your name and what you want to eat. Maria inevitably gets her rainbow sprinkled vanilla donut and Mario chows down on five chocolate timbits. This Sunday we got a special treat. There was a half marathon course running right past the Tim Horton’s. We got to watch men and women run by us as we stuffed our faces with dough and sugar. Nice.
I told the kids about how much I relied on cheering by-standers when I ran my races. That struck a chord in Maria and she started yelling “girls beat the boys” as the runners raced by. Unfortunately, all of the runners passing by were men. Mario, of course, had to point this fact out to her with the quip “he was not a girl, Maria, he was a boy.” However, within two minutes of Mario’s statement, we saw a woman pass by and Maria chimed in again “Girls beat the boys!” Mario got her back by shoving her and Maria got him back by kicking him. Lovely. Luckily, their attentions got diverted by a stray cat walking outside in the parking lot.
After the donut shop, we drug our tired selves out to the stroller (watching those runners whooped us up (or maybe it was the massive sugar infiltration!)) and headed down the street to a bike path that led to the river.
Maria being the good sport and watching Mario's 25th toss in the river
The little bank we stopped at is perfect for the kids. Maria can pick up rocks to take home to our garden and Mario can throw a zillion rocks in the river. I had yet another moment at the river where I thanked the stars above for giving me Maria first. She is so good with her brother. Mario must have said twenty times “Maria, look at this throw.” Now most people would ignore Mario after two or three throws but Maria stops what she is doing, watches him, and exclaims “Cool Mario!” And even when she has no desire to watch him after the twentieth time, she will still throw a glance at him right when she needs to so Mario thinks that she is watching. What a trooper.
Maria deep in her massage (notice eyes closed and all!)
After collecting a handful of rocks, we left to head home. On the way back, the kids decided they wanted to visit the trolls in the forest. There is a little woods about a mile from our house (close to a home we thought of purchasing a few months ago and didn’t – slight regret) that is perfect for the kids. They can run around in it and not get lost. We can make up stories of trolls and fairies. We can play hide and seek. We can balance across fallen logs. We can look for worms. Mario collected acorns for the trip home and Maria asked about the trolls and where they sleep at night.
After all of that rock throwing and hiking, we needed a good massage. Luckily, there was a masseuse on the streets of Grandview giving a “mini massage” to try to get business that day so Maria convinced me to take a load off and hit the masseuse up for a shoulder massage. After I finished, Maria stood up out of the stroller and quipped “I am next!” Of course, Mario could not resist if his sis got one. So, there we are, the family massage on Grandview Avenue.
When we got home, Jon had a surprise for me. He was taking the kids to his cousin’s house for a fishing escapade so I could work and relax. Ahh, the most wonderful gift I could ever receive on a Sunday afternoon.
Smiling Mario on his bike
On Monday night, the kids jumped on their bikes to ride up the street. Mario is intrepid but when it comes to crossing the street, he becomes hesitant and cautious. He stops ten feet back from the street, looks both ways, and then looks at me and says “I’m worried about cars, mommy.” There could be a car five blocks down the street, and he will wait for it to pass before riding. Maria gets exasperated with him.
Hot times on Grandview Avenue
We finally made it to the top of the street and decided to go in the dance studio. They sat on the couch and became mesmerized with an instructor and his student. The two of them were doing a waltz around the studio. The kids were in awe. They got up every few minutes to try out a move they witnessed and then sat back down and continued watching. We probably could have stayed until midnight – they just loved it. When we left, I was fumbling around looking for my money, and when I looked up, the pose to the left is what I saw. Maria reminds me of a female James Dean with her suave leaning pose. Oh, how they make me smile!