Friday the 13th deserves special mention this year as I genuinely had a freak out moment that involved, who else, Forrest.
Friday was also the night that Andrew and I went out for our fancy Valentine's day date.
Andrew had been out of town on business the previous two nights. He assured me he'd be home in time for our big night out. Bless his heart, he made it home in time! Breaking up the drive back, he took his "lunch break" on the river where he enjoyed a spot of fly fishing. Technically, I wasn't supposed to find out about that part because our phone conversation that day had included a plea from me to,
"Please, hurry home!"
He'd been gone awhile and I had a list that afternoon that included:
- Tidy the house for the babysitter.
- Transform myself out of "sloppy Mom mode" into "cute wifey mode." This is a real challenge at the end of the day. I ended up taking two showers because I am crazy and couldn't decide what to do with my hair or what I was going to wear; so I thought that fretting in the shower over these things (that don't truly matter) would make me feel better.
- Feed the children.
As Andrew walks in the door, I ask him to please take dinner out of the oven. I rush upstairs to try to recreate those college days when getting ready for fancy affairs was enjoyable. I relax some knowing that Andrew is finally home. A few minutes later, he joins me upstairs as he needs to get ready too.
As I curl my hair, we catch each other up on the past few days (read: Ali runs her mouth, Andrew politely listens). I suddenly have the distinct impression to stop what I am doing and go tell my kids that there dinner has cooled off enough for them to begin eating.
The kids are happy; at least that's my assumption as I'm not hearing any crying. It doesn't matter to me if they eat now or in ten minutes. I am curling my hair in peace! And to be honest, it's been months since I've used a curling iron on my own hair. Why interrupt a good thing? I get the feeling again to go to the top of the stairs and holler to the kids that they can begin eating. So I do exactly that.
The view from the top of our stairs
While standing at the top of the stairs, I catch sight of Forrest's blue shirt out the window. My stomach drops as I watch him toddling down the sidewalk toward the driveway.
WHY IS HE OUTSIDE?!? The front door is closed. We always keep it locked. As I race down the stairs, I notice a small white stool. We keep that stool in the bathroom so Lottie can better reach the faucet when washing her hands. However, it's not in the bathroom. It's right next to the front door. That cute little stinker found the stool, carried it to the front door, used it so he could unlock the door and then let himself outside.
I quickly retrieve him, lock the door behind me and smother his face in kisses. I say a prayer; thanking Heavenly Father for prompting me to go to the top of the stairs. An assortment of circumstances could have prevented me from noticing him when I did. Thankfully, he was precisely where he needed to be for me to catch sight of him. Andrew had been with him a few minutes before. I had assumed that he was still playing with the big kids in the living room, per the norm. Motherhood isn't for the faint of heart.
As for the rest of our night, Andrew and I went to our neighbors for dinner and then to our church building for a dance. Our stake hired an eight piece brass band and an instructor to help us learn the foxtrot, waltz and swing. They also had a professional photographer taking pictures against a Valentine's theme back drop. My poor babysitter had to endure several text messages from me reminding her to keep an extra good eye on Forrest as he has a tendency to go rogue. Good grief.
I'm glad we went to the dance. Andrew and I were able to share a few tender moments but to be honest, we mostly squabbled as we did our best to patiently endure each other. I tried my best to let him lead but since earning that "A" in social dance during college, I thought that I was being "helpful" as I called out the steps. It drove him crazy! We both enjoyed socializing with friends and the delicious slush drink. Those two things combined made up for the dancing pitfalls.
As for the Fleglets, I survived another year pretending to be the Mom who loves to craft as I went to town on constructing Valenitne robots. I thought it was great that they all wanted to make the same robot Valentine. I thought I was simplifying the holiday until I found myself at Walmart, counting out 75 candy heart boxes and trying to find the googly eyes. I declared myself insane as I headed to the check out line.
To Henry's dismay, Eliza filled me in on who Henry asked to be his Valentine. Henry blushed as he confirmed the account of how he approached her at recess! Normally, I'd feel left out that Henry had kept this information from me, but to be honest I can't blame him. His Mom has a tendency to get over excited about these things. To see that he had confided in sister, despite the fact that she spilled the beans, sure was sweet.
Henry and Lottie both made their Valentine boxes at school. Sorry Martha Stewart, but I really love when their teachers take charge, leaving me off the hook!
Valentine's day itself included a special trip to Build a Bear for Lottie and Henry. My Mom gifted them that experience for Christmas and we finally made the trip down. The kids LOVED the experience. They made their selections quickly as Henry settled on Toothless and Lottie chose an Elsa Bear. Shocker. Cousin Sara came too as she recently had a birthday. It was a fun morning, followed by a little shopping and lunch at Chik-Fil-A. We also got trapped in the parking lot of the Gateway but I don't feel the need to re-live that experience.
And now, to quickly change the subject, here's a couple cute ones of the kids enjoying being outside.