That was our weekend, in order.
Friday, my mom emailed me to say that John Prine was going to be playing at the college in town. (Do any of you know John Prine?) I was thrilled. She wanted to go but didn't know if I could go with her, and didn't know about a babysitter for my sister's kids. Rob said it was okay. the concert didn't start until 8 and he said he could handle bedtime alone. (I love him for that). So I called her. She was waffling back and forth. The tickets were expensive, and the drive over and the babysitter... but I nagged her and nagged her and she finally gave in.
A little backstory: When I was growing up, my mom was married to Terry. We lived with him from the time I was 5 til about 11 or so. So, most of the childhood I remember was spent with him. He stars in some of the best memories I have and almost all of the worst ones. He was a real asshole, but could be great. It was almost like he had a split personality. Dr Jeckl and Mr Hyde (I'm too lazy to look up the spelling of that) You know that old saying "When she was good she was very, very good, But when she was bad she was horrid." That was Terry. John Prine was part of the very very good.
Terry used to get out his guitar some nights and play and sing some nights. We had a bunch of records in milk crates in our living room. The record player was in our entertainment center which was an old dresser that had been converted. The drawer front lifted up and you could slide out the record player. He used to put on a record and plya along and sing and it was the best feeling in the world. It was home. It was family. Mostly we listened to John Prine and to Billy Joel. I remember Christmas in Prison and Sweet Revenge and Sam Stone and Please don't bury me and really lots more of John Prine's (and Uptown Girl mostly, of Joel's) So he reminds me of lots of good memories growing up. (I tried to find some of the music clips, but only found this site which is having trouble loading for me, but maybe not for you. plus, I didn't look very hard: I have the CD.
The concert wasn't disappointing. Maura OConnell (Who I had never heard of) opened, and has a great voice. Wonderful. Then John Prine came out and sang. He was very relaxed about it all and seemed really at home on the stage. He talked through some of it and had us both laughing many times. At one point, there were people yelling out requests for certain songs, and he turned around (he was taking a drink from the table behind him) and laughed and said "Yeah, I know them all" His music is pretty simple and mostly guitar. Until he starts singing, it's kinda hard to tell what song it is. He was playing the intro once and someone started clapping like they knew what song was coming and liked it. he stopped and laughed and said "I've got 5 songs that start like this" Then later, he played one and said "See, this is another one". I could go on more, but really, you had to be there. I was so glad I was. it's good to remember the good things from my childhood. Plus, there were a lot of songs that I hadn't heard before (He's written a lot since I was 10, and I haven't bouight any of his CD's for at least 18 years).
Plus, as an added bonus, the kids gave Rob very little trouble, so I didn't have to feel guilty about leaving them.
Last week, I told Maggie's mom, Sandy, that if she needed a babysitter, to call me. Her husband's birthday was coming up, and they wanted to go out. Well, she called. So Saturday, after nap Maggie came over (about 3:15) while her parents went out for a movie and dinner. They came to get her at 8. Now, Maggie has been with Ally in day care since she was enrolled back in Jan 2006. I have watched them grow up together. I know Maggie. So I was prepared for a high-energy day. She's a little hellion. In a good way, most of the time. But I had no idea how to deal with some of the stuff that came up. This was really our first playdate without the other kids' parents around. I just looked at Rob with a helpless plea once and he said "You can put her in time-out too, you know" It had honestly never occurred to me. So Maggie and Ally had arguments a couple times, and Maggie broke a few rules and Ally broke a few rules, and they both sat in time-out once or twice, but it went well overall. They played outside on the swings. Maggie convinced Ally to climb up to the tower so the sharks wouldn't get her. They came in and played insturment (drums and trumpet and recorder and whistle and lots of loud stuff) They took turns making Anya laugh. They ganged up on her because she's just a "baby." Eww. They played in the play kitchen. I gave them some stickers and stamps (and they argued over whther a sticker was pink or red. How do you convince two 3-year-olds that it doesn't matter? I just couldn't see putting them in time-out for arguing over a color! but I couldn't get them stopped. So I tried the whole "Hey, look over here at this completely different thing!" tactic) It will be a while until I schedule something that long again though. It wiped all my energy. But Ally loved it. And I think Maggie had a good time too. I hope.
My niece's birthday in Wednesday. Alyse will be 1 year old. She looks just like her brother. tall and skinny. We had the party over at my dad's restaurant (it was closed) and all had a good time. Anya LOVED the balloons, and chased them around. She kept trying to pick up more than one and dropping them both. She wakled almost everywhere. And she kept returning to Rob. She's been very cuddly with him lately, and it makes me so happy. Not just because it gives me a break or a chance to play with Ally, but because it's nice that he's able to be home more now and have this kind of time with the kids. Althought the break is nice for me too. i look at Anya and think she looks so big and that she's growing up so fast. but then next to Alyse, she looked like a baby. Anya is shorter and much fatter, so she just looks much younger. But Alyse is just wearing 12 months clothes and very comfortable. Anya's are getting tight already. She will be in 18 months clothes before long. She's solid. Oh, and she loves ice cream. It was a gorgeous day out and we all had a good time. Ally wouldn't take a nap on the way over, so we left when she was starting to get a little sleepy and the kids both slept most of the way home. Ally continued her nap when we got home and we had a quiet evening. (and then Roba nd I had some fun to finish off the day)
I'd have to say that, in retrospect, all in all it was a perfect weekend.