I know I've been slacking here lately. (Perhaps selectively simplifying would be a better term.) Marty was out of town all last week, so we went into bare survival mode: no blogging, no excessive cleaning, little cooking.... I found that the children developed some useful skills in the process:
Isaac's proficiency at Uno has skyrocketed since we played about eight games a day.
His reading gets better every day - he took Daddy's place reading books to Grace all week.
Grace learned how to talk on the phone! Up until now, she just sat there looking confused and trying to push the buttons. But when Daddy would call, she would get on the phone and say, "Dada! Song? Song?" And he would sing to her. Very endearing.
By some miracle, we made it all the way through Sacrament meeting on Sunday without having to leave the chapel once!
And the boys managed to endure choir practice with only minimal fights over crayons and requests for more fruit snacks.
Most impressively, Grace learned how to order off the drive-thru menu. No joke. We pulled into the Wendy's parking lot and I asked the collective back seat, "What do you guys want for dinner?" The first response came from Grace: "A fries... a chicken... a fries."
Now that Daddy is home (hallelujah!) things are pretty much back to normal. For example, tonight was a typical evening: Hang out in the family room after Jacob gets home from school. Try to finish a video from the library that is due today. Hear suspicious screaming coming from upstairs. (I say suspicious because screaming in and of itself is quite common around here and usually benign.) Correct Jacob sternly for smearing toothpaste purposely in Isaac's eye. Instruct him to clean it up, then go outside and do some yard work. Lovingly redirect Jacob when he comes in six times because it's snowing. Try to wash some dishes and uncover the kitchen counter. Stop to pry a hairbrush out of Grace's long hair. This took several minutes. Go back to the dishes. Grace is chewing on a can of beans she got from the pantry. The boys are assigned to separate rooms to clean up. 6:00 - Daddy's home! Try to have an adult conversation for a few minutes while the boys finish their jobs. More suspicious screaming, this time from downstairs. Marty heads down to check it out and receives the following explanation: "I didn't mean to bite him! My mouth was open and I was trying to close it but his bottom got in the way!" Oh boy. Ten points if you can guess which child that was.
Like I said, everything's back to normal.