Monday, January 30, 2012

Dad's View: Saturdays

Saturdays are the best days in our house. We are at the point in our family life we can afford to have “lazy” Saturdays were we are not running our children all across town for various activities. A perfect Steffen family Saturday starts the night before with Holly and me ordering while the boys pretend to be in bed. We have been working hard to keep a better diet with no meat, more veggies, less processed foods, and more portion control. On Friday, however, we cheat a little and still keep the vegetarian commitment but splurge on comfort food. Veggie subs from Oswego Sub Shop and Veggie lovers stuffed crust pizza from pizza hut has been our latest indulgence. This Friday we at our food while watching the show Shark Tank on TV followed by an episode of the Munsters on Netflix. Oh yes we did watch that blue collar monster family in black and white for date night. We even took the time to find out where the cast is now on Holly’s phone. Turns out most of them are dead. Except the guy who played the Eddie, the little boy monster. He’s still around and will even give corporate speaking engagements and birthday parties. Sweet.

Anyway, our Saturdays start on date night because I always over eat Friday night (an ENTIRE pizza for me) so I can justify going for an hour and a half run the next morning. (Actually, that’s the other way around but whatever.) So I get up early and start my run while Holly sleeps in with the boys. The boys wake up while I am gone. When I get home and showered I take them out of Holly’s bed while Saturday morning cartoons flicker across the bedspread. I then start setting up camp downstairs. Camp includes cueing up the Netflix queue and answering Parker and Carter’s clamor for pancakes. So we make pancakes and sneak some chocolate chips in the batter. Pancakes are great because you can toss all sorts of things inside to spruce them up a bit: candy, fruit, gummy bears, neat stuff like that. So we eat our pancakes while watching the trending children shows, currently Curious George (awesome), Blue’s Clues (endearing), Dora the Explorer (tolerable), and Dragon Tales (annoying). Then Holly comes down and we plan the menu for the week, one of us goes grocery shopping, I might run to the dump with some trash and recyclables, the boys take a “nap” upstairs while Holly and I play Phase 10 or watch a biography film on Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream or a Man verses Food episode. Or I’ll help Holly with one of her craft projects. This week included sorting and removing the wrappers of 500 crayons to melt down and pour into candy moulds. She is so crafty.

Eventually the boys start playing at the top of the stairs and slowly work their way down with their race cars, little people, stuffed animals, and books. By the time we notice them playing at the bottom we officially end their “nap” time and josh around the house a bit until an early dinnertime for the boys. At seven o’clock sharp the Netflix goes off and we turn to PBS and watch Lawrence Welk as a family.

Yes. The Munsters and Lawrence Welk. We’ve been Welk fans since Parker was a baby. It’s a homely little way to end the week. Parker and Carter love it and dance around the room until about 7:30 when it is time for bed. It’s my job to put them to bed usually. I have bad habits of trying to be entertaining and bed time has turned into a mummery of sorts. First there is tooth brushing (fair enough), then a bedtime story which always must include Spiderman, Fire Star, and Iceman (all from the original Spiderman cartoon series Parker is a fan off) as well Captain Moroni because there is a poster of him in their bedroom. After the story there is prayer, which Carter always has to say. After that I have to “tell them something.” See, at some point I started to “tell them something” before bed. At first it was simple things like, “Did you know I love you,” blah blah blah. It soon turned into a simple fact they could learn. Now it has morphed into the following bedtime quiz delivered twice, once for each boy:

Q: What is the longest river in the United States?
A: Mississippi!
Q: What color is the President’s house?
A: White!
Q: What is the name of that Lake?
A: Lake Ontario!

The quiz goes on to the hometowns of various relatives, other historical figures, etc., etc., etc., until they are stumped, learn a new tidbit or knowledge and the quiz grows longer. After this ordeal the boys then like these Kamikaze hugs where mom or dad walks slowly up to their bed and then suddenly topples down and gives them a hug. Then I say goodnight and close the door. But bedtime is not over because while Holly and I dig into the leftovers from date night and watch and episode of Portlandia each of the boys come down for “just one toy” or “just one taste” before finally falling asleep. Holly and I then last about an hour before heading up to bed ourselves.

I took the time to type this all up because yesterday as this all unfolded I realized it was a pretty good day. Nothing huge happened, no big trips or special events, but it was simple and fulfilling. Many of our Saturdays are like this and I think this is a special time in our family where we can “afford” to enjoy Saturdays like these. I say “afford” because I know once my three sons are older they might have soccer practices or school work to fret about. Weekends will be more likely to be booked before they arrive. Right now things are simple and uncomplicated. Morning run, pancakes, cartoons, crafts and naps, macaroni and cheese, Lawrence Welk, and cute bedtimes. I love it. Someday, either when we are all older and busier, or even a more distance someday, when Holly and I live alone and the boys are grown and married, I’ll look back at these carefree Saturdays and miss them. So I wanted to write it down. That way I can not only remember it, but also know that I appreciated it in the moment.

1 comment:

Mindy said...

Sounds like the only thing to make that day perfect would be a sleep-over!!!