It's HOT here! This is unusual! We had the house closed down by 9:30am this morning. It stays comfortably cool inside on super-hot days with the windows and doors closed.
A perfect day to try out Blackberry Farm, a newly remodeled and re-opened city park, with two pools. This was fun, though it took us a few tries to find our spots. The shallower pool wasn't open at first, and we kept getting swamped by day-campers, but the kids had plenty of fun, safe playtime where they could all stand. And jump.
The older two boys, to our surprise, pooped out first, though later rejoined their younger cousin/siblings, who pretty much didn't stop jumping and playing in the water the whole time.
Katrina mostly sat on the side and splashed, hesitant and resistant to getting in the water with me.
I marvelled that at her age, the boys could jump off the side and swim to another corner. But she's a completely different story, a drowning waiting to happen. I instructed Gabriel to holler immediately if he saw her fall in the water. Those Water Babies lessons really did buy us a critical 10 seconds when the boys were 2 years old, not to mention a lot of added fun.
I also "tested" the boys, sort of. Gabriel was able to make it across the pool twice, if you count stopping and flailing around like he was about to drown every few strokes, but he made it without touching down. Julian couldn't swim even a few feet. Having seen what kids can learn with high-quality swim lessons, I'm spurred anew to find better lessons.
After swimming, we had a picnic lunch in the playground area. Lots of nice shade, though really far from the bathrooms -- an issue when kids have been playing in the water as long as they had been -- and hot for play structures. But they couldn't pass it up.
The rest of the afternoon was spent with grownups hunkered inside, hiding from the heat, and kids getting completely filthy playing in our dirt-only backyard. It's really fun to see them move in and out of phases, grouping themselves according to activities. Aidan spent a lot of time showing Gabriel and Julian a jousting game outside, but was also happy later to "play" cards with Katrina. Just like with her brothers, Katrina gives everyone some low-key competition-free play.
I was delighted with how dinner turned out, and that my super-strict-diet sister actually had two helpings of a wild mushroom mix I made. More incredibly, my niece Remi had several helpings of a beef kabob I'd marinated and grilled. Success!
Other than the desert dirt landscaping, our house is working exactly as I wanted it to: lots of spaces for people to be in, places for hyper activity and places for quiet time, comfortable for guests, no activity of one person shuts down the rest of the household. Fortunately, desert dirt is just fine with kids.