Getting a walk in the morning isn't that straightforward, between awake and asleep children and my husband's work hours, not to mention my own tendency to stay up far too late. But every single time I do go for a walk, I'm glad I did. Last summer there were many days that I never stepped outside even for a moment, and I'm sure I'll get there this summer, too, but right now, there's no excuse for that! Still, a goal of actually "going for a walk every day" is simply never going to be met, so I've made it much simpler: get out of the house at least once every day, even if it's only to get the mail! (Getting the mail means going out the front door, down four steps, and maybe three or four meters to the mailbox on the front gate. We have a new mailbox, incidentally, which I just put up last week. The old one was rusty and didn't lock well, but one reason it didn't lock well was because of how I'd pried it open when Helen put the only key we had for it, INTO it. Then Katie did that and the second prying-open wasn't any better for it. The new one looks nicer, of course, but the chief advantage is that we have TWO keys for it, and yes, we have them on two separate keyrings!)
Anyway...so I blogged about my walk last Saturday, and then Sunday I walked to the playground and back with the little girls (and I climbed a tree, which was the first time in WAY too long, and not a very big tree, but still very enjoyable!), which isn't far, but it was a walk. I did get out of the house (and further than the mailbox, though not always much further) every day this last week, but didn't get another attempt at a "real" walk until Saturday. Once again, I meant for it to be a peaceful walk by myself (well, with Elisabeth, but she doesn't talk much yet!), and once again, children kept waking up. I got up at 7:01 and could have been out of the door by 7:05 on my own, but didn't actually get out of the door until 8:05, with Lukas, Katie, and Helen again. Unfortunately, they weren't in such great moods and I really would have rather left at least some of them home, but I also wanted to let Jörn sleep, so I took them all.
We went down to the nature path at the salt lake again, turning right this time. There were several burned areas, which we thought was strange, and quite a lot of erosion in one area.
We got all the way to the Venetian aquaduct at that end of the nature path, but mean Mommy wouldn't let them go up on it this time.
The walk home wasn't so great, as certain short people were complaining that it was too far and we should have come in the car or with bicycles.
Today we all went to Larnaca Community Church (LCC), which Marie has been attending for a couple of months and we visit sometimes, but the reason today was that the youth band was playing today, with Marie on the violin. Marie went an hour earlier than the rest of us for rehearsal, the rest of us went out the front door at about 9:40. We could have gone in two cars (or squished into one), but I decided that I'd rather walk, and then Jacob joined me. Quite the opposite of yesterday, rambling along at the speed of a two-year-old (or to be more honest, the speed of a five-year-old, which, when she's not hyper, is not very fast), I could barely keep up with Jacob. We played some limbo under some tree branches on the way, which Jacob may think was to have fun, but was an excuse on my part to slow down! Nearly there, we met my friend Sue walking the same way, and when I commented that Jacob set quite a pace, she suggested that he carry Elisabeth. So I handed her over, and while I'm not sure it slowed Jacob down any, it did give me a chance to catch my breath!
When we arrived, not much after Jörn and the other children, as he'd had to negotiate children into their respective seats and buckle them in, then park, unbuckle them, and walk from the parking lot, I discovered that Elisabeth had dropped her butterfly rattle. Jacob suggested he go back and look for it. He actually walked all the way back to the house, but didn't find it.
I don't remember much of the church service--Katie seemed to think it was cool to act like a two-year-old, and while I like two-year-olds very much, I prefer them actually AT that age (and size), and also preferably one at a time. Helen was also being a pretty two-ish two-year-old. Sue ended up going in the baby room with Helen, shortly after that Jacob, Lukas, and Katie went to Sunday school, and then when Elisabeth started singing (happily, but loudly, and after the singing had finished...), I went and joined Sue and Helen.
After church Sue went to check her post office box and then was going to come back to LCC and see if I was still there so we could walk home together. Elisabeth was so fussy, though, that I left not too long after Sue did. But I walked relatively slowly (partly just enjoying getting to set my own pace, partly waiting for Sue, but also partly looking for the butterfly rattle!), and then when I got to the first place in the shade where I could sit down (on a low wall around the same park/playground we'd been to the two previous Sundays), I sat down and was finally able to calm Elisabeth down. Sue met me there and we walked on together, still looking for the rattle. It occurred to me that when I find a baby toy or sock or something like that on the sidewalk, I put it up on a wall or a fence, so that dogs won't get it and so that the person who lost it might still find it, so I wasn't just looking at the ground--and sure enough, the butterfly was lying on a wall, near where Jacob and I had been playing limbo. :-)
We went into the convenience store on the corner where I turn into a side street to go home, and Sue crosses the main road to go to her home, so that I could buy credit for my cell phone, and then we stood there on the corner talking. After awhile a lady came out and...handed me Elisabeth's butterfly rattle! I guess I set it down on the counter when I paid, but I really have no memory of having done anything with it at all...And then my phone rang, and it was Jacob asking when I was getting home. They'd passed us in the car, but I hadn't seen them because of looking for the rattle and chatting with Sue...not to mention that I hadn't been looking out for them!
Still, I was home by 12:10, and then Jörn and the boys left for the house church, which starts loosely at 10:00 or so, but people arrive at all times. Jacob and Lukas didn't want to miss out on Sunday school, which supposedly starts at about 12:00, but hadn't started yet by the time they got there. I like some things about the house church very much, including, in theory, that it's not tied to the clock...but it does sometimes go on very long, and that's not really a wonderful experience for hungry small children. Or their mother. Last summer I often went home when Sunday school started, taking Katie and Helen with me, and then went back for lunch, but in the last couple of months, Katie and Helen have been very restless during the singing, as well. So three weeks ago I finally just decided that instead of going every week and sticking it out as long as I could stand it and then leaving with fussy children and being resentful, that I just wasn't going to go at all, at least not a regular basis. However, Helen had been asking all last week, every time we were in the car, "Go Panos' house?" and every time I said no and told her where we were going she sighed and said sadly, "Go Panos' house." So...I thought we'd go ahead and go for lunch today. So when the service was over (at 1:40), Jörn phoned me, and I got the three little girls in the car and headed over there for lunch, which didn't start until at least 2:15. It was great seeing people, though, and Katie and Helen also enjoyed it. We left again at 3:30 so I could drop three girls from church off at basketball, since that was on my way home anyway, and we also waved to Marie and Andrea, who were walking there from home.
Once home, I hung up a third load of laundry (I'd put one load on when I got up and hung it up before we left for LCC and started another, and hung up the second load and put on the third when I was home before lunch) and started a fourth, packed some things together, and waited for the other car to get home, and then we all walked to Richard and Sue's for a game and dinner. We enjoyed that very much, as always, but Helen was quite tired and getting hyper even before we started dinner, and I think vegging out on videos while Jacob and the adults played a game rather hyped up Lukas and Katie, who were bouncing off the walls by the time we left. They were in bed within ten minutes of us getting home, though, and I then read three chapters in the latest Jan Karon book that I borrowed from Sue, and sitting on the couch with a sleeping, nursing baby and hearing nothing but the click of the laptop keys is rather pleasant. I've enjoyed my quiet evening so far and am looking forward to a more peaceful Monday!
And it occurs to me that I still have a load of laundry to hang up...