Our good friend Brett joins us for breakfast every Tuesday morning. He was originally a college friend of mine who became a friend of my husband after we all moved to DC. Eric was his sponsor two Easters ago when Brett was received into the Church and our kids consider him a member of the family. I suppose I better not gush too much because I finally cracked and gave Brett the address of this blog. He lives a few blocks away and stops here for breakfast at 7:30 on his way to work for a member of Congress. I love hosting breakfast for friends and this morning we enjoyed overnight baked French toast and fresh fruit. I love that our friend can make it here on a weekday and still get to work at a responsible hour because he can commute on his bike.
After breakfast our family set off for a religious house in our neighborhood. There are at least two communities of consecrated women in our neighborhood and one of them hosts a regular "Mom's morning" for mothers of small children to come and relax with other adult women while the kids play. The women help out entertaining the kids and, in theory, we moms can slip off to the chapel for some quiet prayer. Margaret is finally getting independent enough for me to avail myself of that opportunity more often but I love just being with these holy women and it's always a relaxing time. Eric walked with us this morning and we both tried to answer Joseph's endless questions about the different trees, birds, and flowers he was seeing on our walk. I have always loved the gardens in our row house neighborhood. They average twenty-five square feet, I would guess and it's all the "yard" most people have. It's kind of silly to tend a plot of grass in that small a space so most everyone turns the whole space into a garden and since all these gardens are right up on the street we can examine them carefully without invading anyone's private property. It's all cultivated, so it's not quite like a nature walk but it's a darn good way to get all of us interested in species identification. We all felt triumphant the other day when, after noting a pretty bird on a walk, we found it in Audubon's and discovered that it was a Mockingbird.
Eric dropped us off at our destination and continued on to do a bit of work at the library and then attend noon Mass before picking us up again. We eat lunch together as part of our "Mom's morning" and normally the kids are so worn out that we head straight home for a nap. But today was Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's. We are ice cream snobs and try to avoid brands that use things like carrageenan and we'd rather eat our candy bars and ice cream separately. And I have a friend who was treated very rudely by Ben of Ben & Jerry's at a political rally. I promised her I'd join in her small boycott of the brand. But I'm not one to turn down free ice cream so we go every year to get a free cone. There are two Ben & Jerry's shops in our neighborhood but we walked to the one more on the way home where we were very embarrassed to be ushered to the head of the line on account of Joseph's wheelchair.
It is nine blocks from that ice cream shop to our apartment and for the second time in three days Margaret decided that she wanted to walk every step of the way herself. We've got her pretty well trained to hang on to the stroller or someone's hand when we're out and about. It's a bit excruciating to traverse nine blocks at toddler speed--especially when your three-year old is wanting to wheel at breakneck speed over bumpy sidewalks--but I'd rather my kids walk than get chauffered everywhere in their strollers so we indulge Margaret when we're not in a hurry. We took a shortcut through an alley and explored an upset nest of very hungry caterpillars, one of which met a sad end underneath Margaret's shoe.
By the time we got home I had just enough time to get Margaret to sleep before going to my monthly co-op delivery. A bunch of moms in my neighborhood have worked together for a few years to get regular deliveries of bulk foods. It's sort of like Whole Foods meets Costco but it comes via semi-truck to someone's yard and we get good volume discounts if our group orders enough. It's mostly stay-at-home moms who are involved because the schedule requires flexible daytime availability. Today was my last delivery serving as a bookkeeper and it was fun visiting with my friends while Eric stayed home with the napping kids. The co-op site is walking distance but I always drive so that I'm able to bring home my sacks of oatmeal and flour.
I got home as the kids were waking and took care of odds and ends for a few minutes. Eric left to walk to his weekly Holy Hour at our parish and I made a pizza for dinner. I wanted to walk with the kids to meet Eric at the church but I haven't figured out how to push a wheelchair while carrying Margaret and a pizza so we decided to drive. There is a park next to our church and we all sat on a bench there and people watched while we ate our pizza. Lots of dog walkers were out and one dog owner and fellow wheelchair driver let Joseph feed treats to her cute dogs. We got back home a bit later than we normally start bedtime and the kids fell asleep quickly so I'm here, typing away, while Eric is out walking and praying a Rosary.
I've had friends say they don't feel like they can accomplish much in one day while living in the city. I've always found the opposite to be true and I thought today was illustrative. We got lots of exercise, spent lots of time outdoors, saw lots of friends, accomplished errands, spent good time with the kids, and kept on top of house work and prayer. It was a great day.