the longest day of the year

I had this great idea. Catcher and Scout both have birthdays in July, so two sets of grandparents--they have four total in this age of "blended" families--who won't be celebrating with us in Milwaukee sent early gifts that arrived this week. Last night after the little rascals were snoozing, I laid out the presents on the sofa in a Christmas-morning fashion. My plan was that they would be so excited for new--and unexpected--things that they would leave me alone to clean the house and pack for our trip today.

Catcher was the first one up at 6:24 this morning. I heard him wake the girls, and they all trotted out into the living room to check out the loot before "waking" me up to alert me to this phenomenon of surprise gifts. "I didn't know it was Christmas already!" Scout exclaimed. This is how our morning started on the first day of summer, aka the longest day of the year:

After tearing through their presents, in a Christmas-morning fashion, the buggers marched into the kitchen and demanded breakfast. It was 6:43. By 7:00 I was in the zone cleaning the house, and by 8:30 they were back in my grill asking for snacks. I had a sense my plan wasn't working. Between all of this, I forgot to mention, I heard shrill cries coming from Catcher's room as he screamed "Tillie broke my toy!" Due to the urgency in his voice, my natural thought was that Tillie had broken the labyrinth (pictured above) that he had opened only thirty minutes before. But I was wrong--Catcher was screaming because Tillie had broken the 10 cent plastic toy he got at the dentist last week. It was going to be a long day (yes, ironically). This is what was happening around 9:00am:

Meanwhile, I was still cleaning and hadn't packed a thing. I was on my third load of laundry for the day, so at least I felt like something was getting done. I bought myself eight minutes or so when I caved in and gave the kids the snacks they were demanding, and Catcher's bag was packed. I finished the girls during their lunch--clearly, when the kids are eating or sleeping is about the only time I can complete a task--so I was ready to tackle myself. Once again my plan was foiled as the girls didn't nap, and I spent an hour shuffling between folding laundry and putting them back into their beds. The rest of the afternoon is a whiny, cranky blur. I attempted another trip to Recycled Reads, but when Tillie decided to throw a temper tantrum in the middle of the store, I knew my time was up. Back at the house it was time for a 5 o'clock dinner to begin to close out this long day.

It turns out, however, that the good thing about the longest day of the year (and the girls not napping) is that they were sound asleep--seriously, asleep!--at 6:30 tonight. That was a long 12 hours. I realize our car ride beginning Monday is almost twice that; I'm just in denial.

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