Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Friends and Family

Anyone who knows me in "real" life knows the boys and I belong to an amazing playgroup!  At my most recent count, there are eighty (yes 80!) moms in our playgroup which makes for literally HUNDREDS of children! We could probably start our own private school here in the valley, ha ha! We have been active members of our playgroup for a little over three years now and I have enjoyed watching the evolution of play :) When we first joined, Big-Bug had just barely turned two and Middle-Bug was only 4 months old.  Most of the playdates we attended at that time were focused on floor play for babies, or outings that involved stroller rides (like trips to the local tulip festival, park walks or on rainier days - mall walks)  Over time our play dates have become much more elaborate and often themed.  We now attend things like Hungry Caterpillar playdates, painting with marbles, creating pet rocks, exploring different kinds of dirt, or touring the local fire station or humane society.  As the kids have grown, so have the adventures!

Aside from the adventures though, the best part of this group is the wonderful friends we have made.  Anyone who knows me in "real" life also knows that we are Oregon trans-plants. We moved down here from Washington when Big-Bug was only 11 months old and it was a hard adjustment, to put it kindly :)  We were suddenly isolated from our family, our friends, our support network!! Add to the mix the fact that Hubby was working hard to get a business off the ground so he was working long hours and it was a great recipe for crazy-mom! haha  I toughed it out for the first year we lived in Oregon, Big-Bug and I spent many, many, MANY days sitting in starbucks having "co-co" or shopping for things we didn't really need at the mall. Eventually I had to find some way to connect with other adult humans.  That's when I stumbled upon the website for our playgroup (thank you wondrous internet!) and the rest is history :)  When we joined, I thought perhaps we would meet people we enjoyed enough to meet up with at the park for a picnic, or to invite them to our home for a play date now and then, but I never imagined we would find friends that felt like family. Over the years the children have been lucky enough to form rich friendships with a smaller group of children that has only grown stronger as the time passes.  Sometimes I watch the boys chasing each other around the house or embarking on an imaginative adventure around the back yard and I like to imagine the boys as teenagers, and wonder how their relationships with each other will grow or change throughout the years. As for myself, I have been lucky enough to make some true friendships with women who have made such an impact on my life, I can't remember what my life was like without them! These are the kinds of friends you can see three or four times a week and never run out of things to say to each other.  The kind of girlfriends you can stay out all night with because you just don't want the fun times to end, even though you'll probably see each other again the next morning for a play date :)

It's still hard at times to be so far from our family-family. Thankfully, it is only about a three hour drive so we still have the ability to visit with relative ease and we have the option of spending maintaining our holiday traditions.  It would be nice to have the spontaneous visit I hear about from other families "Oh, the kids' grandparents took them out for lunch today" or "we are having my parents over for dinner tonight."  But I will settle for the fact that we have managed to see our family almost monthly during the three+ years we have lived out of state.  I would say that is pretty impressive!

Making Grass Caterpillars

hungry caterpillar playdate

hungry caterpillar craft!

hungry caterpillar goodies

Strawberry picking

Exploring different types of dirt

Decorating pet rocks

Painting with marbles

Pi Day potluck

Pies for Pi day!

Touring the fire station

Apple Picking

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