This last Saturday was quite a packed one for the Jones family. I got to work my dad muscles, both figuratively and literally.
Working Up a Sweat
I started the day with a trip to the gym. That’s a big deal for me—I haven’t gone to the gym since my daughter was born in 2020, right at the start of the pandemic. I avoided the gym less because of COVID and more because, well, I just don’t like working out. So, what changed? My wife got me a four-class pass to the local gym Sweat FXBG as a gift for Easter. But, she readily admits it was a gift for herself. The key part being the “included child care,” where some non-her person watches the kids for an hour. It was easier than writing “HINT, HINT” on a Louisville slugger and whacking me with it. Mommy needed some more mommy time. I get it.
I tried their “Sixty” program, an hour of high-intensity intervals and rowing. I generally hate working out, but this was pretty good. I liked how I had my own personal weights, towel, and cleaning supplies all in one compact station with a weight bench on top. I dropped 2-year-old Lily off at the child care spot—a couple of small rooms packed with toys. She was pretty upset when she saw me leave, but calmed down after a few minutes (as reported to me later). The rooms are small and windowless, so I wouldn’t want to leave my kids in there for any long amount of time, but for just an hour it got the job done.
Red Grasshoppers FOR LIFE
I got back home just in time to roll out again to go to … Benny’s first soccer game! He did Little Kickers during the winter to introduce him to soccer, and for the past couple of months, he has been doing 30 minutes a week with Grassroots Soccer. But this was his first time playing on a team—the Red Grasshoppers, for him—and playing an actual game of soccer. The “practices” revolve around fun games teaching them basic soccer skills, so the coaches had to spend a couple of minutes explaining the rules of the actual game. Basically, kick the ball to the other team’s goal and don’t touch it with your hands.
Benny got the ball a few times and did OK, but I had a great time cheering for him. I’ve never been a sports guy, but I totally get the draw now. I also get how parents can go a little crazy at their kids’ games. This was just a game with six 4-year-olds, but I had to bite my tongue about the RINGER the green team had who must have been trained by Pele himself. I mean COME ON.
We took a little time to cool off at home. Then we loaded up our double stroller, popped the dog on a leash, and walked over to Old Mill Park for the Fredericksburg Earth Day Festival. This festival has been happening every Earth Day for years, and this was quite a big one. There were tents with vendors and nonprofits over half of the huge field, with a big climbing wall in the middle. A handful of food trucks were there and we availed ourselves of some sandwiches and hot dogs. While we waited for the food, I took Benny on the cute little barrel train ride they had there.
Then we walked around and checked out all the booths. There was a really strong showing from lots of eco- and kid-friendly organizations there. There were tents for the Sierra Club, Virginia State Parks, recycling information, sustainable solar power, and a ton more. There were three or four Boy Scout troops there, too. And a bunch of animals! The kids got to see horses and owls and got to pet a snake and a possum. We finished up the adventure at the Old Mill Park playground, where the kids tore around with the usual kid energy they get from God-knows-where at the end of a long day.
One Last Outing
We finished up the day with a late-afternoon trip to Culpeper to visit some family members buried in the national cemetery there. Luckily, I avoided any deep questions about mortality, as the kids were preoccupied scampering around on the lush grass and rolling down the hills. This despite warnings that the grass would make them itchy. They apparently had to learn the hard way, and my son spent the rest of the night whining about it. We got food and beer at our usual spot there, Grill 309. I recommend it if you’re in Culpeper. Then we headed back home; Lily fell asleep on the way and Benny didn’t last much longer. We were very tired and a little sunburned, but managed to watch half a movie before turning into pumpkins. Overall, it was a good day in the ‘Burg.