The Weekend Of The Puking And The Pooping

I know.  I didn’t post anything here at Jedi Mama, Inc. last night.  I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and I simply went to bed at 8:00.

And just HOW did I develop PTS, you ask?

It was a process that happened over the weekend.

Maybe I should explain.

On Friday, I picked the boy up from school, as usual.  We met one of his good friends at the indoor rec center, and those two big kids chased Thing 2 through the tubes and tunnels and down the slides, until they had run one hundred and nine miles.  They needed to be refueled and rehydrated with bananas and water, to prevent cramps from settling in.  This was a blessing, actually, because our church was sponsoring a Veggie Tales movie — all theater-like, with snacks and everything — and I thought to myself, “Well.  The toddler is so exhausted, he will probably just sit down with his bag of handmade trail mix and become involved in Larry the Cucumber’s antics.”

We went through the snack line, where all the junior high and high school kids added a cup of this and a half-cup of that to Thing 2′s goodie bag, until it was filled to the brim with popcorn and animal crackers and multi-grain Cheerios and little orange crackers shaped like penguins.

IMG_3109 IMG_3111 IMG_3112Thing 2 ate his bag of trail mix exactly like any athlete who has just run 109 miles through tubes and chutes and slides in less than two hours would do, and then the movie started on the big screen in our church’s auditorium.

Four minutes later, Thing 2 was out of his seat and declared that he NEEDED TO RUN SOME MORE, because OF COURSE.  One hundred and nine miles was just a race warmup for him.  So, while Hubs slumped in his seat, and while the boy continued to work the concession table, I followed Thing 2 around while he ran another sixty-three miles, up and down our church’s hallways.

And then we came home, and our toddler passed out cold, cold, COLD at 8:00 on Friday evening.

And really?  Friday wasn’t even related to my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, because monitoring long-distance races and making sure everyone has enough water is all in a day’s work for me.

On Saturday, Thing 2 pooped four times in the morning.

(Is that over-sharing?  A little too much information?  I apologize for sharing the voiding habits of my toddler.)

Now, four times is a lot, because… well… we are a “twice-per-morning” kind of household, as far as Thing 2 goes, but I wasn’t alarmed.  I just changed Pampers with a little more frequency.

At 3:00, we went to our little friend Libby’s very first birthday party, because four poops?  Our kid is still healthy.

And isn’t Libby stinking adorable?

IMG_3124Honestly, I want to kidnap Libby and make her come live at our house, but she’s so attached to her sweet mama, I think we could be in for some SEPARATION ISSUES.

Libby’s brother, Gavin, partied with us on Saturday afternoon, too.

IMG_3123And then Thing 2 showed everyone that a party really isn’t a party until either HE gets there or the COPS get there.

IMG_3127 IMG_3136 IMG_3146 IMG_3148 IMG_3141 IMG_3149While we were AT Libby’s party, Thing 2 dirtied up his diaper again.

And then he filled it one more time, just as we were leaving.

When we got home at a quarter to five that evening, Thing 2 let it be known that I HAVE MYSELF SOME DIARRHEA OF THE VERY WORST KIND!  I SMELL LIKE A GOAT THAT DIED LAST WEDNESDAY AND HAS SAT IN THE SUN AND JUST BLOATED UP FOR A WHILE!  I WILL ALSO SCREAM LIKE A BANSHEE AT A HORROR SHOW, BECAUSE MY BOTTOM IS BECOMING TENDER, AND I DON’T WANT YOU WIPING IT!

Welcome, PTS.  This was your starting point.

By bedtime on Saturday night, I had changed approximately three hundred poopy diapers and felt like our entire house smelled of poop.  I told Hubs, “I can no longer even tell if Thing 2 has pooped.  The smell is stuck in my nostrils, and that’s ALL I can smell!”

I texted Lisa (Libby’s mama) and said, “I’m so sorry!  Your party guests have gone home with the diarrhea, and we have more than likely exposed your entire household to The Plague.”

I think I passed out from Diaper Changing Exhaustion about 10:00 on Saturday night.

At 2:00 in the morning (some four hours later), the boy shook me awake and hollered in my ear, “Mom!  Mom!  I JUST THREW UP EVERYWHERE!!!”

There is nothing in this world that will shoot a mother out of bed faster than those words.

The boy, who had gone to bed as a very healthy fourteen-year-old a few hours earlier, was in the throes of STREP THROAT SICKNESS.  He had a fever of 102 degrees, and he was puking faster than I could wipe things up.

Now… don’t think that Hubs just CHOSE not to help out with all the barfing fallout in the middle of the night.  Hubs has this disease known as SYMPATHY PUKING.  If Hubs ever JUST HEARS someone else puke… Hubs feels so sorry for them, that he throws up, too.  If the boy pukes and Hubs sees it / hears it happen, then TA DA!!  We suddenly have two pukers in our house!  Because of this syndrome that Hubs has… because his gag reflex is so trigger happy… it’s best if he just stays in bed while the boy hurls, with a pillow over his head, blocking out all the sounds and smells, while I bemoan my misfortune to marry a guy who cannot clean up a single drop of vomit without causing another volcano of stomach contents to shoot forth.

The boy went on to throw up 48,300 more times, and THAT, my friends, is a very conservative estimate.  He threw up so much, he broke all the little capillaries in his face, so that he now has hundreds of purple dots surrounding his eyes.  He barfed nonstop, every ten minutes, until 4:30 in the morning, which is when he finally fell asleep again, loaded with Tylenol for his fever, and when I sort of resembled THIS:

Tired_Woman_With_Curlers_In_Her_Hair_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_100427-134663-063048

I laid down on the sofa for a bit, because?  DO YOU KNOW WHO WAS GOING TO BE UP AT 5 AM?

Yes.  That’s right.

The other kid who had the diarrhea.

So I just stayed awake until Thing 2 got out of bed.  He actually slept in a bit on Sunday morning, and didn’t emerge from his bedroom until 5:20.

Bless his heart.

By 6:00 Sunday morning, the boy was back up, puking his guts out in the bathroom, while Thing 2 pooped his pants and hollered, “Bubbie real sick!  Bubbie need medicine!”

I was smack in the middle of active volcanoes of poop and puke.

When asked about his own issues (“Did you poop your pants?”), the toddler simply yelled, “No!!!  No poop.  I fine!  I so fine!“  And then he’d run off to hide, because DON’T TOUCH MY CHAPPED BOTTOM!  MY DIAPER RASH IS A LEVEL TWELVE RIGHT NOW ON THE RICHTER SCALE, AND I WILL HOLLER LIKE I’M GOING THROUGH A BOTCHED AMPUTATION WITHOUT ANESTHETIC IF YOU PULL OUT THE BABY WIPES.

At 9:00 yesterday morning, I loaded up the boy so that I could take him to the walk-in clinic for antibiotics.

The clinic didn’t open until 10:00.

We went BACK to the clinic at 10:00, where we sat in a packed waiting room, while the boy did his membership in the Male Tribe proud.  He sat in his chair and moaned, “What’s taking so long?  I feel awful.  I can’t be here.  I have to go home.  I feel SO awful!  I have to go to bed.  I’m going to die before the doctor calls me in.  I’ll come back later.  I need to lie down.  I’m freezing.  I need a blanket.  I need to go home, Mom!!  I’m too sick to even be here!!

I made him stick it out.

At 10:30, we were in to see the doctor, and at 10:32 she diagnosed him with an awful case of strep throat.

I should have been a doctor, because I already called that one.  I made the diagnosis FIRST, and I didn’t get paid $120 for for two minutes’ worth of work, like she did.

We got our antibiotics, and we went back home to puke some more.  We puked in garbage buckets, our bed and the toilet, while Thing 2 pooped his pants.

IT WAS ALL A VERY GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD, LET ME ASSURE YOU.

By lunchtime, I was ready for margaritas and cigars, and Thing 2 was ready for something fun to do…

… so we played in the sink.  He may have had the diarrhea, but he had NO OTHER SYMPTOMS.  He’s healthy as a horse, but it’s a horse who can’t quit emptying his colon.

IMG_0854 IMG_0856 IMG_0857 IMG_0859 IMG_0876 IMG_0862 IMG_0867 IMG_0868Thirty minutes later, Hubs and I cleaned up the worst flood the world has seen since Noah’s days, because Thing 2 doesn’t understand KEEP THE WATER IN THE SINK.  When you issue that command, he looks at you like he doesn’t speak English, and then pours another spoonful of water over the side of the counter, onto the hardwoods.

Hubs and I think we should have named our second child CALVIN, because… BEHOLD:

ch111122To compensate for the fact that he got pulled from the Varsity Water Polo Team, I made Thing 2 some popcorn on Sunday afternoon for his snack.

My living room then looked exactly like this:

IMG_0877DON’T GRIND UP YOUR POPCORN AND THROW IT EVERYWHERE is another English phrase that Thing 2 struggles with.

And, people… last night… after unending hours of poop and puke and fevers and DO WE HAVE FLOOD INSURANCE questions, I just went to bed.  I left the living room looking exactly like it did in that picture, and I crawled into bed and pulled the covers up over my head.

My Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was in full force.  I had nightmares about people throwing up in garbage cans all over the world.

However, the sun dawned bright this morning and we had fresh snow.  We woke up to new beginnings and the smells of a roasted piglet.

Hubs, you see, decided last night that he wanted pulled pork sandwiches for lunch today, so he threw a pork shoulder on his Traeger barbecue before he went to bed.

Don’t all families do that?  Doesn’t everyone wake up to the smell of barbecued pork at 5:30 in the morning?  Doesn’t everyone shred pork off a giant shoulder bone in his pajamas at 6 AM?

After the pig had been butchered in our kitchen and Hubs had cleaned up, I set Thing 2 on the task of cleaning up his popcorn mess from yesterday.  Our two-year-old is becoming a Vacuuming Expert.

IMG_0906And then, because he just looked so dadgum cute this morning, I told that toddler of ours to sit on the fireplace, so that I could snap some more pictures of him.

IMG_0886 IMG_0891 IMG_0893 IMG_0895 IMG_0896 IMG_0898 IMG_0900 IMG_0901And then I dressed myself in my Cloroxing Outfit.  You know the one… the outfit that EVERY MAMA HAS… the one she wouldn’t be caught dead in, but goodness!  What else are you going to pour bleach in?  Your Silver jeans?  I don’t think so.  MY Cloroxing Outfit is a pair of pink pajama bottoms, that sports broken elastic, and a faded red T-shirt, which has eighteen holes in it and forty-seven white spots on the bottom half of it, due to previous cleaning days.

So, dressed as a supermodel about to hit the runways for one of Ralph Lauren’s shows, with my unwashed hair scraped back into the world’s ugliest bun, I put on a pair of rubber gloves and I stepped into the boy’s bathroom, exactly like Scarlett Johansson would have stepped into a crime scene in a good action movie.

I bleached.  I scrubbed.  I scoured.  I bleached some more.  I did manual labor until every muscle in my body felt like I had run one hundred and nine miles through a playland of plastic tubes and slides.

The boy’s bathroom has NEVER been cleaner than it is today.

I can’t say the same for the smell around here, because Thing 2′s unholy output levels today have insured that our house remains smelling like a dead and bloated goat.  We haven’t had any puke today, but WHEN WILL THE DIARRHEA END?!  Because how can you poop four hundred times in one day and STILL HAVE SOMETHING LEFT INSIDE TO MAKE IT FOUR HUNDRED AND ONE?

Happy Monday, y’all.  Stay healthy.

Taking A Break To Dance Actually Became Break Dancing

On Monday, I taught Thing 2 to vacuum.  And I didn’t so much as TEACH HIM, as I said, “Here.  Vacuum.”  Thing 2 took the vacuum cleaner and pushed it with a vengeance, and suddenly I knew how I was going to keep on top of all the housework that’s forever needing done around here.

And then I realized that my maid kept taking breaks.  Specifically, he kept taking DANCE BREAKS, because we had our Housecleaning Music cranked to levels that would make your grandmother cringe with irritation, and Thing 2 could not resist busting a move.  Never mind that I pay a lot of money to have that housecleaner on retainer!

And then that toddler showed off his brand new move, by sliding across our hardwood floors, in a way that was relatively reminiscent of Tom Cruise in his sunglasses and undies, except our toddler is a lot more well-behaved than Mr. Cruise, so he wore his windpants and his Denver Bronco T-shirt.  I kept wondering HOW I was going to get the vacuuming done, when my hired help kept setting it down to dance a little, and then LOOK AT ME, QUITTING ALL THE HOUSEWORK, TOO, SO THAT I COULD CAPTURE IT ALL ON VIDEO!

(PS.  I almost said “capture it all on video tape,” because clearly I still live in the days when a video camera weighed forty-six pounds and had to be stabilized on a shoulder, while a lightbulb that was exactly as bright as the sun shown in your face.  Because?  Seriously?  Video TAPE?  What is this?  1987?)

(I may have aged myself a little bit there.)

Anyway, Thing 2′s new move involves him running, running and running, and then KABOOM!  He drops to his knees, and he slides like he’s hopped up on testosterone and adventure and good, aged string cheese.

Eventually, we switched from “Eye of the Tiger,” and moved on to “Mony Mony,” and that’s when Thing 2 said, “Hey!  I have an ENTIRE DANCE to this song that I’m fully capable of demonstrating.”

(Except that he calls “Mony Mony” by the name “Nemo Nemo.”  I know.  I don’t understand it, either, but if Thing 2 shouts out, “He wants NEMO NEMO,” you’d better dial up Billy Idol on the iPod.)

Suddenly, taking a break from work to dance, became BREAK DANCING, because… BEHOLD!!

And yes.  That’s our giant basket of freshly-washed-but-nobody-has-folded-it-yet laundry sitting on our dining room table, along with the bulk-sized package of toilet paper, because Hubs’ motto for grocery shopping is, “Buy the size the Duggars would use, or don’t buy it at all.”  Clearly, we are slobs, because LET’S GET THE TOILET PAPER PUT AWAY IN THE CLOSET BEFORE COMPANY STOPS BY, SHALL WE?

And another yes.  Thing 2 DOES INDEED smack his head against a chair, but he’s tougher than John Wayne AND the Hulk, so it doesn’t even slow him down.  He’s fine.

My wish for y’all tonight is that you could all have maids who enrich your lives this much.

Happy Wednesday.

Sometimes, All You Need Is A Mini Pumpkin Pie

Y’all, I have no idea how it happens, but yesterday I scrubbed my kitchen down until The Sparkle and Shine was like a new family member.  I mean it.  There was a frenzy of activity in there, as I unloaded the dishwasher and buffed dried-on, potato-and-corn-chowder slop off the counter and vacuumed the floor and mopped and watered the plants and put new wax in the Scentsy pot.

And now… today… my kitchen looks like a family of ill-mannered trolls, with bad hair and worse breath, lives in this house, and I’m pretty sure they’ve ransacked the pantry and the fridge, and WHOSE BANANA PEEL IS THIS ON THE COUNTER? and WHO SPILLED FISH FOOD NEAR THE STOVE, AND WHY IS THE FISH FOOD EVEN IN THE KITCHEN, SINCE THE FISH DON’T ACTUALLY LIVE IN THIS ROOM?

Needless to say, my kitchen looks nothing like it did, just twenty-four hours ago.

It all makes me crazy, people.  It makes me want to lie down on a leather sofa somewhere, while a professional person with a yellow legal pad sits behind me and LISTENS TO ME SPEAK, and then says, “It sounds like all of your troubles originate in your kitchen.”

Yes.  Yes, they do.  Because I have to clean that kitchen, and I have to cook in that kitchen, and then — somehow — it turns out looking like we cook illegal drugs in tin pots on the stove (We don’t!), and how do I get signed up for a maid service who comes in while I’m out and just tidies things up and leaves a homemade casserole in my oven?

Other than that, I’m doing fine.  Thank you for asking.

Part of that FINE is a direct result of the boy’s comment after school today.  When I picked him up, I asked him how school was (“It was fine, Mom.”), and then I asked him, “What was the best thing about today?”  I always follow with that question, because it forces him to chat with me, and I’m all about SEVEN SIMPLE WAYS TO GET YOUR TEENAGE BOY TALKING TO YOU, or whatever they’re calling the self-help book these days.

(Not that I really need to encourage the boy to talk to me, because the boy is A TALKER.  He talks nonstop.  He talks to everyone.  But still.  I want to be totally on top of my Parenting Game Plan, so I follow all the suggested guidelines.)

Today, the boy answered my question with, “The best thing about today was that pumpkin pie in my lunchbox!”

Because YES!  I totally packed him a miniature pumpkin pie today.  Pumpkin pie is one of the boy’s love languages, and I found tiny ones at the grocery store yesterday, so I snapped one up for him.    (It’s because I had just cleaned my kitchen thoroughly, so no way was I gonna bake one in that pristine place and mess anything up!)  And then I forgot to tell the boy that I had one, so it was just quietly shoved into his lunch bag, I guess.

And then the boy said, “Mom, it was the best surprise ever… finding that pumpkin pie in my lunchbox.  It was super delicious, and it made me know that you loved me.  And right there at lunch, I just wanted to tell you that I loved you, too.”

I’m totally keeping that kid.

Except… I know it’s HIS banana peel that has been thrown on my kitchen island countertop right now.

Happy Tuesday, people.  Happy Tuesday.

Boom! I’m Knocking Out The Christmas Lists Early!

Listen.

Between the big pot of homemade stew that I made for dinner tonight and embracing the fact that my toddler is old enough to vacuum now and the fact that HEAR YE!  HEAR YE!  BOOM!  OUR CHRISTMAS CARDS ARE DONE AND ORDERED, it has been a very busy day.

Because yes.  I don’t mean to brag, but our Christmas card order has been placed, and WHAT IS THIS?  NOT EVEN THANKSGIVING?!  And also, WHO IS THIS GIRL, BEING ALL ORGANIZED AND EVERYTHING LIKE SHE’S CAROL BRADY OR SOMETHING?  It’s because I snapped some pictures of my boys last Saturday morning, when it was sixty degrees and still fall.  I’ve lived in Small Town, USA long enough to know that when the weatherman says that we need to wave goodbye to sixty and welcome in the WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY and the WINDCHILLS THAT MAKE YOUR FACE HURT, I’d better drag out the heavy coats and snowboots.  And so I took advantage of the last bit of precious fall weather we had, and I rummaged around in the boys’ closets until I found a couple of shirts that would coordinate well together.  I was determined that the recipients of our holiday cards would see two boys whose mother OBVIOUSLY has her act together, because ARE THOSE SHIRTS IRONED?  I was trying to give off an  image of CLASSY, instead of WE LIVE IN A VAN, DOWN BY THE RIVER.

I took a thousand snapshots of my boys sitting on a bench in a field of tall grass a week ago, in their perfectly-ironed, color-coordinated shirts.

And the next day it snowed.

And the day after that our windchills dipped into the negative temperatures, and I announced to Hubs that I am DEFINITELY moving to Arizona this winter, and my Suburban told me that she really wants to be placed in a nursing home, because these frigid temperatures are more than even she can bare now.

And then I realized that out of one thousand pictures, I had exactly six where Thing 2 was looking at the camera and the boy didn’t blink or scowl, because children are precious.  But six is five more than I needed, because low!  I just needed one good shot, and I think I found it.  And then my friend, Susan, who knows PhotoShop as well as I know all the characters on Raising Hope, said she’d help me create our family’s card again this year, and now… here it is… ONLY the middle of November, and I feel like I’ve had a major box checked off of my holiday to-do list.

Also?  Why are you still reading this?

I feel like this post is about as interesting as my grocery list is.

Anyway.

I did tell Thing 2 to say, “Cheese” for the camera this morning, and he actually cooperated very nicely, because LOOK!

IMG_0835 IMG_0839 IMG_0840 IMG_0841 IMG_0842 IMG_0845 IMG_0846 IMG_0848 IMG_0851 IMG_0852

(I think these pictures are so stinking cute, they make my heart ache.  Because?  I love that little stinker to pieces.)

Sadly, Thing 2 didn’t grin anywhere near that well in the picture I used for our Christmas cards.

It’s because that’s how my luck runs.

I feel like he should have a halo above his head in THESE snapshots, because they’re just THAT CUTE.  I mean… SERIOUSLY!  Do we have some cute boys, or what?!

And then I took him to the indoor playland at our local rec center this afternoon, because someone needed to RUN!  RUN LITTLE BOY!  As we were getting out of our Suburban, I asked him, “How do we play at Playland?”  And Thing 2 responded, “We don’t hit grills.”

(And no… that’s NOT a typo.  Thing 2 pronounces “girls” as “grills,” every.  single.  time.)

I told him, “Right.  We don’t hit girls.  Why not?”

I was hoping for a magnificent answer that was going to make me think my toddler was going to be the next great kind-hearted philosopher or compassionate social worker.  I wanted him to restate to me all the times I’ve worked with him on how we are nice to our friends, and how we use VERY GENTLE HANDS.

But then he said, “Because grills cry.  Poor babies.”

And that explains why, after the homemade stew was polished off, I had an iced Raz-Ber-Ita… the margarita with a twist.

Y’all have a merry Monday evening.

That Week When Elsa Made Everything Cold Around Here

I know.

It’s Friday, and I don’t ever post on Fridays, because WEEKEND!  And here at Jedi Mama, Inc., we like to give our staff the weekends off.

That would be the CEO (which is me) and my cute computer geek / IT guy (which is Hubs).  We don’t have any more staff members on the payroll, because… well… we don’t actually HAVE a payroll, and not many folks like to work for ZERO AMERICAN DOLLARS.

But anyway…

We’ve been very busy around here, because my dad had another little surgery to take some cancer out of his bladder again.  I don’t know if you’ve ever spent a considerable amount of time at a hospital with a toddler, but it’s an enlightening activity that makes me wish the vending machines had a WINE option beside all the sodas and fruit juices and bottles of water.

There are some things that simply call for daytime drinking, and chasing a toddler up and down the hallways of a hospital is more than likely heading that list.  All I can say is that the Radiology Department has a giant bowl of individually-wrapped Lifesavers candy on their counter, and those little candies have done exactly what their name implies.  They have saved us, by offering to be a safe harbor on a stormy sea of I’M TIRED OF BEING IN THE HOSPITAL, AND I REALLY CAN CLIMB OVER THE STAIR RAILING WITHOUT FALLING!  The staff in that wing has been so kind to us.  When they extended the bowl to Thing 2, while we were walking the hallways for exercise, so that he could pick which color of Lifesaver he wanted, I reminded him, “Just one!”  And Thing 2 said, “Just one!  But he likes two!”

Of course that made the radiologists laugh, so they gave him nine.

My dad’s surgery went well, and… if you were one of those six thousand and fourteen people that I asked to pray… then THANK YOU for beating on Jesus’ front door for us.  We really DO like my dad, and he has grandchildren who still need him around to play with.

And also?

Small Town is experiencing this Arctic Blast / Polar Vortex that has come down from the North Pole, so our high temps have only been in the single digits, while our windchills have been enough to make legs and arms just freeze and snap right off of a body.  It’s nothing like simple frostbite, where the fingers and toes turn to tiny blocks of ice and fall off; this is a much more powerful type of frozen, that involves me telling Elsa that it’s time to knock it off already with the slinging of the hands and the spreading of all the cold, and NO!!  I ABSOLUTELY DON’T WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN, BECAUSE I WANT TO CRAWL INSIDE THE FIREPLACE IN MY PAJAMAS AND SIT THERE UNTIL I’M WARM.

Also?

There was this on Facebook today:

10473753_10203298536404403_2853916392628381114_nThis is especially funny, because on Tuesday of this week, I had recess duty in the afternoon.  Since indoor recess is THE LAST OPTION AVAILABLE for all teachers who wish to preserve their sanity, I asked our front office what the temperature was.

Six.

It was six degrees on Tuesday afternoon, so WE.  WENT.  OUTSIDE.  Some schools in Small Town, USA have a very strict policy of NO ONE GOES  OUTDOORS UNLESS THE TEMPERATURE IS ABOVE TEN DEGREES, but at our private Catholic school, we go outside if the temp is ZERO DEGREES or higher.

Catholic kids are just tougher than their public school counterparts.

I made the kids get their heaviest coats on, and I helped zip jackets and push gloves onto fingers and stuff feet into boots and find missing scarves, and OUT.  WE.  WENT.

And that’s when I thought to myself, “Um… yeah.  So I don’t think it’s actually SIX.”

Because at that point, six would have felt like Florida when compared to what we were standing in.

The kids didn’t care, though, because they had been cooped up for indoor recess for two full days, so they were off to make snow caves and play King of the Mountain on the giant snow piles that had been created by the snow plow, when it went across the playground earlier that morning.

Since I was NOT climbing the snow hills and working up any kind of sweat at all… since I was, in fact, simply standing outside and praying that Jesus would speed up the clock, so that the fifteen minutes of recess would go faster than any other block of fifteen minutes  had ever gone before, because LOOK, JESUS!  JOSHUA PRAYED FOR THE SUN TO STAND STILL!!!… I was nothing but a solid chunk  of ice.

And that’s when our 4th grade teacher opened the door and hollered, “You’re a dork!  It’s MINUS FOURTEEN DEGREES with the windchill!  I’m going to go pour myself some more VERY HOT COFFEE in the teacher’s lounge!  HAVE FUN!”

So that’s what has been happening around here.

But now it’s officially Friday.  My dad’s doctor was very optimistic that he’d get to go home this afternoon, and the temperature this morning was a POSITIVE TEN, with no wind, which really and truly FELT GOOD.

I think I can see summer from here, and I’m pretty sure I hear Olaf singing.

Have a happy weekend, y’all.

He’s Really High!

Sometimes, when you hear someone yell out, “He’s really high,” it doesn’t mean HEY!  I LIVE IN SEATTLE, AND I’M TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE LEGAL BENEFITS.

Sometimes it just means IS YOUR HAIR ALL THE WAY GRAY YET, MA?  And also, CAN YOU HELP A GUY GET BACK DOWN?

IMG_3052I never know the appropriate protocol for times like this one.

Do I immediately rescue and miss the photo opportunity that it is?  Or do I take the photo opp and THEN rescue, even though someone might fall and need an X-ray, and the attending physician may ask, “And what was his mother doing while he fell?”

This morning I just grabbed my phone out of my pocket and said, “Hold on tight for one more second, Buddy… GOT IT!!”

This little man has added so much to our lives.  Mostly that SO MUCH is called GRAY HAIR and STOMACH ANXIETY, but we wouldn’t trade him for the world.

We’re kind of in love, even if that toddler of ours does laugh in the face of danger every single day.

If Wearing My Pajamas At 6 PM Is Wrong, Then I Don’t Want To Be Right

Do you have a minute?

Because tonight I need to talk about Daylight Savings Time, and how it’s STILL kicking my backside hard.

a0c2b23d61eb01a9daf2bbeba8d98a0fIt was never like this before.

Before… I always said that the night when we moved our clocks backward one hour was my favorite day of the year.  I shoved it to the very tip-top of the best holidays list, and I looked forward to it, year in and year out.  I LOVED and ADORED that extra hour.  I thought the dark evenings were cozy.  I was in love with Fall Back Time.

And then Hubs and I had kids, and it quit working out for me, because instead of getting up at 5 AM, the boys just got up at 4:00.  The thick bags beneath my eyes weren’t attractive in my career as a supermodel.

No big deal, though.  I figured that it was time to retire from all my supermodel work, what with me quickly approaching the same age as Cindy Crawford.  I figured that I would just start endorsing facial creams that literally TURN BACK THE HANDS OF TIME.

But then this year rolled around, and Thing 2 is actually handling the time change so much better than his TIME-CHANGE-LOVING mother is doing.

I had dinner ready last night a little early.  Now, granted, it was a bunch of chicken breasts and black beans and salsas and corn and seasonings that simmered all day in the crockpot, so that it could be TACO MEAT come dinner time, but when the boy announced, “Aren’t we eating a little early this evening?,” I took inventory of the time.

4:58.

In the PM.

People, it was already pretty much dark, and it FELT like dinner time, so there I was… heating up tortilla shells and putting out the sour cream and the grated cheese and the bottles of BURN YOUR LIPS TO ASH hot sauce for some of the folks in our house, and cutting up an apple for Thing 2 to eat with his taco.

By 5:40, I already had the dishes done and the kitchen cleaned up and another load of laundry folded, and I was ready for my pajamas.

So… I put them on, because I don’t remember reading anything in our Home Owner’s Association Handbook that speaks out against wearing pajamas indoors before 6 PM.

At 7:00, I was pretty much convinced that it felt like a quarter after midnight, and HOW AM I GOING TO LAST UNTIL BEDTIME?  And also, HOW IS IT NOT AT LEAST 10:00 ALREADY?  I compared clocks, just to make sure the first one I was looking at wasn’t lying to me because it was suffering from Dead Battery Syndrome.

By 7:45, Thing 2 was sound asleep.  By 7:46, I was already in bed, and telling the boy that he should get his own teeth brushed and head to bed, too.  The boy frowned at me and said, “Mom!  Seriously!  It’s not even 8:00 yet!”  And then he went back to his headphones and his homework.

People, this EARLY DARK is killing me this year!  Every single night, I want to wash my face and crawl into my pajamas, before I realize that school isn’t even out for the day.

Am I alone in this?  Are y’all suffering with Early Dark Disease like I am?

The Weekend That We Went Away To Spend Hours Looking At Ammunition

I had one of those days today that made me want to clap for myself.  It’s all because… by 10:00 this morning… I had already accomplished two loads of laundry, swept the floors, put dinner in the crockpot, changed two poopie diapers, unloaded the dishwasher, picked up all manner of party fallout debris, remembered to sign yet another field trip permission slip for the boy, made beds, wiped down the kitchen counters and fluffed the throw pillows on the sofa.

I really wish that someone would invent a handheld device that you could push a button on, and immediately loud applause would burst forth from the speakers.  I feel like housewives everywhere need this affirmation that scrubbing pink mildew out of a toilet is worth some clapping and cheering and good confetti dropping from the ceiling.

And a JOB WELL DONE coupon for a free chai from Starbucks is also an option.

In other news, Hubs and I had a mini vacation this weekend.

Hubs turned MUCH OLDER last week, and I had no idea what to buy him for his gift.  It’s because men are just difficult to buy for, when what they really want is a new Cadillac sports car with an engine the size of an aircraft carrier parked in their garage, with a giant red bow on it.  I looked in our savings account labeled MONEY FOR NEW CADILLACS, and realized that it held nothing but an echo, so I had to think of something else.

That’s when I hopped up to Small Town High School and bought Hubs a ball cap in our school colors that supports our local school.  I don’t think anything screams out, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” like a brand new hat, thank you very much.

And then I looked online and realized that a hockey team in Bigger Town, USA was playing Saturday night, and WOULDN’T IT BE FUN TO GO TO THAT, AND LEAVE THE KIDS BEHIND?

Not that I MUST leave the kids behind, but listen:  Our good friends, Keith and Carrie, are famous for calling in a grandmother to stay with their boys, while they zip off for fun-filled weekends with just the two of them.  I’m convinced that they know what they’re doing, because REFRESHED!  They always come back home with sparkling eyes and giant hugs for their boys, and they have all of this renewed energy to tackle things with, and they spend a lot of time kissing in the kitchen while they make dinner.

So that’s what we did.

(Minus the kissing in the kitchen part, because this is a PG blog.)

I didn’t buy tickets for the hockey game ahead of time; I just thought we’d get them up there.  Hubs and I packed a bag for us… we packed a bag for the boys… and we solicited the help of Sister and Mam, who were scheduled to tag-team the boy and Thing 2.  And then we got into Hubs’ car (which is NOT the sporty little Cadillac that he’s currently coveting), and we drove to Bigger Town.

We got ourselves a hotel room at a posh little spot, and I’m not kidding you when I say that the clean factor impressed me so much, I wanted to hire their maids to come do a once-over on our house.  Normally, I’m a bit of a freak about hotel rooms, because HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE STOOD IN THEIR BARE FEET IN FRONT OF THE BATHROOM SINK, AND COULD THERE BE A LINGERING FUNGUS?  I’m thinking that this hotel’s maid staff had pretty much obliterated any hopes of a fungus thriving on a tiled bathroom floor, because I could still smell the bleach, and bleach is one of my favorite things to smell.

(If I had a little handheld device that I could push a button on for applause, I would do so at this time, to celebrate the hotel maids and their JOB WELL DONE.)

And then the surprise of the century arrived because Hubs said, “Since you didn’t already buy tickets to the game… Let’s just skip it.  Let’s go out to dinner and linger at Barnes and Noble and have a quiet evening.”

And… because it was his birthday trip… we did just that.  I will admit, I was plum shocked that Hubs was passing up his chance for a live hockey game, but whatever.  We went to a great little restaurant that serves barbecue, because Hubs wanted barbecued pulled pork and coleslaw, even though he’s not really a Southern boy.  And then, in the manner of changing his mind about not attending the game, Hubs changed his mind about dinner, too.  He ended up ordering the barbecued ribs and baked beans, even though he walked into the restaurant with pulled pork and the ‘slaw on his mind.

(And men gripe that women change their minds a lot.)

After dinner, Hubs changed his mind again.  He decided against lingering in Barnes and Noble, and we went to the world’s most enormous sporting goods store.  I’m not even kidding you… fifty-six super Walmarts could have fit inside of this building!  There was an indoor Ferris wheel and a bowling alley.  There were displays of every kind in every corner, and it was a sportsman’s dream store.

And… because it was Hubs’ birthday weekend extravaganza… I stood beside him for A SWEET HOLY FOREVER while he looked at ammo for guns.  Honestly, I had no idea that boxes of bullets could steal the attention of the male mind for so long, but I’m here to tell you, THAT JUST HAPPENED.  I felt like I had aged twenty-four years in front of the cartridges and ammunition.  I had been there so long, my recently-waxed-plum-off mustache probably grew back.  And then!  THEN we went to look at the actual guns that fire these slugs.  We went into the locked vault, where all the guns looked like assault rifles from a Francis Ford Coppola movie.  Hubs even picked out a $4,000 gun that shoots bullets the size of school buses and announced, “THAT is the one I want!”  I felt badly, too, because he looked just like Ralphie, from A Christmas Story, as his eyes shown with the hope of getting a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle With a Compass in the Stock and This Thing Which Tells Time.

So, I looked into our savings account labeled MONEY FOR HIGH-POWERED, FULLY-AUTOMATIC ASSAULT WEAPONS THAT LAUNCH FIREBALLS and realized that it was as empty as a Democrat’s promises.

Needless to say, we did not come home with a $4,000 gun that was probably more of a machine than any Navy SEAL has ever laid his eyes upon.

But we did get to spend some quality time together looking at football gear, and fishing poles that are strong enough to catch Great White Sharks with, and Traeger barbecues, and bottles of seasonings for grilled meats, and deadly swords, and hockey equipment.

All I have to say is this:  Boys enjoy shopping on an entirely different level than girls do.  Had it NOT been Hubs’ birthday trip, I would never have known that store HAD giant assault rifles, because I would never have left the clothing section.

The end.

And that was our Saturday-night date, people.  We went back to our hotel room, and LOOK, HONEY!  The Colorado Avalanche are playing hockey on TV!

On Sunday morning, Hubs and I both woke up at exactly 5:00, because Thing 2 has ruined us for sleeping in, even when he’s not in the same building.

And then we got free hotel coffee with a better-coffee chaser from a local Starbucks, and we lingered in Barnes and Noble.  And, people, after enduring all the ammunition and firepower and football helmets the night before, I ditched Hubs.  Yes.  Yes, I did.  I left him in the section for Chevy magazines, and I went off on my own.

I ended up buying three books, and then I sat in an overstuffed chair with my Starbucks chai tea, and I read.  No one interrupted me.  No one said, “He wants to watch Mickey Mouse!”  And no one else said, “Mom, have you seen my tennis shoes?”  And no one said, “Do we even have any clean socks in this house any more?”

And that was the exact moment that I realized my batteries were fully charged again.

Hubs and I drove back to Small Town, USA, and we collected our boys.  Thing 2 greeted us with screeches and bear hugs and an excitement that is usually reserved for space shuttle launches.  The boy greeted us by saying, “So?  You DIDN’T buy me a sword from that store?  Why?  Don’t you even love me any more?!”

And then, because we had just beat the storm that was coming in, we went to Walmart to secure every manner of food, because people keep complaining in this house that our fridge could be used to guide airplanes in, what with it being so bright and all, since there’s nothing in it to block the lightbulb.  I made homemade hot wing soup for the boys for dinner, because it’s a feel-good meal that’s full of butter and cream and chicken and… well… hot sauce.

And now, we’re ready to take on this entire week with fresh energy.

(Even if there’s now snow on the ground, that wasn’t there yesterday.)

Exactly like Keith and Carrie would do it.

I think I was even kissed in the kitchen for the creation of my pot of hot wing soup.  It made the boy yell, “Gross!  That’s disgusting!”

(He wasn’t talking about the soup.)

(It should also be noted that Keith and Carrie would’ve come home TAN, because their mini weekends usually include WE SAT ON A BEACH and NO ONE LOOKED AT GATLING GUNS.)

Nope. NOT EVEN DINNER!

Today can be summed up in exactly these words:

adaee0fed89d272d96658a64fb7493f1Except… I DID take Thing 2 to the local rec center’s indoor playland with Sister and Cousin H bright and early this morning.  Sister used her toddler’s jacket, which she was carrying, to totally sneak a Starbucks cup full of caffeine and LIQUID ALERTNESS past the desk attendant, so she could sip it in the playland, even though the rules forbid anything except water back there.

It never occurred to me to cheat and lie and steal to get a coffee into the tunnels and tubes and slides and the utter chaos, but I’m officially IN THE KNOW about things like that now, especially since I had been awake since 4 AM.

Yes.

4 AM.  And it wasn’t even Thing 2′s fault, because our own toddler slept like a well-mannered baby until 6:00 this morning, and there I was, lying in my bed for two solid hours, mentally calculating how much sleep I could still manage to get, if I I fell asleep RIGHT THIS SECOND.

My story problem went something like this:  “If it’s 4:09 right now, and Thing 2 sleeps until 5:45, and I fall asleep in the next thirty seconds, and the Burlington Northern train leaves the station at 4:12 and travels at a speed of 83 miles an hour to the East, and Batman drives the Batmobile at a speed of lightning striking to the West, how many pancakes will the boy want for breakfast?”

I know.  Math has always been my best subject.

The answer turned out to be, “Just get your phone out and play some Words With Friends, because you’re awake, and leave it to your luck to have the baby sleep in today.”

I don’t even know where this post is going.   I’m rambling, and Thing 2 is hollering that it’s his bedtime in the background, and Hubs is engaged in watching Frozen on TV with him, even though he would much rather be watching the Avalanche play hockey than Elsa declare that she’s in no mood WHATSOEVER to build a snowman, and the boy is READING, because his horrible parents have fired him from ALL THINGS FUN IN LIFE until he finishes a book for his English class that’s due soon.

Oh.  I guess we went to the boy’s parent-teacher conferences this evening, too.  Hubs and I learned the usual things about the boy:  He talks a lot to people sitting next to him in his classes, and he got seven-out-of-seven A’s.

He’s a keeper… unless he doesn’t finish reading this book in time to take the test.

(Seriously?!  HOW did I get this kid who despises all the reading, when my life goals are to take naps and read as many books as I can?!)

Anyway.

I need to just sign off.  My brain has the consistency of sticky oatmeal right now, which means no good is going to come out of it.

I blame the fact that I wasn’t smart enough to find a way to get a VENTI chai latte through the check-in desk at the rec center, which means my caffeine consumption was late in happening this morning, on a day when I needed it the most, and things just sort of went downhill from there.

(See the part about NOPE.  NOT EVEN DINNER.)

(My opinion is… THIS IS WHY GOD GAVE US JIMMY JOHN’S.)

Why are any of you still reading this?

Y’all have a merry weekend and behave yourselves.  I’m going to go take a nine-hour nap in my bed.