Baseball 2018

This is Vacation Bible School Week, and we are doing “two-a-days,” because can you ever get too much of Jesus?  Thing 2 is going to some friends’ church in the mornings for VBS, and then he’s attending round two in the evenings, at our church.  And, because I am on for ALL THE GAMES in the evenings, this basically means that I can drink my coffee in absolute peace and quiet at 9:30 AM, as I mentally prepare myself for a class of thirty-eight (Yes!  THIRTY-EIGHT!!) second and third graders in the evenings!

I think too many kids at VBS is a good problem to have. It makes for one action-packed game of Human Foosball.

The downside to an evening VBS is that we come home at 8:30, hopped up and completely wired, as FUN and EXCITEMENT flow through our veins.  Everyone has had stories of how MY CHILD DIDN’T FALL ASLEEP UNTIL 11:00 LAST NIGHT, AFTER VBS, so I feel lucky that we’ve managed to work some magic here at the Jedi Manor, as Thing 2 was asleep by 10:00 on Monday night and 9:15 last night.  However… his mama has come home dripping sweat, because HELLO, FAST-PACED GAMES ALL NIGHT FOR A THOUSAND CHILDREN!   So Mama had two cups of coffee first thing this morning, because Mama hasn’t been asleep before midnight for two nights running.

Anyway.

I just have to share this snapshot, because it’s too cute not to.

This is Little Cousin H and Thing 2.  They were born on complete opposite sides of our state, in towns that our families don’t live in.  In reality, they might have lived their entire lives without meeting one another.  In reality, they could have grown up as complete strangers.  Thankfully, through the miracle of adoption, we welcomed both of them into our family with more hugs and love than can be counted up.  Because of adoption, these two stinkers are not only cousins… they’re also best friends.

She is three and a half months older than he is.  He is three and a half thousand times louder than she is.  She tries to mother him continually; he tries to boss her around daily.  She hates rough sports, and thrives in gymnastics.  He has the grace of a hippopotamus in gymnastics, and thrives in the hockey rink, where he can skate fast and knock kids down.  She has lost one bottom tooth; he has lost eight teeth total, and he has eight adult teeth firmly in place.  She likes to swing nicely at the park; he likes to scale the outsides of all playground structures like a mountain goat, until he makes every single mother at the park gasp in horror, because LOOK!!  LOOK AT WHERE THAT LITTLE BOY IS AT!!  HE’S GOING TO FALL TO HIS DEATH!!  CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT NOW!!  She likes vegetables; he likes sugar.  She likes princesses; he likes Batman and Darth Vader.  She likes Doc McStuffins; he likes American Ninja Warriors.  They are as opposite as two kids can be, and yet… they love one another thoroughly.  I snapped this picture of them together at my parents’ house a couple of weeks ago, when we were celebrating my dad’s birthday.  They had robbed Mam and Pa’s kitchen of Ziplock baggies, and they were both outside together, catching bugs.  Because… as girly as she is, she does love to discover a new bug and squeal in delight.

And… then they both fight over who gets to put that bug in their plastic bag, because they are six, and six year olds always want what the other six year old has.  But, through all their different personality traits, he STILL tells the world that she is his best friend.

In other news…

… we played baseball this summer.

And when I say WE played, I mean that Thing 2 actually played, while his entire family came to watch and died of heat exhaustion on the metal bleachers.  That last day of baseball was so hot, I fear that I may have lost my salvation with my choice of words in describing how I felt about the viciousness of the sun.

We learned a lot this summer in baseball.  Mostly, we learned that playing the field when you’re six is BORING, because only a handful of little people can bat a ball past the pitcher.  When you’re six, THE PITCHING MOUND is where all the action happens.

This is Thing 2, tired of never having a ball make it clear to his short stop position.  He gave up on the hope of ever fielding a grounder and focused his attention on finding bugs in the dirt.  So naturally, he completely MISSED the one grounder that came zinging his way, because LOOK AT THIS ANT!!!

This is Thing 2, playing center field.  Yes, he’s way too far up, and he’s too close to second base, but it doesn’t matter.  Balls were never batted past the pitcher, so STAND WHERE YOU WANT TO, SON.  And also?  COULD YOU POSSIBLY TRY TO LOOK A LITTLE MORE BORED IN CENTER FIELD?

This is Thing 2, batting.

What we learned this summer is that Thing 2 LOVES to bat!  As in, he LOVES LOVES LOVES, ALL THE BIG RED HEART EYES, LOVES to bat.  He’s also capable of smacking a ball clear to the short stop, to liven up the game out there for those poor fielders, who are busy hunting bugs to pass the time.

Here’s Thing 2, on third base, waiting for the next batter to hit him home.

I believe he is moaning, “But, Coach!  It’s sooooo hot outside!  It’s NEVER this hot in hockey!”  I believe his coach was replying, “Come on, Thing 2!  You’re fast, and we need you to get across home plate, so we can smack another point on the scoreboard!  How are you going to play college ball, when you gripe about the heat?”  I believe he was saying, “I’m playing hockey in college, Coach, because you play hockey on ICE!”

And this is Thing 2, running for home plate, as soon as his teammate hit the ball.

And THIS is Thing 2’s second favorite thing about baseball, right after batting:

POPSICLES FROM THE COACH!

After his last little baseball game wrapped up, and I had my face pressed against the air conditioning vents in the car, Thing 2 said, “Mom, next time… could you just sign me up for a baseball team that only bats?”

Hmm.   I’ll look into that.

Y’all have a merry Wednesday night!

 

The 4th Of July, 2018

Well, we have officially passed the halfway mark of summer vacation.  It seems once we get to the middle of July, the rest of the summer flies by, like Superman heading to a bathroom emergency.  It won’t be much longer, and I’ll be packing a lunch for Thing 2 again, every single morning, that he will take exactly two bites of in the school cafeteria, so that he can be the first kid out to recess.  In some ways, his refusal to eat any of his lunch is freeing, because I don’t have to think about becoming the Pinterest Mom, who uses cookie cutters before dawn to make sandwiches shaped like spaceships, before she cuts skim-milk cheese into star shapes and creates astronauts out of seven different vegetables, held together with toothpicks.  For one thing, our son would use a toothpick to stab someone in a lunchtime sword fight, and two, all he’s going to eat are two grapes anyway, so that’s all I ever pack.

#TheFirstOneToRecessWinsLife

Anyway.

A couple of weeks ago, we had the 4th of July, and I managed to snap a very small handful of pictures.  Seeing as how today is July 17th and I’m just now getting around to those snapshots, I guess you could use the word TIMELY to describe me.

We celebrated our country’s day of independence by waking the boy up at 7:45 and pushing him and Thing 2 out the front door by 8 AM, to pull weeds.  Of course both boys moaned and groaned and acted like abused children who would be better off in foster care, as they hollered, “We don’t know any other families who have a weed pulling party on the 4th of July!  Everyone else is sleeping in and eating red, white and blue pancakes that their loving mother cooks for them!”

My children are kids who know the meaning of suffering and slave labor.

But, with the rock beds and flowerbeds looking neat and tidy and utterly weed-free, we released the little beasts from their unpaid jobs, and I fed them a nutritious breakfast of Pop Tarts and bananas.

Later that day, we joined the rest of Small Town, USA in a giant field for the big fireworks show.  Everyone goes… and everyone goes early, to tailgate.  We were no exception.  Hubs has a friend who helps set up the fireworks every year, which is a big job that requires LICENSING.  Because this fellow has an all-access pass beyond the barriers, where the explosives are set up, he also has passes for front row parking, which he gave to Hubs and some other friends of ours.  We felt like guests of honor, as we bypassed the other three thousand cars in the field, to drive straight to the front row.  While everyone else would just watch the show from further back, we would be sitting underneath the fireworks, where the hot sparks could potentially land on us and ignite our hairspray choices.

Now… you have to understand that YES!  THERE REALLY ARE THREE THOUSAND CARS PARKED IN THIS FIELD.  There are also probably eight to ten thousand people there.  In other words, it’s a crowd.  And Hubs and I own a six year old who is a mover and a shaker.  We died laughing when we went to the theater to see The Incredibles 2 last month, because Mr. Incredible’s baby has superpowers, too.  And… he can disappear in the blink of an eye, to another dimension, which keeps Mr. Incredible from sleeping at night, because WHERE DID THE BABY DISAPPEAR TO NOW?!  Poor Mr. Incredible was sleep-deprived, unshaven and sporting dark circles under his eyes, as he strained himself to stay awake and monitor that baby.

This, people, is us.  Hubs and I also have a child with superpowers, who can literally disappear into another dimension in the blink of an eye, and we can’t always lure him out with cookies, like Mr. Incredible could do.  So, you can understand why my anxiety was a touch on the high side for our chosen activity on the 4th of July, and why Mama needed a Valium tablet in her water bottle.

I ran into my friend Jessica at Walmart the day before we went to the tailgating party.  Jessica also has a little man with superpowers, who also disappears into thin air quickly, and she had some tips.  She recommended that I buy a neon shirt (the easier to spot him in) and that I should write my phone number in a Sharpie pen on his arm (the easier for people to get a hold of me with, when my child emerged into their dimension).  I took Jessica’s advice, because she’s brilliant.  I dropped $4.99 at Walmart for a neon yellow shirt that could be see from outer space, and I wrote my phone number on his shoulder with a giant black Sharpie.

When we made it to the giant field and parked, our friends all commented on Thing 2’s telephone number tattoo, and there were some giggles and questions of AREN’T YOU A LITTLE OVERCAUTIOUS?  Clearly, they all knew nothing about raising Jack Jack Incredible. But, Jessica had assured me that if I took these precautions, nothing would happen, because that’s exactly how life goes, when you’re prepared.

Thing 2 was thrilled to be with our friends’ boys.

What you need to know about this trio is that they are THE ABSOLUTE ROUGHEST AND TOUGHEST BOYS IN THIS ENTIRE TOWN.  All three of them can wrestle grown bulls and pin those horns to the dirt.  These two little friends of ours are two of the only kids I know who can keep up with Thing 2.  I adore them like crazy, and they make life fun!

Thing 2 used the wiffle ball and bat while we tailgated.  He threw that plastic ball into the air more than seventy-seven million times.  He’d throw the ball up, swing the bat, smack the ball and streak out in a dead run after it.  And then he’d throw the ball up, swing the bat, smack the ball again, and he’d be off on a full-out run, to retrieve it.

He literally did this ALL… EVENING… LONG.

He was obsessed with batting that ball.

We all offered to pitch the ball to him, but he politely refused.  He wanted to do it himself.  And so we let him, and he was easy to keep track of, because there he was, all evening long, out front, smacking balls, and he wasn’t going anywhere near the three thousand parked cars behind us, where a boy could take a wrong turn and be lost in a sea of people for the rest of his life.

My heart was somewhat at rest, but I still never took my eyes off our little Jack Jack Incredible.

And look at this little fellow… isn’t he cute?

Little T is two and a half, and he pushed a Tonka dump truck around at the tailgating party, until he’d put twenty thousand miles on it.

And then the unthinkable happened.  Little T pushed that truck through the grass alongside our cars… and he got into the next row of parked vehicles…

… and he disappeared.

He disappeared in the blink of an eye, even though we were all keeping an eye on him.  All the adults in our group split up, and we started looking, going from row to row to row of cars.

If you think this isn’t a scary thing, then you’re probably not a parent.  I knew he was going to show up, but I was also about to puke up my pulled pork sandwich from sheer nerves.  THE BABY WAS MISSING, and we had been watching him!!

It took about twelve minutes of agony before I spotted him, having a glass of iced tea with a woman in her seventies, eight cars away from our vehicles.  I grabbed him up and burst into tears, and he’s not even my own son.  I bawled my eyes straight out, and this wonderful woman told me, “I could tell he was lost, so I just sat him here with me, in some hopes that I could keep him right here, until his parents found him!”

I know I blubbered my thanks to this good woman, and then I cried all the way to hand that little man to his very worried mama.

And guess what Little T received?

Oh, he got a phone number tattoo… on BOTH of his shoulders, with a big, black Sharpie marker!

With our emergency over, the kids went back to playing… and batting.

And then, WHILE EVERYONE HAD THEIR EYES ON LITTLE T… he walked in front of a parked car and turned the opposite direction we expected him to turn, and he was gone a second time, in less than half of a second.

Yes.

He was gone a second time.

The search party banded together again and spread out.  Little T’s mama flagged down two sheriff’s deputies on bikes, who were set to help look, when… all of a sudden… her cell phone rang!  Because those phone number tattoos on his arms?  Yeah… within two minutes, another mother who knew what it’s like to have kids CALLED MY FRIEND’S CELL PHONE!  She had found the little wanderer, and he was safe, and she described her location, which was basically three hundred miles away from our parked car, because that two year old can COVER SOME GROUND!

And from then on, Little T had to sit in someone’s lap for the rest of the night.  The end.  We are thankful that we received two very happy endings, and NO ONE giggled at Thing 2’s phone number tattoo again!

And yes… the boy was with us for a short period of time, while he waited for friends to get off work and come out to the giant tailgating party and fireworks show.  And… look at what he was doing!

The boy is a genius.  He read at the college level in elementary school.  He could read and pronounce any word in existence, and yet…

… he hated reading.

The boy has hated reading since he learned to do it.  Of course, this broke my heart, because I’m the nerd who always preferred to read a book over almost anything else.  I taught the boy to read at the age of four, so that he was capable of reading entire chapter books when he was in pre-kindergarten.  He read the first Harry Potter book as a first grader!  And then second grade rolled around, and the boy announced that he hated reading and wouldn’t be doing it any more.  He never read another book that he wasn’t forced to read for a class.

No joke.

I begged him to read.  I promised to buy him expensive Lego sets if he would just READ A BOOK ALREADY!  It was a no-go.  And then something happened this summer, and the boy decided that DO YOU KNOW WHAT?  I ENJOY READING!  He read two books FOR FUN in June.  That’s two more books than he’s ever read for fun, since he was seven years old.  Over the 4th of July, he was reading a non-fiction book about a mafia member who got out and became a Christian, and he said the story was so fascinating, he couldn’t put it down, so he brought the book to read at our 4th of July party!

WHO WAS THIS CHILD?!!

That is the only picture I have of the boy reading, because the boy has never read before!

Anyway.

Eventually his friends all made their way out to the giant field, and he left us.  I managed to get one snapshot off before the group left to wander in and out of three thousand cars (I thought about writing my phone number on the boy’s arm, but decided against it, because STOP IT, MOM!).  Of course, these hilarious teenagers POSED for their one and only photo opp.

And then they were gone for the rest of the night.

Meanwhile, at our camp, the glow sticks came out.  Someone had a package of one hundred glow sticks, so our kids looked like they could land an airplane, with all the light they put off.

And then we watched the gigantic fireworks go off.  The show was amazing; it is every year.  It’s spectacular.

And… we all made it home before 11:30 that night.  The best news is that we all made it home with the exact same number of kids we had brought with us!

We’d like to thank my friend Jessica, and her straight-up brilliance for that!  Phone number tattoos can be lifesaving.

 

How Is It The Middle Of July Already?

Y’all, I have just been the absolute worst blogger.  It might have something to do with the fact that I am officially stuck on a level of Candy Crush that I actually believe is uncrushable.  This is the level where I will throw my phone against the wall and declare that Candy Crush is dead to me forever and ever, amen.  Of course this means that I sat in a chair a couple of evenings last week and tried to push forward where no man has gone before, as I diligently tried to beat that level, so I was too preoccupied to blog.  And then I was just too mad to blog, because STUCK FOR LIFE, RIGHT SMACK THERE, PEOPLE!

And also?  It’s just been too hot to blog.  Please prepare yourselves for the season where all I do is complain about the intense heat, which is basically equal to sitting on the sun’s equator at high noon, which comes just a few short months after I went on and on, complaining about how cold and snowy it was.  Apparently, I am never happy with the weather in Small Town, USA, unless it’s June or October.  Hubs told me that I seem to be better suited to the climate in San Francisco, and I said, “YES!”  Who doesn’t love a balmy 67 degrees in mid-July?  Hubs waved at me and said, “Have a good life there.  I’ll miss you!”  And so that’s where we stand.  I am married to a man who thinks California is not the place he wants to be, so he has zero plans to load up the truck and move to Beverly.  Hubs is old and set in his ways now, so I guess we’ll stay here in Small Town and drip sweat.

At any rate… do y’all remember when the library declared that I was very possibly the town’s worst book borrower, as they claimed I had a lost book?  They stapled a hefty overdue fine to my account and… GASP!… suspended my library privileges.  This is what my fellow nerds fear the worst:  being banned from the library!  Hubs assured me that this wasn’t really a big deal, because couldn’t I just walk in, pluck a book off the shelves, and walk out?  You know… if I returned it later?  He wanted to know if I couldn’t just borrow a book without anyone actually knowing.  This caused me to worry, because HAS HUBS BEEN BORROWING ANYTHING… LIKE MONEY… WITHOUT ANYONE KNOWING?!  I prepared myself to pay for a book that I was certain I didn’t lose, because Thing 2 and I read books every single evening together, and listen:  I can’t keep reading the same books from our bookcase over and over, without losing my sanity and going to a home, where they serve fish sticks every Thursday.  And then, the favor of the Lord shone down upon me, because the library emailed me to say, “We found the book on our shelves and have reactivated your account, clearing all fines off of it.  We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused you.”

So… just like that… I am a member of the public library again, who is in VERY GOOD STANDING.

I thought y’all should know.

Because apparently I don’t have anything interesting to blog about today.

Except…

… we did have a busy weekend.  Small Town held its annual parade on Friday morning, which was to celebrate the fact that our town was full of cowboys and cowgirls, riding bulls and roping calves, in a heated competition.  However, I think the parade was less about celebrating the rodeo, and more about rubbing it into our faces that HEY!  YOUR SUMMER VACATION IS EXACTLY HALF OVER!

The parade is kind of a big deal in Small Town, because everyone heads to town to watch it.  And by everyone, I mean ALL.  OF.  THE.  PEOPLE.  And then all of the people from neighboring towns.  Hubs always says that the best time to rob a bank is while the parade is going, because no one is ANYWHERE, except on the main thoroughfare, clapping for marching bands, beauty pageant winners, antique cars, cartwheeling clowns and folks who can ride a unicycle.

Hubs and I opted not to rob a bank on Friday morning.  Instead, we made the more honorable decision to watch the parade, which is why our bank account still holds nothing but an echo and six tears.

The gang was all there, armed with their plastic bags, because their mothers have gotten tired of holding all the melting and sticky candy they catch, when it’s thrown from a float, in our bare hands.

After the parade, we had a hamburger lunch, because it’s a tradition to find a hot spot selling a good burger, and then we came home to our air conditioning, to complain about how hot it was outside to one another.  A friend of mine had mentioned that it was “hotter than a hooker’s doorknob on nickel night,” and I laughed so hard, it’s a good thing my own mama didn’t hear me.  She would have kicked me and shot me the stink eye, because DIDN’T SHE RAISE ME A LOT BETTER THAN THAT?

So yes.  It was hot this weekend.

On Saturday, we worked to fight the heat by hanging a pair of triangular-shaped tarps over our deck.  Our deck has sat in the sun for the entire ten years that we’ve lived here, because we failed to become folks who studied the daytime sky and the sun’s placement, in relationship to the giant trees, when we built this house.  Had we done that, we would have learned that our deck is shaded by those trees from 11:03 AM to 11:36 AM during the summer, and the rest of the time, the trees fail to do what they were planted for a hundred years ago, as the sun completely bypasses them, leaving our deck to fry.  In an effort to reclaim real estate that we’d like to be able to use in the summer months, the giant tarps were ordered off Amazon and hung… and listen!

GLORY, GLORY AND ALSO HALLELUJAH AND YES, LORD!!

Hubs’ parents came over on Saturday.  We fed them take-and-bake pizzas for lunch, because we are fancy and not afraid to fire up the oven to 425 degrees, when it’s 572 degrees outside, because AIR CONDITIONING, and they helped rig up a system to attach those shade tarps to our house.  And really?  I only had a LITTLE anxiety when Hubs drilled FOREVER holes into our siding for bolts.

On Saturday night, we sat on our deck as the sun went down, and we said, “Look at us!  We are on the deck, and we cannot hear our own skin sizzling as it fries!”

On Sunday, we had coffee on the deck, and the sunrise didn’t blind us and make us regret the traditional hot morning drink, because we weren’t sweating already at 7 AM.

On Sunday afternoon, we sat on the deck and texted Hubs’ parents:  LOOK AT US, ON THE DECK AND STILL ALIVE!  WE HAVEN’T BEEN COOKED TO OUR DEATHS!

On Sunday night, we ate dinner on the deck and said, “This is how middle-class America is supposed to live!  LOOK AT ALL THIS SHADE!”

So now we feel pretty smug, because we have a deck that is no longer just for decoration on the side of our house.  It’s actually functional, and if you walk out there barefoot, there’s no longer a need for a 911 call and the burn unit of a major hospital.

In between the Friday morning’s parade and the Sunday deck sitting, there was laundry, a quick visit with two of my dearest friends from my childhood, who were in town for a bit, and a trip to the grocery store.  I know in my heart, it’s exactly how Prince Harry and Meghan spent their weekend, too, because we are equally as classy as they are.

Happy Monday, y’all.  May your library cards be clear of shame and may your decks be full of shade!

I Am Officially A Criminal On The Most Wanted List

Well.

It has happened.

My library privileges have been suspended.

Every week, I take Thing 2 to the library.  We read books at bedtime every night of the week, and I can only read the same book over and over and over again so many times, before Mama just needs to call it quits and day drink.  So, every week, we get a stack of books that weighs as much as four kindergartners, and I lug them all home, on my back, like I’m a lumberjack who scoffs at chiropractors.  Never mind the fact that I usually end up pulling a shoulder muscle and digging around the car for ibuprofen before we head home.

Who says you can’t be injured at the library?

Two weeks ago, I got an email saying that we had a book missing.  It was flagged as overdue, and I was instructed to make an appearance before the library judge and pay my fine, before I received a jail sentence.  I wasn’t at all worried, because I know they have TVs in jail, along with time set aside to just lay on your bunk and read a book without being interrupted, and all that actually sounded like a genuine vacation. Plus, I knew I had returned the book, so I ignored the email… ignored the fine that I shouldn’t have had in the first place, because Y’ALL HAVE THE BOOK SOMEWHERE DOWN THERE AT THAT LIBRARY, PEOPLE… and I figured the darn thing would turn up at the circulation desk.  I knew they’d find the book, and then they would send me an apology email, begging my forgiveness for accusing me of basically being a street criminal with prison tats.

Only that didn’t happen.

Instead…

… I got an email today explaining that I had been found negligent in the case of PUBLIC LIBRARY VS. JEDI MAMA, so they were suspending my library privileges and freezing my library card to all future transactions.  I’m telling you… if the mafia ever needs help shutting someone down, they should contact the front desk of Small Town’s public library, who gets the job done.  Never mind the Mob fellow and his violin case.  Our public library can ruin someone with a single email.

I immediately told Hubs that my library privileges had been suspended, and that I basically felt like someone who had been put on the international NO FLY list at every airport on the globe.  I had been wrongly accused of losing a library book.  I had been accused of not paying $6.99 in racked up fines.  I was fairly certain that my picture had been photocopied onto an 8″x10″ sheet of paper and hung up with a giant thumbtack to the library’s front door, with the words WE DO NOT LEND BOOKS TO CRIMINALS written in an enormous, bold font underneath.

Bless my heart.

Hubs looked at me and laughed out loud. And then he said, “Who even ARE you any more?  You used to be so responsible, and now you can’t even be trusted by the public library system!”  And then he basically informed me that this was very possibly the worst thing that could happen to a nerd, as he said, “I’ve never even had a single library fine in my entire life!”

Um… Hubs?  That’s because you have to actually USE your library card in order to even incur a fine, and that would involve having some knowledge on WHERE the library is even located.  Plus?  You basically NEED A LIBRARY CARD, TOO, TO GET A LIBRARY FINE!  How Hubs and I even managed to get together is beyond me, because I was the girl who stayed in study hall and did my homework, while he was the boy who checked in during the first twelve seconds of study hall, and then left to go downtown for a hamburger, using a bathroom pass.  I was the girl who studied like crazy and spent days writing term papers; he was the boy who paid someone else to write his high school essays for him, and he paid them a bit extra to make a few grammar mistakes to make it sound legit, while he was at wrestling practice.

Clearly, the heart really does want what the heart wants.

I know that I returned this book!  I’m so honest, in fact, that I once admitted to the library staff that a two-year-old Thing 2 had puked all over a book we had checked out, while I was reading it to him when he had the stomach bug.  I had sopped up the vomit, wrapped the book up in a  Ziplock baggie, and taken it straight to the front desk to admit, “We will buy you a new book, because I doubt you want this one back.”  And the library staff informed me that it would cost me $32 (THIRTY-TWO AMERICAN DOLLARS!!!) to replace the book, with a restocking fee.  I told them that I’d already checked, and that I could buy the book on Amazon for $11.99, and have it to them in two days.  They informed me that their policy didn’t allow for individuals to replace books on their own, but that their policy was to have the library staff order replacement books themselves.

They failed to mention that they obviously order first-book copies, with gold-leaf lettering on their hardcovers and signed by the Queen herself.

I paid the $32.  I did.  Because I’m an honest sort of girl.  Later, I told Hubs, “I cleaned that book up well enough that I should have just returned it.  No one would ever have known that there was once chucked-up Pedialyte between pages fourteen and fifteen.”

Anyway.

Apparently, I now have to hold my head high in the midst of my library shame, and walk into that building this week to pay for a new book, which will cost me far more than the $6.99 they’ve currently charged me in late fees.  My best guess is that when their library staff orders a replacement book for the one I didn’t actually lose, I’ll be out a fifty-dollar bill and all of my pride.  Or… I can start reading books from home to Thing 2 every evening before bedtime, over and over and over again.  I just worry, though, that if I choose to do that, the library will keep tacking on late fees, until my children one day inherit my estate and $54 million dollars in library debt.

I don’t see any other way to get myself readmitted to the Library Book Loaning Program, as I’ve been found guilty by the LBLP and sentenced to BANISHMENT.  “Get thee from the library, and sew this scarlet B and this scarlet L onto thine garments, to indicate that thou art a BOOK LOSER!”

And y’all wonder why I have stress.

 

Twenty-Three Years

Twenty-three years ago yesterday, I said, “I do” to Hubs.  Yesterday, I said something a little less romantic, like “At least turn the fan on, if you’re going to do something like THAT in here!”  Twenty-three years is a long time to be married.

It’s true.

Twenty-three years is plenty of time to see each other at our worsts.  For example, vertigo kicked my knees out from under me on Friday evening, and I didn’t resurface until this morning.  If you’re doing the math, add the one, carry the two, and that comes out to be three full nights and two and a half days in bed.  I actually went to the ER with vertigo last March, because there just comes a point where you can no longer take the spinning room and wondering if you’ll ever be normal again.  I was thrilled to hear the ER doctor announce, “This is classic, textbook vertigo.  It can last anywhere from a few hours to six months.”  I couldn’t imagine six entire months of walking into walls and needing to clutch the bathroom garbage can tightly to my chest, every time I rolled over in bed.

Thankfully, that episode cleared up in four days, and I wasn’t a bit sad to see it go.

And then it came back Friday evening, and I finally started feeling better this afternoon.

I had taken a shower on Friday morning.

And I took another one on Sunday night.

There was no showering or hair washing or face washing or ANY KIND OF WASHING in between those times.  At one point last night, when we were lamenting the fact that I would throw up any steak dinner Hubs grilled to celebrate our anniversary, he looked at me… and I mean, he REALLY looked at me.  And then he said the words every girl longs to hear.

“Why don’t you see if you can jump in the shower and get that hair tamed down a bit.”

And THAT, y’all, is how I know we are still in love.  Because even when my hair looked like a nest inhabited by rodents… even when I walked into the wall every time I set foot out of bed… Hubs was still there, consistently asking me if I needed anything.  He offered to bring 7-Up with straws.  He offered to run into town for anything that sounded like it might sit well on my tummy, if I was hungry.  He offered to turn the ceiling fan on a little higher, which was an enormous act of love, because Hubs hates the ceiling fan.  And then, in the end, he offered me the sound advice that I probably needed to try some hot water, a bar of soap, and a stick of deodorant.

Happy twenty-three years, Hubs.

Math Worksheets

Our two boys are a solid eleven and a half years apart.  Having them spaced this far apart has come with a whole lot of PROS, because Hubs and I can tell the boy, “Watch your brother for an hour here, because your dad and I have a meeting in town.”  Of course, we never tell them that our meeting was a date over ice cream cones or coffee, because then we have to field a thousand questions in regards to WHY DIDN’T YOU TAKE US?  It also means that I can shove a booster seat in the backseat of the boy’s car and wave goodbye, as they both head off, over the river and through the woods, to Grandma’s house, while Hubs and I are left alone at home to survey the seventy-four thousand Lego bricks covering our hardwood floors.  Those are the times when we consider how beneficial a Shop Vac is to a family.

Having that many years between your two children also comes with some CONS.  Namely, we have a six year old who doesn’t understand why he can’t do some of the things his older brother gets to do.  Thing 2 is fascinated with the fact that his Bubbie can go to a movie AFTER BEDTIME… at 9:30 PM, of all the crazy late times!… while HE has to be in bed.  He’s overwhelmingly irritated that Bubbie can walk through a parking lot with us… and not have to hold hands with Mom.  And… Thing 2 has never understood why the boy gets to have homework, when he doesn’t, even though we’ve explained the differences between your kindergarten year and your junior year.  (That’s primarily that your armpits don’t smell bad in kindergarten, while 11th grade is ALL ABOUT THAT DEODORANT!)

We have had a lot of IT ISN’T FAIRs shouted out, so Hubs and I solved that issue by having Thing 2 read out loud more.  This summer, I bought some workbooks targeted at the kindergarten and 1st grade levels, and our little man has been thrilled to sit at the kitchen counter and labor over them… exactly like his seventeen year old brother slaves over his calculus book.  Thing 2 has even been quick to insert a lot of eye rolling and heavy sighs when he adds a picture of four cookies to a picture of three cookies, because he has learned that this is what you do when you’re waist-deep in homework.  It’s basically hysterical.

Last week, Education.com emailed me and asked if I would like to take a look at some of the educational worksheets they offer, and if I’d like to review those worksheets in a blog post.  I checked out their website and decided that this was definitely something I could handle, because honestly?  I am all about educational worksheets and keeping our little brains fresh on math and phonics skills over the summer, when we have three months to forget our short vowel sounds and the different number combinations that can be added together to equal ten.  I am all in for summer worksheets that give my boys that “September edge,” when they return to their classrooms, armed with their freshly-sharpened pencils and brand new sneakers.  Education.com sent me a worksheet, which I printed out and promptly handed over to Thing 2.  He did the usual eye rolling and deep sighing, because WHAT IS THIS ATROCITY OF HOMEWORK IN THE SUMMER?!  I told him, “I guess you can do it later,” but he quickly hollered out, “No!  I’ll do it now!  I love my homework!”

The boy overheard that comment and said, “You’re going to get to a point very soon when you’d rather have your eyelids removed than do another page of homework.”  Thing 2 replied by asking, “How do you even take your eyelids off?”  (That’s another CON of having boys spaced eleven and a half years apart; the older one can be a bad influence with his graphic comments.)

Thing 2’s worksheet was one focusing on addition facts.

He got his faithful purple Crayola marker out, because he couldn’t find his faithful BLUE Crayola marker.

You’ll have to excuse our handwriting.  We are six and work on projects at a speed that would make Dash Incredible sit up and applaud, and our 8s look like drunken half moons who can’t find their shoes.  We also made a backward six to start with, because it’s summer vacation, and WHICH WAY DO SIXES GO AGAIN?!  The first attempt had to be crossed out and remedied.

We used our fingers for some quick help, because calculators aren’t allowed in kindergarten.

And… boom!  We nailed the right answer!

Sadly, we picked the wrong answer for the next problem, so we had to fix that one, too.  I believe this is a fine example of why teachers prefer actual pencils with chubby erasers on their tops, over purple markers that last forever on paper.

We also employed the ANSWER THE QUESTIONS YOU KNOW FIRST method of doing this worksheet, which is a fancy way of saying OUR KID HOPPED ALL OVER THE PLACE AND WORKED ALL WILLY-NILLY, WITH NO RHYME OR REASON TO WHICH PROBLEM HE SOLVED NEXT.

But!  We finished every last problem on that worksheet, and he grinned when it was all done, as he exclaimed, “THAT was a  piece of cake!”

And basically, that’s what my hope is for him with summer worksheets — that when he walks into his first day of the first grade at the end of August, he won’t have lost any ground from all the time spent in kindergarten math.  I want him to walk into the first grade and be on top of his math game, thinking that September math REALLY IS a piece of cake, so that he doesn’t have to spend any time catching up again.  For that reason, I think Education.com is a website that we will be using all summer long.

You can check out their homepage right here (EDUCATION.COM).  If you’d like to see some samples of math worksheets, you can find them RIGHT SMACK HERE, and download some free ones for your own kids, at their own levels.

And then you can sit back and drink an iced coffee, while they roll their eyes and sigh and ask you why you’re ruining their summer lives!  To that I simply say, “I’m helping you become the best version of your future first grade self that’s possible!”

Y’all have a very happy weekend!

 

 

 

The Camera Went CLICK-CLICK, While My Heart Yelled MAKE TIME STOP!

So.

THIS happened.

I believe this is what you call… how do I say it in English?… Senior Pictures.  And I can’t say that I was incredibly thrilled about it shaking down, because this means that Senior Year is so close on our horizon, we can touch it.  This little smarty pants will head back to high school at the end of August… take some more classes, like String Theory and Brain Surgery and Nuclear Physics… and then it’ll all be over with before I’ve had time to sneeze, and I’ll be frantically searching out a phone number for a good graduation party caterer.

If you need me, I’ll be sitting on the floor of my closet, rocking back and forth, while I try to pour sand BACK INTO Father Time’s hourglass.

 

Why… Yes! We Have A Pool!

This morning I woke up with zero ambition.

Clearly, I needed to take Dolly’s advice from 1981 and tumble outta bed and stumble to the kitchen, to pour myself a cup of ambition.  So… I did… because everything Dolly says is golden and should be followed.

It actually took two cups of hot ambition with some extra cream, as the good Lord intended His coffee beans to be treated, before I was able to get my act together and accept the fact that WE LIVE HERE.  Ultimately, this means that the house that was perfectly clean YESTERDAY morning looked like an F5 tornado had hit a dedicated hoarder’s house THIS morning.  I don’t know how our turnaround time, from clean to crime scene status, can happen in a matter of hours… but it does.

So, the hot cups of ambition finally worked their magic.  I got beds made and dirty dishes cleaned up.  I threw sixteen pounds of paper and tape (some call it kindergarten art projects; I call it clutter) into the garbage can.  (Don’t even talk to me about recycling the kindergarten art projects, because the recycling truck only comes every two weeks.  This means that those PROJECTS will sit there, waiting for that truck, for fourteen days.  Fourteen days is plenty o’ time for a six year old to happen upon his ruined masterpiece shoved in the bin and declare you to be the WORST MOTHER SINCE MOMMY DEAREST!  I can’t risk this happening, because then we have to rescue the crumpled papers and cardboard pieces and the seventy-four miles of Scotch tape, bring them back to our bedroom, and put them back on display.  The garbage, which is taken out DAILY, is the only option.)  I started a load of laundry in the washing machine and folded another load of laundry.  I scrubbed dried yogurt off the dining room table.  I picked Legos up.  I picked more Legos up.  And then I found four more stashes of Lego piles, and I picked those up.

And then I sat down to make a grocery list, because we are at the point in our lives where I open the fridge and see the bottle of French’s yellow mustard and the cantaloupe half that’s mushy, and wonder what recipe I could make with them.  Sadly, by then my ambition had worn back off, and I simply decided that we didn’t actually need dinner tonight, because I couldn’t bring myself to responsibly plan out a menu and list all the ingredients I’d need at the store.  However, I can’t put this grocery-fetching task off much longer, because TOMORROW IS THE DAY THE TOILET PAPER WILL BE GONE AT OUR HOUSE.  Clearly, that means that tomorrow is the day that I will be forced to get a full cart of groceries and Charmin, because man shall not live without the toilet paper.

Anyway.

After I dropped Thing 2 off at soccer camp this morning, I came home to find the boy dressed in golf slacks and a polo.  I was surprised that he was up so early on his day off from the golf course, but he grinned at me and said, “I thought I’d go golf eighteen holes.”  Because OF COURSE.  If he is not working at the golf course, then the boy is GOLFING at the golf course, or he is sleeping.  The end.  (And, for the record, his eighteen holes of golf that he said he was going to do turned into twenty-seven holes of golf.  We may need a twelve-step program, because I think we may have a golf junkie on our hands.)

So… I started my third novel of the summer, which makes me feel empowered and like a normal human being again.  I haven’t been reading lately… and by lately, I mean in the past six years… because there just isn’t TIME to read, when you’re the mother of an active infant / toddler / preschooler / kindergarten graduate.   But, I felt like I was on top of my reading game this morning.  I managed to read AN ENTIRE CHAPTER, before the laundry bells whistled and then I never did get back to look into chapter two.  Soccer camp was over, we went to the park with one of my friend’s and her five-year-old son, and we came home for a lunch of gluten-free corn dogs.

(Let me endorse the gluten-free corn dogs and just say this one thing:  THEY.  FALL.  APART.  They’re quite delicious, and Thing 2 is quite smitten with them, but all that gluten in a regular corn dog must hold the breading together, because the ones without the gluten crumble like cracker crumbs and leave you with a naked dog.)

And then… after we had picked up all the Legos again (because that is the story of our lives), we hauled the kiddie pool out of the garage and tossed it onto the deck.  Today was our first day without clouds in ages, and filling a little blue plastic pool felt absolutely as American as apple pie and baseball.

The only thing we were missing to complete the all-American afternoon were those tubes of artificially-colored popsicles.

You know the ones:

After our trip to the grocery store tomorrow, we can add some of these to our freezer, and we can enjoy the summer as it was meant to be enjoyed… circa 1977.

Have a great Thursday, y’all.