Chatting With Thing 2

On Friday, Thing 2 walked out of school with his backpack and lunchbox, took one look at me and announced, “You are correct, if you think I want my hair cut right now.”  Most of the other kids were running to their mothers, hollering, “Hi, Mom!” and “I missed you!”  But not us.  We were making bold statements about haircuts, in lieu of mushy greetings.  Apparently, Thing 2’s curls were past the point that he finds acceptable, because CURLS EQUAL GIRL HAIR in his mind.

So… we drove straight to the haircut shop, and we tried a hard part this time.

The rest of our weekend was a blur of WE ARE HAVING GLORIOUS SPRING WEATHER, SO LET’S BE OUTSIDE and LOOK AT MY FIRST SUNBURN OF THE SEASON, BECAUSE I SAT OUTSIDE AT A LITTLE TABLE AT STARBUCKS, HAVING COFFEE AND TALKING WITH A FRIEND FOR TWO ENTIRE HOURS!  There wasn’t any way that I was going to sit indoors on such a glorious day!  We also went to church this morning.  When we were walking out, Thing 2 and I had THIS conversation:

ME:  “Watch out for the turkey poop right there!  Don’t step in it!”  (Turkeys have no manners, and they’ll use an asphalt parking lot like it’s a luxurious bathroom.)

THING 2:  “What?”

ME:  “I said to watch out for the turkey poop, and don’t step in it!”

THING 2:  “What?!”

ME (in my most Godly, patient, loving, calm voice, while I pointed at an offensive pile):  “FOR THE LOVE!!!  WATCH OUT FOR THE POOP AND DON’T STEP IN IT!!!”

THING 2:  “Why?”


I believe this is why God gave us wine.

Later… after dinner… while Thing 2 and I were home alone… I was busy loading the dishwasher, and told him he could watch a show on TV.  He turned it on, and found PJ Masks, which he LIKES, but which he is worried MAY be a “baby show” for preschoolers.  He has given up all things Mickey Mouse and Peppa Pig, because they ARE “baby shows,” but he’s not convinced whether PJ Masks fits into that category quite yet or not.  In case it does… in case he WAS parked in front of a “baby show”… he hollered to me, “Can you come push the right buttons on the remote and get Netflix going?”

I told him that I couldn’t, because… well... WET HANDS FROM DISHES.

He said, “But Netflix doesn’t have any commercials, and I’m sick of all these commercials for girl toys!”

I told him, “When I was six, we didn’t have Netflix.  We had to watch ALL the commercials, and we LIKED them!”

Thing 2 hollered back, “Life was hard in the olden days, wasn’t it, Mom?  How did you even LIVE?”

And THAT, y’all, is why a nice glass of wine for dessert is sounding powerfully good at this moment.

Happy Sunday night.

Spring Soccer Begins

If you want to know what springtime in Small Town is like, let me show you this snapshot from Thing 2’s soccer game last night:

That lake in the background is not supposed to be there, because that is a SOCCER FIELD and not a NATIONAL PARK FULL OF NATURE.  All of our snow, from all seventeen of our winters, is now starting to melt, and you can bet that it’s working its way into basements and filling up low spots in soccer fields, all across town.

Also, when you park at the soccer fields, unless you have the favor of the Lord, you will park thirty-six miles away from the grass and hike in.  It’s because everyone else in Small Town is also trying to park for a soccer game, in the same spot.  You will encounter all kinds of disgruntled drivers who simply give up and abandon their vehicle, right in the middle of the parking lot, and WHO EVEN CARES?  We just drive around their Ford Taurus and understand that they’d simply had too much, as they tried and tried to find a legitimate spot to park.  We’re an understanding town like that.

Thing 2 and I parked in Costa Rica, and then we trudged over hills and through valleys, as we walked into the fields.  And THAT, my friends, is when we found ourselves on the wrong side of that lake.

That lake that shouldn’t have been there.

There was no way to cross it, without getting wet.  Our only options were to walk through it… or retrace our steps to the main road, hike North for twenty-three miles, and then make a westward turn, coming in to the field from the very opposite direction and adding an entire marathon to our Fit Bit tallies.  You can guess which option Thing 2 and I chose.

I’ve never watched an entire soccer game in soaking wet socks and shoes before, but I did last night.  By the time I got home, my toes were wrinkled raisins, because no one ever said that the mothers in Small Town, USA are afraid of crossing a pond on foot.  I expect that Princess Kate would have done it, too, had she needed to get to Prince George’s soccer game.  She and I are quite alike.

This little blonde fellow in the purple jersey is one of Thing 2’s friends.  When he realized whose team we were playing, Thing 2 immediately stopped dribbling the ball, LEFT the ball, threw his arms around his buddy and gave him the biggest hug ever recorded in the history of soccer.  It touched the hearts of mamas all across the sidelines.

I feel it’s exactly what would have happened in professional soccer.  Hubs did encourage Thing 2 that MAYBE hugging our opponents could be done at halftime, when the band is playing and the fireworks are going off, instead of while you’re driving the ball downfield toward SCORING FOR YOUR TEAM, because TURNOVER.  Apparently leaving the ball behind to hug a friend results in the other team taking possession of it.

Thing 2’s mama didn’t care that he ditched a soccer ball to hug a good friend, because she’s really pushing the motto BE KIND with this one.

Thing 2 ended up with two shots on the goal last night, and each one hit the goalpost and ricocheted out of bounds.  When he made his way to us after the game was over and he’d shook hands with the other team and made his way through the snack line, Thing 2 said, “My goals weren’t goals.  They bounced off, but look!  Somebody’s mom brought Capri Suns for snacks!”

And THAT, my friends, is exactly how kindergarten soccer should go.  You should be happy to play, whether you’re playing the game on a field or in a pond, and you should be more concerned with hugging your friends and finding out that your favorite beverage is on the snack menu, than you are about scoring more goals than the other team did.

Hubs will disagree with me completely.  Hubs will say that the most important thing is that we  had eight points and they had one.

We like Hubs anyway.

Y’all have a good weekend.

Inventing An Old DVD Player

Yesterday, Thing 2 announced, “I want to be an inventor!  I want to INVENT something!”  And then he proceeded to use forty-nine sheets of paper out of our computer printer to draw up an invention that would fly and spin and navigate the waters of an ocean like a trusty submarine.  He immediately smacked the blueprints down on the counter in front of Hubs and said, “I need some wood from the garage and seven screws, so that I can build this tonight.”

Sadly, it was bedtime, so the inventing had to be put on hold.

After Thing 2 went to sleep, Hubs said, “I remember wanting to invent things and build things from scratch, when I was little.  I have an old DVD player at my office that doesn’t work any longer.  I’ll bring it home for him to fiddle with tomorrow.”

And then tomorrow became today.

When Hubs came home, he handed this little machine to Thing 2 and said, “Why don’t you get a screwdriver and invent this?”

Thing 2 was left speechless.  He was overwhelmed with excitement and joy and CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW WELL MY DAY TURNED OUT?!  He swiped Hubs’ littlest tools and went to work.  He spent THE ENTIRE EVENING (All of it!  All of the evening!!) twisting itty-bitty screws and pulling on wires and rearranging the guts of a DVD player.  He even neglected a gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate cookie tonight, because he was so busy INVENTING a contraption!

Thing 2 ended up telling us, “I think this might have been the best day of my life!  I loved working on that invention of mine!”

We’re not sure if it’ll fly or cruise beneath the water’s surface when  he’s finished, but what we do know is this:  You can’t put a price on an activity that keeps a kid focused and busy for three solid hours!  Yes.  THREE.  SOLID.  HOURS.

Three entire hours of pure quiet, while Thing 2 tinkered at the kitchen counter.

Well played, Hubs!  Well played!

Prom 2018

Yesterday, the boy smelled like baby lotion, and I still treasured his feet, because they were soft and teeny, and his toes looked like miniature grapes.  Yesterday, the boy slept in Star Wars pajamas and told me his dreams of growing up to be Indiana Jones, which is why he absolutely HAD to practice snapping his whip in the driveway, even though I thought the neighbors would think we were plum crazy, having a little kid cracking a genuinely real whip outside.  Yesterday, the boy still needed me to cut his pizza into bite-sized pieces, and he asked me to read just one more chapter out  loud to him, from the first Harry Potter book.

And then yesterday disappeared, and the boy’s feet grew and left the stage where I’d ever rub lotion on them again or call them cute.  Yesterday disappeared, and I don’t read books to him out loud any more before bedtime, because my elderly self is sound asleep hours before the boy even GOES to bed these days.

This weekend, the boy put on a tux, which made him look like my dad, circa 1968, and he went to prom.

That’s right.

He went to prom.

It’s because he’s not a little baby any longer.  It’s because Hubs and I clapped for all the milestones he met… walking… learning to ride a bike… losing his front teeth… instead of squashing him down and telling him he was going to live in our basement for the rest of our lives, amid discarded pizza boxes and all our love.

(I also know that YES!  I really should get on Pinterest and find a way to hide all of the cables coming out of our TV, so that the top of our fireplace doesn’t look like a jumbled mess of cords, cords, CORDS, but this is not a home decorating blog for a reason.)

The boy’s date for prom this weekend was one of the very sweetest… very kindest… girls our family knows.  She loves messy buns, good music and Jesus, and she makes our boy laugh every single day.

I know.  If you’re having problems taking that snapshot of the two of them in, it’s because THIS is what they’re still supposed to look like:

They should still be reveling in the summer between kindergarten and the first grade, when C was a foot taller than our half-naked shortie.  They should still be thinking that glow sticks at night are every bit as cool as Christmas morning, and they certainly shouldn’t be driving cars or wearing formal evening attire.

So clearly.  These two have known each other since they were all of five years old.  Now, C is as grown up as the boy is, and she was able to rock the most stunning dress featured at Small Town High School’s 2018 prom.

There were flowers to put on, and questions to ask.

Mainly, the evening’s biggest question was, “How do I pin a boutonniere to a tuxedo lapel?”  My short answer was, “The last time I did that was my own prom of 1988, and the knowledge is no longer in my short term memory.  Just keep swimming.  Just keep swimming.

After a few misplaced stick pins, where we feared that someone was going to end up with stitches, the boy turned to You Tube.

If you can’t figure out how to do something by watching a You Tube video, then it’s basically UN-doable.

The flowers were perfectly secured (Thanks, You Tube!), and the kids were off to one of their friends’ houses, where their little group was meeting up for pictures.

To say that there were a few cameras there would be an absolute understatement, as the amount of flashing camera bulbs equaled Julia Roberts’ arrival on the red carpet.

And nothing says PROM IN SMALL TOWN quite like having a working tractor photo bombing your formal pictures!

The boy’s friend E decided not to go to prom this year.  He and his date skipped all the fanfare, but they came for pictures.

And yes.  The boy and E should also look entirely different, because this was the two of them…

… yesterday….

For all of you new mamas out there, time really IS going to go quickly.  You’re going to be knee-deep in diapers and juice boxes this week, and next week you’re going to send those little stinkers to prom in a tuxedo, and your heart is going to snap right in half.

See what I mean?


… and…

… now…

Of course we made them pose with their mamas, because we are the ones who birthed them with pain, after months of bloating and strange food cravings.  They owed us these pictures.

And then the mamas left them, so that we could race across town to Small Town High and get front row seats for the Grand March.  The Grand March is when all of our grownup, dressed-up babies have their names announced and walk on the red carpet, through the gym, so that we can admire all the gorgeous gowns and luxurious hairstyles and say, “Yesterday, our kids were eating mud pies, and tonight they are high class citizens.”

We even saw a couple of cousins at Grand March.

And then…

… well…

… the parents were basically dismissed for the night, so that all the dancing could get started.  But… we managed to snap some more pictures in the gym, before we left.

We found our cute neighbor boy and his even cuter date.

And then I basically cried, because yesterday the cute neighbor boy and the boy looked like this, and they weren’t even interested in girls or fancy dances:

We found little cousins, who came to watch the Grand March.

We found more friends.

And then we left our babies to their very first prom.

It was ridiculous.

I had to resist the urge to tell the boy to be home by 9:00 and to eat something healthy, instead of junk food, after the dance finished and they were off to their after-prom parties.

And that was that, y’all.

Another milestone is in the books, because we have finished a real prom.


Tooting Our Horn

Well, we had ourselves some powerfully glorious weather for the past couple of days.  Spring fell on a Tuesday and Wednesday this year, which was nice that we had it for so long (TWO!! ENTIRE!! DAYS!! OF SPRING!!), seeing as how Small Town, USA is under a winter weather advisory again, starting tomorrow, in which the cuss word SNOW was used.

Normally, I enjoy snow.  I do.  But I’ve had so much of it to enjoy this winter, that all of my enjoyment has been sucked straight out.  Mother Nay Nay is currently standing on my last nerve, because I have a backyard that is nothing but dirt, and dirt turns to mud when it rains and slops and snows, and I have a six-year-old who wants to be outside.  I told Hubs the other day, “I think I’m going to buy him some muck boots and coveralls at the local ranch supply center, and then I’m turning Thing 2 out to pasture.”

I realize that normal, civilized folks actually have this novelty known as GRASS in their backyards, which cuts down on their children turning into mudballs when they play, but Hubs and I have never been normal, and Hubs is barely civilized.  We like to live our lives dangerously, on the edge of an insanity cliff I like to call ALL THIS MUD COMING INTO THE HOUSE OFF THAT BOY’S SHOES IS GOING TO MAKE ME CRAZIER THAN A SQUIRREL, DRUNK ON CRANBERRY WINE.  So yes.  It would be okay if winter just quit now, like it’s supposed to do by the middle of April.


After Thing 2 had played outside for a couple of hours after school yesterday, I brought him inside and scrubbed him clean again.  We got the mud scraped off of him and made him look relatively presentable, because we were off to the boy’s band concert at Small Town High School.

The boy cleans up pretty well, even if he didn’t shave.

And let’s talk about THAT, for a moment.  Shaving.  WHEN did my BABY grow up enough that all I can see is a mustache when I look at him?  Oh, don’t think he’s turning into a Burt Reynolds quite yet, but yesterday I did encourage him to maybe trim the upper lip a bit.  Naturally, having half of Hubs’ sarcastic DNA caused him to say, “No, thanks.  I wish I could grow a Duck Dynasty beard.  In fact, I think I’ll start trying right this second.”

So apparently we are on a mission to make our mother sob, because THIS WAS YOU JUST YESTERDAY, AND YOU DIDN’T HAVE A BEARD THEN!

For you beginning parents, this whole nonsense of children growing up is really not something you’re going to enjoy.  Oh, you’ll clap at all the milestones that fly by, but then you’re going to be staring at chin hair and remembering the soft cheeks your boy had when he was eight, and then that’s all your nerves will be able to take for the week.

The boy’s band concert was a smashing success last night.  He played well… the entire band played well… and Thing 2 sat so quietly and lovely in his seat, I began to question whether I had actually brought the right child with me.  Who was this child beside me, and why wasn’t he fidgeting and flopping around in his seat and causing an unholy ruckus, like we always do?!  It was a divine miracle.  Thing 2 sat like a gentleman through the entire concert, and the ushers never had to shoot us the stink eye that said, “WE’RE WATCHING YOU, AND YOU’RE ABOUT TO GET KICKED OUT OF A HIGH SCHOOL BAND PERFORMANCE, IN FRONT OF GOOD PEOPLE IN THIS COMMUNITY WHO WILL STILL MENTION IT TO ALL THEIR FRIENDS.”


The boy may have gotten his sense of humor and his sparse beard-growing abilities from his dad, but he got none of his musical talent from either of his parents.  He’s an amazing clarinet player, and all Hubs and I can do is sit back and clap, while we take zero of the credit.

Anyway.  Y’all have a good Wednesday evening.  Stock your pantries for the blizzard that’s coming.  Hunker down and stay warm.

Please, Inventors. Consider This.

Every spring I get a wild hair in my PE classes, and I decide that YES!  WE REALLY CAN DO THIS!!  And then I bring out a plastic bat and a plastic wiffle ball, and we get after it, because LOOK AT ME TEACH THIS PACK OF TINY FIRST GRADERS HOW TO HIT A PITCH!  They are hitting real pitches!  They are hitting wiffle balls that are FLYING THROUGH THE AIR AT THEM!

And then, after the very first day of this… every.  single.  spring. … it dawns on me that first graders really CAN’T, as a whole, actually… you know… HIT… a pitch.  Why don’t I drag out the plastic tee?  Why don’t we put the wiffle ball on the plastic tee, and bat that way?  I think it’s because I’m an overachiever, and if the first grade teacher is going to teach our students long division, then I’m going to have them hitting real pitches from home plate like they’re prodigies destined for a major league team.  Don’t let it ever be said that I didn’t do my part in prepping these children for the college draft.

Today I tossed seven hundred and twenty-two million underhand pitches across a rubber home plate in the gym, during that first grade PE class.  Exactly nineteen of those were hit.  By the time I sent the first graders outside for recess, I asked if our school had an athletic trainer who could ice my shoulder and work some Ben Gay into the muscles.  You can’t even begin to imagine my disappointment when our principal said, “We’re a private school that can’t even afford to buy you new wiffle balls, if the fourth graders split another one in half; we don’t have an athletic trainer with a massage table.”

When I get one of these little bat-swinging prodigies into the Show, I expect him to remember me and say, “My old PE teacher could use a young assistant who could pitch balls to first graders.  I think I’ll pay for one to be hired.”

All the blesses.

One of the first graders said to me, “When do the kids get to pitch?  When can I pitch?”  I stared at him like he’d suddenly sprouted horns and replied, “Basically… NEVER.  Y’all can’t even hit what THE TEACHER IS THROWING ACROSS THE PLATE, and I’m nailing the strike zone nine out of ten times.  I’ll celebrate my fiftieth birthday before one of you seven-year-olds gets a pitch in there that can be hit!”  I may have sounded judgemental, but it felt like fifteen years went by in our forty-minute gym class.

Pitch.  Swing.  Miss.  Pitch.  Swing.  Miss.   Pitch.  Swing.  Miss. 

It’s basically an ABC pattern.

Thankfully, I picked the second graders up after recess, and they were overjoyed to learn that they’d be playing BASEBALL!  REAL LIVE BASEBALL… JUST WITH THIS PLASTIC BALL WITH HOLES IN IT!!  And I must’ve trained them well last year, when THEY were just amateur first graders, because my beloved second graders BLASTED that wiffle ball all over the gym!  I felt like Oprah, as I hollered out, “You get an athletic scholarship!  You get an athletic scholarship!  EVERYONE gets an athletic scholarship!!!”

By the time the fourth graders came in for PE, we were getting down with a regular wiffle ball GAME (instead of just batting swinging practice), that involved some new rules called CAN WE THROW THE BALL AT THE RUNNER AND GET HIM OUT, IF WE HIT HIM BELOW THE KNEECAPS?  I didn’t see why not, as long as y’all don’t bust one of them wiffle balls in half again, because this is a private school, and we are poor and can’t afford new wiffle balls, let alone a real massage therapist to see to the needs of the PE teacher’s sore shoulder.

My first graders will return to the gym tomorrow, all bright-eyed and full of batting excitement, and I will pitch again… and again… and also again... times seventy-six million… and by the time they leave, they will be hitting machines.  Second grade proved that to me today.  Meanwhile, I fully intend to bring back the smell of Icy Hot and make it sexy again.


I just have to share this one quick thing with you, because when my friend Jessica, who is a powerfully amazing preschool teacher, sent this little snapshot to me, I nearly wept with all the pure joy I felt in my heart… until I learned that it may not be real.

And by may not be real, I mean not real.  In other words… fake news.

I mean… seriously!  If we can put a man on the moon, replace a hip with plastic and metal, and create refrigerators with cameras in them that SCAN YOUR FOOD INSIDE, and then send a picture to your phone, so that you know if you have butter or not at home, WHILE YOU ARE SHOPPING AT THE GROCERY STORE… then why on earth can we not find someone to invent the VacuSort??!

It’s like inventors aren’t even TRYING, as they sit in their labs with their product protocols, and dream up refrigerators with cameras in them, instead of honest housecleaning help for moms.  The VacuSort could revolutionize the way we pick up toys!  It could restore sanity to mothers across the globe, quicker than a glass of wine can.

So basically, my plea tonight is directed straight at the hearts of inventors:  Please, inventors… make the VacuSort become a reality, and make it affordable, and make it happen before Thing 2 graduates from high school, because we currently own more Lego bricks than grains of sand on the world’s beaches.  And while I”m at it, invent a wiffle ball pitching machine that costs just ten American dollars and can save my rotator cuff.  Thank you.

Y’all have a good Tuesday evening.

Easter 2018

We have just survived our seventeenth winter this year, which is also referred to as the Seventh Circle of Hell.  While other folks are posting pictures of their tulips poking up through the ground on Instagram and Texas is already wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts and complaining about how hot it was at soccer practice, we are still knee-deep in snow.  Our spirits can’t even deal with all this winter.  But, in the true name of finding the good in everything, we assure ourselves that we will have green lawns this summer!  Oh, but our lawns shall be gloriously green, and we shall export water to drought counties.  In the meantime, we try not to covet everyone from Louisiana, who is posting pictures of LOOK!  NO COAT OUTSIDE! on social media, as we exclaim, LOOK!  WE HAD KINDERGARTEN SOCCER PRACTICE IN A STINKING RACQUETBALL COURT THIS WEEK, BECAUSE SNOW, SNOW, SNOW AND ALL THE GYMS WERE FULL.

Yes.  You read that right.  Thing 2’s soccer team had practice in a racquetball court.  It was exactly as laid back and unchaotic as you can imagine, unless you’re actually imagining nine boys and one girl and one coach and eleven soccer balls inside a glass cube the size of a queen-size bed.


We celebrated Easter last week, and I’m just now getting around to blogging about it, because last week was full and crazy enough that we had McDonald’s for dinner.

Twice.  Don’t judge.

But look at me tonight, because I cooked a roast and potatoes and carrots and onions and LO!  Even gravy!  I pulled all of this out of the oven, and it smelled like the buffet lines in Heaven will smell one day.  I diced up little bites of roast and smashed potatoes and drizzled them with gravy, all for Thing 2.  He walked into the kitchen, looked at his plate and announced, “Why can’t you just feed me cold cereal for dinner?  Why do I have to eat junk like this?”  I believe what he was TRYING to say was, “Bless you, gracious Mother, for preparing this rich meal for us, when what you really wanted to do today was lay on the sofa and play Candy Crush in silence.”

But Easter.

Sister and I combined our kids the day before Easter, so that they could dye eggs together.  Sister volunteered her dining room for this project, and I screeched out YES before she could change her mind.  It’s because we have a RUG beneath OUR dining room table, and Sister simply has tile… and Thing 2 was going to be a hands-on egg-colorer that evening.

Some of us ended up coloring eggs half naked, because dye is unforgiving and also forever.  In the end, Thing 2’s hands looked like he had fought a rainbow and lost, but his shirt was still clean.  We called that an Easter Win, even though his hands were green and purple and red and blue until Wednesday.

On Easter Sunday, we intended to wake up and celebrate, because THE TOMB IS EMPTY!  HE IS RISEN!  My plan to do just this was going fine, over a cup of coffee with Hubs, until Thing 2 marched out of his bedroom at 6:30, after having gotten up on the entirely wrong side of his bed.  We quickly found out that when you get up on the wrong side of your bed, and your parents ask you to take a shower (Lord, say it isn’t so!), you can end up bawling your eyes straight out so hard, while you stomp your feet, that your own mother takes away your Easter basket before you have even looked inside.


Before you have even looked inside of it.

(In case you were wondering if life is always just SO MUCH FUN with Godly parenting at our house!)

We went to church, where Thing 2 fielded questions from his six-year-old cousin about WHAT WAS IN YOUR EASTER BASKET? by replying, “I don’t want to talk about Easter baskets right now.”

Thankfully, the man cub’s sour mood was fully turned around to a proper mood for celebrating Easter in when church was over, so he DID earn his Easter basket back.

It was full of the usual basket fare of bubbles and sidewalk chalk and jelly beans and Matchbox cars.

I didn’t get a picture of the boy with his basket, because the boy slept in on Easter Sunday and then had to race against the clock to make it to church.  BUT… once he got around to grabbing his basket, he hugged me and said, “Mom, I love this basket.  You know exactly what makes me happy.”

I do.  After seventeen years of having that child, I’ve learned that you can never go wrong with Subway gift cards for sandwiches, expensive chocolate truffles and Cadbury eggs.  He is no longer impressed with bubbles and Matchbox cars, which makes my heart go all squeezy, as I try to breathe, because COLLEGE IS SO CLOSE.

After church, we all met at Sister’s house for Easter dinner, with Mam and Pa.  We had it on good authority that there was going to be a visit by the Holiday Rabbit, who was going to hide Easter eggs outside, so Thing 2 was ALL JAZZED, with a Level Ninety-Four on Enthusiasm.  But that was BEFORE we woke up on Easter morning to another twenty-seven feet of powdery snow.  (Lord, thank you for our summer moisture.  Teach us to be thankful today for green lawns at the end of August.)  The Easter Bunny took one look at all the knee-deep snow in the backyard, shook his head, poured himself a nice glass of wine and declared, “The eggs will be hidden INDOORS.”

Which is why three of our children attacked Sister’s family room with squeals of delight after they had eaten ham and mashed potatoes.

A family room egg hunt lasts for approximately thirteen seconds, and then it’s over.

Plastic eggs were dumped, black jelly beans were traded for red jelly beans, and they all settled down to build with their Easter Legos, which Mam and Pa had passed out.  Easter Legos pretty much WON Easter!

I kind of dropped the ball on Easter snapshots this year, because WHERE IS THE BOY?  I’ll tell you where he was:  HIDING FROM MY CAMERA BECAUSE HE’S SEVENTEEN.  But, I did force our two boys to sit down in front of our fireplace for some iPhone pictures really quick, before church.

Obviously, their ideas of PLEASE DRESS NICELY FOR EASTER SUNDAY CHURCH are entirely different.  The boy took one look at Thing 2 and said, “You don’t look very dressed up.”  Thing 2 looked down at his own outfit, and then hollered, “I AM dressed up, Bubbie!  I’m wearing JEANS!”  And that about sums up their personalities.  One of them always dresses like he’s about to step onto a yacht for caviar and fine cigars, while the other one always dresses like he just crawled out of a dumpster and is heading to the gym for his daily workout.

Thankfully, their mother loves them both.

And thankfully, Jesus loves us all… even when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed and don’t get our Easter bubbles and sidewalk chalk until after church.



Snow Tunnels And Friends

We woke up to Fourth Winter this morning, exactly like we were living in Narnia.  I am continually repeating to myself, “This will be so good for the grass and trees this summer,” in hopes that I eventually start believing it and accept the fact that it is always going to be winter here, without being Christmas.

But… back when it was just FIRST Winter in Small Town, USA… back when we had our original thirty-six feet of snow… Thing 2 met up with a couple of his buddies for an afternoon of outdoor play.  Their original plan was to sled, as boys love to do.  Thing 2 will ride a sled to the far ends of the earth, with a grin on his face the entire way.

These next two snapshots stopped me dead in my tracks when I opened them on my big computer.  How sweet are they?  Three friends, trudging uphill together, through the deep snow, with their sleds.  God gives us people throughout our lives, who walk beside us, and our greatest hopes as parents are that our sons will be flanked by wonderful, kind-hearted boys, walking alongside them.  I’m happy to report that these two particular boys are simply blessings from the Lord for our younger son.


Snow tunnels!!  Snow tunnels!!

The shovels game out, the sleds were forgotten, and the excavation team continued the work that Thing 2’s friends and their dad had started earlier that week.

I think it’s safe to say that nothing satisfies Thing 2 like having a shovel in his hand does.  Right now, he THRIVES on hard work, and shoveling is his favorite job to tackle.  Hubs and I are crossing our fingers that he still feels the same way about snow removal when he’s sixteen (and we’re ninety-four), so that he can shovel our driveway, enabling us to get our walkers out.

The boys dug and dug and DUG SOME MORE.

And then the sun started to sink, and the air got even chillier than it had been.  The moms had to convince their sons that they really couldn’t stay out all night, digging and wriggling through the snow tunnels in the dark.  There were dinners to get started and fireplaces to fire up and frozen little fingers to thaw out.

So Thing 2 and I headed for home.

And still… even though it’s Fourth Winter now, and the snow tunnels of First Winter are a month behind us… Thing 2 constantly talks about the joy he had that afternoon with his buddies.  It’s a memory I think he’ll hold onto for years to come.

Celebrating Six Even More

It snowed again yesterday morning, because we are on Third Winter this year.  We keep getting these HOPES that Spring is coming, but then it snows again and smashes all of our dreams of sunshine and tulips into the ice and the slush.  On Saturday, Thing 2 wore shorts, because we’d just cleared Second Winter, and we thought, “Spring!  Finally!”  Everything melted, and the streets ran with our snow that was hopefully going away until next November.  And then it snowed again, for Third Winter, and we woke up to a fresh layer on Monday morning.

Which was on top of all the snow that had melted when it was fifty-six degrees outside on Saturday.

All of the melted snow that was now frozen into sheets of ice.  Sheets of ice… under the snow.

The boy went out to warm up his car yesterday morning.  He came inside and said, “I just biffed it in the driveway and wiped out.”  Since he was still upright, with nary a broken bone in sight, and since he’s seventeen and resilient, I patted him on the back and told him that his lunch was packed and sitting on the kitchen counter.

Twenty minutes later, Hubs texted from Thing 2’s school, as he was dropping him off, and said, “When you go out, be careful.  It is SLICK.”  He used the caps-lock key for SLICK, because Hubs was trying to get his point across.  I texted back something along the lines of, “Blah, blah, blah.  This isn’t my first winter rodeo.”

Which is… clearly… something you should never really do, because… well… KARMA.  Or the Lord.

I went out to start my own Suburban a few minutes later.  I walked out the door, and sixteen-hundredths of a second later, I was flat on my back.

Mama, you see, had fallen.  And what mamas in their forties don’t like to do is actually FALL, because FALLING translates into INSURANCE DEDUCTIBLE and ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON and HIP REPLACEMENT.

I laid there on the frozen patio and thought to myself, “I have broken my ankle.”  Which was evidenced by the fact that my shoe had come plum dadgum OFF of my foot, and was eight feet away from my body.  It was the first time in my life when I decided that I should invest in one of those Life-Alert necklaces that ninety-six year old women wear… for this exact reason.  I suddenly… desperately… wanted a button dangling from my neck that I could push for help.

And then… thankfully… I realized that I had not actually broken anything, and that I was still fully capable of getting up and walking myself back upstairs to change my soaked clothes, because I had unceremoniously landed in a puddle of slop.  I thanked the Lord that I was still alive, without any blunt-force-trauma to the head.  I thanked Him that all of my extremities were still intact, and that no one was near me with an iPhone, getting new footage of LOOK AT THIS FORTY-SOMETHING-YEAR-OLD WOMAN FALL ON THE ICE ON HER PATIO.

I was alive and well.

But today?  Oh, people.  I might as well be Methuselah’s mother, for as limber and spry and wonderful as I feel.  I am what the older generation refers to as STIFF and also SORE.  The Ben Gay and the Aleve have become my best friends today, but NO BROKEN BONES!

Anyway.  This is why I have to be quick tonight.  Mama needs to put some old-fashioned liniment oil on and head straight to bed.

Back on March 5th, our little guy did, indeed, turn six.  He turned six even though I couldn’t believe six entire years had passed since he’d been born.  He turned six even though it sounds like REAL BOY now, instead of MAMA’S LITTLE BABY.

And he was pleased as punch to do so.

His big request was, “Mom, could you wrap my presents in camouflage wrapping paper with turquoise bows?”  It was a tall and very specific order, but THANK YOU, WALMART, FOR COMING THROUGH ONCE IN YOUR LIFE!  They had the wrapping supplies I needed for my birthday boy’s gifts.

Camo paper and turquoise ribbons, it was.

The little man was up early, to ring in the big number six.  But mostly, he was up early because PRESENTS!

His dad is the biggest Colorado Avalanche fan that the team has.  Thing 2 loves hockey, and he likes wearing his Avalanche jersey, but what he really likes (once he heard about them) is the Nashville Predators.

And somehow, Hubs is okay with this, as he came through with a Nashville T-shirt for Thing 2’s birthday this year.

At church, some of the kids have Prayer Pals.  A Prayer Pal is an adult who commits to praying for a specific kiddo, and we were BLESSED, BLESSED, OH HOW BLESSED with a Prayer Pal for our little Thing 2.  Miss Lisa prays her heart out for him.  She calls and checks on him.  She loves on him dearly.  And we love Miss Lisa dearly.

And… she buys him Lucky Charms cereal because she knows it’s his favorite.  For his birthday, she bought him THE BIG BOX.  The family-sized box.  And Thing 2 rejoiced, because Lucky Charms are GLUTEN-FREE!!

Our cute neighbor boy has an even cuter girlfriend.  She’s just a senior in high school, but she already has her own cake decorating business, because she’s a go-getter who knows where her spiritual gifts are.

And those spiritual gifts of hers are in CAKE DECORATING!

People…. BEHOLD!!

Do you know what Thing 2 requested for his birthday?  He asked for a robot cake.  And I asked for it to be gluten-free AND dairy-free, which is a BIG STRUGGLING ORDER for bakers, because they have to buy the special flour and the almond milk, but this little gal came through like crazy for us!

This incredible cake was gluten-free AND dairy-free… and it tasted like baby angels had baked it.  It was, by far, the best cake we’ve had.

But I did feel EXTREMELY GUILTY cutting it apart.  I had to work up some courage to slice it with a big knife.

Thing 2 also requested homemade spaghetti over gluten-free noodles for his birthday dinner at home.  Spaghetti is his favorite!  Grammy and Papa came over with more gifts, and we all slurped noodles and celebrated our precious six year old.

And the next day he got to wear his Nashville shirt.

And  yes.

It’s official.

The family baby is SIX.  Even if his mama can’t believe it.