Welcome Back!

Hello?

* tap… tap… tap… *

Is this thing on?

I’m a little sad (and by a little, I mean MORE THAN THERE ARE MILES FROM HERE TO JUPITER) that Spring Break is over.  Plus, Hubs and I finished watching ALL of the Raising Hope episodes, and I’m not sure how we’ll even be able to carry on without Burt and Virginia in our lives on a nightly basis.  We both feel like some fun family has, at most, DIED, or, at least, MOVED TO ICELAND, because we flat-out, stinking adored the Chance family and all their crazy antics, and now they’re just gone.  But that’s exactly what Netflix does.  It offers us four seasons of hilarity, that we watch in back-to-back episodes.  We’re completely done in sixteen hours and we wonder why our eyeballs are bloodshot, and then IT’S OVER.

And there is no more Raising Hope for us.

So really, our Monday dawned with the prospect of me having to make the boy a lunch and send him back to school, and contemplate my own lesson plans for my PE classes this week, and we don’t even have our favorite landscaper or housekeeper to look forward to seeing in the evenings.

These are some dark times.

And those, people, are the two excuses that I lay before you for why the cobwebs and the overall look of total desertion are currently clinging to the blog.  It was Spring Break, and we celebrated in all manner of total laziness, while we wrapped up the final season of one of our favorite shows.

Speaking of total desertion — which I keep wanting to spell as DESSERTION, because clearly my mind is on sweeter topics this evening — I have to tell you a little story, which is a rabbit trail and completely unrelated to tonight’s blog post.

(Like every paragraph in my blog posts are always related, easy to follow, and not at all filled with sentences written by a crazy lady, who should never be given unsupervised access to a computer keyboard.)

Hubs inherited an old Chevy pickup when we were building our house.  When I say inherited, I don’t mean that anyone actually died to leave it to him, but he sort of ended up with it by default.  The truck had belonged to his dad, and his dad was moving on to bigger vehicles, in the form of CHEVY AVALANCHE, which made Hubs’ heart pound with joy, because of the word AVALANCHE.  (Oh, Hubs!  You’re such a hockey nerd!)  We had just recently become Suburban owners, having traded in our own LEMON-OF-A-DODGE-TRUCK to secure three rows of seats and a hitch that could pull an aircraft carrier to shore.  With all of our trips to the lumber store during our home construction days, we needed something to put 2′x4′s in, especially since Hubs had tried hauling a couple of them in the Suburban, by laying them across the expanse of all three seats and resting them on my dashboard.  LET’S TALK ABOUT THE SPOT THAT’S THE SIZE OF A NICKEL THAT RUBBED OFF OF MY DASHBOARD BENEATH ONE OF THOSE BOARDS AND MADE ME LOOK LIKE A HILLBILLY.  (And no.  I have no tendencies for the dramatic, whatsoever.)

Hubs’ dad loaned him this truck, which had already been through some previous construction sites, as Hubs’ brother had just built his house before we built ours.  The truck boasted some dents and dings and a V-shaped tailgate, which we certainly added to.

(I think it was the fourteen thousand pounds of river rock that we used for landscaping that was dumped into the truck’s bed from a front-end loader.)

Last summer, a hail storm moved through Small Town with hail the size of baseballs, and the truck just happened to be parked on the wrong side of town at the time, which is where the brunt of all that hail and ice peaked.  The windshield shattered, and the insurance company said, “Um… yeah… We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but replacing that windshield is actually going to cost more than what the truck books at.”

I believe the agent was looking at the plethora of dents and the fact that there was no air conditioning any longer, and maybe the issue of IF YOU DRIVE THIS TRUCK FASTER THAN 4O MILES PER HOUR, IT SHAKES AND TRIES TO EXPLODE, and ALL THESE WIRES IS WHERE THE STEREO USED TO BE.  Then there was the lovely smell of oil and grease and everything else that is associated with a construction vehicle, right down to the cardboard box from a Big Mac from 2007.

In other words, STELLAR.

So Hubs bought a Honda.  I’m pretty sure that the air conditioning is what sold him on it.  I believe he moved on up, exactly like the Jeffersons did, with that working bit of cold air swirling around like it should in his vehicle.

The truck was parked in our cul de sac, and driven very little, because WHO COULD SEE OUT THE WINDSHIELD?  We still use it for dump runs and trips to the green-waste dumpsters, to discard piles of grass clippings and broken tree branches, since Burt Chance isn’t here to do our landscaping for us.

And then… the tire went flat.

I’m telling you, it was an utter vision parked there in the cul de sac, but HER TAGS WERE CURRENT, PEOPLE!  Yes, ma’am.  Her tags were current.

And then one day last week, we came home to see a fluorescent green sticker on that truck’s window that said YOU HAVE TWENTY-FOUR HOURS TO MOVE YOUR ABANDONED VEHICLE, BEFORE WE TOW IT AND THROW YOU IN PRISON AND TAKE YOUR TAX REFUND AND DISCONTINUE YOUR BIRTHDAY.

Something like that.

I’d say that Hubs was upset about this, but he saw it as nothing more than THE GREAT CHALLENGE OF 2015.  He kept saying, “Let the city tow it!  It’s not abandoned!  The tags and insurance are up-to-date.  Just because the windshield is shattered and the tire is flat and she doesn’t LOOK PRETTY, doesn’t mean that we’ve left her.  I’m going to take a discrimination suit to the Supreme Court.”

Except his wife got a little stressed out by that and encouraged him to just CHANGE THAT FLAT TIRE ALREADY.  So Hubs did.  And then he spent approximately nineteen hours trying to scrub that fluorescent green sticker off the window.  When an officer of the law slaps one of those onto your vehicle, you can bet your last dollar that he means business with that thing sticking through wind and rain and the fiery apocalypse.

(See?  I’m not kidding when I tell you that we are nothing but extremely high class citizens over here at our house.  All we need are a few free range goats and a lawn sofa to complete our look.)

Anyway.

I’m sure I’ll pack some snapshots that happened over Spring Break into blog posts later this week, but tonight I’ll just leave you with this one thing…

… and it’s THIS book.

indexIt’s called Wherever the River Runs, and it’s by Kelly Minter.  Honestly, I think Kelly and I could be BFFs, if it wasn’t for the small fact that she’s sort of famous and I’ve never actually met her before.  (I’m not famous, because I harbor things like abandoned vehicles in my cul de sac; you never see that sort of thing on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.)  It’s kind of like my WE COULD BE BFFs FOREVER attitude with Beth Moore and Jen Hatmaker.  I’d love nothing more than the three of those women to collaborate and buy a home together in our cul de sac, so that I could march over every single morning and have coffee with them on their deck.

(Because there’s nothing weird at all about a creeper neighbor who shows up, uninvited, every morning with her empty mug, hoping you’ll pour something straight from your Keurig right into it and share your lives with her.)

When I wasn’t frightfully busy over Spring Break lugging the boy to the golf course or watching the last stretch of Raising Hope episodes, I was very busy reading this book.

People, it has changed me.

The entire concept of the book is that Kelly Minter, who lives in Tennessee, carries on a ministry in the Amazon, stretching out her arms and resources and love, and sharing the message of the Gospel with a forgotten people.  These people carve out an existence for themselves on the banks of the big river.  That was all fine and dandy, because I don’t know that God has called me to board an airplane and go to Brazil every year, like Kelly does.  I think He’s giving me a nice PASS there, because he knows that I’ll more than likely puke a blue streak on the plane, and then puke even more on the rickety boats that Kelly uses to travel up and down the mighty river, once she gets to the Amazon.

The motion sickness and I are quite tight.  It would be nothing for me to lean over and vomit in front of famous people after a boat ride.

I started reading this book because KELLY MINTER!  And I would literally read that girl’s grocery list, if she’d let me.  I started it, thinking that it would be a fantastically written book, and I would still be safe here, in Small Town, USA, knowing that I wasn’t called to the rain forest.

But then Kelly lets us know that you don’t have to travel to the Amazon to reach your arms and your resources out to the poor and the hurting, the needy and the forgotten, because THOSE PEOPLE LIVE RIGHT BESIDE YOU.  There are so many people to help HERE, and we’re not doing our job by overlooking them.  She said that helping the needy in the Amazon opened her eyes to the needy in her own U.S. neighborhood.

I think the part of the book that had the most impact on me was when Kelly visited a woman who had an adult daughter with severe cerebral palsy, which had distorted her limbs and given her a life confined to a hammock in their jungle home.  This handicapped woman was fully dependent upon her mother for her care, because she was unable to physically meet any of her own needs.  All she could do, day in and day out, was lie in a hammock.  Then, this woman… the mother… had been left by her husband, when he took a mistress and moved a couple of huts down the riverbank from her.  Because his mistress had two very young daughters who needed to be looked after, this woman took it upon herself to help raise them, because those little girls NEEDED HER.  And because there are no grocery stores in this area, she spent the bulk of her days tending to small plants for vegetables and trying to reel in fish when the season was right, just so she would have enough food to sustain her family on.

She has no electricity in the jungle.  She has no running water.  She has known extreme hardship.  She has no free time, because every daylight hour is spent caring for someone else and working in manual labor to keep food on their table.  Their home floods when the waters of the river rise.

And yet she knows Jesus.

Kelly asked this woman what the biggest struggle in her life is.  She expected a list to be rattled off, because she has an adult daughter that she must carry, if she is to be moved, and her hands are calloused with years of exhausting labor.  Her kitchen shelves are often empty, and the man she married left her for someone else.

Kelly said that this woman thought about her question for a moment, and then replied, “I don’t know how to answer that.  I don’t think my life is really all that hard.”

While I bemoan the fact that I have no more episodes of Raising Hope to watch.

While I complain that my toddler refuses to sleep most nights, and keeps me awake for hours on end.

While I complain that Spring Break is over.

While I complain that our favorite sliced bread wasn’t on the shelf at the grocery store one week.

While I complain that my spacious home, which is never flooded by muddy water from the Amazon, isn’t decorated as nicely as I’d like it to be.

I can’t get this story out of my head.  It has wrapped itself around my brain and around my heart, and fallen deep into my soul.  I want to be more like this woman in the Amazon, who can say, “I don’t think my life is really all that hard.”

Sometimes… I think some of us in America just have NO IDEA of the hardships so many others face daily.

You cannot read this book and not be changed.  I don’t think it’s possible.  You can’t read this book and not understand how much God cares for the least of His people.  You can’t read this book and not want to stand up and do something for someone else.

Because of those things, it’s a hard read.

Because, just like the truck with the flat tire and the shattered windshield and all the UN-PRETTY, the people of the Amazon haven’t been abandoned by their God, and neither have those struggling right here on our own home soil.  I’m just hoping now that my eyes can be opened even wider now to what I can do for others.

Have a happy Monday, everyone.

That Time We Harbored A Criminal In The Shopping Cart

So we’re on Spring Break over here at our house.  We have friends who have hit different beaches all around the American coastlines; we have friends in Disneyland; we have friends who stamped their passports and went to Mexico to build a house for a family in need; we have friends who packed their cars down like the Beverly Hillbillies and drove to see grandparents and cousins, six states over.

(Can a person use that many semicolons in one sentence without an English professor falling over dead, still clutching her red pen?  I used to be an English major for my first two years of college, before I realized that I was going to have to read a lot of poetry written by freshman girls and OH, THE DRAMA OF THAT!  I immediately talked to my adviser about switching to something less intense, and CAN I JUST TEACH PE?  Now I can’t remember the actual rules of proper writing.)

We are in none of the places mentioned in the first paragraph, because the boy is still wearing our Spring Break funds on his teeth, in the form of braces and nightly headgear and all manner of brightly-colored rubber bands.  Instead, we are home, where the boy is relishing a week of SLEEPING IN UNTIL THE AFTERNOON HOURS, and I don’t have to do a single jumping jack, or time a single half-mile run, or insist that NO!  WE CAN’T PLAY DODGEBALL TODAY, BECAUSE WE PLAYED IT LAST WEEK, AND IF WE PLAY IT EVERY TIME YOU ASK FOR IT, I WILL BE FIRED FOR NOT REACHING ALL THE STANDARDS FOR THE YEAR for a solid week.

Because it’s Spring Break, and we are celebrating it with a stay-cation, we are very busy doing Spring Breaky things.

Like… the park.  Every day.  And I had to wash socks today, because listen:  At the rate we dirty up our socks around here, you would think that we were centipedes.  And we hit the grocery store yesterday, which was an event, all by itself.  Thing 2 insisted that we use the car-shaped shopping cart, which is basically a shopping cart with… well… a giant red car on the front of it.  This particular cart is my nemesis.  Thing 2, you see, can enter and exit the car part on his very own, seventeen million times per trip.  I am constantly spinning my head around like an owl on crack, as I insist in my FIRM BUT SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE VOICE BECAUSE WE ARE IN A PUBLIC PLACE, “If you don’t get back in that car, we will NEVER use the car cart again.”  As Hubs and I pushed the low-riding car that only lacked flames and a good suspension system through the checkout aisle, we were sidetracked by picking up our bags and scanning the debit card, and nobody noticed that Thing 2 had obviously exited the car and… well… committed a crime.  When we got out to Hubs’ car in the parking lot, I realized that MY TODDLER WAS EATING SOMETHING!  More specifically, he had bitten a hole through the very middle of a Snicker’s bar wrapper, and he was busy sucking the chocolate straight out, which was smeared from one ear to the other.  In other words, he had stolen a candy bar off the display at the cash register.  Since we didn’t want this to tarnish his record so early in life and force him to be on house arrest so that we couldn’t save our sanity with trips to the park to RUN! and JUMP! and SLIDE!, Hubs went back inside the grocery store, showed them a pile of brown goo oozing out of a Snicker’s wrapper, and swiped his debit card for something less than one American dollar.

Nobody can accuse us of not being honest people.

Anyway, I have no idea what the blog will look like this week, because I just want to spend time hanging out with my boys and doing family things and soaking up these last few months before the boy is officially in high school.

(*cue frame-shaking sobs*)

So I’ll leave you with this article that Jen Hatmaker wrote.  Do you know Jen?  (Yes, I call her by her first name, because I keep insisting that we are BFFs, even though I’m nothing but a total creeper to her blog and Instagram feed and TV show, and she’s never met me in real life.  BUT… I am fairly certain that if she ever gets the chance to meet me… well… we will snort coffee out our noses in hilarious laughter at Starbucks together. )

Her article is all about BIG FEELINGS with raising kids, and listen:  IT’S SPOT-ON TRUTH.

Click here to read it.

Y’all have a merry Monday evening, and, with any luck, I’ll get something else posted here at Jedi Mama, Inc. before the week is up.

ABCs

So really?

This is just too dadgum cute not to share.  It makes my heart giddy with happiness to listen to Thing 2 sing, and I can’t NOT grin from ear to ear when I watch this video of him in his jammies, belting out his ABCs.

The Third Birthday Celebrations

I used to scrapbook; I did.  But then I never seemed to be able to keep my scrapbook up-to-date, as evidenced by the fact that I was working on the pictures of the boy first learning to crawl, when he was already in kindergarten.

That’s about the time my OCD started to tremble and cry, because LOOK HOW FAR BEHIND I AM!  When you suffer from the compulsive tendency to want your scrapbooks up-to-the-moment and you’re six years behind, you end up living in a cabin in the woods, all alone, where you sit in a rocking chair and talk to imaginary woodland creatures.

So I quit scrapbooking, because I didn’t want to become one of those people whose imaginary friend is a raccoon named Randall.  Plus, mountain cabins are usually too far away from a Starbucks to make me comfortable, and there tend to be a lot of ticks and mosquitoes in nature.

Then, sometime in the boy’s 3rd grade year of school, I started this blog.  I figured I’d give it up after a few weeks, because that’s my track record.  I’ve given up scrapbooking and laundry and membership in the Rick Springfield Fan Club, so what kind of willpower did I have to keep a blog going?

No one has been more surprised than I am that things are still happening over here at Jedi Mama, Incorporated, and usually things are fairly well caught up.

Cue Thing 2′s third birthday.

Somehow, I’ve managed to fall almost two weeks behind there.  I’m afraid I’m just a short country drive away from a dinner party of roasted hot dogs with an invisible family of chipmunks, so I’d better say some words like CHOP CHOP and get after it.

Nearly TWO ENTIRE WEEKS AGO, our baby turned three.

He got up early (because OF COURSE HE DID), and we had a whole lot of green-and-yellow presents.  Thing 2′s motto is NOTHING SAYS HAPPY BIRTHDAY AS WELL AS A JOHN DEERE DOES.

IMG_1836 IMG_1844 IMG_1848 IMG_1851 IMG_1860Thing 2 was really hoping that a combine harvester was going to turn up on the morning of his birthday, and he wasn’t disappointed.

IMG_1876 IMG_1879And then Mam and Pa gave him an “arm clock,” which made him very happy, too.

(The phrase “arm clock” is permanently in my vocabulary now.  I may never refer to a Timex as a watch again.)

IMG_1884The birthday boy wanted to party at the giant indoor playland, so we met little Cousin H and our four-year-old friend, Addy, there.

IMG_1925Later that night, Grammy and Papa showed up at our house, bearing more green-and-yellow presents and THE KING OF ALL BIRTHDAY CAKES.

IMG_1932 IMG_1940 IMG_1944 IMG_1949 IMG_1951 IMG_1928 IMG_1965 IMG_1967Teenage boys are very difficult to capture with your camera, unless you happen to find one distracted enough by his phone, that he doesn’t realize someone is busy snapping his picture.

IMG_1945A couple of days later, over the weekend, we had a big birthday party for Thing 2 at our church.  We invited all of his little buddies for pizza and cake and scooter rides, because nothing says CARPET BURN more than racing scooters through the church hallways does.

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a professional photographer, and the church is full of fluorescent lights.  This is not a good combination, if anyone is hoping for high quality photographs.  Plus, scooters in motion are very difficult to capture without a huge blur factor.  I’m just going on record and stating that these pictures are all very yellow… very blurry… and full of red eyeballs.

IMG_1997 IMG_1999 IMG_2005 IMG_2014 IMG_2012 IMG_2007 IMG_2009 IMG_2011 IMG_2010 IMG_2015 IMG_2008 IMG_2020 IMG_2019 IMG_2017 IMG_2016 IMG_2018 IMG_2004 IMG_2032 IMG_2036 IMG_2030 IMG_2027I had to snap Thing 2′s picture while our friend Paul prayed for our pizza dinner.  He was entirely too cute, standing there in prayer…

IMG_2021Hubs and I fed everyone cheap pizzas that evening, and I’m fairly certain we sent everyone home with a party favor of severe heartburn.

I should have included a bowl of Tums on the buffet table.

IMG_2022 IMG_2025 IMG_2028 IMG_2029 IMG_2031 IMG_2033 IMG_2041 IMG_2043 IMG_2042 IMG_2050 IMG_2052 IMG_2051 IMG_2048 IMG_2055 IMG_2082 IMG_2060 IMG_2062 IMG_2064 IMG_2066 IMG_2069 IMG_2076 IMG_2073 IMG_2077 IMG_2078 IMG_2083Of course there were presents.

Thing 2 can open gifts like a boss.

IMG_2084 IMG_2085 IMG_2087 IMG_2088 IMG_2091 IMG_2094 IMG_2095 IMG_2097 IMG_2149And then we had a construction-themed cake, because heavy machinery is one of Thing 2′s love languages.

His entire morning that Saturday had been spent asking IF IT WAS TIME TO EAT THE CAKE AND GET THE FRONT-END LOADER OFF OF IT.

IMG_2001My friend, Jill, took a few of these snapshots of us singing Happy Birthday to Thing 2.  She and her camera were positioned at a far better angle than I was, and Jill’s photography skills put mine to shame.

11046113_793182017404003_1288146730_o IMG_2111 IMG_2112 IMG_2113 IMG_2114 IMG_2116 IMG_2120 IMG_2125 IMG_2126 IMG_2128 IMG_2133 IMG_2134 IMG_2139 IMG_2141 IMG_2148 IMG_2157 IMG_2165 IMG_2152After everyone had a rug burn or sixteen on their knees and ankles from the scooter races… and after everyone was full of cheap pizza and cake… and after all of the wrapping paper had been picked up… and after we’d hugged everyone’s necks and said our good-byes…

… Thing 2 offered to help clean up the big youth room at our church.

IMG_2175 IMG_2177 IMG_2183And THAT, people, was how we pulled off a couple of celebrations to usher our little man into his third year.

Happy Tuesday.

The Weekend Of All The Sunshine

Well, Mother Nature finally got it right.  The weather over the weekend was glorious and 72 degrees and helped to restore my faith that winter is really behind us now, and then our Monday morning dawned cold and gray.  It was filled with the threat of rain, wind and plenty of people exclaiming, “I think I’ll take a jacket.”  It’s because Small Town isn’t Miami, and we’re accustomed to sweating one day and needing the fireplace on the following morning.

That makes us more like John Wayne out here and a little less like the Kardashians.

But the weekend sunshine was incredible, and guess what happened?

IMG_2235The golf course opened on Saturday.

The boy wasted exactly zero time calling and setting up a couple of tee times for the weekend, because he’s crazy-nuts about hitting a little white ball with a club.  Honestly, I think golfing is the only activity that distracts him from eating, so… BY ALL MEANS… I’m completely in favor of getting him onto that first green, so that he stays out of my pantry for longer than eight minutes.

The boy and his buddy, Eli, put in nine holes together on Sunday afternoon.  They weren’t incredibly excited about me having my camera at the driving range, because they’re fourteen year old boys.  I’m learning that the junior high boy is a more difficult species to photograph than the wild Big Foot is, but since I had just written a check for THE SEASON GOLF PASS at the clubhouse, the boy cut me a little slack and didn’t grumble too badly.

IMG_2241 IMG_2238 IMG_2243 IMG_2245 IMG_2252 IMG_2254The boys returned two hours later, starving to death, because it had been more than one hundred and twenty minutes since their last meal.  The boy declared, “It is SO GOOD to be back on the golf course again!  I might move to Arizona, where I can golf all year long.”

Except… no.  You have to live with your mama until you’re thirty, and then you can buy your own house and live next door, honey.  And we all know that as much as Mama loves the spring sunshine, the Lord’s blessing does not shine upon her in the Arizona dessert, where the temperature reaches a brutal 118 degrees.

We had lunch at a little Mexican hotspot in town on Saturday, because nothing says I LOVE YOU, SON, like buying your teenager a burrito that’s the exact size of a Volkswagen bus.  Since I was about to feed him the twenty-six pound beef burrito, I encouraged him to SMILE FOR YOUR LUNCH!  JUST SMILE RIGHT THERE WITH YOUR BROTHER!

IMG_3625

The toddler did not eat the giant burrito.  He had the kids’ cheese quesadilla and ate approximately six-cents’ worth of it, so that he’d still be able to whine about being hungry when we went back home.

#LivingWithToddlers

Thing 2 had a fantastic little weekend outdoors, soaking up his Vitamin D this weekend, too.  He put in THREE ENTIRE HOURS of playing at the park on Saturday.  He dug in the sand and slid down the slides.  He squealed in the swings and chased his little friend, Leah, everywhere.  By the time we were ready to go home, half of the playground was in Thing 2′s curls, in the form of dried leaves and sand and pebbles.

(I’m here to tell you that park debris will hide like little fugitives in the manes of curly-headed children.)

(It’ll necessitate a nightly bath that will leave a ring around your tub, every evening.)

(Also, the bottle of pricey conditioner will become your best friend.)

IMG_3627 IMG_3629 IMG_3632

We also pulled the toddler’s water table out of storage this weekend, because the sunshine convinced us that it was time.  It was 72 degrees outside.  Thing 2 dressed in his swim trunks, and he had a ball on our deck.

IMG_2262 IMG_2281 IMG_2268 IMG_2282 IMG_2290 IMG_2293 IMG_2259 IMG_2307And then Hubs and I introduced him to the delicacy of a red fruit roll-up.  He’d never had one before, which seemed like borderline child abuse, so we set about changing that.  Our toddler couldn’t possibly have been happier with the snack choice that his parents made for him.  He smacked his lips and expressed his appreciation over the artificially-dyed, uber-sticky, red mess of rolled up waxy-by-product, and then BEGGED for a second one.

Which we gave him.

IMG_2313And then we made the very adult decision that red fruit roll-ups are not a snack that our younger child can actually eat indoors.  No, ma’am.  He needs to enjoy the fruit roll-up outside, with a garden hose or other clean water source readily available to him.  After Fake Fruit Snack, Round Two, that boy of ours needed another shower to rinse off the red slime.

Somewhere throughout the weekend, Hubs and I even grilled steaks for dinner outside.  We sat on our deck together and marveled over the Weather Perfection.  We hung out at the park for a sweet forever with our friends, Gabe and Jodi, where we had real, adult conversations while the kids ran and played and exhausted themselves.

It was pretty much a great weekend.

And then Monday came.

There was work for Hubs, and school for the boy, and plenty o’ laundry for me.  Even Thing 2 had his preschool class this morning, because Mondays affect EVERYONE.  Since the park dirt was washed out of his hair and the fruit roll-up was washed off of his face, and since he looked dreadfully cute…

IMG_2321 IMG_2324… I snapped a couple of pictures this morning before I dropped him off to study his ABCs and color his Ralph Lauren shirt with magic markers.

Welcome back to the work week, y’all.

I Miss My Hour, Too

Okay… so I never blog on Fridays, because… well… FRIDAYS.  And because it’s the weekend, and because it’s Family Time, with a capital F and T.  But then THIS happened along on Facebook this morning, and I laughed so hard, I almost wet myself.  I think that’s reason enough to share it, after I put it on Sister’s Facebook wall and laughed another thirty minutes over it.

Basically, I’m pretty sure I’ve watched it three hundred times already.

And really?  “No tuna, please,” makes me howl, because Hubs and I always say that you should never order tuna salad in a restaurant, because only the Good Lord knows what’s been hidden in it.  I could go on and on and quote a dozen more sayings out of it, but I won’t.

Just know that I love this video, because it exactly sums up my thoughts on losing an hour in the name of Daylight Savings Time.  I think I would like to be best friends with this woman and treat her to coffee… or a power drink…

Magic Marker Thursday

Thing 2 went to his preschool class this morning.  When I picked him up, he came running out of his classroom door, happy to see me, and completely excited to tell me that he’d had the best time!

His teacher was right behind him.  She just grinned and said, “I.  Am.  So.  Sorry.  But… he had a blast.”

And then we came home, where we typed HOW DO YOU REMOVE PERMANENT MARKER FROM SKIN into the genius named Google.

IMG_2226 IMG_2231

 

The Little Bandit

Well.

Today was about eighty-four hours long.

That probably has a lot to do with the fact that Thing 2 was up at 1:30 this morning, asking if it was time to take his shower and have oatmeal.  I’m fairly certain that the inventor of Daylight Savings Time never had toddlers of his own, because we’re struggling over here at our house with it, and that’s definitely something that a toddler-owning gentleman would take into consideration before he started moving the clocks back and forth, back and forth, and HERE!  LET’S MOVE THAT HOUR HAND AGAIN.  And it isn’t just the toddler who’s struggling with the time change.  I couldn’t work up what it took to get into bed while it was still pretty much broad daylight outside last night, either, because I wanted to enjoy the beautiful spring weather we had until the very last, possible second.

By then, I had my second wind and stayed awake until after 10:00.

I know that college students consider that a LET’S GET A PARTY STARTED NOW kind of time, but I consider 10 pm to be the middle of the night.  I think it’s only a matter of months before my age doesn’t even consider a giant pair of Hane’s all-cotton underwear, that come clear up past the belly button and are held in place with a two-inch-wide strip of elastic, to be something dreadful.

Hubs stayed up last night to watch a recorded hockey game off the DVR, because THE AVALANCHE AND THE WILD, PEOPLE!  Not that this means much to me, but those in the center of the hockey circles will understand that this is THE match-up of the year, and they should make popcorn and enjoy all the fights, in between all the goals.  It’s kind of like BOXING meets HOCKEY, and becomes a HOCKXING match.  And here’s the thing:  Hubs already SAW that game when it happened, but when the score tips in his favor and the Avs beat the Wild, then it’s a game worth locking into the DVR for life and watching multiple times.

And yet… the man cannot understand my desire to see Steel Magnolias and Pretty Woman one hundred times each.

When Hubs finally came to bed at 11:30, he tromped through the bedroom and brushed his teeth in a manner that sounded like an entire elephant family had invited a buffalo family over for dinner and dancing in their clogs.  Naturally, I woke up, because a mosquito’s sneeze can wake me up.  When the big animals party, there’s simply no way I’m going to sleep through it.

And then Thing 2 got out of bed at 1:30, so it was a lovely night.

We got up this morning to the smell of boiling oak.

What?  You’ve never smelled boiling oak?  Well, it isn’t my favorite smell in the world.  The boy is taking a wood working class at school, and they’ve been working on shaping strips of oak by boiling them and shaping them with clamps, and I’m all for it.  I’m sure that there will come a day when the boy’s future wife says, “I wish you could build me a new dresser, and wow!  Could you bend the oak and make it all curvy?” long before he ever needs to balance chemical equations.  It’s all about USABLE LIFE SKILLS, PEOPLE.  The boy had homework to do for this class last night, so he threw a chunk of white oak in a pot on my stove after dinner last night.  Also, it should be noted that he had used wood glue to secure TWO strips of oak first, and THEN he boiled it.  So maybe it wasn’t so much the smell of simmering oak as it was the smell of simmering glue that made me want to pull my own eyelashes out and consult a realtor about moving.

The smell lingered all night long and was here to greet us first thing this morning.

It was the smell of homework, the boy said.  He added, “Of course homework stinks.”

And then, THIS TODDLER…

IMG_2218 IMG_2221… looked pretty stinking cute this morning in his shorts, because GORGEOUS SPRING WEATHER and THANK YOU, DEAR JESUS.  When the kid asked for shorts this morning, I said, “Absolutely!”

And the truth is… he WAS pretty cute, until I went into the bathroom after Hubs had left for work and the boy had left for school.  Thing 2 was watching a video off of You Tube on the tablet in the living room about feller bunchers clear-cutting a forest and getting the logs ready to haul on semis.

(For the record?  I had no idea what a feller buncher was before Thing 2 came into our lives.  No.  Idea.)

I brushed my teeth.  I put some mascara on.  I added lip gloss.  I pulled my hair back with a bobby pin.  I was finished in about six minutes flat, because when you’re elderly, the beauty routine gets cut down to seconds, instead of hours.  I think this happens right before you decide that Grandma Underwear is just fine.  There you are, with a six-minute beauty routine, and the next thing you know, you’re buying pantaloons.

(And really?  Watching Steel Magnolias a hundred and nine times is useful, because it let’s you know the Hair Vision of the mature woman:  “Just rat it and make it look like a brown football helmet.”)

I guess in those six minutes, the local John Deere tractors became a little envious of all the work the feller bunchers were doing in the video…

… so they went to work themselves.

Don’t ever call a John Deere lazy.

Apparently a big shipment of Lucky Charms, straight out of the pantry, was needed in another state.  The trailers were loaded, and the fallout was considered just part of a day’s work.  Thing 2 wasn’t even remotely concerned about that fallout, because he was very busy picking the artificially-dyed marshmallows out of it as his morning snack.

So… to Miss Lisa and Mr. Mark, who grinned with sheer happiness on Thing 2′s birthday, when they presented him with a bag of goodies and gifts, that included his very own box of Lucky Charms cereal… please know that that it was one of his favorite gifts EVER.

IMG_2214 IMG_2213 IMG_2212 IMG_2208 IMG_2210The shipment of dried cereal and delicious marshmallows got out on time, and the toddler had one of his favorite snacks this morning.  And, because he’s the second child, I let  him play in the mess for a solid twenty minutes.  I think he was quoting Smokey and the Bandit, too…

“For the good old American lifestyle:  For the money… for the glory… and for the fun…” 

And roadblocks weren’t any problem with Thing 2′s trucking adventure this morning.

I’d call that a win-win-WIN situation.

THEN!

Well, the big quote of the day was, “Hey, Mommy?  Can I use scissors and make you a haircut?”

Which is why all of our scissors are now on total lock-down, and will need a pass code, two fingerprint scans, a retina scan and twenty-four types of ID, along with a three-day waiting period, to check a pair out.

Can we haul Lucky Charms cereal in our tractors?  Yes.  Mama can live with that.  Can we use scissors to make a haircut?

No.  No, we may not.

Happy Tuesday, people.  Happy Tuesday.  May the time change be more gentle on you that it has been on us, and may your hardwood floors be clean.

That Time We Slept And Then Went To Preschool

Well, all the walking and the fresh springlike air yesterday afternoon seemed to bring the goal we had to a reality.

Thing 2 slept all night long.

Glory, glory and also Hallelujah!

Of course, he didn’t go down without a fight.  I rocked him to sleep at 8:00 last night, even though every Child Sleep Expert With A PhD Behind His Name claims that this is the very last thing a mother should be doing with a three-year-old.  So sue me.  I kind of adore rocking children to sleep, and I rocked the boy to sleep every night until it just didn’t happen any more, which was sometime around the age of three-and-a-half.  He simply decided one night that he was a big boy of thirty-one pounds, and he could probably go to sleep with just a story and the covers pulled up and tucked beneath his chin.  So even though the Child Sleep Experts With A PhD Behind Their Names believe that rocking babies to sleep every night leads to them going off to college with no real idea on how to put themselves to bed, without a mommy and her rocking chair nearby, I’m here to prove them wrong.  My fourteen-year-old shoves his earbuds into his ears every night, sets his phone to PLAY SOME MUSIC FOR ME, and he goes to sleep without any issues at all.

So yes.  Thing 2 and I rocked last night, and I won’t lie.  I was kind of feeling a bit tearful, because apparently sleep deprivation can make a grown girl just want to bawl.  And then the most beautiful thing happened:  Thing 2 sighed and fell asleep right at 8 pm.  I carried him over to his bed and tucked him all in for the night.  I turned his white noise machine on high, to drown out the sounds of the rest of his family partying and blowing up balloons and tooting horns and throwing confetti and cutting cake, which is what our toddler is absolutely convinced happens after he falls asleep, which is why he fights it so hard.

And then I quietly closed the door to Thing 2′s bedroom and joined the celebrations, which is code for I HAD TO CLEAN UP THE KITCHEN BECAUSE I HAD COOKED DINNER IN IT.  I was frightfully busy getting the leftover jambalaya put into the refrigerator and loading the dishwasher at 8:15, when Thing 2 waltzed out of his bedroom and said, “Hi!  I had a good nap!”

And that, people, is when I sort of fell into the sleep deprivation canyon called MOMMY IS CRYING IN THE KITCHEN, SO SOMEONE SHOULD POUR HER A GLASS OF WINE.

I marched Thing 2 back to his room.  I tucked him back into bed.  And then I put a baby gate in his bedroom doorway and said, “You’re going to sleep, and you can cry it out until you do.”  I’m betting that the Child Sleep Experts With The PhD Behind Their Names would call this child abuse, but Mama was one more bite of Rice Krispies away from snapping.

Thing 2 stood at the baby gate and bawled his head off about HOW UNFAIR HIS LIFE WAS.  And that’s pretty much when he sized me up and shot me a look that said, “So… we’re going to cry it out tonight, are we?  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, LADY!!!  You’d better sit yourself down and cover your ears, because I’m about to unleash a decibel that’ll kill an elephant dead.”

By 8:25, he was done sobbing, and had resorted to some soft whining on his bed about how he was missing a party in the kitchen.  I buckled.  I scaled the baby gate, scooped him up, and rocked him.

#MamaCaved  #DontJudge  #SoWhat  #ToddlersDontStayLittleForever

He was sound asleep at 8:35, people, and no one heard a single peep out of him until 5:45 this morning.

So… I guess we’ll keep him.

And then…

… guess which three-year-old started preschool this morning?

IMG_2202 IMG_2201 IMG_2203 IMG_2207He’s joining a little class at a local preschool (where he’ll go this next fall) for an hour, twice a week.  He’s meeting new friends and scribbling with Crayons and using the slide and eating orange crackers shaped like goldfish and counting.

And an hour on Monday and Thursday mornings gives me just enough time to be at Starbucks, before I go back to pick him up and hear about the injustices of his morning.  He didn’t waste any time at all telling me that the teacher gave him a little cup of crackers this morning, when what he had asked for was CHOCOLATE.

Apparently he feels that Snack Time should be a little more accommodating, if his parents are going to shell out tuition for two hours a week.

But… then he told me that he had played at an indoor table filled with pretend snow.  He told me that it was fun, and he “didn’t push the girl next to him.”

Right.

Y’all have a merry Monday evening.

The Threenager

This is what THREE looks like:

IMG_1981 IMG_1983Because yes... Thing 2 is officially three years old now.

We call him our THREENAGER, because he’s actually three… going on fourteen.

We also worry that being a threenager will become the time that he perfects his talent for Vandalism With A Spray Can, because, while Hubs and I were very busy brushing our teeth in the bathroom on Friday morning, Thing 2 found the can of Pam cooking spray in our pantry.  I think it goes without saying that he used it liberally and greased up the hardwood floor in our kitchen to some level between VASELINED PIGLET IN COUNTY FAIR PIG WRESTLING and THE BOTTOM OF CLARK GRISWALD’S SAUCER SLED.

Y’all!  I’m lucky to still be here, with both of my hips fully in tact.  I stepped onto the oil spill in our kitchen bright and early on Friday morning, and did some sliding that’s usually reserved for those times that the ski slopes open up their runs to kids on sleds.  At the speed I was traveling, I should have had lightning bolts and sonic booms behind me.  My arms flailed like windmills on crack, until I finally came to rest against the far wall of the kitchen, all in one piece.

I actually looked exactly like one of these… in a hurricane:

thHad I been in a parking lot, I could have attracted the attention of every motorist for fifty miles, and drawn their attention to the nearest stack of on-sale snow tires.

Jesus, be near.

When I came to rest against the far wall of our kitchen, panting and trying to catch my breath as I assessed the pulled muscles to determine if I’d ever be able to do professional gymnastics again, I realized that seven square acres of our hardwood floors were shining as brightly as the sun, slicked up in non-stick grease.

I asked Thing 2 about it.

He said, “It was a accident, Mommy.  Just a accident.  I need a kiss.”

And like a sucker-punched arresting officer, I gave him his plea deal.  I kissed him, because he puckered up his tiny little lips and looked too cute NOT to kiss.  And then Hubs and I set about the business of using a bowl of Dawn dish soap to cut the grease, which was chased by some steam mop action.

By 7:00 on Friday morning, my kitchen floors were so clean, it looked like the fairy godmother and her magic wand had come to visit us.  That’s when I pulled Thing 2 aside and gently explained to him that if he EVER sprays Pam all over every square inch of my kitchen floor again, I will find a retired Marine drill sergeant to take him in as a foster child.

The rest of our weekend could be considered low-key, compared to our slippery escapades on Friday morning.  We tossed down a couple of birthday parties to celebrate Thing 2′s arrival into his threenager year, as we had dinner at home one evening and a toddler-filled party another afternoon.  I’ll have to dish up the snapshots (Because OF COURSE THERE ARE PICTURES!) on another night this week, because MaMaw just ain’t got it in her to sort through her memory card right now.

That could be directly related to the fact that the time sprung forward last night and robbed me of an hour, which really didn’t matter, because Thing 2 was really and truly and literally awake ALL! NIGHT! LONG!  By my best guess, that toddler slept four-and-a-half hours.  He had just come off the raw excitement of a friend-filled birthday party, where we fed them sugary cake, and he had a new pile of birthday gifts to play with.

He slept quite well from 8 pm to 10:30 pm… and then he got himself out of bed and hollered, “I took a good nap!”  Which was code for, “I’m all rested up, so I’d like to have another look at that new tractor-shaped flashlight and the monster truck and that book on all the construction equipment that I brought home as party loot a few hours ago.”  The subtitle was, “I’m a Threenager Now, So I’m Staying Up Late Like Fourteen-Year-Olds Do.”

Bless his heart.

He went back to sleep at 2:30 this morning, which was the OLD 2:30, because by then the clock had already made the jump to 3:30 in the morning, and I was pretty much a messed up sack of exhausted emotions, rocking back and forth in the corner.

Anyway.

Today was a new day with new mercies, and I was in love with our toddler once again… when he got up at 5:30.  Since the day was so gorgeous, I took the boys on a big walk this afternoon.  We needed some fresh air.  We needed to stretch our legs.  We needed to physically EXHAUST the toddler, so that his first choice of things to do tonight was going to be SLEEP.

IMG_2184 IMG_2187 IMG_2192 IMG_2188 IMG_2189 IMG_2195 IMG_2197 IMG_2199We walked and we walked and WE WALKED in the sunshine this afternoon, until Thing 2′s short little legs cried out for us to stop.

As we were near the homestretch, that kid actually laid down on the sidewalk and said, “I so tired!”  Another couple and their son were walking by us at that exact moment, and the mom said, “Don’t you just love when toddlers utter that phrase out loud?!”

Yes.  Yes, I do.  Because here’s to hoping that I SO TIRED translates into I’M JUST GONNA LIE DOWN HERE ON MY BED AND I’LL SEE YOU IN TEN TO TWELVE HOURS.

Y’all have a good Sunday night.