My Home Was Not Selected For The Tour

I’m sure you’ll be very happy to know that I didn’t deal with a single comet-like booger today.  In fact, my need for Emergency Sanitation Measures was pretty much nonexistent today, even though I taught PE for what seemed like a hundred and six hours.  The closest I came to needing a Germ-X shower was when one of my 4th graders took a volleyball to the nose, and SORT OF ended up with some blood.  It was all very minor… nothing to write home about... and because he was a big 4th grader with loads of experience in walking to the bathroom alone, I simply said, “Run to the bathroom and get a paper towel.  You just have a few drops going on here.”

We didn’t even need to employ the basic knowledge that we all learn in our yearly Bloodborne Pathogens video.  A simple wet towel to the nose cleaned up the itty-bitty mess, and I called it a successful day.

And then… one of my kindergarten girls was telling me about her dog at home, who is supposedly older than her grandmother.  I’m not sure I believed that part, because of that little thing called LIFE EXPECTANCY OF A HOUND.  I ended up asking her what her dog’s name was, and she said, “His name is Cocoa, even though he’s not brown.  Cocoa is a completely white dog, and that is total IRONY!”

Um… yeah.  I hope your jaw just dropped like mine did when you put KINDERGARTNER together with SHE JUST USED THE WORD IRONY APPROPRIATELY IN A SENTENCE.  I had to ask her how on earth she knew that word, and she said, “My dad always says that’s why Cocoa’s name is funny; because it’s irony, because Cocoa makes you think about brown dogs, but our dog is just pure white, so it’s kind of backwards.”

Yep.  She nailed it.


It’s on days like this… when nothing interesting happens, beyond kindergarten girls giving me the full definition of big words… that I struggle the most to come up with something to write about for the blog, so today I will leave you with a little eye-candy treat.

Apparently, there are real home bloggers, who make oodles of dollars at blogging (as compared to me, because I make exactly zero-point-zero dollars), and they have all dolled their homes up with tremendously wonderful fall decor, which they have shared online.  Normally, I would never have the time to actually sit long enough in front of my computer to scroll through all the decorating posts on all the different blogs, but yesterday, Thing 2 watched Donald Duck on the iPad with a bowl of popcorn, and he didn’t move for twenty-five entire minutes.

Twenty-five minutes, y’all.  And they were minutes that were all lined up in a row!!

I think it was a new record for us.

And while he did that… while I should have been cleaning up a spill or folding a load of laundry or scrubbing up hairspray fallout off of my bathroom sink… I simply sat before the computer and gazed at some amazing houses.

I could never enter our home in one of these online home tours, because ain’t nobody got time to waste looking at poorly-lit photos of our living room with fourteen hundred Matchbox cars scattered across the floor and seven single socks laying around.  Nor does anyone want to see the syrup puddle from four days ago on my kitchen counter that has obviously become a permanent, gelatinous fixture here at the Jedi Manor.  And then there are the boys’ bedrooms, which look exactly like the horrible photos online, following a devastating tornado, and my own master bathroom, which has so many long, brown hairs on the floor, it resembles a beauty parlor.

(Hubs keeps asking me, “How are you not bald, with all the hair you lose every week?”)

(By the grace of Jesus, Hubs.)


I’m ready to pack my bags and move right into a couple of these houses, especially (MOST!!! ESPECIALLY!!!) the tour from The Inspired Room blog, which I secretly stalk on a weekly basis, because I love her floors and her kitchen more than I love grande, no-water, Oprah chai tea lattes from Starbucks.  Seriously, I adore the house at The Inspired Bedroom!

But then I realized that what I love MOST about her floors and her kitchen…

… is just that they’re CLEAN.  There are no cats at The Inspired Room to hack up a hairball on the hardwood floors.  (There are dogs living at The Inspired Room, but they are very mannerly and more than likely have royal hounds in their bloodlines, and they would never dream of causing a mess on the polished floors.  I’m sure that those big hounds ask for slippers when they come in, so they don’t track specks of ANYTHING across the immaculate hardwood.  I wish they could give our two cats behavior lessons.)  No one has spilled juice over there at that blog, either.  No one has dropped an entire bowl of Fruity Pebbles cereal into a full tub of bathwater (I promise; that really and truly and Scout’s honor happened at our home this weekend!).  The beds are made.  No one has left the Ritz cracker box out on the counter.  (Which, of course, would be smack-dab EMPTY, because the Ritz crackers would already have been smashed to dust by a toddler on the floor.)  There are no tall towers of junk mail and paper that are stretched into the heavens from the cabinet in the dining room.  I’m sure that even her garbage has all been hauled out, and that her garbage bucket sings with good health and cleanliness, and her kitchen junk drawer probably doesn’t need prayed over if there is to be any hope of getting it closed again, once it’s been opened.


You can click RIGHT HERE to start that online tour of beautifully decorated homes.  There’s lots of photos from the first home, and then, at the end of the blog post, you’ll find the OTHER homes (including The Inspired Room) to click on.

Personally, I think we should start an online tour of homes lived in by energetic toddlers and tired mothers, so that we FEEL BETTER ABOUT OURSELVES!  We can say, “Oh, look!  These snapshots of Jane’s bathroom show MILDEW in the toilet!”  And then we can say, “Oh, look!  Jedi Mama has a snack cup of mandarin oranges in light syrup that fell out of the pantry (OR WAS IT PUSHED TO ITS DEATH BY A TODDLER??), and she never bothered to USE REAL SOAP AND WATER to mop it up, so there’s now Saltine cracker dust stuck in it, and it all looks like a sand trap at a golf course.”  And, suddenly, the fact that we have mildew in our own toilets and questionable spots on our kitchen floor won’t make us feel like an isolated island of slovenliness.

Y’all have a good Tuesday night.


Snow. Sunshine. Tennis. Goats.

I should start tonight by telling you that I am, without a doubt, a real mother.  It’s kind of like when Pinocchio became a real boy.  Or when the Velveteen Rabbit became real.

I always just assumed that I was a real mother, because I have caught vomit in my bare hands… more than once.  For some reason, THAT seemed to be the defining act that separated REAL MOTHERS from the I-STILL-HAVE-A-DAY-JOB MOTHERS.  Standing in front of a small person, without the benefit of a bucket or a plastic Walmart bag or even an empty Ritz crackers box, while you cupped your hands together and WILLINGLY accepted the vomit into them, in order to KEEP IT OFF THE FLOOR ALREADY, is a terrific act of courage.

And then there was today.

While Thing 2 was snuggled in my lap to rock for his afternoon nap, I noticed that LOOK AT THAT!  IT’S A LITTLE DRIED BOOGER ON THE EDGE OF YOUR NOSE.  And so I did what any mother would do, real or otherwise.

I used my fingernail to grab the little dried up speck.

The only thing was…

… I had no idea that it was a comet with a five-foot tail.

Oh, yes.  The dried up bit was the decoy part, while the wet and sloppy, five-feet-worth of tail was wrapped twice around the toddler’s brain.

And since we were SITTING DOWN, I was unable to actually take a step backwards to keep on pulling… so I did the next best thing.

I just started wrapping that comet tail around my index finger, until all five feet had broken free of the nasal cavity.

And then Thing 2 took an enormous breath in and yelled, “Look, Mommy!”  And he started breathing like a bull dog on inhaler treatments, in and out of his nose.  I think he was plum amazed at ALL THE OXYGEN AVAILABLE!

The poor darling.

And yes… for the record… there was some cleanup and some sterilization involved, and now I’m a real mother.

None of that has anything to do with tonight’s blog post, because EWWW!  Who writes about barehanded vomit catches and the world’s biggest boogers?  We’re just a PG place here at Jedi Mama, Incorporated.

On Thursday, we woke up to snow, because apparently we hopscotched over FALL.  On Friday morning, with the thermometers shouting out that it was a balmy 31 degrees with an icy breeze, I bundled Thing 2 up so that we could GET.  OUT.  OF.  THE HOUSE!!!

IMG_9126I won’t lie to you:  It was COLD.  And that’s saying something, because I live inside of a body that’s trying to give me a preview of how things are going to shake down when menopause actually rolls around.  My doctor insists that I’m too young to be going through HOT!  I’M SO HOT!  I’M ROASTING! I FEEL LIKE I’M ON A ROTISSERIE ABOVE A FIRE PIT BUILT BY NATIVES WEARING LOIN CLOTHS AND BONE JEWELRY! right now, which makes me love her more than I did to begin with, but dang.

I am never cold any more, and I want to throw every pair of flannel sheets that we own into the city landfill.

And, with that said… I was cold on Friday morning, while Thing 2 stomped around in the snow.

IMG_9129 IMG_9133 IMG_9136 IMG_9137 IMG_9139After a while, we met up with our 4th grade friend, Daniel.  He and his sister are homeschooled, and they are very possibly the sweetest children we know.  Their manners are stellar; their hearts are golden.  I’m pretty sure that Jesus does nothing but grin from ear to ear, all day long, at Daniel and his sister.

Daniel and Thing 2 played all over together in the snow.

IMG_9141 IMG_9151 IMG_9161 IMG_9164And then Daniel — THE SWEETEST BOY I KNOW!! — sat down with Thing 2 and taught him how to eat snow!!!

This is just a confirmation to how laid back I am with my second son.  Had this been the boy at age two, I would have pounced on them and tried to wash everyone’s tongues with Germ-X because PLAGUE!!  PLAGUE!!!!!!

But it’s Thing 2, and he’s Number Two, and his immune system is as solid as steel.

The way I saw things on Friday… I wasn’t going to have to give our toddler a snack when we got home, because he ate his snack while we were out.

IMG_9168 IMG_9178IMG_9188So those were snapshots of what things were like on Friday MORNING in Small Town, USA, and then…

… THIS is a snapshot of what things were like on Sunday afternoon here:

IMG_9206On Sunday, we had the most glorious fall weather of EVER!  The snow had melted, the air was warm and calm, the breeze was gentle and cooling, and we could have been in a Normal Rockwell painting.  Only in Small Town, USA can you go from SNOW-AND-FREEZING on Friday to GLORIOUSLY-WARM-AND-PERFECT on Sunday.

The boy and his friend Kellen took their very first tennis lesson of ever on Sunday afternoon.

IMG_9208Hubs and I had been thinking for a while now that the boy would probably dig tennis, but we had never taken the time to pursue lessons for him.

(That might have been because I was always very busy cleaning up all the boxes of crackers that Thing 2 takes out of our pantry and stomps to dust on the floor.)


(No.  I’m never dramatic.)

(Why do you ask?)

But, on Sunday, we had our act together enough to join Kellen for lessons, because Kellen’s mom made the phone call and scheduled them.

(She doesn’t have a toddler at her house whose Indian name would be Walks In Cracker Crumbs.)

IMG_9221 IMG_9224 IMG_9226 IMG_9231 IMG_9235 IMG_9240 IMG_9243 IMG_9245 IMG_9246 IMG_9256 IMG_9258 IMG_9260 IMG_9253While the big boys were busy learning backhand and forehand swings, Thing 2 ran sixty-three miles around the adjoining tennis court.

(And no.  I never exaggerate, either.)

IMG_9209 IMG_9212 IMG_9217Thing 2 LOVES soccer.

Loves!!  It!!

In fact, I have no idea HOW we are going to survive the boy’s fall soccer season, which is also upon us right now, because Thing 2 cannot understand why HE can’t be on the junior high soccer team with the big kids!  He has no idea why HE must sit on the sidelines and NOT PLAY SOCCER HIMSELF!

He insists that his sneakers are actually called Soccer Shoes.

And yesterday, he played soccer by himself with a tennis ball.

IMG_9218Hubs and I have no doubt that Thing 2 will probably ROCK the soccer field, when he’s FINALLY old enough to be on a real team.

We also have no doubt that he’ll probably be handed a few red cards over the season.

IMG_9271 IMG_9272 IMG_9273 IMG_9262 IMG_9268 IMG_9269 IMG_9270 IMG_9297 IMG_9298 IMG_9308Thing 2 also entertained himself with his tractor at a little table next to the tennis courts…

IMG_9321 IMG_9317 IMG_9309 IMG_9312 IMG_9322 IMG_9323 IMG_9324And?

Well, I know that I saw it ALL OF THE STINKING TIME…

… but my boys really ARE the cutest ones this side of the Mississippi River.

IMG_9329 IMG_9332 IMG_9339 IMG_9340 IMG_9345 IMG_9364 IMG_9362

The boy and Kellen both declared that YES!  TENNIS IS A TOTAL BLAST!  They’re booked for more lessons next weekend, in fact.

Later last night, the boy said, “Well, it wasn’t golf, and golf really is the most fun sport in the world, but I loved tennis today, Mom!”

After tennis lessons were over, we dropped by Kellen’s house to show his new goats to Thing 2.

IMG_9372 IMG_9374 IMG_9377 IMG_9383I have decided that our family needs a little goat!

I was in love with both of them, and so were our boys.

The big boys got some spear-throwing in, as well as some wrestling moves practiced while we were at Kellen’s house.

IMG_9396 IMG_9403 IMG_9409 IMG_9417 IMG_9427 IMG_9435 IMG_9439And then…

… this is where I feared things would start.

Kellen introduced the toddler to Goat Riding yesterday afternoon, and we know that our son won’t be satisfied until he moves up the ranks and leaves the little goats behind…

IMG_9444 IMG_9447… so that he can ride the big bulls in the rodeo.

And THAT will put me in an asylum for sure, because my baby IS NOT going to be a bull rider, regardless of the fact that Hubs keeps insisting that Thing 2 is TOUGH ENOUGH to ride the big beasts at the rodeo.

The end.

Watching one of my children crawl over the chutes and get on the back of a bull will put me in the asylum faster than an entire dump truck load of cracker dust will do.

And that, people, is going to do it for tonight.  We have the boy’s first soccer game here in a few minutes, and then I have to dream up something quick and easy to make for dinner, because I know that I’ll be dealing with a house filled with starving menfolk.

Y’all have a merry Monday evening.

He Really IS Sweet…

So we woke up to snow first thing this morning, even though our Southern friends are still wearing flip flops and complaining about the heat and the humidity.

Precisely, we woke up to snow at 4:30 this morning, because THAT is when Thing 2 decided to make his appearance in the doorway, shouting out his usual round of good mornings.  I promptly sent him back to bed and told him that it was THE MIDDLE OF THE STINKING NIGHT!!!  He promptly got back out of bed, turned on his bedroom light (because he’s tall enough to reach the switch now, even though I have no idea how THAT happened), and began pushing Thomas around the tracks on his train table.

And then… THIS is how things looked at 9:17 this morning:

IMG_9120When you get up at 4:30 in the morning and then spend the next four-and-a-half hours pushing the dining room chairs around to crawl up onto kitchen counters with, you know it’s going to be a rough day.  After he was completely grounded from the chairs… after our chairs had been put on top of the dining room table, because Mama couldn’t take it any longer!!!… I went downstairs to switch a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer… and Thing 2 pried open the heat vent on the bathroom floor, filled a cup full of water at the bathroom sink, and then proceeded to POUR.  THAT.  WATER.  right down the vent.  Later, he squirted half of a bottle of lotion all over the back of the toilet.  Then he ran outside in his bare feet, in the snow, and went on to scream his instant dislike for all of Small Town County to hear.  I simply stood at the doorway and said, “If you come back inside, you can warm your bare feet up.”  And that toddler, in all of his stubbornness, shook his head at me and yelled, “I no come inside!!”  And then he yelled, “Feet are cold!!”  And then he yelled, “I be outside!  I see snow!!”  And then he yelled, “Feet are so cold!”

Yeah… I had to go outside and haul the barefooted bandit in, because he was going to suffer frostbite before he just came in and put on a pair of socks already.

By 8:45 this morning, I was wondering exactly how much I would regret my choice tomorrow, if I just traded him to a roaming band of gypsies for snake oil and a handful of glass beads.

In the end, Thing 2 ASKED for a nap at 9:00, and I emphatically agreed and clapped my hands with enthusiasm.  By 9:17, he was passed out cold, with his orange-and-blue Bronco Boy over his eyes, using it as a light-blocking sleep mask.

(Yes.  That’s how our toddler sleeps.  He has an entire basket filled with BOYS in his room, which are really Dr. Scholl’s fuzzy, women’s slipper socks.  He loves them all like he loves a security blanket.  He likes to pile them in his bed for naps and bedtime [See them up there in the snapshot?  And, let it be known... he stole the pink one from my sister's house.], and he always puts one across his eyes when he goes to sleep.)

The rest of the day went fairly well, considering that he still has an awful cold, with enough snot pouring down his face to indicate that the FAUCETS OF POOR HEALTH have been thrown open wide.  By the time the boy got home from the junior high, I was already glad that I’d made the decision to KEEP Thing 2, and not pass him along to traveling gypsies or a convent full of nice nuns, who would have made him kneel on hardwood floors all day with a Rosary in his hands, because WATER IN THE HEAT VENT, Y’ALL!!  This kid makes me laugh.  He makes me laugh HARD.  Of course, he makes me yank my own hair out by the fistfuls when he pours water down heat vents and covers a toilet in baby lotion, but I’m content with the fact that I didn’t get rid of him permanently today.  Especially when I handed him a couple of Ritz crackers this afternoon, and he said, “Fank you, Mommy.  I wub you, Mommy.”

(Translation for those of you who don’t speak fluent Toddler Talk:  “Thank you, Mommy.  I love you, Mommy.”)

(I WUB that little boy, too.  I WUB him a whole lot.)

But then… while I was chopping up an onion to toss into a pot of homemade chili that I was making for dinner this evening, Thing 2 brought two baby wipes into the kitchen.  He said, “I clean truck, Mommy!”  And then he set about the business of wiping down his giant Tonka truck, like he was an overjoyed archaeologist, polishing up a newly found golden vase from King Tut’s tomb.  Apparently, the thrill of washing your own truck starts early when you’re a boy, as I know how many trips Hubs has taken through the car wash, all in the name of MAKING HER SHINE.  I kept on with the onion, and then I heard the unmistakable SNAP of our little outlet covering on the living room wall, where our central vacuum cleaner hose plugs in.

Yep.  The toddler had stuffed BOTH baby wipes into that spring-loaded, tiny little door, so those are clogging up the pipes now.

(Does wine go with homemade chili??!!)

And then my big boy came home from school complaining of a sore throat and a headache, and I COULD BARELY RUN IN PE TODAY, BECAUSE I COULDN’T BREATHE OUT OF MY NOSE, and DO WE HAVE ANY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP IN A CAN, MOM?

No.  We have no canned soup.  But what we have is chili.  Making it cost me the use of my central vacuum cleaner today.

Welcome, Winter.  Welcome.  You’re already kicking us hard.


It’s Wednesday.

My Wednesdays are even more busy than my Tuesdays, if that’s at all possible.  It’s like cramming thirty-eight hours into twelve, but then Thursdays dawn, and I’m all, “Look at my calendar of daily events!  It’s empty.  I can do anything today!”  And then I repeat that through Monday evening, which makes me feel guilty for complaining that I have two packed-to-the-break-the-suitcase levels each week.

And today I was prepared enough that I really and truly put a roast in the crockpot before I headed out the door first thing.  THAT little event… when dinner was JUST READY tonight, as we were scrambling to get back out the door to youth group… made me feel like Martha Stewart had nothing on me.  I was suddenly the Grand Poobah, Commander-in-Chief, Lady High Admiral, Her Majesty, The Queen of preparedness.  I get up while it is still night, and prepare food for my family.  I am like the merchant ships, bringing food from afar.  My children arise and call me blessed, and my husband praises me.  That one roast showed us all that I can be a Proverbs 31 kind of girl, too.  Why… next thing you know… I’ll be selecting wool and flax and working with eager hands, and providing food for my servants.

(And I hope that those servants aren’t too far off from arriving.  I need them to get some laundry done around here, and it’d be really great if they could scrub down the bathrooms, and maybe fetch us a full cart of groceries from the store.)

Plus, it rained today, and there was indoor recess at school, which always makes a teacher want to pull her own thumbnails off with pliers, just to transfer the mental pain to something physical, which can be endured.

So that’s what I have for you tonight.


… and THIS.

cc20fb3fcf805ed2a640f4ce57555cd8Isn’t that the truth?

Because where else do you shout out, “One, two, three… Eyes on me!” and expect the response of “One, two… Eyes on you”?

And LOOK!  One early morning before school last week, I found the boys watching some Donald Duck on the boy’s laptop in his bedroom.

IMG_8918 IMG_8921 IMG_8923Apparently, days just GO BETTER, if you begin them with a little Donald.

Y’all carry on and have a lovely Wednesday night.

Just A Quick Tuesday Post

I just have a few things tonight, because TUESDAY.  And my Tuesdays and Wednesdays lay me flat with ALL THE BUSY, from early morning to late night.  I can barely summon the strength to order a pizza over the phone on Tuesday nights, after back-to-back PE classes all day and soccer practice and DID ANYONE PAY THE UTILITY BILL THIS MONTH and WE’RE TOTALLY OUT OF CLEAN SOCKS… AGAIN, let alone dream up something noteworthy to blog about.

1.  I have a statistics analyzer on my blog, which simply shows me WHAT COUNTRY viewers come from.  I can’t narrow it down any more than that.  So… if you pop in from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, all I will know is that another hit from the United States happened.  And if you click on my blog from Irricana, clear up in Alberta, I’ll be told that somebody from Canada stopped by, and nothing more.  It’s because I’ve been too cheap to invest in a decent statistics counter, and I really don’t care WHERE people come from.  Knowing that I have a US visitor is fine, instead of knowing that I have a visitor straight from Napa Valley.

BUT… what I CAN TELL from this cheap and generic counter is WHAT PHRASES folks type into the Google and end up here with.

Last night, someone came to Jedi Mama, Inc. by firing up their Google and typing in VERY SMART COMPUTER PEOPLES.

(Because apparently people wasn’t plural enough, so they added the S, right there on the end.)

Dear New Visitor, you might be in the wrong place, if you were hoping that the CEO here was involved in a group of very smart computer peoples.  On Sunday, I needed to burn a folder of pictures onto a DVD.  Instead of throwing my arms up in the air in utter defeat, I simply said to Hubs, “Can you do it?”  And this works out well, because he knows that if there is any hope of having clean socks around here, I will be the one to make it happen.  It’s a nice little system of trade that he and I have worked out over the years.  He handles everything on the computer that is more difficult than buying a shirt at Nordstroms online, and I know how to separate the reds out of the white load, so that we don’t end up with a feminine shade of pink.  I am not… as you call it… a very smart computer peoples.

And then…

Dear Hubs, someone is looking for you out there.  Although… should they have typed in two veries first?  As in VERY, VERY SMART COMPUTER PEOPLES???  I feel like just one very implies that they’re simply looking for an Apple Genius and not a fellow of your I CAN BUILD AN ENTIRE MOTHERBOARD WITH A TWISTY BREAD TIE AND A PIECE OF CARDBOARD capabilities.

2.  Someone else found my blog this week by typing in EASY, REDNECK MENU FOR THE 4TH OF JULY.  I don’t know why, but that suddenly makes me think of Turtle Man, eating a grilled hot dog.  But, in all honesty, this topic may be one I can cover, because I always find that a twelve-pack of soft shell tacos from Taco Bell will be appreciated on ALMOST ANY holiday potluck table.  As in, “Gather around, children, because who wants that green bean casserole with the crispy onions on the top, when you can have these delicious Taco Bell tacos!  And LOOK!  There are twelve of them!!”  What I am just flat-out amazed at is this person’s early jump on meal planning for next July!  I’ve never been able to be that organized, because I usually just order the tacos through the drive-up window at the last possible second, right after Hubs has announced, “Why are we the family who never cooks anything from scratch for potluck dinners?”

3.  I have a twenty-minute window of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING between my kindergarten PE class and my 1st grade PE class.  Today, what with the weather being a balmy 54 degrees, with nothing but dark, cloudy skies and wind and the hint of BUTTON UP AND PUT THE PLASTIC ON THE KIDS’ BEDROOM WINDOWS, BECAUSE WINTER IS A-COMIN’ in the air, I decided that a chai tea from Starbucks was what I needed.  I looked at the clock, and realized that my 1st graders would be in the gym in seventeen minutes, and I was determined that I could make it.  So… I drove like a blue-ribbon sprint car driver halfway across town, pulled into Starbucks, and announced, “I’d like a grande, no-water, extra-hot, Oprah chai latte, please.  And thank you.”  And then Starbucks — bless their hearts — decided to operate with snails in the drive-up window today, so I began to watch the clock in my Suburban and think, “Oh, dear.  This might turn out badly, if we don’t get a move on things.”  And then, the alignment of the planets was on my side, because I got back to the school with precisely four minutes to spare.

I’d managed to take approximately six nice sips of my Oprah chai, before I had to set it on the bottom step of the bleachers, to explain how we would be working on CATCHING THE BEAN BAGS with my six- and seven-year-olds.  I fielded questions about the merits of catching with one hand versus catching with two hands, told someone else that YES, I THINK A TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA COSTUME WILL BE PERFECT FOR YOU FOR HALLOWEEN, and then we got started.

Three seconds later, a bean bag thrown at Mach 5 flew across the gym…

… and hit my ALMOST FULL TO THE BRIM YET chai latte in the side.

She went down, folks.

My chai tea went down.  The lid flipped off.  And I felt like I was running toward it, trying to save my cup of liquid gold, as I yelled the word “NOOOOOOOO” in slow motion, with my face all distorted and ugly, and my mouth scrunched up and wide open in horror.

Exactly like THIS.

And then the little culprit looked at me, as chai tea flooded the bottom seat of the bleachers and dripped to the floor, and…

… he laughed.

He laughed and he said, “Hardy-har-har-har!!  WAS THAT YOUR COFFEE????!!!!!”

And I laughed and said, “Hardy-har-har-har!!!!  IS THAT AN F YOU’RE GETTING ON YOUR REPORT CARD????  IN GYM CLASS???!!!!!”

I’m sure… with therapy… I’ll get over this.

And the story does have a somewhat happy ending, because that little chai-spilling first grader helped me fly through almost an entire roll of paper towels in the cleanup process, and then he said, “My mom always says that coffee is real important to grownups.  I’m sorry I accidentally spilled this.”

I’m giving him a C- in PE now, because his apology was very heartfelt.

4.  Our house has become an utter Petri Dish of flourishing bacteria, as Thing 2 debuted the first cold of the season, in all it’s FULL-ON, SNOT-ALL-OVER-THE-PLACE GLORY this morning.  We have snot, times sixteen thousand, pouring all over, which is so nice, when it’s happening to a toddler.  Ultimately, this means that we have snot spills on the sofas, the dining room table, the floor, the sides of the bathtub, the beds, the desk, all the toys, and every book we’ve read in the past twenty-four hours.  I may need the cleanup crew from Monsters, Inc. to come by and sanitize things.

Monsters Inc Screen Shot 16

When Thing 2 got up this morning, he tearfully said, “Mommy?  I sick.  I sick.  Nose yucky.”  I scooped him up and rocked him, despite the fact that he sneezed in my face eight times in a row.

I’m sure I’ll be announcing my Black Plague arriving within the next three days.

And that, people, is going to do it for tonight.

Y’all carry on… try to avoid the cold germs that are circulating out there… never, EVER set your precious chai tea down in a 1st grade PE class… and get some sleep.

The Weekend Of Football Perfection

So the flowers on our deck have died.  I’d blame it on the fact that, HEY!  IT’S FALL!  AND SUMMER IS FINISHED!, but in all actuality, I think it has more to do with the fact that I pushed them up against the house.  That brilliant sunlight shone upon them for too many consecutive hours, reflected itself off of the house’s siding, increased in radioactive potency by a thousandfold, and fried those petunias and geraniums like they were potatoes at McDonald’s.

The end, summer flowers.

The.  End.

So now I have some purple mums, because I want to look somewhat civilized to the neighbors.  Showing off pots that look like THIS to passers by can bring genuine shame upon your family:

Dead_plant_in_potsAdd this to the fact that my miniature, potted pine trees that flanked either side of our front door committed suicide last month, and you know why people are whispering about me behind their hands and over coffee cups at Starbucks, calling me a Plant Killer… saying in very hushed voices that maybe the tabloids are true… maybe I really DID feed the petunias the powdered arsenic for their breakfasts.

I may need to enter a treatment center, to be rehabilitated for the deaths of little trees, purple petunias and red geraniums

I hope the center has fluffy bathrobes and HGTV and some GENUINE QUIET.

Our weekend was good, y’all.

The boy had golf practice with the high school team again on Friday night, and then we ate spaghetti at Mam and Pa’s house, because we were invited and because GET OUT OF COOKING FREE.  And then we came home, where we flipped on the radio and listened to Small Town High School’s varsity football team DESTROY one of our greatest rivals on the field in an away game, and then I went to bed at 9:30 pm.

(Having a toddler who rises before the rooster trumps staying up late EVERY Friday night.)

On Saturday morning, we packed the boy a bag and sent him off with my sister’s family, because they were going camping.  Normally, I LOVE to camp, except for that ALL OF THE NATURE aspect of it, when it’s cloudy and cold and drippy-wet on the mountain.  So I played my GET OUT OF CAMPING FREE card, and the boy went with our die-hard relatives, who play gin rummy in the camper during the heaviest parts of a downpour.

Meanwhile, back here in Small Town, Mam called us up and said, “With the boy gone, why don’t I take Thing 2 for the day, and you and Hubs could have a date together.”

Um… YES!!

So Hubs and I split town on the spur of the moment.  We went to Bigger Town, USA, because they have very fine shopping and restaurants that are nicer than Taco Bell.  And because I love a good buffet (even though Hubs HATES and also LOATHES buffets, because of something he calls THE FOOD JUST SITS THERE AND TRIES TO STAY WARM AND PEOPLE SNEEZE ON IT), Hubs took me to an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet.

It’s because we are very classy people.

We only spotted two flies dive-bombing the pizzas, which were sitting there beneath the warming lights, so we thought it was at least a four-star establishment with lots of promise.  As it turned out, the pizza tasted like it had been sneezed on, while it was sitting for a week beneath the cranked-up lights.  In fact, it sort of tasted like my fried geraniums looked.

I may never get Hubs to take me to another buffet again.

After lunch, Hubs and I lingered in Target, which thrilled my heart to no end, because TARGET, Y’ALL!!!  We don’t have one of those in Small Town, and it is a treat to be inside of that store, let me tell you.  Hubs doesn’t feel as passionate about Target as I do, because it’s  not Cabela’s, and they don’t sell automatic sniper rifles, UFO surveillance equipment or baby back ribs.  But, for the sake of our date, Hubs was very well-mannered in the store… even when I hauled him and the cart through the home decor aisles.

We also ended up at Costco, on a Saturday, and that was enough to make us both look longingly at the bottles of wine that were for sale, as we imagined taking a break from all the chaos by sitting in the displayed camping chairs, and popping the cork open on a nice chardonnay, while we simply people-watched and tried to calm down.

I think Costco burned us out on further shopping, because we both threw the towel in, called it a day, and drove back home, just in time to watch College Town’s football team pull out a win on TV.  Our good friend, Taylor’s, boyfriend is on the team, so we whooped and hollered and cheered him on, as he tackled all kinds of opposing players.

(As a side note, I also felt very old on Saturday night, because when I started teaching at the little private school where I have my PE classes… Taylor was a kindergartner there.  Yes, she was five entire years old, and I was just a couple of years out of college.  And now she’s a pharmacology major in College Town, and her boyfriend plays on the football team, and I feel about as elderly as Susan B. Anthony all of a sudden.)

(Also, I remember a time when I was going to school in College Town, and my face was every bit as smooth as Taylor’s is now.  I think this is the point where I say, “Dear Taylor, you won’t learn this in college, but some day — which will come sooner than you think — you will start seeing ‘laugh lines’ around your eyes, your preferred bedtime will become 8 pm, and rogue white hairs will grow from nothing to three inches overnight, right out of your cheek.  Tweezers will become your best friend, so invest in a high-quality pair.  Get the sterling silver ones and get them monogrammed, because you and the tweezers will become TIGHT.”)

(Aging is not for the faint of heart.)

On Sunday, Thing 2 debuted his new Broncos jersey at church.  Jesus didn’t mind, in the least.  And, after a few pre-game warmups and stretches, I made the little toddler smile for my camera.

IMG_9098Isn’t he just STINKING CUTE?!

IMG_9088 IMG_9091 IMG_9092 IMG_9093 IMG_9094 IMG_9102 IMG_9108 IMG_9111 IMG_9114 IMG_9119Naturally, our friends, Keith and Carrie, texted us snapshots of THEIR game-day experience in Denver…

… which looked like THIS, as it was a SUITE EVENING…

IMG_2793Yes, they were in the suite, with all the catering and the nice people who bring your mixed drinks right to you, while Hubs was sprawled on an overstuffed bean bag at our house, eating toast and boiled eggs (because his wife cooked a very fancy Sunday dinner), watching the game unfold on a 48-inch television set.

I believe his exact words were, “If I didn’t like Keith and Carrie so much, I’d swear really hard at them right now.”

Of course, I told Carrie this, so she just poured salt into Hubs’ open wound by texting photos from the pregame tailgate party they had attended…

IMG_2791 IMG_2790 IMG_2792Which is pretty much when Hubs announced, “They are dead to me.”

But, at 10:30 last night, WE texted Carrie’s phone and said, “Ha!  We’re already in bed.  We have no parking lot to deal with.  We have no traffic to deal with.  We have no commute home.  We just powered down the old TV, brushed our teeth, and crawled right into bed.  Good night!”

I think it’s because the elderly appreciate early bedtimes… right after they tweeze those white hairs out of their cheeks.

So, with three big football wins, between Small Town High School, College Town and those Broncos, Hubs was grinning and called it a trifecta of football perfection, even if he didn’t get to attend a single game in the stadium this weekend.

Oh, yes!  And the boy came home on Sunday night, smelling like a campfire and still wearing the same clothes I had sent him to the mountains in.  We hugged his neck, and I cooked him a fancy dinner of Fruity Pebbles in a bowl.

And now here we are, already on Monday, because sweet weekends don’t last forever.

Y’all polish your tweezers and have a good night.

Our Two-Point-Five Version


Look who officially turned two-and-a-half this weekend:

IMG_9058I made him hop up by the fireplace, because being two-and-a-half called for some snapshots.

(Oh, who am I kidding?  Mondays and This Is a Good Bowl of Cold Cereal are also reasons that call for snapshots in MY book.)

(Apparently, I take A LOT of pictures.)

(I’m not sure that you’ve noticed.)

I told Thing 2 to say, “Cheese,” and he did.  He said it with the total gusto and sincerity that boys across the globe say it with, when they just want to get the photo shoot finished as quickly as possible, because IT’S KILLING THEM.

This CHEESE SHOT seems a bit fake.

IMG_9072But then, I pulled out the secret weapon and announced, “Fine.  You can have M&Ms when we’re done here, if you just smile nicely and don’t scream like a banshee with his foot stuck in a bear trap while we do this.”

IMG_9074 IMG_9083 IMG_9039 IMG_9036 IMG_9040 IMG_9043 IMG_9044 IMG_9045 IMG_9053 IMG_9054 IMG_9063 IMG_9064And BOOM!  Just like that, we were done taking pictures, and the Son of Thunder was eating M&Ms and telling me that he likes the blue ones a lot.

Welcome to two-and-a-half, Baby Boy.  Your family sure loves you!

The Post That Is Boring Enough To Put You To Sleep. You’re Welcome.

Well, I think summer might’ve officially been put to bed here in Small Town.

At least for this week.

I sent the boy to school today with a JACKET, y’all.  A jacket.  We haven’t seen one of those since last April, and there was some confusion this morning as to WHERE DO THE ARMS GO, as he reacquainted himself with the extra layer of fabric that would help ward off the chilly morning temps.

After the boy went to school, I had a little impromptu coffee time at my house, because… GLORY BE!  The little cowgirl who does my nails paid a PEDICURE HOUSE CALL on me at 8:15, and THAT is the way a girl should be treated.  In-home pedicures really are the bomb, and I felt like my position in my own chair, with my feet soaking in warm water, IN MY OWN HOME, really did proclaim that I was the rightful heiress to the throne.  Sister came over, too, and we laughed and sipped coffee and watched my toenails get filed down like a good ranch woman knew what she was doing with a calf’s hind hoof and painted up in some glorious shade of FALL PURPLE.

(I have no idea what you call this color.  But it’s the purple that goes with fall.  And it sparkles a bit, which pretty much made me want to run around barefoot all day long, even when it was time to pick the boy up from the junior high this afternoon, but then I remembered… STANDARDS, PEOPLE.  Standards.)

Our coffee / pedicure time was punctuated by Thing 2 and Cousin H arguing over THAT’S MY BIKE and I WANT TO RIDE THAT BIKE and DIDN’T YOU HEAR ME SAY THAT’S MY BIKE and WELL, I REALLY WANT TO RIDE IT and HOW ABOUT I JUST PINCH A BLOODY LITTLE HOLE RIGHT INTO YOUR UPPER CHEEK, BECAUSE MINE!  MINE!  MINE!!!  The problem with these two little cousins is that they’re so much younger than their siblings, they have NOTHING to fight about at home.  So… they argue with one another, just as well as ANY brother and sister combo would do.  Cousin H puts on her VERY BOSSY voice with Thing 2, because FINALLY!  SOMEONE YOUNGER THAN I AM THAT I CAN BE THE VOICE OF AUTHORITY TO!, and Thing 2 puts on his I CAN THROW A PUNCH WITH MY LEFT HAND BETTER THAN MOHAMMAD ALI COULD attitude.

But… honestly… our two toddlers really do love one another.  There was much embracing between the two of them, because they were so excited to see each other again this morning, and they even shared their snacks back and forth.

Later this afternoon, Thing 2 had a nap, and I had some quick chores, and then we picked the boy up from school and ran him out to the golf course, so that he could practice again with the high school team.

And then Thing 2 remembered, in his carseat, that he was stung by a wasp on his thumb at the park YESTERDAY AFTERNOON, so he began telling me all about it… AGAIN!… and then he started bawling, because he remembered how badly it had hurt, and ALRIGHT, ALREADY!  That was YESTERDAY!


When he finally decided that YOU KNOW WHAT?  THAT STING WAS YESTERDAY AND MY THUMB FEELS FINE TODAY, all the tears stopped, and he was back to jabbering on about tractors, excavators and bulldozers, which is what he usually talks about while we’re driving.

And that’s been today, y’all.  The temps are cooler… We’re looking forward to Fall being here… and the arrival of big sweatshirts… and pots of chili… and stews in the crockpots… and the weekend.

Week Two. Nailed It!

Almost every single time I see one of the Some-e-cards, I laugh.

(And then the I WAS AN ENGLISH MAJOR FOR THE FIRST TWO YEARS OF COLLEGE side of me wants to add commas and capitalize letters and just fix the grammatical flaws.)

(Because a comma?  Well, sometimes a comma is very important.)

(As in, “Let’s eat, Grandma.”)

(Or, “Let’s eat Grandma.”)

I’m rambling because I’ve accomplished the second week of teaching PE, and my brain is now the consistency of oatmeal.

Precisely, it’s like instant oatmeal that has a little too much water in it, so it runs off the spoon.  That’s what happens when you cram your entire PE schedule into two full days.  Oh, I gripe now, because it’s Wednesday.  But you won’t hear me griping on Thursday mornings, when I wake up and realize that I don’t have to teach a single class again until the following Tuesday!

Where were we?



10556464_10152200530591863_6084796616258842533_nThis is a word of truth that also applies to the SECOND WEEK of school.

Also?  I feel like I should have a tiara with fourteen extra rows of diamonds, because I taught the pre-kindergarten classes how to execute flawless overhand throws today.  If you want to know how this went, think NINETEEN SQUIRRELS, ALL HOLDING YARN BALLS, PRACTICING THEIR “STEP AND THROWS.”  Don’t forget that half of the squirrels will give up and lay on the floor, because IS IT TIME TO GO HOME YET?  Don’t forget that at least four squirrels will be in the bathroom.  Don’t forget that one squirrel will be crying on the sidelines, because it’s been a very long day and he didn’t really eat the peanut butter sandwich his mom packed him for lunch, so when he got hit in the face with the light-as-the-air yarn ball, he decided to execute a showing of ALL THE DRAMA that would have made the Academy Award judges stand up and applaud with gusto and loud whistles.

So… yes.

The second week of teaching can go down in the books as being OVER, and I’m off to bed.

What Does The Fox Say?

I have heard the song, “What Does the Fox Say” sixteen thousand, four hundred and twenty-one times.

And that was just during this past holiday weekend.

The song is Thing 2′s all-time favorite.  He rates it as highly as he rates DIGGING IN THE DIRT and WATCHING TRACTORS GET SOME WORK DONE and EATING POPCORN.  He can sing every word to the fox song, and he dances like a lunatic EVERY.  SINGLE.  TIME. that he hears it.

So… when I saw THIS little number on the World Wide Web a few weeks ago, I sort of knew that we had to have it.IMG_8902When the mailman delivered it to our doorstep, I opened the package and showed it to the toddler.

He gasped.

I kid y’all not… Thing 2 really and truly and very literally GASPED when he saw it!  And then he shouted out, loud enough for the folks in the neighboring county to hear, “Awww!!!  A kitty!!!!

I was pretty sure that this was a sign that I need to step up my game on LET’S LEARN ANIMAL NAMES WITH MAMA.

I told Thing 2, “This is a fox, you dingbat!”

(For the record, that toddler calls ME a dingbat all the time, and then he howls with the giggles.  A chance to reciprocate had finally happened.)

After being set straight on ANIMALS I RECOGNIZE FROM THE WILD, Thing 2 grabbed the little sweater out of my hands and shouted, “Fox shirt!  Fox shirt!  Wear it!  Wear it NOW!!!!!!”

And that’s when I said, “It’s practically a hundred degrees outside, and this is a SWEATER, Son.  You’re not trying to sweat off ten pounds to make weight for a wrestling team.  Sweaters are for wintertime.”

To say that Thing 2 was disappointed would be an understatement.  He packed that sweater around the house, whining, “Wear… it.  Wear… it,” until I finally let him.

And then I hid it in the closet, because summer was still slinging it’s ugly, hot head around.

Then… this past Sunday dawned all cloudy and rainy and wet and chilly.  It was exactly like we were living in northwest Washington, but without the vampires.  The weather gave us the perfect window of time to wear the fox sweater to church.

I thought Thing 2 was going to burst his chest wide open with pride!  He strutted all over our house, rubbing the front of his sweater and hollering out, “Fox shirt!!  Fox shirt!!”  It was a good excuse to do a little impromptu photo shoot.

(And YES.  Thing 2 wore a pair of jeans with a little hole in one knee to church, but Jesus didn’t care.)

IMG_8897 IMG_8898 IMG_8911 IMG_8914Apparently the photo shoot ended with a rogue booger that needed to be taken care of…  Thing 2 is ALWAYS one to take care of business.

IMG_8916Y’all have a merry Tuesday.