He Reads!

I’m just going to leave this right here, because it’s too cute NOT to.

OUR BABY IS READING!  He is reading to his big brother!

Of course, the boy looks about as thrilled as he’d be, if he was sitting in the dentist’s office, waiting for a root canal to start.  And Thing 2 was rushed, because the boy had a GIANT, hardcover Lego book for them to look at when the kindergarten “homework” was done.  Thing 2 was plowing through his reading, so he could finish the READING TO HIS BROTHER part of the evening and move straight to the LEGO-LOOKING WITH HIS BROTHER.  Of course, maybe he was rushing through it so quickly because the book’s plot was absolutely riveting and engrossing.

And now they’re both sprawled out on the floor, looking at three million different things that can be created with… say… a forty-gallon Rubbermaid tub full of various Lego bricks.

If a family JUST HAPPENED TO HAVE such a tub.

Which I guarantee you… we do.  It guarantees that we will NEVER have a shortage of bricks to step on with a bare foot around here.

Being A Nurse May Not Be My Spiritual Gift

Well.

I set up my base camp on the sofa last night, in a place where I believed the germs weren’t completely clogging the air.  Hubs took over our bedroom and bathroom, much like an unruly house guest, if unruly house guests are the type that drop their laptop, their coffee mug from the morning, their Tupperware lunch container, their coat, their car keys, their office keys, and a flash drive on the floor, between the bedroom door and the bathroom toilet.  Clearly, this was a sign that things were about to explode like Mount Vesuvius, when Hubs sprinted through our front door last night, because he normally treats his laptop with a little more gentleness and love.  After all, if that screen cracks, there will be no more late-night Hulu and Netflix marathons of Parks and Recreation.

I had no desire to go into the land of the contaminated, so I put Thing 2 to bed, checked to make sure the boy was at least knee-deep in his chest-deep pile of homework, and I fluffed up the sofa pillows and threw down a fuzzy blanket, while I tried to figure out a way that I could mist Germ-X out of the essential oils diffuser all night long.

Come, thou blessed sanitizers.

But, I believe the verse is in the book of Psalms that says, “Puking may endure for the night, but joy and health come in the morning.”  Hubs was up at 7:00 this morning, claiming, “I blame you for my last vicious attack of barfing, when you told me that I’d missed out on smothered pork chops and gravy for supper.  My guts couldn’t take any food talk last night.”

And that was the exact moment when I quit checking on him, to see if he needed anything, in my best impression of a nurse who gags any time she sees someone’s snot.  Hubs went back to sleep after that announcement this morning, as I stood up and frantically applauded all single parents who are doing this parenting gig alone.  (Dear Single Parents, I applaud you!  You are undervalued, and you all need a beach vacation, where someone fluffs your towels and makes your bed every day for a week!)  Suddenly, the tasks that Hubs and I divide and conquer every morning ALL fell upon me, and what I forgot — WHAT!!  I COMPLETELY!!  FORGOT!! — was that I would be taking Thing 2 to school, because Hubs was out for the count, as he lost to the stomach flu.

I don’t do the kindergarten drop off, because Hubs takes that job on his way to work.  So, imagine my surprise when it dawned on me at 7:40 this morning… WHO SHALL BE GETTING THIS CHILD TO HIS CLASSROOM?!  This same child who hasn’t even eaten breakfast yet, because when I told him to go get his clothes on, he misunderstood me and thought I told him to sit on his bedroom floor and build a barge out of Legos, while wearing nothing but a pair of Batman undies.  THAT was the one who needed to eat breakfast at 7:40 and then have his mother (who was sporting the unwashed hair that wasn’t going to get washed, and which was going to just be called TUESDAY’S ALL-DAY HAIR) still pack him a lunch, so that he wasn’t poisoned with gluten or dairy in the school’s cafeteria.

I am happy to report that we made it, and that we made it at 7:56.  A bowl of oatmeal basically requires very little chewing which translates into very little time.  Being a two-minute drive away from the school also helps on rushed mornings.

Bless.

And then… I took myself to work, because I had seven elementary PE classes on my immediate horizon, so it was an absolute delight when the school nurse called me at 11:30 today to announce that Thing 2 was coughing like a seal, and what would I like her to do for him?

And so it begins.

It does seem like all the yuck is hitting us extremely early this year, especially when one considers that the temperature today was a balmy 79.

But… the little Catholic school where I teach PE sent four kids home today.   Four kids, from four different grades, and all four puked on the school premises. One of them walked into my PE class, and… instead of changing her shoes from sandals to sneakers… ran through the gym doors and disappeared.  She raced by me in a streak, and I ended up finding her in the girls’ bathroom, clutching the side of a toilet and throwing up her breakfast, as she cried for her mom.

And then Thing 2 sneezed on my arm, in the most glorious sneeze to erupt since the early 1400s.

In other words, my germ free base camp is probably not even necessary again tonight, because I have been exposed.

But… one day last week… when everyone was still healthy and there was nary a cough or a barf to be heard in our home… Thing 2 went on a field trip to the fire station.  Sister went with him, because that field trip shook down on a Tuesday, when I was stuck in a soccer unit in PE.  Thankfully, Sister sent me snapshots, because Sister is kind and good.

She let me know that Thing 2 was picked to be the fellow who pretends he has a broken leg, so that the paramedics can show the class exactly what they do in the back of that ambulance.  Naturally, our five-year-old came home and announced that he was going to be a fire fighter when he grows up.  He let us know that he’ll spend his days sliding down the pole, putting fires out, and using those “giant car scissors to cut people out of cars when they wreck.”

I imagine he’ll also be a better nurse than I am.

If he doesn’t gag when he sees snot, he’s already way ahead of his mama.

Happy Tuesday, y’all.   Happy Tuesday.

Ready… Set… STOMACH FLU!

Well.

It is upon us.

How long have we been in the Fall season?  And the temperatures haven’t even really dropped, because LO!  Today was gorgeous, and we played outside in shorts and our shirt sleeves and marveled over the fact that THIS!  THIS will be the weather that heaven has, with all it’s crispness and juicy apples and warm days, where the sun beats upon you, in a totally non-threatening way that makes you want to sit in an ice bath.  This is more of a kiss from the sun, with a warm hug.  Thing 2 and I played at the park this afternoon, after I picked him up from kindergarten, with some friends, and the boys ran and ran, while the moms sat on the park bench and sighed over and over, “Isn’t this just THE VERY BEST weather?”  There’s nary a hint of any winter yet, and there’s nothing left over from our scorching summer, and things were going so VERY well.

Until… you know… 4:30 this afternoon, when Hubs came running in our front door like Usain Bolt, pursuing another Olympic gold medal for sprinting, because SWEET MAMA!  MOVE OUT OF THE WAY!

Hubs was on a mission, and that mission was to get himself to our bathroom, where he IMMEDIATELY, without any haste whatsoever, BARFED UP INTERNAL ORGANS AND EVERYTHING HE’S EATEN FOR THE PAST SIX DAYS.

And… THAT ESCALATED VERY QUICKLY.

He moaned, “I’m freezing!  I’m shaking!  I’ve been sick since noon, but I’ve been too busy at work today to come home, but now I’m dying.”  Which is how he found himself tucked into bed by 5:00 this evening.

So… yes!  Come, Thou Wintertime Illnesses!  Let us start you all very early in the season.

If you don’t mind, I’ll be heading off to spray things with Clorox now, and wrap a dishtowel around my face… exactly like a surgical mask… as I prepare to go in and check on Hubs again…

And So It Begins…

Well… guess what opened up this weekend in Small Town, USA?

That’s right.

The ice rink!

Thing 2 skated and played a little hockey on Saturday.

Thing 2 skated and played a lot of hockey today.  In fact, he finally came off the ice, pulled his helmet off his head, and announced, “I have to stop!  My legs are getting too sore and tired!”

So we did what anyone would do.  We took those sore, tired legs straight to the park with a couple of his buddies, and he played there for an hour and a half.

And ME?  Well… I was sore and tired just WATCHING him all weekend!

The Lunchbox Crime Scene

In case you’d like to see how my afternoon went today, behold:

That’s Jell-O.

Packed with artificial red dye.

In a lunchbox.

And it’s not in a sanctioned gelatin container.

It’s free-range Jell-O, if you will.

Thing 2 let me know that he took one bite of it at lunch, and then he was too full to eat the rest of it.  He was saving it for an after-school snack.  Never mind that he’d already ripped the foil lid off the disposable container and thrown it away.

Of course his statement of “I was too full to eat it” is a kindergarten phrase for “I talked way too long and loud at the lunch table, and when the teacher said it was time to go back to the classroom, I hadn’t eaten anything but the miniature gummy worm you put in my lunchbox as a treat.”  

That’s also a piece of STOLEN silverware, buried beneath the slop.  Apparently, my five-year-old lifted it, straight out of his elementary school’s cafeteria.  Clearly, I’m not worthy of being a dues-paying PTO member any longer, as my kindergarten kid is basically in an organized crime mob now, stealing silver spoons and all.

I cleaned the Jell-O up this afternoon and ended up with enough red-soaked, Bounty paper towels to look like I’d saved a gunshot victim on my kitchen counter.  I also have a dish towel that will never be the same, despite what Tide promises me.

So, after THAT mess, I did what any mother would do.  I decided I had entirely too much money, so I bought a bag of honey roasted cashews, which is exactly as expensive as filling a Suburban’s tank up with the good gasoline.

And then I pretty much ate the entire bag of those cashews as MY after-school snack.

Thankfully, the gray hairs I currently grow are a sign of the wisdom I possess that tells me, “These are actually okay to throw in a lunchbox without a container, if the need ever arises.  It’s not like you’d be throwing… say... red Jell-O in there without the benefits of a Tupperware bowl and lid.”

All the blesses tonight for us, folks.

Y’all have a good weekend.

Just A Little Of This And That On Columbus Day

The boys didn’t have school today, because it is Columbus Day.  Most years, we celebrate this holiday by gathering the family around the table, where we enjoy a meal reminiscent of old-fashioned ship food.  While we gnaw our hardtack, we use brown paper bags to make three-dimensional pinatas of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.  This year, though, we celebrated in a different fashion.

Hubs worked, because the computer world doesn’t take a break on holidays.  The boy went golfing with friends at the crack of ugly.  I did enough laundry to make me fear actual wear and tear on my Samsung washing machine and dryer.  Thing 2 built an extraordinary boat out of Legos.  You might think that he built a replica of a ship that sailed the ocean blue in 1492, but… in all honesty… he built what can only be referred to as a speed boat on adrenaline.  It was armed with enormous guns and jet propulsion packs, and the little Lego minifigure at the helm was slammed back in his seat, with his plastic hair sculpted in a cone straight out behind him, from the sheer G force going on.  It’s safe to say that Columbus never sailed in anything so fast, seeing as how he didn’t have the rocket fuel necessary to fire this particular bad boy up.

We added a little park play into our day, so that we could take advantage of the gorgeous fall weather, and we called the celebrations good.

And don’t mind me, because I’m just over here, applauding myself for the Olympic accomplishment of EMPTY LAUNDRY BASKETS.  There just ain’t nothin’ that makes Mama feel so proud as seeing the bottoms of her laundry baskets does.

Unless it’s a son who minds the first time I ask him to do something.  THAT might trump having all the laundry done.

To spare you the boredom of me typing out a list of everything I bought at the grocery store this weekend, I’ll just play a little catch up with what’s been happening around here in the past month.  You know… seeing as how I’ve been dreadfully negligent in timely blog  posts and all.

Don’t judge.

We are all still sleeping at our house, which has changed the game plan COMPLETELY.  I feel like we’re finally facing the days as varsity starters now, and THAT feels good.  We’ve made all kinds of changes and switches to our bedtime routines, but WHATEVER, because we all know that Thing 2’s streak of sleeping all night is a Jesus thing.This past weekend, I popped take-and-bake pizzas into our ovens and celebrated the fact that we were ALL FOUR HOME, at the same time.  As in, the boy was at home, on a Friday evening, with his parents.  It was reason to celebrate with Hawaiian pizza slices.  The boys got into a full-on Nerf gun fight at our house.  The boy was on his Swagway, zipping like a fighter jet all over the house, as he chased his little brother down.

That little brother, who was on foot, has the mentality of a professional convenience store robber.  He has a sixth sense, when it comes to just knowing when to tuck and roll, as well as when to drop his body and SLIDE across the hardwood floors, straight beneath the sofa, which sits up a mere eight inches off our hardwood floors.

The Swagway can’t compete with that.

Nerf darts flew all over our house, for the better part of an hour, as those two children fought their war, in between bites of pizza.

And then the boy left to answer the call of friends, who spontaneously said, “Who wants to come over and watch a movie?”  Off he went, as seventeen year olds do, when their phones buzz with the excitement of Friday night invitations.

On Saturday, I took family pictures of Sister’s family.  She wanted some for possible Christmas cards, come December, and since I cost FREE AMERICAN DOLLARS, the price was exactly right.  I feel like the price is also directly reflective of my ability, which is poor, at best.

I feel like their family pictures were a smashing success, as evidenced by this gem I captured of Cousin K:

The boy had to work at 6:00 on Saturday morning at the golf course, because OF COURSE.  His little brother decided to sleep until 7:00 that morning, so it was only fair of life to throw us the boy’s alarm blasting off at an unholy hour, in the darkest part of the early morning.  Hubs and I just got up for coffee together, which was when we realized that SOMEONE had forgotten to buy half-and-half at the grocery store.  Since neither one of us has ever mastered the ability to sip a cup of strong, all-black coffee like John Wayne used to do, we were on our way to a coffee house in the city shortly after Thing 2 woke up.

He got to celebrate Saturday morning with a gluten-free cookie that was a little on the SMALL side.

And then, later on Saturday morning, when Hubs was trying to watch the Avalanche play hockey on TV, as he answered the typical thirty-six million questions Thing 2 is capable of asking in any given hour, Hubs gave up.  He walked into the boy’s bedroom closet, and pulled out THE TUB.

The tub is a 40-gallon Rubbermaid tub that is full-clear-to-the-brim of Legos.  The boy is stingy with his Lego collection, and he has always forbidden his little brother access to it, as brothers will do.  Of course, Hubs helped our five-year-old dump the entire thing out on the living room floor, before he retired to our bedroom, where he watched the hockey game in peace.   Meanwhile, Thing 2 spent nearly three hours with that obscene pile of Legos, building to his heart’s contentment, and he completely forgot to plague Hubs with every manner of question on WHAT DO BLACK WIDOWS EAT? and HOW DOES THE SUN GO DOWN EVERY NIGHT? and HOW DO CATERPILLARS ACTUALLY TURN INTO BUTTERFLIES?

Yesterday afternoon, Thing 2 went to one of his best friend’s birthday party.  This friend’s mom had a big volcano, which she filled with red powdered Kool-Aide, baking soda and vinegar.  The explosion of lava was a site to behold, and every kid there about lost his or her bananas over the eruption, from sheer excitement.

Thing 2 was so excited at the blast and the cascading foam of all that lava, he grabbed every single tiny plastic animal the mom had decorated the side of the volcano with…

… and immediately, without any hesitation, shoved them ALL straight into the mouth of the erupting volcano.  It was exactly like King Julian, offering up the hypochondriac giraffe, Melman, as a sacrifice to the volcano, in one of the Madagascar movies.

And then I’m happy to announce that Thing 2 wiped all the RED KOOL-AIDE lava slop straight onto his shirt, AS YOU DO when you’re five and completely unconcerned about laundry issues.

In other words, the party was a good time.

Last month, one of the boys from my PE class went to the park with us.  Don’t tell anyone, but he’s one of my favorites.  He is basically a professional basketball player, at the age of JUST 5th GRADE, so he tried to teach Thing 2 the fancy move of dribbling the ball beneath his leg.

That proved to be a difficult task to master, especially considering that the student’s legs were barely higher than the basketball itself.  The boys scrapped that lesson, and went on to just play at the park together.

The best thing about bringing a 5th grader to the park with you is that YOU can sit at a picnic table and read a book, while your child is fully engaged and entertained.  There’s zero need of  you to get up and answer the call of, “Mom?!  WATCH THIS, MOM!  ARE YOU LOOKING?  ARE YOU LOOKING, MOM?”

In another park adventure with 5th grade boys, we met up with good friends of ours who just happen to have our favorite set of eleven-year-old twin boys.  We were trapped on our picnic dinner beneath the metal covering over the picnic tables, when the hurricane hit for twenty minutes.

That particular downpour was nothing short of ridiculous.

After the storm had passed, the boys ran around the tennis courts in a way that made the Tasmanian Devil seem almost sloth-like. They even had a pushup contest, which Little Man MAY have won.  That little boy can do pushups for so long, even Chuck Norris has to sit back and clap.

Attention spans are always fading in little boys.  Eventually, the post-storm puddles in the tennis courts lost their attractiveness, and the tiny creek used her siren song to lure the boys in.  They jumped that creek, over and over, and kept track of who was jumping the furthest.  Although he can hold his own in a pushup contest, Thing 2’s legs cannot compete with the legs of a 5th grader, so he took third place in ALL the jumping events that evening.

However, we feel like he totally went home with the gold medal, when it came to WHO MANAGED TO GET THEMSELVES THE DIRTIEST WITH ALL THE MUD?

Swimming lessons are still going strong.  Thing 2 is a fish, who LOVES the water, and he isn’t afraid to dive to the bottom or jump off the highest board a pool has to offer.

Hubs and I went to dinner one night at a little Mexican hot spot, with a couple of the cutest kids we know…

Thing 2 has been using his magic markers to draw all sorts of elaborate pictures for friends and family these days.  Of course, he also uses those same markers to color his fingers purple and to draw out detailed pirate treasure maps ON THE BACK OF HIS BEDROOM DOOR.

All the blesses.

And please include our family in your family’s prayers.

Happy Columbus Day, folks!

Soccer And Pumpkins And Spiders, Oh My!

I always have good intentions of showing up here every night, but then we encounter things like SOCCER and SWIMMING and YOUTH GROUP and ADD 3 TABLESPOONS and BAKE AT 350, and there goes all the time.  I guess some days there will just have to be large gaps and breaks between posts, because having two kids is a little busier than having just one used to be.

But…

… I just want to say that if you talked to Jesus for us about getting our younger son to sleep through the night consistently, then THANK YOU.  Our little man has now slept through the night for twenty-one straight nights.  The relief is so great, I could sob big, happy tears.  I can’t predict the future, so I don’t know if it’s going to last, but we’re riding the WELL RESTED train until the Conductor kicks us straight off, and everyone is in a much better mood.  For instance, I no longer break down and bawl in the mornings, while I’m trying to manipulate a mascara wand at the sink as Hubs brushes his teeth, as I cry, “I’m just SO TIRED!”

I’m not going to lie; being well rested feels amazing.

We finished up Thing 2’s fall soccer league on Monday night, when he played his final game.  His team managed to win, by a score of 8 to 4.  Thing 2 scored for both teams on Monday.  He tends to get a little GOAL HAPPY whenever he takes possession of the soccer ball, and often he just runs with it, straight for the nearest goal net, and WHO EVEN CARES WHICH TEAM THAT NET BELONGS TO?!  But, since he turned right around and scored a goal for his team, too, he balanced himself out.

He finished his fall soccer season with seven goals behind his name.

On Monday, though, he was frightfully distracted by the two airplanes and two helicopters that flew straight over the soccer fields.  It’s so ridiculously hard for a five-year-old boy to focus on playing striker when the sky is full of all kinds of aircraft.

We even managed to catch a few glimpses of five-year-old Cousin H, who had a game on a neighboring field, while Thing 2 was playing.  Interestingly enough, the airplanes and helicopters didn’t distract H at all.  Now, running past a teenage girl on the sidelines who is rocking a fantastic messy bun WILL distract H’s attention from the game, as she contemplates how the girl managed to so artfully arrange that mane of hair, but helicopters are B-O-R-I-N-G.

I love the differences between little boys and little girls at the age of five!

And yesterday, Thing 2’s kindergarten class took a field trip to the local pumpkin patch.  Naturally, I was working, because every field trip in the history of field trips always happens on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, which are my PE days.  Thankfully, we have Hubs, who is always up for being the Dad Chaperone.  He signed up to go with Thing 2’s class, and then texted me from the school, “I CAN DRIVE MY OWN CAR TO THE PUMPKIN PATCH!  I DO NOT HAVE TO RIDE THE BUS WITH ALL THOSE LITTLE KIDS!  THIS IS A GREAT DAY!”

Later, in the middle of 3rd grade PE, THIS showed up on my phone:He had the pick of the field.

He could have chosen a pumpkin that weighed twenty-five pounds.  Instead, he brought home a little peanut of a pumpkin, and he could not possibly have been more proud of it.  Before bedtime last night, he asked me, “Do you think I should rock my pumpkin to sleep?  Do pumpkins even care about that sort of stuff?”

I’m sure he’ll deny ever asking this question when he’s eighteen and graduating from high school, but ask it, he did.

And… in other enormous news…

… I slayed a black widow spider on the outside of our front door yesterday afternoon that was the size of a fifty-cent piece, with her legs all spread out.  I feel like the battle was perfectly orchestrated, as my hands shook when I held the giant can of KILLS ALL THE BUGS DEAD ON CONTACT spray, and held the nozzle down until at least a half gallon of liquid was dripping all over the place.  That beast reared up on her back four legs and frantically waved her front legs at me.  I’m fairly certain she was attempting to put a curse on me in her final moments of life…

… so I hosed her again with more poison.

When it was all said and done, I’m betting that I used three-fourths of that giant can of spray on one deadly spider.  It took a a couple of minutes, of her staggering drunkenly around my front patio, but she eventually succumbed, curled up her eight legs, and flipped herself straight over, exposing her red hourglass to the heavens in death.

THAT was what I was after.  My initial instinct was to stomp the tarnation out of her, but then… sometimes a body that has been stomped to death is impossible to identify, and I needed to see if there was an hourglass underneath.  I needed to know if my house was being terrorized by a black widow.  Hence… the spray.

And my fears were confirmed.

Which is why we are now moving.  There’s no other option, as I can no longer live where black widows make their homes.

Y’all have a good weekend.  Get outside and enjoy that fall weather.

Just Becasue

Just because they’re cute.

I didn’t get a snapshot of them sitting TOGETHER this morning, because one of them was slithering out of bed, like an elderly, arthritic snake, and stumbling to the shower at the same time the other one was leaving for school, so that he’d be there with enough time to have RECESS before school started.

Sometimes it’s all about the recess.  And the sleeping in until the last possible second on a school morning.

Hug your loved ones a bit tighter this evening, and pray for Las Vegas.

Playing Catch Up

Today has been one of those gloriously lovely, completely gray days.  The sky was thick with clouds; the sun didn’t shine.  The rain came in spurts and spits, and the breeze was enough to make you want to run between the front doors of the grocery store to the shelter of your car.  In other words, it was one of those days that is best for organized people, who have their houses cleaned and their yard work caught up on, because it was a day to sit in front of the fireplace with a book and a cup of coffee… heavy on the cream.

Sadly, my housework was not done, and our yard could’ve used a good mowing, so sitting in front of our fireplace with a book simply made me look around and realize, “Well, you’ve slacked off again; I hope you’re proud of yourself.”

So I took a nap.  I felt it was my best defense against the screaming wail of dirty dishes in the sink and a load of laundry that had been left to sour in the washing machine.  I had no desire to sit around the house and have my undone chores stare at me, so I simply closed my eyes to it all.

That probably has everything to do with the fact that I didn’t sleep well last night.  I woke up at 1:30 this morning, all disoriented, to realize that I had been making automotive sounds with my lips exactly like a three-year-old boy would do… in my sleep.

I have no explanation.  All I know is that I woke myself up, because I was vibrating my lips, to make a solid race car noise, which is exactly the noise that toddler boys make when they’re pushing toy cars around on the floor.  To say that I was stunned would be an understatement, because WHAT IN THE WORLD?!

WHAT??!…  IN THE EVER-LOVIN’??!!… WORLD??!!

Thankfully, Hubs slept straight through it, which means that my utter embarrassment was kept to a minimum, which was between me and Jesus alone.  I was relieved that Hubs hadn’t heard my NASCAR noises, because I would never have lived that one down, but then I realized that if he didn’t hear Dale Earnhardt Jr’s car warming up and revving its engine right beside him, then he probably wouldn’t have heard a burglar climbing in through the window he just smashed.

In other words, I felt very safe, with my sleeping Navy SEAL right beside me.

So…

… this week has been filled with ALL THE BUSY and ALL THE MUNDANE… and everyone still expected something other than a bowl of Life cereal for dinner.

Holland and France met up on the soccer field one evening this past week, to battle it out.

These two cousins are a hoot together.  Thing 2 showed up at the soccer field to get ‘er done.  He was there to kick that ball, flip a few handsprings when the ball was on the opposite end of the field, and enjoy the post-game snacks.

Cousin H, in all her five-year-old glory, showed up at the fields to announce, “Do you see how extra curly my hair is today?  It’s from SWEAT!  I sweated today at recess, and my hair got kind of a lot more curly, and I like the curls!  After the game, if I sweat some more, it’ll probably be SUPER curly!”

I don’t ever want either one of them to grow up.

The final score was 5 to 3, with Thing 2’s team walking away with the win.  He scored two of the goals that night.  Don’t worry about there being any hard feelings anywhere, because Little H walked off the field to hug me goodbye, and when I told her that she had played a great game, she replied, “Oh, thank you.  I have no idea who won.  I should’ve asked my coach that.”

This week we have also carried on with our Sleep Bribes Rewards.  My former self, who was once the parent of one child who slept like a gold medal champion, would have frowned at bribing rewarding children to sleep six years ago, because WHAT DO YOU MEAN, “YOU CAN’T GET YOUR KID TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT?  YOU MUST BE DOING PARENTING ALL WRONG!”  After getting completely lucky with giving birth to a baby who slept and slept and slept, we were then shown by the Lord that it was time to step off that pedestal beneath the banner that read, “THIS MOTHER CAN HAVE A BABY SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT BEFORE 14 WEEKS OF AGE, BECAUSE SHE’S JUST THAT GOOD.”  The applause of the audience had run out, and Hubs and I were left with the emptiness of knowing that our inflated pride had reared up again.

So now, in an effort to have Thing 2 sleeping regularly through the night before he leaves home for the military when he’s nineteen, Hubs and I have Sleep Bribes Rewards.  A new toy sits on our kitchen counter, in its box.  If Thing 2 stays in bed after I put him in bed at 7:30 each night… and if he doesn’t have a meltdown about how he DOESN’T WANT TO GO TO BED YET… and if he doesn’t get up in the middle of the night for hours… he gets to put a sticker on the box in the morning.

Four stickers scores the toy.

Little Man earned himself (yet another) giant tractor this week.  (Apparently, a small boy can NEVER have enough tractors in his collection.)  Thing 2 has now slept for sixteen straight nights… sixteen glorious nights in a row… SIXTEEN NIGHTS WITHOUT WAKING UP.

And… lest you think that I am now standing on the pedestal beneath the banner that reads, “THIS MOTHER CAN TRAIN YOUR UNTRAINABLE KINDERGARTEN KID TO SLEEP ALL NIGHT WITH A FEW NEW TOYS,” think again.

It’s Jesus.

It’s all Jesus.

He answered our prayers for rest.

(And the answer is YES.  That really IS a pile of dirty laundry, halfway up our bedroom closet door, in the corner of that snapshot.  Last week’s laundry resembled the Duggar family’s laundry.  They have more than twenty people, while we only have four, but I’m pleased to announce that we kept up with them in the race of HOW MANY DIRTY CLOTHES CAN YOU PILE UP?)

(All the best blesses.)

(And it’s no longer like that, as I DID the laundry on Friday.  I did it ALL, and Hubs gasped when he walked into our closet, as he said, “Where’d Mount Everest go?!”)

Also this past week, Sister and Cousin L brought a new coloring book and markers over for Thing 2, to celebrate ALL THE BLESSED SLEEPING.

We went to Small Town High School’s homecoming football game, with friends, on Friday night.  The boy was a homecoming candidate this year, representing the junior class golf team, and he played in the band for the game.  We packed in our lawn chairs again this week, and sat in the middle of roughly five thousand boys between the ages of eight and thirteen, on the side lawn.  There were no fewer than six tackle football games going on at all times around us, and Thing 2 JUMPED RIGHT IN.

At one point, he was busy tackling a 6th grade boy, when I walked up to him and encouraged him to come sit with his family and his five-year-old friends, Vivian and Evie.  He looked at me and said, “But, Mom!  This guy is my new best friend, and we’re playing FOOTBALL!”  His ears were deaf to my cries of, “These 6th graders are tackling like they’re linemen in the NFL.  They weigh one hundred and thirty pounds, to your forty-seven pounds, and I’m afraid your neck is going to be broken,” but he DID hear me when I said, “Vivian and Evie have doll strollers.”

Because doll strollers can be stolen away from the girls, and you can push them like they’re powered by rocket fuel, while you pretend they’re gas-powered weed whackers.  Thing 2 diligently tried to “trim” the grass along the fence, by pretending the toy baby strollers were weed eaters, until Hubs finally announced, “Stop!!  You’re going to break all the wheels off that stroller, and then you’re going to have to sell one of your tractors for enough money to buy the girls a new one!”

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE being a Boy Mom?  I do!

We also nailed our Small Town High Football Spectatorship on Friday night.  I feel like this snapshot sums up why sitting in the grassy section is a much better option for us than the bleachers are:

And… since it was the homecoming game, there were fireworks at halftime.  It was basically our first encounter with watching fireworks, where we didn’t freak out and scream like a banshee who has just caught his bathrobe on fire.  Thing 2 has ALWAYS been TERRIFIED of fireworks.  Yes, he’ll jump off the top of the tallest playground structure and pick up a tarantula by one fuzzy leg, but fireworks are his undoing.

Until this past Friday night… when he looked at me, from the safety of my lap in my lawn chair and announced, “I’m kind of like a big kid now, huh, Mom?  I’m not crying!  It’s because I’m five and A HALF, and I’m not afraid of firecracks any more.”

Yes.

Firecracks.

And I’ll shoot the stink eye at ANYONE who tries to teach him the proper way to say FIREWORKS, because FIRECRACKS is really the best mispronunciation I’ve ever heard.

On Saturday, the boy worked, because of course he did.

I haven’t really seen our seventeen year old in more than a week.  He goes to school… he works.  He goes to school… he works.  I’m going to have to text him and ask, “You’re taking a good multi-vitamin and saying your prayers, right?”

While the boy was working… and while Hubs and Thing 2 were pulling a giant air compressor around with my Suburban, to blow out everyone’s underground sprinkler system for the season, I did a shift at our school’s annual carnival and chili supper.  I worked the Frog Flinging booth, which was as glamorous as you’d imagine, especially if you imagine that it was one of the few booths with ZERO SHADE in the middle of a heatwave.

We fantasized about ice and cold drinks and ocean breezes at the Frog Flinging booth, for two solid hours.

Between yards and sprinkler systems, Hubs brought Thing 2 down to our school’s big carnival.  He bought tickets to throw at the kid sitting in the dunk tank.  The big bummer came when Thing 2 hit the target with his throw OVER AND OVER AND OVER… BOOM… five times in a row… and the mechanism didn’t trigger to drop the kid in the tank of water.

He was powerfully heartbroken.

Apparently, you have to be a Major League pitcher to get enough muscle behind your throw to trip that thing.

Thankfully, there was cotton candy for him to cry his sorrows of being robbed at dunking a kid into.

And then he spent half of his tickets to get all hooked up in a harness, so that he could climb the two-stories-tall climbing wall.

Little Man took off like he’d been fired from a canon, and climbed his heart out.  And then he made the mistake of looking down when he was about halfway up the two-stories-tall climbing wall.

He may have conquered his fear of fireworks this weekend, but he decided that halfway up was good enough with the climbing on Saturday.

He can climb all the way up and smack the bell at the top next year…

… when he’s SIX.

We spent the rest of our weekend having dinner with friends… going to church… and blowing more sprinklers out at more friends’ houses.  When you rent an air compressor that is roughly the size of a space shuttle, you make sure everyone you know with a sprinkler system gets their yard done.

And now… well... you’re all caught up on our lives.

Carry on, and y’all enjoy what’s left of your Sunday evening.

I Feel Like My Skating Routine Was On Point

My day started much like yours, I suppose.

Thing 2 was out of bed at 4 AM, in desperate need of Tylenol for the “raging, pus-filled infection of horror” going on in his right ear.  I fumbled my way to the kitchen in the dark, without the help of any bifocal glasses to clear the way for me, and set my hopes on the fact that I would (1) use the Tylenol bottle and not the Children’s Benadryl bottle, and (2) give him the right dose, by eyeballing it with my blurry vision.

I then pretty much convinced Thing 2 that Christmas would be completely CANCELLED, if he didn’t get himself back beneath the blankets and go back to sleep.  Our record for waking up at 4:00 in the morning and actually GOING BACK TO SLEEP is 3,004 to a big fat zero, because we don’t love going back to sleep.  4 AM is considered FAIR GAME FOR COFFEE by our kindergarten kid.

But… the Lord heard my cries from the pit, and He granted me the desire of my heart.  Thing 2 was back in bed, sleeping like a baby, in less than five minutes.  I was stunned.

3,0004 TO ONE!!

I tiptoed straight out of Thing 2’s bedroom, closed his door with all the stealth and silence of a master ninja, and headed toward my own bed, when I hit it.

IT was a giant puddle of wet and slop on the hardwood floor, right outside our bedroom door.  I skated through it like Bambi on the ice… arms flailing, skidding at a high rate of speed toward the hallway wall, spinning in circles, and trying to remain upright.

After forty, the hips are a big liability risk, if one happens to fall.

Apolo Ohno would have gasped at the speed I worked up, crossing the hardwood floors of the hallway this morning…

… especially when I crashed straight into the wall.

Hubs sat bolt upright in bed and yelled, “Watch out!!  The cat just puked right there while you were in Thing 2’s bedroom!”

And that is why I had all the lights on at 4:00 this morning, and why I was packing a full roll of Bounty paper towels and a bottle of Clorox spray out of the kitchen, but I had a better pre-dawn workout than any crossfitter has ever had.  Today was apparently Leg Day, which means I’ll be aching tomorrow.

So… you know… I guess my day started much like anyone’s did, if y’all skied through cat barf before sunrise and then squirted your bare feet with bleach.

In other news, our weekend was a good one.  We started it on Friday night by heading up to Small Town High, to cheer our football team on to another victory.  Fall has hit and it’s hit hard, so we sat in the misting rain and the chilly breeze and wished we had a fifty gallon metal drum to build a fire in.

AND!  I feel like this is such a success in our parenting history, but how many years did it take before Hubs and I finally figured out the best way to attend a hometown football game with our younger boy in tow?!  We went with good friends, and people!  Instead of opting for the bleachers like every other normal Small Town High School football fan, we packed in our lawn chairs with our heavy coats and mittens!  We set up base camp at the South end of the field, where three hundred boys, ages eight to twelve, congregate to play their own version of ghetto-style, tackle football.  Thing 2 and his little buddy were able to run, run, RUN with the big boys, while we sat in the luxury of our own chairs.  Now granted, we four adults were the only folks older than thirteen in this section, but we really feel like it was a Parenting Victory.  Thing 2 was not trapped in the bleachers and forced to REMAIN STILL, and he was fully exercised before bedtime.

If he’d been wearing a Fit Bit on Friday night, it would have caught fire and exploded, from all the movement.  And the adults?  Well, we were powerfully comfortable in our private lawn chairs… as much as anyone can be comfortable when it’s spitting rain and 42 degrees outside in the dark.

On Saturday morning, Thing 2 had earned enough stickers on his LOOK AT ME SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT LIKE I’M A BIG KID chart to earn a new Lego set.

I’m not going to lie.

We’ve been bribing our child to sleep all night with the excitement of earning prizes.  When I mentioned it to his pediatrician this afternoon, while we were there for Ear Infection Number Six Million Four Hundred Thirty-Six, she told me, “Call it a sleep REWARD.  It sounds so much more positive than a bribe.  No one can be offended by REWARDS!”   Mostly, y’all, we’ve had some very powerful prayer warriors who have gone to bat for us on the sleep front in the past two weeks.  The Sleep REWARDS are fun, but we know that they have nothing on the fact that we have a small team of praying folks, who are GETTIN’ IT DONE BEFORE THE THRONE.  These are folks who are on their knees for us, praying when we were too exhausted to pray ourselves, and Jesus has heard.

We have had some rest, which we absolutely DO NOT take for granted.  We have been blessed, straight from heaven with it, and I am honestly struggling to keep the faith that we can win on the field of this sleep battle.  But… if Jesus is FOR US, then not even a lack of sleep can defeat us.

Amen.

Hubs and Thing 2 built his new Lego set while the boy worked and while I read a book.  We had one lazy, rainy Saturday.

We took Thing 2 to see the new Lego Ninjago movie at the theater, and he was mesmerized.  The best thing about Lego movies is that Hubs and I, who have to sit through them because we are BOY PARENTS, actually laugh out loud at them.  We ate popcorn, we sipped sodas, and we cheered Lloyd the Ninja on to victory.  Afterward, Hubs took Thing 2 swimming, while I got to see the boy for four minutes between his I’M HOME FROM WORK and his I’M LEAVING TO GO OUT WITH SOME FRIENDS.

On Sunday, there was church, and then we spent a couple of hours at the indoor playland with another one of Thing 2’s buddies and six thousand other kids.  Apparently, every parent in Small Town decided that they needed to get the kids out of the house, and WHERE DO YOU GO WHEN IT RAINS?!

These two handsome rapscallions ran for two solid hours.  They ran and they ran… and then they ran some more.  They chased each other; they chased other kids; they climbed, they jumped, they hopped, they scooted through tubes and tunnels, and they crossed the monkey bars more times than I could count.

And then Thing 2 came home and announced that HE WOULD JUST START BAWLING NOW, BECAUSE HIS EAR HURT.

As I was stirring a pot of chili on our stove last night, he tap-tapped me on the side and said, “Mom?  Can you quit making dinner and come hold me for a while?  My ear hurts so bad!”

You can bet that dinner waited.

It waited a long time.

I held that boy pretty much all evening on my lap, while we watched old Tom and Jerry cartoons…

… and then I put him to bed early…

… and we got up at 4:00 this morning for Tylenol and a skate race through cat vomit.

How’d  y’all spend YOUR weekend?!