The Weekend Of The Rain And The Fire Engine And The Good Friends

Monday evenings are my Sunday evenings, because obviously that makes sense.

Seriously.  It’s because I go back to work on Tuesdays, so Monday nights are the end of my… well… five-day weekends.  I think Hubs is a tiny bit jealous that my weekends stretch from Wednesday afternoon to Monday evening, but then I tell him that, “Hey!  You could have married a girl with a giant trust fund and been a stay-at-home dad; I can’t be held responsible for you marrying REALLY CUTE, instead of RICH.”

And then Hubs remembers that he’d probably go bat-dung-crazy if he stayed home for five days in a row, all year long, because Hubs needs to be in his office, solving world problems, bringing downed servers to life once more, and making folks everywhere happy, because they’re able to log into Facebook again.

But yes.  Come tomorrow morning, I’ll be back in my gym, teaching children to JUST TAKE A STEP WHEN YOU THROW OVERHAND, FOR THE LOVE!!  Inevitably, I will also be telling no fewer than six boys, “Hey!  It’s time to actually be in your exercise lines now for stretches, and if you shoot one more basket, my lid is gonna flip in a most unladylike manner, because I’ve already told you fifty-seven times to PLEASE PUT THAT BASKETBALL AWAY in my friendly teacher voice.”

Sometimes, I think that I should have just gotten a job at a school somewhere, teaching Recess.


Our weekend was a good one.

On Friday, it was kind of cold and yucky, but Thing 2 and I braved the elements and ran some errands.  The boy had early-release on Friday, so we gathered him and a friend up, and then we dumped them off with more friends at the theater, to catch a late matinee.  Later, we ended up with some boys hanging out in our family room, and… eventually… actually sleeping there, too, after they’d eaten two large pizzas, a few sandwiches, and some popcorn.

May the Good Lord be close to the checking accounts of those families who feed teenage boys.

Upstairs, the party was raging full force, as Hubs and I used the radio to listen to our Small Town High boys get beaten on the road in Rival Town, by one touchdown in the final minute of the game.

While the game was going on in the background, we also taught Thing 2 the sad life lesson that if you dump all four hundred thousand tractors, combines, front-end loaders, excavators and Matchbox cars that you own onto the floor, you will need to pick them up.  It was a tear-filled time when Hubs and I problem solved for our preschooler and told him, “Maybe you have too many construction vehicles and pieces of farm equipment.  Maybe it’s time to have an auction and downsize your assets.”  The garbage can was brought out, bids were shouted across the room, and Thing 2 has never picked up toys faster, as he decided he’d like to keep each and every vehicle that he owned.

If you need any other parenting tips, Hubs and I are happy to do a podcast for you, entitled, “How the Garbage Can In the Middle of the Living Room Floor Worked For Us, Even Though Child Psychologists Probably Frown Upon It.” 

We live on the edge with our child-rearing techniques.

On Saturday, it poured rain.

As in POURED.  The kind of POURED where you wonder if you should dig the life jackets out of the garage and get one buckled onto all the children, just in case.  Hubs and Thing 2 and I tiptoed past sleeping teenage boys on our family room floor, and we went to Home Depot, because it was the first Saturday of the month.  This may not mean anything to you, if you don’t have small children, but let me tell you this:  On the first Saturday of every month, Home Depot invites families to come in, get a little bag of wood pieces and tiny nails and build something together.

On Saturday, the project was a fire engine.

IMG_5019It came with little blocks of wood, four black wheels, sixteen-point-nine million nails that were the size of a cell’s nucleus, and red paint.

Do you know what that is a recipe for?


In the middle of all the NOISE, NOISE, NOISE, that sounded exactly like the North Pole must sound, come November, when Santa’s back-logged and a new order for seventy-three thousand Tonka trucks has just come in, Thing 2 gave up on all the hammering, which meant Hubs got to finish building the fire engine.  Meanwhile, I unearthed our black wheels from under the feet of strangers and hollered out, “I NEED MORE CAFFEINE IF WE’RE GOING TO LET THREE-YEAR-OLDS PAINT IN MY VICINITY!!!!”

In other words, it was a fabulous time of Pinterest-worthy, family bonding with our preschooler.

In the end, we all left with our hands covered in red paint.  Thing 2’s left cheek was covered in white paint, too.  My hair was falling out of my ponytail, and Hubs just wanted some time alone in a glass case of emotion.

But… we left with one heck of a decent fire engine.

From there, we went to the high school, because the varsity girls were hosting a volleyball tournament.  We sat with some good friends of ours in the bleachers, who kept Thing 2 well-supplied with enough candy to power a rocket launch to Pluto with the ensuing sugar high, and we cheered like crazy for our hometown girls.

On Saturday night, we loaded up both of our boys in the middle of the rain, and we drove across town to have dinner with our darling friends, Brian and Sarah.  They have twin nine-year-old boys, who basically took over all the babysitting duties of Thing 2, while the four adults sat at the table and had real, live discussions.  We laughed our heads off together over bowls of hot chili, while the kids ran reconnaissance missions throughout the house, shooting one another with Nerf guns.

It was one heck of a lovely evening with friends.

On Sunday, there was church.  When I picked Thing 2 up from the nursery, he announced, “I cried a little in there today, but I didn’t hit a single kid, Mom.  Aren’t you proud of me?”

Yes.  Yes, I was.  It’s because we haven’t convinced Thing 2 that the church nursery is not TRAINING CAMP FOR THE WORLD FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS AND THE MMA yet.

On Sunday afternoon, in the wind and the dreary weather, Hubs threw the Denver Broncos under the bus, demoted them to the DVR to be watched later, and took the boy and I to join some more friends at the theater.  We saw the movie The Martian and ate buttery popcorn.

Have you seen it?  The story is that an astronaut on a mission to Mars is accidentally left behind, when his crew thinks he’s dead, and he survives on the red planet alone, until a rescue mission can be put together.

The bottom line that I learned is simply this:  If I ever found myself alone on Mars, I would die.  It would never occur to me to grow potatoes in dirt with poop, and combine hydrogen and oxygen to create water, because I never paid enough attention in Botany and Chemistry… I simply committed everything in those two classes to my short-term memory files, passed the tests, collected my A grades, and promptly forgot EVERYTHING THE PROFESSORS HAD TAUGHT ME.  Everything.  Because of this, I would have sat on Mars alone, crying and wailing until my oxygen levels ran out, and then that would’ve been it.

But the real issue is… IF I WAS EVER LEFT BEHIND ON MARS, ALONE… How did I get there in the first place?  Because do you know what I would never do?  Board a rocket.  Never… AT ALL… will I willingly go into space.  It’s one of the few things that I imagine would be worse than building fire trucks with a pack of three-year-olds and buckets of red paint at Home Depot.

The end.

Anyway… y’all have a wonderful Monday evening.

The Beautiful Calm

Do you know how some days, there’s just a million and six other different things to blog about, because your people have been busy DOING SOME STUFF, and you’ve taken pictures?  And then, on other evenings, you sit and stare at the computer like you’re about to nod off in geometry class, because the burden of proof has fallen on you to prove that two line segments are congruent, and OH, LOOK!  BIRDS IN THE AIR, RIGHT OUTSIDE OUR WINDOW!

Tonight has been one of the latter kinds of evenings.


This was just a regular kind of week, with not a lot of spectacularness happening, and that’s okay.  Weeks like these offset the weeks when Thing 2 decides to open a car wash in the bathroom sink, while you’re downstairs switching loads of laundry around, and, by the time you realize that sixteen Matchbox vehicles have been through the suds, it’s pretty much time to call Hubs and decide if flood insurance is an option you should reconsider.

You know, given the circumstances and the enthusiasm of the small preschooler you’re raising.

This week was just downright calm, and for that, I’m thankful.

Oh, there was the time in first grade PE on Tuesday, when I wore a smoking hot necklace, paired with a camouflage shirt, because I have the ability to read fashion magazines and take my cues from the trends being set by celebrities.  And then, as my first graders were lining up at the gym’s double doors, all sweaty-faced and ready to head to recess, one little girl told me, “I love your necklace.  It’s just beautiful.  But it doesn’t match your shirt at all, so don’t wear them together any more.”

Clearly, I made the mistake of thinking Blake Lively understood acceptable fashion, when I should have been listening to a seven-year old who was wearing a polka dot skirt with a plaid shirt.

I’m not even making that up.

The irony of it is that she looked darling, because the polka dots matched the plaid, and I remember thinking, “I wish we could get away with an outfit like that once we pass forty,” and then BOOM!  She lets me have a crack of her fashion whip wisdom, and now she’s flunking PE.

The poor dear.  I hear tale she’s an excellent student in the classroom and making grades that are straight great.  That F in PE is going to cost her the Ivy League.

In other news (like there really IS any OTHER news tonight), we spent our Thursday kind of laid back.  Thing 2 had preschool this morning, which has opened up a window of opportunity for me on Thursdays that is three hours long.  I have to come home and mentally go through the list.  Do I want to spend my free time doing laundry?  Weeding a flowerbed?  Reading?  Doing my Bible study homework?  Or having coffee with a friend?

I’ll have you know that today I came back home after dropping Thing 2 off, and I totally killed a brand new level at Candy Crush on my phone… and it was one that popped up with the flashing message, HARD LEVEL.

Whatever, Candy Crush.  Give a woman three uninterrupted hours where no one is going to flood the bathroom or decorate the hallway walls with a magic marker or put a John Deere tractor in the microwave, and she’ll line all those little candies up just so and knock your challenge right out of the ballpark.

So… you know… it was an extremely successful morning, where I made stay-at-home moms everywhere very proud.

After I picked Thing 2 up, we hit the grocery store, because the cats were quite insistent that their food dish was empty, and it was only a matter of time before they started selecting pieces of furniture to shred, if I didn’t have some crunchy, GOOD FOR THE HAIRBALLS THAT AIL YA food poured out for them to partake of.

After that, we came home and I put a fancy roast in the oven.  It’s one of those roasts that’s covered in broth and rosemary, which needs to simmer for four-and-a-half hours.  After the small fact that I made beef stew gravy in the crockpot yesterday, that went over mashed potatoes, I’d say that I’m playing Varsity Housewife this week.

I feel a letterman’s jacket coming on.

After the roast was all tucked into the oven for the afternoon (Is anyone even still reading this?!  Bless you!  I’ve brought BORING to a new level this evening.), we picked the boy up from school… we went to the junior high to watch Cousin R’s 7th grade volleyball game… we cheered like lunatics for her when she made awesome plays… we took the boy to youth group… we folded laundry… we watched the neighbors mow their lawn out our deck windows and thought, “We should be productive members of the homeowners’ association like that”… and we picked up toy tractors scattered from one end of the house to the other, for the seventy-ninth time.

I’m just happy that the car wash was closed today, so no John Deeres went through the sink, without parent signatures on permission slips to activate the faucet.

It was just a day filled with all kinds of riveting activities.


Y’all have a merry evening.

The Day That Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother Said, “I Give Up.”

I think I’m raising wolves.

It’s because while I was off teaching PE today, and while the boy was off gaining a higher education at the high school, and while Hubs was at work, and while Thing 2 was hanging out with his cousin and his Grammy, the housekeeper that I cannot afford came over.

And she worked her magic.

Basically this means that she said some words like “Bibbity-bobbity-boo,” and then dove into our bathrooms.  I was glad that I wasn’t home to hear what she thought about them, because our two bathrooms were beginning to look like they belonged on the side of a gas station at a major truck stop.

You know… the ones where you have to get a key from the toothless cashier, who’s sipping something questionable out of a 48-ounce soda cup and a straw, and the key comes to you on a trashcan lid, for safekeeping.

And then, when you actually get the place unlocked and have tipped the trashcan lid sideways to get it through the door, you wonder if Jason Bourne changed his identity in the sink, or whether you should just back out and call the authorities about a possible murder location, what with the sink being filled with… what?  Red hair dye?  Blood?  And the mirror is all scratched up so that you can’t see your reflection, but you can clearly read, “Daniel Broke My Heart And Needs To Die,” which was written with a broken pocketknife.


That’s the condition that our bathrooms were in.

Don’t judge us.

You know what they say… “Dirty bathrooms, lovely hearts.”

When I had gathered my young charges up from school and Grammy’s, I pulled into the driveway, shut the Suburban off, turned in my seat, and said, “The housekeeper has been in our house.  It will not go well for you if you create a mess.”

It’s because for the exorbitant cleaning fees that today’s housecleaning businesses fetch, I would like to enjoy at least six entire minutes in my home before it’s destroyed.

The boy walked in, plopped his backpack down and immediately proceeded to haul our enormous, industrial-sized blender out from a bottom cabinet, so that he could make a homemade, frozen coffee drink.

That blender didn’t seal right this afternoon, and everything leaked out of it.


That’s right.

Chocolate-flavored, added-some-caramel-to-it milk poured onto the kitchen counter, down the fronts of the cabinets, and all over the freshly-mopped floors that still smelled like lemon Pine-Sol.

And then he tipped the bag of sugar over on the counter, so… you know… sugar granules from here to Mars…

… and back again.

We had enough sugar granules to circle the earth forty-three times.

While this was going on, Thing 2 realized that he couldn’t find his Snurf.

Yes.  S-N-U-R-F.

Thing 2, you see, hasn’t officially learned the English language’s blend of the consonants SM, so he pronounces it with the SN sound instead.

Snoke.  Snall.  Snell.  Snile.  Snorgasbord.  Snurf.

What he was after was the Doctor Smurf, circa 1982.  Sister and I had him when we were young ‘uns, and somehow he has survived moves to colleges and new houses and marriages and blah, blah, blah, and Thing 2 found him this week in a drawer of mine.

And at 4:15 this afternoon, the SNURF couldn’t be found, so Thing 2 took it upon himself to dump his entire toybox out, in search of him.

Not just half of the toybox.

Not just three-fourths of the toybox.

But ALL.  OF.  IT.

And that is pretty much the time when I realized that I wanted to seriously look into this entire Tiny House Craze that’s gripping the nation, where folks build 300-square-foot cabins and live with minimal furnishings and accessories.  I think my sanity would enjoy building one of them in our backyard, where I could keep things cleaned up and occasionally visit the mess-making wolves in the bigger house a few times every day.

But the good news is that THE HOUSEKEEPER THAT I CANNOT AFFORD WAS COMING, so… in preparation, with forethought and pre-planning and pats on my own shoulder… I put dinner in the crockpot this morning.  My goal was to come home to sparkles and shines and one heck of a decent stew-gravy that had simmered all day and could be dumped over mashed potatoes.

At least we had a good four minutes of loveliness before the train wreck happened.

And it was one downright fine dinner.

Reason #833 On Why I Love Toddlers

When I came into our bathroom this morning, I found Thing 2 sitting on the sink, looking exactly like this:

image1I asked him what he was doing.

He told me, “I’m looking down ‘the tunnel’ in my mouth… the tunnel where my food falls down into my tummy.  And why can’t I see my lungs?  I want to see what my lungs look like, too.”

Fifty Things About Our Weekend

We are currently in the throes of what is commonly referred to as a nuclear, no-brakes-on-the-rollercoaster, TAKE-US-TO-DEFCON-ONE toddler meltdown.  I’ve currently diverted the crisis with an episode of Shaun the Sheep on You Tube and a stick of string cheese, but I don’t have long before the simmering volcano squirts out some more lava.

In other words, this is going to be short tonight.  We have a three-year-old who desperately needs an earlier bedtime and his mama to rock him.

So… this is kind of what’s been happening at our house recently:

1.  We met two other couples, who happen to be good friends of ours, at the high school football game on Friday night.

2.  Hubs and the other guys focused on the plays being called and run, with occasional commentary on potential flags on plays.

3.  I sat with my two darling friends and literally talked until I had spoken twenty-seven gatillion words.

4.  After the game, we found the boy, who refuses to sit in the grownup section of the stands, and the cute neighbor boy, because neither one of them can drive legally yet, and they needed to get home.  We added one more boy to the mix, discovered we didn’t have enough seatbelts, and announced that someone would have to squish his rump into Thing 2’s carseat.

5.  Yes, that’s probably seventeen kinds of illegal, but I’m happy to say that we all arrived home safely, and all three boys boys slept at the neighbors’ house.  I felt badly for my sweet neighbor lady, because I sent the boy to her STARVING.  I can only imagine the condition he left her pantry in.

image256.  The car wash is a big weekend deal for us.

7.  Thing 2 believes he’s plenty big enough to vacuum Goldfish crackers out of his carseat and flex his muscles afterward.

image3 image28.  When you cart around two miniature pumpkins from the pumpkin pile for hours on end and fall asleep with them in the Suburban, your mom kind of giggles and takes your picture.

9.  This picture will come back to haunt you at your high school graduation party.

image110.  On Saturday, the boy’s youth group from church went Ice Blocking.

11.  It’s a redneck sport, in case you were wondering.

12.  It involves buying giant blocks of ice from the gas station, plopping a towel onto them so that your bum retains a smidgen of heat, and then sliding downhill.

13.  Thing 2 is now a professional Ice Blocker.

image21 image44214.  Sometimes even the pros crash and burn.

image5315.  On Saturday, the school where I teach PE had an ENORMOUS chili dinner and carnival.  It’s our annual fundraiser.

16.  Approximately seventeen million people came.

17.  The temperature was equivalent to the surface of the sun.

18.  The air was so hot outside on Saturday, it scalded our lungs when we tried to breathe outdoors.

19.  Somehow, I pushed through and worked a game booth for two-and-a-half hours, with the boy and his buddy, Eli, in tow.  (Eli even stayed the night with us afterward.  This meant that the boy was on a NO SLEEP bender after staying at the cute neighbor boy’s house the night before.)

20.  The three of us could probably open our own carnival now, because the boy, Eli and I ROCKED our booth.

21.  Our game came in second, as far as TICKETS COLLECTED HERE went.

22.  Face painting was first.

23.  No one can compete with a face dolled up to look like Spider-Man with some red paint.

24.  After our replacement team showed up to take over for the second shift of the carnival, we were free to hang out.

25.  I fed Thing 2 two cinnamon rolls for dinner.

26.  DFS will probably knock on my door tomorrow for that one.

27.  Thing 2 also wanted to push his buddy’s stroller around, with his buddy strapped in.

28.  It sounded like a fantastic idea, until we realized that Thing 2 was going to push the stroller DOWNHILL at a DEAD SPRINT.

29.  This meant that the parents had to sprint to catch the stroller.

30.  Remember… it was 488 degrees outside.

31.  The stroller stayed upright, because Thing 2 can Stroller Sprint like a pro.

image1032.  Afterward, when his buddy’s family left, his little friend was hollering (HOLLERING!!) for his mother to push the stroller “FAST LIKE THING 2 DOES!”  His stroller ride was better than any of the carnival games.

33.  On Saturday night, our reward for enduring the biggest heat wave known to mankind was this:

image1334.  Cameras don’t do sunsets justice.  And yes, I took this picture from the driver’s seat of my Suburban, and that splotch up there is where I smucked Tinkerbell on my windshield.

35.  Today, we went to church.

36.  A professional photographer took the boys’ pictures afterward.

37.  It was only 79 degrees today, because we had the Favor of the Lord.

38.  Then we went to Walmart.

39.  It was for THE.  BIG.  HAUL.

40.  As in, we simply signed a month’s salary over to the discount shopping center in exchange for everything from a jug of Tide, to new toothbrushes for everyone, to green bell peppers and bananas.  We were out of everything that a family can be out of.

41.  The worst part about the big haul is that you have to lug all your stuff home afterwards.

42.  And carry it all inside.

43.  And put it all away in the pantry.

44.  And then no one wants to cook dinner, so you just eat cheese and crackers and frozen pizza rolls.

45.  So sue me.

46.  And now, we’re going to bed.

47.  Well, only ONE OF US is going to bed.

48.  The animated sheep and the string cheese worked like a charm.

49.  We haven’t had any tears since I sat down to type this post at the same speed Thing 2 can push a baby stroller.

50.  I’d call that a weekend win.

The Pumpkin Pile

I have to tell you that Thing 2 keeps things real for us around here.

Yesterday, the boy tried caviar and loved it, which means that our bank is going to be asking us, “Can you explain all these sudden expenses to the online caviar shipping site?  Because aren’t you guys POOR?”

Yes.  Yes, we are.

But I’ll tell you, we’re living like we’re anything BUT poor, because this morning I packed the boy’s lunch, as usual.  He’s convinced that he will die if he has to eat a tray of cafeteria food.  Since we’re living like we’re posh and very much classy around here, I just went ahead and packed the boy…  oh, you know!… some caviar and expensive crackers in his lunchbox.  Afterwards, I had one of the servants pick him up in the Rolls Royce and take him to his sailing lessons.

But back in the real world… after the boy had put away his little jar of $10 fish eggs last night… and after I’d already put my blog post up for the evening… Thing 2 asked if he could have a snack.

I gave him a little cup filled with bright orange Cheez-It crackers, because WHAT WAS I SAYING ABOUT US BEING VERY FANCY?  Cheez-Its are served at all the finest resorts in this great nation.  Somehow, while I was cleaning up the dinner dishes, Thing 2 snagged a paper sack out of our pantry, put all of his Cheez-Its inside of it, and then jumped up and down on it, over and over and over and over, until he was left with bright orange powder.

Then he came racing into the kitchen for a cup.

He poured his orange dust into the cup… and ate it all with a spoon, exactly like little Prince George probably does at Buckingham Palace.

Today, with all the salty fish eggs and cracker dust behind us, Hubs and I joined Thing 2 on his preschool’s field trip to the local pumpkin patch.

Except Thing 2 calls it the PUMPKIN PILE, so I shall never say the phrase PUMPKIN PATCH again.  Pile it is, for the rest of our family’s lives.

Our toddler was overwhelmed with joy when he realized that a real tractor was going to pull a wagon out to the pumpkin pile, and that we were all going to get to ride on that wagon.

And then we passed a combine on the way to the pile, and his day was complete.

IMG_6588We had a ball traipsing through the pumpkin pile with all of his little classmates and friends, and his preschool teachers, trying to decide which pumpkin was destined to become our family’s best fall piece of home decor.

Because, I won’t lie.  We may eat caviar around here, but I have no online, fall home tour to give to you of our house.  It’s because decorating for fall involves slapping a pumpkin onto our front patio.

BOOM!  Look at that lovely fall decor we have!

Taking the fall decorations down is usually pretty easy, too, but sometimes we wait until December to get that pumpkin pitched into the dumpster every year.

IMG_6587 IMG_6589 IMG_6592 IMG_6595 IMG_6599 IMG_6600 IMG_6601 IMG_6602 IMG_6608 IMG_6611 IMG_6613 IMG_6615 IMG_6631 IMG_6634Afterwards, the kids were served punch and cookies in the barn.  It’s always fun to sit with a pack three-year-olds, while they talk to one another over cookies at a table.

IMG_6643 IMG_6648 IMG_6650 IMG_6654Thing 2 brought home one good-sized pumpkin that could eventually be carved, if we have enough stamina in October to see that craft project through, and then he snagged two teeny-tiny pumpkins.  Those little guys were clutched all day long.  They went everywhere with us, from picking the boy up after school, to playing at the park with some of our close friends this afternoon.

And then we learned, the hard way, that when you use an itty-bitty pumpkin to bang the piano with, it splits in half, spills seeds and guts everywhere, and makes you bawl your head off.

Rest in peace, tiny pumpkin.  We sure enjoyed carrying you around all day.

Fish Eggs. It’s What’s For Dinner.

It’s no secret around here that the boy enjoys any good TV show on tracking Big Foot through the woods or hearing eyewitness reports from men with no front teeth about how the UFO landed just behind their barn last week, and YELLOW EYES, Y’ALL!  THEY HAD YELLOW EYES!

He’s also a self-taught banjo picker, and he’ll wipe fish guts on his American Eagle jeans after he fillets a fish at the lake.

But then the boy has an entirely different side.

He golfs.  He golfs very well, and he likes to tuck his collared shirt in and wear a belt on the golf course.  He also told me the other day that he’s tired of crockpot dinners, because we should really cook more like fancy chefs in our house.

Yes.  Because THAT’S going to happen.  Let me just stand back, Boy, and let you take over at the stove, with your freshly chopped basil and your fresh buffalo mozzarella that came in on the last plane from Italy.

For the past few weeks, that boy of ours has been begging to try caviar.  I told him that we aren’t really “caviar people.”  We’re more of a “canned queso on corn chips” sort of family, when it came to snacking.  And that’s alright, because we have Jesus in our hearts.


We had to stop at the grocery store after school today, because I needed something for dinner.  I wasn’t on top of my Varsity Housewife Game by throwing some non-gourmet slop in the crockpot first thing this morning, so I needed a quick dinner idea.  The boy suggested lobster tails, which were on sale at the meat counter.  I suggested tuna sandwiches.  He suggested pan-seared ribeyes.  I countered with the option of Life cereal.  Or, if he wanted to get fancy, I could get the GOOD box of Hamburger Helper.

We settled on a fast chicken marinade to go on some chicken breasts to grill, paired with corn on the cob and rosemary potatoes.

That’s about as fancy as we get in this kitchen.

The boy informed me that I’d be the first one cut from any cooking show on television.  I reminded the boy that I would never actually BE on a televised cooking show, because of the word COOKING, and how much I hate that word.

As we were pushing our cart toward the checkout aisle, the boy mentioned again that one of these days, he’d sure love to try some caviar.  I told him that he didn’t have a tuxedo to wear while he was eating it, but we went to the canned fish aisle, because his mama loves him.

And… I forked over ten American dollars for a jar of generic caviar that apparently didn’t originate with the best fish caught off yachts in the Caspian Sea.  This $10 jar was a batch of fish eggs from some swampy bottom-dweller, I guess, because the boy assured me that Beluga Caviar runs between $3,000 and $4,500 a pound.

In other words, I can pay for a semester of college for the boy at Harvard or have a single snack of black crud on a cracker.

But, because this was his trial run with the caviar, the boy was okay with the fact that it was THE.  CHEAP.  STUFF.  This is Small Town, USA, y’all.  Not a lot of us buy the caviar here.

But at least he bought the fanciest crackers he could find at the grocery store, because CAVIAR, Y’ALL.  This wasn’t your average after school snack of a Pop Tart.

And then…


… we came home, and he tried the stuff.  He pushed hard to talk me into having some caviar on a cracker, too, but listen.  I can’t even go there.  I love fish, but I love myself some COOKED fish.  Sushi and fish eggs?  I can’t even.

IMG_6575 IMG_6576 IMG_6579 IMG_6580 IMG_6581 IMG_6582As it turned out, our boy LOVED the caviar.

He.  Loved.  It.

And he informed me that instead of treating him to ice cream cones and frappuccinos from the coffee house, I can now treat him to a little $10 jar of smelly crap.

(Oh!  Did I type that word out loud?!  I’m sorry; this is a PG blog, and we seldom cuss around here.)

Carry on, and y’all have a happy Wednesday evening.

Daddy Sang Base… Mama Sang Tenor… And The Boy Picked That Stinking Banjo

Our weekend here at the Jedi Manor was simply the stuff that dreams are made of, if your dreams involve owning a toddler who gets up in the middle of the night and refuses to go back to sleep.


On Friday night, we went to the local high school game, where we met up with our friends, Scott and Christy.  The stands were packed, because it was a picturesque, postcard-type, fall evening, and the entire town turned up in the bleachers to watch some football.  We squished in tightly, and we cheered in all of the right places.

Hubs and I are so different at football games.  He actually goes to WATCH football.  I actually go to TALK TO people.  Christy and I chattered on like a couple of Southern women on a front porch, who haven’t seen one another in a decade and had some catching up to do.  We covered every topic we could think of, from wondering if we should buy our teenage boys pairs of khaki, American Eagle corduroy pants for dressier occasions, to high quality mascara, to anointing folks with oil and praying over them.

We like to throw the casual in with the spiritual.

At one point in the game, I looked up and saw that the scoreboard had moved from 14 points to 21 points, and realized that we had been so deep in conversation, I’d actually missed an opportunity to stand up and cheer for a touchdown and try to catch a T-shirt fired out of a cannon.  When I commented to Hubs that I’d missed a touchdown completely, he just shook his head at me, in what I can only assume was delayed pride.  When Hubs watches the game, he sees things like plays and numbers on jerseys and routes that teenage boys are planning to run when the ball is snapped.  When I watch the game, I see a lot of blurred color out there on the field, right before I notice that HOLD ON!  THERE’S JANE DOE THREE SEATS UP FROM US, AND WE SHOULD SAY HELLO TO HER, and HEY!  OUR BAG OF POPCORN IS EMPTY!  SHOULD WE MAKE ANOTHER CONCESSION STAND RUN?

I’m the person y’all want on your fantasy football teams…

… except probably the exact opposite of that.

(Unless you have guacamole at your fantasy football parties; then I’ll make every effort to appear like I know the difference between a pitch and a reverse and that I genuinely CARE about those differences.)

On Saturday, I actually had the forethought to put a roast in the crockpot first thing in the morning.  I won’t lie; the crockpot makes me feel like I’m on top of my Housewife Game and starting on Varsity.  After we’d knocked out a little laundry and pulled off a few chores and accomplished some errands, dinner was ready.  I fed my people real food and patted myself on the back for being organized.

On Saturday night, Thing 2 went to sleep at 8:00.

At precisely 8:45… after a nice, forty-five minute NAP… he got back out of bed.

At 3:00 on Saturday morning, when the bags beneath my eyes were bigger than monster truck tires and I’d mentally envisioned myself cussing a blue streak like a Tourettes Grand Champion, Thing 2 finally fell back asleep.  I know some mothers would have been all, “Put him in his bedroom and go back to bed, Woman!”  The only issue there is that having Thing 2 loose in the house is quite often reminiscent of having three, adult male raccoons in your home.  I can’t imagine saying, “You know, we’ve got some ‘coons running loose indoors, but… what the heck?  I’m gonna go on to bed now, and just hope for the best… that our kitchen garbage is untouched come morning.”

On Sunday morning, Thing 2 was up at 7:00, searching online for any nearby marathons to enter and run that day.


Somewhere about mid-morning, when I’d officially admitted to my NO-LONGER-TWENTY-TWO self that I was completely unable to stay awake until 3 AM any longer, I showered and put on some mascara, and yes, I even used the Colgate.  And then Hubs and I left the I-JUST-PARTIED-LIKE-A-COLLEGE-BOY-AND-STAYED-UP-ALL-NIGHT toddler with his grandmother, so that we could go see the new movie, War Room.

I loved it.

I may have even loved it ENORMOUSLY HUGELY.  I also wanted to stand up in the theater and clap outrageously for Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore, my two favorite Bible study teachers, and holler that they needed to be in the running for the next Oscar.  Even Hubs knew exactly what to say, as he commented, “I thought Beth Moore’s ninety seconds on the big screen was some of the finest acting I’ve seen in my entire life.”

It’s why I love him.

And then…

… THIS happened this weekend:

image3There are two types of people in this world:  People who make moonshine, and those who don’t.  People who fry squirrels in vats of peanut oil and eat them for dinner, and folks who don’t.  People who can catch a full-sized catfish out of the swamp with their bare hands, and individuals who just can’t.  People who cheer for NASCAR, and those who skip that channel altogether on the TV.  People who pick banjos, and people who think their money is better spent in the home furnishings aisle at Target.

In conjunction with the fact that Hubs and the boy enjoy every television show on backwoods people who live in the swamps and eat rodents and believe in UFOs touching down in Ricky Bobby’s cornfield, they bought a banjo online.

And yes.  The banjo went outside this weekend to the deck, because apparently it’s only as good as the amount of people who have to be subjected to all the picking going on.

I cringe a little when I say this, but the boy is rather musical, and that kid watched enough You Tube videos this weekend, that he was playing REAL, RECOGNIZABLE SONGS on the banjo by late Saturday night.  I felt an enormous streak of pride, because he taught himself how to play that instrument in a single day, and then I remembered… BANJO.  And I shuddered just a bit.

After the sun said goodbye to the day, the cute neighbor boy brought his guitar over to our deck, for a little impromptu jam session.

Overalls without shirts, and dirty, bare feet were optional attire for this spontaneous, music festival.

image2 image1I thought about bringing a couple of spoons outside to bang together, as I contributed some background noise to the medleys, but then I remembered that I’m more of a higher class person than that.

On Sunday night, I started rocking Thing 2 for bed at precisely 7:19.  At 7:20, he was snoring.  I walked out of his bedroom and told Hubs, “And THAT, my friend, is how you put a baby to bed!”

At 12:30 this morning, that kid was back up, and I fought to keep the racoon on his bed until he finally fell back to sleep at 4:00 this morning.  I have no idea how he’s able to pull this off, but Hubs and I know in the deepest recesses of our hearts that he’s already prepared for college.

And today… I’ve been moving around rather slowly, with a bit of brain fog that is only eclipsed by the small fact that the song Watch Me (Whip / Nae Nae) has been stuck in my head all day.

Clearly, I should probably iron up my overalls and contemplate a couple of front teeth that I could afford to get rid of, because humming this song to yourself for hours on end is on par with banjo picking, I’m sure.

Y’all have a happy Monday.  And may your Monday night be filled with the sleep of baby angels.

Caffeinate Me

I’m happy to report that our little man is still destined to be as smart as Albert Einstein, if yesterday’s grant-funded study is to be believed.

And, people, I’m banking on that.  After all of these sleepless nights and early mornings with Thing 2, I’m counting on a genius IQ that’s going to earn more dollars than the average NFL running back, so that I can celebrate the enormous bags beneath my eyes with a new Coach bag to carry on my shoulder.

And really?  Well, I think we’re on the right path, because last week, when I referred to a shape as “a diamond,” our toddler hollered, “No, Mom!  It’s NOT a diamond!  It’s a rhombus!!”

I think he’s been looking over the boy’s shoulder during all the geometry homework that’s happened this past week.

This is what 12:15 PM looks like, when you got up at 4:30 AM, ate a scrambled egg, a slice of toast, and a peach, and then spent the entire morning at preschool:

IMG_4928When I picked him up, he was so tired he said, “I can’t walk to the car.  Carry me.  My legs are dying.”  I told Thing 2 that we were heading home for a nap, and he started to bawl, because he didn’t want a nap; he wanted bubble gum.  He told me approximately forty-seven times between the school’s front doors and our Suburban that he wasn’t tired.

I had no more pulled out of the preschool’s parking lot when he quit talking, because LO!  He had tipped over sideways and passed out.

And that’s when I wanted to take back all the times I fought off a nap when I was a child.  I’d like a re-do.  I’d actually like to go back and obediently get on my bed with my blanket whenever my mom told me to, instead of arguing that I had enough stamina to watch thirty minutes of The Flintstones.

So yeah.

We’re all a little tired around here today, which is why THIS is going to become my new battle cry:

11951335_873934362660859_9077118033769626845_nMay y’all have a blessed, SLEEP-FILLED weekend.

Apparently We Have More In Common With Einstein Than Just The Hair

This morning, Hubs’ sister (our beloved Aunt Pink) posted this little article to my Facebook page.


Now, I’m not the bragging type, because… well... I drive a Suburban that drops nuts and bolts and transmissions every time I back it out of our driveway, and my backyard looks like an unexplored, wild jungle, but I’m totally going to stand up on this one and shout for all the world to hear…

“We are in the Albert Einstein Territory, y’all!!!!”

Goodness knows we have THE HAIR for this honor.

IMG_5737Granted, sometimes Thing 2 sleeps in a titch, and then we’re only in the Marie Curie Territory, but… for the most part… we’re all Albert, so I’m just gonna sit back with my mug of I HAVE TWELVE SHOTS IN THIS CUP OF COFFEE TO KEEP ME GOING TODAY and wait for that Nobel Prize to arrive.