Bagels Require Confession

Have I ever mentioned that my Tuesdays are long?

What?

I haven’t?

Well… my Tuesdays are long, especially since they often start at 4:50 in the morning, when Thing 2 gets out of bed and shouts, “Hi-lo, Mommy!  Hi-lo!”  (Which is “Hello” in Toddler-Speak.)  And when Thing 2 gets out of bed, there is no alignment, out of all the mathematical possibilities of alignments between all of the planets in the universe, that can happen that will convince him to PLEASE!  GET BACK IN BED AND CLOSE YOUR EYES AND SLEEP!!  If Thing 2 is up at 4:50, I am up at 4:50, and it is for.  the.  day!!

Really, I don’t have anything for y’all tonight, other than YES, WE GOT UP EARLY, and YES, WE HAD A GOOD TIME IN PE TODAY, and YES, THING 2 CONTINUES TO EARN M&Ms BY TINKLING ON THE BIG BOY POTTY, so… I’ll just leave you with this:

10441325_10152477216795000_881537396660428035_nOf course, this comes on the tail end of the fact that our school’s PTO brought in giant bagels and eight different cream cheese spreads for the teachers this morning.  The gifted artist among them arranged those bagels and tubs of cream cheese on a gold platter in a manner that could have been served to the Queen, herself, and she left out little plastic knives and fancy napkins that NEEDED TO BE LAUNDERED AND NOT SIMPLY THROWN AWAY, BECAUSE HELLO, REAL LINEN, and it was all very Pinterest-worthy.

Until our secretary announced, “Did you know that a single bagel is… like… the equivalent of five slices of white bread?”

Which is probably why we all needed to walk across the street from our little, private Catholic school to the church, sit down in a confessional and announce, “Forgive us, Father, because we have sinned.  We ate bagels, loaded with carbs, today, and we decorated them with pumpkin cream cheese, and, Heaven forbid it, but we enjoyed those bagels!

Y’all have a merry Tuesday evening.  I’m off to bed, because I think my toddler and I will be up early tomorrow morning, planning out our low-carb day.

I May Actually Buy A New Power Cord For My Phone This Week

I  have absolutely no noteworthy topic to write about tonight.

I feel like I should just add a nice THE END to that last sentence and call it good, but you know me.  I’ll forge ahead like Lewis and Clark, and just write about nothing.

(Not that Lewis and Clark wrote about nothing, but they were very good about plowing forward.)

Last night was one of those IT ISN’T EVEN CHRISTMAS kind of nights, and yet I was still in bed at 7:38.

Seven.  And thirty-eight minutes after that.  My twenty-two-year-old self just gagged a little and screamed, “I really won’t be like that when I’m elderly!”  But she IS like that.  Gone is her perfectly smooth skin and her ability to remain wide awake and see that yes, 10:00 actually comes twice in a twenty-four hour period.

Thing 2 had some issues yesterday, and by issues, I mean he was just flat-out tired, and his activity of choice last night was to lay on the hardwood floor and beg for milk and his pajamas.  That’s his cue that YES, I’LL FINALLY ADMIT DEFEAT AND LET Y’ALL KNOW THAT I’M A WEE BIT TIRED NOW, but I was reluctant to put him to bed at 6:30, because he already gets up at hours that the Good Lord never intended for anyone, other than farmers and donut makers, to actually see.  I knew that my baby boy needed to be rocked to sleep at 6:30 last night, but visions of me trying to find Mickey Mouse’s Playhouse on the TV, without my contacts in, at 3:30 in the morning made me wait a little bit longer.

By 7:00 last night, we had to throw the towel in.  The poor child was rolling around on the floor, chanting for his bottle of milk and it seemed cruel to make him wait any longer, regardless of the fact that I had no desire to be awake before 5:00.  Thing 2 had his teeth brushed.  He got his jammies on.  He had a storybook and a bottle, and then we rocked, and boom!  He closed his eyes and passed out cold.

Which was why Hubs and I left the boy slaving over his homework, up alone, and we went to bed at precisely 7:38, where we called Netflix up on the iPad and watched three back-to-back episodes of Raising Hope.  We laughed until our sides hurt, and that was probably because we recognized both of ourselves in Bert and Virgina.

I told Hubs, “Why do we see ourselves in the goofiest married couples on television?  Why is it always Bert and Virginia, and Mike and Frankie Heck who make us feel like we’ve caught a glimpse into our own lives?  Why can’t it be Prince William and Kate?  WHY???

Probably because William and Kate have never owned an iron with a frayed cord that zapped you every time you tried to press the clothes, until you were smart enough to just wear a rubber kitchen glove.

(Not that OUR iron behaves this way, but that’s what Bert was doing in one of the shows last night… biting on a wooden spoon, wearing his rubber, dish-washing glove, and ironing away, as the iron kept zapping him.  BUT… I once had a curling iron EXPLODE.  IN.  MY.  HAND. while my hair was still clamped in it, because the cord was frayed, and AT THIS VERY MOMENT IN TIME, the power cord to my iPhone is about to snap in half, and probably poses a great risk to my health.  We feel like the writers of Raising Hope may have peeked into the cords in our lives as they wrote the Ironing Episode.)

(And we’re really rather certain that William and Kate only have pristine electrical cords at their palace.)

#RealLife

Anyway.

I think I was pretty much sound asleep by 8:45 last night, so when Thing 2 got up at 5:10 this morning, I was ready for him.

And then we spent the day playing in a tub filled with dried beans.  We filled plastic cups with dried beans.  We poured dried beans.  We counted dried beans.  We scooped dried beans.  We dug through dried beans.  We threw dried beans all over the floor and made Mama crazy.  But… it’s safe to say that dried beans are more fun than Matchbox cars sometimes.

And I put a homemade chicken noodle soup in the crockpot first thing this morning, which made me feel like my life was organized and that I was perhaps still in the running for Mother of the Year, ’14.  Nothing says I LOVE YOU more than chopping up carrots and celery and onion for your family at 8:30 in the morning, but I’d had a full night’s rest, and I felt empowered to take dinner on EARLY.

And then I did forty-seven loads of laundry today.  I was still riding the high of I WENT TO THE GROCERY STORE AND DUMPED ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY A USED CADILLAC, AND BEHOLD!  THE FRIDGE IS FULL AND THE PANTRY IS BUSTING AT THE SEAMS!, so I decided to do something about the mountain of dirty clothes piled up in our closet.

And that, people, was pretty much everything that’s happened in the previous twenty-four hours, since I checked in here last.

Y’all have a good night.

Just A Lazy September Weekend

Let me just quickly tell you about our weekend.

On Friday, Sister came over and sat on Thing 2′s bedroom floor, where she folded all of the size 2T clothes that I threw out of his closet, with as much enthusiasm as a cat in a new box of litter.  Then I unpacked our giant boxes of hand-me-downs, exactly like it was Christmas morning, and I hung new… and bigger… stuff up in his closet, exactly like a boss.

While Sister and I were busy hanging and folding, Thing 2 and Cousin H watched a few minutes of a movie on the iPad in complete and utter harmony.

IMG_9756After those few peaceful moments were up, we were treated to a multiple-act play, entitled, “That’s My Dump Truck, Now Give It Back.”  That was followed by the play’s sequel, which was called, “Don’t Throw Matchbox Cars At Me.”

Later on Friday, I may or may not have made thirty-six trips into Thing 2′s room, just to throw open the closet doors and gaze upon Organized Perfection.  Where once there was chaos and jumbled T-shirts and Pampers boxes full of 3T stuff that needed to be hung up, there was now just total sweetness, that begged to be pinned, so that other mothers across the globe could say, “Look at how tidy this mama has made her son’s closet!”

On Friday night, I avoided going to the grocery store, and our family ate take-and-bake pizza for dinner, while we listened to the Small Town High School football game on the radio.

We won.

By a lot.

And by a lot, I mean that our sophomores and freshman played most of the second half.

On Saturday, we basically did nothing.  Go ahead and be jealous, because it was GLORIOUS.

Thing 2 got up at 5:00, and Hubs announced, “I’ll take this one for the team.”  Hubs was up with the toddler.  They watched Peppa Pig on TV together and ate leftover pizza and trashed the living room like a frat party had been held there, while I went back to sleep until the unholy hour of 8:15.

I pretty much slept the sleep that’s usually reserved for comatose patients in an ICU bed.

And then I read a book, while I was still in my pajamas, until after lunchtime, which also consisted of leftover pizza, because no one had any real desire to lay on the grenade called THE GROCERY STORE.

On Saturday evening, the little private school where I teach PE had a giant chili dinner and carnival outside, even though it was only 50 degrees.  I don’t think our school has ever sold more bowls of piping hot chili before, because LET’S EAT SOMETHING WARM ON THIS DARK AND CLOUDY AND VERY COLD EVENING.

The boy helped pick up rings at the ring toss game, and he’s decided that maybe he should really focus on his grades, so that he can attend college on a scholarship, instead of working for a circus in the ring toss booth.  He mentioned something about, “My back is killing me.”

Later last night, we all ended up at Mam and Pa’s house, where my WE JUST ATE AT THE SCHOOL CARNIVAL boys proceeded to devour every single piece of fruit that Mam had in her kitchen, along with every single container of yogurt she had in her refrigerator.

And then the boy helped himself to a giant slab of homemade meatloaf, because he’s fourteen, and he thought the full bowl of chili, the accompanying bag of chips, the cinnamon roll, and the apple, two bananas, bowl of ice cream and tub of yogurt were all just appetizers, served before the main course of meatloaf was brought out.

Thing 2 also decided that whatever he had eaten at the school carnival was also the primer for the real meal at Mam’s house, as he had an apple, two containers of yogurt and a couple bowls of Cheerios.

The reason that I loathe going to the grocery store so much is because I have to fight the crowds to get to the Hamburger Helper, and then I spend entirely too many dollars at the cash register.  After that, I have to pack it all into my Suburban, and then haul it all inside my house, and put it away in the fridge and the pantry, and then… six minutes later… the boys have eaten everything I bought.

We also heard our College Town boys get creamed in their football game.

And by creamed, I mean they were beat down by the HERE, LET US MAKE FORTY-TWO MORE TOUCHDOWNS, TIMES SIX POINTS EACH, AND LET’S THROW IN SOME PAT KICKS AND NINETY-FOUR FIELD GOALS ON TOP OF THAT kind of score.  I think the game ended at 972 to 14.  BUT… we put fourteen points on that great big college’s scoreboard, which no one expected us to do, because BIG UNIVERSITY hosting LITTLE UNIVERSITY.

This morning, we woke up to a cold, misty rain.  The rain cancelled our plans for going to the pumpkin patch with the boys and some family friends of ours.  It cancelled the boy’s afternoon tennis lesson.  We took it as a sign that we were just to stay at home and read books by the fireplace.

IMG_9762(The boys were too cute not to take a picture of this morning.)

And…. I did have to go to the grocery store this afternoon, because the people in my house all looked at my like half-crazed, fully-starved jungle animals, as they said, “The.  Leftover pizza.  Is Gone!!!“  I was like the lioness, who had to go kill a gazelle and drag home for them, as I navigated the weekend crowd at Walmart.

And then Hubs and I saw a public display of affection between a couple, right smack in front of — ahem! — the feminine hygiene aisle at the super center, as I was looping through there to come in at the end of the toothpaste aisle to secure some Colgate for my family, that made me need to wash my eyeballs.  I even said that exact sentence to Hubs:  “I need to wash my eyes now.”  The couple was probably in their early twenties.  He had on a pair of jeans that sagged to his knees and let us all know what pair of boxers he’d chosen for the day.  She was wearing a sweatshirt that was eighteen sizes too big for her, along with her hot pink pajama bottoms and her house slippers, with the pom-poms on the tops of them.

Hubs just shook his head and said, “You are so lucky to have ME!”

It’s true.

Hubs would never make out with me while I had my pajamas on, in front of the feminine unmentionables.  Maybe in front of the motor oil and the antifreeze, but NEVER in front of the girl stuff.

Y’all have a merry Sunday.

Just A Bunch Of Chatter

Raise your hand if you’ve been humming Barney’s theme song to yourself all day long.

What?!

I’m the only one with my hand in the air, as high as a big farm’s silo?  I thought I could gather some folks for a bit of a support group, where we drink bad coffee out of Styrofoam cups and lean our heads upon one another’s shoulders, and pat each other’s heads and say comforting words, like, “There, there.”

I guess I was wrong.  I guess everyone else has a real life, where better songs, like Taylor Swift’s new Shake It Off, play on the repeat loop in your heads.  I even worked quite diligently to FORCE Taylor’s song to stick inside my head this afternoon, but it simply didn’t take.

“Barney’s friends are big and small, they come from lots of places; after school, they meet to play, and sing with happy faces…”

I cannot imagine a reform program any better than putting that little ditty on the endless loop cycle to play over prison speakers.  Record numbers of inmates would strive to mind their manners and make parole, just to escape the song.

Anyway.

I don’t have much for y’all tonight, because it’s just been one of those weeks, where the BUSY was packed in tighter than a couple of married rattlesnakes who are SO.  IN.  LOVE.

I had a conversation with one of my first graders in the gym this week.  He had been absent on Tuesday, and when he showed up for PE on Wednesday, I said, “Oh, man!  I’m so glad to have you back in class!”  And it’s true.  He’s a good egg.  He looked at me and said, “I was really sick.  Like… I was SO SICK… I threw up a smoothie in my bed, and it came out my nose!  And you know what was SO GROSS about it?”

You mean… SO GROSS… other than YOU BARFED IN YOUR BED?!  There’s actually MORE “so gross”?

The little guy went on to say, “It was so gross, because my mom puts grass in smoothies.  I tell her not to, but she keeps putting grass and… like... LETTUCE in the blender with the yogurt, and when I puked that smoothie out of my nose… IT WAS SO GREEN!”

The other interesting conversation I took part in this week happened in the car, while I drove the boy and our neighbor, Andrew, to junior high youth group at the church last night.  They were debating which of them was the better driver, because… you know… they both drive SO DADGUM MUCH at the age of fourteen.  Andrew ended up saying, “I know that I’m a SAFER driver than you are, so that makes me the BETTER driver.”

And… I had to agree, which caused Andrew to whoop and holler out, “See?  Even your mom thinks I’m the better driver!”

To this, I just said, “Driving safely is always driving better,” because apparently I’m now old enough to verbally offer advice like I was the voice-over in a car insurance commercial.

The boy simply shouted, “Driving safely doesn’t mean you’re a better driver!  A better driver has MORE SKILLS!!  A better driver can spin cookies… like… eight times before the car stops on the ice!!  That’s a skill, and you’re a better drive if you have SKILLS!”

And then there was a lively discussion between the two teenage boys on how a vehicle just LOOKS BETTER spinning in circles like a Volkswagen in a full-throttle seizure as it goes down the road.  The boy also said, “And it takes skill to turn a corner on ice, and SLIDE right into your parking space, exactly where you wanted to end up in the first place.  Just ask Dad.”

Obviously, my son will not be driving when he turns sixteen, because I’ll have him in a safe driver’s ed course, with Barney’s song playing from the simulator’s radio, while Hubs sits in the simulator’s passenger seat and learns a lesson, too.

I feel badly for parents who just have girls and never get to engage in any conversations like these.

So… between PE and soccer games and toddler-raising and teenager-homework and tennis lessons and youth group and grocery-fetching and laundry and WHO THREW HIS POPCORN ALL OVER THE LIVING ROOM FLOOR AGAIN?, it has been a full week.

I did snap some more pictures at the boy’s and Kellen’s last tennis lesson, because the afternoon was GLORIOUSLY WONDERFUL.  The scent of Fall was in the air…the sun was perfectly warm… the sky was vividly blue… and I couldn’t resist taking pictures, right before I settled down at a table outside of the tennis courts with a good book and a chai tea from Starbucks.

IMG_9625 IMG_9626 IMG_9634 IMG_9641 IMG_9610 IMG_9612 IMG_9617 IMG_9623 IMG_9645 IMG_9646 IMG_9647 IMG_9651 IMG_9653 IMG_9658 IMG_9659 IMG_9664 IMG_9676 IMG_9674 IMG_9688 IMG_9690 IMG_9679 IMG_9680 IMG_9682 IMG_9703 IMG_9712 IMG_9717The boys are loving tennis.  They’re even managing to reign in the 8th Grade Boy Power on their swings, so that they don’t rocket the tennis balls into outer space when they connect with one.  Kellen is a baseball player, who has been trained to swing hard and hit home runs over a fence.  The boy is a golfer, whose brain is ingrained with the fact that the longest drives happen and make the crowds applaud QUIETLY when you swing hard and smack the snot out of that little white ball.  Of course, they took these thoughts with them into the tennis court for their first lesson a couple of weeks ago, as they both SHOT FOR THE BIG DISTANCE, y’all, and we had to fetch balls from the parking lot and the creek bank and the nearby pool.

I think they’ve got the hang of it now.  You hit a tennis ball hard and aim a little differently, and you don’t earn any extra points by clearing the fence with that fuzzy, yellow ball.

And that, folks, is going to wrap up our week here at Jedi Mama, Inc.  Y’all behave yourselves, and may your favorite football teams win… unless they happen to be playing Small Town High School… College Town… or the Denver Broncos.  THEN… may your favorite football teams lose, and may they lose badly.

Five Entire Years

Five years ago today, while Hubs was out of town on a business trip and being treated to some professional basketball game with sweet tickets, because HELLO, PEOPLE FROM SMALL TOWN, USA!  BUY OUR COMPUTERS AND WE WILL SHOW YOU A GOOD TIME IN CALIFORNIA!, I Googled the phrase “How To Start A Blog” back here at home.

And then I did it.

And then I felt some grand, GRAND pride over the entire thing… not because I HAVE A BLOG NOW!, but because OH, SWEET HOLY MOTHER OF WOW!  I JUST DID SOME COMPUTER-RELATED PROJECT BY MYSELF, WHILE HUBS WASN’T EVEN IN THE SAME STATE!

(If you know me, you know that THAT is an enormous accomplishment, because just this very morning I had to inform Hubs that my school’s email account was no longer downloading emails, and if I spent any more minutes of my life investigating the problem, I would just sit in a dark corner and rock back and forth and pretty much cry.)

I started the blog, primarily to give Hubs’ sister (who has always lived on the total opposite side of the continental United States from us) updates on what the boy was doing.  This way, Aunt Pink would always have a way to “stop by” and see that, “Whoa, there’s my nephew playing some soccer!” and “Holy crud!  Look at that life-sized star destroyer he just built out of Lego bricks!”

And then I pretty much figured that I’d quit blogging, because I seem to quit everything that I start, and if blogging was anything like scrapbooking, I’d be done in two weeks.

Done.

Forever.

Scrapbooking almost killed my OCD, because I needed perfect pages, and because I wanted that book caught up to-the-minute.  When the boy was five years old and in pre-kindergarten, and I was busy scrapbooking the day that he started to CRAWL, y’all, I finally admitted that making a fancy scrapbook to commemorate my son’s life with probably wasn’t my exact cup of tea, no matter HOW often Amy and Jill hauled me to scrapbooking weekends, where we worked long hours on our projects at big tables, with even bigger bowls of M&Ms in the middle.

And then… somehow… I made it to a year of blogging, and I never looked back.  I just kept going and going and going, but not as quickly as the Energizer Bunny goes, because I am elderly and prefer to just keep a steady pace of “shuffling along in my house slippers.”

So yes.  The blog is five years old today, and I’ve managed to put up 1,193 different blog posts over that time span.  I call it my own little version of scrapbooking, but listen:  I have SONS.  And sons are seldom interested in the amount of blood, sweat and tears their mamas invest in preserving memories through photos and collages and real words, so I suppose I’m doing this little blog for my boys’ future wives.

You know… for when they’re 35 and their mama actually says that yes, they can go on ahead and get married now.

I took the title Jedi Mama, because… in 2009, when I got things rolling ALL BY MYSELF around here… the boy was an Olympic gold medalist in the art of lightsaber fighting.  He was the biggest Star Wars fan on the planet, and he’d held true to that devotion for years.  Now, though, he’s fourteen… and he’s cool… and he finally took down the Clone Wars cartoon posters in his bedroom, because apparently you shouldn’t have those hanging on the walls when you’re in the junior high.

But hello!  The giant (and I do mean GIANT!) Star Wars wall mural is still going strong on the boy’s bedroom wall, because my darling friend, Trina, painted it for the boy when he was eight, and we will  never paint over it, even when the boy is 34 years old and still living at home.

Have I ever actually shown you THE MURAL?

IMG_9721That is the boy’s FULL-SIZED bed, and the mural is even wider.  I wasn’t joking when I said IT’S KINDA BIG, and now y’all understand why it’ll be staying right there on that wall FOR. EVVVV. ERRRRR.

Also, that is the boy’s idea of YES, I MADE MY BED THIS MORNING.  Apparently, he doesn’t live in fear of a drill sergeant coming in to bounce a quarter off of it.  Hubs and I may need to start shouting, “March, march, march” and “Drop and give me two hundred” every morning.

And I know that Thing 2 deserves a wall mural, too, but Trina up and moved seven hours away from me, because she decided that living with her husband while he took a new job was preferable to remaining in Small Town, USA with her friends and just talking to her husband on the phone.  Whatever!  I think they totally could’ve made it work, because Trina’s friends really did love having her right here in Small Town with us.  (Did I just use the word TOTALLY like it was 1988 again?  Bless my heart.)  I have no idea WHO could paint an equally fantastic mural for our toddler, so we’ll just have to wait until Trina takes it upon herself to visit here again.  Once you’ve had the very best wall-mural-artist around, it would be hard to see some YEAH, I TOOK A COUPLA ART COURSES AT THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE BECAUSE I WAS, LIKE, BORED, AND I THOUGHT THEY’D BE AN EASY A type of mural on our second son’s wall.

Anyway.

I don’t know that I’m really a Jedi kind of Mama any longer these days, because the lightsaber wars have completely stopped at our house.  And I’m not sure that Thing 2 will even be interested in battles taking place in outer space, because he loves the trains and the Tonka trucks, with the same passion that the boy loved Darth Vader.

If I started a new blog today, I’d have to call it Trucker Mama.  Or even Railroad Mama.  Somehow, those titles don’t have the same ring to them, because Trucker Mama seems to imply that I might be able to successfully work a CB radio, and that I could parallel park something bigger than an ant, all while I wasn’t crazy-freaked-out about using bathrooms at truck stops along the highway.  I’d have to watch some Smokey and the Bandit clips on the You Tube to figure the CBs out, and y’all can completely forget the parallel parking thing.  My life motto with JUST THE SUBURBAN is, “If you can’t pull into the parking space without using reverse, you really didn’t need to go to that store anyway.”  And my other motto is, “If the bathroom key is attached to a trash can lid so you won’t steal it, then you can hold it.”  (And I’m not talking about holding the key and the lid.)

And, Hubs, please know that it ABSOLUTELY IS appropriate to send flowers and chocolates and take me out to eat dinner at a restaurant that doesn’t provide toys with their kids’ meals on a blogging anniversary.  An anniversary is an anniversary, and they’re all DINNER-OUT worthy.

Happy five years, y’all.  Thanks for putting up with the bad grammar here at Jedi Mama, Incorporated… and the poor punctuation… and all of the other grammatical flaws that make English teachers shudder with fear and reach for their red pens.

An Attitude Adjustment

So the first half of our weekend was filled completely with first world problems.

We have stacks and stacks of the kind of paper that comes in the mail, that no one really knows what to do with.  You know… cell phone bills that have been paid… insurance EOBs… blah, blah, blah.  And really?  I was getting overwhelmed with looking at all of these papers and white envelopes sitting around my house, littering every horizontal surface we seemed to have, and I was completely exhausted from breaking the tall towers of mail into smaller towers, to prevent collapsing from happening, because I have a basic understanding of structural engineering.

So I bought a cheap file cabinet from Walmart, and Hubs and I began the laborious process of looking in every single envelope and determining whether we could live without that piece of paper it contained in our lives, or whether we should make a hanging file for it.

To go in the cabinet.

Which was going to take care of DID A PAPER FACTORY EXPLODE ON YOUR KITCHEN COUNTER?  AND ALSO ON THE DINING ROOM CABINET?  AND ON YOUR DESK?  AND IN THAT BOX BESIDE THE DESK?  AND IS THIS A GAME OF ENVELOPE JENGA?

Because we were becoming slobs, and I realized that every single picture I pinned of decor ideas on Pinterest had kitchens with no junk mail stacked on the counter, SOMETHING needed to be done to clean things up.

Of course, the boys pounced on the cardboard box that the file cabinet came in like a rat on a potato chip discovery.  They set up some kind of home base together in that box on Saturday, complete with Donald Duck on the iPad, which played in the near-dark, theater-like environment.

IMG_9605Thing 2 also got up early on Saturday AND Sunday mornings.

And by early, I mean at 4:45 and 5:10, respectively, because apparently he hates us and wants to ruin our dreams of having one more day in our lives to JUST SLEEP IN ALREADY.

So I was up, clutching a coffee cup and trying to JUST GET THE CAFFEINE INSIDE, while Hubs and the boy continued ALL THE SLEEPING.  Thing 2 and I made waffles and watched Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse on TV, which could very possibly be the most annoying cartoon I’ve ever sat through.

And, in my head, I grumbled about HOW I AM UP SO EARLY ON A SATURDAY MORNING and HOW I COULD USE A NAP and WHY CAN’T HUBS GET OUT OF BED and I THINK I NEED MORE COFFEE WITH EXTRA CREAM.

I’d like to say that my mood got better on Saturday, but how could it?  I spent the rest of the day going through paperwork and creating tidy files, and WHO WANTS TO SPEND THEIR SATURDAY THAT WAY?

And then we had a spider that was basically the size of a volleyball in the boy’s bathroom, which caused some stir on WHO WILL KILL THIS THING?  Because the boy and I wanted it dead… and we wanted his spider family dead… and we wanted every spider he’d ever done business with dead… and we wanted Hubs to be the assassin… but Hubs, who suddenly went all tree-hugger on us, simply said that “Spiders are good to have around,” and he declined the killing assignment we had given him.

That left the boy and I to stare at one another and determine how two ‘Fraidy Cats were gonna pull this dirty job off.

Basically, I had a day of feeling sorry for myself, because LOOK HOW ROUGH MY LIFE IS.

And then, as I was repeating the process of sipping coffee before the sun had come up on Sunday morning, everything (And I do mean every. little. thing.) was put into perspective for me.

The back story is simply this.

I have a little girl in my 1st grade PE class named Leena.  Leena is a precious gem of a child, and she’s been in PE for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and now 1st grade.

Two weeks ago, Leena told me that her leg ached, and she couldn’t run in PE.  I took this VERY SERIOUSLY, which is the sarcastic way of saying, IF I HAD A DIME FOR EVERY TIME A KID TOLD ME HE COULDN’T RUN IN PE BECAUSE OF A GIANT-SIZED PAIN, I WOULD HAVE MAIDS AND PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZERS TAKING CARE OF THE PAPER PILES AT MY HOUSE, WHILE I SAT ON A BEACH SOMEWHERE.

My go-to response for I HAVE A PAIN AND CAN’T RUN is, “Just do the best you can.”  Usually, just doing the best you can means that the pain is completely forgotten, because I run a FUN PE program, and ain’t nobody wants to miss out.

Except Leena did want to miss out.  She asked to sit down during the game portion of our gym class, which surprised me.

And the following day in PE was an exact repeat, which made me see waving red flags, and ask Leena what she had actually DONE to her leg.  She told me, “I don’t know.  It’s just so sore, and it hurts every time I step forward.”

Leena came back to PE on Tuesday this last week, and… yes.  Her leg was still sore, and I made a mental note to talk to her teacher.  Leena is a game-player.  She’s a mover and a shaker.  She’s a fast little runner, who never complains, and this was most definitely out of character for her.

And I’m sure y’all can already tell where this blog post is going.

On Wednesday, Leena wasn’t in PE, and her teacher told me that she was gone, because she was being checked by a junior rheumatoid arthritis specialist at a major hospital six hours away.  I was very sad for this, because ARTHRITIS?  In a six-year-old?  It’s a horrible thing, and I wanted to see Leena back and hopping around and free from joint pain.

I was so, SO sad for this upcoming arthritis diagnosis for one of my favorite little girls.

So yesterday morning, at 6:30, Leena’s 9th grade sister let us know through Facebook that her little sister’s doctors had completely changed her diagnosis, because Leena actually has a rare form of Stage 4, neuroblastoma cancer.  Leena did not get an arthritis diagnosis.  By 8:30 yesterday morning, our school principal had forwarded an email to all of the school teachers, which had been written by Leena’s mama.  It outlined her diagnosis, and the treatment plan, which involves intense chemotherapy and surgery and a bone marrow transplant, because Leena’s bones are totally involved in this.

Leena is six, y’all.

Six.

And that is when I pretty much just sat down on my sofa and bawled my eyeballs completely out, and thought, over and over and OVER, “Why a six-year-old???  Why Leena???”  And I was convicted of my grouchy mood yesterday, because I had to get up early and spend an entire day organizing papers that I wasn’t in the mood to organize, because Leena and her parents were up early, too, that day, getting to know doctors on the oncology floor of a major children’s hospital.

No parent should ever have to spend a Saturday morning doing that.  So yes.  I was very ashamed about my attitude the day before, and my entire perspective changed on Sunday morning.

We went to church, and during his sermon, our pastor said, “The mark of a saint is not how well you’re doing, but what you do when you are not doing well.”

I think that comment was aimed straight at me.

I knew that I needed to stop asking, “Why Leena?” and ferociously continue to pray for that child’s health.  God has his reasons for “Why Leena?”  I don’t like His reasons at all right now.  I DON’T.  I can’t see the good that this battle is going to result in, because I can’t see the entire picture.  But what I can do while I’m not doing well over this is pray for that little girl and her family… to pray for Leena and her parents, and her older sister and brother.

I’ve had my camera in the gym a little bit.  This is a snapshot of Leena from this past spring, right before she graduated from kindergarten and headed into summer break.

IMG_4783She is an absolute honey… cute as a button… lively and spirited and precious… and if you could find it in your hearts to beat on Jesus’ door and ask him for some miracles for her, I’d appreciate it.

And so would her family, as her mama said in the email, “Please forward this to anyone you think would pray for us at this time.”

This morning, when Thing 2 hollered out at exactly 5:12, “Hi-lo, Mommy!  Hi-lo, Mommy!” (which is two-year-old-speak for “Hello, Mommy”), I hugged him close and whispered in his ear, “Your mama ADORES YOU, even before the sun comes up in the mornings.”

So tonight, please hug your own children tight, tight, tighter.  Forgive them for getting up early, because you HAVE THEM to get up early with.  Realize that boring household chores on Saturdays are nothing like what other people are going through around the world, whether its here at home, or across an ocean, as people are becoming refugees to escape persecution.

Just love your families extra tonight, and please talk to Jesus for Leena.

Soccer Season Opener

If your personality tends to run higher on the jealousy side than not, tonight’s blog post probably isn’t for you, because I’m about to reveal everything I did today.

I picked up enough wooden train track off of our floors to open a new railroad from Boston to Honolulu.

I stuck a mascara wand right into my eyeball and left a streak of black Revlon on my contact lens.

I did exactly one load of laundry, because I wanted to be productive, yet my procrastination side was in Open Season today, too.

I used a series of Bounty paper towels and Clorox spray to clean up a pile of cat barf, as I mentally envisioned myself driving down a dark, country road in a rainstorm, with both cats in the backseat of my Suburban, because CAN WE QUIT EXPOSING OUR CHUCKED-UP HAIRBALLS TO EVERYONE ALREADY, BEFORE I DROP YOU OFF AND DRIVE AWAY FOREVER?!

I went to Walmart with a toddler.

I’m sorry that I’m living such a glamorous lifestyle, right here in front of you.  Somehow, it just doesn’t seem fair.  I was hoping that I could tone down all the excitement today, but sometimes it’s hard to throw a blanket over the lifestyles of the rich and famous and hope that no one notices.

So, I’ll leave you with some snapshots I took at the boy’s soccer game this week.  Apparently, the fall soccer season is officially in full swing, which means that it’s only a matter of time before the Arctic cold fronts begin moving in on game days.  If we intend to stick to tradition again this year, we’ll have the weather that requires North Face parkas and electric blankets every single time we have a game to watch.

Because the junior high teams in Small Town, USA are co-ed… and because Cousin L started junior high this year… and because some of our good, family friends started junior high, too… we just signed EVERYONE up for one team.  This makes tailgate parties and game-watching very easy, because everyone just has one game to hit… and voila!  They’ve watched all the kids in action, in one spot.

Thing 2 and little Cousin H were thrilled to see each other at the game, because they’d been apart for exactly five hours before this hug happened.

IMG_9477 IMG_9478 IMG_9481I have no idea what this face is all about, but it makes me laugh.  I suspect that Thing 2 probably whispered in H’s ear, “I beat you to the fence, Little Girl!”

IMG_9483IMG_9485 IMG_9490 IMG_9491 IMG_9495 IMG_9498Thing 2 hung out with his buddy, Avery, too…

IMG_9504And then the whistle blew, and the game was going strong, and we all alternated turns chasing Thing 2 around the sidelines, as we repeated over and over and OVER, “No!  You can’t be IN this game!!  You’re too short!”

IMG_9507 IMG_9508 IMG_9526There’s Cousin L…

IMG_9517And our friend, Kiley…

IMG_9515Kiley’s dad, Paul, and Hubs have been close friends since they were 7th graders.

If you’re doing the math, that’s a whole lot of years that they’ve had to get into trouble together.

Well… Paul is our coach this season.  Apparently, the boy thinks he’s doing a smack-dab fine job of it, too, because he made the comment after practice one night, “Mom, I think Paul could probably coach professional soccer, he’s so good.”

We don’t want Paul to catch wind of that comment, though, because it’ll go to his head.

This is Hubs and Paul, circa… 1982, maybe?!

Scan001But really, Paul IS doing a great job of leading our Lime Green team this fall.

IMG_9537 IMG_9539 IMG_9519 IMG_9551 IMG_9563 IMG_9575Jada is on our team, too.  I went to school with her precious mama, from 1st grade through 12th grade, so we’ve known this little honey for a hundred years, too.

We told her how hot she looked, after the referee made her tape up her earrings, so they wouldn’t be ripped out, causing a need for plastic surgery and big bandages.

IMG_9564IMG_9568 IMG_9584 IMG_9588And somehow, we all managed to work together as a village to keep Thing 2 OUT OF the game.  Our team didn’t suffer any penalties for having too many players on the field.

And that’s gonna do it for tonight.

Y’all have a good weekend.

Shoe Pride

The difference between being a first-time mom and being a mom on Round Two is this:  When I just had the boy, I wasn’t overly interested in hand-me-down clothing.

I feel like I should be sitting in a confessional when I say that, with the priest on the other side of the wall from me, because GRAND HIGH SIN OF PRIDE.  The only problem with this is that I’m a Baptist, and we don’t have confessionals, but I teach at a Catholic school, so I’m pretty sure our priest would hear my confession anyway.

But truly.

When the boy was tiny, I wanted to dress him in brand new clothing, and I wanted him to sit in a brand new high chair, and I wanted him to play with brand new toys, because he was brand new, and we were young and also very naive.

(If it makes any difference, I was never going to feed the boy fast food, either, and I frowned on mamas who resorted to chicken nuggets and fries in cardboard boxes.  Some ideas are just meant to be crushed, because the boy’s home-away-from-home is McDonald’s.)

And then, somewhere about first grade, I realized that kids grow exactly as fast as hollyhocks do, and I was going to put us in the poor house, buying all of these adorable Gymboree outfits.

When Thing 2 arrived, I was much older.  Like… I CAN GROW A MUSTACHE NOW and THIS IS THE WHITE HAIR IN MY CHEEK THAT CAN GO FROM NOTHING TO THREE INCHES WHILE I SLEEP kind of older.  And I realized that the very best thing on the planet, that doesn’t actually come from Starbucks, is hand-me-downs.

To say that I embraced the hand-me-downs with our second son is an understatement.  It would be easier to say that THE ONLY THING THING 2 HAD THAT WAS BRAND NEW WHEN HE WAS BORN WAS HIS CARSEAT, and Grammy and Papa bought that for him.  Everything else (EVERY!! THING!!) had come from friends, and I was so pleased with the recycling and the resourcefulness and the LOOK, HUBS, AT ALL THE DOLLARS I’M SAVING THIS TIME AROUND.

When it came to clothes, we hit the fashion jackpot between my darling friends, Carrie and Lisa.  They have embraced the Gymboree and the Gap movements, and they are done having little boys at their houses, so they were eager to pass on their sons’ wardrobes to us.  Every single time a box arrives from one of these girls, I feel like it’s Christmas morning, as I dig through everything and exclaim, “Oh, my!  Look at ALL THE ADORABLE HERE!!”

Hubs and I haven’t really purchased ANY clothing for that second son of ours, because Lisa and Carrie have so generously shared their boys’ closets with us.

(Plus, Grammy is kind of a fashionista, too, so she’s always slipping little outfits our way, which we love.)

Anyway.

(Have y’all ever noticed how I can draw a story out to the point of Boring Exhaustion?)

Last night, we got the box from Carrie that was roughly the size of a Volkswagen Bug.  It was filled to the brim with 3T clothing, and that is the size we are in desperate need of.   Thing 2′s linebacker thighs can no longer fit in 2T shorts and jeans, and we had been waiting on some 3T stuff to make its way to our house.  So, between Lisa’s batch of 3T jeans that she sent over last week and this box from Carrie, Thing 2 no longer has to look like a busted-open can of biscuits, with his thighs squeezed into Levi’s or his gut dangling over shorts.

(Hubs swears that Thing 2′s thighs have RUNNING BACK tattooed on them.  More specifically, Hubs insists that the tattooing says DENVER BRONCOS RUNNING BACK.)

(What I seriously worry about is that Thing 2′s thighs are gonna surpass Lisa’s and Carrie’s boys.  This would be devastating, if we were to reach the point where YEAH, I KNOW YOUR BOYS ARE NEARLY A YEAR OLDER AND THEN A YEAR-AND-A-HALF OLDER, BUT OUR SOLID, BUILT-FOR-ALL-THE-SQUATS-IN-THE-GYM THIGHS ARE BIGGER THAN YOU NOW, because that would signal an end to the hand-me-downs.)

(Hubs says Thing 2 is going to be one of those men who always wears a pair of gym shorts, because he can’t get Levi’s over his legs.)

(I just say that he’s never going to be a man, actually, because he’s just going to be my little baby.)

(For the record, I said that about the boy, too, but now the boy is fourteen, and he can eat three double-cheeseburgers in one sitting and then ask for a bowl of cereal as a chaser.)

So that’s the back story.

The point of tonight’s post is simply this:

At the very bottom of the giant box from Carrie last night, we found a REAL PAIR of soccer cleats.

The boy plays soccer, and Thing 2 pays attention enough to know that HEY!  KIDS HAVE SPECIAL SHOES FOR THIS SPORT!  He’s constantly telling us that his blue sneakers are his soccer shoes, and whenever he wears them, he feels an enormous urge to go kick his soccer ball around our house.  Last night, I showed him the shoes, and I said, “Look, Buddy!  These are real soccer shoes.  They’re actually called CLEATS.”

It was exactly as if the heavens had opened and the angels had rejoiced over our toddler.

And now, he will wear nothing else upon his feet.

Thing 2 informed me first thing this morning when we got dressed that he wanted his soccer shoes on.  And he didn’t want those blue sneakers that USED TO BE his soccer shoes; he wanted those soccer shoes in the new cardboard box on the dining room table!  Never mind that they’re officially two sizes too big, as they’re a size 10, and Thing 2 really wears an 8.  He didn’t give a flying fig about having too much room in his toes.  (We just wore thick socks today.)  Our kid has tromped all over the place today in those REAL SOCCER CLEATS, making clomping sounds on our hardwood floors and grinning from ear to ear.

He has a genuine case of Shoe Pride today, y’all.

I tried to take some pictures of him this morning, but it was every bit as easy as taking snapshots of the elusive Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster.  The toddler wasn’t interested in grinning or posing or whatever else I wanted him to do.  What he WAS interested in was jumping off the fireplace hearth and landing on the hardwood floors with an enormous CLEAT-ENHANCED THUNK that made him grin with utter happiness.

So… here he is.  He’s wearing a shirt passed down to us from Carrie’s handsome boys… a pair of shorts passed down to us from Lisa’s adorable son… and his treasured soccer shoes.

IMG_9597 IMG_9599 IMG_9600Happy Wednesday, everyone.  May your own soccer shoes make incredible noises on the floors while you walk, and may that sound make you every bit as happy as it has made our toddler today.

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.

Anyway.

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.)

Anyway.

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 Room!

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.

Anyway.

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.