The Post Where We Talk About Prayers, Toilet Handles, Tractors and Figure Skating

Well, hello there!

You really didn’t think I’d make it into work this evening, to pound the potatoes out of the keyboard and get a blog post up, did you?  Oh, ye of little faith.  I’m here, and I have things to write, but I’ll warn you right now:  I woke up at 3:50 AM this morning from a wicked awful dream, and I never went back to sleep, so what you read here tonight might be a mixture of run-on sentences and words that don’t make sense.

In other words, just a normal post at Jedi Mama, Inc.

To help things along, I think I’ll just do bullet points tonight, because my OCD, exhausted self loves some decent bullet points.

Or rather, NUMBERED points.

It’s all good.

1.  Yes.  I woke up at 3:50 this morning from a nightmare.  I even realized that I woke up hollering a little bit.  It wasn’t your SCREAMING IN THE SHOWER IN A HORROR  MOVIE sort of holler, but still… it was an elevated voice that would make it hard to hear the TV, if you were watching it in the same room.

What you need to know is that Hubs slept through it.

And the boy slept through it.

And Thing 2 slept through it.

So basically, I feel very safe in my house, knowing that my hollering alarm system is stellar, and the menfolk will jump out of bed to lend their help, if we had a burglar in the house at 3:50 in the morning.

2.  Yesterday morning, after I had dropped Thing 2 off at his preschool, I drove myself to work.  When I parked in front of my school, I started to let myself out of my seatbelt.  The belt wouldn’t release.  I had managed to catch my shirt hem on the set belt hook, which I then shoved right into the little receptacle unit, and lo!  The result was a seatbelt that wasn’t going to release its occupant for all the tea in China.

The beauty of the situation was that I had shoved my cell phone into my backpack, which was in the backseat.

After pushing that seatbelt button and pulling the strap, and trying to loosen the part around my waist, I finally came to the conclusion that I was going to have to drive the two blocks over to the fire station and literally LEAN ON MY HORN to get the attention of the firemen.

The conversation would have gone like this:

“Hi!  I’m stuck in my seatbelt, because my shirt hem got caught in it, and I couldn’t CALL YOU, because my phone is in the backseat.  Can you use that little seatbelt-cutting tool you have… or even the Jaws of Life… and get me out of my Suburban?”

Thankfully, after a few minutes, the Lord’s favor shone upon me, and the seatbelt came loose, without the need to get the firemen involved.

3.  Thing 2 and I like to pray together while we drive to preschool every morning.  Basically, this involves me praying some phrases out loud, for him and over him, while he repeats them.

img_3368This morning, I prayed, “I am a mighty warrior for Jesus.  I will be a blessing to my teacher today, and I will be a blessing to my friends today.”

Thing 2 was busy, repeating the words from his spot in the backseat.  It went exactly like this:

“I am a mighty warrior for Jesus.  I will be a blessing to FORD MUSTANG!!!  FORD!!!!  MUSTAAAAAAANG!!!!  Mom!!  We just passed a Ford Mustang!  Did you see it, Mom?  DID YOU SEE IT???”

img_33714.  I think we’ve talked about our backyard here at the office of Jedi Mama, Incorporated before.

Or rather, we’ve talked about our family’s total LACK of a backyard.

Oh, we have THE SPACE where the backyard should GO, but what we had was a giant pile of dirt and tall weeds where the pheasants and the woodchucks felt safe.  When we built our house, we landscaped the front yard, which is lush and lovely and a genuine blessing to our neighbors.

And then we ran out of money, as everyone who pays for a new construction loan tends to do.

And then we adopted a baby.

And that baby never slept.

And we became tired people who had no money.

Now, we are still tired people who have no money, but it’s time that we show the neighbors that we can be a blessing to — FORD MUSTANG!! FORD MUSTANG!! — them, by giving them something other than despair to stare at, when they gaze out the windows of their homes.

Hubs borrowed his friend Greg’s tractor, and we no longer have a dirt pile back there.

We no longer have tall, tall weeds back there.

What we have is a whole heap of FLATLAND OF FRESH DIRT, which means BRING ON SPRINGTIME!  Because when next Spring arrives, we’re going to put in sprinklers and lay sod and show the cul de sac that WE MEAN SOME LANDSCAPING BUSINESS around here.

I should note that Thing 2 believes, from the bottom of his heart, that Greg GAVE HIM THE KUBOTA TRACTOR FOR HIS BIRTHDAY.

His birthday, which is in March.

No matter.  Our preschooler is utterly convinced that this tractor is HIS to keep, forever and ever, amen.  Hubs and I are not looking forward to ALL THE EMOTIONS that are going to come charging straight out, when that orange tractor has to be loaded up on a trailer and returned to Greg’s shop.

img_3154 img_3147Thing 2 was put in charge of gathering all the rocks that got turned over and exposed.

He took his job very seriously.

img_3122 img_3328He also got to use his Tonka truck to haul dirt and fill in the low spots around the new concrete patio edges.

img_3308 img_3292He also saved fourteen thousand, nine hundred and four earthworms from being run over by the tractor.

And then he packed those worms around in his hand, and in his dump truck, for so long, they probably slipped quietly away to be with Jesus before the afternoon was over.

img_3313Thing 2 also got to dig to his heart’s content, which turned out to be a substantial amount of digging.

Dirt is one of Thing 2’s favorite mediums to work in.

img_3180 img_3219 img_3222The boy logged several work hours onto the Kubota, too.

He was as happy doing this as Thing 2 was about playing in the dirt.  I think Mary Poppins was exactly right, when she said, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun… you find the fun, and SNAP!  The job’s a game!”  Our boys would have been content to work outside like this for the entire week, which is why Hubs and I actually had a little space of time where we sat on the deck and simply WATCHED all the construction work unfolding before our eyes.

And Hubs saw all that construction work, and he called it good.  The children were the arrows in our quiver, and they were doing a powerfully fine job of earning their keep.

img_3282 img_3280 img_3242 img_32445.  Thing 2’s curls are still growing.

And growing.

And growing.

The amount of dirt from the landscaping project that came into our house, via the curls last weekend, was enough to plant a fiddle leaf fig in a big pot with.


6.  Hubs and I signed Thing 2 up for ice skating lessons this winter.  He will start lessons next month.  I was so excited to tell him, because he is always PLUM DADGUM THRILLED to play “hockey” at home.

His version of hockey is taking anything that is stick-like (golf clubs, long wooden spoons from the kitchen, cardboard tubes from empty paper towel rolls) and smacking anything that is puck-like (Matchbox cars, golf balls, Legos, rocks).  He has no real desire to shoot for nets and score goals at home; instead, he shoots for distance, to see how far he can smack something.

If a Matchbox car becomes the victim of a slapshot and chips the Sheetrock, then he gives himself a couple extra points for good measure.

Hubs and I assumed that he might like ice skating lessons, because ice skating lessons eventually lead to HEY!  YOU’RE OLD ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY PLAY HOCKEY IN SMALL TOWN, USA NOW.

When I told him that he was all signed up for lessons, he bawled his head off.

Bawled and bawled and bawled.

And then he bawled some more.

Hubs and I couldn’t figure out why, because all he would do is sob, “I’m NOT doing ice skating lessons EVER!  IT’S FOR GIRLS!!!!”  No amount of talking to him could convince him that HELLO, MEN WHO PLAY IN THE NHL.  We told him about all the boys who play on the Avalanche team, and all of them ice skate, but it was a no-go.

Because of course it was.

Ice skating lessons are wicked expensive.

Finally, when I was trying to warm him up to the idea of skating YET AGAIN yesterday morning, he finally said, “It’s for girls!  I’m not doing it!  I’m not going to jump and twirl on the ice!!  I WON’T DO IT!!!”

Which is the exact moment that Hubs and I realized that Thing 2 believed he had been signed up for FIGURE SKATING LESSONS, and that his parents were pinning their hopes and dreams of seeing him skate across the ice, doing double axles, Beillmann spins, and Russian split jumps, while he was dressed in sequins.

img_31757.   A friend of mine posted THIS on Instagram earlier this week:

14680869_1810489775876449_866485969363676756_o-e1476802449556Um… WHAT??!!

How can anyone from Beverly Hills 90210 BE FIFTY YEARS OLD and on the cover of AARP?

I felt like my entire day had been flushed straight down the toilet when I saw this.  Because seriously… Dylan and Kelly and Brandon and the gang are still just eighteen and meeting up at The Peach Pit after school.  I may need some therapy to get through the fact that the teenagers from my college days are now gracing the cover of AARP.


8.  Speaking of flushing things down the toilet…

… the handle on our toilet broke off eight days ago.  This would have been all fine and dandy, and been the cause for a trip to Home Depot for a quick replacement, EXCEPT…

… this was the second handle from Home Depot that has fallen off our toilet in brokenness.

Which is why Hubs ordered our third toilet handle online.

Which is why we had to wait FIVE DAYS for him to find the exact handle he wanted, and then THREE DAYS for Amazon to ship it to us, because PRIME LIED THIS TIME, and it wasn’t TWO-DAY SHIPPING!

Oh, Amazon Prime!  You broke our hearts with your OOPS!  THIS-WILL-TAKE-THREE-DAYS-OF-SHIPPING.  What is this?  The 1800s?

And THAT, people, is why we have been taking the lid off the tank of the toilet and pulling up on the little, metal bar-thingy in there to FLUSH.

I have felt like Wilma Flintstone for the past eight days.

And THAT, people, is all I have for this evening.  You can exhale your sighs of relief and get back to binge-watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix, which is exactly what I intend to do.

Of course, it won’t be long before Matt Saracen graduates from high school and debuts his modeling career on the cover of AARP, because that’s just how life goes.

Y’all have a great weekend.

Hello! It’s Me!

I know, right?

It’s almost like nobody even works here, at the office of Jedi Mama, Incorporated, any more.  The mail is piling up on the desk, the mini-fridge needs cleaned out, because someone left a tuna fish sandwich in there, and y’all know how UNPRETTY that has got to smell, and the blog posts have gone unwritten.

The only defense I can plead is ALL THE BUSY.  I feel like the jury is going to see right through that defense though, because… yes.  I have two LONG AND JAM-PACKED days of work… and two kids.  I feel like I’ll be asked in cross-examination about the women who work five LONG AND JAM-PACKED days and have FIVE KIDS.  All I can say is that I am in awe of all those women and would like to hug them tight and ask them to mentor me.

Especially if they make real dinners every night and homemade bread on the weekends… and still manage to see the bottom of their dirty clothes hampers.


I have been home for exactly 38 minutes.  I’ve managed to cook a take-and-bake pizza at 425 degrees and cheer for my boys to EAT QUICK!  GOBBLE IT UP!  FASTER, BOYS!  EAT THAT PIZZA FASTER!  Because?  Well, we are off to youth group at the church, where it’s my turn to teach the games class.

And then I’m going to come home and breathe, and relax, because my long weekend starts tonight at 8:00, when we get home from the church.

Which, you know, is the joy of only working two days every week.

But… before I go… I’ll leave you with something Jen Hatmaker posted on Instragram this morning.

img_7716Who are these people who drink their coffee BLACK?  I mean, other than my parents?  Because I love myself so much, I can’t even touch a cup of coffee that isn’t the color of pale beige sand on a beach.  So, you know, I basically want a cup of warm milk with a little coffee flavoring.

Happy Wednesday night, y’all.  With any luck at all, the boss will show up to work at Jedi Mama, Inc. tomorrow night and get something written.



The Little Worker Bees

“Alright, boys. You! The tall one! Get on that tractor and level out the giant dirt piles. And you! Shorty! Keep on making those bulldozer sound effects. I want a 3% grade there, so we don’t end up with melted snow in our basement, come April. And when you’re finished with the slope, you can load up all this dirt in that Tonka and use it to fill in the low spots. I want access points here, here… and here. And let’s move that five-gallon bucket of water y’all have had out here all season; the algal bloom is monstrous.”

Yeah… I don’t mean to brag… but our boys are finally old enough where they can do the REAL work, while Hubs and I sit on the deck with tall glasses of iced tea.

Oh, who am I kidding?

It was wine.

img_3225 img_3263 img_3281

The Day AFTER The School Pictures


This week has just been filled to the brim.  There were PE classes that needed teaching, because my 4th graders were hanging on the edges of their sanity, wanting to learn to spike a ball in volleyball, after I had already taught them the bump and the set.  The spike was to be our crowning glory… the Christmas Morning of all their weeks spent bumping a ball back and forth and over a net.  So, I stepped up and said, “This is the spike.  Please watch as I demonstrate it.”  Of course, the demonstration was from a forty-something, mother-of-two who never gets enough sleep.  I think they were expecting a performance more along the lines of what Misty May and Kerri Walsh pulled off in the sand during previous Olympics.  Also, I had to come home and apply the antiseptic-smelling sports cream to ALL THE MUSCLES after Spike Day, because of that part where I said “forty-something, mother-of-two who never gets enough sleep.”  I had to get my cheater reading glasses out to read the directions on the back of the sports cream tube first, but aging is a topic we’ll discuss another day.

We were talking about my busy week.  The PE classes, and the preschool open houses with chili dinners, and the Bible studies.  The grocery-fetching, which did happen, and the laundry-doing, which didn’t happen, and youth group at the church, and two coffee dates with friends, and dinners to make, because boys are ALWAYS, ALWAYS hungry.  And then remember how I handed over dollar bills last week, which could have gone toward eggs and milk, but which I chose to give to the housekeeper that we can barely afford?  Well, that financial decision has panned out to be the golden egg of all decisions, because our house currently looks like a band of renegade monkeys, who run drugs across state lines in old Trans Ams, lives here.  Oh, we haven’t fallen back into a state where mildew is growing in our toilets, but our kitchen counters are currently invisible beneath the heaps of dirty dishes, the piles of mail, the seventeen thousand Lego bricks and the forty-seven hundred pounds of paperwork that comes home from schools.

Also, you should know that my patience for this blog post tonight is currently running at an all-time high, because my beloved Big Mac just closed my window unexpectedly and left me with NOTHING.

As in, I just lost everything that I just spent the past thirty minutes trying to dream up and get typed out.  Naturally, my expression right now is a whole lot like this:

angry mad grumpy snl kristen wiig


Do you know what very busy, forty-something, mothers-of-two who don’t get enough sleep really enjoy adding to their already full, giant kitchen wall calendars, when there’s no more room to write anything in the daily boxes?

That would be School Picture Day.

Yesterday was Thing 2’s picture day at his preschool.  So, I did what any neurotic, OCD mama would do:  I slaved over the hot iron to press a long-sleeved, button-up shirt for him on Tuesday night, after I had already taught spiking all day and been to Bible study all night.  It was literally THE CUTEST shirt, and yes!  THAT was going to be his Picture Day outfit.

On Wednesday morning, when he was fresh out of the shower and streaking through the house, I told him that we needed to get dressed in THE NICE CLOTHES, because it was Picture Day.  Yay!  Picture Day!  WE ARE GOING TO DRESS UP!

I tried to make the event sound like a party, complete with streamers and helium balloons and party horns and cupcakes with real cream cheese frosting, because Thing 2 hates, loathes and despises the dressing up clothes.  We have come to an agreement at our house that he MUST wear jeans and dressier shirts over his favorite Denver Broncos jersey and sweatpants on Sundays, when we go to church.  The rest of the week is when he wears the sweats and the gym shorts and every other outfit that makes him look as well-dressed as Nacho Libre.

p160705_i_h12_aaOn Wednesday morning, when I announced that we were going to wear something nice to school, Thing 2 immediately zipped into his bedroom and yelled, “Yes!  I know what I can wear!  I can wear a really nice sweatshirt!”  And then he pulled a sweatshirt out of his closet that is so ratty, it has been demoted to THIS IS WHAT YOU WEAR WHEN YOU MAKE THE MUD PIES AND PAINT THE HOUSE.

I showed him the already-ironed shirt with all the buttons.

In a typical passionate, four-year-old response, Thing 2 threw himself onto his bedroom floor and yelled, “I don’t want to wear that!  IT’S NOT A CHURCH DAY!!!”

There are battles that all parents need to dig their heels in on and fight, but arguing with Thing 2 over what he’s going to wear each morning is a war that even William Wallace wouldn’t have taken on.

freedom braveheart 90s retro 1990s

Yes.  You can take his life, but you’ll never take his freedom to dress like he’s headed to his daily workout at the gym.

In the end, Thing 2 and I compromised.  I let go of my hopes and dreams of him wearing the long-sleeved, button-down shirt that I had labored to iron, and he gave up his desire to wear the ratty sweatshirt.  Instead, he wore an Under Armour polo, with a real collar.

And then the head-to-head combat of Jeans Vs. Sweatpants began, which I won.  Sometimes, school pictures end up being less of a portrait-style face shot, and more of a body shot in Small Town, USA.  I decided that a dressier polo shirt wasn’t going to be featured in a school picture with a pair of all-cotton sweats from the sale rack at Walmart, that are currently sporting a hole the size of a nickle in the left knee.

Jeans it was.

This morning, after Thing 2 had hopped out of the shower, he ran straight to his bedroom and yelled, “It’s not a church day and I wore jeans yesterday!  I’M NOT WEARING JEANS TODAY, TOO!!!”

And, just like that, he had spoken.

The little varmint picked his very own outfit out, and I made sure I announced to every teacher at his preschool this morning that YES!  HE CHOSE HIS OWN CLOTHES THIS MORNING, AFTER THE TRAUMA OF JEANS AND A COLLAR YESTERDAY!


img_3161 img_3162 img_3165 img_3171 img_3173 img_3174His mama still loves him, even if he did look like a lost boy in a fairy tale today at school.

Y’all have a good weekend.

Columbus Day Weekend, 2016


We celebrated Columbus Day at our house like we always do.  We gathered as a family around our dining room table, with a fire blazing in the fireplace, and made paper mache ships.  We used brown paper, flour and water to recreate the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, and then we walked into town to trade our handiwork for spices and give speeches on why fresh fruit on long sea voyages was so important.

Or maybe… we just recovered from our long weekend and burned fossil fuels in our Suburban, so that we could hop down to the local Walmart, seeing as how we were out of everything.

And by everything, I do mean EVERYTHING.  At one point yesterday, Hubs remarked, “I tried to make a sandwich, but there was mold on the two heels in the bread bag.  I tried to pour a bowl of cereal, but there was no milk.  So now I’m eating Ramen noodles, like I’m a poor college boy, once again.”

Sometimes life is very hard.

On Friday evening, there was the Homecoming football game.  Thing 2 announced his TOTAL DISPLEASURE over the issue of enormous fireworks being set off at halftime.  Our preschooler will fight a dragon in head-to-head combat and jump off the tallest piece of playground equipment in the entire state, but fireworks FREAK.  HIM.  OUT.  It’s always a lovely experience, as we end up apologizing to folks around us for the screams of WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE, which are loud enough to rupture the eardrums that the fireworks don’t get to first.

The boys had three days off from school, so we piled ourselves and a couple of suitcases into Hubs’ car bright and early Saturday morning.  We ended up meeting Papa and Grammy for a miniature vacation.  We drove, and we drove, and we DROVE SOME MORE, and then, when I thought that I couldn’t take any more driving while listening to the noise of The Backyardigans coming from the DVD player in the backseat, we drove a bit more, and then we were there, after crossing state lines and missing turnoffs.

Grammy bought tickets for everyone to ride the REAL TRAIN, from the 1880s, as she was helping Thing 2 check items off of his LIFE GOALS list.  Our kid is CRAZY NUTS about trains, and he wanted to ride a real one more than anything.

He spent the entire ride declaring that the train whistle was actually REALLY STINKING LOUD, while he sat exactly like THIS:

img_2911I had expected to whiz through the countryside, on a gleaming bullet powered by coal, but what I discovered is that train travel in the 1880s was pretty much exactly as fast as I can pedal a bicycle.  In other words, had I boarded in New York City, to ride out to the Wild West, I could have expected to be sitting in that leather seat, staring out the window, for four hundred and twelve straight days.

The train lolled from side to side, and ambled through the hills.  It blew its whistle and chugged up mountains and coughed down mountains, and it was all incredibly fun.

For reals.

We all loved it, and I didn’t suffer a lick of motion sickness, so I’m chalking that up as a Vacation Victory.

img_2919 img_2923 img_2921 img_2897 img_2916 img_2918The boy rode that train exactly like any teenager from the late 1800s would’ve done.  He devoured taffy from a bag his grandmother treated him to and sent out important text messages to friends back home.  I feel like Jesse James would’ve been proud of him.

img_2901Meanwhile, I snapped a few pictures from the open train window, as we passed run-down shacks, whose glory days of being in a thriving mining community had come and gone.

img_2905 img_2903 img_2907img_2940 img_2930 img_2926 img_2944 img_2946 img_2958We rode the rails for over two hours, before we were back at the train station and being bombarded by requests from little boys for trinkets from the gift shop.

And… since no one had eaten any lunch (unless you count the taffy on the train), we all went out for dinner.  Teenage boys can only go three hours, at the max, without refueling with cheeseburgers and salads doused in ranch dressing.

Later on Saturday night, while the rest of his friends were back home, getting dressed up for the Homecoming dance at Small Town High, the boy sat with his family and roasted marshmallows around a campfire at the cabin, where we were staying.  I felt badly that he was missing his sophomore Homecoming, but Grammy and I planned this trip a couple of months ago… long before I realized that OH, DEAR!  THIS MIGHT CRUNCH THE BOY’S SOCIAL LIFE A BIT.

No matter.  The boy said he was having a blast, and he ate four S’mores, after his cheeseburger and dinner salad.

And for those of you who only have daughters, I feel sorry that you’ll never know what it is to turn young pyromaniacs loose near a campfire.  Everything must be burned.  Every scrap of garbage or anything that could possibly BECOME GARBAGE IN THE FUTURE, must be thrown into the fire.  In fact, some things that aren’t garbage at all will even be sacrificed, just to see how they’ll burn.

img_2966 img_2967 img_2963 img_2971 img_2975 img_2976 img_2980 img_2983 img_2996 img_2989 img_2986And yes.  We stayed in a cabin.  We felt it’s exactly how folks who had just ridden the rails on a coal-powered train would’ve done things.  We opted for the rustic experience, as we shook our heads at civilized hotels with room service and indoor swimming pools.

As it turned out, our cabin was IMMACULATELY clean.  Surgeries could’ve happened there, and my OCD, neat-freak self was so happy!  Plus, we had the little convenience of OH, LOOK!  TWO FULL BATHROOMS, WITH SHOWERS AND A FULL KITCHEN WITH A MICROWAVE AND ENOUGH DISHES TO SEE THAT THE DUGGERS COULD’VE EATEN SUPPER THERE.

Oh, my word.  I could’ve lived in that clean little cabin forever, seeing as how it had three bedrooms and a deck that overlooked the countryside.  The only problem that the boy faced was NO CELL SERVICE.



We were TOTALLY OFF THE GRID, and I’m not going to lie.  It was wonderful.

The next morning, we did a little sight-seeing.  We bought more taffy, because the boys felt like it was a necessity.

And by boys, I mean Hubs and Papa.  Their nicknames are Taffy Addicts.

Eventually, we ended up at a little tourist spot, where the kids could pan for gold and take a tour through a real goldmine from 1886.  We told the boy to get busy with the panning, because he’s got to be thinking about college expenses.  We felt like this was a prime opportunity for him to find a nugget the size of a loaf of bread and make sure Harvard can really happen in his life.

img_3005 img_3006 img_3009 img_3019 img_3023 img_3024 img_3039And yes!  The boy TOTALLY FOUND GOLD!


He found just enough gold, that… if he wanted to cash it all out… he could have EASILY afforded to buy himself something small at Starbucks.

Something small, with no extra whipped cream.

Something small, with no extra flavoring.

Something small, like THIS TALL CUP OF HOT COCOA, without that whipped cream on top.

img_3016Thing 2 had a ball splashing around in the panning trough, and then he discovered fifty-cent gumballs form the nearby machine.

His life was forever changed for the better, when Papa forked over a couple of quarters for him.

img_3030 img_3053 img_3069We ended up just being tourists around the area, and then we finished up our weekend with a quick trip to see some former presidents.

img_3108 img_3072 img_3084 img_3090 img_3091 img_3112We had fun.

We did.

And I got to eat at a buffet, which Hubs NEVER, EVER let’s me do, because Hubs insists that only OLD FOLKS WHO TAKE GERITOL AND SEE PODIATRIST FOR CORNS eat at buffets.  Personally, I’m a buffet-lover… and I married a man who doesn’t care for buffet restaurants.

Whoever said marriage is hard, wasn’t lying!

But yes!  We totally ate at a buffet, and Hubs had to admit that it was INDEED delicious.

The boys had a ball on our miniature vacation, and so did we.  We enjoyed just hanging out together and spending a few days with Grammy and Papa.

img_3077 img_3079 img_3080And then we came home to NO FOOD IN THE HOUSE, which necessitated a major family trip to Walmart.

So that, y’all, was OUR Columbus Day weekend.  Have a happy Tuesday.


That Time In My Life When The ’80s Became A Spirit Week Theme

So today was dedicated to laundry-doing and grocery-fetching and picking up our house, which the housekeeper that we cannot afford (but who keeps me SANE, as she takes our very last dollar from us) came and scrubbed down on Monday.  I KNEW on Monday that by Tuesday our house would be out of control again, which just means that I’m paying top-dollar to have a clean house for three hours, while everyone is at work and school.

I feel like it’s worth it, because without her, I never have a clean house any more.  If three hours is what I get, then three hours it is.

But seriously, she set our bathrooms back to a state where we can now have company over.  For the past few weeks, I’ve lived in fear that a friend would ring the doorbell and say, “Hi.  We were near your house, and… well... this is embarrassing… but can I use your bathroom?”  And then I’d have to tell her NOT A FAT CHANCE, because she might take to social media with her reports of the mildew streaks we were harboring, and how she was hard-pressed to see herself in the bathroom mirror, through all the toothpaste splatters and dirty hand prints.

Now that my toilets sparkle again… no one will need to use them.

In other news, this is Homecoming Week at both the high school and the junior high in Small Town, so the kids are dressing up right and left.  Many of my friends have been posting pictures on Facebook of their junior high kids dressed up in neon leg warmers and neon workout wear, because of ’80s DAY.  Apparently, the only thing any of us can remember from the ’80s is that we worked out ALL OF THE TIME.  One friend posted that she had introduced her daughter to the fine art of ratting and backcombing, and that she could now check that off of her to-do list, as her daughter’s ponytail achieved the necessary volume to compete with Heather Locklear and Bret Michaels.  Another friend posted a picture of her daughter, in an old AC/DC concert T-shirt, with her hair SOMEWHAT volumized.  She said that it was the best she could do, because her kid kept complaining, “It’s too big!  My hair is too big!!  I hate it already!!”  This is the problem with the girls of today:  They simply don’t understand the hardships we faced every single morning, as we got up three hours before school started, so we’d have JUST ENOUGH TIME to wash our hair and pump that Rave home permanent up to gravity defying levels, that were all shellacked into place with half a can of aerosol Aqua Net.

frabz-80s-hair-is-the-reason-spf-100-sunscreen-exists-553d90The discussion on this friend’s post then went on to say that it was really too bad her daughter didn’t have any bangs, because those could’ve been hopped up like a satellite dish on speed pills, which would have REALLY thrown that kid into a day of Great Big Hair Panic.

And also?  Well, I don’t really understand how the ’80s are considered far enough behind us now to become a decade that the kids represent during Spirit Weeks.  They layer their pastel Izod polos, stolen from the backs of their parents’ closets, and flip the collars, and then add neon leg warmers and neon running shorts and throw their hair into side ponytails, while my friends and I sit back and say, “That’s not really how Blondie or Debbie Gibson or… even I… looked.”  And then we feel a little offended because THE ’80s WERE NOT THAT LONG AGO, PEOPLE!  IT WAS JUST YESTERDAY, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!  AND IT WAS FULL OF GREAT FASHION AND GORGEOUS HAIR!!

I imagine it’s exactly how our parents felt, when we dressed up in love beads and fringe and bell bottoms, raided from closets, during our own Spirit Week, circa 1988.

Yesterday was TWIN DAY at the high school.  Everyone was supposed to grab a friend and dress in matching outfits, and WOW!  THAT’S EASY!  At our house, the boy and the cute neighbor boy took Twin Day to the next level… or even… sixteen thousand, four hundred and forty-seven levels ABOVE the next level, because they BOTH looked EXACTLY LIKE THIS:

img_2880Sadly, I do not have a snapshot of the two of them together, but let your horrors rest on knowing that there were TWO OF THESE IDENTICAL CREATURES walking around the hallowed halls of Small Town High yesterday.

And y’all thought the Creepy Clown invasion was a bad thing.  I think the boy and the cute neighbor boy could’ve scared the clowns into seclusion with their get-up yesterday morning.

And, if you’re wondering… I, too, have no words on why our beloved neighbors own not just one, BUT TWO full-length, mink coats to loan out to kids who need them for Twin Day.  The boy said that a girl stopped him before one of his classes yesterday to say, “I can’t believe you killed a bunch of animals just so you could wear a coat made form their skins.”  He said he told her, “Oh, I didn’t kill them myself, because this coat is vintage, but I’m happy to wear the fruits of their labor… and I’m even going to have a hamburger with BACON for lunch.”

I don’t know whose kid he is.

Today’s dress-up theme was SPORTS DAY, so the boy went as… WHAT ELSE?  A golfer!

img_2885He raided a few things from the cute neighbor boy’s basement again, because their stockpile of dress-up clothes is the stuff movies are made with.  Our dress-up clothes are limited to Spider-Man costumes and Star Wars outfits, in a size 6.

When the boy left for school this morning, I told him to have a great day, and he said, “Oh, I intend to.  I might skip my morning classes, and put this outfit to good use with eighteen holes of golf.  But don’t worry, Mom!  I’ll be back in time for my afternoon classes.”

In other news, Thing 2 muddied up a pair of Under Armour sneakers a while back, which his mother keeps forgetting to wash.  And it’s not so much that she keeps FORGETTING to wash them, as it is that she just isn’t a successful driver on the Laundry-Doing Train.  This morning, he told me, “I really need my black Under Armour shoes, Mom!”  And I told him to write me a note, to remind me to wash them today.

(Yes.  I’m now at an age where I need reminder notes stuck all over our house.  I also need cheater glasses to read anything, when my contacts are in.  I also feel like Ben Gay is going to become a staple in our bathroom cabinet.  Clearly, it’s because I peaked in the ’80s and now I’m just falling apart.  I like to imagine that Cindy Crawford is suffering from the same ailments I am right now.)

Thing 2 sat down at the kitchen counter, with a pen and a paper and said, “What does WASH start with, Mom?  Oh, never mind.  DON’T TELL ME, MOM!!!  I know this.  Wuh, wuh, wuh… WASH.  It starts with a W, doesn’t it, Mom?”

Yes, he’s a genius.

I mean, seriously.  The kid is on the very brink of learning to read, at four and a half.

Then, after revealing his crazy-good phonetic skills, he promptly spiraled into a full-on meltdown because he couldn’t write a W that met his W standards.  There were tears a-plenty, and enormous gripes of how the W is the hardest symbol in the entire universe to replicate!  Thankfully, the boy intervened while I was packing lunches, and helped his little brother write a note, with a capital W to start it off with.

img_2881When they were done, Thing 2 commented, “I can’t wait until I’m in high school and can make good Ws.”

In the end, our smarty-pants preschooler knew that he needed a W for WASH, and he knew that he needed an SH for SHOES.  Two weeks ago, I told him that an S and an H together make the SHHHH sound.  He didn’t forget it.


He was quite happy with his note, when it was all finished.  He left it on the kitchen island for me and said, “Don’t forget, Mom.  I need the mud washed off of those shoes!”

img_2882 img_2884His mama didn’t forget.

His shoes are squeaky clean and good to go for tomorrow morning.

Y’all have a happy weekend.

Three Quick Things

Sometimes on Tuesday nights, my brain reaches maximum capacity, and I lose the ability to type coherent sentences.

In other words, my Tuesdays aren’t really all that different than the other days of the week, except by Tuesday night, I’ve taught seven back-to-back PE classes and witnessed horrors the likes of which would make your stomach turn.

Today, one of my four-year-old pre-kindergarten kiddos ate a booger the size of a cherry tomato off of his finger.  I told his teacher that I was going to recommend that he drop PE and pursue two music classes instead.

I was also handed a sneaker with a knot that could only be solved by members of Mensa, so I dove right into it.  The information that would have been critical to have BEFORE I touched the shoelaces was this:  THE LACES ON MY NIKES ARE WET.  THEY ARE WET, BECAUSE I USED MY TEETH TO TRY TO BITE THE KNOT OUT.  I DROOLED EVERYWHERE.  YOU JUST TOUCHED A PETRI DISH OF FILTHY GERMS AFTER I FAILED TO CHEW THE KNOT LOOSE.

Oh, well.

I just have a couple of quick things for you, because I really need to crawl into bed and recover from the booger-eating post traumatic stress syndrome I’m suffering from.

1.  We hit the hometown, high school football game on Friday night.  Thing 2 met up with his two closest lady friends, and the three of them caused us to be out of our seats no fewer than 42,000 times.  Our fit-bits exploded with all the walking we did around the bleachers and around the football field and around the concession stand, and back and forth to the potties.  The junior high school girls, who were running back and forth between reapplying their lip gloss and talking to junior high boys, were so enamored with Thing 2 and his little friends, that they were happy to pass out glow-in-the-dark bracelets.

Our trio was bedecked in a hideous amount of light-up jewelry, that would have made Liberace sit up and exclaim, “Am I bedazzled too much?”  Thankfully, it solved the problem of keeping track of them in the dark.  We just looked for the mass quantities of glowing jewelry that made the three of them look like an airport runway.

img_76432.  On Sunday afternoon, Thing 2 and his best buddy met up at the park to play, while their mamas talked.  And talked.  And also talked some more.

The boys hunted dragons, captured dragons, killed dragons, skinned dragons, and resharpened their swords for more dragon hunts.

And then they opened a pizza restaurant, where the signature crust tasted a whole lot like playground mulch.  Their talents are quite diversified.   They can hunt the dragon, whip up a lovely dough, and make Dragon and Mushroom Pizza that will make you weep with its deliciousness.

img_28643.  It’s Spirit Week at Small Town High this week, because of Homecoming.  The kids are dressing up every day, under a theme.

Today’s theme was SEMI-FORMAL.

Behold, the resident sophomore:

img_2878The boy took SEMI-FORMAL to mean HALF FORMAL.  He wore a vest, suit jacket and tie, along with a pair of raggedy gym shorts and sneakers.  Clever little stinker.

And, at the risk of sound like the ending of an old Looney Tunes cartoon…

… That’s all, folks!

May your Tuesday evening involve warm fireplaces, thick blankets, and much sleep.  I say this because it was 43 degrees here in Small Town today, with a crosswind that caused the windchill to register at ICE CUBES WITH A SIDE OF FROSTBITE.  Welcome, Winter.

Another One Bites The Dust


… we have lost our second tooth, at the age of four and a half.

Except this one we just lost right out of our mouth; we didn’t lose it for GOOD, as it fell into the sand at a playground the size of Manhattan, disappearing forever and ever.  We have THIS ONE in custody… something to barter with the Tooth Fairy with.

img_2845 img_2846 img_2848 img_2849

When Your Tommy Hilfiger Shirt Is Still Fashionable A Decade Later

I got to wake up on my own this morning, without the help of an atomic flashlight torch waved in front of my sleeping eyes, so there really was no way that today could go wrong.

Of course, I woke up at 5:15 this morning, because when you’ve been forcefully woken up at that time for THE PAST FOUR AND A HALF YEARS, your brain just comes to accept that HELLO?!  YOUR FORTY-SIX POUND ALARM CLOCK THAT WALKS AND TALKS AND DUMPS DIRT OUT OF ITS COWBOY BOOTS ONTO YOUR FRESHLY MOPPED FLOORS IS ABOUT TO POUNCE UPON YOU.  And then… Thing 2 slept in until 6:35, because that’s exactly how my luck rolls.  At this point in our lives, Hubs and I consider 6:35 in the morning to be sleeping in like a teenager.

No matter.

I showered and decided to use the hot rollers today.  There was no real reason, except that my hot rollers were sitting there in the bathroom cabinet, and I had an outlet right there on the sink, so why not?  My hair turned out to be something that would’ve made Shirley Temple weep with joy.  I won’t lie.  After a little hairspray and a couple of strategically placed bobby pins, I could have taken Cindy Crawford’s place on the OLD WOMEN AS SUPERMODELS PLATFORM.

After a final coating of even more hairspray, to insure that it all stayed in place for longer than six minutes, I made the boys breakfast.  Lest you think I’m bragging about that and secretly slipping in a jibe of YES!  I COOK BREAKFAST FOR MY KIDS; WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR TIME IN THE MORNINGS?, I will just let you know what cooking breakfast meant today.  I let the hot water pour out of the kitchen faucet for four minutes, until it was good and hot, and then I put some into two bowls with packages of instant oatmeal and stirred.  And then I popped the top on a can of mandarin oranges, drained them like a boss, and dumped those into the oatmeal bowls.

I fully expect my boys to be champions now, because they’ve had the breakfasts of one.


And then I came home and wiped down bathroom toilets and bathroom sinks, and then I chipped something brown off the bathroom floor that I really don’t want to talk about, but I am almost 98.5% certain it was a BROWNIE COOKIE FROM YESTERDAY, SO DON’T JUDGE US JUST YET, BEFORE THE LAB RESULTS COME BACK.

It’s true.

My glamorous hair this morning reflected my glamorous lifestyle.

At 10:00 this morning, after my hair had sufficiently lost a lot of its gorgeousness and was beginning to sag in places and look a little less like Cindy Crawford and a little more like Marge Simpson after a migraine bender, I met a darling friend at a coffee shop in the city, where parallel parking is usually involved, unless you’re lucky enough to get a spot near the back alley.  We ordered quiche and coffee and finally took a breath from all of our talking to realize that HOLY MOTHER OF PAPA SMURF!  I had twelve minutes to get across town to pick Thing 2 up from school!

I love a good coffee date where you talk so much, you completely lose track of the time.

And then I came back home, with my hair that was looking less and less glamorous as the day wore on, to face a laundry pile that was looking like the entire state of Texas had made a clothing donation to my closet floor.

So yeah… that was pretty much my entire day.

Before I officially sign off this evening for the weekend, I just have to say this one thing:  When you think you are only having one child in your lifetime, and that fact holds true for eleven and a half years, you really don’t save any clothes to pass along to little brothers.  Because of this, Thing 2 has never worn hand-me-down clothes from the boy, which makes me sad.  I THRIVE on the hand-me-downs our friends give us for that preschooler of ours.

I am a BIG FAN of hand-me-downs!


A while back, Sister found a very small plastic garbage bag at the back of Cousin K’s closet, which held a few size-5 and size-6 items that we had passed on to her, after the boy outgrew them.  Somehow, she had overlooked this bag when she, in turn, passed everything that Cousin K had outgrown on to someone smaller.

When she found it, she gave it to me.

And there, inside of that bag, were some little shirts that had been the boy’s when he was a tiny tot.  Y’all, my joy was a real and contagious thing!  The boy was such a tiny little runt, while Thing 2 is not.  Right now, Thing 2 is four-and-a-half years old, and he is exactly as tall as the boy was, when he was turning six.  He also weighed 46.2 pounds last week at the pediatrician’s office, which is how much the boy weighed AS A SECOND GRADER!!  So, we will wear the stuff in this little garbage bag a bit earlier in age than the boy did, but we will wear them!

This morning, I ironed up this little yellow shirt for Thing 2, and I almost cried the crazy sentimental tears that only other mushy mothers will understand.  How many times had I ironed it for the boy, when he was just a little punk?

img_2674 img_2675 img_2683I think Thing 2 looks adorable in it.

I searched through old snapshots on my computer for a bit this morning, in between toilet scrubbings, and found one of the boy in this yellow-checked shirt…

… when he was six years old and in kindergarten.

Be… still… my… heart!!

img_3222Y’all have a good weekend.