Floods And Eggs

I didn’t mean to take a vacation from the blog, but our summer vacation has gotten away from me.

And by gotten away from me, I mean that all I’ve really been doing is drinking a lot of coffee, while I pretend that I know what I’m doing at parenting.  As in, I have two words for you:  STRONG and WILLED.  Pretty much, I walk around our house saying things like, “I used to be in charge around here,” and “He’s wearing his Spider-Man costume for the seventeenth day in a row, because it’s what he WANTS to wear.”

Also, every single toy truck, tractor, trailer and train that we own is currently spread across our backyard like a tornado struck the vehicle section of a Toys R Us store.  Every neighborhood has that one family, and every day I’m pretty sure that all fingers point smack at us as being THAT family.

But the good news is that the housekeeper I cannot afford is keeping me sane.  This week, I looked at her as she walked in our house and said, “If we were planning on having a third child, I would name her after you.  But then, the reason you’re here, scouring for us, is because I have maxed out at two children.”

Bless.

This precious girl cleaned for us on Tuesday.  I wanted to make reservations at a motel for our family that evening, so that no one would drop crumbs in the living room or walk across our pristine hardwood floors.  I just wanted to try out an immaculately clean house for longer than seventeen minutes.

It wasn’t an hour later, before I snapped THIS photo and did my best to laugh at it.

I think I achieved a good belly laugh after I’d consumed four bottles of wine.

Oh, I kid, people!  The Whole30 doesn’t allow wine.

I had to drink fermented kombucha, muscling my way through the lovely vinegar bouquet, and pretend I was laughing.  And then I mopped up the bathroom floor, which is just par for the course at our house.

The rest of our past week has been dedicated to laundry and grocery fetching and cooking.

Yes.

I said the word COOKING.

Basically, this Whole30 has turned me into the best 1883 version of myself.  I simply look in the root cellar and announce, “Well.  I have a turnip and six carrots, along with a trout from the creek.  That should taste like cardboard and grief.  I think it’s what we’ll have for dinner.”

Hubs has been in charge of boiling eggs for our breakfasts on a regular basis this past month.  Apparently, cussing over egg-peeling first thing is not how he enjoys starting his day, so he’s been watching You Tube videos on HOW TO BOIL THE PERFECT EGG.  That’s something our 1883-selves wouldn’t have been able to do.  I’m thankful that we can just turn straight to our iPhones in times of need, instead of having to hitch the swaybacked horse to the wagon, steer it toward town, and ask an elderly matron at the mercantile how SHE cooks HER eggs successfully.  Hubs has the egg-boiling down to a fine art now, which involves ALL THE PANS IN MY KITCHEN.  He boils eggs with a timer, and then submerges them into another pan for their ice bath.  It involves real ice cubes and cold water.  The duration of this is also timed, and then boom!

We have enough dirty pans to pack the dishwasher to maximum capacity, along with perfect, hard-boiled eggs with ghee and salt and pepper.  We can almost pretend that we’re normal human beings having breakfast again, if it weren’t for the fact that we are sipping black, bitter coffee full of pretend creamer, which is called REAL CREAM FROM COCONUT MILK.

Whatever the health nuts want to tell you, coconut cream is a sorry substitution for sugar and half-and-half.

This morning, Hubs had a granola bar for breakfast.  I should actually be more specific here.  This morning, Hubs had a bar that was disguised as a granola bar, which was actually made from dates and cashews and figs and the tears of brokenhearted fairies.  I was on my own for boiling eggs, which… really?  I have done PLENTY OF THE TIMES in my years.

I even have the recipe memorized.  Regardless of what anyone tells you, I can boil an egg!

I’m pretty sure I nailed it this morning:

I think I managed to get 50% of the egg out of the shell, while the other half stayed inside the shell, clinging for dear life.

I texted the picture to Hubs, who said, “You didn’t use an ice bath, did you?”

So I’d say that the Whole30 is going pretty good so far.

Y’all keep carrying on and have a lovely weekend.

The Day My Parenting Crown Went Up In Flames. Or Down With The Flood. Whatever.

If  you would like to know about my day, it started at precisely 5:04 this morning, when Thing 2 got out of bed with all the quietness and stealth of a fraternity of circus monkeys, clanging symbols together on a street corner, looking for peanut handouts.

By 9:00 this morning, I was ready to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for that preschooler of ours, because SURELY it was lunchtime.

It wasn’t.

It was 9 AM.

By 10:30 this morning, my life was a lot like this:

Except drawing on the walls and shaving the imaginary, completely invisible dog living at our house would have been so much better.

Instead, while I was peeling potatoes to boil for a potato salad tonight (Why, hello there!  I’m on the Whole30.  It involves a LOT OF DADGUM COOKING!), Thing 2 watered the plants in our bathroom and the plant on my desk.

The insurance company told me that we actually DON’T have a rider that covers flood damage.  Instead of just writing our master bathroom off as a total loss and celebrating the idea of gutting everything and remodeling it in a manner that would bring Joanna Gaines to her feet with a grin and a slow clap, I had to get two bath towels from the linen closet and start sopping everything up.

I think it went well, considering that it only took me twenty entire minutes of mopping and wiping and cussing.

Smack in the middle of Operation Save The Bathroom, Thing 2 tapped me on the back and said, “Settle down, honey!  I was just watering the plants, so you wouldn’t have to!”

Yes.

He told me to SETTLE DOWN, HONEY.

Eventually, the potatoes got boiled for the salad, and we hit the park with our cousins to RUN!  RUN AND RUN AND RUN!!!

Sister bought blue bubblegum ice cream for everyone who wasn’t currently muscling their way through a Whole30.  It dyed Thing 2’s face blue, his hands blue, and one ear blue.

I didn’t ask a lot of questions about how the ear ended up resembling a Smurf’s.  There was no need.  When Thing 2 eats, food is going to go places it doesn’t normally go with other children.

After we had run the equivalent of six back-to-back marathons in record time and dyed ourselves blue at the park, Thing 2 and I ran errands together.  We ended up at the grocery store.  By this time, it was late afternoon, and the exuberance and joy that our preschooler had displayed at 5:04 this morning had ALL EVAPORATED.

Mothers everywhere raised their hands to me in solidarity, as we labored to buy FIVE THINGS.

Five.  Entire.  Things.

On the way home, Thing 2’s grocery store grumpiness subsided enough for him to loudly serenade me with the theme song from The Grinch.

From the backseat, I got to hear, “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch!  You really are a heel.  You’re as cuddly as a cactus; you’re as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch!”  And then, as he mashed two songs together, he went into his next round  of the mashup without missing a single beat.  “Rag doll, livin’ in a movie, rag doll, come on up and see me…

I have no idea where he learned the lyrics to an Aerosmith song, but I understand that I am no longer in the running for Mother of the Year, 2017, and that I may not be welcome in some parenting circles any longer.

We came back home this afternoon, where I promptly fired up Netflix and told Thing 2, “You are allowed to watch as many shows as you like until dinnertime.  You’ve already had blue ice cream with nineteen different kinds of artificial dye and shocked your mother by singing a song by Steven Tyler, so you might as well finish the day by binge watching Mighty Machines.”  Thing 2 went on to do just that.  He watched what felt like an entire season of Mighty Machines and then chased it with The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

Clearly, we are timely.

And yes, it’s true.  My idea of parenting with the boy, when he was five, was that THE TELEVISION IS NOT FOR SUMMER VACATION, BECAUSE WE WILL GET OUTSIDE AND USE OUR IMAGINATIONS AND LIVE LIFE!!  And now… today… with Thing 2, my idea was CAN YOU JUST SIT ON THE SOFA AND GLUE YOUR EYES TO THAT THING FROM NOW UNTIL BEDTIME AND NEVER TOUCH A BATHROOM FAUCET AGAIN, FOR AS LONG AS YOU LIVE?!

People, I’d just like to let you know that we made it clear through until bedtime tonight.  Everyone is still present and accounted for at our house.  I’m on Day 22 of a Whole30, so I didn’t even cheat by making a dinner out of two bottles of wine and a box of donuts, like I wanted to do.

Nope.

I COOKED.  Sugar-free, gluten-free potato salad with mayo from the health food store and jalapeno turkey burgers with guacamole and poached eggs on top of them, with a side of watermelon.  I know… I know.  I don’t even know myself any more.  WHO IS THIS GIRL WHO COOKS IN MY KITCHEN THESE DAYS AND DOESN’T EAT LEFTOVER CHICKEN NUGGETS OFF THE LITTLE MAN’S PLATE?!

Y’all have a real happy weekend.  And please know just one thing…

I wouldn’t trade either one of my boys for anything.  No matter how deep the water in the bathroom gets after watering the houseplants.  Their mama loves them both, with everything she has.  They’re keepers… especially since we had a very lovely dinner, with very well-behaved boys at the table.

I made sure dinner was lovely, by microwaving gluten-free chicken nuggets for Thing 2, which he paired with watermelon, cantaloupe and applesauce.  Mama ran defense and avoided the volcanic reaction to WHY DO I HAVE A POACHED EGG ON TOP OF A TURKEY BURGER THAT IS HEAVY WITH JALAPENOS AND ONIONS?!  I HATE EGGS AND I’M PRETTY SURE IF I WAS BRAVE ENOUGH TO TRY A JALAPENO, I’D HATE THOSE, TOO!!

95% of parenting… really… is just doing what you have to do and picking up stray Legos.

Have a great weekend.

 

T-Ball 2017

Hubs and I signed Thing 2 up for T-ball this spring, and we enjoyed watching him play this month.  He had never played the game before, which is clearly a parenting failure on my part, because I teach PE and all.

I know.

The cobbler’s children have no shoes.  The IT director’s wife has a cloud so full and outdated, it no longer backs up her iPhone.  The PE teacher has a preschooler who had never hit a ball off a plastic tee before.  These are real prayer needs, y’all.

Anyway.

Thing 2 started his debut T-ball season by pushing and shoving and demanding that he be FIRST!! FIRST!! FIRST!! to bat at all times.  He would smack the ball with force and gusto and a tongue hanging out of his mouth, and then basically stand there and expect the crowd to clap like stunned lunatics at his magnificent display of beastly batting abilities.  He had to be continually reminded to RUN!!  RUN TO FIRST BASE!!  By the end of the season, our little man had realized that when you push and shove to bat, your coach makes you bat last, so it’s best to wait your turn like a true gentleman.  He also caught on quickly that once you smash the ball into the field,  you’re supposed to take off like an Olympic sprinter for the base.

In other words, he learned himself some T-ball, y’all.

Thing 2 got to play on the pink team this season, which really crushed all his hopes and dreams of becoming a manly T-ball player.  There were six teams in the T-ball league for small fries, and the rec center ordered six colors of shirts.

One of those colors was pink.

One of those six teams had to have the pink shirts.

As Thing 2’s luck would run, his team was blessed to have the pink shirts show up on their bench, during their last practice before games started.  I can’t even put into words the tears and power fits we had from the four- and five-year-old boys on our team.  Thing 2 decided that his T-ball career was over, before it had even begun, because ain’t nobody gonna make him slip a PINK shirt over his head.  Our coach was at a loss on what to do, until I just happened to say, “Well, we could be the Bubblegum Team.”

And BOOM!

Bubblegum is cool.

Bubblegum is pink.

Our little boys decided they could survive six ballgames in BUBBLEGUM-colored shirts without dying.

It should also be noted that we have a shaved ice truck in town, which is deceptively NOT an ice cream truck.  I know this to be true, because Hubs and the boys and I chased that thing through our neighborhood one night last year, expecting fudge bars and ice cream cones.  We found out that they only have shaved ice and every single flavor of artificially-flavored, artificially-colored syrup ever invented.

I hate shaved ice.

The empty place I have in my soul, for never having had an ice cream truck to run to in my childhood, is still hollow and completely unfulfilled.

Sadly, my children LOVE a good cup of cold ice and sloppy syrup, and the shaved ice truck banks on all the other small fries loving it, too.  At the majority of our T-ball games, that truck parked next to the fence and turned it’s annoying circus music to LOUDER THAN METALLICA ON STAGE levels.  The T-ball players would nearly lose their ever-lovin’ MINDS during games, waiting for it to just be OVER, so they could storm the truck and demand pineapple syrup on ice, and cherry syrup on ice, and wild mountain berry mixed with watermelon mixed with cotton candy mixed with peach mixed with strawberry lemonade mixed with sour apple mixed with coconut syrups on ice.

For the record, OUR SON is the one who likes the suicide combination of syrups.  If one flavor is good… then he thinks all the flavors at once is really even better.

And… after his T-ball games… his Papa came through with the cold, hard cash necessary to secure a cold, hard cup of ice with fancy colors.  Thing 2 bypassed the fresh oranges and organic apple slices and sugar-free juice boxes that the Snack Moms brought for after the games, to have a cup of brightly-colored, liquefied sugar.

Nothing spells out S-U-M-M-E-R quite like shaved ice that your grandpa bought for you does.

After the first game, Hubs bought a bat and tee for Thing 2, so that they could practice in our yard at home.  It became their nightly routine to go smack balls across our property, into the neighboring yards and street.

(The answer is YES.  Our rock beds needed weeding like a circus needs elephants in these pictures.)

(The weeding is ALL DONE NOW.  I wish I could retake these snapshots with a more dignified, all-cleaned-up, weed-free background, like we currently have at our house.)

(Don’t judge.)

(Hillbillies need time to get their property cleaned up and their moonshine simmering.)

All of Thing 2’s buddies played T-ball, too, so he was constantly chatting with them during games.  They discussed important things like CAN WE STEAL BASES IN THIS LEAGUE?  CAN WE HAVE DESIGNATED HITTERS IN THIS LEAGUE, AND CAN WE BE THOSE DESIGNATED HITTERS, WHO GET TO HIT FOR ALL THE OTHER KIDS ON OUR TEAMS?  CAN WE SPIT SUNFLOWER SEEDS ON THIS TURF WITHOUT GETTING INTO TROUBLE?  CAN WE HAVE A PLAY DATE WHEN THIS GAME IS OVER?  DOES ANYONE HAVE A GRANDPA HERE WHO CAN BUY US SHAVED ICE WITH WATERMELON SYRUP?  DOES ANYONE HERE THINK THAT SUPERMAN WOULD EVER STAND A CHANCE OF DEFEATING BATMAN, IN THE EVENT OF HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT BETWEEN THE TWO?

Also?

Well, what you need to know about the month of June in Small Town, USA is this:  It’s one of my two favorite months of the year.  I love June, because THERE’S NO SCHOOL, and because IT’S ALMOST ALWAYS A COOL MONTH.  We get the bulk of our rain and our thunderstorms in June.  We have cloudy skies and cool breezes in June.  We almost always have a month of temperatures that hang in the seventies.  It’s the perfect time for ALL THE THINGS TO HAPPEN OUTSIDE, because it’s not sweltering.

We get ALL THE SWELTERING and ALL THE WICKED AWFUL HEAT THAT TRIES TO KILL US FLAT DEAD in July and August.

But June?

June is almost always a lovely month here in Small Town.

Except…

… the first week of THIS June dawned hot enough to make us think we were existing in the seventh circle of hell.  Sitting in the bleachers for the first week of games brought on sunburns and grouchy attitudes and heat exhaustion.  Everyone smelled like sweaty armpits and coconut sunscreen.

In other words, “Go home, June!  You’re drunk!

The neck coolers came out.  We soaked them in buckets of ice water and tied them onto the necks of our little people, hoping that we could keep them cool while they played ball.

Thing 2 ended up with his own cheering section in the bleachers throughout the season.  All of his grandparents came to his games… his parents came to his games… his brother came to his games… his cousins came to his games… and his preschool teacher even came to one of his games.

She even brought a giant poster-board sign that said, in enormous letters, “GO, THING 2,” which she held up in the air.  She SAYS she made the sign because she loves Thing 2, but I’m not so sure if she was secretly hoping to get on ESPN’s nightly sports highlights with that thing.

Our little man was powerfully pleased to see her there.  My heart about burst in a hundred different ways to see her at the game, too, because it was simply a sign of her love for our little man.

Thing 2 was so stinking pleased, in fact, to have his beloved preschool teacher cheering him on, he actually did a somersault while he was running between second and third bases.

Thankfully, the pitcher and the short stop and the first baseman and the second baseman were all fighting over whose turn it was to throw the ball that time, as T-ball fielders tend to do, so Thing 2’s gymnastic theatrics went unnoticed from the brawl.

He wound up SAFE on third.

And then… suddenly… the T-ball season was over.  Our six-game schedule came to a close, and June remembered who she was.  She dropped her temperatures down from the triple digits to the 70s, where she belongs, and we all heaved a giant sigh of relief.

Welcome back, June.  You had us worried there for a minute, with your show-off temps so early in the season.

Y’all have a good Tuesday night.

Saturday Play Day

It is currently thundering and lightning to beat the band here in Small Town, USA.  We are having one doozy of a soaking thunderstorm here, but, seeing as how I forgot to water the pink geraniums in their pots on our deck yesterday, they are powerfully thankful for God’s attention to them today.

Bless me, but I forgot to care for my flowers.  Their dead blooms are mocking me, because I failed to pluck them off over the weekend.

It’s really because our weekend was full of good, clean fun.  Except for the part where the boys had ketchup all over their faces, after eating gluten-free chicken nuggets that I prepared for them, with LOVE, in my microwave.  I wanted to snag one with everything I had, but the Whole30 is really quite against snitching food from preschoolers’ plates, unless said food is called APPLES, CANTALOUPE or CARROTS.

The Whole30 is a fun-crusher.

But our fun wasn’t crushed on Saturday, as we packed the equivalent of a day-trip to Disneyland into it.  Thing 2’s buddy, Asher, came to spend the day with us.

You may remember Asher from more than a year ago, when I told you his story.  Asher fell off a bum calf while he was riding it… which led to a CT scan because his parents thought he might have cracked a rib… which led to doctors finding out that Asher had a cancerous tumor growing on his kidney.  He ended up having surgery to remove the kidney, which was followed by several months of chemotherapy.

And then God said that it would please Him to heal Asher from cancer, right here on this earth.  So… our little friend is cancer-free and thriving in life.  And our Thing 2 adores him.  Actually… EVERYONE adores Asher, because he’s funny.  He laughs and he bounces and he manages to spread sunshine wherever he goes.

Hubs and I took all the boys golfing on Saturday, even though two of them had ketchup on their faces.  Sometimes the rednecks take to the golf course.  It happens.

The little boys got a few pointers with their swings from the boy.  The pointers included, “This is NOT hockey.  You’re not slap-shotting the ball!  This is NOT baseball!  You’re not trying to pop it into the upper deck!”

Thing 2 and Asher piled into the boy’s golf cart, while Hubs and I leisurely drove one behind them.  It was exactly like a real DATE, because NO KIDS.  Our date lasted a while in our ADULTS-ONLY CART, too, because the boy had to drive around and around, looking for golf balls smacked by the little boys.

Meanwhile, the cart in front of us usually looked like a car full of clowns at the circus.  Every time it stopped, the clowns tripped over each other, fighting to be the first one out.

Sometimes, golfing had to be set aside, because BUGS!  BUGS!  BUGS!!!

“Ma!!!  There are grasshoppers and roly pollies in the weeds!!!!”

And also TICKS!  We know this one to be true, because the boy found a tick crawling on his arm, and I nearly needed a paper bag to breathe in and out of.

Ticks make my skin crawl with all the repulsion.

Sometimes, Hubs and the boy would speculate on where the boy should hit his next shot.

Right there?

Over that tree out there on the left?

Slice it right?

Every good golfer needs a caddy, and Hubs was up to the job on Saturday.  He offered the boy all the advice he had, which was usually, “Smack the snot out of it!”

Sometimes, we let Thing 2 and Asher race the carts, too.

We let them think they were amazing track stars, who could beat a moving golf cart on foot, but the honest truth is simply this:

We were… um… well… RUNNING THEM.  We were running them to burn off extra energy.  We’re pretty sure that Jesus was okay with this, especially since we always boosted their egos by letting them win all the races against the golf carts.

Of course, they both ended up thinking they were Usain Bolt before we finished golfing.

After we wrapped up golfing, the boy headed to the clubhouse.  He had to be at work.  We bought him a cheeseburger from the grill and told him to have a lovely time, booking tee times and tracking golf scores for older gentleman who keep their daily games recorded in a big book inside.

The little boys still had plenty of energy to spare, so I took them to ride a zip line here in town.

It goes without saying that they thought it was a blast.

And then, because they hadn’t gotten enough exercise for the day, they played at the park for the next two entire hours.

And then… since both of their bicycles were stuffed into the back of my Suburban, they pulled them out and went riding together.

They rode approximately three hundred and forty-nine miles on the sidewalks around the playground.

And then… FINALLY!!… one of them said to the other one, “Are you kind of tired?”

And the other one replied, “Yeah… I’m kind of tired.”

The first one said, “We should do something to rest now and cool down.”

His buddy said, “How about we rest with a nice game of basketball?”

And then they raced across the playground to retrieve a ball that had been left there.  The basketball game was on, and it involved very few real rules.  There was some dribbling and shooting and passing and ball stealing and even some Greco-Roman wrestling mixed into the game.

And then?

Well… THEN I took them home.  They both drank a gallon of water, ate forty-six different pieces of fruit for a snack, and collapsed on our living room sofas.  They were worn out and sweaty.  They were covered in dirt and ketchup and grime.  They smelled like horse troughs.  The only thing they could muster enough energy to do was watch a movie on TV.

Hubs walked by and said, “It’s so quiet!”

I pointed to the sofa and said, “Shh!  Don’t disturb the wildlife!  They’re engrossed in a movie!”

Afterward, Hubs and I loaded them both back up into the Suburban, and we went to a barbecue with friends.

Don’t worry.  It was all Whole30 approved.  We barbecued with the two couples who bullied us into starting the Whole30 program with them.  Hubs had smoked ribs all day, and there was a green salad with balsamic dressing and a fruit salad.  There was also the most delicious potato salad I’d ever tasted in my life, and it was completely gluten-free and sugar-free.

In other words, people, you can still have fun on the Whole30!

Asher ate four gluten-free hot dogs without buns and six gallons of fruit salad.

Thing 2 ate six Cheetos and one strawberry.

The grownups all sat at the table overlooking the backyard and talked and laughed all evening long.  We drank sparkling water with chunks of lime in it, out of fancy wine glasses, and pretended it was more than water.  The truth is, the Whole30 hasn’t been that hard.

The boys played outside with their friend, Vivian June.  Vivian June plays quietly and nicely, because she’s the sweetest little girl there is.

Thing 2 and Asher showed her how to stand on top of her giant police car… how to roll her giant police car down a grassy hill… and how to ride her tricycle down the slide on her outdoor swing set.  They showed her how to get a drink out of a power sprinkler that was spraying ditch water all over a field.  I believe the word Vivian June had for the boys was GIARDIA.  The boys ran like wild beasts all over Vivian’s yard.  They played full-on tackle football, tackle basketball, tackle tag, and tackle soccer.

Meanwhile, Vivian’s dad commented, “So… boys play a little differently than girls do, don’t they?

And THAT was listed as the Understatement of 2017.

By 9:00 on Saturday evening, I had two boys who were so exhausted, they could no longer hold their heads up.

Hubs and I wrote that off as a PARENTING WIN for us… AND for Asher’s mom and dad!  I didn’t even charge his parents a dime for insuring that he’d sleep INCREDIBLY WELL for them that night!  It was a fantastic day filled with fun, that Thing 2 is STILL talking about!

Y’all have a great Monday evening!

 

Golfing With The Boys

I feel like this blog post should come with a warning, because I’m not the best of my mental self right now.  I blame Thing 2 completely.  I fed him a dinner of grilled hamburgers (without any buns, because the Whole30 sucks the fun straight out of your pantry), applesauce (straight-up squashed apples and water, without a trace of preservatives or sugar), and Cheetos.  I feel like a kid has got to be a kid, even when his parents have gone off the diving board, into the deep end of THIS IS FOR OUR HEALTH.  After dinner, he waited exactly ninety seconds, before he said, “I’m still hungry.”

I gave him yogurt.

Then he brought me a package of gluten-free, low-sodium crackers and asked if he could have some.  I’ve got to believe he was still on the brink of dying from starvation, because this isn’t a box of crackers normal children would enjoy.  It’s the box of crackers you eat because you are HUNGRY and THERE IS NOTHING ELSE IN YOUR PARENTS’ PANTRY.

Then he asked for more applesauce.

Fine!  More smashed apples and water and nothing else from that jar it was!

Then he wanted a bowl of oatmeal.  I was skeptical, but listen:  I made him a bowl of oatmeal, and he ate IT ALL.  Every last bite of it.

Then he brought me a lime.  “Can I eat this, too?”

And that, people, was when I said, “Listen.  You.  Are.  DONE!!!”

I have closed the pantry for the night.  Breakfast is at 7:00 tomorrow morning.  It’ll be something that involves coffee without artificially-sweetened creamer, because this is where your coffee dreams go to die.

We have had a very busy weekend, and I’ve just dealt with sixteen different snacks for the preschooler, so my brain is trying to shut down from too much stimulation.  But… I thought I’d share some snapshots from… WHAT ELSE?… golfing this afternoon.

The boy had to work at 2:00, so he asked us if we’d like to take some golf carts out together at 12:30 for a while.  Of course we were game, because we seldom even see our teenager any longer.  He works.  And then he works.  And then he also works.  And when he’s not working, he’s sleeping.  And that is all the boy has done during his first week of summer vacation.  I’m trying to come to grips with this new stage of our lives, where our firstborn is becoming more of a man than a little boy, who worked 53 hours last week.

The boys warmed up a little on the practice putting green and the driving range, and then we were off.

Afterward, Hubs and I bought the boy a cheeseburger from the clubhouse grill, so that he could have something to eat before he clocked in for work.  While we waited on his burger, he walked around the clubhouse with us and pointed out Ping golf clubs.

“I know they’re $1,200, Mom… but man!  These are on my dream list for my birthday.”

I told him that my budget could really only afford the cheeseburger and fries for his birthday.  And he should be HAPPY about that greasy burger WITH A BUN, because some of us are enjoying life without grains and yeast at the moment.

Anyway.

Y’all have a blessed  Sunday evening.

Um… Hello…

I know.

The blog has derailed.

And not only has it derailed, it has rolled, with all the freight cars and the caboose, straight to the bottom of the hill, where it landed, in a jumbled heap, by WHO EVEN CARES ANY LONGER LAKE?  I feel like chest compressions might be in order for Jedi Mama, Inc.

We started our day at 3:00 this morning, because Thing 2 got up to use the bathroom, and he never went back to sleep.  Which is why MAMA never went back to sleep.  I’ve spent the entire day wondering how much trouble a five-year-old could get into, if his on-duty parent simply took a nap on the sofa and left him unattended.

(Please note that my sheer exhaustion indicates that I never gave into this urge for sleep, because I believe in keeping Thing 2 safe.  It’s why Hubs and I are looking for a fence to put around our backyard that includes an upper level of razor wire.)

I’m fairly certain that Hubs and I have the only five-year-old on the planet who believes in starting his morning before the Army does.

Also?  Well, Thing 2 has had a ball flipping the light switch on and off in our home office here, so that I feel like I’m typing this blog post at a rave.  I may be the one needing chest compressions soon, as I feel like all the light-flashing may be seizure-causing.

Anyway.

We have been SUMMER BUSY this week.  This means that nearly everything we have done (with the exception of eating) has been nothing but fun, fun, fun.  We’ve had T-ball games and swimming lessons.  We’ve played rounds of golf, been to several parks already, hit the fountains to run through them, barbecued with friends, grilled dinner with other friends, and basically spent the entire week pumping up our Fun Barometer to EXCEPTIONAL.  I feel like we have set the bar entirely too high for the rest of the summer, because THIS WEEK was full of ALL THE FUN, and I’m afraid that exhaustion is going to settle in and deprive us of achieving the same level of joy in the weeks to come, unless we have a Disneyland trip penned onto our calendar.

We don’t, by the way.

We believe in spending our money on things like the electric bill and groceries, so Mickey and Minnie are getting none of what we have.  Our boys’ childhood dreams will have to be fulfilled in the dirt pile behind our house, with Tonka trucks and cold sandwiches.

Besides, I’m sure Disneyland is filled with nothing but giant, slow-grilled hot dogs slathered in ketchup and placed into a homemade bun, along with Belgian waffles piled high with whipped cream, so why even bother?

Our Whole30 has hit Day 15.  Hubs and I discovered Nut Pods yesterday, which is a delicious concoction of coconut cream and almond milk and hazelnuts.  It has brought some joy back to our morning coffee routine.

And by joy, I mean that I can once again resume drinking coffee in the morning without hating life.

Last night, Hubs and I saw a commercial for pizza.  I looked at him and said, “Look!  Look at us not even craving that, because we don’t eat sugar any more!  We are so  healthy, we should take up yoga and running marathons and hiking the Grand Canyon from rim to rim, because WE!! DON’T!!  EAT!!  SUGAR!!”

And then we both burst out laughing, as we said, simultaneously, “Yeah!  We’re totally going to eat a pizza together in fifteen more days!”

And that’s how the Whole30 is going.

So, some day soon, I’ll unload the six-point-four million snapshots off my camera’s gigantic memory card, but for now, just know that I spent yesterday afternoon golfing with a couple of fellows from the PGA Tour.

We didn’t make it to the golf course with Thing 2’s LEFT-HANDED clubs, that are just his size.  As a result, he ended up using some right-handed clubs that were way too long for him, and caused him an endless amount of frustration.  That kid wants to smack the ball far, and when a too-long, wrong-handed club prevents him from doing just that, he tends to make Happy Gilmore look calm.

I promised him we’d go back to the golf course very soon… WITH HIS OWN CLUBS!

That should pump our Fun Barometer back up next week.

Y’all have a good weekend.  May it be filled with real sugar and cream in your coffees, a lot of porch-sitting and sunset-watching, and a loaf of bread.  Our weekend won’t include that list, but I was hoping you’d be able to find more smiles over a hamburger bun than we’ll be able to find.

The Day The Bat Broke In Small Town

So far, our summer has involved a lot of ALL OVER THE PLACE… a lot of HERE AND THERE AND ARE WE OUT OF TOILET PAPER AND TOOTHPASTE?  In other words, we’ve been pleasantly busy.

Naturally, I have pictures of our pleasantly busy, because… other than binge-watching shows on Hulu with Hubs, toting my camera around and snapping pictures is what I do best.  Eating carbs used to be what I did best, but then I started the Whole30, and now I eat carrots and kale and pretend that I love them.

I thought I would quickly check in here at Jedi Mama, Incorporated, before the boss fires me, with a couple of snapshots from my iPhone.

Our little Thing 2 hit the ball so hard tonight in his T-ball game, he broke the bat.

Oh, yes, ma’am.  He did.  And then his coach gave the broken bat to him after the game, because she felt like he needed to keep it as a souvenir.

Do you know what I wanted to keep after the game as a souvenir?  The plate of nachos someone was eating in the bleachers behind us, because nachos are not carrots or kale.

Y’all have a good Tuesday evening.

Last Day Of School Snapshots

They made it to the finish line!  Our boys are officially on summer vacation.

Of course, the boy celebrated his first summer weekend by working at the golf course.  He hasn’t gotten to unplug his alarm clock quite yet.

(I imagine that the phrase “unplug his alarm clock” dated me.  How do the cool teens say it these days?  Oh, yeah.  “I still have an alarm set on m phone.”  My apologies.  I was a teenager when cell phones only existed in science fiction movies.)

The boy and Thing 2 started their sophomore and preschool year of school looking like this:

They finished their sophomore and preschool year looking like this:

Our biggest change was that Thing 2 lost seven teeth between September and May, and replaced four of those with adult teeth.

The boy grew an inch between September and May, which sure beats his 8th grade year, when he grew eight entire inches and went through three new clothing sizes and three new wardrobes.  I dealt with the inch-growth this year MUCH BETTER, because it was EVER-SO-MUCH-VERY CHEAPER.

And now we’re done with school.  People, my babies have grown up!  Hubs and I have a JUNIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL and a KINDERGARTNER!!

Memorial Day Weekend 2017

If you would like to know how my first day of Summer Vacation has gone, I will tell you.

I spent two entire hours this morning at the park with forty-six million preschoolers, as Thing 2’s entire school had their big play day.  It was sadly hot by 10:00 this morning, and my son was the one who stood beside the snack-laden picnic table and picked the mini-marshmallows out of ALL the trail mix.  He was fully responsible for the fact that half of the kids received marshmallow-free snacks this morning.  I didn’t know whether to say, “You’re straight-up welcome for that” to the other mothers, whose children would be more sugar-deprived than mine was, or if I should just be face-down embarrassed.

I’m embracing the former, and I have our pediatric dentist’s backing on that one.

Afterward, I met some friends for Bible study this morning, which turned out to be NOT Bible study, as we ended up talking and talking and talking some more.  We never discussed Bible study of any kind, but I’m fairly certain Jesus understood.

And then I came back home to do chores, which didn’t seem to all get done.

Thing 2 discovered that he could ask Alexa (our Echo Dot) to follow his shouted orders today, which is why I heard the song My House another forty-six hundred times today.  The kids in my PE classes aren’t the only ones who love that little ditty.  I even caught Thing 2 standing on our kitchen island this afternoon, dancing like a boss to the song.  My afternoon was NOT quiet.  It was, in fact, the exact opposite of quiet, which made me want to shout, “For the love!  Mama needs to sit inside her closet with the door shut for twelve minutes or six hours!”  After the dance beat of My House had worn on him, Thing 2 switched to barking different requests at Alexa.  He kept insisting that she play THE POLAR EXPRESS SONG.  She kept telling him that THE POLAR EXPRESS SONG WAS NOT LISTED IN HER DR. SEUSS LIBRARY.

(Dr. Seuss library?  Go home, Alexa.  I think you’re drunk!)

Over and over and over Thing 2 and Alexa had this argument, until I finally told Thing 2, “If you talk to Alexa one more time, I will UNPLUG HER!”

Thing 2 called my bluff.  He shouted, “Just play The Polar Express Song from my movie, Alexa!  Do it right now!”  She failed to understand him.  Thing 2 yelled, “Stop being so stupid, Alexa!!  This isn’t a hard song to play!!”

And THAT was the exact moment when Alexa’s life support system was pulled.  Thing 2 looked at me and said, in a very quiet, very serious, very somber voice, “You just killed her.  Why did you kill Alexa?  It’s like you didn’t even love her!”

I am currently looking online for Airbnb spots to rent for SOLO MOM VACATIONS… some place where moms can go, alone, for three straight days, with nothing more than a pair of yoga pants and a stack of books.

Anyway.

Last weekend was Memorial Day weekend.  We got things started on Friday night, with a big family dinner to celebrate Sister’s birthday.  Hubs and I were in the throes of the Whole30, so while everyone else ordered greasy burgers and shrimp pasta dripping with Alfredo sauce at the grub and pub, Hubs and I ordered over-cooked, dried-out, grilled chicken breasts which could have been used by cobblers as shoe bottoms.  We also asked for dinner salads, which came covered in grated cheddar cheese.  By the time we had dismantled our salads and shaken all the iceberg lettuce free of clinging cheese strands, the rest of the family was already halfway finished with their meals.  But… food aside… it was a lovely dinner, as we all helped Sister ring in another year of being older.

After we’d used four glasses of water to get our WOW!  THIS IS REALLY DRY! chicken breasts down, Hubs and the boy up and left.  The boy had a pack of friends meeting at the theater across the street to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and Hubs decided to crash their party.  They were off to see the swashbuckling, rum-drinking pirates on the big screen, and then Thing 2 invited himself to spend the night with Mam and Pa.  Of course, they took him, because sleepovers are one of the rules of grandparenting.

I came home… alone.

It was exactly like a Mom Vacation at an Airbnb.  I had two-and-a-half hours with the house all to myself on Friday night.  I relished in the quiet, recharged my batteries, and watched a corny romantic comedy on TV.

On Saturday, there was laundry and yard work.  We bought flowers to plant, and then we got our hands dirty following through with the planting.

We went to church on Sunday morning.  I couldn’t resist some snapshots of Thing 2 and his BFF, Vivian June.  She was wearing a brand new pair of yellow shoes, and she was stinking proud to have her picture taken in them.

(And that picture right there?  Well, Vivian June’s mouth was filled with cheese crackers.  She said she couldn’t smile very good.)

After church, Thing 2 and Vivian June met their friend, Hudson, in the park with their bicycles.  They were a gang of intense riders, circling the park’s sidewalks over and over and OVER AGAIN, while the parents sat on park benches, sunburned their cheeks, and chatted up a storm.

The boy had to play in the band at Small Town High School’s graduation ceremony on Sunday, so he left to do that.

My friend, Libby, texted me later with a snapshot that said, “I spotted your boy in the band!”

SWEET HOLY MERCY!!  I had no idea he had worn his ridiculous hat, as he’d run home to change.  I wasn’t there to make adjustments to his wardrobe accessories when he walked out our front door.

To all the parents of graduating seniors this year, I am so sorry if y’all get a picture of an ugly hat in the background of your children’s graduation snapshots.  Mama tried.  The end.

On Sunday evening, Hubs and I loaded up our boys and went to Grammy and Papa’s house for a big family barbecue.  The cousins all decided to play a rousing game of volleyball.

Aren’t these two girls adorable?

I love them with everything I have.

The kids had MANY disputes over scores in their game.

Miss A may have had a few reactions to the boys’ BLATANT CHEATING.

Cousin M had to point out boundary lines repeatedly.

RIGHT THERE!  IT WAS IN.

It was, in fact, never IN when Cousin M hit it.

Eventually, the volleyball was thrown back onto Grammy’s sun porch, and the whiffle balls came out.

The boys had a homerun derby, which I happily joined in.  By the time I’d schooled them on LOOK HOW FAR I CAN SMACK A WHIFFLE BALL, TOO, EVEN AT MY ADVANCED AGE, they all agreed that YES and also INDEED… I really could have gone to the Olympics in softball.

Meanwhile, as all the big kids PLAYED…

… there was one child who put on his work gloves and asked Papa, “Do we have any chores to do today?”

Thing 2 is a working MANIAC.  He would rather shovel, dig dirt, and drive a tractor than engage in frivolous Memorial Day weekend fun.  He helped Papa get pine needles raked up and hauled off, and I won’t lie…

… that kid works pretty dang hard for a five-year-old.

When Papa finally sat down with the family to chat, Thing 2 recruited everyone else to drive the TRACTOR MOWER with him.

Thing 2 later announced, “Cousin W is the best tractor mower driver.  He goes fast, and he doesn’t put his hands on the steering wheel when I drive.  I’m not a baby, and W knows I’m not!  I can drive alone!”

I think it’s more just… you know… that Cousin W is seventeen and not afraid to die.  He floors the gas and actually looks RELAXED while Thing 2 jerks the steering wheel all over the yard!

And LOOK!

I could be a nature photographer, too!

On Monday, we celebrated everything that our country’s soldiers and armed forces have done for us over the years by power washing our deck.  It was covered in every form of dirt and hillbilly tree sap known to the free world, so it wasn’t the quickest of jobs.

Thing 2 used his own tractor to cart the gas can back and forth to the power washer, and haul jugs of water around to everyone.

He never QUITS working.

And THAT, y’all, was our three-day weekend.

Carry on with what you were doing.

The Day My Summer Vacation Started

I am on Summer Vacation.  The capital letters denote the proper name of this precious time of the year.  We have wrapped up our elementary PE season nicely, with games of whatever the kids wanted to play today, because I mentally checked out of school last week.

It was dodgeball, straight across the board today.

We worked up a fine sweat, as I had to jump in a few games of BOYS AGAINST GIRLS, to show the boys that the girls really did mean business about winning.  Boom, boom, boom!  You’re out, you’re out, and… CRUD!  ONE OF THOSE PUNK LITTLE 4TH GRADE BOYS HIT ME WITH A BALL!!!!

I came home at the end of the day with a sunburn, that happened during EXTENDED RECESS DUTY, BECAUSE TEACHERS NO LONGER CARE ABOUT TEACHING.  Let them all play outside and let’s eat cake, too.

(Wait.  We can’t do that.  It’s not Whole30 compliant.)

(Neither were the donuts the principal brought in to see the teachers through today.)

(I didn’t eat one.)

(I’m seven days into this Whole30.  I’m not cheating now.)

By the end of today, I’d hugged nearly every kid in all of my classes, said good-bye to a few who won’t be coming back in the fall, heard the song My House 403 times, as the children all begged me to play it over the giant speakers suspended from the gym’s ceiling, cleaned out the giant Rubbermaid tubs that hold all the gym shoes, gagged over the end-of-the-year STENCH of gym shoes, organized the PE closet, settled a dispute between two boys involving HE IS TAKING THAT BROKEN GOLF BALL HOME, INSTEAD OF THROWING IT INTO THE TRASH, LIKE YOU ASKED HIM TO DO, hauled home gifts from the kids of necklaces and Starbucks cards, and broken up one raging fistfight.

Yes.

A fistfight… in gym class… over a game of dodgeball.  When I asked the culprits if they’d even remember the score of this game at dinnertime, one of them announced, through his tears, “I will remember this game until the day I die!”

Well then.  Apparently my class makes a big impression on those little souls!

I also had my hair done, by four kindergarten girls, who had zero desire to play dodgeball.  They basically let me know that they should get to do what they wanted to do on the last day of gym class, too, and what they wanted to do was MY HAIR, and NOT DODGEBALL.

All the blessings.

I love those little kindergarten girls tremendously.  They couldn’t settle on taking turns braiding my hair on the bleachers, so they actually divided my hair into sections.  This allowed them to all work independently at yanking my hair around, but didn’t necessarily involve a cohesive plan to put it all together into one great hairdo at the end.  They were four independent artists, who lacked a universal vision for the goal.

Basically, I left school looking exactly like Leslie Knope, after the perm that never got finished.

But… regardless of the fact that my hairstyle could only be called INTERESTING at 3:00 this afternoon, I was was welcoming in Summer Vacation.

My boys still have two days left of preschool and 10th grade.  Their summer vacations don’t begin until Friday, right after lunch.

I intend to get up tomorrow morning and RUB.  IT.  IN.

I’ve never been famous for my maturity OR my great hair.