Celebrating Number Eighteen

Yes.  It’s true.

The boy really did turn eighteen last week, which is basically the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of, because just ten minutes ago, he was an eight year old, pretending to be Indiana Jones with his buddies, as they wore satchels (which should never be confused with purses), strapped across their chests.  They carried toy knives and jumped the split-rail fence in our side yard and carried on like eight year old hooligans SHOULD, and they asked for those packages of chewy fruit snacks when they were hungry.

And now the kid is eighteen.  Chewy fruit snacks are for babies, and the only snack he ever wants is a six-layer sandwich — four layers of meat and two layers of cheese — an hour before dinner, because, as he says, “I still have sixty minutes to work up another appetite, Ma; don’t worry, because it’ll arrive on time.”  He keeps talking about WHERE HE WANTS TO GO TO COLLEGE and also WHAT HE WANTS TO MAJOR IN, and all I can say is, “Slow down.  Let Mama breathe.  Let’s just take our senior year one day at a time, before Mama needs to hang her head between her knees to recover from hyperventilation.”

We had a low-key eighteenth birthday, because my adult child (I still laugh when I call him an adult; don’t judge me.  He made coffee last weekend and left the half and half carton on the kitchen counter all morning.  Apparently, part of his adult role was to turn thick milk into thicker cottage cheese, as he rationalized the fact that he FORGOT to put it back in the refrigerator.) has responsibilities this summer like… well... a real adult.  He has been opening the golf course, which requires him to get up at 5:30 in the morning.  He’s been working fifty to fifty-two hours a week, because apparently this is what is called GOLF SEASON in some parts of the United States, with our part being one of them.  He’s been going to high school golf practice, which runs through dinner, and there sits his empty chair at our table… again.  He’s been getting up at 4:00 in the morning, to catch buses bound for golf tournaments at 4:45 in the morning.  And so, when we sat down to see what we might possibly be able to swing for a birthday celebration, we discovered that we “had an hour here, thirty minutes there, or ninety minutes here.”

And that all screamed out, “We will do something small.”

So that’s exactly what we did, in between golf practice and his job.

The boy woke up last Wednesday morning, and there he was:  our eighteen year old.  I had just said goodnight to a little boy a few hours earlier, and I woke up to a man standing in my kitchen, hoping that there were some cool presents for him to open.

We actually bought the boy a REAL BOOK for his birthday, because (and please sit down, so you can take this in)… HE… ASKED… FOR… ONE.

I know.

Hubs and I were stunned, too.  As of May, this child had never read a book that wasn’t required reading for school.  He announced his hatred for reading early on in life, which I could never understand.  How can a kid who reads at the college level in elementary school HATE IT?!  And then in June, the boy picked up a book and announced that he had changed his ways and now he likes to read.

I don’t even pretend to understand him, but I’m going with this one, because it’s READING, PEOPLE.  My boy is reading, and that was one of my life’s goals for him.  So when he asked for the book The Godfather, you can bet that Hubs and I immediately jumped on Amazon to buy it for him.  Read away, child; read away!

That little brother right there was having a powerfully difficult time coming to terms with the fact that HE had no presents to open, because this wasn’t his birthday.  It’s so hard to be six and watch someone else open a stack of gifts.

And then the boy opened a couple of Ralph Lauren shirts, which are his love language.  If his mama won’t buy him Cuban cigars, then at least he’s happy with the fact that she bought him Ralph Lauren shirts for his birthday.

Thing 2 gave the boy a gift card to get new shoes with.  What he REALLY wanted to buy Bubbie for his birthday was a giant set of Legos, but his mother suggested a gift card, so that the boy could pick out the shoes he’s had his eyes trained on.  Thing 2 was content with that.

And then our friends, Keith and Carrie, sent the boy a T-shirt.  It has become a running joke that Keith and Carrie will send SOMETHING related to Big Foot, because the boy, Hubs and Keith are convinced that they could actually find one, if they tried.  They are convinced that the men who film TV shows on searching for Big Foot are nothing but untrained amateurs, who make a joke of the sport of hunting.  Hubs, Keith and the boy are absolutely convinced that THEY are basically Navy SEALS, and they could bag a twelve-foot hairy beast, if they ever decided to load up their infrared cameras and their ghillie suits.

These are two college-educated men and a high school senior who scored in the top 95% of the nation’s teenagers on his ACT exam.

And they believe in Big Foot.

Don’t judge them; they each have OTHER fine qualities.

The boy is always thrilled with Keith and Carrie’s selection, and this year’s turnout didn’t disappoint.

Mam and Pa gave the boy some new bedding, which might sound boring to your typical teenager, but the boy was downright excited about it.  In fact, he was downright HAPPY to have a new quilt for his bed!

This probably has everything to do with the fact that the last quilt I bought the boy was a Star Wars quilt from Pottery Barn Kids… when he was eight!  I think he was excited for a new decade and a bedding upgrade, fit for a REAL GROWNUP.

Yes, these two really DO like each other.

Mama took them out and made them both smile for some TODAY IS YOUR BIRTHDAY pictures.  Thing 2 kept asking, “Why do I have to have MY picture taken?  It’s not MY birthday!”  In other words, what fresh hell was I putting him through, making him pose for pictures in the tall grass, when he wasn’t the one getting the presents?

Hubs and I managed to get the boy to a posh little restaurant in town, for a birthday lunch last Wednesday.  It was the best we could do, because high school golf practice sucks up the dinner hour every evening.

We took the boys in and told Thing 2, “Please pretend you’re high class while we’re in here.  Don’t make weird train whistles at the table and don’t bring shame upon your family by leaning back in your chair and tipping the entire thing over.”

I am happy to report that Thing 2 was on his best behavior, and LOOK AT US!  WE ARE ABLE TO DINE AT THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN TOWN NOW, BECAUSE WE ARE SIX AND WE CAN BE BRIBED TO BE STILL AND NOT TELL THE WAITRESS HOW BADLY WE HATE THE FOOD.

Thing 2 had a grilled chicken breast, a dinner salad and apples with yogurt dip.  He declared it to be the best grilled chicken he’d ever tasted, and announced that he loves expensive restaurants!

The boy, who was in the throes of a major appetite, had an enormous steak and mashed potatoes, along with a bowl of gumbo soup and a creme brulee for dessert.  When he had finished eating, he announced that he was stuffed…

… but not stuffed like the all-you-can-eat crab legs and lobster dinner stuffed, from our trip to Bigger Town last month.

He was still able to leave the restaurant and go straight to high school golf practice, without needing to lie down and moan while he digested.  CLEARLY he wasn’t as stuffed as he was after the crab and lobster meal!

That night, when we finally got the boy home… when it was already Thing 2’s bedtime… we had family over for a little late-night cake and ice cream.  Our cute neighbor boy’s girlfriend, who bakes amazing cakes as a part-time job, did a chocolate cake for the boy this year.  It was one of those THICK, DENSE cakes, with layers of cream cheese SOMETHING in the middle, and all I wanted to do was put my entire face into that cake.

It was DELICIOUS!

We sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our ADULT SON, and everyone moaned over how wonderful the cake tasted.

And that, y’all, was his eighteenth birthday.  It was low key.  It was filled with good food, good desserts and good family.  In other words… I think it was perfect.

A few days later, when we found a spot for an actual DINNER TOGETHER, Grammy and Papa had us out to their house in Small Mountain Town.  Grammy couldn’t decide between cooking crab legs and steaks or chicken cordon bleu and wild rice.  Those are two of the boy’s most favorite meals, and he couldn’t even pick which one sounded better.

So… chicken cordon bleu it was.

And then Grammy made a chocolate sour cream cake, and I’m not even going to lie.  It tasted like Cake Heaven.

There were more Ralph Lauren shirts, because the boy is predictable, and the boy loves Ralph Lauren shirts!  Grammy knew that he wouldn’t mind having a couple more to hang in his closet.

With our bellies full, we all sat around and watched Thing 2 hop in and out of Grammy and Papa’s tiny pond.  He caught a frog and twenty-seven water skippers that night.

And THAT,  y’all, was how we rang in NUMBER EIGHTEEN.

Our ADULT child has been nothing but a dream come true to his parents, except for when he leaves the half and half out on the kitchen counter and ruins all of our coffee dreams for the next morning.  He is good and kind; his heart is so tender and compassionate.  He is a person Jesus is proud of.  He is a person who makes his parents and grandparents clap with joy.

And he enjoys reading now, too.

In other words, he’s a keeper.

Happy eighteenth birthday, to our favorite big boy!

That Day (Among Many) When Netflix Wouldn’t Obey Me

Well.

Hello there.

I realize that I have fallen straight off the blogging wagon this summer, but it’s because I’ve been frightfully busy.  And by frightfully busy, I mean that I have been soaking in the sunshine at the lake multiple times this month, and I’ve been soaking in the sunshine at every single park in town, all in the name of Operation WHO.  This is the term my friend Jessica coined, which is Operation Wear Him Out.  Basically, Operation WHO involves me setting up every form of physical exercise a six year old can get, so that my child’s body is physically exhausted, to the point of craving sleep.

Operation WHO is about to lose its funding and have the plug pulled on it, however, because of its “greater-failures-to-less-successes” rate this summer, as Thing 2 has declared this to be THE SUMMER OF INSOMNIA.  I don’t even pretend to understand our second son’s super power of I CAN FUNCTION JUST FINE AND STILL DO COMPLICATED MATH PROBLEMS ON FOUR HOURS OF SLEEP.  Sadly, I am not one who can function in polite society on four hours of sleep, and I’ve been known to whisper words that are not appropriate to use in front of Queen Elizabeth entirely too many times this summer.

Anyway.  My friend Carrie fell off her own blogging wagon, and I’m happy to report that her wagon crashed a lot harder than mine did.  Carrie hasn’t blogged for an entire year, and she blames the fact that she, too, has been busy.  And by being busy, Carrie means she’s been in Costa Rica and Chicago, and on Florida beaches and traveling with her son’s competitive soccer team.  I guess her excuses are a lot better than mine are, but whatever.  She and I have decided to hold one another accountable for more than two blog posts every week.  Blogging may be a dying profession, but we are determined to go down with the blogging ship.  I’m hoping this means that I’ll feel more motivated to tuck Thing 2 into bed at night and sit down to write something more nights than I don’t.

Also?  Well, I can’t find it now, but I saw a meme the other day that said something along these lines:  “I tucked my children into bed and said ‘See you in the morning,’ and then we all laughed hysterically for ten minutes, because I knew I’d be seeing them nineteen more times before the sun came up.”  Nothing has ever described my life more than THAT meme.

Today, I had a hair appointment, so that I could cover all of the gray hairs that threaten to make people ask Thing 2, “Are you out with your grandmother today?” as I walk beside him.  Don’t think that I’m not above shelling out all of my top dollars for these regular hair appointments, just so this never happens to me while I’m holding hands with Thing 2 on a busy sidewalk.  Grammy took Thing 2 to the lake this afternoon, because she is brave and adventurous, and because she had just bought him a remote controlled boat he was dying to try out on some open water.  Never mind that the dark skies threatened rain all afternoon; those two were on a mission to test-drive that boat.  When I came home from the salon, my house was QUIET.  And when I say QUIET, I mean my house had all the noise of an abandoned church at midnight.  Hubs was at work.  Thing 2 was at the lake.  The boy was out of town on a golf tournament.  And me?  Well, I had the laundry done.  (Yes, I did!  Go ahead and believe it!  I polished off the laundry down to the empty baskets yesterday, and then I texted a picture of those empty baskets to everyone I know, looking for applause!)  I also had dinner ready to go at a moment’s notice.  The beds were made.  And… the kicker… it was starting to rain, so staying indoors was necessary.

It didn’t take me long at all to decide what I could do.

Everyone has been talking about how wonderful the new movie The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is.  Everyone I know is raving about it.  I watched the trailer, and you can bet your favorite vegetable peeler that it’s not something Hubs would be interested in watching with me.  I live in a house of menfolk, and if it isn’t Jason Bourne, leading a high-speed car chase while bullets fly all around him, or a stop-action thriller of Lego superheros saving the day from nasty varmints, those menfolk aren’t interested in watching it.  Even though I have never been a fan of the TV being on during the daytime, I felt that the darkening skies were all the declaration I needed that TODAY was THE PERFECT DAY for an afternoon movie at home… alone.

So I turned on the TV, and that is when I realized that YES!! And also INDEED!!  And even a hearty OF COURSE IT WAS!!

Netflix was frozen on our TV screen.

Now, this might not happen at your house.  Netflix might be all properly bred and raised and mannered-up at your house, so that it never fails to obey the commands of your remote control.  But… for some reason at OUR house… which involves servers and bandwidth and NETFLIX IS AN INFERIOR PROGRAM TRYING TO RUN ON MY HIGH TECH, NASA-GRADE COMPUTER SYSTEM…. Netflix freezes and seizes up at our house, and that means it refuses to play.  And then it basically becomes a project that can only be fixed by laying hands on it in deep prayer and by fasting.  It becomes a TV viewing system in desperate need of a priest.

Yes, Hubs will tell you that he’s told me a million times how to fix the freezes, but what Hubs hasn’t told you is that all I want for Christmas is a TV with a SINGLE REMOTE CONTROL, that behaves as it should.  I don’t want two remote controls.  I don’t want to have to push this button and that button and those two buttons and these three buttons in order to get to the program I desire to watch.  I don’t want to have to pull the computer cords out of the operating system six times a day to reboot it!  Do I even WATCH TV at our house?  No.  No, I do not.  It’s because I feel like I have a learning disability, and I am INCAPABLE OF WORKING OUR REMOTE CONTROL SYSTEMS.

There.

I’ve admitted it in public.

I am incapable of learning how to operate our computerized systems at home, of which Hubs installs on EVERYTHING.  We are the family who puts everything on a computer system to run.

I can’t work the computer that programs our underground sprinklers, as evidenced by the fact that I was actually CRYING the other morning when my mom stopped by, because ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS USE THE HOSE TO WATER MY POTTED FLOWERS, BUT I HAD TO PUSH FORTY-SIX BUTTONS ON THE COMPUTER PAD IN THE GARAGE TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT, AND I HAD MIS-PUSHED SOMETHING AROUND THE THIRTY-THIRD BUTTON.

Perhaps some video clips from the TV show Modern Family will help you better understand me:

I absolutely FEEL Claire’s pain, straight to my bones, as I am also unable to work our computerized thermostat with any success.  I am the wife who tells Hubs, “I am hot to the point of looking like I’ve attended a Native American sweat lodge ceremony.  Please work your magic and make the house cooler, with that little box on the hallway wall.”

And THIS is how I feel about the TV remotes:

Clearly, I need to be put through a rigorous training course like Hailey took, so that I can learn to use the stupid thing and fill my one lone afternoon per year with a Netflix movie:

I just feel like if Hailey Dunphy can learn to use a TV remote, then I should be able to do it, too.

But… Hailey is only working with ONE remote, when Hubs has our family on a double-remote controlled computerized system, so clearly… Hailey had an advantage on me with less buttons to work with.

Anyway.

Y’all carry on.  I hope that some of you are not taking your easy-to-operate TVs for granted, and that your home version of Netflix will actually obey you, when you command it to play The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  I hear it’s a good movie.  I wouldn’t know, because I haven’t been properly trained on how to operate NASA’s control center alone yet.  As a result, I washed and dried all the blankets at the foots of our beds, for something to do, when I was unable to access Netflix.

Bless.

#eighteen

Eighteen years ago, Hubs and I were busy scrubbing our hands and arms every couple of hours and wearing hospital scrubs, so we could go hold this little stinker in the NICU and try to feed him. Now… he has informed us that he can “legally vote, legally smoke, legally buy lottery tickets and legally get a tattoo without our signatures.”

Yep.

ALL OF THE ABOVE.

Hubs and I have successfully raised him to adulthood — HE. IS. AN. ADULT!!  Excuse me while I go cry in my closet!!  My heart is so tender and sad today about eighteen, but it’s also so excited to see this kind and awesome goofball do even bigger and better things.

He Dabs

Thing 2 has a beaten and battered cowboy hat, which has been well-loved.  I go a little weak in the knees whenever he wears it, because… well… cowboys are so stinking cute.

I tried to get a few snapshots of him yesterday, in the hat… and THIS is what he gave me:

I said, “Listen.  I just want a cute picture of you.”

He told me, “Mom, this is how ALL the cool kids take their pictures now.”

I told him, “No dabbing in the next shot.”

He gave me this one:

The force is strong in this one, and I’m kind of worried about the teenage years.

The Lake

Hubs and I always joke that our little Thing 2 is a boy who would have thrived in the 1950s.  He’s our own little Huck Finn, who wants to have an adventure every day, and who would love nothing more than to build his own raft and float the river.  He would have been the perfect candidate to ride his bike six miles into town, unchaperoned on a dirt road, to plunk three pennies down on the mercantile’s counter, for candy and baseball cards.  He would have eaten the candy immediately and traded the baseball cards to friends later… for MORE candy.  He would have been the one to beat up the neighborhood bully and the one to beg Santa Claus for a “Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time.”  He would have flourished, playing outside all day, from sunrise to sunset, with little supervision, as he waded in the creek, hit baseballs with friends in a field and pulled pigtails on neighbor girls.

Unlike the boy, who enjoys all the air conditioning like his mama does, Thing 2 is our outdoor enthusiast, who cares little for iPads and technology.  He wants to dig in the dirt with a shovel, push Tonka trucks along rocky paths, steal apples from trees that don’t belong to him and feed them to mules that also don’t belong to him, and jump in every single mud puddle he sees… thirty-eight different times.

Because of this, Hubs and I try to take this little punk on as many outdoor adventures as we can, which is why we seem to be ending up at the lake a lot this summer.  The lake is exactly the right spot to catch minnows, get wet, throw sticks, chuck rocks, spit, build mud castles, capture bugs, and eat PB & J sandwiches, after we’ve ripped their gluten-free crusts off and thrown them to the birds.

One day a couple of weeks ago, we stole a little friend to go with us, while her mama was still working.  The temperature that day was a balmy, sultry, sweaty, sticky, utterly ridiculous six hundred and nine.  I missed our central air conditioning like a CRAZY WOMAN that day.  We slathered on the sunscreen, and the kids were released into the wild for an entire afternoon of fun, but my tendency to parent like a 2018 helicopter mom came out, loud and clear, as I set boundaries for where these two little rapscallions could go, and how far out into the water they were allowed to swim.

At one point during the day, an entire flock of geese flew in overhead, making more noise than 40,000 preschoolers at a Wiggles’ concert.  They landed in the water, and became fair game to catch.  Thing 2 was on the hunt!  He was determined that he would capture one and bring it home in our car, for a pet.  I’m sure he had every intention of naming him George, and hugging him, petting him and squeezing him, too.

Thankfully, because the Lord knows that I had no desire to become a goose-owner (Because… HELLO!  Geese are MEAN!), Thing 2 didn’t manage to catch one, but he gave it everything he had.  He swam out as far as his boundary-enforcing mother would let him, hollering at them, until those geese looked sideways at him, gave him the stink eye, and flew away.

Eventually, the kids decide to cliff dive.

And by cliff diving, I mean they pretended to cliff dive, as they stood on a rock that was every bit as tall as they were, and they jumped into water that was waist-deep on them.

In other words, it was very SAFE cliff diving, and completely mother-approved.  (Of course, had this been 1950, Thing 2 would have been at the lake without me, and he would have jumped off the real cliffs, twenty-three feet above the water’s surface.  I’m sure 1950 moms had no idea what their boys were busy doing, once they left home for the day on their bikes.  It was probably better that way.)

The kids had an absolute ball.  We played at the lake for over four hours that afternoon, in the wicked-awful heat, and then I fed them both a nutritious Happy Meal from McDonald’s, with no buns on their burgers, because gluten makes our guts cramp up and disables us for hours, as we lay on the sofa and cry for our moms in pain.  We spent the evening playing at a park, after our French fries were gone, and THEN we took our little friend home to her mama, with the promise that IF SHE DOESN’T SLEEP WELL TONIGHT, YOU CANNOT BLAME US, BECAUSE WE DID OUR LEVEL BEST TO WEAR THEM OUT, and also IT’S ALL ON YOU NOW, IF SHE DOESN’T SLEEP!

Thing 2 was asleep approximately eight seconds after we made it home that evening, so Hubs and I called it a wonderful win.

Then, this past Friday, a friend of mine and I packed up our vehicles with shovels and life jackets, and pots and pans and floaties, exactly like the Beverly Hillbillies would have done, and we went back to the lake with a picnic lunch.  The sky threatened rain, but this is Small Town, USA, where IT NEVER RAINS IN JULY.  We were hopefully optimistic that we’d spend the entire afternoon at the lake, having a sweaty good time.

And… it started that way.

But then the wind came in… and it dropped the temperature in a quick-big-hurry.  We were thankful for THIS NICE BREEZE and also for THIS TEMPERATURE THAT ISN’T SIX HUNDRED DEGREES ANY MORE!!  Our picnic threatened to blow away, but we were DETERMINED TO STICK IT OUT.  The children were in the water, because they are from Small Town, USA, and a little wind and a little temperature drop is not something that will run them out of the lake.

Except… then the wind picked up more, and the black clouds rolled in, and… well... THERE IT WAS.  A nice little downpour in July.  So, we didn’t last long at the lake on Friday.  We gave thanks for in-car DVD players, because what else do you do with sopping wet kids in your vehicle, when they’re spilling sand out of their shoes onto your seats and bored and begging for snacks, as they wait a storm out?!

My friend Jessica was the all-time genius, who had an old, bent and stained COOKING POT in the back of her SUV, which she’d picked up at a garage sale earlier this summer.  She knows kids and she knows little boys, and she intuitively knew that this pot would be well loved around dirt and water.

Thing 2 has already asked for his own cooking pot for this next Christmas, because who needs a “Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time,” when he can have a pot to haul around a lake?  It can be filled with water and minnows, mud and grasshoppers, leaves, rocks, sticks and sand.  Thing 2 basically claimed that pan as his own, and he lugged it back and forth, from one end of the beach to the other.

And… while he stole the pot away from his friends… someone else stole Thing 2’s real metal shovel!  (We’ve tried plastic shovels in the past, but we are such an enthusiastic digger, we have broken them all.  A real metal shovel is the only shovel that can survive a summer with our boy.)  Our little buddy was determined to dig clear to China on Friday, too.  He dug and he dug… and then he dug a little more.  I have never understood a little boy’s inherent need to JUST DIG, but sweet mercy!  Digging makes them so happy!

In the end… we got rained out.  We attempted to wait the storm out in the car, while Sponge Bob entertained us, but the day was determined to become a completely rainy one at the lake.  So… I didn’t get a lot of snapshots that day.  Instead of spending our afternoon at the lake, we loaded up and drove to Smaller Town, which was just on the other side of the storm clouds, and we played at the park.  We pushed each other in the swings, crawled up slides the wrong way, and caught a butterfly.

And then we called it a day.

We came home that evening, worn out enough to sleep wonderfully well again, as we dreamed of one day having our own bent and stained cooking pot to take to the lake.

Which… I think is something a little man from 1950 would’ve enjoyed.

Y’all have a merry little Monday night.

A Good Weekend

For six years, Hubs and I have been striving with everything we have to get Thing 2 to sleep past 5:30 AM.  We have tried later bedtimes and big bribes, because… are you even a real parent, if you haven’t bribed a child to get what you want?  (“You want a $700 toy?  Sleep until 8 AM on a Saturday morning, and it’s yours.”)  For six entire years, Thing 2 has gotten out of bed, for the day, between 4:45 and 5:30 AM.  I have always considered myself a morning person, but even I am forced to admit that 4:45 is better known as THE MIDDLE OF THE STINKING NIGHT.

And then… for whatever reason… Thing 2 has started sleeping in a bit this summer.  We have done nothing different, but suddenly, we started waking up at 6:30 AM, and we felt REFRESHED.  And then we started having mornings where our baby slept until 7:00, and WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE, WHO HAD COFFEE ALONE ON THE DECK, IN PEACE AND QUIET?  And… lo!  We have even had a morning where Thing 2 slept clear ’til 8 AM.  It was only once, but we feel like it’s a goal we may one day see on a regular basis.  Hubs and I became parents of leisure this summer.

And then the boy started opening the golf course this month.

Bless it all.

There’s nothing like having your six-year-old finally… FINALLY, FOR THE LOVE!!!… sleep in until 7 AM, while your seventeen-year-old sets his alarm for 5:20 in the morning.  If you enjoy cussing in your head, then my life might be the one you’d enjoy living.

Since we were awake at an unholy hour again yesterday morning, thanks to the boy and his alarm clock… Hubs and I had coffee, while we waited… and waited… and also waited some more… for Thing 2 to wake up at 7:18.  By then, Hubs and I felt like we needed lunch.  So… we got ready… and we drove to Big Town, USA for something fun to do, because listen:  Their ice rink is open year round, while Small Town shuts our ice rink down for the entire summer.  There will be no escaping to the frigid temps of an indoor skating facility for us, to cool off from the temperatures, which have been hovering around the four hundred and six degrees mark.  Thing 2 has been begging to skate… begging to know WHEN our ice rink will throw its doors open wide again… so yesterday, with nothing better to do… we shoved his hockey bag into our car and we set off on a little day trip.

The little man got to skate for two entire hours.

He hasn’t been on ice skates since our ice rink closed for the season on May 1st, so our Olympic speed skating hopeful was a bit rusty and wobbly when we first set out.  So much so, in fact, that a nine-year-old girl skated by and said, “He can borrow one of those supports from the front desk, that he can push and hang onto while he tries to skate, so that he doesn’t fall down.”

What a sweet little thing, to be looking out for our little punk.  I assured her that, although he was clutching the wall like a newbie, he could, in fact, SKATE.

After his first lap, I pulled Thing 2 aside and pointed the nine-year-old girl out to him.  I whispered, “She said you could go get one of those LEARN TO SKATE supports, so you can push it without falling down.”  He stared at me in horror.  He said, “She didn’t say that!”  I said, “She did.  I think it’s because you’re clutching the wall.”

And that, my friends, was all it took.

Thing 2 released the wall… and he shot off on the ice, exactly like Apolo Ohno, on fire.  He skated three laps, at a break-your-neck-plum-in-half speed, while he waved at that cute little girl, every time he passed her.  She skated back over to me and said, “Wow!  I guess he CAN skate!”  She was an absolutely darling little thing!

And there you have it.  Eventually, a twelve-year-old boy showed up, who was very possibly the best skater I’ve ever seen.  He was THAT amazing.  Thing 2 gravitated toward him, and the two of them ended up racing and racing… and racing some more… until they were both dripping sweat.  Thing 2 couldn’t beat this boy in a lap of WHO IS THE FASTEST, but that’s because this kid’s legs are twelve, while Thing 2’s legs are six, and the height difference creates a massive advantage.  Those longer twelve-year-old legs could fly across the ice.  No matter.  Thing 2 gave each race every thing he had, while Hubs and I rubbed our hands together in glee and said, “HE WILL SLEEP TONIGHT!”  We sat in those bleachers and CLAPPED LIKE LUNATICS for those informal speed races, because all we could envision was a small boy, sound asleep in his bed, for hours on end.

Afterward, I thanked this boy for entertaining Thing 2 on the ice all afternoon.  I told him that he was an amazing skater, to which he said, “Yes… I’m basically the best skater on our hockey team.”

I also thanked him for his humbleness.

As the Zamboni pulled out of the garage door, indicating that Open Skate was over, we pulled Thing 2 off the ice.

He had sweaty helmet hair.

And he told us that his legs were so sore, he could barely walk.

Dear Boy Who Is The Best Skater On Your Hockey Team… Thank you for wearing our second son out.  That was the ultimate goal of driving half the day to skate for a couple of hours, and we appreciate you.  We will be looking for you in the NHL one day soon!  Sincerely, Hubs and Mama

Thing 2 woke up this morning, and he had to HOBBLE to the kitchen for breakfast.  He told us, “Man!  My legs feel like I can’t walk too good!”  Hubs and I are hoping that this confession means he’ll sleep well again tonight!

In other news, we cleaned our kitchen junk drawer today.

Do y’all have one of those?  Can you open it?!  I mean… can you pull the drawer out, all the way, without something catching and preventing the drawer from being opened, so that you have a miniature temper tantrum, right there beside your stove, because WHY IS IT SO HARD TO GET A PAIR OF SCISSORS???!!!

Well… we HAD one of those drawers.  Hubs and I were both tired of throwing two-year-old tantrums, each time we couldn’t open it to get the stapler or a pen or the scissors, so we basically said, “We are adults, and we know how to fix this!”

We dumped everything in the drawer onto our kitchen island, and then we sighed and said, “Look what we have done!  There’s no going back now.  We are committed.”

Hubs took the metal track off the drawer and straightened it out, because it was a bit bent from a forty-seven pound boy, hanging on the drawer, while he decides whether he wants a green marker or the glue stick from inside of it.

And then we threw away enough stuff to fill half of a tall Hefty kitchen garbage bag.  The joy THAT brought to my heart was immeasurable!

In the end, we had THIS:

I’ve opened it three hundred times this afternoon, just to stare at it.  And also to marvel over the ease that it can be opened.  Look at how easy it is to get a pair of scissors!!

In other words, it was a good weekend.

Shopping And Pranks

I didn’t sleep well last night.

And when I say that I didn’t sleep well, I mean that I finally fell asleep at 2 AM, and I slept until 6:00 this morning.  I’ve never been a math whiz, but even I can round up and decide that I probably got a solid four hours of sleep, and not a minute more.  I would have kept on sleeping, well past 6 AM and into the territory of TEENAGE BOY AFTER BEING OUT ALL NIGHT, but we had a clap of thunder at 6:00 that shook the house, blasted adrenaline to all extremities, and jolted me wide awake.  And after that one giant roar of thunder, the rain poured down for fifteen minutes, and then it was all calm.

I have no idea why the Lord saw me FINALLY sleeping and said, “You know… NOW would be a good time to wave my band director’s wand at the thunderclap section, and have them come in loud and clear,” but it’s what happened.  So, I got up for coffee, and announced to Hubs, “Thunder at night, sailors’ delight; thunder in the morning, sailors take warning.”

Hubs looked at me with the blank expression that clearly said he was not well versed in ancient sailing proverbs.

No matter.  I knew that bad luck was going to befall us, because THUNDER IN THE MORNING.  You know… until someone corrected me later today and said that the old saying is “Red sky at night, sailors’ delight; red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.”

I think it’s now evident that I am also not well versed in ancient sailing proverbs.

But… the bad luck came, because when I picked Thing 2 up from VBS at noon today, he had a glow stick, which the VBS staff had passed out to all the kids, and he cracked his good and proper, and shook it for all it was worth.  And that, my friends, is the exact time that we learned that these were dirt cheap glow sticks (And really?  WHO buys the pricey ones?  No one I know!), because Thing 2 snapped his glow stick PLUM DADGUM IN HALF, and when he shook it, he shook fluorescent yellow goop all over himself.  All the blesses, because my son could have lit up under a black light at a disco club and glowed with the Good News of Jesus!

Naturally, it was a GOOD shirt that he wore to VBS today.

And by GOOD shirt, I mean his very-most-favorite sleeveless shirt, which he refers to as a “strong shirt.”  (What?  You’re wondering why he calls sleeveless shirts “strong shirts?”  Well, it’s simply because sleeveless shirts show your muscles, which lets the world know exactly how strong you are.  It’s kind of hard to hide the fact that you can’t bench press a car, when you put your sleeveless shirt on.  Thankfully, Thing 2 is ripped with all the muscle, and he likes folks to be able to see it all.  He has a little TOO MUCH PRIDE in those biceps of his.)

So, I’ve spent the afternoon on Google, asking, “How do you remove glow stick liquid from fabric,” and I’m finding out that everyone has an opinion, and no one’s guaranteed method for spotless fabric once again actually works.  I think our favorite strong shirt is about to be labeled as MY PLAY-IN-THE-MUD SHIRT.

Anyway.

Speaking of clothes, earlier this week the four of us piled into the car, and we drove to Bigger Town, USA to do some shopping.  Hubs and the boy were both in desperate need of jeans, because theirs were becoming threadbare, in a way that didn’t suggested I PAID $300 FOR THESE RIPPED JEANS AT ABERCROMBIE, but… instead… I HAVE OWNED THESE JEANS FOR TEN YEARS AND MY WIFE HAS DECIDED IT’S TIME TO THROW THEM AWAY.  We would have stayed in Small Town to shop, because I’m a firm believer in keeping our money home, but… well... Small Town puts the SMALL before the TOWN, and that means our shopping is limited to Amazon Prime sometimes.  We simply give thanks that the UPS truck actually delivers here.

So, shopping it was.  Before we left, the boy asked for a crab leg lunch.  If he HAD to shop for clothing, then he wanted to do it after he’d wiped out our checking account with what he referred to as his last supper.

You know… the last supper before he died of boredom in a clothing store.

Hubs and I obliged him, and I am here to announce that the boy’s motto for lunch on Monday was GO BIG, OR GO ON HOME.  He bought the most expensive crab leg and lobster tail and many, many shrimp-on-a-skewer meal the menu had to offer, and he.  ate.  it.  all.

He tried to stop with four shrimp left on his plate, but Hubs looked at him and said, “Those shrimp there cost as much as a diamond bracelet, so… make room and get them down!”

When he finally pushed the plate away, the boy sighed and asked, “Does this restaurant have a resting room?  You know… a room off to the side, with a sofa or a bed in it, where people who overeat can go lie down and recuperate?”  You can imagine that Hubs and I were full of sympathy, as we kept asking him if he wanted something else to eat… you know… a mayonnaise sandwich?  A big bowl of chili with a drippy-yolk fried egg and coleslaw on top?  The boy made gagging motions and asked us to PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT GROSS FOOD, BEFORE I PUT A LOBSTER TAIL AND EIGHTY-SIX CRAB LEGS ON THE CARPET.

We all left happy, as we watched the boy waddle out to the car…

… where he reclined the seat and announced, “I am done for the day.”

He added, “I’ve never hurt like this after a meal!  I am sick!  I have to sleep this off!  I can’t possibly shop for jeans, because I won’t fit into any of them!  I need some stretchy sweatpants!!  I ATE TOO MUCH, MA!”

His mama assured him that we hadn’t driven all that way for him to take a nap in a hot car; he was shopping.

At the first store we stopped in, he held up a pair of pants and announced, “These will work fine.”

Yeah… those jeans had a 46-inch waist on them.  The boy told us, “I’ll just try these fat pants on in the fitting room, and I’d like to wear them home, because mine are too tight now.”

Meanwhile, I don’t know whose bright idea it was to let Thing 2 push the cart, but that’s what he did.  Our second son is usually forbidden from pushing carts in stores because it’s like the Dukes of Hazard, in the parts where the good car chases happen.

We finally ended up at American Eagle, because BLESS THEIR JEANS THAT LOOK GOOD ON TEENAGERS, FOR DECENT DOLLARS.

While the boy tried several pairs of pants on, Thing 2 made himself at home in the store.

Oh, to be six years old again, when a circular clothing rack in a shopping mall was better than Christmas morning!

Throughout the entire day, we kept telling Thing 2 that… IF HE WAS GOOD… we would take him to a go-cart / miniature golf / bumper boat park, where he could ride some rides and celebrate the end of a long shopping trip.  Thing 2 was so excited, he could hardly stand it.  We have taken the boy to this park numerous times, when he was younger, and we were excited to let Thing 2 have a chance to race the go-carts on the track.

And… Thing 2 upheld his end of the deal.  Even though he DID tell the waitress at the restaurant, “You didn’t cook my mashed potatoes very good, because they tasted terrible and had leaves in them,” he managed to be good every other minute of the day.

(And yes.  Leaves in the mashed potatoes.  I think they were chopped up chives.  Jesus, be near to all those who offend Thing 2 with dinner, because he will announce it loudly.)

When we pulled up to the old adventure park…

… we immediately noticed that (1) the grass was overgrown and in need of a good mowing, (2) the windows had plywood boards on them, and (3) the pond that had once housed the bumper boats was completely filled in with concrete.

In other words, HELLO, SHUT DOWN KID LAND!!!

You can bet there were tears.  That little man didn’t gag those mashed potatoes full of leaves down, just to skip the go-carts.  Hubs and I had to do some quick thinking, which included, “What alternative can we think of???”

And then we knew.

It was a place we took the boy a few times, when he was little.  It was a place Hubs and I both loathed, and swore we’d never go back to, because IT’S TOO OVERSTIMULATING, AND THE LIGHTS!! AND THE NOISE!! AND THE BAWLING CHILDREN!!  It was a place we’ve never mentioned to Thing 2, because what he doesn’t know about, he can’t ask about.  And if he can’t ask about it… then we don’t have to go there.

We turned our car around…

… and we acted like adults who could muscle their way through over-stimulation and bright lights and too much noise…

… and we took Thing 2 to Chuck E. Cheese.

To say that our six year old was impressed doesn’t even do the words justice.

OUR SIX YEAR OLD WAS STUNNED THAT SUCH A PLACE EXISTED!!  He told us that it was probably just like Disneyland!!  We bought a lemonade for everyone (as no one was hungry for dinner… especially the boy, who was still moaning that his bloated gut was going to explode and spray fish guts everywhere), and I bought thirty game tokens for Thing 2.  I gave him the little cup, and he stared at me.  He blinked once and quietly whispered, “Is this real pirate gold?”

People!!  Sometimes seeing the wonder of a fun restaurant through the eyes of a six year old is all you need in life!  Thing 2’s ABSOLUTE AND UTTER DELIGHT at being there warmed my heart like nothing else this summer has!  I could not quit smiling, as I watched the fun our baby was having!

And then… THANK YOU, LORD IN HEAVEN!!!… the machines spit paper tickets out at Thing 2, which he didn’t understand, but… once it was all explained to him… he RACED LIKE DASH INCREDIBLE ACROSS THE RESTAURANT, running at full speed and screaming at the top of his lungs, “Daddy!  DADDYYYYY!!!!  I WON TICKETS, AND I CAN GET PRIZES!!!!!  This is the best day of my whole life!!!!”

Just watching his joy made it the best day of my whole life, too.

And then it came time to count our tickets (“Seventy!  DADDY!!!  I have SEVENTY TICKETS!!!  Isn’t that awesome!!  Can you believe I won seventy, Dad??!!”) and pick out a prize.  He was all set to get the fifty-dollar Nerf gun on the top shelf, and was only a little brokenhearted when the teenage boy behind the counter told him, “You can pick anything you want off the bottom row.”

The bottom row, where the penny-candy and pencil erasers were.

But?  Do you know what?  That kid was overjoyed with the fact that he got to pick a prize, and he spent fifteen minutes, going back and forth, back and forth, over that bottom row of stuff, before he settled on an Airhead candy.  It could have been a gold brick REALLY off a pirate’s ship, for all he cared.  HE… HAD… WON… A… PRIZE!!!!

And then we came home.  We piled back into the car and drove and drove and drove some more, and I’m here to tell you that in-car DVD players are the best invention of this century.  Hubs and I had a miniature date in the car, as we were able to have real conversations, while the boys watched a movie together, WITH SILENCING HEADPHONES ON (bless, bless, BLESS!!), in the backseat.

And then…

… we walked into a… well... SCENE… when we got home.

Last week, we had VBS at our church.  And every single summer, during our VBS session, the boy and a good friend of his, who help share Jesus with the kids, pull pranks on one another.

Oh, they’re good pranks, too.

Think… Jim and Dwight, from The Office.

She started the week by putting the boy’s VBS name tag in a bowl of orange Jell-O.

He later saved ALL the VBS decorations after cleanup, when it was over, and broke into her bedroom to… REDECORATE IT… while she was at work.  He put up streamers and enough party favors to have opened his own party favor store.  Her room looked like a birthday party, on crack.

And… while we were gone buying fat pants after an enormous crab-leg and lobster tail and shrimp-on-the-skewers lunch, SHE broke into the boy’s bedroom, and pulled off the prank of the century, which we came home to.

Each one of those six hundred and fifty plastic cups was half-full of water.  (Or half-empty, depending on whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist!!)  Cups, cups, OH, SWEET MERCY, LOOK AT ALL THOSE CUPS!  We had to shout out to Thing 2 repeatedly, “DON’T KNOCK THE CUPS OVER!!”

And… she didn’t even make the boy’s bed while she was there, meticulously lining up cups and filling them from a pitcher of water.

And THAT is why the boy spent nearly an hour and a half that night, pouring cups into a giant pitcher, and running the pitcher to his bathroom, to pour down his tub drain, over and over and over, until he could do the routine in his sleep!

My heart goes out to that girl.

I think she’s in trouble.

Especially since the boy has digested his huge seafood lunch and can move a bit faster now!

A Post About Nothing

I signed Thing 2 up for his thirty-third session of VBS this morning, and I need you to know that we are officially to that point of summer vacation, when I looked at the lady behind the registration table at this church and said, “What day is this?  I mean… Is it Tuesday?  Or Wednesday?  And also?  What day of the month is it?  Is this still July?  WHAT DO I EVEN WRITE ON THE DATE LINE ON THIS FORM???”

So that pretty much explains how our summer vacation is going.

(Also?  THIS explains even MORE how it’s going, because I just typed this exact phrase:  “So that pretty much explains how are summer vacation is going.”  Thank goodness that the Lord has provided us with a backspace key and a chance to do everything over.)

What you also need to know is that Hubs has been on a jerky-making kick with his Traeger.  He is making it out of cheap steak and a marinade that Jesus, Himself, created the recipe for.  I’ve never been a big jerky fan, because if I’m going to invest that much time chewing something, it should taste like creme brulee.  But… I am here to tell you… Hubs’ jerky is THE BEST out there.  The marinade flavor is so addicting, I cannot stop eating it.  I dread the moment when he opens the refrigerator and asks, “What the actual heck?  Where’d all my jerky go?” and I have to lie and say, “Our house was broken into today, Hubs.  I’m sorry.  They took half the beef jerky, but they left the twenty dollar bill that was on the bedroom desk, so let’s be thankful for that.”

I have had to floss jerky out of my molars three different times today, and my jaw needs to rest from chewing all that tough deliciousness.  I’ve decided that I probably shouldn’t talk much this evening, so that my jaw can recuperate for tomorrow morning’s beef jerky binge.

(And if you think summer vacation made me type the word MORNING there, when I meant a time later in the day tomorrow, then you are dead wrong.  I will confess now that my breakfast consisted of a cup of heavily-creamed coffee and three entire pieces of beef jerky today.  #hatersgonnahate)

But really… we are just living our best summer vacation lives around here at the moment.  I have no idea how to train, so that my re-entry into the world of taking a shower before 10 AM and curling my hair and making lunches doesn’t hurt as bad as it’s going to, in four short weeks.  Thankfully, Hubs and the boy are still representing our family, by wearing real clothes and going to work, while Thing 2 and I lay on the sofa in our pajamas and watch The Polar Express on DVD for the 192nd time this summer.  I have no idea why we must watch a Christmas movie in the blazing-hellfire-heat of July, but it’s the go-to time killer right now, and I don’t even care.  It keeps him quiet, even if I do find myself humming that song about hot chocolate to myself all day long.

I asked Thing 2 the other day, “Would you ever walk out of your house, in the snow and in your pajamas, and get on a train ride to the North Pole without telling your parents, like the boy in the movie did?”  Without even batting an eye, he said, “Yes.  I sure would!”  Clearly, all of my safety talks have sunk in, deep.  All the blesses for me, as the rest of you keep in mind that not every child is perfectly normal.

Nothing else is really happening around here right now, unless you count Thing 2’s vigilant watch on our ever-ripening chokecherries as something noteworthy.  He has watched them progress from green to pink to partially-red to fully red… and now we are waiting for them to turn that midnight purple color, because we know that’s when the birds will put aside their differences for two days, to come together and attack our oversized chokecherry bush with gusto and a crazed frenzy.  The robin will sit beside the owl on the chokecherry branches, hogging berries in an all-you-can-eat buffet.  If you were thinking that we were waiting for them to ripen so that we could go outside and pick them, so I could make chokecherry jelly for the family, then you must be new to this blog.  No, ma’am.  We are waiting for the birds to suddenly outnumber the leaves on that bush, as they strip it bare in less than forty-eight hours.  It’s like the sequel to the movie The Birds.  Thing 2 reports the berries’ color to me every single morning, because we are THISCLOSE to having a million birds outside our kitchen window to watch.

The boy is busy working at the golf course daily, and then he golfs eighteen holes daily, and then he hangs out with his friends daily, and then I have to remind him that YOU NEED TO MOW THE YARD AND TAKE THE GARBAGE OUT daily.  In other words, these are the best days of his life.

Annnnnd…. there it is.

Hubs just got home from work and opened the refrigerated and asked the MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE ALL THE BEEF JERKY WENT!!!

Y’all have a good evening.  If you need me, I’ll be over here, flossing my teeth again.

End Of The Week Exhaustion And Legos

I’m not going to lie.  This evening time VBS business is straight-up going to kill me dead.

Oh, it’s not the kids that are doing me in, or even the fact that I’m running the games session for a number of children that is equal to the population of Miami.  What is doing me in is simply this:  When a girl reaches a certain age (let’s say that age is in her forties), AND she has a rambunctious six year old, she tends to go to bed exactly twenty-one minutes after that small fry does.

In other words, when I put Thing 2 in bed at 8:00, I am usually upright and mobile until approximately 8:21, at which time MAMAW IS IN BED.  Now, Mamaw doesn’t necessarily go to sleep at 8:21, because she still likes to pretend that she is young and spry and also twenty years old again, which was a beloved time in her life, when she didn’t have chin hairs and when her metabolism was FAST.  Sometimes Mamaw reads in bed, and sometimes she watches a hip and trendy sitcom with Papaw, through the glory of the internet, but she does those things from the luxury of her bed.

But sometimes?  Well… sometimes… if it has been a busy day, which means IF SHE KEPT UP WITH THING 2 TO THE EQUIVALENT OF HAVING PARTICIPATED IN AN IRONMAN TRIATHLON, then yes… Mamaw will go to sleep right at 8:21.

Don’t judge her.  Ironman competitions are hard in your forties.

And this week?  Well, we get home from VBS at approximately 8:45 each evening.  And when we get home?  That is when Thing 2 announces that his 4:30 dinner (in anticipation of being to the church shortly after 5:00) has worn off, and please make me a second dinner, Mother, from scratch, because I will require ALL THE FOOD right now.  So, Dinner #2 it is.

“Here, child.  Let me roast you a rack of lamb real quick-like at 9:00 in the evening, and let me make some mint jelly… and would you like twice-baked potatoes with that, or some bread pudding?  Because I can whip up a nice bread pudding, too, because I can see that you’re hungry enough to eat an entire buffalo.”

Or maybe it’s just… “You can have a yogurt and microwaved chicken nuggets, and… Oh!  Look!  We have nectarines in the fruit bowl!”

Either way, Dinner #2 commences, and then Hubs and I listen to Thing 2 jabber on at a speed equal to a drag racer’s burnout, as he recaps the night of FUN, SO MUCH FUN, ALL THE FUN!  And then we brush teeth and we say our prayers and we read the books, and OH, LOOK!  It’s now the middle of the night, and we haven’t gotten to sleep yet, and now Mamaw’s got a second wind that she didn’t ask for, and who even IS this elderly woman, sitting on her deck at 10:30 PM with her husband, talking about Michael Jackson songs, of all the things?

The answer is:  I have no idea.

But that… in a nutshell… is why I haven’t fallen asleep before midnight all week.  And then, you can compound the problem by knowing that Thing 2 was out of bed about 12:15 this morning, which means I had enjoyed approximately fifteen minutes of a glorious REM sleep, before I was ripped out of it by a little hand tapping me on the shoulder in bed, as a little voice said, “I’m scared of the dark.”

And then?  Well… a cat decided to TAKE A BATH IN MY BED at 4:50 this morning.  I don’t know if any of y’all are cat people, but when a cat decides that she’s in desperate need of a good cleaning, there can be some slurping and strong noise involved, especially if she decides to chew on her claws for a bit, in an effort to pick the houseplant she ate earlier out of her teeth.

Lord, bless all the cats that I have decided I no longer like.

And yes.  After falling asleep at midnight and being awake for a while with my small boy, I got up for the day at 4:50 AM.  I had coffee at 6:30 this morning with Hubs, on our deck (because it’s amazing how a couple of cheap sun shades can transform a once unusable deck into a glorious spot you enjoy sitting on), and I said, “Go ahead and feast your eyes on me… and the dark circles under my eyes… and try to imagine the brain fog that I’m fighting through today!”

In other words… SHOULD I EVEN BE DRIVING A MOTOR VEHICLE TODAY?  I don’t know.

But, what I do know is that Thing 2 was bone-weary tired a couple of weeks ago, when I sent him to day camp from 8:00 to 4:00 each day.  Talk about nonstop moving!  Thing 2 participated in rock climbing and hiking; he did crafts and games; he shot BB guns and bows and arrows.  He waded in the creek, hopped over fallen logs and ate the apple in his lunchbox every single day… and nothing else.  Never you mind the peanut butter sandwich made with love.  It came home squashed and leaking strawberry jelly all over the plastic bag.  By Friday, I finally got a grip that being physically exhausted at day camp was not going to increase his hunger any more than being mentally exhausted by kindergarten reading and math had done.  So… on Friday… I packed Thing 2 an apple in his lunchbox… and nothing else.  By all standards, this probably stripped me of my Mother of the Year sash and sapphire crown, but at least I saved some bread from being wasted!

Anyway.

By Friday, Thing 2 was a hot mess of THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN, BUT I AM AT AN EXHAUSTED POINT WHERE I CAN NO LONGER HANDLE MYSELF IN POLITE SOCIETY.  So, Mama took things into her own hands and bought him a giant Lego set, which he could quietly and calmly build on Friday evening.  And lo!  The boy was home from a golf tournament on Friday evening, and he was a bit worn out by all the sunshine and all the walking, so he sat down to build some Legos with his bro, too.

We called it CHILL NIGHT WITH PLASTIC BRICKS.  Yes, the Legos cost me $28, but the peace we had in our home… and the fact that no one was actually BAWLING from utter exhaustion after a week of day camp and eighteen holes of intense golf in the sun… was priceless.

And then everyone went to bed early, because they were all so tired, and it was the happiest ending to the fairy tale ever!

Y’all have a good weekend!

Baseball 2018

This is Vacation Bible School Week, and we are doing “two-a-days,” because can you ever get too much of Jesus?  Thing 2 is going to some friends’ church in the mornings for VBS, and then he’s attending round two in the evenings, at our church.  And, because I am on for ALL THE GAMES in the evenings, this basically means that I can drink my coffee in absolute peace and quiet at 9:30 AM, as I mentally prepare myself for a class of thirty-eight (Yes!  THIRTY-EIGHT!!) second and third graders in the evenings!

I think too many kids at VBS is a good problem to have. It makes for one action-packed game of Human Foosball.

The downside to an evening VBS is that we come home at 8:30, hopped up and completely wired, as FUN and EXCITEMENT flow through our veins.  Everyone has had stories of how MY CHILD DIDN’T FALL ASLEEP UNTIL 11:00 LAST NIGHT, AFTER VBS, so I feel lucky that we’ve managed to work some magic here at the Jedi Manor, as Thing 2 was asleep by 10:00 on Monday night and 9:15 last night.  However… his mama has come home dripping sweat, because HELLO, FAST-PACED GAMES ALL NIGHT FOR A THOUSAND CHILDREN!   So Mama had two cups of coffee first thing this morning, because Mama hasn’t been asleep before midnight for two nights running.

Anyway.

I just have to share this snapshot, because it’s too cute not to.

This is Little Cousin H and Thing 2.  They were born on complete opposite sides of our state, in towns that our families don’t live in.  In reality, they might have lived their entire lives without meeting one another.  In reality, they could have grown up as complete strangers.  Thankfully, through the miracle of adoption, we welcomed both of them into our family with more hugs and love than can be counted up.  Because of adoption, these two stinkers are not only cousins… they’re also best friends.

She is three and a half months older than he is.  He is three and a half thousand times louder than she is.  She tries to mother him continually; he tries to boss her around daily.  She hates rough sports, and thrives in gymnastics.  He has the grace of a hippopotamus in gymnastics, and thrives in the hockey rink, where he can skate fast and knock kids down.  She has lost one bottom tooth; he has lost eight teeth total, and he has eight adult teeth firmly in place.  She likes to swing nicely at the park; he likes to scale the outsides of all playground structures like a mountain goat, until he makes every single mother at the park gasp in horror, because LOOK!!  LOOK AT WHERE THAT LITTLE BOY IS AT!!  HE’S GOING TO FALL TO HIS DEATH!!  CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT NOW!!  She likes vegetables; he likes sugar.  She likes princesses; he likes Batman and Darth Vader.  She likes Doc McStuffins; he likes American Ninja Warriors.  They are as opposite as two kids can be, and yet… they love one another thoroughly.  I snapped this picture of them together at my parents’ house a couple of weeks ago, when we were celebrating my dad’s birthday.  They had robbed Mam and Pa’s kitchen of Ziplock baggies, and they were both outside together, catching bugs.  Because… as girly as she is, she does love to discover a new bug and squeal in delight.

And… then they both fight over who gets to put that bug in their plastic bag, because they are six, and six year olds always want what the other six year old has.  But, through all their different personality traits, he STILL tells the world that she is his best friend.

In other news…

… we played baseball this summer.

And when I say WE played, I mean that Thing 2 actually played, while his entire family came to watch and died of heat exhaustion on the metal bleachers.  That last day of baseball was so hot, I fear that I may have lost my salvation with my choice of words in describing how I felt about the viciousness of the sun.

We learned a lot this summer in baseball.  Mostly, we learned that playing the field when you’re six is BORING, because only a handful of little people can bat a ball past the pitcher.  When you’re six, THE PITCHING MOUND is where all the action happens.

This is Thing 2, tired of never having a ball make it clear to his short stop position.  He gave up on the hope of ever fielding a grounder and focused his attention on finding bugs in the dirt.  So naturally, he completely MISSED the one grounder that came zinging his way, because LOOK AT THIS ANT!!!

This is Thing 2, playing center field.  Yes, he’s way too far up, and he’s too close to second base, but it doesn’t matter.  Balls were never batted past the pitcher, so STAND WHERE YOU WANT TO, SON.  And also?  COULD YOU POSSIBLY TRY TO LOOK A LITTLE MORE BORED IN CENTER FIELD?

This is Thing 2, batting.

What we learned this summer is that Thing 2 LOVES to bat!  As in, he LOVES LOVES LOVES, ALL THE BIG RED HEART EYES, LOVES to bat.  He’s also capable of smacking a ball clear to the short stop, to liven up the game out there for those poor fielders, who are busy hunting bugs to pass the time.

Here’s Thing 2, on third base, waiting for the next batter to hit him home.

I believe he is moaning, “But, Coach!  It’s sooooo hot outside!  It’s NEVER this hot in hockey!”  I believe his coach was replying, “Come on, Thing 2!  You’re fast, and we need you to get across home plate, so we can smack another point on the scoreboard!  How are you going to play college ball, when you gripe about the heat?”  I believe he was saying, “I’m playing hockey in college, Coach, because you play hockey on ICE!”

And this is Thing 2, running for home plate, as soon as his teammate hit the ball.

And THIS is Thing 2’s second favorite thing about baseball, right after batting:

POPSICLES FROM THE COACH!

After his last little baseball game wrapped up, and I had my face pressed against the air conditioning vents in the car, Thing 2 said, “Mom, next time… could you just sign me up for a baseball team that only bats?”

Hmm.   I’ll look into that.

Y’all have a merry Wednesday night!