The Reasons Behind The Piles Of Laundry

When I was growing up, my bedroom was a bit of a… (How do I say this in English?)… wreck.  I don’t remember it being a wreck; I remember it being very comfortable.  But then my dad showed up at the doorway to my bedroom one day, with a tape measure.  He measured the width of that doorway and made some marks on a piece of paper for future references.

I asked him what he was doing.

He said, “Just getting some measurements.  I’m going to build a pig trough right here in your doorway.  I thought it would go with the decor.”

And then I moved away to college.

My first roommate in college was literally a friend of a friend of a friend’s cousin who needed someone to share rent with, and she was a NEAT FREAK.  As in, she dusted window frames and baseboards and wiped the refrigerator out with a wet dishtowel every couple of days or so.  She was the most Type A person I had ever met, and she scared the tarnation out of me.  But I learned that if she and I were to live in peace together, I couldn’t interrupt her guilty pleasure of “Jeopardy” during the afternoons, and I’d better wipe up any toothpaste splatter that hit the counter.

She made MY Type A look calm.  And also laid back.

We didn’t live together the following year.

The next year at college, I had another roommate.  She was also the friend of a friend of a friend’s boyfriend’s fraternity friend.  It was all dreadfully confusing, but I seemed to enjoy picking college roommates by word of mouth.  I was all, “It doesn’t matter if I know them or not.  As long as they’ve never been convicted of an on-campus murder, and they’re good about paying rent, I’m in.”

My second roommate turned out to become a lifelong friend.  Whereas my first roommate scared me in all her sterile habits, my second roommate at college could mix a Bloody Mary faster than anyone could sneeze, and we would laugh our heads off together until we cried.  Sadly, I never learned to like the Bloody Marys, because TOMATO JUICE KILLED ME WITH ITS NASTINESS.

But D and I, along with D’s boyfriend, T, became the very best of friends that year.

And D never, ever picked up anything.

At first, I was all, “This is great!  We’re college girls!  We can live in a pig sty!”

And then one day I woke up, and the mess bothered me.  So I cleaned.  I stacked text books and folded clothes and hung clothes on hangers.  I washed dishes and found a vacuum cleaner in the garage of our condo.  I mopped and dusted and cleaned the toilet.  D came home and said, “Wow!  It looks like we have a mother living here with us!  This is so cool!”

And that, people, is when my Type A personality decided that it really did enjoy basking in the glow of a clean house.

I took this college skill to marriage with me.  I cleaned all the time.

Hubs and I had the boy, and the boy was very, VERY GOOD about entertaining himself for an hour or two at a time with his toys, so I cleaned.  I kept up on my housework with a newborn.  I kept up on my housework with a toddler.  I kept up on my housework all the time, and I tended to raise an eyebrow here and there when a friend would tell me, “Oh, my lands!  I can’t get any housework done with a three-year-old living with us, and my house is a total wreck!”

Hmm-hmm.  I see.  So basically you’re saying that you sit on the sofa all day and eat bon-bons, because what else could explain your dirty dishes in the sink and your unvacuumed floors?

And then, people, we had Thing 2.  Thing 2 is lively and energetic.  Thing 2 is a mover and a shaker in ways that the boy never was.  And he likes to play outside, at parks.  He likes to ride his bike outside.  He likes to throw rocks in creeks outside.  He likes to dig in the dirt outside.  The boy liked to do all of these things, too, but he didn’t mind building with Legos for two hours while Mama did some chores first, and THEN we took his bike to the park to ride.

Thing 2 has no patience for all the waiting.  When he’s forced to wait, he does things like entertain himself with bags of potato chips.  He can crush a bag of chips onto the floor faster than I can sneeze.  He pulls things out of drawers, climbs furniture, jumps from kitchen counters, and throws things over the stair railing.  He finds Sharpie markers and writes on pillowcases in my room; he finds pencils and writes on the boy’s window frame; he finds red markers and writes on walls.  But if we GO… if we GET OUTSIDE AND DO SOMETHING… if we just haul some Play-Doh out… if we sit down together and review our alphabet and shapes… if we just read together… if we just go outside on the deck and look for bugs to stomp on… if we just go for a walk around the neighborhood and find rocks to throw into storm gutters… our days go so much better.

It’s just that my house suffers.

My house hasn’t looked like this since my dad took those measurements for a pig trough in front of my bedroom doorway when I was a senior in high school.

AND I’M NOT SITTING ON THE SOFA EATING BON-BONS ALL DAY!!

This is where I gain some humility and think that not every mother has a child who was as quiet and easily entertained as the boy was when he was a baby and toddler.  Not every mother can continue to squeeze a couple hours’ worth of housework into her day.

EVEN WHEN SHE STAYS AT HOME ALL DAY.

This morning, I found THIS ARTICLE RIGHT HERE.  (You should totally click there and read it.)  This article sums up everything so nicely; it just made me nod my head over and over in agreement, as I said, “Yes!” and “Amen!”

My boys are happy.  One of my boys enjoys some quiet time throughout the day, where he’s just buy himself with his Legos in his room… or by himself, with his music in his room.  My other boy doesn’t enjoy quiet time at all, and that is why we are always on the go.

And it explains the fact that my house looks like a city landfill on most days.

But teaching my toddler to ride his bike is so much more important to me than mopping my floors.  And talking with my teenager on the deck in the evenings about LIFE makes me happier than a clean house ever could.

(Also?  This is a complete change in topic, but I just typed that last word COULD in the above paragraph as COOD.  And I couldn’t understand why a bright red line showed up beneath it, indicating a spelling error.)

(I may be losing it.)

Y’all have a great weekend.

The Day Of All The Grumpy

I’m just going to go ahead and say it.  I’m going to say it without sprinkling any sugar on it or shaking on a layer of colored sprinkles to disguise it a little bit, so that it looks like a big pile of HAPPY.

I have actually enjoyed being crabby today.

Whew!

What freedom there is in just confessing that!  I was crabby today, and I was very content in all of that crabbiness, and I seemed to thrive on WHAT CAN I SAY THAT’S RATHER GRUMPY NEXT TO SOMEONE?

I’ve had one of those days where if it could go wrong, it did go wrong.

I think I’m smack in the middle of a CHANGE OF LIFE PREVIEW.  As in, I think my hormones are failing me, and letting me know what I have to look forward to, even though I’m barely a day over twenty-four.  I keep getting hot, hotter, and hottest, every single day, and have for months and months now… but today!  Well, today was a BUCKLE YOUR SEAT BELT AND LOVE JESUS, BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT COULD HAPPEN FOR ALL OF ETERNITY, AS FAR AS TEMPS GO, IF YOUR TRAVEL VOUCHER INDICATES A SOUTHERN DESTINATION sort of day.  It was the sort of day when I could have made it snow indoors, had I set the air conditioning controls to the spot where I wanted them.

Thing 2 ate a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips for breakfast, because it’s what he helped himself to in the pantry, while I was showering.  Hubs was on Toddler Control at this point, but somehow the chips came out.  And then somehow Thing 2 dumped the entire bag of chips onto my bedroom floor and stomped them into salty dust that smelled like pickles.  The mess was reminiscent of a war zone, and the grease spot on my hardwood floor was nothing short of an oil spill that needed immediate attention to keep slippered feet from just WHOOSH!  At my age, we can’t afford to have oil spills on the hardwood floors, because I COULD SNAP A HIP IN HALF.

If I hear another one of the songs that Barney sings with purple gusto and purple excitement and purple enthusiasm, I will probably need to just lie down in the fetal position and sob.  This giant dinosaur is on my last nerve, and I can’t understand why my baby is so comforted by these songs yammering away in the background of his day.  This was not the life soundtrack I would wish upon anyone, and yet, when Barney’s vocals are cut off, Thing 2 becomes very vocal about the indignities of the power cord being pulled on his musical selections.  So we either listen to Barney sing… or we listen to Thing 2 wail.

And?  Is this a safe place?  Is this a place where things can be shared without judgement?  Just keep in mind that you should never judge a person based on her cats.  What I’m about to tell you is beyond gross, but listen:  We have two cats.  They are both horribly naughty, and I know that they’ll live to be eighty-seven, because the bad ones always do.  And one of those cats has… (I can barely speak of it)… well… (I can barely admit it)… ahem… peed on my family room carpet.  Naturally, the first thing anyone smells when they open our front door is the acidic stench of I AM CAT, HEAR ME ROAR and THIS IS MY TERRITORY THAT I HAVE MARKED, SO JUST GET YOUR CHUBBY CABOOSE ON ALONG NOW BEFORE I DISEMBOWEL YOU AND MAKE YOUR FAMILY WONDER WHY YOU NEVER CAME HOME.  And then I tend to over-explain things, because YES, IT’S A SMELL THAT CAN BE SMELLED FROM THE DRIVEWAY, WHEN OUR FRONT DOOR IS OPENED.  I ended up in a deep conversation with the Schwan’s man, who had the misfortune of ringing our doorbell today, about I MAY TAKE TWO CATS FOR A DRIVE IN THE WOODS THIS AFTERNOON.  Apparently, I feel the need to just tell every visiting guest that YES, I AM AWARE THAT OUR HOUSE NOW SMELLS LIKE A PORTABLE POTTY ON FIRE, so you don’t have to go home and wrinkle your nose and tell your own family, “I’m not sure they even realize that their family room smells like death.”  Oh, I’m aware of it; it happened this week, and I AM AWARE OF IT.  And my checkbook is about to become aware of it, too, because I’m going to need some professional cleaning help.

And after that, I may need professional counseling help.

Hubs told me the other day, “Did you hear?  We’re back-to-back World War champions!  We should have T-shirts printed!”  Hubs thinks he’s terribly funny.  However, today my house looks like both of those wars took place in my kitchen.  And in my dirty clothes hamper.  And in my living room.  And in the boys’ bedrooms.  And both bathrooms.  And obviously it smells like they happened in my family room, where all the carpet is.  I had such big visions at the end of May of this sparkly house that would last all summer, because YAY!  We would be home, and the boy and I would keep things under control on the Clean Front, because YAY!  We would have all of this unstructured time to devote to such tasks.  And somewhere between I HAVE A 10:30 TEE TIME TODAY AND NEED A RIDE and THE REFRIGERATOR IS EMPTY AGAIN and WHO IS GOING TO THE GROCERY STORE? and EYE DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS and ORTHODONTIST APPOINTMENTS and LET’S MEET AT THE PARK and CAN YOU PICK ME UP FROM THE GOLF COURSE NOW?, we seem to have just given up on bringing out the vacuum cleaner any more.  I just wish I could find a good maid, who cleans for zero American dollars.  Basically, I’m looking for a Disney fairy with a magic wand.

I tried to download a program onto my Big Mac computer this morning, so that I could start a little photo book project.  Normally, I don’t even attempt such things on my own, because… well... I have Hubs.  It would be like trying to cut your own hair, when you’re married to a hair stylist.  Why would you even bother?  At our house, if it’s computer-related, it goes to Hubs by default.  Bless his heart.  But this morning, in the middle of all of my I AM SO SUFFERING A HOT FLASH, I decided that I could handle this endeavor on my own.  I read the directions first, which I thought was really going to work in my favor, because what Hubs always fails to do is READ THE INSTRUCTIONS.  And then I CLICKED HERE and CLICKED YES and CLICKED THAT’S FINE, and my computer said, “Keep things quiet for a moment; I’m very busy fulfilling your request and making a download happen.”  My joy knew no boundaries, because LOOK WHAT I AM HANDLING ON MY OWN!  I thought about popping the cork on a bottle of champagne and throwing confetti, but then I remembered that we no longer vacuum over here, and we’d have confetti on our floors until December.  And then my computer aborted the download and flashed me a message that said, “Download has failed.”  There was no reason given.  There was no explanation.  There was no feedback on what I did wrong, or what needed to happen.  There was no phone number to call to express my confusion and grievances.  My Big Mac failed me, and that was that.  So I tried THREE MORE TIMES, and three more times we went through the same process, which is why the Big Mac is now in a pillowcase with both cats, in the back of my Suburban, awaiting a drive into the country.

Also?  My friend, Melanie, is the queen of the messy hair bun.  I wish I were the queen of this trendy hairstyle, but the honest truth is that I am truly lacking talent in getting my hair buns to cooperate.  There is the messy bun… and then there is the MESSY BUN, and the second one is the one that causes snickers to happen behind your back at the grocery store checkout aisle.  Melanie has given me some pointers and has showed me how to do them, and then she guided me to You Tube.  I had no idea that if you just typed in HOW DO I EXPERIENCE SUCCESS WITH A MESSY BUN?, videos will pop up all over the place, with darling little college sophomores showing you how to do your hair.  I watched them with great attention; I even watched them a second time, to make sure I knew what I was doing.  And on Monday, I pulled off the cutest messy bun of my life.  I looked at it in the mirror, and I ADMIRED that sucker.  I held my hand over my heart, and I felt the Messy Bun Pride, and I thought to myself, “I have arrived!”  So today, I tackled the thing again, with a confidence level that was as high as the temperature on my hot flash, and listen.  What I ended up with today was a little droopy thing that looked like a clump of poo clinging to the back of my head for dear life.  I reworked that messy bun, over and over and over, until the curse words were building up inside of my throat, and then I gave up.  And that’s when I realized that thirty minutes of ratting your hair and ripping out hairbands will leave your hair with creases, and GOOD LUCK WEARING IT DOWN TODAY.  So that explains why today was very possibly one of the worst hair days of my adult career.  I’m sorry, Melanie, but your apprentice has failed.

And of course people wanted dinner around here tonight, too.  And since we had Tuesday Sale-Night Pizza (Any pizza!  Any size!  Any toppings!  Ten dollars!), I really felt like I should COOK tonight.  Taking a hot flash to the stove is every bit as lovely as you think it might be.  Every.  Bit.

And through all of this today, I have just ENJOYED my grumpiness.  I have even said the words that, “Mama is a touch crabby today, so you might want to stay in your bedrooms and clean things up in there, and try to appease her with Clean Room Offerings of Peace.”

I hope that y’all will come back tomorrow night, after learning tonight about my awful mood.  And the awful smell of CATS ABOUT TO DIE in my house.  And I’m hoping with every fiber of my being that tomorrow will be a better hair day and a better hormone temperature, too.

Y’all have a very merry Wednesday night.

It Rained On Our Picnic

From here on out, you can just refer to me as Goldilocks, because THIS BED IS TOO NOISY and THIS BED IS TOO HARD and THIS BED IS FULL OF POPCORN.

And all of that makes for just four sweet hours of sleep.

It all started last night with Hubs’ sinuses.  Hubs has spent some time in a field barbecuing a pig, where he inhaled all the classic allergens… ragweed and pollen and cotton and alfalfa and fresh air.  Add some pig-cookin’ smoke to that.  And then take him to the lake, where he encounters more weeds, and I’d call it a Trifecta of Allergen Hell.

Which, of course, meant that Hubs would be snoring like some chainsaw-wielding cartoon character, because CLOGGED SINUSES, Y’ALL.

Bless his heart.

And that is how that bed was too noisy.

Because I’m resourceful, I simply picked up my pillows and a blanket, and I migrated like a nomad out to the sofa in the living room.  What I failed to remember, though, is that Thing 2 ate a little snack of popcorn on the sofa yesterday, and listen:  It was worse than being a real princess, sleeping on a pea beneath a pile of mattresses stacked forty-eleven high.  I frantically swept at the sofa cushions with my hands, trying to dislodge small chunks of Orville Redenbacher, but it was like draining the ocean with a teaspoon.  Every time I tried to snuggle back down on the sofa, a popcorn hull bit me somewhere, which is when I knew it would have been more comfortable to pull my eyebrows out, one hair at a time.

So I went back to the bed that was too noisy, hoping that some good kicks would convince Hubs’ sinuses that they could breathe normally, but good luck is never on Goldilocks’ side.

Which is why I ended up on Thing 2′s bedroom floor.  I packed my pillows and my blankets into his room, hoping that I could find comfort on the fuzzy rug, but that was a solid strike-out, too.  There’s just something about being OLD and SLEEPING ON THE HARD FLOOR which makes your left hip think it’s going to snap in half if you don’t get up and move.

At that point, I really just wanted to get into the Suburban and slap my debit card down at the Holiday Inn’s front desk.  Instead, I went back to the sofa… and I went back to sweeping like an arm-flapping lunatic, with big hopes of dislodging all the hidden bits of popcorn pieces.

I think I finally fell asleep around 1:45.

And Thing 2 was up at 5:30.

It was a beautiful night.

But… before all of that happened… it really WAS a beautiful night.  Because the mercury has been above the four-hundred-degrees mark for the past few days, we organized an evening at the lake with some friends.

Of course, Katie texted me early in the afternoon and said, “The weather app indicates severe thunderstorms and rain and every manner of foul weather, and what should Plan B include?”

I texted Katie back and said, “What?  It’s blue skies, and it’s a tropical one hundred degrees outside.”  And then I probably added a nice #LakeOrBust.

And then I called Jodi, and said, “Katie thinks it’s going to rain.”

I could hear Jodi shaking her head over the phone, as she said, “It’s all blue skies and a monster heatwave out there.”  And then I think I heard her pound out a #HereWeComeLake.

Which is when Katie texted back and said, “Packing.  We’ll meet you out there.”

We were so glad to see that Katie had adopted some common sense, because this is Small Town, USA, where it NEVER rains in July, because the thermometer is always exploding from THE MERCURY WENT TOO HIGH AND HAD NOWHERE ELSE TO GO, SO IT BROKE THE GLASS.

When we all arrived at the lake, the wind was blowing hard enough that your paper dinner plate couldn’t sit on the picnic table without your giant water bottle to hold it down.

And the sky was darkening.

And the children were freezing.

And that’s when Katie revealed that what she meant by her text that said PACKING was that she had, indeed, packed sweatshirts and parkas and fur-lined blankets and probably even electric heating pads for her family, because SHE is the leading candidate for Mother of the Year, ’14.

Every child in the next few snapshots who is wearing a sweatshirt belongs to Katie.  They’re the warmer children, who have THE PREPARED MAMA.  Jodi and I have the kids who are shivering to death, with the blue lips, because we just didn’t believe in the power of the weather app.

IMG_6743 IMG_6744 IMG_6745 IMG_6747 IMG_6749 IMG_6752From now on, we have learned to trust Katie’s iPhone.  MY iPhone needs an exorcism and rarely tells me the truth about anything.  It freezes up… it shuts itself off automatically when I’m in the middle of something Very Important… it has a home button that gave up the ghost completely… it needs a generator to run Facebook at any speed faster than DEAD SNAIL… and sometimes it tells me that it’s 67 degrees outside when what it really meant was 93.

Apparently, not all iPhones are created equal, because Katie’s future-predicting Suri was spot-on.

No matter.

It  might have been cold enough and windy enough to make us think we were climbing Mt. Everest, but the kids went in the water.  They were a little timid at first… and a little slow… and then BOOM!  They were all soaking wet and throwing sand at one another.

IMG_6754IMG_6756 IMG_6770 IMG_6757 IMG_6758IMG_6762 IMG_6764 IMG_6765 IMG_6766 IMG_6767 IMG_6768IMG_6773 IMG_6774 IMG_6782 IMG_6785  IMG_6789 IMG_6788 IMG_6793 IMG_6799 IMG_6800 IMG_6802 IMG_6808 IMG_6803 IMG_6810 IMG_6811 IMG_6812IMG_6815 IMG_6817 IMG_6818 IMG_6819 IMG_6821 IMG_6823 IMG_6825 IMG_6832 IMG_6834 IMG_6835 IMG_6837 IMG_6841 IMG_6843 IMG_6827These are secret service agents.

Otherwise known as Navy SEALs.

Hubs and Paul both acted as our Baywatch lifeguards last night.

IMG_6820And here’s our whole gang of kids, post-swim.

They were a touch cold.

Except that short one in the back row with the banana.  He had no idea WHY his mother and the other three  moms at the lake had INSISTED that he evacuate the water immediately, what with the rain and the lightning officially coming in.

IMG_6849Thing 2 seemed to think that the only thing that should cause a lake evacuation is a shark.

And even then, it’s iffy.  It all depends on whether the shark is hungry, and whether it’s a Great White or a Gray Nurse Shark.

IMG_6855 IMG_6856But, regardless of Thing 2′s very loud, vocal protests about, “Seriously?  We’re getting out of the water now because of a LITTLE LIGHTNING?  Did you know that more people are killed every year by tick bites than they are lightning?”, we called it a night when the rain struck.

And we drove home in a monsoon.

Because apparently Katie’s weather app really knew what it was talking about.

Hot Slides And Wheelchairs And Smoked Pig

We had a weekend.

Well, technically EVERYONE had a weekend, because… you know… FRIDAY, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, but our weekend was stuffed full with fun.

Never mind that the grass in our front yard is officially long enough to bale into hay now; we couldn’t be bothered to stay at home and see to that sort of manual labor in all the heat.

And listen.  The heat.  It’s killing me.  Yesterday it was approximately 420 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and I wanted to fill a kiddie wading pool with ice cubes and just sit down in it like a boss and sob with relief.  I don’t know why expansionists in the SETTLE THE WEST movement ever decided to set up camp here, open up a saloon and just stay.  We have unbearable heat in the summertime, that makes you gasp for breath, and we have the kind of cold in the winter that would kill a polar bear.  But for some reason, part of the wagon train broke off and camped here, and… well… here we still are.

Personally, I’m sure it was a family who decided to stay in this spot.  I’m sure that they had three or four kids riding in their wagon, and when Abraham, Josiah, Charles and Margaret got to whining about ARE WE THERE YET? and HOW MANY MORE MILES? and fighting over whose turn it was to ride shotgun on the buckboard seat, over and over and OV-AH, Mama and Daddy just flat-out snapped and couldn’t take it any longer.

So the wagon was stopped.  And Daddy waved to the rest of the wagon train, as they packed up and kept heading West… heading for the land of ETERNAL SEVENTY DEGREES and OCEANFRONT PROPERTY… and he hollered, “I CANNOT GO ANOTHER MILE WITH MY CHILDREN IN THAT WAGON WITHOUT USING MY HATCHET TO CUT MY OWN EARS OFF!”  And then a tree or forty-eight got chopped down to make a cabin. And then when July hit, and the kids felt like their faces were melting off and making gross puddles on their shirts, I’m sure Mama and Daddy said, “It’s all your fault.”

I may or may not have traveled with children before, but Jesus knew that I would thrive in a time such as this, which is why I live in the age of unleaded gasoline and air conditioning.

No matter.

The boy golfed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, because it’s what the boy does.

We also had a picnic lunch at the park with Mam and Pa on Saturday.  The kids attempted to play on the slides, but we kept hearing, “Ouch!  It’s hot!”

This is where Hubs and I interrupted and said, “Listen.  In OUR day, we didn’t have the luxury of PLASTIC SLIDES!  No, ma’am.  We had the real deal… the metal slides… the slides that baked in the heat to temperatures that would melt rocks, and sometimes a screw would be loose and sticking out a bit, which would rip a trench in your thigh bigger than the Grand Canyon, so don’t even start complaining about how a PLASTIC SLIDE burns the backs of your legs when you try to scream down it.  The pain of our own childhood will always trump yours.”

(Plus?  Well, we had the solid metal merry-go-rounds back then, too, so it’s amazing we’re all still alive.)

(The late ’70s and early ’80s were not famous for Playground Safety.)

IMG_6633 IMG_6629 IMG_6630 IMG_6631And here’s THE POSE.

Yes, the pose!

IMG_6632IMG_6634After skin was sufficiently burned at the playground from contact with the PLASTIC SLIDES, we packed up and went home.

And we told the children horror stories about Burn Units and Skin Grafts from METAL SLIDES IN JULY.

And then… well… a pig had to be tossed onto the barbecue.

Our church had a giant pig roast on Sunday, after services finished.  Hubs and Sister’s Husband and the boy and Enzo, along with our friends, Scott and Darrell, all volunteered to season that pig and smoke that pig and cook that pig up right.

Of course, this involved camping out at the onsite barbecue, because you just never know when the briquets might stop burning, and HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN NO MEAT FOR LUNCH TO TWO HUNDRED HUNGRY BAPTISTS?

Hubs lives for this sort of thing.  He watches barbecue shows so seriously, he takes notes during them, people.

Notes.

On his phone.

So that he can always remember how to cook a rack of ribs or a steak or a 250-pound pig.

The guys were beyond excited for this adventure.  Darrell brought his camper out, so that naps could be taken during the darkest hours of the night, if the need arose, but listen:  Naps are for sissies.  Everyone was planning to stay awake all night long, and bring that pig up to temperature.

Not  long after Hubs left for the church, he sent this snapshot to my phone:

IMG_20140719_130626BECAUSE ISN’T THAT WHAT EVERY GIRL WANTS TO SEE???

The briquets were lit, the pig was seasoned and pitched onto the grill, the lawn chairs were set up around the camper, and all the guys settled in for a fun twenty-four hours of becoming BBQ Champions.

On Saturday night, the wives (me and Sister and Christy and Melanie) took dinner out to the church parking lot.  We had cheap pizzas and fried chicken.  We had tasty side dishes that had been made in a deli and bags of chips and bottles of carbonated, sugar-filled soda and homemade lemon cookies.

#DinnerOfWinners

The kids played and played and PUH-LAYED.  They ran miles and miles around the church, while the grownups sat in lawn chairs and on truck tailgates and talked.  We discussed everything from using VITAMIN C TO PREVENT WRINKLES to COVER YOUR EARS, BECAUSE WE ARE NOW TALKING ABOUT OUR LADIES’ DAYS OF THE MONTH.  We howled with laughter.  We inhaled entirely too much smoke from the barbecue, and we were very nearly carried off by biting mosquitoes.

And… don’t tell the pastor… but the kids used the church wheelchairs for competitive racing.

IMG_6641 IMG_6642 IMG_6643 IMG_6686 IMG_6687 IMG_6695 IMG_6702 IMG_6703 IMG_6704 IMG_6710Teams were formed.  Rules were set.  Race lengths were established.  Sweat happened.  And those kiddos pushed those wheelchairs around our church for all they were worth.

The winners wanted T-shirts printed up to commemorate their athletic endeavors.

Some of them were so exhausted, they just toppled over.

IMG_6689Which is when we had to offer them Hydration Hour.

IMG_6692Thing 2 dished out some hugs to Cousin H, too.

His happiness over pizza just has to be shared with others.

IMG_6644 IMG_6645 IMG_6646 IMG_6647 IMG_6649 IMG_6650 IMG_6652 IMG_6661 IMG_6653And then the little Hulk did some pullups off the truck’s tailgate.

And by some pullups, I mean about one hundred and nine before he paused for more pizza.

IMG_6659Thing 2 found a balloon in one of the vehicles that he wanted blown up, so Sister’s Husband got busy on that task.

IMG_6663 IMG_6665And then this is what happens when your uncle over-inflates the balloon…

… AND IT POPS!!!

IMG_6666 IMG_6670This is Janie.

Janie is two.  She belongs to my darling friend, Christy.  I am head over heels in love with her.

IMG_6667Janie’s daddy, Scott, kept tossing her into the air on Saturday night, and her grins were HYSTERICAL!!

IMG_6676 IMG_6677 IMG_6679 IMG_6680 IMG_6681 IMG_6682 IMG_6683 IMG_6712 IMG_6711And look!

I think Thing 2 is in love with Janie, too.

IMG_6714 IMG_6723 IMG_6724IMG_6726 IMG_6727 IMG_6733This is how cousins sometimes treat one another…

IMG_6730And there’s the entire herd… minus one.  I have no idea how Sydney didn’t make it into this snapshot.

IMG_6735 IMG_6736Sydney might have been the only normal kiddo, because look at Deed’s pose on the far right.

And look at Enzo and his paper cup on the far left.

And Taylor has an enormous DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS look.

And in the top snapshot… what is Cousin L doing, dead center in the pink?

And look at Gage, in the white T-shirt…

I think Sydney probably made a wise choice when she didn’t make it into the group shot.

IMG_6737 IMG_6738 IMG_6739 IMG_6740 IMG_6742Finally, at some point past o’dark-thirty, the moms packed up the smaller children, because baths needed to happen and teeth needed brushed, and bottles of warm milk were wanted.

The bigger kids decided to spend the night on the BBQ Crew.  There was talk about Big Foot being down by the creek, and wild mountain lions coming in… lured by the scent of the smoking pig… and ghosts.

We just told the dads, “Good luck with all of that!”  And off we went.

And those dads?

Well, they’re kind of hot.  They could easily have their own barbecuing reality show on TV.

10543606_701669473202923_56545625192813103_nIn the morning, when I showed up at the church early with a box of donuts, THIS is what was happening:

IMG_1345The BBQ Crew was busy cutting up all that smoked pork for the giant church potluck.

No one had really slept.

Big Foot didn’t show up.

And they were all RIDICULOUSLY HAPPY.  Because?  You know what?  Cooking a giant slab of meat all night long just makes boys happy.

So we went to the big potluck after church.  Hubs and Sister’s Husband and Scott and Darrell and the boy and Enzo all smelled like Professional Pit Masters.  They were all covered in pig grease.  They all kept talking about how they needed to bottle a cologne that would smell exactly the same.

It was approximately 693 degrees outside on Sunday afternoon, but Christy baked these ANGEL FOOD CAKE meets LEMON PIE FILLING dessert bars, so somehow I mustered enough strength to eat one during the heatwave.

And then we all came home, people.  We came home to our showers and our air conditioning units.

And we all went to bed incredibly early last night.

The end.

Just A Few Odds And Ends

I don’t have any genuinely useful knowledge to impart tonight (as opposed to all of the other nights when the words here at Jedi Mama, Inc. have been a total balm for the weary soul), so I’m just going to share a few of things with you.

First, this:

b116b86579d0e0d1020a7d0c00853d02I have this thing for elephants, and the baby ones make me squeal like a pink piglet in a thick puddle of mud.

I saw this snapshot today, and BOOM!  I want him as my pet.  I haven’t worked out the details yet of where I’ll keep him, or if our neighborhood has restrictions on animals who weigh more than five hundred and six pounds being kept in the house, but I’ll figure something out.

All I know is that our two cats are gonna hate me, and if the boy thinks scooping the litter box is a pain in the side of his neck, his life is about to become WORSE.

Second, this:

10517575_10152467078954123_339294270268975720_nThat is my life motto.  It happens to me every time I go to the grocery store.

Also?  Well, I nearly spit hot chai tea out, all over my computer screen, when I saw that posted on one of my friends’ Facebook wall yesterday.  I laughed THAT hard.  It wasn’t even one of those fake “LOL’s,” where I type “Oh, I laughed out loud”… but not really.  I howled, y’all.  It’s because sometimes you just recognize yourself in a word of truth, and there’s no stopping the giggles.

Third, I think Hubs and I might be raising a reader!!

IMG_3844This is all foreign soil and new territory to us, because the boy is allergic to books.

But it seems like any book entitled THOMAS THE TRAIN or BUNGEE JUMPING FROM THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING will snag Thing 2′s attention for extended periods of time, which is saying something.

And yes.  Yes, that really IS a baby gut.  While the boy, as a toddler, was built like a little wisp of hot steam shimmering above a coffee mug, Thing 2 is built like a concrete brick that’s big enough to take an entire ferry to the bottom of the ocean and keep it there until Jesus’ return.

No matter.  His family loves him, and they love him HUGE.

And finally, the boy had a big question for me yesterday.  He began the conversation by asking, “Hey, Mom?  Do you know how nothing is impossible for God to do?”  And I immediately thought, “Oh!  Oh!  OH!!!  We’re going to have a DEEP and also MEANINGFUL conversation!  Yay!”  And I replied, “Yes; yes, I know that.”  And the boy said, “Well, if that’s the case… Could God make a rock that was so heavy, He couldn’t actually lift it?  Because, if nothing is impossible for Him to do, then He COULD make a rock that’s way too heavy for Him to pick up.  And yet, if He can’t pick it up, then there’s something that’s impossible for Him to do.”

Speechless, y’all.  Speechless.

It’s just how we roll around our house.

And that’s going to do it for tonight, people.  Y’all carry on and have yourselves a merry little weekend.

Schedule Of Events

So it’s morning right now.

That isn’t really a big announcement, except I NEVER blog in the morning, because it’s not exactly when my thoughts are moving around enough to actually form real words and then turn them into real sentences with the proper use of pronouns and all.  It may be because my new life motto is, “Up at 5, awake by 10.”

It usually takes two entire cups of chai tea pouring out of my Keurig to achieve that awake status, too, but Hubs and I simply CANNOT convince Thing 2 that he should sleep beyond 5 AM.

Bless his heart.

But this morning, there was rain.  And when there’s rain, the sky is usually dark, and Thing 2 must’ve decided that THIS was the secret formula he needed, because we didn’t hear a single peep out of him until 6:02.  And THAT, people, might just as well have been noon, for the wonderful luxury that it was.

So, with an extra hour of sleep logged into my day, I decided that MAYBE I could beat something out of the keyboard here this morning, since we have Vacation Bible School at church every evening this week.  My job is just to check the four- and five-year-olds in.  I greet them, and I mark a big X by their name when they arrive.  I give them their name tags and convince them that THIS is going to be the most fun night of their lives, even though I pretty much told them that the night before.  I assure the drop-off moms that, YES!  WE PROMISE TO CALL IF JUNIOR NEEDS YOU, and then… I’m sort of free.  The boy is leading a group of little kids around, from stations on Bible stories to stations on crafts, all evening, and the toddler is at home with Hubs then.

Which means that I can then attach myself like a giant leech to any number of grownup girls at the church, who are all there dropping children off for VBS.  I live in a world where I talk to a toddler and argue with a teenager all day long, and I find that I’m absolutely starved for conversations that do not begin with the words, “Did you poop?”

I’ve found that I don’t need to question my girlfriends about their bowel habits at all.

It’s sort of liberating.

Anyway.

Our summer days have become a bit UN-interesting, because every day is exactly the same as the day before.

Thing 2 gets up at 5:00.  I release him from the prison of the baby gate in his bedroom doorway overnight (to prevent late-night wanderings), and Hubs and I force him to lay very quietly beside us in bed and watch Barney’s antics on the iPad, while we close our eyes and pretend to keep sleeping.  The only problem is that we never GET to go back to sleep, because Barney and all his songs can be as annoying as having fourteen porcupine quills in your upper lip.  And then, somewhere around 6:00, the day begins.  There are showers and hot rollers and lip gloss, because looking like a Cover Girl sometimes makes me feel like I MIGHT BE more awake than I really am.

And then there’s chai tea, amidst shouts for oatmeal, and then shouts of NO, NOT OATMEAL!  And then, YES, OATMEAL!  And then, I DIDN’T REALLY WANT OATMEAL.  There ain’t nothin’ as decisive as a toddler choosing his breakfast food.

And then I usually have to reheat my chai tea in the microwave.

Somewhere after the daily oatmeal battle, Hubs leaves for work.  He goes out into the real world, where people have real conversations, and he NEVER asks anyone out loud if they have pooped.

Meanwhile, we are here at the house, walking the trenches.  We are emptying the dishwasher and making beds.  We are picking up toys.  We are reheating the chai tea in the microwave AGAIN.  We are saying things like, “Get down.  We DO NOT stand on the dining room table.”  We are very possibly shoving a load of dirty clothes into the washing machine and wondering if a third cup of chai tea would be considered gluttony in our culture.  There are more Barney songs… there are poopie diapers… and there are more toys to pick up.

Sometime around 11:00, the boy gets out of bed and showers.  And then he eats a bowl of cereal.  He uses a mixing bowl, because it’s huge, and because HUGE cuts down on the need to refill a normal sized bowl repeatedly.  It takes A LOT of cereal before a thirteen-year-old boy announces that he’s finished eating his breakfast.  By this time, Thing 2 has usually raided the pantry and crushed a box of Goldfish crackers onto the floor, because his life mission is to stomp crackers everywhere, all the time.

There are more toys on the floors, too.

By noon, the boy has usually been dropped off at the golf course, because  he’s thirteen and this is summer vacation.  I’m back home for a nap, which is not MY nap, but the toddler’s nap, because this isn’t a world of fairness.

And then there are more toys for me to pick up, and clothes in the dryer to be folded, and dirty lunch dishes and enormous mixing bowls to load into the dishwasher, and this is when I have to start thinking about dinner.  As in, DO WE HAVE A FROZEN LASAGNA THAT I CAN POP INTO THE OVEN???  And if I have ANY intentions of mopping all the acres of hardwood floors, the chore MUST happen during nap time, to avoid all the chubby little footprints on the wet floors.  There are also grocery lists to make, toothpaste splatters to be wiped off of bathroom sinks, receipts for Starbucks to be put into the check register, and something that LOOKS like oatmeal to be scrubbed off of the dining room floor, but which really turns out to be a heap of dried-up cat puke.

I never mentioned that our life was glamorous, did I?

And then the boy needs picked up from the golf course, and there’s another poopie diaper, and there are more toys on the floor, and the lasagna isn’t going to put itself into the oven, and WHO ATE ANOTHER BOWL OF CEREAL AND DIDN’T RINSE IT OUT?  And then the arguments  on HOW MANY HOURS OF VIDEO GAMES PER DAY IS APPROPRIATE begins.  After that, there’s usually a major breakdown in the house, which may or may not come from ME or the toddler, but which seems to — more often than not — come from a major appliance, because apparently six years into owning a home is when the ice maker in the freezer decides that it either needs to be plugged into a life support system or it’s going home to be with Jesus.  This will involve me emptying all the ice OUT OF the ice maker and talking kindly to it, in some hopes that this is all that it will need.  The thing is, it’s NEVER all that the ice maker is going to need, because what the ice maker NEEDS is Hubs and screwdrivers and new bolts and cuss words.

And then there are usually more toys AND more crushed crackers stolen from the pantry on the floor.

Never mind that I just mopped.

After that, there are reports of I JUST BROKE A BRACKET ON MY BRACES and WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME READ FOR THIRTY MINUTES EVERY DAY DURING SUMMER BREAK?  DON’T YOU LOVE ME?  There are comments of WHY CAN’T WE EAT MCDONALD’S EVERY SINGLE NIGHT FOR DINNER?, and not all of them come from me.  There are questions of, IS THAT SMELL THE LASAGNA BURNING?  And then a cat will run by, gagging, because she feels the needs to unleash a hairball, and she MUST DO IT ON AN AREA RUG, AT LEAST 9 PUKES OUT OF 10, BECAUSE WHY WOULD SHE THINK ABOUT BARFING ON A HARDWOOD FLOOR, WHERE THINGS ARE EASIER TO CLEAN UP?

And then the dryer hollers out that it’s done, so there are more clothes to fold, and while I’m doing that, the toddler will grab a tube of toothpaste out of a bathroom, because MAMA’S ATTENTION IS CURRENTLY SNAGGED BY FOLDING BATH TOWELS INTO PERFECT THIRDS AND SHAKING OUT T-SHIRTS TO PREVENT WRINKLES, and he will squirt it everywhere.

Every.  Where.

And that’s about the time Hubs walks through the front door, gives me a kiss, and asks, “What did you guys do all day?”

(“Oh.. you know.  I offered up some ideas on balancing the national deficit, freed some slaves, invented a new antibiotic, and accepted a Pulitzer.  Just the usual stuff.”)

It also explains why I just tend to OVER-TALK when I meet up with the grownup girls, because I have a whole lot of words inside of me that didn’t get to come out as real conversations.

And yet… raising these boys is my ministry.  I might not have real adult conversations with my girlfriends every single day, but I have real conversations with my boys around diapers that smell bad and crushed crackers that need swept up.  (Again.)  We review our ABCs.  We review our shapes.  We work on learning that when we count, things don’t actually go, “… eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, eleven, twelve, thirteen…”  We clap for being able to do something on our own.  We beg and plead to JUST TRY IT!  JUST PEE IN THE POTTY!  BE A BIG BOY!  THE POTTY ISN’T SCARY!  We talk about fears and beliefs and what other kids are doing when I’ve talked the boy into using a screwdriver to take the ice maker out of the door, so that it can sit in the kitchen sink and thaw out.  We talk about WHY fourteen hours of video games isn’t a good idea, and I assure him that, even though I love him, I DO NOT want him to be a thirty-one-year-old man who lives in his parents’ basement, unemployed, and plays Mine Craft all day long.  We clap for great golf shots.  We grin and high-five one another when the instructor for the private golf lessons declares, “This kid is a natural; he’s got a speed to his swing that cannot be taught, and it’s amazing.”  We laugh together.  We hug.  We try to encourage one another and build one another up.

And I really wouldn’t trade my summer days for anything else.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I really have to go warm up my cup of chai tea again and encourage Thing 2 that he cannot leave fourteen hundred Matchbox cars on the kitchen floor.

Have a fantastic Wednesday!

It Wasn’t Our First Rodeo

I feel like I need to book a couple of days at a five-star spa.  When the fellow behind the registration desk asks me if I’d like to sign up for the warmed-stone massage or the hot yoga, I’ll simply say, “No, thank you.  I’m only here to sleep in that bed with the luxury sheets.  I’ll just go on home as soon as I wake up.”

It might be because we had one of the busiest weekends on record, which, of course, came with very little sleep.  And then last night, I felt the need to stay awake until 11:00, because I was engrossed in some reality show on WHO WOULD BE THE NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR AND HAVE THEIR OWN TELEVISION SHOW?

Do I EVER watch the Food Network?

No.  No, I don’t.

It involves cooking on that channel, which is something that I don’t do.  I feel like the chefs there just mock me, as they insist that de-boning a duck or making lamb chops with a balsamic reduction sauce really isn’t difficult at all, when I’m simply happy putting frozen tater tots on a cookie sheet and punching in 425 on the oven.  But… for whatever reason… last night I was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to function this week, if I didn’t know WHO WAS ELIMINATED FROM THE CONTEST.

Which chef would go home in shame, because they couldn’t cook??!!

Never mind that I haven’t seen the previous six weeks.

Nor will I see the remaining weeks and find out who wins.

Sometimes my brain just gets stuck on something, and that’s how it’s going to be, which explains why I’m still exhausted today.

People, the rodeo was in Small Town, USA this weekend, which is really a big deal around these parts.  We love ourselves some bareback riding and a good parade and BBQ beef contests and a shady carnival.  What we really like to do is pack all of that into three days, because why spread something out, when you can just GET IT DONE?

Hubs and I took the boys to the parade on Friday morning.  We also concluded that if you needed to knock off a house and burglarize it, Parade Friday would really be the prime moment to do so, because everyone in Small Town is downtown, waving at floats.

Plus, all the cops are riding their bicycles and driving their squad cars, cruising along at PARADE MILES PER HOUR, so there you have it.

IMG_6311 IMG_6314 IMG_6317 IMG_6318 IMG_6321 IMG_6322 IMG_6325 IMG_6328 IMG_6329 IMG_6327 IMG_6336This is the boy’s buddy, Eli.  Eli’s grandparents opened a little spot that rents Segways, right here in Small Town, USA!  I won’t lie; riding a Segway has been on my bucket list for a sweet forever.

We waved like lunatics at Eli, as he whizzed by us in the parade.

IMG_6332 IMG_6331 IMG_6333Thing 2 nearly ruptured a lung, hollering at Smokey the Bear.  Our toddler waved and waved and WAY-VED at that bear, as he tootled by us.

IMG_6343 IMG_6345 IMG_6348IMG_6337 IMG_6347 IMG_6352 IMG_6354We also spent a little time at the playground with the boys’ cousin, Miss A, this weekend.

Playgrounds are very useful for wearing Thing 2′s nuclear-type energy levels down just a titch.

IMG_6359 IMG_6363 IMG_6366 IMG_6367 IMG_6369 IMG_6370 IMG_6371 IMG_6375 IMG_6383 IMG_6385 IMG_6409 IMG_6417 IMG_6427 IMG_6428 IMG_6429 IMG_6430 IMG_6438And then, as gross as it sounds, Thing 2 made the archeological discovery of an old lid from a plastic water bottle.

He entertained himself for FOREVER with it, scooping and pouring sand in little, tiny amounts.

Hubs and I have some sayings at our house, and one of them is, “Don’t mess with a good thing, even if it involves GERMS.”

IMG_6446 IMG_6448 IMG_6468 IMG_6471 IMG_6478I think that’s what Germ-X is for.

Somehow, Hubs and I managed to have a BYE in the Carnival Tournament this year!  We couldn’t have been happier, because out of four entire days of it being in town, we didn’t have to go, and neither of our boys went, either!

A disposable water bottle lid that’s been found on the sly is one thing, but a shady carnival is another thing altogether.  Hubs and I did a little Happy Dance when the boy announced that YES and INDEED!  HE HAD GOLFED THE  MAJORITY OF THE DAY, AND HE WAS HOT AND TIRED, AND HE HAD NO REAL DESIRE TO ATTEND THE CARNIVAL IN THE 90-DEGREE WEATHER when we performed our Parental Duties of Extreme Sacrifice and invited to take him and his brother on Wednesday night.

Winner, winner… chicken dinner!!

We did, of course, have tickets to attend the rodeo on Saturday night with Sister and her family, and our friends, Keith and Carrie, who had driven all the way from Denver to be here this weekend.

It was going to be a giant, rodeo affair of moms and dads and kids, and we’d already worked the seating arrangement out in our minds, so that the dads would be on one end, with the moms on the other end, and all the kiddos would be packed in between us.

This would maximize the TALKING that we moms were going to do during the rodeo.

And then tragedy struck, because LOOK AT THIS:

IMG_2609That is Keith and Carrie’s younger son, Kellan.  And THAT is what happens when a Mosquito of Death bites your eyelid and squirts a little venom into your actual eyeball.

It required an ER trip.

And steroids.

Right before the rodeo.

IMG_2601 IMG_2606 IMG_2602So….

… Carrie announced that SHE would be attending the rodeo with us, while Keith took Kellan home to Grandma’s house, to let him sleep off the antihistamines and steroids.

Oh!  And don’t worry about Kellan, because two days later, THIS is what he looks like:

IMG_2654So, with Keith and Kellan out of the rodeo, our crowd was dwindling.

Enter MIGRAINE, stage right.

Yes, Hubs decided to host The Migraine of a Lifetime on Saturday evening, which caused him to say, “Go on without me, while I die here at home.”

That left three moms, one dad, and all-the-kids-minus-Kellan for the festivities.

(Also?  The boy and Enzo ate giant cheeseburgers.  And fried, deep-dish pizzas.  And funnel cakes.  The other kids ate corndogs.  And cotton candy.  And enormous, soft pretzels.  And kettle corn.  And funnel cakes.  And Dr. Peppers.)

(We needed the Costco-size bottle of Tums when we left the rodeo, for the sin of Junk Food Overload.)

IMG_6486 IMG_6488 IMG_6492 IMG_6495 IMG_6489 IMG_6558 IMG_6487The boy’s school principal, who is also a good friend of ours, sang the National Anthem with his brothers.

IMG_6507There were Indian pony races.

IMG_6515 IMG_6516 IMG_6526 IMG_6539And listen, people.

I’m pretty sure that I missed my calling in life, because I’m rather VERY MUCH POSITIVE that Jesus maybe meant for me to be a Rodeo Queen.

I think I would look just darling riding into the arena at a break-your-neck speed, carrying a flag and wearing a belt encrusted with more rhinestones than can be found in all the Michael’s, across America.

So, I’ve decided that it’s never too late to pursue a dream.  I’ve asked my friend, Mika (Rodeo Girl Extraordinaire), to coach me.  Never mind that I’ve only really ridden a horse about fifteen times in my entire life; I look good in cowgirl hats, and I’ve perfected my Flag Hold and my Crowd Wave.

IMG_6510  IMG_6559 IMG_6548 IMG_6560 IMG_6561 IMG_6567 IMG_6566Also, Carrie is JUST A TOUCH camera shy, but we’re coaching her on THAT issue, so that she learns to just smile a little when a Canon is pointed directly at her.

IMG_6568 IMG_6569 IMG_6570They also had a rodeo event this year where kids teamed up to catch and ride wild ponies.

Naturally, Mika’s kiddos were involved in this, because ADORABLE RODEO FAMILY, y’all.

There’s Tavy, waving at the crowd when she was introduced:

IMG_6575And there’s Mika’s son, Teegan, on the far right:

IMG_6572And there’s our friend, Jarrod:

IMG_6573The object of this was for one kid to hold the rope around the horse’s neck and DROP TO THE GROUND, where he or she would become a SOLID, DEAD WEIGHT that would slow that pony down.

The second kiddo would grab the horse and make every physical effort he or she could to get it stopped.

The third kid would jump on the pony’s back and needed to stay there for two seconds for the event to be completed.

IMG_6579 IMG_6584I may enter this contest next summer, too, but listen, y’all.  There’s just no way that I’m going to be the teammate who drops to the dirt as a dead weight that the pony has to haul.  I’m too old for that!  I just see that job as being one that INVITES a broken hip and a tube of Ben Gay the size of a horse trailer.

And THIS, folks, is why I’m not a professional photographer:

IMG_6591 IMG_6598Those would be snapshots of the bull riding.

BLURRY SNAPSHOTS.

Blurry snapshots that are SO BLURRY, they pretty much cause motion sickness all over again.

And then we wrapped up our weekend by fondu-ing dinner with Hubs’ parents.  The kids hadn’t been gathered around a fondu pot before, because they hadn’t grown up in the ’70s, so we decided to introduce them to a meal that you cook yourself in a vat of hot oil.

It was like RODEO FOOD ALL OVER AGAIN.

They loved it.

IMG_2614And then the boy, Cousin W and Miss A teamed up for an event called CATCH THAT FROG OUT OF PAPA’S IRRIGATION POND!!

IMG_2616 IMG_2620 IMG_2621 IMG_2622 IMG_2631V is for VICTORY!!

IMG_2625 IMG_2617 IMG_2639 IMG_2640Thing 2 even recruited Cousin W to drive him around the yard for the equivalent of SIXTEEN ENTIRE DAYS on the riding lawn mower.

IMG_2645And then we came home, people.

Because it was Sunday night, and because we were all exhausted.  We needed showers and ice water for dehydration and food that wasn’t deep-fat fried.

We needed sleep.

So of course it made perfect sense that I would stay awake until 11:00 last night, watching to see who would be the next Food Network star.

Let me tell you, it isn’t going to be someone who can fry a funnel cake up right.

Happy Monday, y’all.

As If…

… that bow tie could even get any cuter…

… it did…

… when it made it’s debut at church this morning.

IMG_6603 IMG_6604 IMG_6605 IMG_6609 IMG_6611 IMG_6614 IMG_6616 IMG_6623 IMG_6624 IMG_6625And that’s going to wrap things up for this evening, people, because if I type any more, I’ll start to sound like I only got three hours’ worth of sleep last night.

Which is probably because I only got three hours’ worth of sleep last night.

Y’all have a good Sunday evening, and may this be the Night Of All The Very Deep Sleeping That Lasts For Lots Of Hours In A Row.

The Bow Tie

My adorable friend Katie has three boys.  They’re better dressed than Suri Cruise is.  Katie’s tribe can also rock a bow tie so well, girls end up squealing like pink piglets in excitement.

This is her son, Gunnar.  He’s Thing 2′s age.  And don’t be thinking that I took this fancy shot, because Katie was the stellar photographer here.

1399063_10201655614344697_628382048_oThe very second I saw Gunnar in a bow tie, I knew in the deepest part of my mama’s heart that Thing 2 NEEDED one, too.  I searched high and low on different websites, but I could never find one that I really loved.

After that, the bow tie idea kind of got shoved to the back burner of my mind, because I was very busy hollering, “Don’t slam your Tonka truck into our walls at full speed!  You’re chipping the Sheetrock and making us look like hillbillies around here!”

We lived life.  We made messes.  We got very little sleep.  And I didn’t have time to think of sassy little ties.

Until…

… Katie’s oldest son, Logan, showed up in a bow tie last month.

(Katie took this snapshot, too, so I can’t steal any credit for it.)

10169382_10202994389053228_7344050427491320223_nAnd that was precisely when I gasped and called Katie and said, “Listen!  Where can I score a fabulous bow tie for Thing 2?”

#bowtieenvy

A few weeks later, which happened to be just last night, a bow tie showed up in our mailbox.  Katie had commissioned her bow-tie-sewing friend to make us one for OUR toddler, and she had packed it with love and mailed it to us, all the way from Alaska.

I may have squealed when I opened the package, because PERFECT TIMING!  The boy and Thing 2 were having their pictures professionally taken this afternoon with our friend, Alyssa, and suddenly I knew that a bow tie was going to be involved!

And it was.

And I took my own camera along to the professional photo shoot, which I’m sure real photographers like Alyssa just HATE, but we love Alyssa, and we like to think she loves us right back, so I don’t think she minded.  It was because I had to get a teaser shot to send to Katie, so that she could see her gift in action.

The boy helped Thing 2 get his bow tie JUST SO, right before pictures.  When I pulled this snapshot off of my camera tonight, all I could see was older versions of my two sons… with the boy helping Thing 2 tie his bow tie before his senior prom.  I could almost sob over this photograph of my boys, because WOW.  Just… WOW.  And I don’t ever want them to get any older than they are today.

This picture is so precious to me…

IMG_6295And then…

… boom!

The bow tie was in action!

IMG_6297 IMG_6298 IMG_6306I cannot even wait to see what magic Alyssa managed to capture with her camera this afternoon of these two boys…

… and that precious tie.

Happy weekend, y’all.  Happy weekend.

There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Or A Free Golf Club.

It was 93 degrees here today, with a hot wind, so basically whenever we walked outside, it pretty much felt like we were sitting on the surface of the sun.

And, no.  I never exaggerate.

The boy went golfing with his friend, Quinn, in all the heat.  He texted me photos from his phone of a broken golf club, and said, “Well, it was a sweet drive, and now my club is in two pieces.”  Because doesn’t every parent just want to buy random new clubs all the time?  After their golf game, Quinn and the boy went out to eat at a hot spot downtown, where they sat outside on the deck and paid for their own lunches.  The boy came home and hollered, “Oh, my gosh!  Quinn and I only ordered burgers and hot wings, and our bill was $31.00!”

I simply cackled and said, “Welcome to the adult world, Son!”

And then he said, “I just spent ALL of my money from mowing the lawn this week on a burger and hot wings!  That’s ridiculous!”

Wait until I tell him how much a new golf club costs.

After golfing and melting in the heat and experiencing EXPENSIVE LUNCH REMORSE, the boy showered and headed off to the VERY AIR CONDITIONED movie theater with his friend, Gage.  Before he left, he said, “I’m broke; I can’t even buy popcorn, because I bought a burger and hot wings that were made out of solid gold this afternoon.”

I know that I shouldn’t have… but I gave him $5 for Twizzlers.  I couldn’t help myself; I was afraid that he hadn’t inhaled his daily serving of artificial red dye.

Merry summer, Boy.  Mama loves you.

Since the boy has a real social life and was gone all day, Thing 2 and I decided that 93 degrees and a hot wind weren’t going to keep us from playing at the park.  Thankfully, this isn’t Sister’s first rodeo with a hot summer day, so she and her tribe of children joined us.

IMG_6196 IMG_6197 IMG_6198 IMG_6201 IMG_6202 IMG_6205 IMG_6209 IMG_6210 IMG_6216 IMG_6219 IMG_6239 IMG_6238 IMG_6232 IMG_6231 IMG_6224 IMG_6251 IMG_6242 IMG_6244 IMG_6245 IMG_6260 IMG_6261 IMG_6262 IMG_6264 IMG_6265 IMG_6291 IMG_6266 IMG_6268 IMG_6270 IMG_6272 IMG_6281 IMG_6284 IMG_6290 IMG_6272 IMG_6275 IMG_6280And then Thing 2 and I went to the grocery store.

I spent $71.83, and I came home with five bags.

Wait until I tell the boy.

Y’all have a good Wednesday evening.