The End Of Summer Vacation ’16

Today was our very last day of Summer Vacation.

As in, what lies ahead of us are a whole lot of PE lesson plans, and me standing outside, doing afternoon recess duty amidst the arguments of WHOSE TURN IS IT REALLY ON THE MONKEY BARS?  There’s Advanced Placement Chemistry homework and cold lunches to pack and a bunch of “solving for x” business in Algebra II.  There’s more practice on the sounds the alphabet makes, even though we pretty much have that down, and I’m sure there will be a lot of glue and glitter and paint coming home on big sheets of paper, for me to tape to our refrigerator door.  There will be me, hoping to find something that requires two ingredients and three minutes to make for dinners.  There will be the boy, hoping to knock some strokes off his golf score, as he goes to practice every afternoon.  There will be Thing 2, hoping that he scores the water table center at preschool every morning.  We’re looking 7:00 bedtimes in the face.  We’re looking online, trying to find the boy some jeans that will fit him, for when the temperature finally drops.  We’re looking at the crockpot in the pantry, knowing that it’s time to pull that thing off the shelves and put her back on full-time dinner duty.

In other words…

… tomorrow we all go back to school.

(*enormous sigh heaved*)

(*from the mother*)

(*the mother who may have enjoyed her summer every bit as much as her boys did*)

Thing 2 celebrated our Last Day of Summer Vacation (LDSV) by getting up at 5:15 this morning.  I could barely function, seeing as how Hubs and I discovered some sitcom on Netflix about the very last man on the earth, who manages to find the very last woman on the earth.  As it turned out, she corrects his grammar at every turn and makes him stop at all the stop signs, even though they’re the only people in the entire world who are out driving.  We laughed until our sides hurt, and then I looked at the clock to see that it was already 11:10.

I had no idea that there even WAS an 11:10 PM.

And then I was up at 5:15 this morning, with the preschooler.

Bless.

The rest of the day was celebrated by laying hands on the laundry and getting that done, and picking up two-point-nine million toy tractors and Matchbox cars off of our floors and making beds and stopping at the grocery store and unloading the dishwasher and reloading the dishwasher and watering the outdoor flowerpots.

In other words, it was exactly like a party around here.

This last weekend, though, we really DID have a party.  Cousin K is on the brink of being eleven, as his birthday is later this week.  Sister decided to celebrate the event before everyone went back to school and had to start suffering through early bedtimes.

Not that I EVER suffer through early bedtimes.  Nope.  I embrace early bedtimes with giant bear hugs, and pat those early bedtimes tenderly and say, “How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways!”

But the kids?  Yes.  The kids protest and suffer through the early bedtimes, come the end of August.  Their parents have to learn responsibilities, like brushing teeth and putting on jammies at 7:00 once again, rather than doing the bedtime routine at 9:30, after they have sat on the deck, sipping wine and watching kids blow through the dirt in the dark, with shrieks of joy.

Since Cousin K wanted a birthday party that included GLOW IN THE DARK TAG, it was best to get that done before he had to head off to the 5th grade this week.  So, on Friday night, we celebrated K turning eleven.

IMG_2198 IMG_2182 IMG_2189 IMG_2196 IMG_2186 IMG_2200 IMG_2199 IMG_2193 IMG_2197 IMG_2187 IMG_2195 IMG_2246 IMG_2233 IMG_2236 IMG_2228 IMG_2229 IMG_2231 IMG_2235 IMG_2234 IMG_2239 IMG_2241 IMG_2247After the ice cream cake had been devoured and the wrapping paper had been shredded, the kids headed outside for tag games.

I’m fairly certain that Thing 2 ran the equivalent of a full marathon.  I’m also fairly certain that he set his personal best for a marathon time, too.

IMG_2204 IMG_2205 IMG_2207 IMG_2220The kids could hardly wait for the sun to go down.  Most of them dressed in dark sweatshirts, so that they could roam the backyard in the dark without being easily detected in Tag Warfare.

And then Sister brought out the glow necklaces and the glow bracelets and the glow sticks.  The kids adorned themselves like they were Vegas performers and it was time for their big show.  They all sparkled and glowed, and their spirits were drunk on excitement.

IMG_2222 IMG_2227 IMG_7484 IMG_7488I would’ve taken more pictures of all the post-dark fun, but there’s this little commonly-known fact that I really have no idea how to actually WORK my camera.  Every shot I managed to catch after the sun sunk below the horizon turned out blurry and worthy of being deleted, to free up more room on my memory card.

You’ll just have to believe me when I say, without any photographic evidence, that the glow in the dark tag games were an enormous success.  The children filled bucket after bucket with SWEAT.  They ran and they ran.  They ran and they ran some more.  And then, when the grownups didn’t think any of them could possibly run another step, they proved us wrong, and they ran and ran again.

Their after-dark workouts shamed us moms, who sat in lawn chairs, wrapped in sweatshirts and blankets, burning only the calories necessary for nonstop talking.

By 9:30, we took our exhausted kids home, because that’s what responsible parents do…

… on SUMMER HOURS.

Bedtimes after 9:30 are perfectly acceptable, even in the homes of responsible mothers, when the calendar still reads SUMMER VACATION.

On Saturday, Hubs and I practiced even more grownup responsibility by cleaning our fish aquarium.

Do you know how beautiful an aquarium can be?  How crystal clear the water is, and how lush the plant life inside the tank looks?

That was NOT our fish tank.

Our fish tank looked like Shrek’s swamp water.

Yep.  Here’s the BEFORE PICTURE of what our family’s fish aquarium looked like, minus all the BRIGHT GREEN, as we were under the influence of DINGY BROWN.

Honey_Island_Swamp,_Louisiana_(paulmannix)We were pretty sure we had THREE fish in the tank, but we couldn’t be certain, because no one could actually SEE the fish any more.

122Mam came over to lend her hand at removing the scarlet letter of Dirty Fish Tank Shame from around our necks.

By Saturday afternoon, THIS is what we had:

IMG_7503Yes!  We still had three fish!!  And they survived their adjustment from swamp water to fresh, crystal-clear water.

Cat 1 strolled past the tank on Saturday afternoon and stopped dead in her tracks.  She hollered out, “Hey!  When did we GET FISH?!  I thought that was a glass box full of mud up there!”

On Saturday evening, after the boy was home from working an eight-hour shift at the golf course, we went out to Small Mountain Town, to have dinner with the cousins at Grammy and Papa’s house.

Thing 2 skipped dinner altogether.  He couldn’t be bothered with barbecued ribs and brisket and baked beans, because there was a riding lawn mower and trailer in the yard.  He sweet-talked Cousin W into getting the Yard Work Party started.

The two of them drove to Northern Canada and back.

IMG_2248 IMG_2255 IMG_2270 IMG_2268They collected pine cones and pine needles in the trailer.

They mowed the yard.

They drove through an entire tank of gas.

Meanwhile, there were kids who weren’t doing REAL AND LEGITIMATE WORK for Grammy and Papa.  These kids are called THE SLACKERS, as they contributed zero-point-zero hours of manual labor toward sprucing up the lawn.

Instead, they played volleyball over the clothesline.  Our kids don’t need real volleyball nets.  Our kids adapt to their environments.

IMG_2251 IMG_2267 IMG_2260 IMG_2253 IMG_2262 IMG_2275 IMG_2258 IMG_2277 IMG_2288 IMG_2290 IMG_2284 IMG_2300 IMG_2308 IMG_2292 IMG_2287 IMG_2285 IMG_2307The boy and I reffed, as Cousin B (the boy’s partner in crime in being A SOPHOMORE) took on the junior high girls in a rowdy game of OVER THE CLOTHESLINE VOLLEYBALL.

I awarded EVERY point to the girls when I reffed.

The boy awarded every point to Cousin B.

In other words, it was a very BY THE RULES sort of game.

IMG_2311 IMG_2305 IMG_2314Cousin R let the big boys know exactly how she felt about their volleyball skills and their reffing abilities.

I think she was pretty much SPOT-ON with how she called things.

IMG_2263They’re a pretty noisy and rambunctious group, but we kind of like our pack of children.

IMG_2318 IMG_2281 IMG_2283 IMG_7492On Sunday, there was church.

And then, while Thing 2 went grocery shopping with Mam and Pa… and while the boy was at work… and while Hubs took a real NAP… I watched some riveting videos for work on Blood Borne Pathogens, Sanitation in the School Workplace and Fire Safety.

Go ahead.

Ask me anything about e.coli and staph.  Ask me how many fire extinguishers you need to have in your building.  Ask me how Hepatitis B is transmitted.  I passed all the online quizzes, and my Department of Family Services Video Training is done for another year.

My lesson plans are done for tomorrow, too.  Bring on the first day of school and all the PE classes!

And THAT, people, is how we wrapped up Summer Vacation ’16.  It’s over now, and we’re off to bed, because it’s 7:00.

All the bedtime responsibility starts again… NOW.

Being Kind And Brave

My serious posts are few and rather far between.  It’s because my serious writing comes hard.  I struggle for the right words, and then always wonder, “Did I say too much?  Did I say too little?  Should I have just been completely quiet?”

And the biggest worry:  “Did I even MAKE SENSE?”

Always, I feel that way.  The nonsensical writing seems to roll right out of my fingertips when I sit at the computer… kind of like a child behind the wheel of a bumper car… fast and with a lot of crashes.  But it’s there, that ridiculous writing that sometimes makes people laugh; that writing comes out so easily.

I always feel like God didn’t bless me with the ability to write serious prose.

He gave us Ann Voskamp to do that.

Anyway.

Very recently, I witnessed a pack of children in the middle of some serious play.  Lots of giggles and heads thrown back in wild laughter.  Lots of running and zipping and jumping and everything else that a pack of almost-but-not-quite middle school kids would do.

And then one of them said to the others, “Quick!  Run ahead as fast as you can, and we’ll lock this one out!”

Which is exactly what I saw unfold.  The pack ran, full force, toward a door.  They all clamored onto the opposite side of that door, and then they locked it.  When the last child finally made it there, the door admitting him entrance into the fun and the laughter was closed to him.

There were tears.

So I stood up.  I raised my voice just a bit, so that I could be heard over a closed door, and encouraged the pack behind the door to open up, and let the last one in.

The door opened.

The last one, who had been locked out, ran inside.

Later, the door opened again, and that last one was shoved back outside by little hands.  Dismissed from the pack.  Again.  The last one was back on the opposite side of the door, and it was locked once more.

The tears burst out of this child in full force.

The tears of exclusion.

And this is where my heart pretty much exploded, and I ended up barking at a child who wasn’t mine.  I seldom bark at kids who don’t belong to me.  My own boys?  Oh, yes!  They’re going to get a good barking-at and growling-at when they cross lines, but usually I am quite good at practicing ALL THE PATIENCE IN THE WORLD with children who don’t belong to me, in all of the cases.  But on this night, the leader of the pack got to hear me give a heated, one-sentence lecture on just how much I didn’t approve of what had just shaken down.

And then it was over.

But I can’t quit thinking about it, because listen:  Isn’t this exactly our human nature?  To judge people and say, “You don’t meet the expectations we have for you, so you may not hang out with us.”

Shutting a door like this lets the person on the other side clearly know, “You do not live up to my standards.”  And as we sit on the opposite side of the locked door, bolstered by the comfort of having those around us who DO meet our standards, we mentally encourage the outsider to go forth and find somewhere else to be.

Somewhere else, far away from our door.

Thankfully, this isn’t how Jesus sees us.

He doesn’t care that we actually can’t meet His expectations of us.  He just throws the door open, grabs us by the hand, and pulls us right on into the room with Him.  He just accepts us, with all of our differences and labeled levels of worth, that don’t always meet the levels that people around us set.

He tells us, “You are enough.  You are enough for Me.”

I don’t say this to condemn the pack of kids.  I say this because I realized that I’ve been on the wrong side of the door too many times… and the wrong side of that door is the one that’s on THE INSIDE… where I do the DOOR-CLOSING routine.  Not long ago, Hubs was talking about a guy he knows quite well, and I had to say, “Yes… I do like HIM.  But his wife?  Oh, Hubs!  She’s so weird!  I just have no desire to even be around her!”

Boom.

There’s a closed door.

She doesn’t live up to the standards that I’ve set for people I want to be with.  Never mind the idea that I should get to KNOW HER BETTER… or the idea that I should be THOUGHTFUL ENOUGH TO INCLUDE HER WHEN A GROUP OF GIRLFRIENDS GETS TOGETHER.  She just rubs me the wrong way (never mind that I don’t even know her that well), and it’s so much easier to close a door on her and forget all about her, than it is to widen my standards and consider that not everyone needs to be JUST LIKE ME, in order to be included.

But Jesus?  Yeah… I’m fairly certain that He would push the door open to her, and that He’d have a table all set up, with mugs of hot coffee already poured for the two of them.

Anyway.

I’m as guilty of closing doors that need to be open as this little group of kids did to one of their own.  This weekend, I came across a blog article that sums up what I’m trying to say here tonight a lot better than I’ve managed to say it.  It just talks about how the mom encourages her boy to be kind and brave.  The author says, “Kind people are brave people. Because brave is not a feeling that you should wait for. It is a decision. It is a decision that compassion is more important than fear, than fitting in, than following the crowd.”  The author wrote her article for the perspective of kids, but it pretty much applies to each and every single one of us, regardless of our ages.

Kind people ARE brave people, because being brave and kind really is a decision, instead of a feeling.

You can click RIGHT HERE to read what the author (Glennon Doyle Melton) wrote.

I know my prayer for my boys is that they will both always be kind and brave, filled with compassion for others, and that they will never know what it means to be ON EITHER SIDE of a door that has deliberately been shut, between two groups of people… that they will neither be the shutters or the shut-outs.

I just pray for genuine bravery in my boys, that they will always show compassion in excess, in the middle of the fear of fitting in.

This Is A Two-Traeger Household

Last Friday night, we went to a fundraiser for a friend here in town who has cancer.  It was a spaghetti dinner, with an auction afterward.

I went out to our church early and sliced three million loaves of French bread.  And then I used giant, space-age-looking bags filled with orange syrup to make punch.  The object was to pour one pitcher of orange syrup out of the foil bags, and add five pitchers of water in the giant coolers.

I poured one pitcher of orange syrup into the cooler and added five pitchers of water like a rock star.  I OWNED that job.

And then I poured the second pitcher of orange syrup right down the front of my T-shirt and onto the counter and the floor and the girl standing next to me.

This is exactly how you make good friends in life.

It’s how I roll.

After I’d finally managed to make one and a half giant coolers of punch (instead of two, because WHY ARE WE SUDDENLY SHORT SO MUCH SYRUP???), I was entrusted with the task of cutting up cake to put on dessert plates.

I’m not sure if that was a demotion or not, but my hands were so sticky from the orange syrup that refused to wash off with regular water, I stuck to everything.

Anyway.

That’s just a small glimpse into how life actually IS for me.

And then there’s the boy.

On the sidelines of the auction, there was a raffle going on for a portable Traeger barbecue grill, that was valued at $300.  Tickets were five dollars each, and all of the proceeds from this raffle (along with the money earned from the dinner and the other auction items) were going straight to our friend, who could sure benefit from some financial help for medical expenses.

(She could also benefit from your prayers, if you’d like to pray for her.  Her name is Kayleen, and she has cancer in a whole lot of places.  We’re praying for Jesus to show off and give her the lovely miracle of a clean bill of health.)

It’s no secret that Hubs is a professional griller with his Traeger.  We have given up eating steaks at fancy restaurants, which come with real linen napkins and no playlands with dropped French fries on the floor, because Hubs can grill a steak better than anywhere in our neck of the woods can.

For reals.

I’m not even kidding.

Hubs and I both had chicken fried chicken, with gravy, at a posh little restaurant not long ago, because… well... it’s not even a TREAT for us to order a steak at a spot like that.  Because good steaks?  Yeah, we get a lot of those at home.

The boy and Hubs decided that it would be awesome to win this portable Traeger through the raffle, because really?  ARE TWO TRAEGER GRILLS ON YOUR DECK EVER TOO MUCH?  So, the boy… who has been working long days all summer long at the golf course… marched up to the table selling the tickets and bought one for $5.

And then, without batting an eye, that boy of ours, whose heart is lovely and pure and good, said he’d take three more raffle tickets, because he figured if giving five dollars toward Kayleen’s medical expenses was good, giving twenty bucks would be even better.  So he bought four raffle tickets, with his very own money.

I can imagine you already know where this is going.

Whereas I was the princess in the kitchen who spilled enough orange syrup down the front of her to make three hundred Styrofoam cups filled with punch, the boy, in his Ralph Lauren shirt and his fancy, BUT VERY UGLY, golf hat, won the Traeger grill, when his ticket was pulled out of the bowl containing three-point-four million OTHER tickets.

Oh, yes.  He did.  HE WON THE PORTABLE TRAEGER.

Which means we now have a little Traeger community sitting on our deck.

TraegerMeanwhile, the boy’s younger brother was very busy DANCING TO THE AUCTIONEER.

Yes.  I just said DANCING TO THE AUCTIONEER.

Our younger son DANCED to the sing-song, fast talk of the auctioneer.  At one point, he even ran up to me and said, “I’ve never heard this guy’s song before; I don’t really know how to dance to his music.”

I don’t really know how to dance to the words of an auctioneer either.

And apparently I can’t make orange punch.

Come, 2016 – 2017 School Year! I Am Ready For You!

Well.

My PE schedule for this upcoming school year is set in stone.

Except the exact opposite of that, because let’s face it:  The first day of school is going to run next Tuesday, and we’re going to need to make adjustments, because there are ALWAYS adjustments to be made when you’re running the real drill, and not just the ON PAPER drill.  The only big glitch that we found in my original schedule is that our principal had the 1st graders coming into my gym at 10:51 in the mornings, while the 2nd graders weren’t leaving until 10:59.

(I know.)

(We’re so precise with the minutes at our little private school!)

(It’s what sets us apart from the common public schools, who say things like “10:45″ and “11:00.”)

Ultimately, this created eight entire minutes where I would have 1st and 2nd grades overlapping, which meant DOUBLE THE CHILDREN running wild, screaming loudly and throwing random basketballs all over the place.  There’s not enough sangria in the world to make this something that I could get through, so we adjusted things.  Those second graders will still leave at 10:59, but the first graders are now set to arrive at 11:02.

Because every minute matters.

So, my PE classes are now all scheduled beautifully, and let’s face it:  I could walk in and teach tomorrow, because I have zero bulletin boards to get ready and zero desks to move back in after my carpets were shampooed over the summer… because I have no carpet.  A few motivational posters on the gym walls (“Great Success Takes Time,” and “Be Nice To Everyone,” and “Being Challenged In Life Is Inevitable; Being Defeated Is Optional“), and BOOM.

I’m good to go.

Meanwhile, all the classroom teachers are frantically moving desks and filing cabinets and round tables and extra chairs, all of which have been piled in the school’s hallways during the end-of-the-summer carpet-cleaning-spree, done by our maintenance staff.  They’re organizing books and making Word Walls and putting bulletin boards up, and listen:

They could have all chosen to be a PE teacher.

Meanwhile, the soccer balls and rubber playground balls and hula hoops and jump ropes are all neatly stored in my supply closet, where I left them last May, my gym floor has been polished to a shine over the summer, and I’ve got motivational posters on the walls, right beside all the banners that say how much better our school is than yours is, because we won state basketball in this year and that year, and that year, and that year, and these thirty-six years.

In other words, I’m ready.

I always hate to see summer break end, because not knowing what day of the week we’re on is flat-out wonderful, but then…

… I get back into the building with the rest of our staff, who are all fantastically fun people…

… and we laugh like hyenas and argue over who is going to get stuck doing lunch room duty…

… and then suddenly I’m just READY to go back.

Remind me about this in early November, when we’re crossing days off the calendar, in anticipation of WHEN WILL CHRISTMAS BREAK EVEN GET HERE?!

So yes, Summer.  You’ve been fun.  You’ve given us some great days and some dirty floors, and I have pink streaks growing on the inside of my toilet, because I’ve been too busy doing nothing to take care of them, but it’s now time to get back to a real schedule, with my PE whistle in my hand.

And it helps a whole lot that I just have recess duty, and NO CAFETERIA DUTY!!

Because we may have won a lot of state basketball championships at our school, but we are too small to have permanent playground monitors.  No, ma’am.  We teachers do all the extra duties ourselves.

And I won’t be slinging the mop over the spilled cartons of milk on the lunchroom floor, so I’m already chalking this year up to a total win.

Pool Time

This is our last week of summer vacation.

And really, my summer vacation is pretty much all the way to the finish line of OVER, because I have back-to-school meetings and CPR training and Meet-The-Teachers Night with a school picnic chaser this week.  Basically, TODAY was my last day of summer break, because Tuesday through Friday, I’ll be refreshing myself on chest compressions and how to clean up nosebleeds, and sitting around a lunchroom table with tiny stools, trying to hash out a working schedule for THESE KIDS GO TO PE AT 11:00, WHILE THESE KIDS ARE IN ART, and then WHO IS GOING TO TAKE THIS RECESS DUTY AT 1:45, and CAN YOU PICK THESE KIDS UP FROM MUSIC, BECAUSE THEY GO STRAIGHT FROM SINGING TO YOUR GYM CLASS.

Anyway.

Today was one of those days when I woke up and pretty much knew in the depths of my heart that absolutely nothing substantial was going to get done around the house.  I had no ambition to do anything except sit on our deck in the sunshine and read a book.  I didn’t even wash my hair today, as I prepared to be a sloth early on.  My hair ended up being a messy bun that was held together with a whole lot of dry shampoo, hairspray and broken dreams.

And then I changed the sheets on our bed, did a load of laundry, watered flowers, cleaned out the fridge, scrubbed the kitchen down, and got an entire, heaping cartload of groceries, while I was adorned with A FULL HEAD OF BAD HAIR, because we were down to ketchup and mustard in the refrigerator, along with an overripe tomato.

Without groceries, it would’ve been low-carb, meat-free hamburgers for dinner tonight, as we squirted condiments on bruised slices of a single tomato.  The upswing to that, though, would’ve been NO DISHES TO CLEAN UP.

But… back when summer was a little more in full swing without the first day of school breathing like a rabid badger down the backs of our necks (which was a couple of weeks ago), Thing 2 and I hopped over to a friend’s house for some pool time.

The pool time basically involved the kids playing in the swimming pool, while my friend and I sat in lawn chairs, playing lifeguards and sipping red Kool-Aide.

Yes.

Real, live, bright-red Kool-Aide.

I hadn’t been blessed with a glass of the stuff in DECADES, until my beloved friend whipped it out, over ice, and lo!  The unhurried, lazy days of my childhood summers on a banana bike suddenly popped right back up on me.

I grew up on Little House on the Prairie and red Kool-Aide.

Of course I took a few snapshots of Thing 2 splashing around in the pool, because WHY WOULDN’T I?

1248 IMG_1245 IMG_1247 Untitled1 Untitled2 Untitled3 Untitled4 Untitled5 Untitled6 Untitled7 Untitled8 Untitled9 Untitled10 Untitled11 Untitled12 Untitled13We also quickly learned that Thing 2 has zero-point-zero finesse and skill when it comes to snorkeling.

As in, without an attentive lifeguard on duty, Thing 2 may have drank the entire pool through the snorkel and needed CPR.

(Thankfully, my CPR certificate is still legitimate and not expired, but it’ll be good to refresh that this week in a nice, six-hour workshop.)

Untitled14 Untitled15 Untitled16 Untitled17 Untitled18 Untitled19And then, when he was soaking wet in a sopping pair of swim trunks, Thing 2 jumped out of our friends’ pool…

… and rolled around in their sandbox.

In other words, half of their sandbox came home with us in my Suburban.

And THAT, along with a cold glass of red Kool-Aide, is really what summer break is all about.

Our Boys And All Their Teeth

Clear back in June, when summer was fresh and there were no school supplies being pushed at Walmart, Thing 2 had a dentist appointment.  He got his teeth cleaned, and he had X-rays, and he earned himself a new toothbrush and a giant balloon that he popped four minutes after we got home.

But… before the balloon-popping happened… the dentist came to visit with me.  He said, “Thing 2 has the mouth of a kindergartner.”

I won’t lie.  The adrenaline sort of shot through all of my limbs and nearly exploded the top of my head off in horrid EMBARRASSMENT, because I THOUGHT that beloved pediatric dentist was going to finish his sentence by saying, “Thing 2 has the mouth of a sailor.”

Bless our younger son and his ability to throw down some smack talk.

Apparently, Little Man already has permanent teeth that are pushing against the baby teeth, which have caused the roots of the baby teeth to dissolve, in preparation for them to fall out.  I was shocked.  Our boy is only four years old.  The dentist told me that this sometimes happens… that it’s not unheard of for preschoolers to start dropping their baby teeth and having those giant, adult teeth come right in.

That dentist told us, “Expect to lose a tooth… or two… this summer!”

This summer?!

I went home in denial.  Suddenly, those baby teeth were so precious!  I wasn’t emotionally ready for them to fall out and mark our move into being a big kid.  We kept plugging through the weeks of summer, hanging on tightly to those little tiny teeth, until two nights ago, when Thing 2 yelled from his bedroom, “MY TEETH WIGGLE!!”

And there, like a slap across the face, was the grim reality that the baby of our family is growing up.  I gently wiggled those front teeth, and yes… they were very, VERY wiggly.  Wiggly enough that the Tooth Fairy was probably in her miniature castle, polishing her coins and flexing her wings, in anticipation of braving the mean cat at our house.

So, I did what any mama with a camera would do.

I took Thing 2 out for a little photo shoot, before those baby teeth are gone.  And, because the boy was awake at 9:00 in the morning and getting ready to head to work at 10:00, I told him, “Get in the Suburban!  You’re having your pictures taken, too!”

THAT was met with a grim stare of, “Seriously, Ma?  SERIOUSLY?!”

Teenage boys are ridiculous when it comes to taking pictures, but I’ve found that bribing them with Taco Bell treats works wonders.  Thing 2 accepts bribes of bubble gum.

With the bribes in place, we were in business for a quick photo shoot to capture those baby teeth one more time.  I know I’m biased, because… well… these boys are MINE… but I THINK these snapshots turned out STINKING CUTE.

Like… stinking, STINKING cute!

IMG_1788 IMG_1798 IMG_1800 IMG_1809 IMG_1810 IMG_1813 (1) IMG_1817 IMG_1821 IMG_1824 IMG_1831 (1) IMG_1833 IMG_1841 IMG_1846 IMG_1853 IMG_1854 IMG_1857 IMG_1863 IMG_1868 IMG_1872 IMG_1876 (1) IMG_1878 IMG_1880 IMG_1882 IMG_1887 IMG_1895 IMG_1897 IMG_1898 IMG_1910 IMG_1915 IMG_1919 IMG_1926 IMG_1940 IMG_1941 IMG_1942 IMG_1950 IMG_1961 IMG_1964 IMG_1985 IMG_1991 IMG_2000 IMG_2004 IMG_2007

Jedi Mimosas May Be The Kick Start We All Need

I have never sprung for the idea of paying money to see EXACTLY WHERE people are from who stop in at my blog, because there are better things for me to spend my money on.

Starbucks, for instance.

I have a blog counter that is as stripped-down, grade-D, low-quality, and utterly simple as a blog counter can be.  In it’s effort to be NOTHING FANCY, it simply tells me WHAT COUNTRY I get hits from here at Jedi Mama.

Do you live in Small Town and read my blog?  It will tell me you came from the USA.

Do you live in Rival Town, one hundred miles down the interstate from us?  It will tell me you came from the USA.

Do you live on one of the glorious and gorgeous beaches of Nantucket?  It will tell me that you came from the USA.

Do you play hockey up north, across the border, and pop in once in a while?  My counter will say, CANADA.

And so on, and so forth.

Your identity is always safe, and I’ll never be alerted to stalkers.

BUT… where my counter fails at providing specific locations of readers, it DOES tell me what terms folks plug into the Google to find me.

This morning, someone found us here at Jedi Mama, Incorporated by doing a search for JEDI MIMOSAS.

Bless.

I may have to find one of those myself, because SURELY such a breakfast drink would help us cope around here… maybe even better than the coffee is helping us cope.

Do you want an example?  I mean, in case it’s been a while since you shared a home with a four-year-old?

I usually make Thing 2’s breakfast.  I mean, 98 out of every 100 days, his breakfast-making falls on my shoulders.  It’s because we are creatures of habit and routine, and the timing of his morning meal coincides with Hubs’ shower.

It’s difficult to make breakfast while you’re lathering, rinsing and repeating.

I feel like I should be clear here, because I am a parenting failure when it comes to breakfast.  My boys are NOT living the breakfast dream over here, like I did when I was their age.  My mom felt that she was doing her family a disservice without sending us off into the world each  morning with homemade pancakes, from-scratch waffles, hot French toast, biscuits, fried eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, fresh fruit, bacon, sausage patties, sausage links, turkey burger, toast, oatmeal with raisins, bagels with cream cheese, eggs and bacon stuffed into an English muffin, blueberry muffins, apple strudel muffins, banana bread, homemade coffee cake, breakfast burritos, fresh cinnamon rolls, juice and milk.  Sister and I had to BEG for mornings free of a seven-course breakfast, when we could have a giant bowl of Froot Loops and dig around in the box for the prized and coveted toy.

Although Thing 2 doesn’t know what kind of gloriously wonderful breakfasts he is missing out on with me as his mother, the boy DOES KNOW.  And he informs me all the time that he might just run away to live with Mam and all of her breakfast love.

For breakfasts at our house, our boys have protein shakes, which I blend in the Magic Bullet with ice and organic milk.  I feel like this is a solid win of nutritional goodness.  I pay enormous dollars for those big tubs of raw protein powder, and I feel like they fuel my boys nicely.

They can also choose cold cereal, oatmeal, fruit or toast.

See?

My boys live lives under primitive circumstances, and are in desperate need.

This morning, our schedule was different, in the sense that Hubs was up and showered before Thing 2 was up, so he ended up making the breakfast, while I was showering.

He asked me what he should make for our preschooler.

I referred him to the same breakfast menu we have had in this house for our entire twenty-one years of marriage.

Protein shake.  Cold cereal.  Oatmeal.  Fruit.  Toast.

Hubs made Thing 2 toast.  He buttered it, and he cut it into forty-seven tiny squares, just like Thing 2 requests.   And then Hubs left for work.

A few minutes later, I noticed that half of Thing 2’s forty-seven tiny squares of toast were sitting on my desk, while the other half of those squares were still on his plate, getting his utmost attention.  He was devouring them with gusto and fervor.

“What’s wrong with these pieces of toast on my desk?” I asked.

“Oh… Daddy didn’t butter those right.”

“How did he butter them?  They look like they have butter on them.  They’re fine.”

“No, they’re NOT fine.  The butter is all smeared weird on them.  I don’t like butter smeared weird.  I don’t want to eat those pieces.”

“But they HAVE butter on them.  You LIKE butter now.”

“I don’t like butter that’s smeared weird, and those pieces are full of weird butter.  It’s smeared ALL WRONG.  I don’t want to eat those pieces.”

“These chunks of toast ARE FINE!”

“They’re not, Mom!  They’re NOT fine!  Look at how weird they look!  I don’t want them!  I want new toast with butter that’s not weird.”

Which is exactly why a Jedi Mimosa would have come in quite handy first thing this morning.  I may have to add a new breakfast item to the standard menu for the first time in twenty-one years.