Happy Monday

Do you know how CLEAN my house would be without these two?

img_2568Seriously.

No pee on the floor around the toilets.  No Fruity Pebbles dried and cemented to the sides of the kitchen sink.   No Lego minefields, waiting for unsuspecting adults to step on them.  No dirty dishes hiding out in a bedroom.  No dirty clothes hiding everywhere, from beneath beds to beneath the sofa in the living room.  No empty boxes in the pantry.  No empty milk jugs in the refrigerator.

Oh.

And it would probably be a very BORING house, because these two add a lot of excitement to things.  I kind of like them, even though they both headed to school this morning and left me with a long list of chores that needed to be done.  I only whined and complained for a little while that I wasn’t Carol Brady and that I didn’t have an Alice whipping through my bright orange kitchen with a feather duster, a laundry basket, and something to shove into the oven for supper.

Anyway.

Our weekend is over, as tends to be the case when it’s Monday.

On Thursday — Yes!  Clear back on Thursday! — Thing 2 had an appointment to get his curls cut off.  I do love the curls, but we constantly deal with sand and grit and dried leaves and leftover green beans and small woodland creatures in that small boy’s hair every evening, so it was just time to buzz it all off and make life easier.

And by easier, I mean we were going to get rid of that part in our days, where it’s bedtime and I tell Thing 2, “Go out on the deck and bend your head down, so that we can shake the stuff out of your hair.”

I took the boys out to take a few snapshots of them, just to commemorate that time we actually GREW THE CURLS OUT, and because the boy is looking so grownup these days, my heart can hardly take it.

img_2424 img_2450 img_2523blogAfter a few snapshots, I took Thing 2 down to the salon, so that he could sit in our beloved hair stylist’s twirly chair.  He was excited, because Lisa always gives him a sucker while she trims him up.

And that’s when I realized that I was going to need a paper bag to breathe in and out of, because I COULDN’T PART WITH THE CURLS!  I just couldn’t.  I told Lisa, “Listen.  I’m not emotionally prepared to do this today.  I have to go.  I can’t cut the curls off.”

Thing 2 burst into tears, as he yelled, “But I wanted a sucker!!”

Lisa gave him a sucker, and then she admitted to me, “Those curls are so cute, I would’ve had a hard time actually cutting them today!”

So we came home.  I’m fairly certain Thing 2 wondered if everyone his age had a crazy mother, or whether it was just him.

On Friday night, Hubs and I met two other couples who are good friends of ours at a posh little hot spot in the heart of the city, right in the middle of a rainstorm.  Our dinner was incredibly delicious, and I ordered the key lime martini.  What you need to know about the key lime martini at this place is that it tastes like a smooth dessert in a glass.  At the bottom of the glass, I could probably find enough courage to stand up on our dinner table and sing something for the other restaurant guests.

It’s why I always drink exactly HALF of the key lime martini when I order it, which is really getting my money’s worth out of that pricey little beverage.  I’m too afraid to wake up the next morning and see all over Facebook that I belted out the lyrics to old John Denver tunes, while I used a spoon for a microphone.

We laughed our heads off at dinner and had absolutely THE VERY BEST TIME.  We were having so much fun, in fact, that Hubs and I actually stayed out until the very UNHOLY HOUR of 8 PM.

I know… I know.  It was exactly like we had channeled our inner college selves and decided to party like it was 1999.

On Saturday, it poured buckets and buckets of rain.

Literally, BUCKETS.  I don’t think that it ever quit raining on Saturday.  The sky was dark, the house was freezing cold, and it was the perfect time to sleep in.

Thing 2 got up at 5:20 Saturday morning.  Bless him.  There weren’t enough convincing words in the English language to get him to go back to sleep, so we were up, watching The Good Dinosaur together on the TV, while I sipped a cup of hot coffee and pretended that it was really 9:00 in the morning, and that I wasn’t envious of Hubs and the boy, who were sleeping in.

And then, the weekend became beautiful, because Hubs got up and let me go back to bed at 7:30.  I pounced on that chance like a homeless rat who has just discovered a half-eaten bag of pretzels.  I blacked out.  I slept the sleep of anesthesia-induced surgeries.  I buried myself deep into the blankets in that rain-darkened bedroom, and the very next thing I knew…

… it was 10:10 in the morning.

I guess if you’re going to party like a college kid and stay out until 8 PM, you’re going to need to sleep half the day away to recover.

The rest of our Saturday involved lying on the sofa, while the rain came down outside and the thunder clashed.  I only managed to see The Good Dinosaur three more times on Saturday, even though I was hoping to get a fourth viewing in.

By dinner time, it was apparent that my peeps were hungry, as they began to roam the house, wondering what was going to magically come out of the oven, all hot and tasty on such a cold, drizzly day.

I guess they forgot who they were dealing with.

We have a DRIVING CHILD now, which means I gave him some dollar bills, and he drove himself to Taco Bell, where he ordered a giant box of hard-shell tacos for his family’s dinner.

The driving teenager is a luxury, I’m telling you.

On Sunday, the clouds broke up.  We had brilliantly-gorgeous sunshine for church.

Afterward, I threw all the laundry-doing and the grocery-fetching under the bus.  I recruited Hubs and the boy to HELP CLEAN THE BATHROOMS!  JUST THE BATHROOMS, GUYS!  PLEASE!  LET THIS BE THE DAY WE GET RID OF THE MOLD IN OUR TOILET BOWLS, AS WE HEAR THE ANGELS REJOICE.

We cleaned the two bathrooms, from top to bottom.

And then, my mom and I took Thing 2 to a couple of different parks to play on that gorgeous fall afternoon.  Hubs got to stay home and watch an uninterrupted Broncos football game, while the boy got to stay home and do homework.

Sometimes life isn’t fair when you’re sixteen.

As far as the lost tooth from yesterday goes, Thing 2 woke up this morning, wondering if the Tooth Fairy had visited him overnight.  His bedroom was VERY DARK, as tends to happen when you wake up at a time that’s still considered by the sane world to be THE MIDDLE OF THE STINKING NIGHT.  Because he’s rather brilliant, the kid grabbed his light-up cowboy boots.  He smacked one boot as hard as he could against the floor, causing the blue lights to pop on and blink for a few seconds.  And… using his COWBOY BOOT AS A FLASHLIGHT… Thing 2 searched his bed and came up a winner!  The Tooth Fairy had left him a miniature car wash that was just big enough to hold one Matchbox car.  He threw the make-shift cowboy-boot-flashlight aside and hollered, “I LOVE THE TOOTH FAIRY!!!!”

Apparently, Matchbox cars trump money in his world.  Matchbox cars definitely trump the price of an MRI, to find the exact location of the coins he would’ve put into his mouth and swallowed, too.  Those are the drawbacks of preschoolers losing teeth!

And THAT, folks, was our weekend.

He’s A Big Kid Now

Well…

… THIS just happened…

img_2577We knew that it was coming.  We did.  We knew because the dentist told us at his checkup back in June, “So… his adult teeth on the bottom are THISCLOSE to popping through the gums; you’ll be losing a tooth this summer.”

We proved that man DEAD WRONG, because that little bottom tooth hung on until September 25th, which… technically… is fall.

Fall, y’all.  We lost that tooth in the season of sweatshirts and yellow leaves and football and soups in the crockpot and pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks.

img_2576That little tooth there in the front, right down there on the bottom, was so incredibly loose, it was laying sideways.  Hubs and I guessed that it was held into place by luck and bubblegum.  Really, we can’t believe it stayed in as long as it did, but Mama was really hoping that the little stinker would make it until he turned five before he lost his first tooth.

Five seems like such an acceptable age to have the Tooth Fairy stop by, while FOUR AND A HALF seems a little young.

Okay!!  I’ll admit it!!  It seems a WHOLE LOT YOUNG for losing teeth, and this is not what I signed up for with the baby of the family.  What I signed up for with the baby is for him to be a baby a little longer.  I think it’s how all mothers feel about their very last baby.

When they lose teeth at four and a half, they start driving at seven.  I know how this GROWING UP STUFF works.

img_2579No matter.  The adult tooth is already halfway in, so it was time.  We were playing at a park this afternoon, when Thing 2 yelled down from the top of the slide, in his very prominent OUTDOOR VOICE, “Hey, Mom!  My tooth is gone!”  And, sure enough, it was.  Of course, this sent me into a frenzied search, looking for that tooth at the park… in the sand… where there are approximately four hundred trillion-gajillion miniature white rocks that look like TEETH.

I’m sorry to disappoint the Tooth Fairy, but we are missing the tooth.

Okay… I lied again.  It’s not the fairy I’m worried about disappointing.  It’s ME.  It’s me, because I’m sentimental and WE DON’T HAVE THE FIRST BABY TOOTH HE EVER LOST TO SHOVE IN A JAR AND SAVE UNTIL IT DECOMPOSES INTO WHITE DUST.  The honest truth is that I still have the jar with EVERY!! SINGLE!! ONE!! of the baby teeth that the boy ever lost.  We found it this summer, while we were cleaning his walk-in closet.  The boy and I opened the lid, and GROSS.  There were a bunch of crumbling little baby teeth.

Why do parents hang onto these things?

And why do their hearts ache with genuine pain when the first tooth is LOST and will never make it into the jar?

img_2582Anyway.

He’s four and a half.  And he’s missing a tooth.

And, in all honesty, the other little front tooth on the bottom is so wiggly, I’m placing bets that it won’t last another two weeks.

He’s a big kid now.

Soup On The Wrong Night

I know.

The corporate office here at Jedi Mama, Inc. has been a little quiet lately.  I have had a week where I didn’t feel incredibly fantastic, the boys have both had tremendously busy schedules the last few days, and the laundry will not stop piling up.  I swear, it goes into our walk-in closet to breed and reproduce, so that a family of four’s laundry pile faces the washing machine as a family of twenty-seven’s.

So today I’ll leave you with a chunk of writing that I did three years ago, when the director of a Christian mom’s group asked me to whip something out for their blog.  The topic was being obedient to God’s call.  This has been on my mind a lot lately… being obedient to what God asks us to do, even when what He asks you to do doesn’t fall within the boundaries of your comfort zone.  The truth of the matter is that I’ve decided if I feel like something needs done that I AM NOT comfortable with doing… it’s probably God giving me a little push from behind.

Anyway.

This is the simple retelling of how I chose to ignore a request of God over something as trivial (in my mind) as cooking a meal…

*  *  *  *  *

The Bible is full of regular, everyday folks who heard the voice of God. They were usually quite busy, going about their everyday jobs like keeping wolves from eating their sheep, when God would single them out and say something profound that would end up being historical.

“Old age isnʼt an excuse, Noah. Get down to the local hardware store, because you really need to build this giant boat. If you Google the weather, youʼll see itʼs about to change.”

Those who were faithful and righteous were usually quick in their obedience, too.

My friend, Katie, hears God speak quite often. She once told me that the Lord had encouraged her to go on ahead and lay herself off work. As in, she was quite certain that her friend, Jesus, said, “Tell your boss youʼre laying yourself off from the company, and that you wonʼt be taking a paycheck from them any longer, while the company is struggling with some things.” Katie, being one who is quiet enough to know when itʼs the Lord speaking to her and when itʼs just a pesky mosquito buzzing in her ear, did just this. I was stunned. I would have argued relentlessly with Jesus and said, “Seriously? Lay myself off? Because you know thereʼs this thing called a mortgage, right? And you might not have to pay those in Heaven, but I have to pay it right now, and WHERE WILL THE MONEY FOR STARBUCKS COME FROM?” Iʼd like to say that my first instinct would have been faithful obedience, but I know myself. My first instinct would be to fight what I thought couldn’t be right.

Katie laid herself off work. She obeyed what she knew to be the voice of God.  In the end, Jesus showed off a little bit and worked everything out for the better. Things didnʼt go back to how they WERE before Katie obeyed – things catapulted themselves into being even better than they had been.

Even.  Better.

Thatʼs kind of Jesusʼ MO. His Method of Operation. How He does things.

But your heart has to be still enough to hear Him speak, and you have to understand that sometimes He asks people to do strange things. In the book of Judges, Gideon didnʼt think he was capable of fighting a massive army with 300 soldiers, but God asked him to do it, and he did. And through Gideonʼs obedience, the Lord shone through, and a small army conquered one that was believed to be unbeatable.

A few years ago, I had a strange request made of me. Iʼd like to say that I blindly jumped to do exactly as I was called to do, but I didnʼt.

My husband and I know a family. A few years ago, they were a young married couple with a pack of very young children. They had children of every age, it seemed, running all over the place. They had a little set of twin girls, who were still in diapers, who were the cutest things ever.  They had a couple of older boys, who were doing preschool and kindergarten.  And there was a little fellow who was just learning to crawl and pull himself up against the furniture.  The husband was very outgoing and friendly. He was easy to like, his sense of humor was incredible, and he was downright friendly. Although strikingly beautiful, his wife was the exact opposite. She was hard to get to know because she didnʼt talk much. When she did talk, her conversations were usually full of judgement toward others, and how her tribe of children were so much better than everyone elseʼs children. She was rude, she was unfriendly, and frankly, I wasnʼt interested in getting to know her very well, because she was quick to present a cold shoulder towards everyone she met. She always presented the feeling that she was much better than the world around her, so she couldnʼt be bothered to befriend those beneath her.

A few years ago, they bought a house and gutted it. They took that house down to the shell. They designed a floor plan for it, and they were going to turn it into something amazing. The husband was actually quite handy in the line of carpentry and construction, so he was doing the bulk of the work himself. His wife was helping, and somehow they were managing to get it all done while little kids ran wild everywhere…. and while they were actually LIVING in the house.

On one particularly cold, winter day, I woke up and my VERY FIRST thought of the day was that I needed to take dinner to this family. The usual list of reasons for bringing dinner to someone didnʼt apply here. They hadnʼt just delivered a new baby… no one close to them had recently died… no one was sick. And yet, all day long my heart was heavy with the thought that I was supposed to take them a meal for dinner that day.

But do you know what?

I didnʼt like the wife. There.  I said it out loud.  (Or rather, I TYPED IT out loud.  I’ve confessed my sin.)  She had never shown any kind of friendliness to me, or to anyone, really. She was snooty and aloof, and I figured that sheʼd be just fine cooking dinner for her many children that evening. I didnʼt WANT to take dinner to her.

Seriously.

I DID NOT.

WANT.

TO TAKE HER DINNER.

I made a big pot of soup in the crockpot for our familyʼs supper.

Iʼd look at it often throughout the day and feel like I was supposed to load that crockpot up and deliver it to them. I just shook my head, because NO WAY.

Our family ate the soup. Even though cooking is my least favorite domestic chore, Iʼll just go on record and say that this soup was FANTASTIC! Paula Deen would have stood up and applauded me wildly for it. Martha Stewart would have put her fingers in her mouth and whistled her approval.  I’m surprised that the Pioneer Woman hasn’t called me and asked to share the recipe on her cooking show.

The temperatures dipped well below zero that night, because WINTER IN SMALL TOWN, USA.  Temperatures fall like that here.

The next morning, I woke up again thinking about this family. My first thought of that day was, “I was supposed to make them dinner last night.”

LAST.

NIGHT.

So this is what I did. I huffed around my kitchen. I slammed a few measuring cups onto my counter top. I slammed cupboard doors. And in a state of angry irritation, I remade the same pot of soup, from scratch, and tossed it into my crockpot. My husband asked what I was doing. I growled, “Iʼm making soup for THAT FAMILY!” Late that afternoon, I loaded up the hot soup, and I drove to the house that they were doing an extensive remodel on. It was a ways out of town, and I had a hard time finding it in the dark, because I only had a GENERAL IDEA as to where it was.  But… I found it.

I knocked on their door.

Their kitchen didnʼt exist. Oh, there was a spot FOR the kitchen, but no kitchen was there. They were in the process of mudding the drywall in the kitchen area, because they had ripped out the existing kitchen completely. Their new stove and refrigerator were in giant boxes in their garage. Theyʼd finished a bathroom already, and it was beautiful. The tile work was amazing, and this was where they washed their dishes — right there in that bathroom sink. There was a microwave plugged into an outlet on the floor of where the living room would be. There was a dorm-sized refrigerator plugged in across the room. They had no tile or carpet on the floor; it was just subfloors, and the kids were using markers and Crayons to decorate it.  They had beds set up, hither and yon, for that pack of little kiddos to sleep in.

The wife approached me and said, “What are you doing out on a cold night like this?”

I smiled. “I just thought maybe yʼall could use some dinner, so I brought over a big pot of soup and a loaf of French bread.”

She took the soup from me and said, “I already have chili in our crockpot for dinner tonight. I donʼt know when weʼll get to this soup, but I’ll save it in the little fridge.” She walked off, set the pot of soup on the top of a cardboard box, and picked up a crying baby.

The husband came up to me and said, “Thank you for dinner. Wow! What a surprise. Itʼs really too bad you didnʼt show up LAST NIGHT with the soup! What was it? Six degrees below zero last night? The battery in our mini van died, and I didnʼt have any way to jump it last night, and our neighbors were gone. The kids were starving. Weʼd planned to just get burgers in town last night because that tiny, college-sized refrigerator doesn’t hold much at once and it was kind of empty, but we couldnʼt GET to town.  So… we fed the kids the packages of graham crackers and saltines that we had for their snacks earlier in the day. THAT was our dinner. Crazy, huh? And then this morning, our neighbors were back. I got the mini vanʼs battery jumped, and my wife went to town to get stuff to make chili. But man! Last nightʼs dinner was slim pickings!”

Cue the feeling inside of me of being hit in the gut with a sledgehammer.

Yes, God often speaks to plain, everyday people.

People like you and me, who are no Noahs or Abrahams or Marys.

But do you know what? His work wonʼt be as easily accomplished if those regular men and women donʼt take His instructions and obey them. I have no idea what would have happened, had I showed up with a crockpot of hot soup the night before. All I know is that this family saw an ill-timed meal brought to them. It didnʼt show up when they needed it most, because I wasnʼt obedient.  In my disobedience, I blew the chance to show them Jesus at the exact right time.  Their blessing didn’t happen, because I didn’t have it in my heart to believe that God was VERY SERIOUS about me making a meal the evening before I actually did.

And if I’ve learned one thing over the years, it’s that WE BECOME BLESSED WHEN WE FIRST BLESS OTHERS.  And the other one thing that I’ve learned is that LIFE IS A LOT EASIER TO LIVE WHEN WE LET GOD LEAD US, AND WHEN WE GIVE A YES ANSWER TO WHAT HE ASKS US TO DO.

*  *  *  *  *

Y’all have a great fall weekend!

That Time I Babbled About Markers And Beth And Picnics And Groceries

It’s Monday.

(Because clearly, I always like to state the obvious.)

And, as far as Mondays go, this one has been fairly fine.  I mean, it wasn’t like last Thursday, when I picked Thing 2 up from preschool to learn that YES, and also INDEED, he had scribbled all over a friend’s face with a green marker.  The recipient of the scribbling, although freshly scrubbed up by the teacher, still showed signs of faint green streaks on his face, because sometimes the words WASHABLE MARKER are nothing but a fat lie.

I grilled Thing 2 about this, and he said, “Well… he had the blue marker and I had the green one.  And I wanted the blue one, so I asked him nicely… just like you’re supposed to do, Mom!  I tapped his shoulder and I ASKED NICELY.  And then he told me NO WAY, and he hid the blue marker under his leg, so that I couldn’t have it.  So… I wrote on his face, Mom, because I’m not a coward!”

I let Thing 2 know that scribbling on your friend’s face isn’t FIGHTING WITH HONOR.  He gasped.  “It’s not, Mom?”

“No.  Scribbling on your friend’s face is just being a stinker.”

Which probably explains why, in Walmart yesterday, he leaned over the side of our shopping cart and announced to a completely random stranger, “If you write on your friend’s face with a marker, it’s not fighting with honor.”

She stood up from examining her choices of Campbell’s Soup cans on the bottom shelf and gave us the look that you give to all the weird people in Walmart.

Bless her.

But that was Thursday, and we’ve put the incident behind us.  By Friday, Thing 2’s little friend from preschool showed no visible marks of vandalism any more, after his own sweet mama rescrubbed him in a bubble bath.

We assume he’ll also be much better about sharing blue markers these days, because Thing 2 is not to be messed with.

When Friday night rolled around, we had some options on our calendar.  Our high school girls were playing volleyball at home, and we always love to go cheer them on, clapping like lunatics as we balance bags of popcorn in our laps.  We also had some friends who were going out for hot wings and adult beverages, and hollered, “Join us!”  I took a look at the rest of our weekend on the big family kitchen wall calendar (because I am horribly old-fashioned and refuse to use my iPhone for planning my life out on) and that’s when my friendly, extroverted-introvert self decided that there were going to be very limited hours to just be at home, in our pajama bottoms.

Which is why I told Hubs that I was throwing all social events under the bus and staying home.  We put Thing 2 to bed early, and then I fired up Friday Night Lights on the Netflix.

Listen, y’all.  I know that Friday Night Lights is an old HAS BEEN show, and everyone and their sister’s cousin’s mother-in-law’s neighbor has already seen every episode, but we had seen exactly ZERO-POINT-ZERO episodes.  We were in need of a new show to watch, so boom.  FNL it was.

It panned out wonderfully… for me.

Hubs declared it something that he just couldn’t get into, and “GOOD GRIEF!  THIS IS ALMOST AS BAD AS DALLAS AND DYNASTY, and I’m going to go listen to the Small Town High boys play some football on the radio.”  I feel that this just indicates that Hubs seldom has good taste in TV drama, although he and I get along like peanut butter and good jelly when it comes to sitcoms.  We always agree on decent comedies, but apparently if Hubs is going to watch a drama, he needs explosions, rocket launchers, car chases and someone successfully escaping the clutches of the FBI when they’re in full pursuit.

Now.  I have never binge-watched a show before.  Never.  I know, I know.  The invention of Netflix has made me the minority here.  Hubs and I will watch a couple episodes of a comedy together one night, and watch two more episodes the next night, but I’ve never just flopped on the sofa and let Netflix keep playing a show, over and over and over, in one evening, but I have now joined ranks with those who have.

Friday Night Lights is now my guilty pleasure.  How have I lived this long without Coach and Tami Taylor in my life?

On Saturday, Beth Moore, my favorite Bible teacher of all time, was putting on a simulcast.  One of the church’s in town was using its access to the internet and satellites and mass technology, so that Beth could be seen on their big screen all day.  I met up with a pack of girls at this church.  We all crammed ourselves together into one long row of trouble that smelled of all sorts of delicious perfumes, and we were off to the races.

I took page after page of notes, and felt like, “Yes, this is a GOOD simulcast,” but I hadn’t hit the GREAT SIMULCAST level.  I just kept scribbling furiously, writing down all the important points Beth was making throughout the morning, and then she started talking about how our lives are a symphony before God, and how every single seat in the orchestra is always turned so that it has a direct view of the conductor.  Every musician needs to be able to see the conductor at all times.

I diligently wrote it down, nodding my head, mumbling, “Yes.  How true.”  I’m sure everyone can figure out that Beth was implying that the conductor is God, because clearly He’s the one who kind of runs the show and is in charge of everything.

And then Beth said, “If you cannot see the conductor from your seat… if there is someone or something standing in front of you so that your vision of the conductor is blocked… that someone or something WILL BECOME YOUR CONDUCTOR.  Tell that someone or something to SIT DOWN.”

And that’s when I pretty much stopped taking notes and picked my jaw right up off the floor, because MAYBE THAT LINE WAS MEANT EXACTLY FOR ME.

I felt like Beth (I call her by her first name, even though I’ve never met her before, because we ARE best friends, in my mind) was pointing directly at me through the big screen, as she said, “Did you hear me, Jedi Mama?  I said, IF SOMEONE OR SOMETHING IS BLOCKING YOUR VISION OF THE CONDUCTOR, IT WILL BECOME YOUR CONDUCTOR.  TELL THAT PERSON OR THING TO SIT DOWN, SO THAT YOU CAN SEE THE LORD!”  And then I sort of felt like everyone in the audience at this little church in Small Town, USA was staring right at me, because Beth Moore had just singled me out and barked at me about DID YOU WRITE THIS DOWN???  AND DID YOU CIRCLE IT ALL WITH YOUR PEN???

In other words, I’ve had to spend the rest of my weekend telling some things to sit down.

The simulcast was loads of fun, because… well... I shared the day with so many of my closest girlfriends.

On Saturday night, Sister’s family and our family met up at Mam and Pa’s house for a spaghetti dinner, and then we came home to more Friday Night Lights episodes.

The thing is, though, I hadn’t slept well on Friday night, so I was dead tired on Saturday night, which is when the boy announced that his teenage social life was about to happen… at 9:15.  He zipped off with the cute neighbor boy, and was under orders to be home by 11:30.

Which meant that one of the adults living at our house had to step up and be responsible and… you know… WAIT UP FOR HIM.  I’ll just go on record and state that when I announced this to Hubs, with every intention of going to bed and leaving Hubs up, Hubs actually brushed his teeth at the speed of a lightning strike and jumped into bed before I had even finished talking.

So there I was, under the influence of exhaustion, and waiting up for 11:30 to roll around.

I would now like to publicly apologize to my own mother for ever thinking that I needed a curfew past 8:30 PM when I was in high school.  I would also like to publicly apologize to her for telling her that she could just go to bed, and I’d come inside quietly and see her the following morning, because THERE WAS NO NEED FOR HER TO WAIT UP!  Clearly, these things are utter nonsense.  Mamas NEED to know that their teenagers are home.  They NEED to have all of their peeps tucked under the same roof safely, before they can go to sleep themselves, because WHAT IF SOMEONE IS DEAD, FACE-DOWN, IN A DITCH???!!!  Also…WHY MUST TEENAGERS ENJOY THE LATE EVENING HOURS AS MUCH AS THEY DO??!!  Their parents are old people now and need to take their Centrum Silver with a Metamucil cocktail and get themselves into bed before 9:00 in the evenings.

And really?  Is anyone even still reading this?  Because I feel like I’m rambling, which is totally nothing new.

On Sunday, we had church.

Afterward, we met Brian and Sarah at the park for a picnic lunch.  They brought their twin nine-year-old boys, who chased Thing 2 around and around, like monkeys chasing a weasel, and wore that small boy of ours plum dadgum out.

Glory, glory and also hallelujah.

We came home to Broncos football and a messy kitchen.  I’ll give you three guesses as to which adult watched football and which adult cleaned the kitchen at our house.

And then, I made a grocery list that included everything except motor oil and a new kitchen sink.  We went into Walmart as a family of four, but we split apart into two teams.  We ripped the giant list in half, had Thing 2 holler out, “Ready, set, GO!!!,” and we raced around the super center with two carts, grabbing what was on our lists.

We set a new speed record for the length of time it took us to fill two carts and dump $200 out of our checking account.  Thing 2 and I were on a mission to be the faster team and totally beat the boy and Hubs, but those hooligans beat us by two items.  Oh, yes.  When they found us, we still had to get CRACKERS and GATORADE, which made us the losers.  Thing 2 was a bit bent out of shape about it, until I convinced him that we would LOSE WITH HONOR, and congratulate the winning team.  That’s when he said from his cart, “Good job winning, Bubbie… but I don’t really mean it.”

It’s pretty much how we all feel when we lose.

And then, people, the weekend was over.

Happy Monday, y’all.

Conversations With The Preschooler

Just some random conversations we’ve had at our house in the past week…

img_1643THING 2 (after he was pulled aside for plowing over kids in a game of tag during youth group at our church):  “But I’m a Teenage Mutant Minjan Turtle.  (Yes.  He said, Minjan.  Roll with it.).  I’m just fighting like they do!”

ME:  “We don’t behave like Minjan Turtles (Because I can’t call them anything else now.) at CHURCH.  For the love!  We don’t knock kids down AT CHURCH!!  (Because apparently I’m totally down with knocking kids over elsewhere, so long as it doesn’t happen in the house of the Lord.)

THING 2:  “Well… I’m not a coward, Mom!  I’m NOT a coward!  (Yelling loudly now.)  I FIGHT WITH HONOR!!!!”

ME:  (Shakes head silently and mentally does the math to see how many years it’ll be before he can join the Marines.)

img_1651THING 2:  “Mom, I have a girlfriend now.  I’m probably gonna get married to her.”

ME:  “Oh, my goodness, Thing 2!  WHO are you going to marry??!!”

THING 2:  “Leah.”  (This is his second-grade friend, who is so cute, it hurts me.)

ME:  “Leah?  Well… she’s a little older, but I love her.  What are you going to do with Vivian June?”  (Vivi is on the very brink of turning four; she’s one of Thing 2’s BFFs.)

THING 2:  “Mom, Leah already knows how to read.  I can’t read yet, and neither can Vivian June.  I think my wife should know how to do that.”

img_1653THING 2:  “Oh, my gosh, Mom!  You’ve been gone FOREVER!!”  (He said this yesterday, as he welcomed me back home.  I’d been gone all day… for a Girl’s Day… hanging out with a pack of my girlfriends and watching a Beth Moore simulcast.)

ME:  “Well, I’m back now, and it was just six hours!”

THING 2:  “I’m glad you’re back.  I was getting so tired of just having a dad and not having a mom any more.”

Y’all have a good Sunday evening.

How Do We Decorate For Fall? With A Glass Of Wine In the Evenings.

One of my favorite things to do, with the change of every season, is to do a Google search for home tours.

Yes.

Home.  Tours.

I like to sit in front of my Big Mac at the desk, with a cup of coffee (heavy on the creamer), and scroll through beautifully-edited pictures of cute little houses, all decorated up.  It’s my VERY GUILTY PLEASURE.  Clearly, Hubs now knows exactly why our own house still looks like a fraternity of goats lives here this evening; I was very busy this morning, spending those few precious hours while Thing 2 was off at preschool (and the boy was off at high school and Hubs was off at work) sipping beige-colored coffee and looking at online, fall home tours, rather than loading our own dishwasher.  I kept gazing at snapshots of perfectly-placed pumpkins and wool throws gorgeously draped over sofas, and it was all enough (along with the pee splatters covering the floor our boys’ bathroom) to make me feel like a homemaking failure.

One of my favorite dining rooms was this one, from the blog Driven By Decor:neutral-dining-room-decorated-for-fall-part-of-a-full-fall-home-tour-postLet me tell you how this room would shake down at our house.

Thing 2 would’ve crawled up on the table and taken exactly one bite out of each and every single one of those peaches.  The table would’ve been covered in discarded stems and leaves that he’d ripped off, and it would be drizzled with fresh peach juice, that had dripped down his chin every time he sunk his teeth into one of the fruits.

Also, the display of plates on the wall would’ve been missing all but three at our house, as the others would’ve fallen down, one by one, over time, with every poorly-chipped golf ball in our house and every fired dart from a Nerf gun that went astray.  The wood floor directly beneath those plates would be chipped and dinged and scratched from all the broken ceramic plates that had managed to shatter and crash down.

Besides all of that, Cat 1 would’ve decided that it was her duty as a house pet to curl up in one of those lovely wingback chairs and take a nap.  Later, she would’ve stretched, gotten up, and left fourteen pounds of shed hair behind.

This kitchen (from Jennifer Rizzo’s blog) was another one of my favorite rooms that I strolled through on my virtual tour this morning:

sink-white-cabinets-wood-countertops-537x800Lovely, isn’t it?

If this was our kitchen, the little orange hand towel that’s so strategically placed on the counter would be three days old, and the overwhelming smell of mildew would be strong enough to overpower the Scentsy pot’s effort to make the room smell like pumpkin and spice.

Although Thing 2 can scale kitchen cabinets like a mountain goat on a rocky cliff, without the aide of a stepstool, that industrial stool would be a direct invitation for him to COME ON UP, TURN ON THE KITCHEN FAUCET, AND FLOOD YOUR MAMA’S KITCHEN TO A LEVEL THAT SHOUTS OUT, “WE WERE IN THE DIRECT PATH OF THE HURRICANE, AND WE’RE SLEEPING AT THE SHELTER NOW.

The little houseplant next to the window would be half-dead, because I would’ve forgotten to water it, and because Cat 2 would have dismembered it in the middle of the night.

Plus?  Well, the boy would’ve left three bowls with dried ice cream in them and twelve dirty glasses on the kitchen counter, all of which he had resurrected from the pit he calls his bedroom.  Thing 2 would’ve tossed two granola bar wrappers up there on the counter, too, because it’s so much easier than dropping the wrappers into the garbage bucket, and there would be a big pile of junk mail sitting by the sink, begging me to apply for new credit cards and JUST SCRATCH HERE, to see if I’d won the keys to a new Toyota, down at the dealership.

In other words, ain’t nobody who wants to see a photo tour of OUR house this fall, seeing as how OUR fall decorating can best be described as, “There seems to have been a struggle that took place here.”

It’s hard to get folks to focus on the pumpkins and woolen throws, when the bright yellow police tape keeps distracting them.

And?  Well… the struggle is simply that this mama, who leans toward the tendencies of severe OCD and who THRIVES on clean houses, has given up, in the name of THREE MALE TRIBE MEMBERS LIVE HERE.  But?  Do you know what?  I’ll take the messes for now.  The messes make me crazy enough to pick my eyebrows out, hair by hair, but I know that our boys are going to grow up quicker than I can blink, and that the boy’s last three years of high school are going to be finished in exactly six minutes.  And then?  Well, I figure then, when I clean the toilet in their bathroom, it’ll stay clean and I’ll cry real tears, as I wish that they could be back, spraying our entire bathroom down with their incredible misses during potty time.

(Please.  Let’s just have a moment of silence for that bathroom in our house.  “Train up a child in the way he should go, and he won’t depart from it.”  Heaven help me; I’ve TRIED.  I’ve pointed and shouted, “Hit!!  The!!  Water!!  The water!!  For the love, PEE IN THE BIG BOWL OF WATER, and not AROUND the big bowl of water!!”  Dear Future Wives of Our Two Boys, I tried.  I did.  I encouraged them to pee in the big bowl of water, and they still miss, and… well… now they’re you’re problem.”)

Having a sixteen year old in the house has reassured me and Hubs that people actually know what they’re talking about when they say that children grow up too quickly.  We, ourselves, have borne witness to this!  OUR FIRSTBORN IS SIXTEEN!!!  For crying in a bucket!  How did THAT happen?! 

For now, the messes let me know that I’ve still got boys living here who need me.  I try to remind myself of that every single time I walk in the boys’ bathroom and find that someone was distracted at potty time.

Again.

But, to the mamas out there who can maintain a wall gorgeously covered in decorative plates, and who would never have mildewed dish towels slopped into a pile on their kitchen counters, I salute you.

And I raise my glass of evening wine to you!

 

The Need For A Fashion Intervention

Thing 2 discovered his one-size-too-small Spider-Man costume in the back of his closet last Friday.

He hasn’t taken it off since then.

He wore it to Walmart.  I figured that this was okay, because Walmart is famous for sightings of people in their pajamas and other Outfits of Nonsense.

He wore it to church on Sunday.  Hubs tried to protest, claiming that Spider-Man costumes are PERHAPS inappropriate for the house of the Lord, but I insisted that Jesus doesn’t really care what anyone wears to church; He just cares that folks show up.  I told Hubs that he could die on that mountain if he wanted to, fighting the battle to  abolish costumes in church with a strong-willed four-year-old who was DETERMINED to wear it, but I was going to choose to plant my feet in the ground for an engagement of bloodshed on something more important.

Like how we DO NOT shoot Nerf gun darts at our cats.

As it turned out, our dear friend Sierra saw Thing 2 walking into church on Sunday morning, and she stopped to compliment him on his wardrobe choice.  Sierra is in the thick of raising three boys, who are now teenagers and college-aged, and she told Hubs, “I’m going to put all my chips on Thing 2 being completely overwhelmed with the attention he’s going to get when he walks inside, and I bet he takes it off.”

Hubs wasn’t so sure.

I feel like Sierra is a goldmine of solid Mothering Truth, so I chose to believe my friend.

We walked into the building, and IMMEDIATELY folks greeted Thing 2 and made twenty-seven thousand comments on his outfit before he’d even walked twenty feet down the hallway.  When we reached the door to his Sunday School classroom, our boy sat down on the floor, kicked his cowboy boots off, and started yanking that Spider-Man costume off, too.  I asked him what he was doing, and he said, “I hate everyone talking about me!  I want this thing OFF NOW!”

SIERRA, FOR THE WIN.

He put it back on as soon as we were home.

Thing 2 won’t wear the costume to preschool, because he told me, “I know the kids will call me Spider-Man, and I don’t want anyone to KNOW I’m Spider-Man.”

It’s exactly the type of privacy a superhero demands, as no civilians EVER know their true identities.

The costume is a size 3/4, while Thing 2’s NFL-worthy biceps and thighs really need a size 5 now, and he INSISTS on pairing the red and blue ensemble with his blue, light-up cowboy boots.

img_2368In other words, I feel like Clint and Stacy are hoping our family will stage an intervention for Thing 2, as we call to see what Fashion Rehab Centers are covered by our insurance company.

And… as I sit here typing… Thing 2 Spider-Man just ran by me and yelled, “Hey, Mom?  Can you maybe buy me some rocket boosters?  REAL superheroes can fly, so I’m gonna need something with fire!”

Which is THE EXACT REASON why I said in last night’s blog post that Calvin’s mama and I could be best friends.

Bless.

Happy Tuesday, y’all.

Just A Quick Note

Well, I’d write a thousand words tonight, but listen:  It’s been one of those really full days, that included doing the preschool drop-off this morning, getting a gigantic load of groceries, making a big pot of homemade soup and running the washing machine at a speed that would put a NASCAR race to shame.

Basically, everything that I hoped to accomplish this week was done TODAY.

And now I really want to tuck myself under a fuzzy blanket, because RAIN RAIN RAIN and also HIGH OF FORTY-EIGHT DEGREES, so I’ll just leave you with this.

It sums up my entire life right now.

fc671db899f5cb446948d13451069ce0THAT is how we roll around our house these days.  I want to invite Calvin’s mom out for a cup of coffee.

Or maybe even a glass of wine.

I’m fairly certain she and I would be best friends.

Y’all have a great Monday night.

The Big Church Party

About three entire weeks ago, we were sitting on the cusp of school starting up again.  Moms were arguing in stores everywhere over school clothes choices and shaking their heads at the cost of a five-subject, spiral-bound notebook, right before they asked, “And you need SIX of these for classes?”  Everyone was pinning easy weeknight dinners, in some hopes that we would all get out of our grilled hamburgers and wine… again… for dinner routine and start making casseroles that our children would never eat.  We were all praising central air conditioning, as we bellowed in outrage about THE HEAT!  GOOD HEAVENS, THIS HEAT!!  It was so monstrously hot outside that most nights, by 4 PM, some of us knew that we’d just throw our daily outfits in the garbage, because no amount of Tide would ever get the horror of the sweat out.

On those nights, we simply had Popsicles and wine for dinner.

That’s exactly the time when our church planned our End of the Summer Celebration.  We had a gigantic, inflatable water slide lined up, which would be flanked by numerous kiddie pools, squirt guns and hoses.  Bring on the refreshing water in the midst of all that heat!  We were encouraging the children at church to come on out and soak your parents!  Shoot your parents with a gigantic squirt gun!  Hubs and several other guys bought big bags of charcoal briquettes, in anticipation of cooking enough hot dogs to feed every ticket-holder at an NFL game.

Obviously, the Baptists know how to do the end of summer up right.

And then, that morning, we switched from 100-degree weather to a cloudy day of 58 degrees, thank you very much.

The only issue is that fifty-eight degrees isn’t always conducive to HEY!  WE HAVE A WATER SLIDE AND KIDDIE POOLS!  No matter.  Baptist kids are tough, as they come from a long line of solid potluck dinner buffets that have strengthened them and fortified them.  Several of them took the plunge and got into the water.

Thing 2 arrived in a sweatshirt.

Yes.  A sweatshirt… IN AUGUST… IN SMALL TOWN.  I don’t think anyone in Small Town had ever worn a sweatshirt in August before this event.  I told him that he was more than likely going to FREEZE PLUM DADGUM TO HIS DEATH, if he got into the water, but Thing 2 has been challenging me since the day he was born.

img_2034 img_2036He was the second kid in the water, and that was only because his little friend Leah was at the party first and beat him.

img_2041

img_2044He climbed the giant ladder on the slide…

img_2046 img_2048 img_2049… and this next snapshot shows you exactly how it felt when he stuck the landing.

img_2052 img_2039I didn’t take pictures, but crusts of ice were forming on the little pools and the penguins were arriving in their tuxedos, carrying suitcases.

img_2053 img_2055 img_2062We had some other brave little Baptist children who stepped forward and said, “We will try the slide in the midst of this Arctic breeze!”

img_2070 img_2077 img_2079 img_2082 img_2081 img_2086And then we had some kids who are smarter than the others and said, “We’re not swimming OR sliding in this weather!”

img_2067img_2038

img_2054 img_2061 img_2057 img_2059 img_2060 img_2083 img_2113 img_2115 img_2114 img_2105

img_2116 img_2117With chattering teeth, Thing 2 took to the squirt guns.  He became a ninja with moves, and he sprayed everyone who came within thirty-eight feet of him.  He may have even screamed ninja warrior screams that frightened the elderly.

img_2063 img_2095 img_2098 img_2099 img_2100 img_2102And then… as the breeze came up even more… our preschooler burst into tears and bawled his head off because…

… GET THIS!…

… HE WAS TOO COLD.

Which is why he ended up back in his sweatshirt, under strict orders to STAY THE HECK OUT OF THAT WATER, BECAUSE THIS IS THE ONLY SET OF DRY CLOTHES  YOU HAVE WITH YOU.

img_2142Our church’s youth pastor organized some relay races for families.

Teams were put together, smack talk was thrown down, and it was like we were going to beat the Methodists to the potluck tables!  Baptists are a competitive lot.

img_2118 img_2122 img_2130 img_2134Folks sat around in the chilly air to watch the games unfold, as they cheered for different friends.

img_2143

img_2154 img_2155 img_2156 img_2157 img_2165 img_2167 img_2168 img_2171One of the relays involved spraying teammates with water, as someone else threw baking flour all over them.

Youth pastors have been ruining clothes in the name of fun for years.

img_2178And THAT was the precise second that the battery in my camera died.

Bless.

Clearly, I haven’t learned the crucial bit of the photographer’s Bible which states, “Have your battery charged at all times, or have a backup battery in your bag.”

Backup, schmackup.

I learned my lesson.  The most hilarious parts of the relays went undocumented.

I’d blame it on the heat, but I was actually freezing that night.

Have a happy weekend, y’all.

Ode To A Pediatrician

I always like to think that our pediatrician has our best interests at heart.

Certainly, she earns the dollars she charges our family, as her phone is continually ringing on weekends.

“Hello?  Dr. B?  Yes, I KNOW it’s a Saturday afternoon, when you really should be out on the lake boating or sitting in a coffee shop, reading a thick book and sipping caffeine, but listen… Thing 2 has pooped out two marbles this week.  Two.  Marbles.  And… we don’t even HAVE marbles at our house, which means he probably found them at the park and ate them there.”

“Hello?  Dr. B?  Yes, I KNOW it’s Sunday night at 9:00, and WHY ARE YOU EVEN STILL AWAKE?  Because I’m barely staying awake myself, but listen:  The boy picked up a pile of dried grass to throw in the dumpster after mowing the yard, and… well... HORNET FAMILY RESIDENCE, and he’s been stung in the hand three times.  His hand looks like Wile E. Coyote’s hand does, after a boulder has fallen on it, and should we prep the helicopter to life flight him out?”

“Hello?  Dr. B?  Yes, I KNOW it’s Friday night, and… Oh?  Really?  You’re eating dinner at a posh little restaurant that serves wine and calamari?  Well, I’ll be quick.  Thing 2 just ate… as best as we can tellfour foam Nerf darts.  He didn’t eat the rubber tips… just all the foam.”

“Hello?  Dr. B?  Yes, I KNOW it’s Saturday morning, and… what?  You’re just getting out of the shower and you haven’t had your coffee yet?  Well, I do apologize for calling you PRE-COFFEE, but listen:  I know I’m no doctor myself, but I’m going to call STREP THROAT on the boy, and is there any way that we could get some antibiotics?  He’s throwing up, running a fever, and his throat is ridiculously sore.”

“Hello?  Dr. B?  Yes, I KNOW it’s another Saturday afternoon.  Yes…  It’s Mama!  Jedi Mama???  You know… ME!  It’s ME, Dr. B!  What?  You don’t speak English?  I SAID… IT’S MA… MA.  MAMA.  Okay… Just a second… I’m going to use my English-to-Spanish dictionary to translate the sentence, ‘Thing 2 was flossing his teeth with a foot of dental floss, and he rolled it up into a ball and swallowed it.’  Hold on… I just have to turn some pages here and find out the Spanish word for THING…”

We love our pediatrician, because she UNDERSTANDS US.  Except… you know... when I call on a weekend for the one thousandth time and suddenly find out that she has no idea who I am and that she only speaks Spanish all of a sudden.  She has put tubes down the boy’s throat when he was thirty minutes old, to get that little preemie of ours on a ventilator.  She put our little preemie on a flight-for-life plane.  She has seen us after hours, for no additional fees whatsoever, when we’ve had strep throat at 6 PM on a Sunday night.  She has checked out every rash my boys have had… and reassured me that I wasn’t necessarily a terrible mother when the boy toppled headfirst out of a Walmart shopping cart and nearly split his skull in half.  She’s patted me on the back when I’ve cried over the insecurities of SHOULD I VACCINATE, because I WANT to vaccinate, but some of my friends think I shouldn’t vaccinate and assured me that my gut instincts were right to get some protection inside of my boys against whooping cough.  She’s glued head wounds shut for us, seen us through the swine flu, influenza A, asthma, strep throat several times, horrid coughs, wicked congestion, bronchitis, pink eye and a solid peanut allergy.  She’s dug out free samples of inhalers for asthma, when our insurance decided not to pay for them… she’s proclaimed that our kids really ARE the cutest ones in her practice… and she’s marveled over every “trick” Thing 2 has asked her to watch (“Watch this trick!  Now watch THIS trick!  Now watch me do THIS trick, as I jump off your exam table backwards!”)…

So… you know… she’s basically part of our family.

Which is why I laughed out loud this morning when Dr. B tagged me on a Facebook post this morning, bearing THIS:

14212570_1167950903277089_3118720864702502355_nApparently, she remembered something about THIS happening at our house one morning, back when Thing 2 was clean cut and didn’t have thirty-six pounds of outrageous curls on top of his head…

13230160_10210047705649286_290321319816544606_nI think we’ll stick with Dr. B until Thing 2 turns twenty-one and she finally has to kick us out of her pediatric clinic, so that both of our adult sons can start seeing a doctor for grownups.  After all, we trust her.

She totally didn’t turn us over to DFS for that picture up there.