Picasso

Thing 2 burst into our bedroom this morning at 6:57, with the grace and peace of a wild bull with a dart stuck in his behind.

I was sound asleep when the bursting happened.  I had prayed last night before bed, “Lord, I would love for it to be Your will that Thing 2 would sleep until 7 AM.”  God doesn’t usually grant me such frivolous requests, because He’s usually quite busy listening to the real, meaty prayers of mothers watching their children die of starvation in lands of drought.  Me asking for a 7 AM wake-up call is not a priority on the Good Lord’s list of Prayers To Grant With a Solid Yes, which… really... is as it should be.

But somehow… last night… God heard, and He said, “Okay.  I will give you this 7:00 wake-up call, and then I want you to remember it, and remember that I am still good on the days when Thing 2 gets up at 4:45 in the morning.”

When I saw that it was 6:57 this morning, all I could think was, “Well!  He missed it by three minutes, but GOD SAID YES!!!”  I woke up refreshed and bright-eyed and feeling like I could have built a semi truck from scratch today, which is really saying something, considering that I don’t know a gasket from a transmission.

When Thing 2 burst through our bedroom door, he jumped straight on our bed and yelled (because Thing 2 has no indoor voice at all), “Oh, my gosh, Mom!  LOOK!  Take this!”  I held out my hand, and he dropped yet another tooth into it.  “I lost that sucker as soon as I woke up!  I just woke up, Mom, and my tooth felt weird.  I just touched it, and it popped out.”

So, people, that makes SEVEN LOST TEETH, at the age of BARELY FIVE.  The Tooth Fairy has had to set an alarm on her phone, to go off at 8:15 PM, because she cannot remember to fly by our house with Matchbox cars on her own.  She’s gotten old, and her memory just isn’t what it used to be.  Thank goodness iPhones come with alarms, as they’ve saved that fairy’s bacon numerous times already.

As you can see, Thing 2 basically has NO TEETH left in his mouth.  I’m going to have to start running peanut butter sandwiches and mac and cheese through our Magic Bullet, to turn them into smoothies.

And, if I do that, you know — OH, YOU KNOW!! — that I’ll add spinach leaves and try to trick Thing 2 into a little extra smoothie nutrients that he has no idea about.  One morning last week, I blended up a raw protein shake for Thing 2.  He asked, “What’s in this?”  I told him that I’d put pineapple and blueberries in it.  He said, “Why does it look a little GREEN?  Pineapple and blueberries are not green.  It tastes funny, too.”

“I don’t know, Son!  It might have been the cup of organic spinach leaves I threw in there!”  Of course I didn’t tell him that, because the shake would have been thrown straight into our sink, as he opted to skip breakfast completely.

In other news, Thing 2’s preschool hosted a family art day this morning.  Moms and dads were invited to join their little peanuts for an hour of arts and crafts, with glue and pipe cleaners and glitter.

So basically everything I love, wrapped up into one morning.

At one point, when Thing 2 was pouring fourteen cups of green glitter into a homemade sensory bottle that the kids were making, Hubs leaned over to me and whispered, “Deep breaths!  In through the nose… there you go… out through the lips… there, there.  You’re going to survive this.”

Glitter and I have never been friends.

I know that the only glitter in Heaven is going to be the sparkles on the angels’ wings, and God will have made sure that stuff doesn’t fall off as they walk by.  I won’t ever have to try vacuuming it up.  We all know that once glitter is in your house, it’s there for LIFE.

The end.

Hubs and I hopped from one art station to another with Thing 2, as he hammered little nails, glued and glued and glued, liberally POURED (rather than SPRINKLED) glitter, and stuck pipe cleaners and googly eyeballs all over chunks of egg cartons.  Our son was in his happy space, touching all the stuff and squishing his hands in glue and painting with all the colors.

Meanwhile, I pasted a false smile on my face and said, “OH!  This is so much fun!  Look at these gigantic messes we are making with ALL THIS FREAKING GLITTER EVERYWHERE!!!!”

However.

HOWEVER, our morning WAS fun.  Our child had buckets of fun CREATING, and Hubs and I loved watching him in action.  Thing 2 is animated and full of a zest for life that is completely unmatched by any other child on this planet.  It is our pleasure to watch him enthusiastically create masterpieces, as he turns to us and asks, with pride, “Do you like this?”

The pride I felt watching Thing 2 do his art projects and politely ask for the supplies he needed when his classmates were already using them was overwhelming.  He has become such a big kid, with independence and a fiery spirit.

He’s amazing.

And his preschool is now going to have to buy new glue and glitter, as he officially emptied a bottle of each of them, SINGLE-HANDEDLY.

Y’all have a great weekend.

That Window Of Nice Spring Weather, When We Got To Be Outside

Apparently, our winter here in Small Town is one that is going to run with abandon through the end of July.  After our spring blizzard yesterday and all the shoveling of all the heavy snow, we had a lovely day today of sunshine.  It was enough to make teachers think that recess was actually a pleasant thing after all, and not merely something that must be endured in an ankle-length parka, trimmed with the fur of six wolves, with open packets of Little Hotties hand warmers stuffed into a pair of mittens.  But then, if our weather app is to be believed, we’re still staring down the barrel of YET ANOTHER winter storm warning. (And let’s face it… the weathermen who add commentary on those weather apps are anonymous beings with total job security, because no one knows who they are when they’re deadbeat wrong, which is a shame.  Sometimes I feel like throwing a brick with a message tied to it, straight through a porch window, after I’ve been told that the snow is not coming, when… indeed… it did.)

But, there that storm warning was this afternoon, flashing red letters at us on our phones:  SIX TO TEN INCHES OF NEW SNOW, and HAZARDOUS DRIVING CONDITIONS, and BUY SOME EXTRA EGGS AND AN EXTRA JUG OF MILK AND A FEW FROZEN PIZZAS AND MAKE SOME PLANS TO HUNKER DOWN.

Please remind me of this day and my utter irritation with impending snowstorms, when it’s August and 104 degrees outside, and I’m riding in on a Whine Train about THE HEAT!  THE HEAT!  SWEET HOLY MERCY, THHHHHE HEEEEEAAAAAT!

Last week, though, we had real spring weather.  It was our glimpse into what could be, if we only lived in the deepest part of the South and took our cold tea with half a bucket of sugar in it, while we sat on our front porches.  We made all the efforts to get outside, because this isn’t our first rodeo.  We knew the chances of a spring snow were a very real possibility here, that could dash our hopes and dreams of summer in a heartbeat.  So, Hubs and I loaded up the boys one night, in the middle of that nice bit of weather, and we went golfing.

And by we went golfing, I really mean the boys went golfing.  Hubs was a wrestler, who never learned to golf.  I took a golf class as a college PE credit, but I spent too much time talking to a girl named Vickie, who had the cutest spiral perm I’d ever seen, to actually care much about the game.  Vickie and I golfed with two boys every class period, and those two boys became so frustrated with our complete INATTENTION to golf, they asked us, point-blank, if we’d just like to NOT golf, and they’d let us write scores down anyway.

Um…. yes.  Sign us up.

After that, Vickie and I (who just happened to be the only two girls in the class), ended up golfing with two other boys, who were all about making sure everyone pulled their own weight and hit their own golf balls.  Our lucky streak was over.  We learned to golf, but I can’t say that either one of us ever fell in love with the sport.

But now?

Well, I could watch my boys golf until the cows came home.  They’re both such different golfers.  I know that the age difference plays a big factor in that, but the boy takes golf so seriously.  He’s dedicated to understanding the geometry of a shot, and he takes his time.  He lines up his clubs with the balls; he remembers everything his private golf coaches have told him over the years, and then he does those things, to insure that he drives that ball straight down the fairway.

Thing 2, on the other hand, is all about HOW FAST CAN I SMACK THIS SUCKER?  He approaches every shot like a lion attacking a gazelle, before the tigers get there to try to take over.  Our preschooler jumps out of the golf cart, runs up to the ball, and, in one fell swoop, whacks it as hard as he can, with the very first club he grabs.  If the ball goes straight, he cheers for himself.  If it veers to the left, he cheers for himself.  If it gets lost in the water hazard, he cheers for himself.  And, no matter how many shots he takes, he always, always, ALWAYS announces that he has beaten his brother… by a million points.

So… yes.

Hubs and I took the boys golfing one evening last week, and it was a perfectly lovely family outing.

Thing 2 is always impressed with the little ball washers.  He’s constantly scrubbing his golf balls clean.  Sadly, his passion for clean golf balls does not carry over to the rest of his life.  He eats like a wild monkey, flinging food hither and yon, all over his Ralph Lauren polos, the table, and his face.  He makes no effort to clean up ANY crumbs.  His bedroom is constantly a minefield of loose toys and lost Legos.

Nope.  Golf balls are really the only thing our preschooler enjoys cleaning.

Sometimes I even pop off a few shots of the scenery with my camera, while we’re bouncing along the course in our golf carts.

And now, with this new winter storm warning breathing down our necks, Hubs and I will probably have to take the boys bobsledding, right after we build snow forts and teach them to make fires in trash cans to huddle around outdoors.

Y’all have a merry little Wednesday evening.  Stay warm.  And don’t forget to pick up some extra eggs, milk and frozen pizzas at the grocery store tonight.  Be prepared.

Spring Snow And Spring Concerts

Well, winter is back in full force.

And by full force, I mean we had a solid eight inches of heavy, sloppy-wet, spring snow hit the ground here in Small Town, USA.  Small trees leaned over and bowed low to the ground; shoveling burned biceps in half; old cottonwoods lost limbs, as they couldn’t hold up beneath the weight of the snow and snapped in half.

And then… the electricity went out.  When tree branches can’t hold up under the heavy snow, neither can a lot of power lines.  Half of Small Town lost its ability to run washing machines, microwaves, ovens, computers, dishwashers, and curling irons.  We were not one of those houses here at the Jedi Manor, as our electrical connections stood firm.  I dried my hair AND curled it this morning…

… right before I went outside to shovel the snow off my Suburban and had a clump of snow the size of a basketball slide off the top of my vehicle, smack onto my head.  I was really glad I’d invested fifteen minutes into curling it up right, because I went to school today looking like a rat that someone had tossed into the river.

Our little private school was in the NO ELECTRICITY district.  We had no lights, except the emergency lights in the hallways.  My gym resembled a darkened tomb.  Our head cook was in our kitchen, with 200 raw chicken thighs sitting on baking sheets and some enormous bags of frozen-solid broccoli.  The local media was reporting that it could be TWO MORE HOURS, FOLKS, BEFORE ELECTRICITY IS RESTORED, as they begged the public to JUST HOLD ON, LIKE OUR PIONEER FOREFATHERS DID TWO HUNDRED YEARS BEFORE US.

Of course, kids on a power outage at a school are hopped up like squirrels on Monster drinks.  Their daily routines have been disrupted.  The smart boards don’t work, the iPads don’t work, the photocopier doesn’t work, and NOBODY CAN SEE ANYONE IN THE GYM, SO HOW CAN WE HAVE KICKBALL?!  Plus…. PLUS!!!!…. it was so wet and sloppy outside, recess would have given us children that looked like they’d gone swimming in their heavy coats.  Indoor recess it was.

ALL THE BLESSINGS ON INDOOR RECESS.  Other than sin and cancer and the hole in the ozone layer, it’s the worst thing this world has ever seen.

Our principal made the announcement that was equal to finding out your ticket stub matches the winning lottery numbers:  “Teachers, let’s start calling parents and cancel school today.  We have no lunch.  I tried to order pizzas for our kids, and the pizza parlor doesn’t have electricity either.”

Our euphoria lasted exactly — EXACTLY!! — four seconds.

Four seconds (FOUR ENTIRE SECONDS!) after our principal announced her ABORT SCHOOL BECAUSE OF RAW CHICKEN THIGHS AND NO PIZZA plan, the electricity came back on.  It was business as usual, as the chicken thighs were immediately shoved into the oven and the smart boards came back on for math lessons.

We were a tiny Catholic school who had just lost the favor of the Lord at 10:30 this morning.  Other than indoor recesses all the livelong day, we were back to normal.

In other, non-weather-related news, the boy had a band concert last week, as the high school band instructor held her annual spring concert for the kids.

That big boy of ours is nearly as musical as Mozart, Beethoven, Frank Sinatra and Adam Levine.  He can carry a tune, and he knows a true C note when he hears it.  He can dance his hands straight across a piano keyboard in a way that would have made Bach cry with joy, and he taught himself to play Thunderstruck, BY EAR, without ever looking at any sheet music, on the clarinet.

Hubs and I are not even sure he’s our biological child.

Hubs was kicked out of band his freshman year of high school for blowing Boxelder bugs out of his trumpet; the band instructor told him not to come back to class, so Hubs signed himself up for a welding class and never looked back.  I played the violin for five years and never did understand sharps and flats.

But our firstborn?

Well, he’s got some musical talent that astounds us.

Last Tuesday night, we sat in the audience and watched our FIRST CHAIR son blast the lone note for everyone else to tune up from, and then we listened to the band perform a great concert.

Sadly, my seat wasn’t the best spot for pictures.  I was too far behind the boy’s chair, and there was a giant cord to a microphone swaying in my line of vision.  Without bringing shame upon my family by asking the person sitting dead-center in the front row to PLEASE TRADE ME SEATS, I was stuck with mediocre snapshots.

We’re kind of proud of that boy of ours.

He’s musical AND he pretty much shoveled all of the driveway this morning, when we woke up to our spring snowstorm.

Happy Tuesday, people.

Wrapping Up Easter 2017

The housekeeper that I cannot afford was here today, which means that I’ve basically been walking around our house all afternoon and evening, shouting, “Don’t put fingerprints on that!  Don’t get that out!  For the love??? PLAY DOH??!!!  NOT A FAT CHANCE!!!  Put the lid back on it right this second!!”  I think hotels could triple their revenue if they advertised rooms at a slight discount for THOSE DAYS WHEN THE HOUSE IS CLEAN AND YOUR FAMILY NEEDS A PLACE TO SPEND THE NIGHT… LET THEM BRUSH THEIR TEETH IN OUR SINKS AND THROW THEIR DIRTY SOCKS ON OUR FLOORS AND EAT ROOM-SERVICE POTATO CHIPS IN OUR BEDS.

Please, Holiday Inn and Super 8, include me in your business plan, when you market this.

In other news, did y’all hear that Easter was a while back?  Yes… yes, it was.  And I finally have some snapshots to wrap it all up.  Go ahead and call me TIMELY.

Our Easter Sunday dawned clear and bright.  Much like the empty tomb was a miracle, so was the fact that Thing 2 slept in until 6:30.  Cue all the hallelujahs and slow claps.  He slept until 6:30, at which time he burst into our bedroom and yelled, “THE EASTER BUNNY CAME! THE EASTER BUNNY CAME!”  And then, like a T-shirt shot from a gas-powered launcher at a playoff game, he threw open the boy’s bedroom door and thundered, “GET UP, BUBBIE!!!  WE HAVE EASTER BASKETS IN THE LIVING ROOM!!  GET UP!!!!”

I don’t even think our preschooler noticed when his teenage brother chucked a pillow at him, because he’d already run back out of the boy’s bedroom before the thrown pillow landed.

The Easter Bunny brought candy and tractors.

Thing 2 was delighted to find a sack of jellybeans in his Easter basket.

He was also delighted to eat EVERY!! LAST!! JELLYBEAN!! for breakfast.

We finally convinced the boy to GET OUT OF BED ALREADY at 8:10 on Easter morning, because we wanted to leave for church at 8:30.

It seems unfair that boys can shower and be ready to go anywhere in fifteen minutes.  The boy did take a couple of extra minutes to peek at his basket, before we left for church.  The Easter Bunny didn’t think he’d be overly thrilled about tractors, so his basket held a new golf shirt, embroidered with a local golf course’s logo.  The boy looked at me and asked, “HOW did the Bunny know I wanted one of these?”

Oh, the Bunny knows!

We had a lovely service at church on Easter, and then Hubs and I took the boys for a walk.  There wasn’t time before we’d left for church to get the boys’ picture taken together, so I scootched them off the path, into the trees, on our walk for a few shots.

They both smiled politely for exactly six seconds, and then all photo opportunities were completely lost.  They were back on their way, moseying down the path.  One of them was talking about car engines to his dad, while the other one was shouting with incredible excitement over DUCKS!  DUCKS!!  PHEASANTS!!!  THERE ARE PHEASANTS HERE, TOO!!!!

Somehow, we survived our entire walk without Thing 2 falling into the pond, so we chalked that up as a genuine Easter blessing.

Afterward, we all went to Mam and Pa’s house, for a delicious Easter lunch, of ham and all the trimmings.

And then we went to Grammy and Papa’s house for a yummy Easter dinner, of chicken cordon bleu and more trimmings.

You can never say that our family is underfed on holidays.

We picked up  Cousin R, to take out to Grammy and Papa’s house, and OF COURSE I made the kids grin in the backseat for a snapshot.

And then I made the kids at the KIDS’ TABLE smile again for another snapshot, while we were eating.

Please note that the kids stole the entire plate of deviled eggs for the Kids’ Table.

After dinner, the boy and Cousin W hid colored eggs all over Grammy and Papa’s yard, so that Thing 2 could hunt them.

And… in case you need to know that you’re doing a far better job at parenting than other families are… in case you need to be encouraged that you’re not FAILING at parenting, like SOME folks are… let me tell you this little story…

Cousin W lifted Thing 2 up high, so that he could reach a yellow Easter egg, that had been hidden on top of the clothesline.  Thing 2 would never have noticed the egg up there; he’d been too busy running back and forth, crisscrossing Grammy and Papa’s yard four thousand times, looking for eggs DOWN LOW.  When Cousin W pointed out the egg on the top of the clothesline and lifted him up to reach it, Thing 2 shouted out… at the top of his little lungs… for Grammy and Papa and the Good Lord to hear, “What the hell?!  Who hid an egg up THIS high, where I can’t reach it?!”

Bless.

Bless all the loud, rambunctious preschoolers, who are never afraid to boldly speak their minds and use bad words in front of their grandmother, to taint the spotless day of Easter Sunday.  Y’all are winning at parenting, compared to us.

By the time it was dark on Easter Sunday, we were back home.  Our bellies were so full, Hubs and I moaned that we were never going to eat again.  Never.  Ever.  At all.  Because even the thought of food hurt us.  In the midst of our complaints, the boy got up and said, “I think I’ll have a bowl of ice cream.”

He has time to eat well later in life, y’all.  Also?  I don’t know where sixteen year old boys put all the food they eat.

And THAT, people, was our Easter.  I’m just proud of myself for getting the pictures posted on the blog before Father’s Day rolls around.

The Toothless Bike Rider

This has been a weekend for milestones.

It appears that the Tooth Fairy will be making another stop at our house this evening, fluttering into Thing 2’s bedroom in the dark to drop off another Matchbox car.

When you’re five and unconcerned about money, your personal Tooth Fairy lugs Matchbox cars around, instead of silver coins.  I’m sure it’s a genuine struggle for a small, winged fairy to get that shoved beneath a pillow, but, so far, she’s never failed us.

This makes SIX ENTIRE TEETH that have fallen out of Thing 2’s mouth now, as he lost another one during breakfast this morning.

I’m busy searching Pinterest for dinner recipes that can be made in the blender.  Shakes and straws are becoming our friends.

Thankfully, we have two permanent teeth in place on the bottom now and two more that have broken through the gum line on the top.

Corn on the cob may become a reality again this summer.

The other milestone that happened this weekend is that our baby learned to ride a bicycle without training wheels.

(*cue the gasps and applause*)

When he turned three, Hubs and I bought Thing 2 a Strider bike, which has no pedals.  We bought it, because our friend Carrie recommended it.  She said her boys both had one, and that they’d both gone straight from balancing the pedal-less bike to riding off into the sunset on real bicycles, with no support wheels to help out.

Thing 2 mastered the Strider and could have won any triathlon with one.  He dared ANYONE to try to keep up with him on that tiny little bike.

Yesterday, I told Hubs, “We should take the training wheels off the big bike your parents bought Thing 2.  I bet he could learn to ride without the support wheels.”

What I really meant was, “Hubs, we should do this when I have my camera in my hand, and when we are both outside, TOGETHER, because mamas don’t like to miss HUGE EVENTS in the lives of their sons.”

Hubs and Thing 2 had been outside, shoveling some dead leaves together.  When they came in, I told Hubs, “Shall we go yank those training wheels off now?”

Hubs mumbled, while he chugged a Gatorade, “I already did, after he and I finished shoveling.  He did awesome.  He can ride the big bike perfectly.”

And THAT, people, is how I came to miss Thing 2’s inaugural, debut ride.  Husbands don’t always understand that A BOY’S MAMA WILL BE HEARTBROKEN TO MISS THESE THINGS, but Hubs has a warm blanket and a soft pillow for the dog house tonight.

Bless.

I hopped out to our cul de sac, where Thing 2 proudly showed me that he had basically become a man yesterday afternoon, and would probably be old enough to shave next week.  I clapped and cheered for that boy, because I was so stinking proud of him.

And… Carrie was right.  The boy, who didn’t have a Strider bike, because Strider bikes hadn’t been invented in his preschool years, had to learn to ride a bike with Hubs and I running beside him, trying to hold the back of his bike’s seat, while we huffed and puffed out words of encouragement.  It was a process that took an entire weekend, of trying and trying and TRYING AGAIN.  Hubs and I basically trained for a marathon, with all the miles we ran beside the boy on his bike.  But… the boy learned, and we all high-fived one another and called it a great weekend, as we admired our defined calf muscles, from all the running.

After riding his Strider bike, with no pedals, for the past two years, Thing 2 mastered the art of balancing himself on a bike.  Yesterday, he got on his little orange bike, with no training wheels on it, and rode straight off on the first try.  It was exactly like he was headed straight off to college.  There was no running beside him, as we clutched our chests in anticipation of a heart attack.  Thing 2 got on… and off he went, on THE VERY FIRST TRY.

Strider knows what they’re doing!

This afternoon, while the boy was working at the golf course (Because YES!  He’s back to work, earning real money and booking tee times and having a ball!), Hubs and I took Thing 2 to the park with some good friends of ours.  Their little sweet pea ALSO had a Strider bike.  She learned to ride without training wheels last weekend, and she’s still JUST FOUR!

Thing 2 and Vivi pedaled twenty-four thousand, nine hundred and eighteen miles around the sidewalks at the park.  They pedaled and they pedaled and THEY STINKING PEDALED.  Then they took a five minute break, before they pedaled another twelve thousand fifty-six miles.

And THEN we bribed them with the promise of ICE CREAM!! ICE CREAM!! ICE CREAM!!, if they would just smile sweetly together for a picture.

So now, with the bike parked in the garage, we wait.

We wait… and we wait… and we see if that Tooth Fairy remembers where she’s supposed to be later tonight.

Happy Sunday, y’all.

Chai And Dye

I know.

I’m a decade late with getting our Easter pictures slapped onto the blog, but I blame a hockey net that got cut off with a pair of scissors yesterday and a tube of toothpaste that is no longer with us.

God bless the Clorox Wipes industry, which saw us through the Crest cleanup last night.

Our Easter turned out to be busy and lovely and fun.  On Thursday evening, the boy somehow talked me into calling the school the following morning, to excuse him from his classes.  Although I am usually the mom who refuses to allow days off from school for any reason except fevers and puking, I caved.  Why our district decided to host a half-day of school on Good Friday is beyond me.  I felt as offended over it as the boy did, so I called the high school office and, in my most serious mom voice, announced that the boy would not be in school.

And then the boy went out and golfed eighteen holes on Friday morning, while his friends were sitting behind a desk, enjoying twenty-seven-minute class periods that had been converted into study halls all day.  Let’s face it:  No teacher really wanted to TEACH on Good Friday, any more than the students actually wanted to be there.  The boy came home with sun-kissed cheeks and a grin, as he said, “Well, apparently Jesus approves of golfing on Good Friday, instead of going to school, because I had my best score EVER today.”

Which is, you know, how it always goes when you’re golfing for fun and not under the pressure of a tournament score that may or may not get you a college scholarship.

On Saturday, Sister and I had coffee with Carrie, who had driven to Small Town, USA, all the way from Major Thriving Metropolis, for Easter.  She brought her boys and her husband, Keith.  (Keith is Sister’s husband’s brother.  Did you follow that?  Sister’s husband and Keith grew up next door to us.  They were nerdy little boys who threw snowballs at us.  My sister and I complained about them throughout our teenage years, until Sister turned traitor and MARRIED ONE OF THEM.  Thankfully, both Keith and Sister’s husband have been reformed and are upright citizens of their communities now, thanks to wives who cared.)

Carrie, Sister and I ordered chai teas and sat on the porch of a coffee shop in the city, where we talked for (Ahem!) nearly three entire hours.  Hubs wanted to know later how on earth girls can keep a conversation going for that long.  I told him, “I have no idea how men can FAIL to keep talking that long.”

We discussed everything on Saturday morning, from our kids’ sports and school events, to Carrie’s recent trip to Paris.  We admired her Lacoste purse, which she actually bought on her trip, AFTER she had admired a different handbag for $3,500.  We had a good laugh at what it would be like to carry around a purse worth three and a half thousand dollars, because THAT would be the purse my child spilled his Gatorade on, dumped his Skittles into, and threw up in.  We also laughed as she described trying on a pair of shoes that cost $1,000, especially when she told us, “And they weren’t even uncomfortable!  You would have paid an enormous chunk of change to have your feet LOOK GOOD, as those shoes pinched you in all the wrong places while you walked in them.”

We all wiggled our toes in our sneakers, and toasted one another with our chai tea mugs.

Three cheers for $90 Nikes.

On Saturday evening, Hubs and I hauled our boys out to Sister’s house, where we all enjoyed gourmet pork tacos.  I’m telling you… I had never had a taco with shredded pork and giant chunks of fresh tomatoes AND fresh pineapple on it before, but I now know I was barely living until Saturday night.  I will forever be adding pineapple to my tacos from now on.  I have come to realize it’s exactly how Jesus eats His tacos.

The menfolk (bless them) made everyone lemon drop martinis.  We sat around, sipping them from juice glasses, while we pretended to be incredibly fancy people.

And then we dyed eggs with the kids.

Or rather, Carrie and I dyed eggs with the kids, while sister rolled up her sleeves and started homemade dinner rolls, so that they’d be all risen and gloriously perfect for Easter dinner the following day.  I was impressed that Sister was using REAL YEAST, and that she wasn’t killing it.  I, myself, have never had a relationship with a packet of yeast where the yeast survived.

Yeast and I are like a junior high dating relationship.  We don’t last long together, before one of us ends up hurt.

In other words, the homemade bread that I always make is perfect for Passover, as it’s always accidentally unleavened.

Now, what you need to know about Carrie and myself is simply this:  We are both a little OCD.  And we both prefer that dye remain in the glass jars and not on the table or kids, so you can imagine how our personalities were stretched and grown on Saturday night, when Thing 2 took his spot in the egg-dying festivities.  Let’s just say that Thing 2 created some serious brain trauma for nine-year-old Oliver, who gasped, “He has mixed the colors!  The yellow dye is BROWN NOW!!”

And so it was, which is how we came to have eggs that resembled little turds, rather than gloriously-dyed Easter eggs, in pastel yellow.

This was the excited crew, long before anyone knew that the glass of yellow dye had a lifespan that was going to last three minutes.

And really?

Is it any wonder that this child is on my list of BOYS I HAVE A CRUSH ON?  I’m kind of in love with Kellan… in an adopted-aunt, not-at-all-weird sort of way!

And his brother, Oliver?

Well, Oliver is a little dreamboat, too.  My crush runs strong on this one, as well.Of course, Cousin K and Cousin H are every bit as cute.

I don’t mean to brag, but we DID have the most adorable children this side of the Mississippi River at our egg-dying table on Saturday evening.

After Carrie and I had wiped the table, wiped the table and wiped the table again, and said approximately forty-six times, “Careful!  Dye on your shirt will be there until the Apocalypse,” we called it a night.

We had successfully colored three dozen hard-boiled eggs.

The only real casualty of all that colored dye was…

… you guessed it…

… Thing 2’s pale yellow T-shirt, which has now been reduced to SHIRTS I WEAR CAMPING IN THE MOUNTAINS AND TO PLAY IN THE DIRT WITH status.

Here’s the whole Easter crew:

Afterward, everyone piled on Keith for a spontaneous wrestling match, which I’m sure the Israelites did with their own children and dads, during their Passover celebrations.

I think Thing 2 and Kellan pretty much pinned Keith down, for the match win.

With a wrestling win pulled off, Hubs and I took our boys home, so they could get to bed and await the arrival of the Easter Bunny and the empty tomb.

With any luck at all, I will get THOSE pictures pasted onto the blog before the next decade comes and goes.

Y’all have a lovely weekend.

This Is Wednesday

Can I be frank?

(Except I’m not sure the name FRANK really fits me, because… well… it makes me think of old men in older hats, who can fix the transmission in a 1944 Buick without batting an eye, while they sip a cup of ultra-black coffee, complete with some grounds in the bottom of the mug.)

It’s been a day.

THAT’S what I wanted to be frank about.

It.  Has been.  A day.

It all started with a busy and chaotic morning, trying to get everyone where they needed to be at earlier-than-normal hours, because this is April.  And for some reason, teachers think early-morning band practices are a good idea in April.  This is just the warmup, though, for May, which promises to be worse.

May is the silent December, with everything that gets crammed onto the calendar.  Don’t try to convince me otherwise.  I’m totally ON to May and what it holds.

I managed to get in the shower at 7:50 this morning.  You can go ahead and offer all your applause right now, because I managed to get Thing 2 to preschool at precisely 8:28 today.  We had two entire minutes to spare, before his 8:30 start time.  I had freshly-washed, freshly blow-dried hair, mascara, lip gloss, AND coffee.  I don’t know how I pulled it off, but I’m calling it an April Morning Miracle.

And then I rushed back home to spend an hour trying to teach myself the game of Spike Ball, because I’ve gotten a wild hair that my 4th graders should play this game in PE.  I’ve never played it before, which means I’ve definitely never taught it before.  I pulled up several You Tube videos on Spike Ball, because you can teach yourself anything through the technological advancement of You Tube.  Spike Ball is exactly like volleyball, and yet it’s nothing like volleyball.  You play in teams of two, around a hula hoop, where you take turns spiking a ball into the hoop and trying not to let it touch the floor outside of the hoop.  That all sounds good… in theory… until you actually attempt to play it for the first time in front of your 4th graders, and then have to say words like, “Pretend I didn’t do that,” and “I hope y’all are better at this game than I am.”

The real truth is that 4th graders are indeed NOT better at it than I am, because Spike Ball is HARD.  It’s hard like Calculus and taxes and real French cooking.  It’s hard, and it requires more coffee than I drank this morning, for the steady hand needed to pass a ball that bounces at one-point-nine trillion miles per hour right at your face.

My 4th graders were enamored with the game, and were completely on board with learning how to play it.  They were enthusiastic, and so gung-ho, it was like I had handed them Christmas morning today in the gym.  So, we gave it our best shot, which included me saying, “Now remember, you can’t catch, throw or carry the ball!  Just like in volleyball!  You have to smack it!”  And then I chased that ten minutes later with, “Let’s all just catch and throw the ball, because SWEET UGLY MERCIES, this is HARD!”

Which is also why I had an aerobic workout in 4th grade PE and basically needed a tank of oxygen spouting off its goodness beneath my nose, while I laid in the bleachers and tried not to die.

Bless.

In the end, my batch of ridiculously athletic 4th graders and I pulled off a successful Spike Ball volley.  We are almost ready now to make our own You Tube video, for someone else to learn how to play!  We’re thinking about getting a sponsorship and getting a traveling Spike Ball team together; we’re just that good now, after one PE class.

I also suffered through the day with something similar to a THUMBPRINT on my right contact lens, which hindered things like… oh, I don’t know… MY SIGHT.

And then I came home this afternoon, to quickly give Thing 2 a snack and get him to hockey, except…

… EXCEPT!!!!…

… while I was getting things going, in the sense that I was trying to work up enough energy to make him a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich after a day of teaching Spike Ball, Thing 2 managed to get a pair of scissors out of the kitchen drawer, and then he proceeded to CUT the net off his hockey goal here at home.

Oh, yes.

He cut it off, exactly like a college senior might do to a basketball net, after shooting the winning basket and winning the NCAA National Championship.

Let’s just say that the preschooler didn’t get to play hockey at the ice rink this evening, because of something I like to pronounce as, GROUNDED.

After I dealt with THAT… and the mess…

… Thing 2 snagged a brand new tube of toothpaste out of the boy’s bathroom cabinet…

… and then he squirted it all (ALL.  OF.   IT.) into his train cars, because apparently the load for the day was unpackaged Crest Whitening, which was being hauled straight down the Burlington Northern tracks.

Do you know how far a new tube of toothpaste will go on a child’s train table?  There’s enough toothpaste in one of those tubes to circle the globe seventeen times.

And THAT, people, is why I still haven’t gotten to downloading my Easter pictures, and why my Easter pictures will be lucky to make it onto the blog before Father’s Day.

God bless all the parents out there, who are parenting through scissors and toothpaste.  Your victory is going to be as sweet as winning the Hunger Games is.

Y’all have a good Wednesday evening.  Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.  I’m standing on that Biblical promise tonight.  I suspect my joy will be restored tomorrow morning, when the chopped-up hockey net and vision of four electric train cars filled with toothpaste is completely behind me.

Bless again.

Easter 2017

Happy Easter!

One of these two boys ate the entire contents of his Easter basket for breakfast.

Not just SOME of his candy… or PART of his candy… BUT ALL OF IT.

HE ATE ALL!! OF!! IT!! FOR BREAKFAST!!

Bless.

He ate the malted Robin’s eggs.  He ate the package of jellybeans.  He ate the chocolate bunny.  He ate it all while his parents were getting ready for church and not diligently paying attention.

Bless again.

So yes.  We gave him candy.  The Easter Bunny gave him candy.

And then he got Easter candy in Sunday School.

And then Mam and Pa gave him Easter candy at lunch.

And then Grammy and Papa gave him Easter candy at dinner.

In other words, Thing 2 consumed more sugar today than I usually let him have in a six-month period of time, because I am the mean sugar Nazi.

One more bless.

But, despite the fact that our preschooler’s blood sugars are at an all-time high this evening, we had a wonderful Easter weekend, filled with family, good friends and Jesus.

And?  Did you hear about Jesus?  He is risen!  He is risen, indeed!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Boring Chemistry

At this very moment, I have a meatloaf in the oven.  The boy is at golf practice.  Hubs has Thing 2 at the ice rink, where he’s playing some hockey and diligently trying to remember that hockey sticks are not for hitting opposing players with.  And here I am, at home with this meatloaf baking itself right up, which has been laboriously timed to be pulled out of the oven just as everyone is getting home from their sports.  They will be hungry, and I will provide for them, exactly like the Proverbs 31 woman is famous for doing.

Add to that the small fact that I did 96% of the staggering pile of laundry today, AND wiped down the bathrooms, AND swept the hardwood floors, AND ran a handful of errands, AND cleaned Thing 2’s bedroom, which he immediately demolished again when he came home from school.

Basically, I’m winning at Momming today.

Thank you.  Thank you for the applause.

The boy is taking an advanced chemistry class.  It’s because the boy is officially smarter than both of his parents are now, so he can do big things like this.  I have a nervous breakdown whenever anyone asks me to prepare a main dish for dinner that requires more than six different ingredients.  You can imagine the way my brain short-circuits and sends bolts of static electricity straight out the back of my head when I’m asked to mix compounds together, that need to be boiled over a Bunsen burner and stirred, all while wearing protective eye wear.  It’s enough to generate an all-out, Oscar-worthy faint.

Since the boy’s class has the word ADVANCED in front of the word CHEMISTRY, it does tend to mean that I am completely incapable of anything that goes on in there, unless it’s a lesson on not mixing bathroom cleaners together while scrubbing a tub.  THAT’S something I could pass a test on.

When the boy announced that he had to conduct an experiment at home and write a summary on it for his homework, I simply checked out.

And by checked out, I mean that I suddenly realized I had very important things to do, which were going to take me out of the kitchen for the next hour.  Candy Crush had to be attended to in the living room.

The boy asked Thing 2 if he’d like to do some chemistry experiments with him, and Thing 2 was game.  Of course, he was game before he even knew what chemistry experiments were, because his motto is ANYTHING IS FUN, WHEN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL BROTHER IS DOING IT, TOO.

The two of them got busy mixing things like salt and vinegar with other things that sounded a little sketchy.  I wasn’t sure what the boy was creating, but I knew it wouldn’t be DINNER, by the way our kitchen smelled like an egg-dyeing factory before Easter.

Vinegar is not a smell I cherish in the depths of my heart.

Later, I asked Thing 2 what their chemistry experiment had been about.

He told me, “I have no idea, Mom.  It was kind of boring because nothing exploded.  I was kind of mad about that, because Bubbie told me that sometimes stuff blows up in chemistry experiments.  Ours didn’t blow up at all.”

THIS, people, is why Hubs and I always remember the saying, “Change your clocks, change your batteries,” whenever we lose and gain an hour with Daylight Savings Time.  Our smoke alarm batteries are ALWAYS up-to-date and current.

On a different note, we pray that your Easter weekend will be a lovely one, filled with the joy of an empty tomb and a Savior who paid the price of our sins.

Happy Easter, y’all.

When Dads Come Out Winners

THING 2:  “Dad picked me up from school today and fed me lunch.”

ME:  “Did you eat the leftover corn chowder for lunch?”

THING 2:  “No.  Dad  let me have Lucky Charms.  Sometimes Dad just thinks little boys need Lucky Charms and not soup with onions in it.  He’s a lot more awesome-er about food than you are, Mom.”