Wrapping the Weekend Up

So last night I mentioned that we packed our station wagon full.

Or our weekend.

Or whatever.

(Sometimes the analogies and the similes and the metaphors and I pretend to get along well, when, in fact, they’re wearing orange plaid, while I’m wearing pink floral, which means we simply don’t match up right. So yes. Sometimes we crash. Sort of like old wood-grain paneled station wagons sometimes did.)

The words downtime and resting mean nothing to the Jedi Family on Saturdays and Sundays. Instead, we prefer the phrases plum full and high score and no room left on the dance card.

After endlessly searching the pink aisles of Wal-Mart in order to secure a gift, we started Friday night out by heading eight miles out of town to Miss A’s birthday party, regardless of the fact that OH MY WORD! ENORMOUS BLIZZARD! Thankfully, I was driving, which means SLOW, IN THE DRIVEWAYS, BUT NOT ALWAYS ON SUNDAYS.

Because the roads? Slick. Slick. Slick.

I know that they were slick, because when we were simply yards away from our destination, I attempted a corner on a dirt road. And I missed my attempt. And I simply put the Suburban sideways and slid it right for a split-rail fence, while Hubs lovingly whispered the words, “Honey, don’t turn the wheel. I love you, Sweetheart. Please remove your hands from the steering wheel and stop turning it.”

But really? I was in total control. I realized that I wasn’t going to make my turn. I realized that YES! YES, WE WERE SLIDING RIGHT FOR THE FENCE! Our $500 deductible, right at Christmastime, flashed before my eyes, and then I had an entire conversation with myself, quietly in my head, in which I said, “Self, do stop turning the steering wheel, so that you can just go straight down this long driveway here and save yourself the pain of summoning the deputy out here to assess the wreckage of the fence, while the horses see their gate to freedom and escape.” So even though Hubs was crying out like a banshee at midnight, “HOLY SNOT, BATMAN! STOP TURNING! SWEET MERCY, STOP TURNING THE WHEEL!” while he gripped the dashboard, I had already come to the conclusion myself, and I stopped turning the wheel on my own. And I slid us quite safely down the long driveway. And then Hubs showed us his great acting skills, as he clutched his heart and moaned out, “Oh, this is the big one!”

While Hubs was qualifying for an Oscar nomination in the front passenger seat, the boy was in the back, where he said, “Praise Jesus, Mom! You missed that fence!”

Oh, the drama, people! The drama!

I am happy to report that I backed the Suburban up, out of the driveway, where I waved to the perfectly-intact split-rail fence, and we made it safely to the party.

Because really? Miss A was officially six, and we had some royal celebrating to accomplish!

Poor Miss A has three brothers, as well as a couple of Y-chromosome-sporting cousins: the boy and H. And when all of those boys get together, and someone brings out the goalie pads, their ingenious ideas come together and big plans are made.

On Friday night, the big plans involved the hockey pads and a long staircase. B went first, to make sure it was safe for everyone else.

(Which is to say that B was able to fight everyone off for the hockey pads and get them attached to his legs FIRST, before anyone else could do it.)

Eventually, W decided to up the competition by introducing the Freestyle Stairway Slide, which made everyone give up completely on fighting for their turns with the goalie pads.

The boy and his cousin, M, participated in the Queen-Sized, Down-Filled Comforter Stairway Luge, and, after that, the beds were completely stripped down, whether Brother’s Wife wanted this to happen or not. Blankets of every size and shape were hauled to the staircase, and the kids rolled down the flight of stairs for most of the night, until their hair stood up on end with all the static and two of the Stairway Olympians developed rug burns.

Eventually, Miss A convinced the boys to give up on their competition, so that they could all gather around her for the Great Opening of the Presents. The boys were not overly impressed with the sassy hats and frilly shirts and smelly lotions and delicate tea cups that Miss A scored as gifts, so they ended up wrestling all over the place, while Miss A opened her gifts.

And the big, yellow stuffed bee? I think it was actually her favorite gift!

After the wrapping paper lay in shreds at Miss A’s feet, we had some chocolate cake.

And we had some bright red juice.

And then we went back home, and Hubs pretty much tackled me for the keys to the Suburban, as he insisted his poor, weak heart couldn’t take my driving any longer.


On Saturday, Hubs and I decided to just go ahead and lay on the grenade and hit the canned-food-drive movie matinee at our local theater. One of our Small Town businesses encourages kids to come see a show on each of the December Saturdays before Christmas, for the low admittance price of a few cans of food, which are then donated to charity for holiday food baskets. We raided our pantry, we gathered the troops, and we ventured in.

Of course, every! other! child! in Small Town, USA had the exact same idea.

And so did their parents.

And their aunts and uncles and distant cousins and grandparents and godparents and dad’s old college roommates did, too. Which is to say that EVERYONE WE KNOW was at the theater, and the word crowded does not even do the situation justice.

It was like an anthill, and everyone was swarming the concession stands for sugar.

In the end, we had to scrunch in. The boy ended up sitting on my lap for the entire showing of Despicable Me, because we moved our tribe over to make room for a poor dad with a broken arm who needed two seats. Hubs, who had spent his entire time in the long concession stand line whining, “A Mountain Dew! I need a Mountain Dew to survive this!” left his Dew on the floor, beneath his seat, when we decided to scoot over to make room for the other family.

And the twelve-year-old son from that family kicked Hubs’ plum-full Mountain Dew over.

And the cup’s lid burst off, and all the precious Dew poured itself down the sloped floor of the seating arena. Hubs gritted his teeth and squeezed his eyeballs shut and counted to one thousand and eighty.

And then the dad, whose arm was broken, ended up dropping his four-year-old son’s popcorn (who was sitting on his lap) onto the floor, and it all stuck in the wet river of Mountain Dew.

So, you know, our feet sort of stuck AND crunched while we sat through the movie.

At one point, I ran into Amy in the hallway, and she shouted out, “Honey, just shoot me now! I’m not sure I’m going to survive this chaos!” Little did she know that Hubs was going to survive it without his coveted Mountain Dew.

After we watched Gru steal the moon and adopt the three orphan girls, Hubs and I loaded the boys up into the Suburban with every article of winter clothing they own, and we took them to an obnoxiously steep hill to sled.

And also? Enzo had been to a science class early Saturday morning, where he dissected a squid. (The boy would have loved to attend this class, too, but his permission slip sat, wadded up in a crumbled heap at the bottom of his backpack, where it didn’t get found until DAYS AFTER the sign-up deadline. So, you know…natural consequences.) Enzo was plum thrilled to show the other three boys the PARTS of his squid, so he brought them, wrapped in a paper towel and stuffed into a plastic baggie, into our Suburban. And then the little lad unwrapped those squid parts. And I think Hubs and I now know what the seventh circle of hell will be like, as far as our noses are concerned.

People, there are no words to describe how awful that dead squid smelled, in our Suburban. As I started to pass out, I distinctly remember turning around and telling the young scientist, “Put the squid away!!” And my head may have twisted around on my neck a bit while I said that. And our Suburban pretty much smelled like dead, dissected squid for the rest of the day.

And it still smells that way today. No matter. The three other boys were duly impressed with the squid parts, and they ooh-ed and awe-ed at all the right times, as Enzo explained everything to them, and the smell did not bother them one bit.

The little punks. Aren’t they cute?

While the boy, Carter, Enzo and the cute neighbor boy hiked up the enormous sledding hill, time and time again, Hubs and I stood at the bottom, with our toes freezing off, and giggled, because EIGHTEEN HUNDRED TRIPS UP THE HILL EQUALS TIRED BOYS WHO GO TO BED EARLY!

And when they came DOWN the hill, Mama tended to get a wee bit nervous, because those $5 saucer sleds travel at rates of speed which only the space shuttle and Chevy Chase can successfully surpass. And even that speed wasn’t quite fast enough for the boys!

As dusk was settling in on the big hill and Small Town, the boys announced that OH, SWEET MERCY! THEY WERE SO HOT! AND ALSO SWEATY! JUST PLUM SWEATY AND VERY HOT! So the hats and the gloves came off, and the heads of fantastic hat hair made me laugh!

There may or may not have been a giant snowball fight, where every man was out for himself. They may or may not have shouted out, “TRUST NO ONE! YOU ARE ALL MY ENEMIES” a hundred different times, as they blasted snowballs at one another.

They may have also hunkered down in snow tunnels, to avoid the battle that was raging above ground.

And yes, this was a great time, until someone took an ice chunk, fired like a baseball pitch, to the side of the head, which resulted in a goose egg and some tears. Thankfully, it was dark by this time, so we loaded the troops up, returned them to their own homes, and Hubs and I called it a day.

Because, you know, we had to prepare for Sunday’s game plan.

We went to church on Sunday morning, where our pastor gave an entire sermon on how God appears to ordinary people, who do ordinary things. Just like the shepherds in the field, who were doing the ordinary job of tending their sheep. Naturally, this made my heart shiver a little with gladness, because THE ORDINARY! THAT IS SO MUCH ME! I am ordinary! And I do ordinary things!

And also? My heart plum burst with pride while we listened to the kids’ Sunday school classes combine to form one choir, which sang several Christmas carols. I may have even gotten a little teary-eyed over the whole thing, because singing kids do that to me! It’s just too much cuteness, wrapped up all at once, and the tears sting my eyes when the kids are performing.

Don’t judge me.

The boy? He’s the second one from the left, in the back row. In the blue. Frightfully cute, isn’t he?!

Sister’s little man, K (in the green), did some singing, too.

The boy’s cousin, L (in the gray) also belted out some holiday songs.

After church finished up, the Jedi Family met our friends, Dave and Missi, and their kids at McDonald’s, where we secured high-fat, high-sodium lunches, and then we went power shopping at Wal-Mart for Christmas gifts for needy families.

Yes. Wal-Mart. On a Sunday. Two weeks before Christmas.

It was, admittedly, LESS BUSY than the movie theater on Saturday afternoon!

After buying all sorts of fun toys and clothes for some children whose Christmases are not expected to be very bright, we went to Missi’s house for a wrapping party, where we dolled everything up in holiday paper and bows.

Hubs got to wrap all the SQUARE BOXES, because wrapping square boxes is Hubs’ specialty.

There may also have been some adorable kids and yummy pizza involved in the wrapping party.

And, of course, forks were completely optional at this party!

And that, people, was our weekend.

Hubs and I were not surprised at all when the boy announced at 7:30 last night, “I am so tired, Mom!”

Really? Was it the relay races down the staircase that wore you out this weekend? Or the birthday party? Or the chaos that was the theater? Or all the sledding and the hiking and the sledding and the hiking? Or the power shopping? Or the pizza-eating? Or the Wii playing with Dave and Missi’s kids, while the grown-ups wrapped gifts?

What part wore you out, Son?

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