Parades And Carnivals And Ice Cream… Oh, My!

I think I mentioned a while ago that Hubs bought himself a Honda Accord last month, when The Perfect Storm rolled through and smashed his truck to smithereens with hail the size of watermelons.

(Oh, I exaggerate, people.  The hail was actually quite bigger than that.)

It’s kind of a sassy little Honda that makes Hubs look like James Bond in some random, European country, driving all over with the heat beneath his driver’s seat.

It’s also clean.

One of the reasons for this is that Hubs is a bit meticulous with his vehicles, but he will step over a sticky area the size of Texas on our kitchen floor, where one of the boys spilled juice eight days ago.

The other reason is that Hubs doesn’t haul a lot of children in his car, because that’s not really James Bond’s thing.

(Because… seriously?  Would tickets sell if the movie was all about how 007 whipped through the McDonald’s drive-thru with four kids in the backseat of his car, bought everyone miniature jugs of chocolate milk to spill all over the floor, and then took them to the park, where they filled their shoes with the mulchy tree bark that breaks a fall from a ten-foot slide and proceeded to take their shoes off and empty them of said bark in the backseat of the Honda?)

(No.  Tickets would not sell to that, and apparently I just felt the need to exercise my ability to create the world’s longest run-on sentence.  You’re welcome.)

My Suburban, though, had started to look like a homeless person was living in it.  This could have been due to the small fact that there were three pairs of shorts, one pair of Gap jeans, and three T-shirts that the boy had left in the backseat over the course of… Oh, I don’t know!… the last six months.  There was also every manner of Happy Meal toy (Don’t judge me; James Bond won’t allow the cheap dinners to be eaten in his car, but Mama will.) scattered everywhere, sixteen golf balls that were rattling back and forth every single time I turned a corner, and enough garbage to make an artist who creates sculptures out of trash happy for the next year.

Hubs had begun to look at me and say, “I don’t know if you can even ride in my car with me, because I’ve seen your Suburban.”

And then he proceeded to inform my dad that I had bought a new vehicle yesterday.  When I looked at him with the, “I did?” look, because goodness knows, I would have remembered signing the papers on a new Cadillac Escalade to park in my driveway, Hubs just grinned and said, “When we went to Walmart.”

Hubs is hysterical.

It’s because I bought a new broom.

Today was the day that we spent a little quality time as a family in the Suburban.  We gutted it.  We put all the dirty laundry into the clothes hamper in the bathroom.  We threw away the garbage.  We scrubbed the dash and the steering wheel and all the spilled Gatorade off the seats.  We ran it through the car wash and spent thirty minutes vacuuming up stray French fries and a chicken nugget that was actually harder than diamonds and gravel and park bark.

And now I don’t want anyone to actually ride in it, because I’d like it to stay clean for more than six hours.


This has nothing to do with tonight’s blog post, so I don’t even know why I mentioned it.  I guess I just wanted to be clear on the fact that YES!  MY SUBURBAN IS FINALLY CLEAN AGAIN!  And I don’t really feel claustrophobic in it any longer.

So the rodeo was in Small Town this weekend, which happens every July.  We like to get things started with a parade that the entire town comes out to watch.

(I’m not even kidding you.  If you were a bandit set on getting yourself a free big screen TV, you could just wait until the annual parade.  While the entire town and all the police officers and firemen are downtown, you could have your way with every empty house in Small Town.)

(Not that I normally think about those things.)

(But listen:  Here’s what I DON’T think about… Where I would hide a body, if I needed to.  Hubs and Sister’s Husband and about eight of Hubs’ buddies have all assured me that every guy has a plan for this… JUST IN CASE.)

(I swear, we’re not really criminals.)

(And I’ve NEVER understood how the male mind works.)


…the parade.

We went to sit on one of the main streets in town, to watch all the floats go by.  Without fail, the day of the parade dawns HOT and BRIGHT, every.  single.  year.  It’s always the hottest day we have.  By 11:00 in the morning on parade day, we usually see a temperature of 271 degrees, and everyone’s makeup has melted off of their faces.  This, though, turned out to be the Year Of The Lord’s Favor, because Friday was 75 degrees, people!

Yes!  Seventy-five degrees.  And that’s Fahrenheit, even!

We all sighed in relief.

IMG_6671 IMG_6675 IMG_6673Sister quickly taught Little H how to hold her hand over her heart when the flags went by, because Small Town, USA is all about SHOW OUR COUNTRY SOME RESPECT.


IMG_6672We sat with my darling friends, Evelyn (who happens to be the mama to the boy’s good buddy, Enzo) and Stacy.

IMG_6684Enzo’s little brother, Jonah, joined us, too.

(For the record?  Jonah is growing his hair out, so that he looks like he surfs big waves and says things like, “Hang loose!”  I think it’s beyond adorable.)

IMG_6670The kids sat in the street, on blankets, because that’s what happens on parade day.

The closer you are to the floats, the better chance you have of scoring more candy that is thrown FROM the floats.

IMG_6686 IMG_6687 IMG_6692 IMG_6694Here, Enzo demonstrates the CANDY DIVE, which involves throwing your body out as quickly as a striking rattlesnake, so that you get the candy and the stranger children next to you do not.

IMG_6689Thing 2 was a Parade Enthusiast.  He enjoyed all the music and the bands, and he spent the majority of his time dancing and clapping and asking why we don’t do this EVERY Friday morning.

IMG_6700 IMG_6701 IMG_6702 IMG_6704 IMG_6735Thing 2 and Mam had a good time together.

IMG_6711Here’s Little H.  The purple streak down her arm is juice from a fruity Popsicle that one of the big kids caught out of the air when it was thrown from a float.

IMG_6708Hubs’ computer business had a float in the parade, which meant that Hubs got to ride in style, like he was royalty.  His office also passed out Popsicles to the kids on the street, because they knew that none of the sticky little munchkins would be riding home in THEIR VEHICLES.

No.  It’s because they were all riding home with Mama, in the Suburban, after devouring tubes of frozen grape juice.

Well played, Gentleman; well played.

IMG_6724 IMG_6719Go ahead and say it…

Hubs is incredibly handsome, and he can man a cooler full of frozen treats better than most men can.

IMG_6723I encouraged Hubs and the guys from his office to wave in an “Elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist” motion, like all the beauty queens do.

They stared at me like I was wearing bath slippers and whining about how it was almost time for Wapner.

Apparently James Bond doesn’t use the “Elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist” method of saying hello to a parade audience.

There’s my big boy.  His mama thinks he’s every bit as handsome as his daddy is.

IMG_6710 IMG_6744This is the tractor that made Thing 2 go ballistic during the parade.  He kept shouting, “Tractor!  Tractor!!!  TRACTOR!!!!!”

Thing 2 has a thing for tractors.

IMG_6734Cousin K had approximately 4 Popsicles and eighteen pounds of candy at the parade.

IMG_6739His sister, Cousin L, had just a bit more than that.  It’s because when Sister told her, “No more Popsicles,” I told her, “You go right ahead!  Auntie overrides your mama today!  It’s parade day, and you can eat tofu and beans tomorrow.  Have another Popsicle… In fact… have THREE more.”

She did, folks.  She did.

Sister just smiled and gave me the look that said, “One day very soon, I will give Thing 2 espresso and a hundred-pound bag of cotton candy.  It’ll probably happen right before bedtime, too.”  She will; Sister’s just crazy enough to do that.

IMG_6740IMG_6750And… just like last year at the parade, someone asked us if Thing 2 and Little H were twins.

Yes.  Yes, they are.  Identical, actually.  We have to paint H’s fingernails so we can tell them apart. 

Oh, I didn’t say that, people.  I just smiled and said, “No… they’re actually cousins.  And she’s three months older than he is, but he outweighs her by about two pounds.”

I do try to be honest most of the time.

There’s the boy and Enzo… cute as ever.

IMG_6747Enzo really is slouching a bit in this snapshot, but the boy HAS grown.  Hubs and I never expected him to grow, because… well… he’s always been such a little runt.  And then, right after I invested in brand new Under Armour windpants and Under Armour shorts and Gap jeans, because he’d outgrown all of his clothes… that boy GREW SOME MORE.

And we bought Round Two of windpants and shorts.  We didn’t buy jeans the second time around, though, because the boy has informed me that he is now a Jeans Hater.  He wants gym shorts… windpants… and the occasional pair of dressier shorts for golfing.

He told me he is officially banning denim from his wardrobe choices forever.

And there’s Noah and Jonah.  Aren’t they adorable?  (Noah belongs to my friend, Stacy.  Jonah is his very best buddy.)

IMG_6749And that was the parade.

The carnival was also in town, because how on earth can you celebrate a rodeo without scary carnies and rides that may or may not have all the nuts and bolts in the correct places?

Just as the Lord showed His favor upon us with the cooler weather on Friday, He also blessed me with the boy’s friend, John, and his mama coming into Small Town from Bigger Town for the weekend.

THEY took the boy to the carnival, and Hubs and I got out of it.

And then we didn’t even take Thing 2 up there, so I’m sure he’ll look at the photos from the summer of 2013 and say, “Where was my first carnival ride when I was one?  THE BOY has some photos of him on the carousel in 2001.”

To this I will say, “Honey… you were the second son.  The back-up heir to our kingdom.  We didn’t take you to the carnival when you were one, because Mama and Daddy scored big and didn’t have to go that year.”

John’s mom texted me this snapshot.  The boys had a blast… they even went to the rodeo… and they ingested too much fried bread from questionable food trucks.


The boy also came home at MIDNIGHT, exactly like he was already living the teenager’s life.  I waited up for him, while Hubs went to bed.  Since I’m not a night person, this was a bit tricky for me, because what I really wanted to do on Friday night was fall asleep on the sofa.

It also made me want to go back to 1988 and tell my parents that I’m sorry for all the times I said, “Why do I even have a curfew?!  You DO NOT have to wait up for me!  Go to bed, and we’ll see each other in the morning!”

There’s obviously something about being a mama and waiting up to get all of your peeps home before you can call it a day.

Hubs and I, in an effort to make ourselves feel better about skipping out on Thing 2’s first year to ride carnival rides, took him to the park for ice cream and the slides.

IMG_1526 IMG_1527He seemed okay with that.

And THAT, people, was our weekend, in less than 2,000 words.

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