On The Brink Of Eight… And SNAKE ALERT! (In Case Your Heart Is Weak. You’re Welcome.)

So when you read this tonight, I’ll be having dinner at the golf course with the girls.

(Unless you read this after 9:30 this evening, because let’s face it:  I’m useless at intelligent conversation after that hour, and by then, I will be home in bed.)

We’re not actually playing golf tonight, because why on earth would we waste time doing that, when we can all circle up around a table and laugh until our sides hurt?

(Actually, come to think of it, if anyone saw ME golf, they’d laugh until their side hurt, so… SAME THING.)

And yes.  I had a grown-up lunch date with the girls this week AND a grown-up dinner date with the girls.  All in the same week.

I know!  It’s like I won the lottery!

The Lord is worthy to be praised!

Anyway… Yesterday we celebrated Cousin K’s birthday a bit early, because his actual birthday falls over Labor Day Weekend this year.  That translates into ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS WILL BE LEAVING TOWN, BECAUSE IT’S THE LAST REAL SUMMER WEEKEND, AND THEN WE HAVE TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES AND WHAT TO BRING TO TAILGATE PARTIES.

Birthdays that happen over Labor Day Weekend have low party-going attendance.

Hence, the early celebration where we let this little stinker pretend that he’s eight right now.

DSC_0512(Personally, I don’t think he’s quite tall enough to be eight.)

(As his very favorite aunt, I think he should still be two.)

(Unfortunately, children grow up and learn to burp on purpose and turn eight, whether you want them to or not.)

(And, before we go any further, let me just tell y’all this one thing:  I forgot my camera for the party.  So, I had to borrow Sister’s camera, because HOW DO I FUNCTION AT A CELEBRATION WITHOUT A CAMERA IN MY HANDS?  These pictures were taken by me, and by Sister, and by Cousin L.  So… if you see a blurry one, I’m QUITE CERTAIN it wasn’t me who took it!)

(I told you that Jesus and I are working on HUMBLE together, but I’m going to have to repeat the class, I think.)

Cousin K wanted a Puss in Boots party.  I really didn’t want to glue whiskers to my face and wear my thigh-high boots and hat, so I just went AS IS to the party.  But look!  This is why you should never just bake birthday cakes at home:  Why would you deprive a child of having his very own face right there with the orange cat, on top of all of that chocolate cake?

IMG_0061There were games at the party, because you have to entertain kids for at least two hours, in exchange for the gifts that they bring.

It’s in the Birthday Party Code of Conduct Handbook, page 14, section C.

There was Pin the Tail On Puss in Boots, with a lot of arguing about who slammed that paper tail closest to the kitty’s hind quarters.

IMG_0108 IMG_0112Seeing as how Cousin L was half of a door away from the target, we can all assume she didn’t win the prize.

I was recruited to lead the Active Games, which, you know, FINE.  It’s what I get paid to do, September through May in the school gym.

IMG_0072 DSC_0395 DSC_0382 DSC_0363The kids ran and hoola-hooped and tagged and dodged and sprinted and rolled and jumped.

And then they gathered ’round the picnic table to drink up fourteen pitchers of Sister’s lemonade, because DEHYDRATED WITH ALL THE FUN!

IMG_0129Thing 2 and Cousin H recruited folks to pull them around in the sideless wagon (Which is oftentimes what happens when you bring a brand new Labrador puppy home… Wooden wagon sides can be used as an afternoon snack.), because those babies are Ride Mooches.

DSC_0347 DSC_0348 DSC_0355 DSC_0358 DSC_0359 DSC_0387 DSC_0410We did have one somewhat major infraction of the Wagon Riding Rules when Little H refused to scoot over to accommodate Thing 2.

So, my baby pinched her.

It wasn’t a little pinch, either.  It was comparable to having your arm stuck in a combine, and yes.  She’s going to have a mark.  But Thing 2 did the right thing by kissing his cousin and hugging his cousin and yelling, “SORRY!” at the top of his lungs in her face, after being prompted to do so by his mama.

(Not that I prompted Thing 2 to YELL his sorries to his cousin.  I prompted him TO apologize.  I thought I should be clear.)

(I teach PE for a living.  I say the words, “Now tell her, ‘Sorry,’ LIKE YOU MEAN IT,” 180 days a year.)

I felt like his apology came from the very depths of his heart and was quite sincere, because pushing your nose two inches away from the other party’s nose and shouting a verbal apology at the top of your lungs clearly states I FEEL SHAME AND REMORSE AND WILL REFORM MY WAYS.

Cousin H wasn’t so sure about his claims at reforming, so she spent the rest of the afternoon pointing at him and yelling, “No!  No!  No!” whenever he got within three feet of her.

DSC_0364DSC_0350  DSC_0435 DSC_0374Thing 2 decided to do a little yard work while he was at the birthday party.  I believe his exact words were, “THIS is why I need my very own tractor, people!  It’s what I keep telling y’all!  A man NEEDS a tractor!”

DSC_0377I’m pretty sure the party-goers all had a great time, because WHAT FUN GAMES THAT PE TEACHER PLAYED WITH US and CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH COOKIE DOUGH ICE CREAM!

IMG_0137 IMG_0134 IMG_0135 IMG_0149 IMG_0131 IMG_0130 DSC_0543 DSC_0373(And?  That picture right there, of the boy and Little H and Gage?  MELT.  MY.  HEART.  Those boys are so precious to me, and I can’t imagine that there’s a prettier baby girl in all the kingdom than Little H.)

And this next picture cracks me up, because look how Jada is mothering Cousin H, and how Antonio is mindlessly holding the bottle because he’s been asked to hold it.

IMG_0073And doesn’t every baby need a big brother to throw him up into the air?

DSC_0392IMG_0140 Also?  Well, freckles are my weak point.  I adore freckles!  Aren’t these utter freckle perfection?!

DSC_0375After Cousin K’s friends all waved good-bye, we had Pretend-You-Are-Actually-Eight-Today, Round 2.

The family all gathered for pizza and more cake, because what’s better than one birthday cake?

Two.

ON.  THE.  SAME.  DAY.

DSC_0484 DSC_0485Sister secretly showed The Littles how to swipe little licks of frosting.  They caught on VERY quickly.

DSC_0489 DSC_0494 DSC_0506And then THIS happened, because a shout went up of SNAKE!  SNAKE!  SNAKE!!!!

DSC_0449 DSC_0450 DSC_0451 DSC_0452Those snapshots were taken with a telephoto lens, because I don’t care if it is A NEWBORN BABY, TOTALLY HARMLESS SNAKE!!  I don’t want any part of him, and WHO TOLD YOU HE DOESN’T BITE?  BECAUSE YOUR UNCLE IS CRAZY IN HIS HEAD, THAT’S WHAT.

After the snake had been released back into the wild, even after Sister and I discussed how he should be thrown into the driveway to be run over with a Suburban, or even how some male figure should just step up and bite him in half like Phil Robertson does, Sister’s Husband needed to move his truck out of the driveway.

He had a volunteer to back it up and re-park it.

DSC_0454 DSC_0460 DSC_0461 DSC_0465 DSC_0469 DSC_0472 DSC_0476We are not going to discuss the fact that the boy is thirteen years old and can already back a truck out of a driveway and park it better than his mama can.  So what?  I have OTHER spiritual gifts.

And look!  There’s Mam and her Littles!

DSC_0480There was some trampoline jumping at this party…

DSC_0424… and some Play-Doh dentistry, because listen.  When I was a small fry, what I wanted most was a plastic head that I could make Play Doh teeth for.  And then I wanted to drill those teeth and fill them with silver and add braces with red Play Doh ropes.  I never had my own set, so I did the next best thing.

We bought one for Cousin K’s birthday.

And yes.  It was a giant hit, as the kiddos practiced their dentistry skills without having to deal with bad breath coming out of their patient.

DSC_0417 DSC_0437DSC_0403DSC_0404 DSC_0446 IMG_0125Cousin K was completely thrilled with the white board Mam and Pa got him.  It was his specific birthday request.  It was at the top of the list for his heart’s desires.

DSC_0442And then, people, we pretty much picked up the wrapping paper and came down off of our cake-and-ice-cream highs.  We put the pizza boxes in the dumpster.  We gathered our filthy boys, and we headed for home for baths.

It’s what responsible parents do, because babies need to go to bed on time.

Happy PRETEND birthday, K.  If the boy can celebrate turning thirteen several times in one week, then you deserve to have umpteen-and-six celebrations for your eighth birthday, too.  We love ya!

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