Columbus And Pumpkins And Soccer And Playgrounds

So I contemplated not posting anything on the blog tonight, because, in all actuality, today is a holiday.  I thought, “You know, I don’t know if I’ll have time to put a real blog post up, because we’re so busy celebrating Columbus Day and how he sailed the ocean blue in 1492.”  I had the boys make paper mache ships of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria that we could set on the counters and admire for many more Columbus Days to come. It was like the best Pinterest moment ever.

Oh, not really, people.  We celebrated Columbus Day by sitting in front of our fireplace and watching TV, because the rain and snow combination outside created the perfect ingredients for a Slop Storm, and ain’t nobody got time to go outside in that.  Plus?  Paper mache?  My high-strung, firstborn personality wouldn’t be able to handle that craft with children.

Or even by myself, for that matter.

All that paper pulp and glue that is paper mache is something Thing 2 could spread from here to Spain.  There’s not enough blood pressure medication in an entire pharmacy to get me through that situation.

But here we are, coming down off of our weekend, and I do have some snapshots for y’all.

Last Thursday, we pulled a double-header on soccer games.  Cousin L played at 4:00, and the boy chased that with his own 5:00 game.  There was a playground at the field where we played, which Thing 2 announced was his.  The slide?  Yes; that was his, and he was prepared to die on that hill and push any child off that dared to claim differently.  The swings?  His, and he wanted to use them NOW.  The sand?  Also his.  If he was questioned about it, he just threw sand at the person doing the asking.

Also?  Well, it was bitter cold at those soccer games, because this is fall in Small Town.  We’re not Florida, people.

IMG_9139 IMG_9152 IMG_9145 IMG_9143 IMG_9148Eventually, Thing 2 ripped his cap off, because when you run a half-marathon at the playground, your head sweats.

Enzo ended up wearing it, because when you’re in the 7th grade and you think you’re too cool to wear winter gear, you tend to freeze.  When you tend to freeze, you’ll steal hats from babies and sweatshirts from friends in the name of self-preservation.

IMG_9187 IMG_9188And do you know all those ESCAPE FROM THIS OR THAT PRISON type movies?  And how the prisoner finally tunnels his way out after forty-six years of digging?  And then he just kind of takes off, running for the border and freedom?

Thing 2 did that a couple of times.  He saw a chance to FLY!  FLY, LITTLE BIRD, AND BE FREE! and he took it.  Thankfully, we had 7th grade boys who are in shape and could do a little jogging with him.

IMG_9190 IMG_9198 IMG_9193There’s our little friend, Kiley, hanging out with Cousin H.

IMG_9181Cousin K was there, too.  He was not at all interested in watching his big sister play soccer, because PLAYGROUND!!

(Frankly, I was in love with the static-look of his hair whenever he’d whip down one of the slides.)

IMG_9199 IMG_9185 IMG_9151Cousin L gave her soccer game all she had.  She’s a great little player.

IMG_9162 IMG_9164 IMG_9166 IMG_9170 IMG_9180After her game wrapped up, the boy’s team took the field.

We played McKinley’s team.  McKinley has been our little friend since FOREVER AND EVER, because her daddy and Hubs have been best friends since they were 7th graders.  I won’t even go into the amount of trouble those two caused together back “in the day,” but now they’re both respectable grownups with cute kids.

And McKinley?  Well, she can play some soccer.

And by play some soccer, I mean she’s averaging a hat trick in every game, scoring goal after goal after goal.  She’s exactly like a seventy-pound freight train whenever she gets that ball.  I told the boy, “Keep your eye on McKinley; you know she’s going to try to beat you guys.”

And she did.  The score was 0 to 2.  McKinley scored both of those for her team.  I told her that we might like her again one day, but on Thursday night, we just wanted to throw rotten tomatoes at her.

IMG_9252 IMG_9231 IMG_9238 IMG_9266 IMG_9273And I’m totally kidding with the rotten tomatoes.  If there ever existed a girl WITHOUT an ego or pride, it’s McKinley.  She’s the sweetest thing ever, and she’s exactly what Jesus would want an 8th grade girl to be.

IMG_9236 IMG_9229 IMG_9237 IMG_9246 IMG_9248 IMG_9254 IMG_9255 IMG_9285 IMG_9280Kellen played some great soccer on Thursday…

IMG_9250 IMG_9247 IMG_9269… as did Patrick…

IMG_9258 IMG_9260… and Enzo.

IMG_9208 IMG_9214By the end of the soccer game, Thing 2 had run the equivalent of four entire marathons, so he just laid down in the gravel for a breather.  He had no desire to move any more, because EXHAUSTION!  This pose would have been nice for him to take while the game was going on, so that folks could have… you know!… WATCHED the game, instead of chasing him to the ends of the earth that Columbus sailed to discover for us.

IMG_9203After four marathons finished, he was ready for some down time, so he hung out with Mam and Cousin H.

Mam loves The Littles.

IMG_9226 IMG_9288Thing 2 is very interested in soccer, too, as long as there isn’t a playground nearby.

Slides always trump shots on goal, but shots on goal are a blast.  On Saturday morning, we played soccer in our cul de sac with the toddler.

You should know that he’s fast… and he cheats.  If he thinks someone else is going to kick the ball, he just picks it up and carries it at a dead run.  Apparently the NO HANDS IN SOCCER rule applies only to other people.

IMG_9290 IMG_9294 IMG_9297 IMG_9308 IMG_9312 IMG_9313 IMG_9316 IMG_9326 IMG_9335 IMG_9339On Saturday afternoon, we headed out of town to the local pumpkin patch, where you pay an astronomical fee for pumpkins.  However, can you really put a price tag on a great hay ride, in a tractor-pulled wagon, and the memories of your one-and-a-half-year-old melting down with a fit of nuclear proportions because the pumpkin patch’s insurance policy forbids him from driving the tractor?

No.  No, you cannot.

McKinley, Kiley and Avery joined our boys and Enzo, and we had a fantastic time, despite the fact that it was STINKING COLD.

IMG_9341Enzo wished that he had thought to bring a down parka, long johns, a fleece hat, Gortex gloves, and boots lined with the fur of a young alpaca.

IMG_9343After riding the wagon out to the field, you’re allowed to just roam all the acres, in search of your very own pumpkin or nine, depending on whether your family has money in oil or not.

Enzo decided he’d go ahead and take the smallest pumpkin he could find.

IMG_9348 IMG_9352IMG_9355 IMG_9356 IMG_9358And do y’all remember in the movie Dirty Dancing, when Baby says, “I carried a watermelon”?


I cannot even look at these next two pictures without quoting that line, over and over and over again!

IMG_9360 IMG_9394IMG_9362 IMG_9365 IMG_9371 IMG_9372 IMG_9373 IMG_9376 IMG_9377 IMG_9380 IMG_9387 IMG_9399LIFT WITH YOUR LEGS!!!

(Especially if the pumpkin is the equivalent of 83% of your own body weight!)

IMG_9382 IMG_9386 IMG_9388 IMG_9396It took a lot of calm conversation to convince Thing 2 that he wasn’t going to be able to drive the tractor himself.

IMG_9404 IMG_9405After we made it back in from the fields, there were cookies and hot chocolate for everyone.

The kids used the hot cups of hot cocoa to defrost themselves.

IMG_9410 IMG_9416 IMG_9417 IMG_9419 IMG_9420Sometimes I’ll see a snapshot of the boy, and it will take my breath away.  My baby has been replaced by a young man.

IMG_9418We finished up our outing with group snapshots on the hay bales.

There’s my entire heart, right here:

IMG_9432Everyone else is pretty dadgum cute, too.

(The answer is YES.  Enzo is in counseling for his shyness in front of a camera lens.  We’re really hoping that he’ll learn to blossom and show some personality.)

IMG_9427 IMG_9435 IMG_9434Today, it rained.

And then it snowed.

And then it snow-rained.

It was one of the sloppiest, bone-chilling-cold days we’ve had in a long, long time.  The boy didn’t have school, because COLUMBUS DAY!  Instead of being very crafty by making paper mache ships in honor of the day, we spent the morning at Sister’s house.

And then we came home, where we sat on our sofa in front of the fireplace, with the TV going.

I think we might make this our family’s tradition on how we celebrate Columbus Day.

DSC_0046 DSC_0047 DSC_0049Y’all have a good Monday evening.

Stay warm.  Unless you live in Florida or Texas, and then my words to you are, “I hope you get a day soon where it’s not 133 degrees.”

1 thought on “Columbus And Pumpkins And Soccer And Playgrounds

  1. “I carried a watermelon!” (Dramatic pause as the others walk ahead.) “I carried A WATERMELON?”


    Also–twenty hours of travel tomorrow for me AND TWO CHILDREN. I don’t think it will be as fun as carrying a watermelon. Nor will it get me into any sort of employee party with suspect dancing. Pray for me.

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