Disclaimer: There Are A Lot Of Words. There Are A Lot Of Pictures. Bring A Snack And Stay Hydrated.

At Jedi Mama, Inc.’s headquarters, I can see a few things.

Namely, that I need a new desk chair, because this one is kind of uncomfortable that I’m sitting in right now.  Another thing that I can see is WHAT COUNTRY blog readers come from.  That’s it.  It may be because I’m too cheap to upgrade Houston, and sometimes Houston has GPS problems.  But… I CAN see whether you came from the United States or Turkey or Canada or Nauru.  I just have no idea if you visited from Philadelphia or Minnesota or Small Town or Churchill Downs or Parliament Hill.

And then I can see what words and phrases someone typed into the Google that ultimately caused them to land on my blog.

Last night, someone arrived by asking Google THIS phrase:  “Are pizza restaurants usually busy on Memorial Day?”

Clearly, Google knows me well enough now to say, “Because she loathes all the cooking and fails to impress Julia Childs, I shall point you in the direction of Jedi Mama for answers there.”

So please.  Let me address this question.

I usually find that… in Small Town, USA… it will be difficult to score a TASTY pizza on any holiday.  It’s because our population is so small here, we can’t have a Target or a Gap, and everyone knows that the families who own the GOOD pizza joints in town are going to take Memorial Day off to celebrate it with their families, as they should.  The CHAIN pizza restaurants, which are run by corporate offices in metropolitan areas that are big enough to boast things like symphonies and Red Lobsters and fancy art exhibits that require high heels and bow ties, are usually open, but they will be LESS BUSY, because everyone in Small Town will be at a Memorial Day barbecue, having ribs and pulled pork sandwiches and Aunt Gladys’ blue-ribbon potato salad.  So really, it’s just a matter of whether you want a quality pizza or a sub-par pizza, that will cause bloating and gas and mounds of regret.

Thank you for asking.

Our Memorial Day weekend could NOT have been any busier.  We took advantage of every minute possible, and we crammed something into it.

Friday, which was just four days ago, but which REALLY feels like 1976 in terms of HOW FAR REMOVED IT NOW IS, was taken up with me subbing in the pre-kindergarten classroom.  After school, Thing 2 and I did some sliding.

Actually, Thing 2 did the sliding.  I merely sat on my deck in a coma, and stood in amazement of mothers of young children who WORK THEMSELVES A FULL-TIME JOB ON THE OUTSIDE.  There should be an entire, day-long holiday dedicated to JUST YOU.  Because do you know what’s so fun to do after working nine hours straight in a classroom full of preschoolers?  It’s to come home and cook dinner, and inquire about homework, and fish a Matchbox car out of a toilet, and do all the mom things that still need to get done before bedtime can be granted.

IMG_4300 IMG_4302 IMG_4304 IMG_4310Hubs worked all night on Friday night.

By all night, I mean Hubs went to work at 8 AM on Friday… and he came home at 8 AM on Saturday.  There was a computer system in a law firm that needed his undivided attention, as well as a twelve-pack of Mountain Dew that needed to be inhaled to keep focusing on the task at hand.

Since my resident griller was missing in action, the boy took over.  He grilled steaks for us, while Hubs had a Jimmy John’s sandwich in seclusion across town, which he ate in front of a laptop.  I will say that the boy has inherited his daddy’s ability to cook the meat on the grill!

And then?  Do you know what is just HYSTERICAL to find in your refrigerator at 8 PM, when you just want to crawl into bed?  That would be a flood of blood, because SOMEONE dumped the plastic bags holding the steaks out onto an upper shelf.

Nothing says HAPPY FRIDAY NIGHT, MOM, like “Hey!  I grilled tenderloins for our dinner, and I just went ahead and butchered the steer right there in your stainless steel fridge.”

The boy and I gutted that fridge and scrubbed it into a state of HOLY.

And THEN I went to bed.

On Saturday, Sister turned OLD.  I mean, REALLY old.  This was a milestone birthday for her, and let’s just say it like it is:  Sister was alive when Starsky and Hutch were hot.  Sister’s Husband decided to throw a monstrously-huge barbecue to usher his wife into an age of hearing aides and walkers and Lawrence Welk on the re-run channel.  And, because Sister’s Husband’s brother’s wife (Are you still with me?) ROCKS, she decided to plum DADGUM SURPRISE Sister by driving seven hours in her BMW with her husband and two boys, one of whom suffers from Car Sickness of the First Degree.

NOTHING says, “I love you,” quite like putting a three-year-old who will more than likely puke into a vehicle and driving him across the continent to a birthday party.

Sister had JUST NO IDEA!  NO IDEA AT ALL! that her brother-in-law and sister-in-law were Small-Town-bound for the weekend’s festivities, so it was fun to surprise Sister with an extra guest at Birthday Morning Coffee on Saturday.  We met at a coffee shop in the city, which requires parallel parking, and Sister COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE SURPRISED IF PUBLISHER’S CLEARING HOUSE SHOWED UP ON HER DOORSTEP WITH ONE OF THOSE GIANT, CARDBOARD CHECKS.

10401928_10152803627473943_7686424023806303205_nIMG_4404

Carrie is just stinking lovely and fun, and we adore having her around.

And… I cannot believe that I’m about to say this… but her husband isn’t half-bad himself.  Never mind the fact that Sister and I grew up next door to him, because YES.  Sister married the neighbor boy, who is Carrie’s husband’s older brother.

I know.

Even I’m confused.

But as teenagers, Sister and I never believed that either of those boys would amount to anything.  We based our opinions on the number of snowballs they threw at us over the years… the number of pop-bottle rockets they lit off in our direction… the number of times they hung over the deck with binoculars when Sister and I sunbathed in the backyard… and the number of snakes that were caught and released in our yard for screams.

But Sister’s husband and Carrie’s husband grew up well.

This is all three of us at the coffee shop on Birthday Morning:

IMG_4405After a breakfast out WITHOUT YOUNG CHILDREN IN OUR PRESENCE, we all ended up over at Sister’s house for the Birthday BBQ Extravaganza.

Every friend that we have was in attendance, so it goes without saying that I was nearly hoarse from ALL THE TALKING.

IMG_4407 IMG_4408 IMG_4410 IMG_4411 IMG_4412 IMG_4415 IMG_4418 IMG_4419 IMG_4420 IMG_4424 IMG_4427 IMG_4430This was a spontaneous summit meeting, where world problems were thrown out onto the table and solved before the pulled pork and brisket were ready.

IMG_4431 IMG_4432 IMG_4433 IMG_4435 IMG_4436 IMG_4442 IMG_4444 IMG_4445 IMG_4447 IMG_4446 IMG_4452 IMG_4451 IMG_4450 IMG_4453 IMG_4454 IMG_4458 IMG_4459 IMG_4456(And yes.  In that snapshot above, I think it really IS a Secret Service agent in attendance, keeping the crowds safe and talking into a wire in his ear.)

(Oh, wait.  It’s our old neighbor boy, Keith.)

IMG_4460 IMG_4464 IMG_4469 IMG_4465 IMG_4474This is Keith and Carrie’s younger son, Kellan.  Thing 2 poured an ENTIRE BEACH BUCKET OF SAND over Kellan’s head while he sat angelically in the sandbox.

Some people’s children.

IMG_4476 IMG_4478 IMG_4480 IMG_4482 IMG_4483 IMG_4486 IMG_4487 IMG_4490This is Oliver.  Normally, I wouldn’t have used a MY EYEBALLS ARE CLOSED type of snapshot in a blog post, but I had to with this one, because EYELASHES, ANYONE?!  Seriously!!  Why does God give eyelashes like this to BOYS?!  These eyelashes are the envy of every girl in our hemisphere.

IMG_4491 IMG_4500 IMG_4499 IMG_4496 IMG_4495Oh, look!

The Jedi Family talked someone into taking a picture with Mama in it!  This is so rare, because I’m always the one TAKING the pictures.

IMG_4494 IMG_4506 IMG_4508 IMG_4503 IMG_4502 IMG_4501 IMG_4511 IMG_4510 IMG_4512The answer is NO.

There were NO artificial dyes of any kind in the cake.

IMG_4513 IMG_4524 IMG_4523 IMG_4522 IMG_4514 IMG_4521Hudson and I played a good game of Peek-a-Boo.

I love his cheeks so much, I could just pinch them, and pinch them, and PINCH!! THEM!!

IMG_4519 IMG_4520And do y’all remember Amaya?  I asked everyone to give some prayers to Jesus for her, because a couple of months ago, she found out that she had a brain tumor.

Well.

Her brain tumor was NOT, NOT, NOT cancerous!  Do you know what kind of relief her mama and all of us felt with that proclamation?!  Amaya had herself some REAL BRAIN SURGERY, and she’s going through some treatments now, and she’s going to be the picture of perfect health.

THIS is Amaya and her mama:

IMG_4518 IMG_4516 IMG_4528 IMG_4526And I really didn’t mean to cut half of Ilona out of the snapshot above there, but I never claimed to be a professional photographer.

And then!

After partying and talking and talking and partying, Hubs and the boys and I loaded up into our car, and we went to another barbecue on Saturday night, because our eighteen-year-old nephew, Cousin H, was graduating from high school this weekend.  H was born to Hubs’ brother and his wife, five months after Hubs and I got married.

Clearly, Hubs and I are old.

Except… I was a child-bride at the tender age of five, and Hubs was just six when he said, “I do.”

So do the math, folks.

5 years old then + 18 years ago = NOT THAT OLD, I GUESS!

IMG_4562We can’t believe that H is eighteen now, and done with school, and able to drive, and capable of rebuilding an entire engine from scratch.

IMG_4561Our boys had a blast hanging out with all of their cousins at this barbecue.

Also, it should go on record that Thing 2’s entire dinner consisted of jelly beans, candy canes, cookies, a purple sucker, chips in every flavor, and orange soda.

So sue me.

IMG_4543 IMG_4541 IMG_4530 IMG_4529 IMG_4564 IMG_4533IMG_4547IMG_4556IMG_4551IMG_4557

IMG_4536 IMG_4537 IMG_4539 IMG_4542  IMG_4553 IMG_4554 IMG_4555    IMG_4566 IMG_4568 IMG_4573 IMG_4574As the party progressed, the golf clubs were brought out.

Thing 2 doesn’t really play golf.  What HE plays is a hybrid of the sport.  It’s something of GOLF MEETS RUGBY MEETS HOCKEY MEETS HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT MEETS LIGHTSABER FIGHT.

All I can say is, IF THING 2 HAS A METAL GOLF CLUB, GET  OUT  OF THE WAY!!!!!

IMG_4576 IMG_4579 IMG_4581 IMG_4582One of the young party-goers made the comment that he had no idea how to hit a golf ball.  The boy needed no more encouragement.  This little boy found himself having a private lesson, right there in the yard, because GOLF is our boy’s love language.

IMG_4584 IMG_4585 IMG_4586 IMG_4588 IMG_4590 IMG_4592The explanation for these next snapshots is simply this:  Cousin B and the boy decided that it would be SIMPLY HILARIOUS if the boy held out his hand like he was using the force to knock B backwards.  Cousin B would jump from the trampoline and throw his body backward, and they wanted it all documented on a digital memory card.

Later, they asked me if I could use Photo Shop to take the trampoline out of the pictures, and make it look MORE REALISTIC… More like Darth Vader throwing someone back with his Jedi Mind Tricks.

Yeah.

They have no idea how illiterate I am in Photo Shop.

The trampoline had to stay in the pictures.

IMG_4593 IMG_4595 IMG_4596 IMG_4598 IMG_4600 IMG_4604 IMG_4606 IMG_4610 IMG_4612Doesn’t everyone have a weird uncle who still likes piggy backs?

Thankfully, Cousin W is a hockey goalie, so he’s tough.

IMG_4613 IMG_4614 IMG_4615 IMG_4616 IMG_4617 IMG_4620 IMG_4623 IMG_4625 IMG_4627Thing 2 did some farming at the party…

IMG_4631 IMG_4633… while the boy quickly used a few minutes of downtime to check his stocks and portfolio.

IMG_4634 IMG_4636 IMG_4637 IMG_4638 IMG_4640 IMG_4641 IMG_4642 IMG_4643 IMG_4644 IMG_4647 IMG_4651 IMG_4653 IMG_4656 IMG_4658On Sunday morning, one of the big ranches in our area ran their horses from their winter pasture back to the ranch.  This is always fun to watch, because… well… HORSES RUNNING IN THE STREETS THROUGH TOWN!

We went with our friend, Katie, and her family.

IMG_4661 IMG_4660 IMG_4664 IMG_4663 IMG_4665 IMG_4666 IMG_4667 IMG_4668 IMG_4669 IMG_4675 IMG_4676And then, we were off to the graduation ceremony.

It was approximately 4,183 degrees on Sunday afternoon, which was magnified even more by the metal bleachers.

I walked three hundred and four miles around the grandstands with Thing 2, so that he wouldn’t be disruptive and keep grandmas and grandpas who had traveled great distances for this from enjoying the afternoon.

We all clapped wildly for Cousin H, when he got that diploma!

IMG_4682 IMG_4685 IMG_4686 IMG_4688 IMG_4690 IMG_4693 IMG_4704 IMG_4701 IMG_4700We also clapped like hyper lunatics when our good friend, Addison, got HER diploma, as well.

IMG_4708And then, everyone took showers, because WHAT PART ABOUT 4,183 DEGREES AND SWEATING IN METAL BLEACHERS DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?

We were NOT FRESH after the graduation ceremony finished, people.

We wanted to be clean and smell like something other than pigs basking in the sun for Addison’s barbecue, because that’s where we were off to next.

IMG_4712

IMG_4713 IMG_4714 IMG_4715 IMG_4718 IMG_4720 IMG_4719 IMG_4721 IMG_4722 IMG_4724And Addison?

Well, she got a brand new car for graduation!!

I made her let me sit in it and inhale that new-car-smell for a sweet forever!

IMG_4725 IMG_4728On Monday, we did yard work.

A LOT of yard work.

It was hot.

Like… REAL hot.

We sweated even more, and we got sunburned.

And then we all slept like rocks under anesthesia last night, because THAT WAS A LOT OF STINKING WEEKEND, PEOPLE!

Y’all have a merry Tuesday.

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