Just Another Summer Day

Two-thirds of our summer is officially over.  This means that in four short weeks, I’m going to have to start making ham sandwiches and adding yogurt containers that will go unopened to lunchboxes every single morning.

And we’re going to have to be out the door by 8:00, because the tardy bell waits for no junior higher.  Seeing as how the boy has slept in until 11:00 most mornings this summer, I suspect that he’ll have a bit of a vacation hangover at the end of August, which will more than likely last nine months and won’t be relieved until the arrival of NEXT JUNE.

I do love the whole back-to-school concept, because I’m a nerd who gets an emotional high off of new school and office supplies.  Plus, I love the structured-ness of a day, because a good schedule sings the songs of the love whales to my OCD.  But what I’m going to flat-out MISS when school starts is having my big boy around the house all the time, and just packing up our water bottles and a bag of Goldfish crackers and taking off for the park.

We seem to do that a lot.

And by a lot, I mean practically every single day.  I like to call it The Running Of The Children.  We wave flags and shout encouragements and cheer for them as they go by, and then our eyes glaze over with delighted thoughts of, “Oh!  He’s gonna sleep well tonight!”

(Which  never seems to be the case, but it doesn’t stop us from envisioning it while the kids are sweating profusely at the park.)

Yesterday, I packed up my three boys, because we had Enzo with us, and we met Sister, our friend, Sarah, and our friend, Ellen, at one of the local playgrounds.  The count was unofficial, but I think we had something like thirteen kids between the four of us, and enough Starbucks drinks to kill a horse with a caffeine overload.

IMG_7015A little construction was being done on the playground, but the work crew must’ve slept in, because we didn’t see anyone with a hardhat on who looked like he was capable of driving a bobcat around.

So…

… Thing 2 kind of took over as the project foreman, because a decent tractor is his love language.

I know that most mothers would holler out, “No!  Stay off the heavy machinery!  You’ll break your neck!”  Our band of mothers yesterday didn’t fall into the MOST MOTHERS category.  Our children have all been raised knowing how to drive before their 4th birthdays, and bobcats aren’t even a challenge.

Especially when some negligent crew member leaves the keys in the dadgum tractor.  Thing 2 had the keys in the first seven seconds, and he was ready to fire it up and move some playground equipment across the park.  Out of respect for some poor sap’s job, we told Thing 2 that he couldn’t actually START the bobcat, which infuriated him, but jobs are hard to find these days.  Just because a fellow walks away from a bobcat on a children’s playground and leaves the keys right there in it, doesn’t mean he should be demoted to JOBLESS.

IMG_6971 IMG_6972 IMG_6973And then the four of us moms kind of just turned the children loose, with the idea that the older ones would take care of the younger ones, and if they didn’t, the younger ones would probably survive anyway.

We drank our coffees, and we chatted like it was a chatting race!  At one point, I laughed so hard at what Sarah had to say, with a mouthful of Oprah Chai Tea, I ended up with a CHARLIE HORSE IN MY JAW.

Go ahead and tell me THAT’S not an uncomfortable thing to deal with!

IMG_6974 IMG_6980 IMG_6983 IMG_6985 IMG_6991 IMG_7011 IMG_7012 IMG_6992 IMG_6994 IMG_6996 IMG_6997 IMG_7017 IMG_7013 IMG_7019 IMG_7018 IMG_7021 IMG_7023 IMG_7022 IMG_7031 IMG_7037 IMG_7038 IMG_7036 IMG_7051 IMG_7055 IMG_7047 IMG_7048 IMG_7044 IMG_7042 IMG_7043 IMG_7040 IMG_7004Thing 2 challenged Sam to race a marathon against him.

Of all the children who COULD run an entire marathon in the course of one day, these two would have been them.  Sam has the physical skills of a professional athlete in every sport known to man, and Thing 2 has the endurance and energy of a squirrel on an espresso IV drip.

IMG_6998 IMG_6999 IMG_7000They ran circles around the little track at the playground, over and over and OV-AH, and they still came back wondering what athletic endeavor they could tackle next.

And?

Do you see these next snapshots?

It’s why Gracie has been crowned the Queen of Babysitting.  She holds onto Thing 2 on slide stairs, and makes sure that he stays hydrated.

IMG_6989 IMG_6987At one point, she told me, “You know, babysitting is really hard work!”

Don’t I know it, Gracie; don’t I know it!  I have kept that little boy alive for almost two and a half years!

I was sad to see our morning at the park end, because is two hours of coffee time ever enough?  Apparently it was, because the boy and Enzo had a tee time at the golf course, and because we are still living the DON’T MESS WITH THE NAP SCHEDULE lifestyle.

Bless our hearts.

I dumped the boy and Enzo off at the golf course, after they’d talked me into buying them Polish dogs from the clubhouse, and I went home to rock Thing 2 to sleep.

And then I picked the boys up from the golf course, after they’d golfed nine holes, made the boy change clothes, and ran him clear across the county to the other golf course in town, where he had a private lesson and golfed five more holes for practice with his coach.

And after a day of EXPENDED ENERGY like that, Mama has no problem with a video game marathon in the evening.  Kellen and Enzo joined the boy, with their laptops in tow.

I made a brand new recipe for dinner — a cheeseburger pasta casserole — which looked like pig slop, but tasted FAN-STINKING-TASTIC.

All three big boys, the toddler, and Hubs devoured it.  The big boys wanted seconds.

I’m putting it down as a Dinner Win.

IMG_6957 IMG_6956 IMG_6955 IMG_6964Also?

When boys are heading into the 8th grade, they become more difficult to photograph, as they enjoy bringing out their HE’S REALLY KILLING ME NOW facial expressions.

IMG_6965 IMG_6967 IMG_6963 IMG_6959No matter.

I still love the snot out of these boys.

And I LOVE reminding them, “Only four more weeks until school starts!!”

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