The Reunion And A Birthday

I got the dreaded email from our school principal today.  It let us know when teachers should come back into the building… when the mandatory SAFETY FIRST meeting would be, so that we can all be refreshed on not touching the blood pouring out of Johnny’s nose when the basketball hits him in the face… and when we would have this training and that training, and GOOD GRIEF ALREADY!

It’s 96 degrees outside, and I’m in the throes of potty training a three-year-old.  I’m not ready to think about going back to teaching PE quite yet.

In the middle of August, I always wish that summer vacation lasted through the month of September, too.  That probably has everything to do with the small fact that August is always our hottest month, and the school building where I teach was built in 1905.

Do you know what hadn’t been invented in 1905?

That would be air conditioning.

Welcome to my gym, where we’re going to sweat to death just introducing ourselves, long before we ever get that dodgeball game started.

However, long about the middle of August, I do get somewhat excited to send the boy back to school, because QUIT COOKING A DOZEN EGGS FOR A SNACK EVERY AFTERNOON ABOUT 3:00!!!  We don’t have chickens in the backyard who lay those things for us every morning, so replenishing our stock actually involves me going to the grocery store, which my sanity can only handle a couple of times each week.

And why are you and Quinn making pancakes in my kitchen at 2:30 PM?  What?  It’s because you’re hungry, and you and Enzo ate ALL OF THE EGGS AGAIN at noon today?

Sending boys back to school insures that they’re very busy sitting in Geometry and Biology and running laps around a gym, so NOBODY DIRTIES UP MAMA’S KITCHEN UNTIL SHE DOES IT HERSELF WITH ALL THE MANDATORY DINNER MAKING.

Where were we?

We have so enjoyed having Enzo around our house again, even if he is the accomplice to emptying a carton of eggs every day.  Our family has missed that kid, and everyone — Thing 2, included — was happy to pick him up from the airport last Thursday.

image1I won’t lie…

… I kind of felt like our third son was finally home, after a year-long absence.  Oh, my word!  I have missed that kid since he moved!

image2After we collected Enzo from the airport in Bigger Town, we took the boys to the biggest sporting goods store this side of the Mississippi River.  There’s an indoor Ferris wheel, and the big boys decided that the one dollar tickets were totally worth a ride.

image3The boy didn’t waste any time at all finding the golf section of the enormous store.  All three of them enjoyed the little putting green, but no one sent Thing 2 the memo that said PUTTING ONLY, so he shot for distance.

Some of the displays may never be the same, after our toddler’s golf drive.

image10The boys also posed at “the ocean dock” in the big store.

image20After the boy had done his fair share of grumbling and whining and complaining about having to try a few shirts on for school, we paid for our loot and took the trio to an indoor water park.

IMG_5843 IMG_5845 IMG_5854 IMG_5855 IMG_5861 IMG_5929The boy and Enzo were so excited to be back together, they didn’t even swim.  They spent their entire time at the pools bobbing around, talking like crazy, and catching up.

IMG_5912And then!

Well, we woke up on Saturday morning, and it was the boy’s birthday, because HELLO, FIFTEEN!

Fifteen sounds so old when I hear it spoken out loud.  I know it’s a cliche, but I cannot believe that our boy is already that old, and I honestly have no idea where the time has gone, because just last week it was HIM I was fighting with to PLEASE PEE ON THE POTTY!  I’LL BUY YOU ANYTHING YOU WANT, IF YOU JUST QUIT USING YOUR PANTS AS A BATHROOM!

And that thought gives me hope that Thing 2 really will catch onto the hang of this, because I.  Just.  Can’t.  I feel like I’m a potty-trainer failure, because the one common denominator in the two worst cases of potty training is ME.

Anyway.

There were birthday presents on Saturday morning…

IMG_5972 IMG_5980 IMG_5984 IMG_5990 IMG_6003… and then Thing 2 used the gift bags to wrap up his own toys from his toybox, as he would shout out, “Happy birthday!  I bought you a tractor!  Open the bag!”

IMG_6001On Saturday night, Mam and Pa, and Sister and her family, and some of the boy’s good buddies all came over to our house for pulled pork sandwiches, because Hubs had gotten up at 2 AM to put a pig in the smoker.

Yes.

2:00 in the morning.

Hubs takes his pig-smoking very seriously, so it’s no surprise that they were the best pulled pork sandwiches that anyone has ever tasted.

The boy, Enzo, Eli and Kellen devoured the sandwiches, but that was probably because no one had made any eggs for a couple of hours to take the edge off of teenage-boy appetites.

IMG_6014We had birthday DONUTS, instead of a cake, because my boys think donuts are far superior to cakes.

Thing 2 claimed the one adorned with gummy worms, because when you’re three, you don’t really care about the small fact that sour gummy worms and maple donuts just don’t go together.

IMG_6017 IMG_6021 IMG_6006 IMG_6008 IMG_6028 IMG_6030Later on Saturday night, the big boys all ransacked the boy’s closet for jeans and sweatshirts, so that they could survive being hit by air soft pellets.

And then they staged an all-out war against each other, because shooting their friends is a boy’s love language.

(And?  Seriously?  I love this group of boys so, SO much!!  They’re incredible young men.)

IMG_6031 IMG_6036 IMG_6038 IMG_6039 IMG_6043 IMG_6046 IMG_6047 IMG_6042 IMG_6050 IMG_6061 IMG_6066And then, with only a few minor bruises, one cut knee, one bee sting and a few grass stains to the jeans, I brought those four big boys back to our house, where they all threw sleeping bags down on my family room floor and never actually used them for sleeping.

Apparently nothing says HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FRIEND like staying up all night long.

(In my book, nothing says HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FRIEND like someone giving you a slice of cheesecake and then letting you crawl into bed with a good book at 8 PM.)

(That’s what old age will do to you.)

The boy’s birthday was a smashing success, and now Hubs and I own a fifteen-year-old, who is two weeks away from starting his freshman year in high school.

My brain can’t even process that.

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