Playing Catch Up

Today has been one of those gloriously lovely, completely gray days.  The sky was thick with clouds; the sun didn’t shine.  The rain came in spurts and spits, and the breeze was enough to make you want to run between the front doors of the grocery store to the shelter of your car.  In other words, it was one of those days that is best for organized people, who have their houses cleaned and their yard work caught up on, because it was a day to sit in front of the fireplace with a book and a cup of coffee… heavy on the cream.

Sadly, my housework was not done, and our yard could’ve used a good mowing, so sitting in front of our fireplace with a book simply made me look around and realize, “Well, you’ve slacked off again; I hope you’re proud of yourself.”

So I took a nap.  I felt it was my best defense against the screaming wail of dirty dishes in the sink and a load of laundry that had been left to sour in the washing machine.  I had no desire to sit around the house and have my undone chores stare at me, so I simply closed my eyes to it all.

That probably has everything to do with the fact that I didn’t sleep well last night.  I woke up at 1:30 this morning, all disoriented, to realize that I had been making automotive sounds with my lips exactly like a three-year-old boy would do… in my sleep.

I have no explanation.  All I know is that I woke myself up, because I was vibrating my lips, to make a solid race car noise, which is exactly the noise that toddler boys make when they’re pushing toy cars around on the floor.  To say that I was stunned would be an understatement, because WHAT IN THE WORLD?!

WHAT??!…  IN THE EVER-LOVIN’??!!… WORLD??!!

Thankfully, Hubs slept straight through it, which means that my utter embarrassment was kept to a minimum, which was between me and Jesus alone.  I was relieved that Hubs hadn’t heard my NASCAR noises, because I would never have lived that one down, but then I realized that if he didn’t hear Dale Earnhardt Jr’s car warming up and revving its engine right beside him, then he probably wouldn’t have heard a burglar climbing in through the window he just smashed.

In other words, I felt very safe, with my sleeping Navy SEAL right beside me.

So…

… this week has been filled with ALL THE BUSY and ALL THE MUNDANE… and everyone still expected something other than a bowl of Life cereal for dinner.

Holland and France met up on the soccer field one evening this past week, to battle it out.

These two cousins are a hoot together.  Thing 2 showed up at the soccer field to get ‘er done.  He was there to kick that ball, flip a few handsprings when the ball was on the opposite end of the field, and enjoy the post-game snacks.

Cousin H, in all her five-year-old glory, showed up at the fields to announce, “Do you see how extra curly my hair is today?  It’s from SWEAT!  I sweated today at recess, and my hair got kind of a lot more curly, and I like the curls!  After the game, if I sweat some more, it’ll probably be SUPER curly!”

I don’t ever want either one of them to grow up.

The final score was 5 to 3, with Thing 2’s team walking away with the win.  He scored two of the goals that night.  Don’t worry about there being any hard feelings anywhere, because Little H walked off the field to hug me goodbye, and when I told her that she had played a great game, she replied, “Oh, thank you.  I have no idea who won.  I should’ve asked my coach that.”

This week we have also carried on with our Sleep Bribes Rewards.  My former self, who was once the parent of one child who slept like a gold medal champion, would have frowned at bribing rewarding children to sleep six years ago, because WHAT DO YOU MEAN, “YOU CAN’T GET YOUR KID TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT?  YOU MUST BE DOING PARENTING ALL WRONG!”  After getting completely lucky with giving birth to a baby who slept and slept and slept, we were then shown by the Lord that it was time to step off that pedestal beneath the banner that read, “THIS MOTHER CAN HAVE A BABY SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT BEFORE 14 WEEKS OF AGE, BECAUSE SHE’S JUST THAT GOOD.”  The applause of the audience had run out, and Hubs and I were left with the emptiness of knowing that our inflated pride had reared up again.

So now, in an effort to have Thing 2 sleeping regularly through the night before he leaves home for the military when he’s nineteen, Hubs and I have Sleep Bribes Rewards.  A new toy sits on our kitchen counter, in its box.  If Thing 2 stays in bed after I put him in bed at 7:30 each night… and if he doesn’t have a meltdown about how he DOESN’T WANT TO GO TO BED YET… and if he doesn’t get up in the middle of the night for hours… he gets to put a sticker on the box in the morning.

Four stickers scores the toy.

Little Man earned himself (yet another) giant tractor this week.  (Apparently, a small boy can NEVER have enough tractors in his collection.)  Thing 2 has now slept for sixteen straight nights… sixteen glorious nights in a row… SIXTEEN NIGHTS WITHOUT WAKING UP.

And… lest you think that I am now standing on the pedestal beneath the banner that reads, “THIS MOTHER CAN TRAIN YOUR UNTRAINABLE KINDERGARTEN KID TO SLEEP ALL NIGHT WITH A FEW NEW TOYS,” think again.

It’s Jesus.

It’s all Jesus.

He answered our prayers for rest.

(And the answer is YES.  That really IS a pile of dirty laundry, halfway up our bedroom closet door, in the corner of that snapshot.  Last week’s laundry resembled the Duggar family’s laundry.  They have more than twenty people, while we only have four, but I’m pleased to announce that we kept up with them in the race of HOW MANY DIRTY CLOTHES CAN YOU PILE UP?)

(All the best blesses.)

(And it’s no longer like that, as I DID the laundry on Friday.  I did it ALL, and Hubs gasped when he walked into our closet, as he said, “Where’d Mount Everest go?!”)

Also this past week, Sister and Cousin L brought a new coloring book and markers over for Thing 2, to celebrate ALL THE BLESSED SLEEPING.

We went to Small Town High School’s homecoming football game, with friends, on Friday night.  The boy was a homecoming candidate this year, representing the junior class golf team, and he played in the band for the game.  We packed in our lawn chairs again this week, and sat in the middle of roughly five thousand boys between the ages of eight and thirteen, on the side lawn.  There were no fewer than six tackle football games going on at all times around us, and Thing 2 JUMPED RIGHT IN.

At one point, he was busy tackling a 6th grade boy, when I walked up to him and encouraged him to come sit with his family and his five-year-old friends, Vivian and Evie.  He looked at me and said, “But, Mom!  This guy is my new best friend, and we’re playing FOOTBALL!”  His ears were deaf to my cries of, “These 6th graders are tackling like they’re linemen in the NFL.  They weigh one hundred and thirty pounds, to your forty-seven pounds, and I’m afraid your neck is going to be broken,” but he DID hear me when I said, “Vivian and Evie have doll strollers.”

Because doll strollers can be stolen away from the girls, and you can push them like they’re powered by rocket fuel, while you pretend they’re gas-powered weed whackers.  Thing 2 diligently tried to “trim” the grass along the fence, by pretending the toy baby strollers were weed eaters, until Hubs finally announced, “Stop!!  You’re going to break all the wheels off that stroller, and then you’re going to have to sell one of your tractors for enough money to buy the girls a new one!”

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE being a Boy Mom?  I do!

We also nailed our Small Town High Football Spectatorship on Friday night.  I feel like this snapshot sums up why sitting in the grassy section is a much better option for us than the bleachers are:

And… since it was the homecoming game, there were fireworks at halftime.  It was basically our first encounter with watching fireworks, where we didn’t freak out and scream like a banshee who has just caught his bathrobe on fire.  Thing 2 has ALWAYS been TERRIFIED of fireworks.  Yes, he’ll jump off the top of the tallest playground structure and pick up a tarantula by one fuzzy leg, but fireworks are his undoing.

Until this past Friday night… when he looked at me, from the safety of my lap in my lawn chair and announced, “I’m kind of like a big kid now, huh, Mom?  I’m not crying!  It’s because I’m five and A HALF, and I’m not afraid of firecracks any more.”

Yes.

Firecracks.

And I’ll shoot the stink eye at ANYONE who tries to teach him the proper way to say FIREWORKS, because FIRECRACKS is really the best mispronunciation I’ve ever heard.

On Saturday, the boy worked, because of course he did.

I haven’t really seen our seventeen year old in more than a week.  He goes to school… he works.  He goes to school… he works.  I’m going to have to text him and ask, “You’re taking a good multi-vitamin and saying your prayers, right?”

While the boy was working… and while Hubs and Thing 2 were pulling a giant air compressor around with my Suburban, to blow out everyone’s underground sprinkler system for the season, I did a shift at our school’s annual carnival and chili supper.  I worked the Frog Flinging booth, which was as glamorous as you’d imagine, especially if you imagine that it was one of the few booths with ZERO SHADE in the middle of a heatwave.

We fantasized about ice and cold drinks and ocean breezes at the Frog Flinging booth, for two solid hours.

Between yards and sprinkler systems, Hubs brought Thing 2 down to our school’s big carnival.  He bought tickets to throw at the kid sitting in the dunk tank.  The big bummer came when Thing 2 hit the target with his throw OVER AND OVER AND OVER… BOOM… five times in a row… and the mechanism didn’t trigger to drop the kid in the tank of water.

He was powerfully heartbroken.

Apparently, you have to be a Major League pitcher to get enough muscle behind your throw to trip that thing.

Thankfully, there was cotton candy for him to cry his sorrows of being robbed at dunking a kid into.

And then he spent half of his tickets to get all hooked up in a harness, so that he could climb the two-stories-tall climbing wall.

Little Man took off like he’d been fired from a canon, and climbed his heart out.  And then he made the mistake of looking down when he was about halfway up the two-stories-tall climbing wall.

He may have conquered his fear of fireworks this weekend, but he decided that halfway up was good enough with the climbing on Saturday.

He can climb all the way up and smack the bell at the top next year…

… when he’s SIX.

We spent the rest of our weekend having dinner with friends… going to church… and blowing more sprinklers out at more friends’ houses.  When you rent an air compressor that is roughly the size of a space shuttle, you make sure everyone you know with a sprinkler system gets their yard done.

And now… well... you’re all caught up on our lives.

Carry on, and y’all enjoy what’s left of your Sunday evening.

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