An Early Summer iPhone Dump

Hello, good people of the World Wide Web, who continue to open this blog in their browsers, even though I have basically discontinued all forms of writing here.  I always have an excuse for ignoring my office here at Jedi Mama, Inc., and tonight I blame the books.

As in, the REAL BOOKS.  Once upon a time (Did you see what I did there?  Talking about books?  And then I used a story starter for this paragraph?), I used to read and read and also R-E-A-D.  I was a voracious reader, who devoured approximately six books every month, give or take.  And then Thing 2 arrived in my golden years, when all of my friends are at an age where they’re attending book clubs while they sip wine, learning pinochle and taking up full-time knitting in the heat of the afternoon.  Thing 2 keeps us on our toes, because… well… he proved to scientists across the globe that perpetual motion CAN be achieved.  So, while my friends are all sitting in lawn chairs on their decks, knowing that their teenage children can fend for themselves, I’m over here at my house, hollering, “WHY are there foam Nerf darts in my refrigerator?” and “We NEVER stack two chairs atop one another to reach the upper cabinets!”  Keeping Thing 2 alive is a full-time job, so something (mainly, the reading of actual books) had to give.  But… WHOA, NELLY!  Because I am not even kidding you when I say that I have already read two entire books THIS SUMMER, and it’s only June 19th.  I haven’t read two books in the past eight months, unless you count online articles entitled IS MY KID WEIRD BECAUSE HE JUST USED A PURPLE MARKER TO COLOR HIS BARE ARMS, FROM FINGERTIPS TO ELBOWS, SO THAT HE CAN PRETEND HE’S A PURPLE DRAGON, as a book.  I feel like I’m ready to join a book club now, as long as no one minds that I sign up to bring paper plates when we meet each month, because the chances of me having enough time to make roasted figs with prosciutto and goat cheese is a solid, rock-bottom zero.

Anyway.

I just downloaded a heap of snapshots from my iPhone to my Big Mac, and thought I’d give y’all a glimpse into what’s been happening around here lately, based on the sort of pictures I take.

Also, I should warn you that these are not the typical snapshots that appear on Instagram.  I peek into the lives of so many strangers on the Insta, who all have these gorgeously decorated homes, with these gorgeous children, and everything is always just… well… gorgeous.  The reason I can’t achieve perfection in my iPhone pictures, is because I have to say things like “You have bark chips from the playground IN.  YOUR.  UNDIES!!!” and “How on earth does one kid get this much sand in his hair?”  If it’s outside, you can bet your last package of bacon that Thing 2 will be bringing it INSIDE.  Currently, Thing 2 has a Tupperware container on his bedroom dresser, which holds six dead bugs.  Tupperware containers are where Thing 2 puts bugs… to die.  He keeps them as pets and loves them with an enormous heart, but being carried around in an unventilated, plastic container tends to take its toll on an insect.  I also pulled a handful of dried lilacs out of Thing 2’s bedding a few days ago.  I’m to the point in my life now, where I seldom even ask WHY.  But that night I did, and my son replied, “Oh!  So that’s where those went.  I picked them for you, Mom… and then I lost them… but I guess they were in my bed.”

At any rate, the snapshots are certainly not glamorous, but they show our lives CLEARLY.

Our biggest news is that our boys gained two extra cousins this weekend!  Hubs’ brother got married on Saturday, and we enthusiastically welcomed his new wife and her two children into our family, because they’re simply wonderful.  Cousin Z and Cousin T are two of the best teenagers around!

And?  Have I mentioned how much cotton the giant cottonwood trees in our neighborhood put down?  This snapshot is ONE DAY’S WORTH OF COTTON SPILLAGE.  Hubs and the boy can’t breathe while the cotton flies, because SEVERE ALLERGIES.  I have no seasonal allergies to speak of, but I have SEVERE IRRITATION over all the yuck from these trees.  Every single day, that cotton gets wet in sprinklers… or from evening rain showers… and it turns to white, fuzzy slime in my flowerbeds… and on my car… and on my deck… and my patio… and everything else that lives outside.  It’s enough for me to tell Hubs eight times a day, “I am ready to move!”

And… as if the cotton isn’t enough… when the wind blows… the SEEDS are shaken right out of the trees.  It’s always so lovely to come home after a good windstorm and find your driveway covered in a layer of muck that needs to be swept off.

Thing 2 is going through a ninja / spy phase at the moment.  His greatest joy comes each day when he rips off the outfit I’ve dressed him in and changes into his “black-on-black-on-black” ensemble.  He then sneaks around the house, hiding behind furniture and offering karate-style kicks for free.

Also, sometimes kicking ninjas need to ride the train to the next town, so they assemble one in the dining room and pretend to be the engineer.

Thing 2 went to a local Vacation Bible School this week.  He had a blast because they had squirt gun wars almost daily, and then sent the kids home soaking wet.  Squirt gun wars are our boy’s love language!  My friend Jill was the official VBS photographer last week, and she managed to get a good shot of our kid laughing, while he took a direct shot from a friend’s gun.

When Hubs and his co-worker are out of town for business, that co-worker’s wife and I haul the kids out for a nutritious dinner of ground beef and down-home potatoes.

The only thing more nutritious than a dinner like that is a breakfast that involves giant gluten-free monster cookies at the local coffee shop.

Sometimes, Thing 2 uses his imagination, a roll of old Christmas wrapping paper, and twenty-seven miles of Scotch tape to make himself a costume, when he’s NOT being a ninja / spy.

The boy had a band concert the week school wrapped up.  Thing 2 and a friend of his were hauled along to watch their big brothers perform on stage for the crowded auditorium, and I am happy to report that BOTH of these kindergarten kiddos SAT POLITELY FOR NINETY-MINUTES!  Can I get a HALLELUJAH?!

Our local library has enormous tubs of Lego bricks, which the librarian puts out on Friday afternoons.  The kids can build to their little hearts’ content, and then the librarian puts their masterpieces on display in a glass showcase in the front entry.  Thing 2 LOVES to pop in on Fridays for this, to keep his architectural skills sharp.

Cousin W graduated from high school at the tail end of May.  Thing 2 wrote him a paper note and wrapped it in a Happy Meal box.  He was so incredibly proud of his wrap-job, his heart was bursting.  He couldn’t wait to deliver his homemade, home-wrapped present to W.  And Cousin W, who wants to be a teacher because he loves kids so much, showed the same amount of appreciation for that little note in the Happy Meal box as he would have shown for a brand new Maserati in his driveway!  He thanked Thing 2 repeatedly.  He’s gonna make one dang good teacher!

The cute neighbor boy also graduated from high school at the end of May.  For his graduation party, his dad made cotton candy.

I don’t even remember if this snapshot of Thing 2 was him posing with his first cotton candy, his second cotton candy, or his third cotton candy, which was the one his mother cut him off on, because RESPONSIBLE PARENTING.

Hubs’ parents hosted a family barbecue over Memorial Day Weekend.  All the cousins were there, and Thing 2 talked them in to hiding EASTER EGGS, of all things, for him!  He spent the afternoon searching the yard, and having a bawl with his “Easter at the End of May” game.

Hubs took Thing 2 to a building workshop at Home Depot.  Apparently, every kindergarten child we know had the same idea, because it was like a six-year-old reunion down there, amidst the hammers and tiny nails.

In early June, the reason Hubs and I had MAN CHILDREN became clear, as we needed to trim the cottonwood trees lining our driveway.  What we REALLY wanted to do was chop those cottonwoods off at their bases with giant chainsaws, but we settled for taking the limbs that smacked our vehicles on a daily basis out.  And?  GUESS WHERE THE BULK OF OUR MANUAL LABOR CAME FROM?!  That’s right!  FROM THE CHILDREN!

And then, as if cutting and hauling trees wasn’t enough work for one day, I made them help weed the rock beds too.

Thing 2 has been using his dump truck to haul the big stuff around the yard this month.

And in new developments at the Jedi House, the boy brought home an actual trumpet on the last day of school, because he announced that he was going to teach himself to play it over the summer.  I imagine for the normal child, teaching oneself to play a brand new instrument might be kind of hard, but the boy is musical… times one thousand… and he’s almost mastered it.  Hubs played the trumpet for three years, before the music teacher kicked him out of band class forever, for blowing boxelder bugs out of his trumpet, across the classroom.  And, after three years of lessons, Hubs announced, “The boy already plays the trumped a million times better than I ever did, after two days of practicing.”

Of course, the little brother likes to have HIS trumpet lessons, too, so you can imagine how my nerves feel around this house these days.  I believe I texted Hubs at one point and said, “The trumpet playing is going to kill me dead with all it’s off-key, full-volume trumpeting!”

I taught Sunday School at our church for the first two Sundays in June, to a classroom filled with hooligans.

A friend of mine and I met in the park at 8:00 one morning last week for coffee.  While we sipped coffee, I told Thing 2, “Please play on the playground, and STAY.  OUT.  OF.  THAT.  DITCH.  Don’t get in the water and the mud!”  I believe that his outfit that day is a testament to whether he minded me or not.

Thank goodness another friend of mine came through with a king’s load of hand-me-down clothes, from her two boys.  We are all about the hand-me-downs at this house, and my friend Carrie delivers the best castoff clothing in the world!

Thing 2 and I were playing at the park one afternoon, when someone pointed out a mama owl and her two babies, high up in a tree.  We managed to catch a blurry shot of one of the teenage owlets.  Thing 2 was fascinated with them, and BEGGED ME to let him climb the tree and try to grab one for his pet.

Um… just no.

I took my rambunctious six-year-old to the local greenhouse one afternoon last week, and ran into a friend.  While we were talking amidst the perennials, Thing 2 disappeared.  I could HEAR him around the corner, so I wasn’t worried about him…

… until he came back to us, showing us the train he had made.  He’d linked all the wagons for plants together, and was busy turning them into the world’s fastest sidewalk train, as he RACED LIKE DASH INCREDIBLE through the greenhouse.  It was every bit as relaxing and wonderful as you would imagine.

We joined friends in the park one day, for swinging, climbing and grown-up coffee!  My friend and I got two full hours of “talk time over lattes” in, before the kids were even remotely exhausted.

We signed up for baseball, which happens bright and early every Saturday morning.  I don’t know whose idea THAT was!  Oh, wait.  It was mine.  Apparently, I’m trying to turn my hockey-loving son into a baseball-loving son, because traveling for baseball games happens in the sunshine, when there’s no snow.  Traveling for hockey games in the years to come is going to kill me dead, because I don’t actually DO winter travel on icy roads!  When we ask Thing 2 how he liked practice, he always tells us, “I love batting, but I don’t like being in the grass, waiting for a ball to come to me.  That part’s boring.  It isn’t as fun as hockey.”  Clearly, my plan for summer travel over winter travel is not going in my favor.

Thing 2 went to a birthday party a couple of nights ago, for a little fellow from his kindergarten class.  The boys were BEYOND THRILLED to see one another, after two weeks of no school.  Everyone hugged and screeched their enthusiasm at being together again, and then they had an enormous water balloon fight.  The mom said, “Well.  I spent one hour and forty-five minutes filling those water balloons, and they were all gone in four minutes!”  Funny how life works!

And we have a six-year-old who is in love with his summer homework right now!  I bought two 1st grade workbooks, to keep his brain fresh over the summer, and we have been trying to do a few pages in them each day.  Hubs and I just grinned a couple of nights ago when Thing 2 announced, “I just LOVE having homework!  Finally!  I get homework like a high school kid does!!”

And, finally, we’re kind of in to documentaries right now at our house.  Thing 2 is taking a break from nightly cartoons before bedtime (which is about the only time his stingy mom lets him turn the TV on), so that he can watch documentaries, filling him in on such subjects as penguins, dolphins, butterflies, volcanoes and trains.  He was absolutely glued to a train show a couple of nights ago, soaking in every bit of information the narrator gave him.  He then spends the next twenty-four hours, spouting all of his newfound knowledge to anyone who will listen!

And… JUST WHEW!  That should catch y’all up on what’s been happening around here.

And the boy?  Yes… I KNOW!  He barely appears in any of these pictures, because the boy HAS A REAL JOB, and he WORKS REAL HOURS, in exchange for REAL PAYCHECKS, and he REALLY LOVES IT!  He’s working again at the golf course this summer, and he’s averaging about fifty hours and fifty thousand dollars each week!  He’s simply never with us when I whip my iPhone out for a snapshot or nine!

Anyway.

Happy Tuesday night, y’all.

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