May The Force Of The Lord Be With You

Before Hubs and I were parents, we were actually OUTSTANDING parents.  We were friends with a few couples who had already ventured into the arena of WE HAVE KIDS NOW, and goodness!  We watched what our friends did, and then we went home and made bold announcements that we would NEVER LET OUR CHILDREN EAT FAST FOOD and we would ALWAYS PLAY OUTDOORS INSTEAD OF WATCHING TV, and even SHOULD WE INSTALL A GARDEN, FOR FRESH VEGETABLES?  And that was even before eating whole and organic was a real trend.  Hubs and I grew up on white Wonder Bread, RC Cola and Jiffy Pop popcorn, and that was good enough for us… but our kids?  They were probably going to need peas and broccoli harvested out of our own backyard garden.

And then we HAD a baby.  If we thought we were good parents before the boy was born… well… we thought we were even BETTER at parenting AFTER he arrived.  That baby slept through the night FOREVER AND EVER, AMEN at the tender age of three and a half months.  We were basically Baby Whisperers, who had invented our own program of Sleep Training, and we were prepared to share it with the world, whether the world wanted to hear about it or not.  When my sister’s second child wouldn’t sleep through the night, we insisted that IF YOU’D JUST DO IT LIKE WE TOLD YOU TO DO IT, HE WOULD HAVE BEEN A CHAMPION SLEEPER BY NOW.  When Sister announced, with tears, “I HAVE BEEN following your advice,” we assumed she wasn’t.

Our one and only child was so well behaved, people complimented us on him all the time.  We knew we deserved those comments of praise, because LOOK AT THIS FINE, UPSTANDING LITTLE GENTLEMAN WE HAVE CREATED!  The boy didn’t argue.  He didn’t push and shove.  He was obedient and kind and good.

Because Hubs and I were such fantastic parents.

Oh, people.  I want to go back to the year 2000 and slap my prideful self.  And then I want to go back to the year 2006 and re-slap that kindergarten mom who was so confident with what she was accomplishing in parenting.

Thankfully, the Lord decided… in 2012… that it was time to slap us Himself, when he said, “Let there be a Thing 2 in their lives.”

And that was that, as far as us thinking we were professionals at parenting, who should write self-help books together for struggling moms and dads.

Thing 2 was born bold.  He was born with a stubborn streak wider than the Mississippi River.  He was born as a full-on, straight-up, all-the-way extrovert, into a family of three quiet, introverts.  He was loud from the get-go.  He didn’t sleep at three and a half months.  Or even three and a half YEARS.  He climbed everything there was to climb; he jumped off of everything he had shimmied up.  He pushed and shoved his peers.  He spoke with sass and a strong will and authority.  Oh!  Don’t get me wrong.  He is kind and good and wonderful and loving and everything else a mama would want in her little boy, but his personality is simply LOUD AND IN CHARGE.  He is a leader, wherever he goes.  He has never encountered a fight that he wanted to back down from, and the answer is YES, when people ask the question, “Has he been to the principal’s office yet this year?”

In hindsight, the boy has never been in trouble at school.  Ever.  And he’s now a junior.  So, imagine my surprise when our beloved school principal called me on the phone to say, “Well, Thing 2 certainly didn’t START the brawl, but he did,  indeed, FINISH it.  A little fellow threw a shoe at him and missed, and then he threw a second shoe at Thing 2, and he missed again.  So Thing 2 picked up one of the shoes and threw it back at this little boy, and there was a bloody nose and tears, and SWEET HOLY MONKEYS!  DID I MENTION A BLOODY NOSE?!”

Apparently this child underestimated the fact that Thing 2 doesn’t miss.


Hubs and I had never used behavior charts with the boy.  There was no need to have them at our house, because OUR BEHAVIOR DOESN’T NEED CORRECTING.  We were, after all, top-notch parents, who knew exactly what we were doing.

God, bless us and forgive us.

With Thing 2, we use behavior charts at our house all the time.  We get stickers, and we get rewards, and we are learning that there are good consequences and bad consequences.  And yes!  WE ARE FINALLY LEARNING THE ART OF MAKING GOOD CHOICES THE MAJORITY OF THE TIME.  And Hubs and I have learned that SOMETIMES a child’s personality just leans toward being quiet, as it strives to please people.  SOMETIMES a child’s personality is just naturally obedient, because the Lord made him that way.  SOMETIMES it has absolutely nothing to do with the prideful parents, who boldly took full responsibility for EVERYTHING GOD HAD DONE HIMSELF.


Hubs and I had to let that sink in.

We took credit for what God had done Himself, with His creation.

We are happy to announce now that we no longer take credit for what God has accomplished, all by Himself.  We strive now, in fact, to point our fingers straight at Heaven and say, “He’s done it!”

And, people, through God’s help, our behavior charts are turning into successes, as we learn that introverts really can raise extroverts.  After all, God wouldn’t have given us an extrovert, if He didn’t believe we could get him raised up to be a well-behaved, Christian boy too!

This week, Thing 2 wanted to work toward watching the original Star Wars movie with his Bubbie.  Actually, that’s not fully true.  What he WANTED to work toward was watching the very latest Star Wars movie, which is rated PG-13 and full of grownup mayhem that may be a little overwhelming for a sheltered six-year-old, who has never gotten to watch violence on TV.  What we compromised with was the ORIGINAL Star Wars movie, straight out of the 1970s, and he was okay with that.  So, the little fellow made a lot of good choices this week, and he stuck a lot of stickers on his chart, and he earned a movie day, complete with popcorn and Gatorade, which he also threw a chip in to bargain with before the deal was sealed.

And THAT, y’all, is how THIS came to happen today:

They snuggled up together and ate their popcorn together.  No one spilled blue Gatorade on the carpet, either, so I chalked that up as an Extra Victory.

Thing 2 has officially been initiated into the world of Star Wars.  Now, when the kids at school ask him if he wants to play Star Wars at recess, he doesn’t have to ask them who Darth Vader is any more.  And Bubbie was actually VERY PATIENT, as he fielded and answered 22,000 questions during the show.  The only time the patience wore thin was when I heard him ask, “Oh, my gosh!  Did you brush your teeth this morning?  Your breath is awful!  When you’re six, you have to brush your teeth every morning… EVEN ON SPRING BREAK!”

That’s what brothers are for.  Always there to let you know when you should have used some Colgate.

I wouldn’t trade these two boys of ours for anything.  They both represent everything that is wonderful and good.  And Hubs and I may not be the PERFECT parents that we once believed ourselves to be, as God has opened our eyes to our sins of pride lately, but we feel like we’re PRETTY GOOD at wrangling small boys, as we steer them toward the Lord.

And then we let God take all of His credit, all by Himself.  God’s force is with us!

We At Jedi Mama, Inc. Would Like To Welcome You Back.

*Mama, sitting up blinking, like she’s been staring straight into the sunlight for far too long.*

Well… HELLO, THERE!  I feel like introductions might be in order, for the faithful four followers of Jedi Mama, Inc., who have checked in repeatedly this past week and announced, “It’s over.  She has closed the blog down for good this time, and it’s over.”

Oh, people.  It’s never over.  It’s just that life has been full of VERY BIG THINGS lately… VERY BIG, NOT SO PLEASANT BIG THINGS lately… and I just haven’t had it inside of my heart to come into work at the offices of Jedi Mama, Incorporated, to write something that’s trivial, light-hearted, and funny.  I just haven’t felt the funny for a while.  And then I got up today and decided that MAYBE… just maybe… trivial, mundane, light-hearted, somewhat funny, run-on-sentences is what we all need these days, because…

… cancer sucks.

Did I sugar-coat that enough for your eyes?  Did we just go from a PG blog to a PG-13 blog, quicker than you can swallow your first sip of WELCOME TO DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME COFFEE?  Do we need to have the corporate offices come in here and offer a bit of censure to the word SUCKS?  Because it’s not a word that’s in rotation in my everyday vocabulary.  It’s a word that I only take out for special occasions.  You know… those occasions when I need to talk about cancer or child abuse or cottage cheese.

Cancer has shown up too close to let me breathe freely lately, and it’s done it repeatedly.  My dad.  Two of my very closest girlfriends.  A good, GOOD friend.  It’s in the lungs.  It’s in the bladder.  It’s in the breasts.  It’s in the neck of two friends’ husbands, that we know and love dearly, and I haven’t felt like sitting down to write about nonsense for lots of days in a row now.

But… here I am.

Apparently the nonsense must go on.

But… I am here to beg you… if you pray… to add some names to your prayer lists.  Before you do, though, let me tell you what a good friend, who is a pastor, told me once.  He said, “What if we all prayed for OTHER PEOPLE with the same intensity that we pray for our OWN FAMILY MEMBERS with?  Because?  Isn’t it true?  We pray harder… more diligently… more often… longer… for our family than we do for others.  What if we prayed for EVERYONE like we pray for OUR OWN FAMILY?”  Indeed.  What if we did?!  So here are your names:  My dad… Jodi… Gary… Joel… Jill’s dad… Pray for them.  Pray for victory over their cancers.  Pray for their wives, who are all so close to my heart, and who are walking a pathway that they never wanted or expected when they said FOR BETTER OR WORSE.  Pray for their kids, who are still young.  (And that includes me!  In the young part!  *Ask the audience to laugh out loud here.*)  Pray for their treatments, their stamina, their spirits, their energy.  Pray for peace and sleep and total healing.


… thank you.  From the very depth of my heart.

Now, if you’ll just let me get a tissue here and dab at my emotional eyes, which do NOTHING but bawl straight out these days, we will get on with the nonsense.

HOW ABOUT THAT DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME?!  There’s just nothing that makes you quite as happy as having an entire hour stolen away from you, so that your body is no longer tired at normal times in the evenings, because suddenly it thinks it needs to stay awake until MIDNIGHT O’CLOCK.  I did that last night.  The last time I stayed awake until midnight was at a seventh grade slumber party, but MAN ALIVE!  I had myself a case of WIDE AWAKE last night, so I did what any normal person would do:  I defeated multiple levels on Candy Crush and read Facebook posts and Googled things like HOW TO CLEAN THE GROUT IN YOUR BATHROOM TILES, because apparently my midnight self is full of unbridled energy that wants to CLEAN! CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!, while my morning self is full of the momentum commonly found in sick snails.  Of course, what really helped was knowing that Hubs, who was sound asleep beside me, because HE NEVER MET A TIME CHANGE THAT HE COULDN’T SLEEP STRAIGHT THROUGH, was going to be getting up in the pre-dawn hours to leave town for work.  So, it was ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTFUL when we got up at 5:45 this morning.

I think we should pause here and dust THIS little video off.  I put it in my blog last year, but it still applies, and we still need the message that it gives:

Stupidity, I send you back downstairs!”  Best line of ever!

Also?  Well, I tried with everything I had to paste the video RIGHT SMACK ON THIS PAGE, but that video wasn’t listening to any of my directions.  It was disobedient, and didn’t follow the advice that I usually use to put videos straight onto the blog screen for you, AND… my resident computer guy is currently GONE FOR THE DAY… four towns down south… installing a computer system for a federal agency… so  you’ll have to click the link and watch it that way.  I’m sorry.  There was nothing more I could do, to bring the heart of that video around to being obedient to what I asked of it, when I told it to GET ON THE SCREEN HERE, ALREADY!


(And lest you think that our house is unattended, what with Hubs being gone for the day, and that TODAY, of all the days, would be the one to break in and steal our diamonds and my personal tiara, think again.  Hubs will be home TONIGHT, and we have two cats who honestly and really and also very truly believe themselves to be a Rottweiler and a German Shepherd.  They enjoy nothing more than cutting the livers out of our house guests, which is embarrassing when you actually LIKE the people visiting, and quite helpful when it’s someone digging secretly around in our closets for my jewel-encrusted crown.  We do not need ACTUAL guard dogs, because these two cats serve that purpose well.  That is all.)

And then there’s this little nugget:

Suffice it to say that I have been well caffeinated today, and it still didn’t help.

And, in the name of THIS TIME CHANGE IS NOTHING BUT A FRESH KIND OF HELL, we did try to wear the youngsters plum out on Sunday, with all hopes and faith and prayers lifted to the Lord that they would honestly believe that the OLD 7:00 / NEW 8:00 was their legitimate bedtime.  We took them to the indoor playland, because COLD WINTER IN SMALL TOWN, and we ran them like they were bulls in Spain.

And then we basically wasted all of our hard work there by giving them cups with straws that were filled with high fructose corn syrup at 5 PM.  In other words, the AWAKE COCKTAIL.

But!  I am happy to report that a whole lot of physical activity over the past couple of days has pretty much kept  Thing 2 on his normal schedule, even though (and I shudder to admit this), Hubs and I have had to wake him up for the past three mornings at 7:15.  Oh, rest assured:  I really DO feel like the worst kind of sinner in doing that, after all these years of building altars and asking the Lord at them to PLEASE LET THE CHILD SLEEP PAST 5 AM.  I think a root canal would be straight-up easier than easing open his bedroom door at 7:15 these past three mornings, to find him all snuggly and warm and SOUND ASLEEP BENEATH HIS BLANKETS, and then waking him up.  But!  We have more sleep issues than a Baptist church potluck has attenders, so we are very much needing to be up in the mornings, so that it translates into GOES TO BED IN THE EVENINGS.  I basically have a Ph.D in Thing 2’s sleep program, because HE IS STILL THE WORST SLEEPER OF EVERNESS, and my doctorate has the experience behind it to know that too many hours of daytime sleep equals too many hours of nighttime awake.


That’s going to do it for today, folks.  It’s 9:30 in the morning.  We are on Spring Break.  At a time when I am normally standing in the gym with a first grade PE class, I am currently sitting at a computer, in my pajamas, with my second EMPTY cup of coffee in front of me, while Thing 2 binge-watches Tom and Jerry on the TV and the boy sleeps.  It’s time to get our day started, and that means we need to shower and curl our hair and apply the mascara and DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE NEVER ENDING LAUNDRY SITUATION IN OUR HOUSE, WHICH IS DEPLORABLE AT THE  MOMENT, and the kitchen counter situation, which is even more deplorable.

And then we need a full-on order of groceries, because OF COURSE WE DO.  So, while many of you are spending your Spring Breaks on the beaches of Hawaii… and the spring training ball fields of your favorite teams… and the front porches of bed and breakfasts in New Orleans… and on Florida beaches… and at Disney World (Y’all know who you are!), don’t think that we aren’t having our own kind of fun, right here at home, cleaning up a house that looks like it’s lived in by trolls, as we prepare to head to town for milk and bread and eggs and Pop Tarts.

All the blesses.

Happy Tuesday-After-We-Jump-The-Clocks-Forward.  May your day be full of coffee and quiet children and sunshine.


The End Of Five

Somehow we managed to dodge the bullet that was named WINTER STORM WARNING FOR YOUR AREA; EXPECT HEAVY SNOW, HIGH WINDS AND MORE ICE THAN A MARGARITA STAND KNOWS WHAT TO DO WITH.  I feel like this was a blessing straight from the Lord Himself, because I wasn’t emotionally stable enough to handle more snow and more ice and more winter… OH, MY GOSH!  THE WINTER!!  We currently have a five-foot-long icicle hanging off our roof, above our deck.  It nearly reaches the deck floor, and Thing 2 has been DESPERATE to go outside and knock it down.  Hubs and I ruined his ice-slayer dreams, as I patiently explained to him the story of a boy we knew who threw rocks at a giant icicle on a building when he was thirteen, and an entire sheet of frozen ice and snow the size of an aircraft carrier slid off the roof of the commercial building and landed on his leg.

The leg which he no longer has.

He was a good friend of Sister’s when we were growing up, and we prayed him through six thousand surgeries.

Thing 2 stared at me intently and then announced, “That was the olden days, Mom.  Kids can run a lot faster now than they could in the olden days, so I could get away, if ice started to fall off the roof.  I’m a super fast runner.”

Basically, he has no self-confidence, and his self-esteem is at a rock bottom low.  Also, he feels like boys have evolved significantly since 1987, as their ability to outrun avalanches has increased exponentially every year.  Pray for this child of ours as you’re led to do.


Today I made Thing 2 wear something other than an Under Armour T-shirt and sweats, which is his wardrobe style of choice.  No matter what day of the week it is, Thing 2 usually looks like a homeless soccer player, whose biggest goal in life is to get his workout in at the gym.  Today, I ironed a REAL shirt for him to wear to church, and I laid it out with jeans.  He looked at me and asked, “Why do you want me to look weird when I go to church?”

As we passed one of our senior citizens in a hallway, while we walked to Sunday School, she said, “Oh, my!  Don’t you look handsome today!”  Thing 2 grumbled and said, “My mom made me wear this dumb shirt, and it’s itching me everywhere.”  My only surprise was that he didn’t add, “And she beats me and feeds me nothing but bread and water.”


Well… this, people, has been our very last day to be FIVE.  When we wake up tomorrow, we will have a six-year-old in the house, as we wave goodbye to Age Five and all the memories and gray hairs it brought to us.

Mam and Pa gave Thing 2 his birthday gift today, because they spoil him, and can’t bear to witness the struggle that is a kindergarten grandson waiting, waiting, WAITING for one more day to open gifts.  So… he had his LET’S CELEBRATE THE LAST DAY OF BEING FIVE YEARS OLD present this afternoon.

Mam and Pa bought Legos for Thing 2, because he’s basically in that little boy stage called IF IT AIN’T LEGOS OR A REAL ROCKET LAUNCHER THAT SHOOTS FIREBALLS, I’LL PASS.  As much as he insists otherwise, the 2018 boy isn’t any better at handling a rocket launcher than the 1987 boy was, regardless of the fact that today’s modern boy can run much faster than they could when Bon Jovi was the king of rock music.

The kid spent the entire afternoon hunkered down at the coffee table in the living room, building.  He was quiet.  He was focused.  He wasn’t jumping off our furniture or dragging out his real karaoke machine to impress us with.

In other words, this big box of Legos that Mam and Pa brought over were a gift TO ME, as well.  I had plenty of time to read a book and drink afternoon wine, except do you know what I did instead of THAT?

I cooked.

Because apparently the menfolk at our house were hungry, and I had leftover ham from my cooking endeavors a couple of nights ago, so…

… I spent my THIS SHOULD BE MY FREE TIME TO READ AND BREATHE SLOWLY AND NOT ANSWER SEVENTY-FOUR THOUSAND QUESTIONS FROM MY TALKATIVE CHILD time cutting up broccoli and celery, dicing onions and leftover ham, and mixing and stirring and shaking all kinds of spice bottles above a boiling soup pot.

Dear Mam and Pa,

Please bring another giant box of Legos soon, when no one expects me to get up and cook dinner all afternoon.



Y’all have a good Sunday night.



On Being A Grownup

I keep promising to be more faithful about blogging, because I always think that NEXT WEEK is going to be the week when I get my life back under control.  Only then NEXT WEEK arrives, and it becomes THIS WEEK, and NOPE!  It’s every bit as busy, because we are the generation that signs our children up for everything, and then complain about how we actually live in our Suburbans.

Being this busy also interferes with getting the laundry done, but listen:  I’ve NEVER been very faithful to the laundry-doing.  But this past Sunday and Monday, I ran my washing machine like the owner’s manual probably preaches against.  I’m sure somewhere there’s a paragraph that says, “Running this appliance at the speed of light is actually discouraged, because of wear and tear and also fire hazard.”  I don’t know.  All I know is that the boy whined one night, “I have to have my khaki pants on Tuesday, and they’ve been dirty since I was in the 4th grade.”  And that pretty much was a word of genuine truth.  So, Mama knuckled down like a real grownup version of herself, and she got the laundry CAUGHT UP.

Caught up, I said.

And then Mama pulled two back-to-back, twelve-hour days (which are how my EVERY Tuesday and Wednesday goes), and the folks around here wore clothes, and now… well... we are back to square one, because apparently that part about being all caught up on the laundry doesn’t take a break for anyone.  So guess what I’m apparently doing again tomorrow?  That’s right… washing Spider-Man undies and jeans and every manner of THREE-SHIRTS PER DAY that Hubs and the boy are determined to wear, to ward off the chill of twenty-two degrees.  (There’s not a lot of difference between Hubs and the boy and a 92-year-old woman, when it comes to staying warm.  Two shirts and a cardigan sweater, with a crumpled Kleenex stuffed up the sleeve, seems to be the wardrobe choice of all of them.)  (Bless.)

So yes.  I did feel like an honest-to-goodness grownup on Monday, when I sat back and looked at the EMPTY LAUNDRY BASKETS, with a sense of contentment like I haven’t felt since I turned in the last final my senior year of college.  And this morning, I managed to put an entire ham into the crockpot, so there I am again… being all grownup and having dinner done ahead of time.

And do you know what else?

Well… THIS:

I will not lie.  I am at that exact stage in my life.  When the boy was little, we kept every Lego set separated in Ziploc baggies, with the instructions, because Mama had herself some OCD and desperate need to stay organized.  With Thing 2, we throw Legos wherever they land, and Mama needs to confess that the contentment a miniature plastic brick gives her, as it rattles down the vacuum cleaner hose, is ENORMOUS.

Don’t tell my kid.

Y’all have a good weekend.  May it be filled with cheer and happiness and good news and great friends.

Sledding In The Springtime

We have had such a temperature deficit lately, I’ve started finding bills and letters for people who actually live at the North Pole in OUR mailbox.  Clearly, the mailmen have been confused, what with Small Town, USA recording lows that made the polar ice cap look like a spring break destination.  Our top eyelashes would freeze to our bottom eyelashes whenever we would blink outside.  We had days of nonstop, indoor recesses at school.  We doubled and then tripled our natural gas bills, and then quit even caring how the multiplication worked any more, as what we owed rose with drastic exponents, while we kept the fireplace running, running, RUNNING.  We made pots of soup and crockpots of chili.  We shoveled and froze, froze and shoveled, and then…

… we hit twenty-nine degrees yesterday, and they were on the POSITIVE SIDE of zero.

We all poked out heads outside and thought, “Has spring finally come?”  The sun was shining, and our nose hairs remained, blessedly, loose, without their usual ice coating.  Suddenly, we were in a land where Elsa no longer lived…

… so…

… we got ourselves outside in a big hurry, to take advantage of the gorgeous weather.  We talked about grilling steaks and making potato salad for dinner.  We wanted iced drinks with little umbrellas in them.  The kids wanted to take their coats off, because WE ARE SWEATING!


We packed up Thing 2’s sled yesterday, and off we went, out into the sunshine and those fantastic twenty-nine degrees.  We met some good friends at a big hill, because big hills make children exhausted happy.  We let them ride their sleds at BREAK YOUR NECK IN HALF speeds all afternoon, and then we secretly clapped, as we watched them hike back up the hill, because OH, MY!  YOU’RE GONNA SLEEP WELL TONIGHT, YOU LITTLE RASCALS!  We threw snowballs at those kids, while the grownups stood at the top of the hill, talking about potential outdoor barbecues in this weather and enjoying being OUT OF THE HOUSE, FINALLY!

The little kids had a ball!

The screamed down that hill, like Chevy Chase did, after he oiled up his metal saucer.  They showed us how brave they were, as they deliberately hit the jumps some teenagers had built up earlier this week.  They sailed through the air on their sleds, arms flailing to hold on, before they’d display a crash landing to the crowd, who were all holding their breaths in anticipation of broken femurs and collarbones and met-deductibles.

(And yes.  My boy had BLUE BANGS yesterday.  They looked pretty awesome before all the sledding happened, as they stood up in a lovely faux hawk display of brilliant, cobalt blue, exactly like what he’d begged for.)


Well, I don’t think that there’s any sound that exists that is cuter than a toddler’s belly laugh!

After the kids had made three million runs down the hill… after the sun had started to sink, so that we began to fill the crisp bite of a fading temperature, that was falling below twenty degrees… we decided to end the day with a little group snapshot and load up the sleds, to head for home.

That was the exact moment that MY SON decided to throw a snowball into his buddy’s face.

God loves kindergarten boys so much!

And I love THIS pack of boys so much!

Our group photo didn’t turn out to be one that showed perfectly-behaved, perfectly-groomed children, with rosy cheeks after a day of hard sledding, but it DID turn out to show REAL LIFE with boys.

I know that mothers of JUST GIRLS never have any problem getting lovely group photos, when their daughters get together with THEIR friends.  The mom brings out the camera, everyone fluffs their hair, strikes a delightful pose, pushes their chins out, remembers that the shoulders go back, and they flash enormous grins for the camera.

With boys, sometimes you get one bawling, as the snow-throwing culprit looks like he’s offering his promises to confess his sins to Jesus later.  Sixty seconds after that, you get grins from one, a belly laugh from another, and a third that looks like he’s going to fall asleep.

And THAT, people, was EXACTLY what we were after.  A look that says, “I’m ready to go to bed now, Mom.”  Operation Big Hill Sledding was carried out to perfection, as we took our VERY TIRED… LOOKING FORWARD TO BEDTIME… boys home.

Y’all have a good Sunday night.

The Blizzard of ’18

Sometimes, I wish the Bible was a little more detailed in the stories it holds.

For instance, I want to know…

Did Noah’s wife, bless her heart, wake up on the twenty-fourth day of NOTHING BUT RAIN, RAIN EVERYWHERE, LOOK AT ALL THIS RAIN, and say, “Noah!  I don’t think I’m going to survive this cruise, unless one of our three sons has a degree in chemistry or pharmacy, and can grind something up into a little Valium cocktail for me.”

And Moses’ wife?  Did Zipporah walk out of her tent one morning and exclaim, “I don’t think I can take another day of all THIS SAND and all THIS WANDERING!  I haven’t been to a Target in YEARS, Moses!  Years!  And I can’t get my shoes to wear out, even though they went out of style sixteen years ago.”

Because honestly?  I am to the point of being OVER WINTER.  This is the winter when it simply WILL NOT QUIT SNOWING!  For.  The.  Stinking.  Love!!!  STOP SNOWING ALREADY!!  Small Town, USA could have single-handedly hosted the winter Olympics this month, and we wouldn’t have needed to manufacture a single fake snowflake with machines for the ski runs.

At any rate, it snowed again last night.  And it snowed again today.  Actually, last night’s snow kind of blended right in with today’s snow, so they may have just become one CONTINUOUS snow.  And then, in the middle of all the snowing, the wind picked up and decided to whip the snow around.  Now, this might cause Texans to stop and say, “Is wind a bad thing in a blizzard?”  Yes, Texas.  Wind blows snow and causes it to drift.  And if you remember your math skills from high school, wind velocity against snow accumulation does A LOT of drifting, the higher those numbers go.  It’s all basic math… like when you look at your handful of twelve quarters and wonder if you have enough to buy yourself something small at Starbucks.


We dug Hubs’ car out of our driveway this morning, and we went to church, with the fourteen other people in our congregation who were determined that neither snow nor snow could keep them from hearing the Lord’s message this morning.  And then we went to the grocery store, because… much like Noah’s wife probably did before the rain began... I felt the need to secure a few groceries, so that there would be coffee creamer and popcorn, if we found ourselves reliving The Great Blizzard that once stranded Laura Ingalls and her teacher at the one-roomed school house overnight, until Pa could come and rescue them.

And then we came home to hunker down.  The TV and the fireplace became our best friends, because what else do you do on a day like today?

I’ll tell you what else you do:  You endure the smell of frying rabbit in your kitchen, as it swirls all over the house and nearly chokes you out.

Yes.  I said the words FRYING and RABBIT.  I know Texas stands in agreement with us here.  When your husband owns a computer company and a gang of rabbits (that would make the gangs of LA look tame) chews up all the wires in his giant air conditioning unit, which cools all of his servers, and causes SIX THOUSAND ENTIRE AMERICAN DOLLARS WORTH OF DAMAGE THAT HAS TO BE REPLACED, your husband ends up buying his company’s armed security guard a small game license and then releases said security guard outside.

And then said security guard gives your teenage son the fruits of his labor.

And then your teenage son soaks it in a brine, dips it in egg, coats it in flour, and fries it up.

And then you sort of want to gag and go to Target (only you can’t, because SNOW, SNOW, SNOW), because escaping the smell of frying bunny becomes more important to you than surviving all the winter’s fury once was.

So.  Apparently some of us are having fried rabbit as a side dish to our upcoming dinner of marinated, grilled steaks and mashed potatoes this evening.  Because listen, Texas:  SNOW DOES NOT KEEP US FROM FIRING UP THE BARBECUES AROUND HERE!  If that were the case, no one would be able to grill anything from September to May.

And while the fireplace was running and the bunny was sizzling in hot oil, Thing 2 shimmied himself into his snowpants and boots… and out he went.

He played until his toes were numb in his boots.  He played until he could no longer feel his fingers in his mittens.  He played until snot poured out of his nose and his teeth were chattering, and then he came inside, happy and content and ready to build a Lego spaceship beside the fireplace.

And THAT, y’all, has been our day.

Olympic Commentary

2018 may be the year of the dog, according to the Chinese calendar.  It may be the year of the good tacos y’all learned to make, or the year of all the snow that simply REFUSES to stop falling in Small Town.

It’s also turning out to be the year of inconsistent blogging.  You’re welcome for that.  I feel like I’ve freed you from the tedious task of reading too many posts filled with long-winded sentences about absolutely nothing important.


I have a tater tot casserole in the oven, as we speak.  We feel like nothing shouts out, “FANCY GOURMET DINNER” quite like a can of cream of mushroom soup poured over some browned ground beef, under a layer of processed tater tots.  So… this has to be a quick post… something I can write before the tater tots burn to ash and we make a phone call to the local pizzeria.

Nothing exciting has been going on (unless you count shoveling snow for the seventy-second time in a single winter as exciting).  We have simply been doing life… been doing the hard things… been doing the grocery runs… been doing the laundry… been contemplating the broken garage door, because I may have already mentioned that we are FANCY PEOPLE who eat FANCY DINNERS and live with a FANCY BROKEN GARAGE DOOR… been unloading and reloading the dishwasher… been asking, “Is your homework done?” every single night, like real adults who are on top of their parenting games.

And… we’ve been watching the Olympics, because OF COURSE WE HAVE.

During the opening ceremonies, Thing 2 told us, “I thought that the Olympics were supposed to be cool, but so far, it’s been a lot of dumb dancing.  I’m just going to build with Legos instead of watching this.”

Last night, Thing 2 was watching figure skating with me.  One of the competitors was spinning fast enough on the ice to make me wish I’d brought my bottle of Dramamine tablets in from the bathroom cabinet.  I asked Thing 2, “Do you wish you could skate like this guy can?”  Without missing a beat, he replied, “No.  This guy is embarrassing me, because he skates like a girl.  I think only girls should spin and jump like that.  But, I sure like his sparkly turquoise shirt; I’d wear THAT, because it’s my favorite color!”

And that’s what our second-born son thought of figure skating.

We were watching ski jumping, too, when Thing 2 looked at me and said, “Can kids be in the Olympics?”  I replied, “Sure.  If they’re good enough.”  He said, “Well, I’m good enough.  Can you take me there so I can race these guys?”  I said, “Um… you’ve never actually BEEN ON SKIS before, and you think you’re going to jump on them?”  Thing 2 said, “Yes.  I’ve watched this enough now to know how to do it.”

I wish his confidence wasn’t lacking so much.

I’m off, people.  It’s time to microwave a bag of frozen broccoli, so that I have a lovely, FANCY side dish for the tater tot casserole.

Y’all have a good Monday evening.

Catching More Than The Break We Wanted

I feel like IF ANYTHING is going to sum up my life right now, it is this:

I think this has everything to do with the fact that I helped with centers in Thing 2’s classroom Monday morning, and I felt like I needed to put his teacher’s INDUSTRIAL SIZED bottle of Germ-X in a holster around my waist.  I’d kneel beside a table to help sound out the word MAMMAL with one child, feel the fallout of a sneeze drift down to settle over me, like a barely-wet blanket, and then it was all PUMP, PUMP, PUMP with such a frantic effort, I could have led a kingdom of neurotic hypochondriacs with an empowering speech from my castle’s balcony.

Because on Monday, both of my boys were still holding onto their health, with a robustness and bright-eyed glow that put their classmates to shame.  If there was ever a time when I wanted to seal them both up in a protective plastic bubble and launch them back into the flu-sporting community, it was then.

Their health continued through yesterday.  I fed them delicious leftovers and even deliciouser Ramen noodles for dinner last night, because listen:  If I am going to spend the effort sauteing and measuring and mixing and wiping the sweat off my brow over a frying pan, then we are going to eat what’s left of my hard work the next night.  The queen has issued the proclamation; let it be as she has said.  However, some of the boys in the kingdom decided that, while Mama was at Bible study, they would supplement their leftover roast and potatoes and carrots with a nice bowl of Ramen noodles.  Whatever.  I cannot win all the parenting battles, and Ramen noodles is one I won’t fight.  I know that I should, because CHEMICALS and ZERO NUTRITION, but I just feel like if my child wants to eat a sheet of cardboard sprayed with all the ingredients found in a can of aerosol hairspray, then who am I to stop him, when he’s six months shy of being eighteen and an eligible voting member of our country?

All was well.

Thing 2 went to bed.  His elderly mother went to bed.  His elderly father (who is still clutching his youth tightly in his fist and claiming that he’s capable of staying up all night) stayed up to watch hockey on TV.  The boy was doing homework.

I had, in fact, just talked to the boy about his homework before I crawled into bed, because he asked me to look at one of his math problems.  One of his CALCULUS math problems.  It might as well have been written in Hebrew or Chinese or whatever language they speak on Jupiter, for all I understood of it.

And then… at precisely 9:30, the boy was hunkered down over his bathroom toilet, throwing up like he was trying to qualify for the Olympics, and his fever was shooting out the top of his head with a reading of 101.

So apparently… here we go again.

Well… Hello There!


For the six of you who check in here regularly (With one-third of my reading population being my parents!) (And look how I did that math in my head, because apparently we WILL use high school math past graduation!) (And yes, back-to-back parentheses can also be a genuine THING after you’ve walked across the stage and accepted a diploma from the principal, while you shook his hand.), thanks for sticking the dry spell here at Jedi Mama Incorporated out.

Sometimes life hits us hard.  Sometimes it brings the flu and the congestion.  Sometimes it brings other things, that stir you around in circles like a heap of CRAZY.  Sometimes you wonder HOW other people appear to be so normal, with such normal day-to-day activities, while you are at home, trying to hose down seven different fires with the same extinguisher.  Sometimes you think drug addicts drying up in a jail cell, while they convulse and scratch their skin, have less problems than you do.

That’s pretty much where we’ve been for the past couple of weeks.  I have the windows opened today, to a ten-degree morning, and I am airing out the germs.  This might not be a real thing in Florida or Texas, but listen:  We Yankees can take some ten-degree morning air slipping inside our homes through open windows, if it means the germs will be killed dead and the oxygen will be a little less stale indoors, so that the flu and the sinus infections and the coughs, coughs, OH SWEET MERCY, THE COUGHS, will just evaporate and go away.  My dishwasher is running, washing up the three hundred, twenty-seven dirty dishes that were filling our sink when we all went to bed last night.  My kitchen counters are scrubbed down and currently spotless.  The washing machine is running, like it’s chasing an Olympic medal down today.  Dinner is already in the crockpot, so I know there will be something for us to face tonight, instead of the dollar menu at McDonald’s.  Alexa is playing classical music for me, straight from her little speaker, and THAT (combined with DINNER IS ALREADY COOKING ITSELF) makes me feel like a genuine adult who is maybe getting my life back together for a couple of hours.

Plus?  Well, Thing 2 slept from 8:30 last night until 7:33 this morning, so let’s all stand up and slow clap our appreciation.  I know Hubs and I high-fived one another at 7:33 this morning, calling the victory out for what it was!  I may or may not have slipped some Red #40, Blue #1 and Yellow #6 into his lunchbox today, in the shape of Skittles, to say, “Thank you for those eleven uninterrupted hours, Son.”  All those dyes were put right in there, next to the gluten-free, white-meat-from-free-range-chickens-who-were-never-given-antibiotcs chicken nuggets, the organic Honeycrisp apple, the gluten-free pretzels, the carrots that he will not touch, and the organic almond milk, so I think I’m still winning at school lunches.


I aged over my blogging break, which is to say… I celebrated another birthday.  A darling friend of mine organized a lunch on Saturday afternoon, where eight of us friends met at a cafe in the city for BLT sandwiches, cranberry and chicken salads, and real cheeseburgers.  We ate and laughed; we laughed and ate.  And then we all decided to walk the four blocks to the movie theater, where we saw Jumanji, because our other choices were POST 9/11 WAR MOVIE, CIVIL WAR MOVIE THAT MAY OR MAY NOT INVOLVE STOMACH CLENCHING NATIVE AMERICAN TORTURE, TEENAGE BOY MOVIE INVOLVING BICEPS AND GUNS, or HUGH JACKMAN AS PT BARNUM, which we had all already seen and loved, with a love that raced straight up to the moon and right back.  (Have you seen The Greatest Showman?  If not, you’ve deprived yourself.  GO.  Go now, and don’t waste any  more time getting to the theater to see it.  It’s my new favorite movie, filled with hope and inspiration!)   We had so many movie choices to veto last Saturday, that Jumanji was the last choice.  We debated seeing it.  Was it a show that eight moms could enjoy together?  On the one hand… THE ROCK.  On the other hand… VIDEO GAME THEME.  But, we persevered, and we went.  We ordered popcorn with butter, because calories on birthdays don’t count, so you can definitely chase a BLT immediately with a bag of corn.  And listen, people:  WE LAUGHED OUR HEADS OFF!  Is Jumanji going to win any awards?  No.  No, it is not.  But is it a good place to escape to, for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon?  YES!  We all left the theater, telling one another, “I JUST DE-FANGED A SNAKE!”


The rest of my birthday was quiet, because FOLKS WERE SICK.  Influenza ’18 has not been kind to those I love.  Hubs fixed me a delicious dinner of leftover pizza, straight out of our refrigerator, and we ended the night watching Parks and Recreation on the iPad.

All in all, it was a good birthday.  I’ll probably use my gift cards to shop for new hearing aide batteries and new tennis balls for the bottom of my walker, because I hear that’s what all the elderly folks are buying these days.

And now, with eight entire minutes left before the timer on my phone goes off, screaming out CHANGE YOUR LAUNDRY LOADS!!  YOUR DRYER IS DONE!!, I’m off to do just that.  The avalanche forecasts on Mt. Everest have never been as bad as those on my laundry pile this week.  Today is the day that I cut that mountain down to size and conquer it.

And that’s the reality of LIFE, people.  Sometimes mountains rear up smack in front of us.  They’re big and they’re scary.  The trails over them look impassable.  The trails around them look blocked in and full of guerillas and ambushes.  And that pretty much just leaves the tunnels through those mountains, if you’re determined to get to the other side.  And I’m not going to lie.  Those tunnels THROUGH are usually filled with flesh-eating cannibals, scorpions, total darkness and the sounds of crying babies that never get picked up coming over loud speakers.  (I know.  What a reference.  But is there really ANYTHING more bothersome to a mama than hearing a baby cry, when no one is picking him up?!  I can’t take that sound… I’m a picker-upper, when it comes to those little people and their tears.)  I know that I kept asking God for the past couple of weeks to FIX IT and MAKE IT BETTER and LORD, I AM DONE.  I wanted to go back in time, to BEFORE, when the road was smooth and flat and the mountain wasn’t there, and LOOK AT ME DRIVE THIS CONVERTIBLE AT HIGH SPEED, WITH THE TOP DOWN, WHILE I HOLD MY STARBUCKS CUP AND SMILE, WITH MY TRENDY AVIATOR SUNGLASSES ON!  I wanted the mountaintop experiences that I’ve had before, and I wanted to be on the top of that big hill… not underneath of that giant mountain, crawling on my belly through the worms, hoping daylight would eventually show up.

Do you know who else wanted to stay on the top of a mountain?  Oh, just a guy in the Bible.

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.”  (Mark 9:2-3)

What happened after this transfiguration?  Well, Peter, bless his heart, wanted to just build some shelters and STAY THERE, because WHO WOULDN’T WANT TO STAY ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WHEN JESUS WAS RIGHT THERE AND GLOWING?  I think we ALL want to build shelters on top of the mountain and stay put, when things are good and Jesus is right there, glowing with His power.

But what we need to remember is that Jesus is NO LESS WITH US when we are crawling under the mountain.  No, we probably don’t want to set up shelters there in the dark, with the worms and the snakes and the BUGS!  BUGS EVERYWHERE!  GETTING IN YOUR SLEEPING BAGS!  But… I guess that’s where our faith comes in.  Is our faith strong enough to remember that REACHING THE BACKSIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN… when we walk out of that tunnel and stand straight up into fresh air… will all be worth it?  In Joshua 10, Joshua and his men fight a battle, and it’s a big one.  They marched all night BEFORE their battle, so HELLO, EXHAUSTION.  Because do you know what I want to do RIGHT BEFORE I get thrown into a major battle?  Well, I’d really love to just MARCH ALL NIGHT LONG… and THEN fight.  Except… the exact opposite of that.  What I really want to do is just sleep all night and COMPLETELY AVOID having to fight at all.  But Joshua and his men marched all night long, and then they went into battle.

And the battle lasted so long, Joshua had to ask that the sun stand still, so that THEY COULD HAVE MORE DAYLIGHT TO KEEP FIGHTING.  By my calculations, these men had been marching and fighting, nonstop, for the better part of a twenty-four hour period.  They needed more daylight, and God gave it to them, because God stopped the moon from coming up, and He kept that sun right where it was at.

And Joshua and his men won.  They witnessed God sending hailstones from the sky, which struck the heads of their enemies… but not them.  They witnessed God fighting WITH THEM.  They witnessed a few extra hours of daylight, because Joshua had simply ASKED.  FOR.  IT!!

Beth Moore once said in a Bible study that you can bet those men were probably exhausted before their battle even started, and they were exhausted during the battle, but she was guessing that not a single one of them would ever say, “Gee!  I wish I hadn’t been IN that battle!”  Because Beth Moore said that they probably fought that battle and walked away, speaking of God’s goodness and His power and His willingness to fight on their side for the rest of their lives.

So… how did this blog post get onto such serious subject matter?  I have no idea.  Writers are always told, “Write what you know.”  What I know is nonsense and poor grammar.  I don’t know how to write a devotional to encourage anyone, but listen:  I’ve been in the tunnel here for the past two weeks, and I’m trying to remember that when I crawl out of it, I’ll be able to speak of God’s goodness and His willingness to help me… a mere mom in a small town who can never get her hair to look good in a messy bun... fight, for the rest of my life.

Y’all have a good weekend.  I’m going to spend it with Hubs and our boys… and probably our extended families, too… as long as they can show me proof that their influenza days are OVER, because AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR HAVING INFLUENZA TWICE IN ONE SEASON!