#eighteen

Eighteen years ago, Hubs and I were busy scrubbing our hands and arms every couple of hours and wearing hospital scrubs, so we could go hold this little stinker in the NICU and try to feed him. Now… he has informed us that he can “legally vote, legally smoke, legally buy lottery tickets and legally get a tattoo without our signatures.”

Yep.

ALL OF THE ABOVE.

Hubs and I have successfully raised him to adulthood — HE. IS. AN. ADULT!!  Excuse me while I go cry in my closet!!  My heart is so tender and sad today about eighteen, but it’s also so excited to see this kind and awesome goofball do even bigger and better things.

He Dabs

Thing 2 has a beaten and battered cowboy hat, which has been well-loved.  I go a little weak in the knees whenever he wears it, because… well… cowboys are so stinking cute.

I tried to get a few snapshots of him yesterday, in the hat… and THIS is what he gave me:

I said, “Listen.  I just want a cute picture of you.”

He told me, “Mom, this is how ALL the cool kids take their pictures now.”

I told him, “No dabbing in the next shot.”

He gave me this one:

The force is strong in this one, and I’m kind of worried about the teenage years.

The Lake

Hubs and I always joke that our little Thing 2 is a boy who would have thrived in the 1950s.  He’s our own little Huck Finn, who wants to have an adventure every day, and who would love nothing more than to build his own raft and float the river.  He would have been the perfect candidate to ride his bike six miles into town, unchaperoned on a dirt road, to plunk three pennies down on the mercantile’s counter, for candy and baseball cards.  He would have eaten the candy immediately and traded the baseball cards to friends later… for MORE candy.  He would have been the one to beat up the neighborhood bully and the one to beg Santa Claus for a “Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time.”  He would have flourished, playing outside all day, from sunrise to sunset, with little supervision, as he waded in the creek, hit baseballs with friends in a field and pulled pigtails on neighbor girls.

Unlike the boy, who enjoys all the air conditioning like his mama does, Thing 2 is our outdoor enthusiast, who cares little for iPads and technology.  He wants to dig in the dirt with a shovel, push Tonka trucks along rocky paths, steal apples from trees that don’t belong to him and feed them to mules that also don’t belong to him, and jump in every single mud puddle he sees… thirty-eight different times.

Because of this, Hubs and I try to take this little punk on as many outdoor adventures as we can, which is why we seem to be ending up at the lake a lot this summer.  The lake is exactly the right spot to catch minnows, get wet, throw sticks, chuck rocks, spit, build mud castles, capture bugs, and eat PB & J sandwiches, after we’ve ripped their gluten-free crusts off and thrown them to the birds.

One day a couple of weeks ago, we stole a little friend to go with us, while her mama was still working.  The temperature that day was a balmy, sultry, sweaty, sticky, utterly ridiculous six hundred and nine.  I missed our central air conditioning like a CRAZY WOMAN that day.  We slathered on the sunscreen, and the kids were released into the wild for an entire afternoon of fun, but my tendency to parent like a 2018 helicopter mom came out, loud and clear, as I set boundaries for where these two little rapscallions could go, and how far out into the water they were allowed to swim.

At one point during the day, an entire flock of geese flew in overhead, making more noise than 40,000 preschoolers at a Wiggles’ concert.  They landed in the water, and became fair game to catch.  Thing 2 was on the hunt!  He was determined that he would capture one and bring it home in our car, for a pet.  I’m sure he had every intention of naming him George, and hugging him, petting him and squeezing him, too.

Thankfully, because the Lord knows that I had no desire to become a goose-owner (Because… HELLO!  Geese are MEAN!), Thing 2 didn’t manage to catch one, but he gave it everything he had.  He swam out as far as his boundary-enforcing mother would let him, hollering at them, until those geese looked sideways at him, gave him the stink eye, and flew away.

Eventually, the kids decide to cliff dive.

And by cliff diving, I mean they pretended to cliff dive, as they stood on a rock that was every bit as tall as they were, and they jumped into water that was waist-deep on them.

In other words, it was very SAFE cliff diving, and completely mother-approved.  (Of course, had this been 1950, Thing 2 would have been at the lake without me, and he would have jumped off the real cliffs, twenty-three feet above the water’s surface.  I’m sure 1950 moms had no idea what their boys were busy doing, once they left home for the day on their bikes.  It was probably better that way.)

The kids had an absolute ball.  We played at the lake for over four hours that afternoon, in the wicked-awful heat, and then I fed them both a nutritious Happy Meal from McDonald’s, with no buns on their burgers, because gluten makes our guts cramp up and disables us for hours, as we lay on the sofa and cry for our moms in pain.  We spent the evening playing at a park, after our French fries were gone, and THEN we took our little friend home to her mama, with the promise that IF SHE DOESN’T SLEEP WELL TONIGHT, YOU CANNOT BLAME US, BECAUSE WE DID OUR LEVEL BEST TO WEAR THEM OUT, and also IT’S ALL ON YOU NOW, IF SHE DOESN’T SLEEP!

Thing 2 was asleep approximately eight seconds after we made it home that evening, so Hubs and I called it a wonderful win.

Then, this past Friday, a friend of mine and I packed up our vehicles with shovels and life jackets, and pots and pans and floaties, exactly like the Beverly Hillbillies would have done, and we went back to the lake with a picnic lunch.  The sky threatened rain, but this is Small Town, USA, where IT NEVER RAINS IN JULY.  We were hopefully optimistic that we’d spend the entire afternoon at the lake, having a sweaty good time.

And… it started that way.

But then the wind came in… and it dropped the temperature in a quick-big-hurry.  We were thankful for THIS NICE BREEZE and also for THIS TEMPERATURE THAT ISN’T SIX HUNDRED DEGREES ANY MORE!!  Our picnic threatened to blow away, but we were DETERMINED TO STICK IT OUT.  The children were in the water, because they are from Small Town, USA, and a little wind and a little temperature drop is not something that will run them out of the lake.

Except… then the wind picked up more, and the black clouds rolled in, and… well... THERE IT WAS.  A nice little downpour in July.  So, we didn’t last long at the lake on Friday.  We gave thanks for in-car DVD players, because what else do you do with sopping wet kids in your vehicle, when they’re spilling sand out of their shoes onto your seats and bored and begging for snacks, as they wait a storm out?!

My friend Jessica was the all-time genius, who had an old, bent and stained COOKING POT in the back of her SUV, which she’d picked up at a garage sale earlier this summer.  She knows kids and she knows little boys, and she intuitively knew that this pot would be well loved around dirt and water.

Thing 2 has already asked for his own cooking pot for this next Christmas, because who needs a “Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time,” when he can have a pot to haul around a lake?  It can be filled with water and minnows, mud and grasshoppers, leaves, rocks, sticks and sand.  Thing 2 basically claimed that pan as his own, and he lugged it back and forth, from one end of the beach to the other.

And… while he stole the pot away from his friends… someone else stole Thing 2’s real metal shovel!  (We’ve tried plastic shovels in the past, but we are such an enthusiastic digger, we have broken them all.  A real metal shovel is the only shovel that can survive a summer with our boy.)  Our little buddy was determined to dig clear to China on Friday, too.  He dug and he dug… and then he dug a little more.  I have never understood a little boy’s inherent need to JUST DIG, but sweet mercy!  Digging makes them so happy!

In the end… we got rained out.  We attempted to wait the storm out in the car, while Sponge Bob entertained us, but the day was determined to become a completely rainy one at the lake.  So… I didn’t get a lot of snapshots that day.  Instead of spending our afternoon at the lake, we loaded up and drove to Smaller Town, which was just on the other side of the storm clouds, and we played at the park.  We pushed each other in the swings, crawled up slides the wrong way, and caught a butterfly.

And then we called it a day.

We came home that evening, worn out enough to sleep wonderfully well again, as we dreamed of one day having our own bent and stained cooking pot to take to the lake.

Which… I think is something a little man from 1950 would’ve enjoyed.

Y’all have a merry little Monday night.

A Good Weekend

For six years, Hubs and I have been striving with everything we have to get Thing 2 to sleep past 5:30 AM.  We have tried later bedtimes and big bribes, because… are you even a real parent, if you haven’t bribed a child to get what you want?  (“You want a $700 toy?  Sleep until 8 AM on a Saturday morning, and it’s yours.”)  For six entire years, Thing 2 has gotten out of bed, for the day, between 4:45 and 5:30 AM.  I have always considered myself a morning person, but even I am forced to admit that 4:45 is better known as THE MIDDLE OF THE STINKING NIGHT.

And then… for whatever reason… Thing 2 has started sleeping in a bit this summer.  We have done nothing different, but suddenly, we started waking up at 6:30 AM, and we felt REFRESHED.  And then we started having mornings where our baby slept until 7:00, and WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE, WHO HAD COFFEE ALONE ON THE DECK, IN PEACE AND QUIET?  And… lo!  We have even had a morning where Thing 2 slept clear ’til 8 AM.  It was only once, but we feel like it’s a goal we may one day see on a regular basis.  Hubs and I became parents of leisure this summer.

And then the boy started opening the golf course this month.

Bless it all.

There’s nothing like having your six-year-old finally… FINALLY, FOR THE LOVE!!!… sleep in until 7 AM, while your seventeen-year-old sets his alarm for 5:20 in the morning.  If you enjoy cussing in your head, then my life might be the one you’d enjoy living.

Since we were awake at an unholy hour again yesterday morning, thanks to the boy and his alarm clock… Hubs and I had coffee, while we waited… and waited… and also waited some more… for Thing 2 to wake up at 7:18.  By then, Hubs and I felt like we needed lunch.  So… we got ready… and we drove to Big Town, USA for something fun to do, because listen:  Their ice rink is open year round, while Small Town shuts our ice rink down for the entire summer.  There will be no escaping to the frigid temps of an indoor skating facility for us, to cool off from the temperatures, which have been hovering around the four hundred and six degrees mark.  Thing 2 has been begging to skate… begging to know WHEN our ice rink will throw its doors open wide again… so yesterday, with nothing better to do… we shoved his hockey bag into our car and we set off on a little day trip.

The little man got to skate for two entire hours.

He hasn’t been on ice skates since our ice rink closed for the season on May 1st, so our Olympic speed skating hopeful was a bit rusty and wobbly when we first set out.  So much so, in fact, that a nine-year-old girl skated by and said, “He can borrow one of those supports from the front desk, that he can push and hang onto while he tries to skate, so that he doesn’t fall down.”

What a sweet little thing, to be looking out for our little punk.  I assured her that, although he was clutching the wall like a newbie, he could, in fact, SKATE.

After his first lap, I pulled Thing 2 aside and pointed the nine-year-old girl out to him.  I whispered, “She said you could go get one of those LEARN TO SKATE supports, so you can push it without falling down.”  He stared at me in horror.  He said, “She didn’t say that!”  I said, “She did.  I think it’s because you’re clutching the wall.”

And that, my friends, was all it took.

Thing 2 released the wall… and he shot off on the ice, exactly like Apolo Ohno, on fire.  He skated three laps, at a break-your-neck-plum-in-half speed, while he waved at that cute little girl, every time he passed her.  She skated back over to me and said, “Wow!  I guess he CAN skate!”  She was an absolutely darling little thing!

And there you have it.  Eventually, a twelve-year-old boy showed up, who was very possibly the best skater I’ve ever seen.  He was THAT amazing.  Thing 2 gravitated toward him, and the two of them ended up racing and racing… and racing some more… until they were both dripping sweat.  Thing 2 couldn’t beat this boy in a lap of WHO IS THE FASTEST, but that’s because this kid’s legs are twelve, while Thing 2’s legs are six, and the height difference creates a massive advantage.  Those longer twelve-year-old legs could fly across the ice.  No matter.  Thing 2 gave each race every thing he had, while Hubs and I rubbed our hands together in glee and said, “HE WILL SLEEP TONIGHT!”  We sat in those bleachers and CLAPPED LIKE LUNATICS for those informal speed races, because all we could envision was a small boy, sound asleep in his bed, for hours on end.

Afterward, I thanked this boy for entertaining Thing 2 on the ice all afternoon.  I told him that he was an amazing skater, to which he said, “Yes… I’m basically the best skater on our hockey team.”

I also thanked him for his humbleness.

As the Zamboni pulled out of the garage door, indicating that Open Skate was over, we pulled Thing 2 off the ice.

He had sweaty helmet hair.

And he told us that his legs were so sore, he could barely walk.

Dear Boy Who Is The Best Skater On Your Hockey Team… Thank you for wearing our second son out.  That was the ultimate goal of driving half the day to skate for a couple of hours, and we appreciate you.  We will be looking for you in the NHL one day soon!  Sincerely, Hubs and Mama

Thing 2 woke up this morning, and he had to HOBBLE to the kitchen for breakfast.  He told us, “Man!  My legs feel like I can’t walk too good!”  Hubs and I are hoping that this confession means he’ll sleep well again tonight!

In other news, we cleaned our kitchen junk drawer today.

Do y’all have one of those?  Can you open it?!  I mean… can you pull the drawer out, all the way, without something catching and preventing the drawer from being opened, so that you have a miniature temper tantrum, right there beside your stove, because WHY IS IT SO HARD TO GET A PAIR OF SCISSORS???!!!

Well… we HAD one of those drawers.  Hubs and I were both tired of throwing two-year-old tantrums, each time we couldn’t open it to get the stapler or a pen or the scissors, so we basically said, “We are adults, and we know how to fix this!”

We dumped everything in the drawer onto our kitchen island, and then we sighed and said, “Look what we have done!  There’s no going back now.  We are committed.”

Hubs took the metal track off the drawer and straightened it out, because it was a bit bent from a forty-seven pound boy, hanging on the drawer, while he decides whether he wants a green marker or the glue stick from inside of it.

And then we threw away enough stuff to fill half of a tall Hefty kitchen garbage bag.  The joy THAT brought to my heart was immeasurable!

In the end, we had THIS:

I’ve opened it three hundred times this afternoon, just to stare at it.  And also to marvel over the ease that it can be opened.  Look at how easy it is to get a pair of scissors!!

In other words, it was a good weekend.

Shopping And Pranks

I didn’t sleep well last night.

And when I say that I didn’t sleep well, I mean that I finally fell asleep at 2 AM, and I slept until 6:00 this morning.  I’ve never been a math whiz, but even I can round up and decide that I probably got a solid four hours of sleep, and not a minute more.  I would have kept on sleeping, well past 6 AM and into the territory of TEENAGE BOY AFTER BEING OUT ALL NIGHT, but we had a clap of thunder at 6:00 that shook the house, blasted adrenaline to all extremities, and jolted me wide awake.  And after that one giant roar of thunder, the rain poured down for fifteen minutes, and then it was all calm.

I have no idea why the Lord saw me FINALLY sleeping and said, “You know… NOW would be a good time to wave my band director’s wand at the thunderclap section, and have them come in loud and clear,” but it’s what happened.  So, I got up for coffee, and announced to Hubs, “Thunder at night, sailors’ delight; thunder in the morning, sailors take warning.”

Hubs looked at me with the blank expression that clearly said he was not well versed in ancient sailing proverbs.

No matter.  I knew that bad luck was going to befall us, because THUNDER IN THE MORNING.  You know… until someone corrected me later today and said that the old saying is “Red sky at night, sailors’ delight; red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.”

I think it’s now evident that I am also not well versed in ancient sailing proverbs.

But… the bad luck came, because when I picked Thing 2 up from VBS at noon today, he had a glow stick, which the VBS staff had passed out to all the kids, and he cracked his good and proper, and shook it for all it was worth.  And that, my friends, is the exact time that we learned that these were dirt cheap glow sticks (And really?  WHO buys the pricey ones?  No one I know!), because Thing 2 snapped his glow stick PLUM DADGUM IN HALF, and when he shook it, he shook fluorescent yellow goop all over himself.  All the blesses, because my son could have lit up under a black light at a disco club and glowed with the Good News of Jesus!

Naturally, it was a GOOD shirt that he wore to VBS today.

And by GOOD shirt, I mean his very-most-favorite sleeveless shirt, which he refers to as a “strong shirt.”  (What?  You’re wondering why he calls sleeveless shirts “strong shirts?”  Well, it’s simply because sleeveless shirts show your muscles, which lets the world know exactly how strong you are.  It’s kind of hard to hide the fact that you can’t bench press a car, when you put your sleeveless shirt on.  Thankfully, Thing 2 is ripped with all the muscle, and he likes folks to be able to see it all.  He has a little TOO MUCH PRIDE in those biceps of his.)

So, I’ve spent the afternoon on Google, asking, “How do you remove glow stick liquid from fabric,” and I’m finding out that everyone has an opinion, and no one’s guaranteed method for spotless fabric once again actually works.  I think our favorite strong shirt is about to be labeled as MY PLAY-IN-THE-MUD SHIRT.

Anyway.

Speaking of clothes, earlier this week the four of us piled into the car, and we drove to Bigger Town, USA to do some shopping.  Hubs and the boy were both in desperate need of jeans, because theirs were becoming threadbare, in a way that didn’t suggested I PAID $300 FOR THESE RIPPED JEANS AT ABERCROMBIE, but… instead… I HAVE OWNED THESE JEANS FOR TEN YEARS AND MY WIFE HAS DECIDED IT’S TIME TO THROW THEM AWAY.  We would have stayed in Small Town to shop, because I’m a firm believer in keeping our money home, but… well... Small Town puts the SMALL before the TOWN, and that means our shopping is limited to Amazon Prime sometimes.  We simply give thanks that the UPS truck actually delivers here.

So, shopping it was.  Before we left, the boy asked for a crab leg lunch.  If he HAD to shop for clothing, then he wanted to do it after he’d wiped out our checking account with what he referred to as his last supper.

You know… the last supper before he died of boredom in a clothing store.

Hubs and I obliged him, and I am here to announce that the boy’s motto for lunch on Monday was GO BIG, OR GO ON HOME.  He bought the most expensive crab leg and lobster tail and many, many shrimp-on-a-skewer meal the menu had to offer, and he.  ate.  it.  all.

He tried to stop with four shrimp left on his plate, but Hubs looked at him and said, “Those shrimp there cost as much as a diamond bracelet, so… make room and get them down!”

When he finally pushed the plate away, the boy sighed and asked, “Does this restaurant have a resting room?  You know… a room off to the side, with a sofa or a bed in it, where people who overeat can go lie down and recuperate?”  You can imagine that Hubs and I were full of sympathy, as we kept asking him if he wanted something else to eat… you know… a mayonnaise sandwich?  A big bowl of chili with a drippy-yolk fried egg and coleslaw on top?  The boy made gagging motions and asked us to PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT GROSS FOOD, BEFORE I PUT A LOBSTER TAIL AND EIGHTY-SIX CRAB LEGS ON THE CARPET.

We all left happy, as we watched the boy waddle out to the car…

… where he reclined the seat and announced, “I am done for the day.”

He added, “I’ve never hurt like this after a meal!  I am sick!  I have to sleep this off!  I can’t possibly shop for jeans, because I won’t fit into any of them!  I need some stretchy sweatpants!!  I ATE TOO MUCH, MA!”

His mama assured him that we hadn’t driven all that way for him to take a nap in a hot car; he was shopping.

At the first store we stopped in, he held up a pair of pants and announced, “These will work fine.”

Yeah… those jeans had a 46-inch waist on them.  The boy told us, “I’ll just try these fat pants on in the fitting room, and I’d like to wear them home, because mine are too tight now.”

Meanwhile, I don’t know whose bright idea it was to let Thing 2 push the cart, but that’s what he did.  Our second son is usually forbidden from pushing carts in stores because it’s like the Dukes of Hazard, in the parts where the good car chases happen.

We finally ended up at American Eagle, because BLESS THEIR JEANS THAT LOOK GOOD ON TEENAGERS, FOR DECENT DOLLARS.

While the boy tried several pairs of pants on, Thing 2 made himself at home in the store.

Oh, to be six years old again, when a circular clothing rack in a shopping mall was better than Christmas morning!

Throughout the entire day, we kept telling Thing 2 that… IF HE WAS GOOD… we would take him to a go-cart / miniature golf / bumper boat park, where he could ride some rides and celebrate the end of a long shopping trip.  Thing 2 was so excited, he could hardly stand it.  We have taken the boy to this park numerous times, when he was younger, and we were excited to let Thing 2 have a chance to race the go-carts on the track.

And… Thing 2 upheld his end of the deal.  Even though he DID tell the waitress at the restaurant, “You didn’t cook my mashed potatoes very good, because they tasted terrible and had leaves in them,” he managed to be good every other minute of the day.

(And yes.  Leaves in the mashed potatoes.  I think they were chopped up chives.  Jesus, be near to all those who offend Thing 2 with dinner, because he will announce it loudly.)

When we pulled up to the old adventure park…

… we immediately noticed that (1) the grass was overgrown and in need of a good mowing, (2) the windows had plywood boards on them, and (3) the pond that had once housed the bumper boats was completely filled in with concrete.

In other words, HELLO, SHUT DOWN KID LAND!!!

You can bet there were tears.  That little man didn’t gag those mashed potatoes full of leaves down, just to skip the go-carts.  Hubs and I had to do some quick thinking, which included, “What alternative can we think of???”

And then we knew.

It was a place we took the boy a few times, when he was little.  It was a place Hubs and I both loathed, and swore we’d never go back to, because IT’S TOO OVERSTIMULATING, AND THE LIGHTS!! AND THE NOISE!! AND THE BAWLING CHILDREN!!  It was a place we’ve never mentioned to Thing 2, because what he doesn’t know about, he can’t ask about.  And if he can’t ask about it… then we don’t have to go there.

We turned our car around…

… and we acted like adults who could muscle their way through over-stimulation and bright lights and too much noise…

… and we took Thing 2 to Chuck E. Cheese.

To say that our six year old was impressed doesn’t even do the words justice.

OUR SIX YEAR OLD WAS STUNNED THAT SUCH A PLACE EXISTED!!  He told us that it was probably just like Disneyland!!  We bought a lemonade for everyone (as no one was hungry for dinner… especially the boy, who was still moaning that his bloated gut was going to explode and spray fish guts everywhere), and I bought thirty game tokens for Thing 2.  I gave him the little cup, and he stared at me.  He blinked once and quietly whispered, “Is this real pirate gold?”

People!!  Sometimes seeing the wonder of a fun restaurant through the eyes of a six year old is all you need in life!  Thing 2’s ABSOLUTE AND UTTER DELIGHT at being there warmed my heart like nothing else this summer has!  I could not quit smiling, as I watched the fun our baby was having!

And then… THANK YOU, LORD IN HEAVEN!!!… the machines spit paper tickets out at Thing 2, which he didn’t understand, but… once it was all explained to him… he RACED LIKE DASH INCREDIBLE ACROSS THE RESTAURANT, running at full speed and screaming at the top of his lungs, “Daddy!  DADDYYYYY!!!!  I WON TICKETS, AND I CAN GET PRIZES!!!!!  This is the best day of my whole life!!!!”

Just watching his joy made it the best day of my whole life, too.

And then it came time to count our tickets (“Seventy!  DADDY!!!  I have SEVENTY TICKETS!!!  Isn’t that awesome!!  Can you believe I won seventy, Dad??!!”) and pick out a prize.  He was all set to get the fifty-dollar Nerf gun on the top shelf, and was only a little brokenhearted when the teenage boy behind the counter told him, “You can pick anything you want off the bottom row.”

The bottom row, where the penny-candy and pencil erasers were.

But?  Do you know what?  That kid was overjoyed with the fact that he got to pick a prize, and he spent fifteen minutes, going back and forth, back and forth, over that bottom row of stuff, before he settled on an Airhead candy.  It could have been a gold brick REALLY off a pirate’s ship, for all he cared.  HE… HAD… WON… A… PRIZE!!!!

And then we came home.  We piled back into the car and drove and drove and drove some more, and I’m here to tell you that in-car DVD players are the best invention of this century.  Hubs and I had a miniature date in the car, as we were able to have real conversations, while the boys watched a movie together, WITH SILENCING HEADPHONES ON (bless, bless, BLESS!!), in the backseat.

And then…

… we walked into a… well... SCENE… when we got home.

Last week, we had VBS at our church.  And every single summer, during our VBS session, the boy and a good friend of his, who help share Jesus with the kids, pull pranks on one another.

Oh, they’re good pranks, too.

Think… Jim and Dwight, from The Office.

She started the week by putting the boy’s VBS name tag in a bowl of orange Jell-O.

He later saved ALL the VBS decorations after cleanup, when it was over, and broke into her bedroom to… REDECORATE IT… while she was at work.  He put up streamers and enough party favors to have opened his own party favor store.  Her room looked like a birthday party, on crack.

And… while we were gone buying fat pants after an enormous crab-leg and lobster tail and shrimp-on-the-skewers lunch, SHE broke into the boy’s bedroom, and pulled off the prank of the century, which we came home to.

Each one of those six hundred and fifty plastic cups was half-full of water.  (Or half-empty, depending on whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist!!)  Cups, cups, OH, SWEET MERCY, LOOK AT ALL THOSE CUPS!  We had to shout out to Thing 2 repeatedly, “DON’T KNOCK THE CUPS OVER!!”

And… she didn’t even make the boy’s bed while she was there, meticulously lining up cups and filling them from a pitcher of water.

And THAT is why the boy spent nearly an hour and a half that night, pouring cups into a giant pitcher, and running the pitcher to his bathroom, to pour down his tub drain, over and over and over, until he could do the routine in his sleep!

My heart goes out to that girl.

I think she’s in trouble.

Especially since the boy has digested his huge seafood lunch and can move a bit faster now!

A Post About Nothing

I signed Thing 2 up for his thirty-third session of VBS this morning, and I need you to know that we are officially to that point of summer vacation, when I looked at the lady behind the registration table at this church and said, “What day is this?  I mean… Is it Tuesday?  Or Wednesday?  And also?  What day of the month is it?  Is this still July?  WHAT DO I EVEN WRITE ON THE DATE LINE ON THIS FORM???”

So that pretty much explains how our summer vacation is going.

(Also?  THIS explains even MORE how it’s going, because I just typed this exact phrase:  “So that pretty much explains how are summer vacation is going.”  Thank goodness that the Lord has provided us with a backspace key and a chance to do everything over.)

What you also need to know is that Hubs has been on a jerky-making kick with his Traeger.  He is making it out of cheap steak and a marinade that Jesus, Himself, created the recipe for.  I’ve never been a big jerky fan, because if I’m going to invest that much time chewing something, it should taste like creme brulee.  But… I am here to tell you… Hubs’ jerky is THE BEST out there.  The marinade flavor is so addicting, I cannot stop eating it.  I dread the moment when he opens the refrigerator and asks, “What the actual heck?  Where’d all my jerky go?” and I have to lie and say, “Our house was broken into today, Hubs.  I’m sorry.  They took half the beef jerky, but they left the twenty dollar bill that was on the bedroom desk, so let’s be thankful for that.”

I have had to floss jerky out of my molars three different times today, and my jaw needs to rest from chewing all that tough deliciousness.  I’ve decided that I probably shouldn’t talk much this evening, so that my jaw can recuperate for tomorrow morning’s beef jerky binge.

(And if you think summer vacation made me type the word MORNING there, when I meant a time later in the day tomorrow, then you are dead wrong.  I will confess now that my breakfast consisted of a cup of heavily-creamed coffee and three entire pieces of beef jerky today.  #hatersgonnahate)

But really… we are just living our best summer vacation lives around here at the moment.  I have no idea how to train, so that my re-entry into the world of taking a shower before 10 AM and curling my hair and making lunches doesn’t hurt as bad as it’s going to, in four short weeks.  Thankfully, Hubs and the boy are still representing our family, by wearing real clothes and going to work, while Thing 2 and I lay on the sofa in our pajamas and watch The Polar Express on DVD for the 192nd time this summer.  I have no idea why we must watch a Christmas movie in the blazing-hellfire-heat of July, but it’s the go-to time killer right now, and I don’t even care.  It keeps him quiet, even if I do find myself humming that song about hot chocolate to myself all day long.

I asked Thing 2 the other day, “Would you ever walk out of your house, in the snow and in your pajamas, and get on a train ride to the North Pole without telling your parents, like the boy in the movie did?”  Without even batting an eye, he said, “Yes.  I sure would!”  Clearly, all of my safety talks have sunk in, deep.  All the blesses for me, as the rest of you keep in mind that not every child is perfectly normal.

Nothing else is really happening around here right now, unless you count Thing 2’s vigilant watch on our ever-ripening chokecherries as something noteworthy.  He has watched them progress from green to pink to partially-red to fully red… and now we are waiting for them to turn that midnight purple color, because we know that’s when the birds will put aside their differences for two days, to come together and attack our oversized chokecherry bush with gusto and a crazed frenzy.  The robin will sit beside the owl on the chokecherry branches, hogging berries in an all-you-can-eat buffet.  If you were thinking that we were waiting for them to ripen so that we could go outside and pick them, so I could make chokecherry jelly for the family, then you must be new to this blog.  No, ma’am.  We are waiting for the birds to suddenly outnumber the leaves on that bush, as they strip it bare in less than forty-eight hours.  It’s like the sequel to the movie The Birds.  Thing 2 reports the berries’ color to me every single morning, because we are THISCLOSE to having a million birds outside our kitchen window to watch.

The boy is busy working at the golf course daily, and then he golfs eighteen holes daily, and then he hangs out with his friends daily, and then I have to remind him that YOU NEED TO MOW THE YARD AND TAKE THE GARBAGE OUT daily.  In other words, these are the best days of his life.

Annnnnd…. there it is.

Hubs just got home from work and opened the refrigerated and asked the MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE ALL THE BEEF JERKY WENT!!!

Y’all have a good evening.  If you need me, I’ll be over here, flossing my teeth again.

End Of The Week Exhaustion And Legos

I’m not going to lie.  This evening time VBS business is straight-up going to kill me dead.

Oh, it’s not the kids that are doing me in, or even the fact that I’m running the games session for a number of children that is equal to the population of Miami.  What is doing me in is simply this:  When a girl reaches a certain age (let’s say that age is in her forties), AND she has a rambunctious six year old, she tends to go to bed exactly twenty-one minutes after that small fry does.

In other words, when I put Thing 2 in bed at 8:00, I am usually upright and mobile until approximately 8:21, at which time MAMAW IS IN BED.  Now, Mamaw doesn’t necessarily go to sleep at 8:21, because she still likes to pretend that she is young and spry and also twenty years old again, which was a beloved time in her life, when she didn’t have chin hairs and when her metabolism was FAST.  Sometimes Mamaw reads in bed, and sometimes she watches a hip and trendy sitcom with Papaw, through the glory of the internet, but she does those things from the luxury of her bed.

But sometimes?  Well… sometimes… if it has been a busy day, which means IF SHE KEPT UP WITH THING 2 TO THE EQUIVALENT OF HAVING PARTICIPATED IN AN IRONMAN TRIATHLON, then yes… Mamaw will go to sleep right at 8:21.

Don’t judge her.  Ironman competitions are hard in your forties.

And this week?  Well, we get home from VBS at approximately 8:45 each evening.  And when we get home?  That is when Thing 2 announces that his 4:30 dinner (in anticipation of being to the church shortly after 5:00) has worn off, and please make me a second dinner, Mother, from scratch, because I will require ALL THE FOOD right now.  So, Dinner #2 it is.

“Here, child.  Let me roast you a rack of lamb real quick-like at 9:00 in the evening, and let me make some mint jelly… and would you like twice-baked potatoes with that, or some bread pudding?  Because I can whip up a nice bread pudding, too, because I can see that you’re hungry enough to eat an entire buffalo.”

Or maybe it’s just… “You can have a yogurt and microwaved chicken nuggets, and… Oh!  Look!  We have nectarines in the fruit bowl!”

Either way, Dinner #2 commences, and then Hubs and I listen to Thing 2 jabber on at a speed equal to a drag racer’s burnout, as he recaps the night of FUN, SO MUCH FUN, ALL THE FUN!  And then we brush teeth and we say our prayers and we read the books, and OH, LOOK!  It’s now the middle of the night, and we haven’t gotten to sleep yet, and now Mamaw’s got a second wind that she didn’t ask for, and who even IS this elderly woman, sitting on her deck at 10:30 PM with her husband, talking about Michael Jackson songs, of all the things?

The answer is:  I have no idea.

But that… in a nutshell… is why I haven’t fallen asleep before midnight all week.  And then, you can compound the problem by knowing that Thing 2 was out of bed about 12:15 this morning, which means I had enjoyed approximately fifteen minutes of a glorious REM sleep, before I was ripped out of it by a little hand tapping me on the shoulder in bed, as a little voice said, “I’m scared of the dark.”

And then?  Well… a cat decided to TAKE A BATH IN MY BED at 4:50 this morning.  I don’t know if any of y’all are cat people, but when a cat decides that she’s in desperate need of a good cleaning, there can be some slurping and strong noise involved, especially if she decides to chew on her claws for a bit, in an effort to pick the houseplant she ate earlier out of her teeth.

Lord, bless all the cats that I have decided I no longer like.

And yes.  After falling asleep at midnight and being awake for a while with my small boy, I got up for the day at 4:50 AM.  I had coffee at 6:30 this morning with Hubs, on our deck (because it’s amazing how a couple of cheap sun shades can transform a once unusable deck into a glorious spot you enjoy sitting on), and I said, “Go ahead and feast your eyes on me… and the dark circles under my eyes… and try to imagine the brain fog that I’m fighting through today!”

In other words… SHOULD I EVEN BE DRIVING A MOTOR VEHICLE TODAY?  I don’t know.

But, what I do know is that Thing 2 was bone-weary tired a couple of weeks ago, when I sent him to day camp from 8:00 to 4:00 each day.  Talk about nonstop moving!  Thing 2 participated in rock climbing and hiking; he did crafts and games; he shot BB guns and bows and arrows.  He waded in the creek, hopped over fallen logs and ate the apple in his lunchbox every single day… and nothing else.  Never you mind the peanut butter sandwich made with love.  It came home squashed and leaking strawberry jelly all over the plastic bag.  By Friday, I finally got a grip that being physically exhausted at day camp was not going to increase his hunger any more than being mentally exhausted by kindergarten reading and math had done.  So… on Friday… I packed Thing 2 an apple in his lunchbox… and nothing else.  By all standards, this probably stripped me of my Mother of the Year sash and sapphire crown, but at least I saved some bread from being wasted!

Anyway.

By Friday, Thing 2 was a hot mess of THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN, BUT I AM AT AN EXHAUSTED POINT WHERE I CAN NO LONGER HANDLE MYSELF IN POLITE SOCIETY.  So, Mama took things into her own hands and bought him a giant Lego set, which he could quietly and calmly build on Friday evening.  And lo!  The boy was home from a golf tournament on Friday evening, and he was a bit worn out by all the sunshine and all the walking, so he sat down to build some Legos with his bro, too.

We called it CHILL NIGHT WITH PLASTIC BRICKS.  Yes, the Legos cost me $28, but the peace we had in our home… and the fact that no one was actually BAWLING from utter exhaustion after a week of day camp and eighteen holes of intense golf in the sun… was priceless.

And then everyone went to bed early, because they were all so tired, and it was the happiest ending to the fairy tale ever!

Y’all have a good weekend!

Baseball 2018

This is Vacation Bible School Week, and we are doing “two-a-days,” because can you ever get too much of Jesus?  Thing 2 is going to some friends’ church in the mornings for VBS, and then he’s attending round two in the evenings, at our church.  And, because I am on for ALL THE GAMES in the evenings, this basically means that I can drink my coffee in absolute peace and quiet at 9:30 AM, as I mentally prepare myself for a class of thirty-eight (Yes!  THIRTY-EIGHT!!) second and third graders in the evenings!

I think too many kids at VBS is a good problem to have. It makes for one action-packed game of Human Foosball.

The downside to an evening VBS is that we come home at 8:30, hopped up and completely wired, as FUN and EXCITEMENT flow through our veins.  Everyone has had stories of how MY CHILD DIDN’T FALL ASLEEP UNTIL 11:00 LAST NIGHT, AFTER VBS, so I feel lucky that we’ve managed to work some magic here at the Jedi Manor, as Thing 2 was asleep by 10:00 on Monday night and 9:15 last night.  However… his mama has come home dripping sweat, because HELLO, FAST-PACED GAMES ALL NIGHT FOR A THOUSAND CHILDREN!   So Mama had two cups of coffee first thing this morning, because Mama hasn’t been asleep before midnight for two nights running.

Anyway.

I just have to share this snapshot, because it’s too cute not to.

This is Little Cousin H and Thing 2.  They were born on complete opposite sides of our state, in towns that our families don’t live in.  In reality, they might have lived their entire lives without meeting one another.  In reality, they could have grown up as complete strangers.  Thankfully, through the miracle of adoption, we welcomed both of them into our family with more hugs and love than can be counted up.  Because of adoption, these two stinkers are not only cousins… they’re also best friends.

She is three and a half months older than he is.  He is three and a half thousand times louder than she is.  She tries to mother him continually; he tries to boss her around daily.  She hates rough sports, and thrives in gymnastics.  He has the grace of a hippopotamus in gymnastics, and thrives in the hockey rink, where he can skate fast and knock kids down.  She has lost one bottom tooth; he has lost eight teeth total, and he has eight adult teeth firmly in place.  She likes to swing nicely at the park; he likes to scale the outsides of all playground structures like a mountain goat, until he makes every single mother at the park gasp in horror, because LOOK!!  LOOK AT WHERE THAT LITTLE BOY IS AT!!  HE’S GOING TO FALL TO HIS DEATH!!  CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT NOW!!  She likes vegetables; he likes sugar.  She likes princesses; he likes Batman and Darth Vader.  She likes Doc McStuffins; he likes American Ninja Warriors.  They are as opposite as two kids can be, and yet… they love one another thoroughly.  I snapped this picture of them together at my parents’ house a couple of weeks ago, when we were celebrating my dad’s birthday.  They had robbed Mam and Pa’s kitchen of Ziplock baggies, and they were both outside together, catching bugs.  Because… as girly as she is, she does love to discover a new bug and squeal in delight.

And… then they both fight over who gets to put that bug in their plastic bag, because they are six, and six year olds always want what the other six year old has.  But, through all their different personality traits, he STILL tells the world that she is his best friend.

In other news…

… we played baseball this summer.

And when I say WE played, I mean that Thing 2 actually played, while his entire family came to watch and died of heat exhaustion on the metal bleachers.  That last day of baseball was so hot, I fear that I may have lost my salvation with my choice of words in describing how I felt about the viciousness of the sun.

We learned a lot this summer in baseball.  Mostly, we learned that playing the field when you’re six is BORING, because only a handful of little people can bat a ball past the pitcher.  When you’re six, THE PITCHING MOUND is where all the action happens.

This is Thing 2, tired of never having a ball make it clear to his short stop position.  He gave up on the hope of ever fielding a grounder and focused his attention on finding bugs in the dirt.  So naturally, he completely MISSED the one grounder that came zinging his way, because LOOK AT THIS ANT!!!

This is Thing 2, playing center field.  Yes, he’s way too far up, and he’s too close to second base, but it doesn’t matter.  Balls were never batted past the pitcher, so STAND WHERE YOU WANT TO, SON.  And also?  COULD YOU POSSIBLY TRY TO LOOK A LITTLE MORE BORED IN CENTER FIELD?

This is Thing 2, batting.

What we learned this summer is that Thing 2 LOVES to bat!  As in, he LOVES LOVES LOVES, ALL THE BIG RED HEART EYES, LOVES to bat.  He’s also capable of smacking a ball clear to the short stop, to liven up the game out there for those poor fielders, who are busy hunting bugs to pass the time.

Here’s Thing 2, on third base, waiting for the next batter to hit him home.

I believe he is moaning, “But, Coach!  It’s sooooo hot outside!  It’s NEVER this hot in hockey!”  I believe his coach was replying, “Come on, Thing 2!  You’re fast, and we need you to get across home plate, so we can smack another point on the scoreboard!  How are you going to play college ball, when you gripe about the heat?”  I believe he was saying, “I’m playing hockey in college, Coach, because you play hockey on ICE!”

And this is Thing 2, running for home plate, as soon as his teammate hit the ball.

And THIS is Thing 2’s second favorite thing about baseball, right after batting:

POPSICLES FROM THE COACH!

After his last little baseball game wrapped up, and I had my face pressed against the air conditioning vents in the car, Thing 2 said, “Mom, next time… could you just sign me up for a baseball team that only bats?”

Hmm.   I’ll look into that.

Y’all have a merry Wednesday night!

 

The 4th Of July, 2018

Well, we have officially passed the halfway mark of summer vacation.  It seems once we get to the middle of July, the rest of the summer flies by, like Superman heading to a bathroom emergency.  It won’t be much longer, and I’ll be packing a lunch for Thing 2 again, every single morning, that he will take exactly two bites of in the school cafeteria, so that he can be the first kid out to recess.  In some ways, his refusal to eat any of his lunch is freeing, because I don’t have to think about becoming the Pinterest Mom, who uses cookie cutters before dawn to make sandwiches shaped like spaceships, before she cuts skim-milk cheese into star shapes and creates astronauts out of seven different vegetables, held together with toothpicks.  For one thing, our son would use a toothpick to stab someone in a lunchtime sword fight, and two, all he’s going to eat are two grapes anyway, so that’s all I ever pack.

#TheFirstOneToRecessWinsLife

Anyway.

A couple of weeks ago, we had the 4th of July, and I managed to snap a very small handful of pictures.  Seeing as how today is July 17th and I’m just now getting around to those snapshots, I guess you could use the word TIMELY to describe me.

We celebrated our country’s day of independence by waking the boy up at 7:45 and pushing him and Thing 2 out the front door by 8 AM, to pull weeds.  Of course both boys moaned and groaned and acted like abused children who would be better off in foster care, as they hollered, “We don’t know any other families who have a weed pulling party on the 4th of July!  Everyone else is sleeping in and eating red, white and blue pancakes that their loving mother cooks for them!”

My children are kids who know the meaning of suffering and slave labor.

But, with the rock beds and flowerbeds looking neat and tidy and utterly weed-free, we released the little beasts from their unpaid jobs, and I fed them a nutritious breakfast of Pop Tarts and bananas.

Later that day, we joined the rest of Small Town, USA in a giant field for the big fireworks show.  Everyone goes… and everyone goes early, to tailgate.  We were no exception.  Hubs has a friend who helps set up the fireworks every year, which is a big job that requires LICENSING.  Because this fellow has an all-access pass beyond the barriers, where the explosives are set up, he also has passes for front row parking, which he gave to Hubs and some other friends of ours.  We felt like guests of honor, as we bypassed the other three thousand cars in the field, to drive straight to the front row.  While everyone else would just watch the show from further back, we would be sitting underneath the fireworks, where the hot sparks could potentially land on us and ignite our hairspray choices.

Now… you have to understand that YES!  THERE REALLY ARE THREE THOUSAND CARS PARKED IN THIS FIELD.  There are also probably eight to ten thousand people there.  In other words, it’s a crowd.  And Hubs and I own a six year old who is a mover and a shaker.  We died laughing when we went to the theater to see The Incredibles 2 last month, because Mr. Incredible’s baby has superpowers, too.  And… he can disappear in the blink of an eye, to another dimension, which keeps Mr. Incredible from sleeping at night, because WHERE DID THE BABY DISAPPEAR TO NOW?!  Poor Mr. Incredible was sleep-deprived, unshaven and sporting dark circles under his eyes, as he strained himself to stay awake and monitor that baby.

This, people, is us.  Hubs and I also have a child with superpowers, who can literally disappear into another dimension in the blink of an eye, and we can’t always lure him out with cookies, like Mr. Incredible could do.  So, you can understand why my anxiety was a touch on the high side for our chosen activity on the 4th of July, and why Mama needed a Valium tablet in her water bottle.

I ran into my friend Jessica at Walmart the day before we went to the tailgating party.  Jessica also has a little man with superpowers, who also disappears into thin air quickly, and she had some tips.  She recommended that I buy a neon shirt (the easier to spot him in) and that I should write my phone number in a Sharpie pen on his arm (the easier for people to get a hold of me with, when my child emerged into their dimension).  I took Jessica’s advice, because she’s brilliant.  I dropped $4.99 at Walmart for a neon yellow shirt that could be see from outer space, and I wrote my phone number on his shoulder with a giant black Sharpie.

When we made it to the giant field and parked, our friends all commented on Thing 2’s telephone number tattoo, and there were some giggles and questions of AREN’T YOU A LITTLE OVERCAUTIOUS?  Clearly, they all knew nothing about raising Jack Jack Incredible. But, Jessica had assured me that if I took these precautions, nothing would happen, because that’s exactly how life goes, when you’re prepared.

Thing 2 was thrilled to be with our friends’ boys.

What you need to know about this trio is that they are THE ABSOLUTE ROUGHEST AND TOUGHEST BOYS IN THIS ENTIRE TOWN.  All three of them can wrestle grown bulls and pin those horns to the dirt.  These two little friends of ours are two of the only kids I know who can keep up with Thing 2.  I adore them like crazy, and they make life fun!

Thing 2 used the wiffle ball and bat while we tailgated.  He threw that plastic ball into the air more than seventy-seven million times.  He’d throw the ball up, swing the bat, smack the ball and streak out in a dead run after it.  And then he’d throw the ball up, swing the bat, smack the ball again, and he’d be off on a full-out run, to retrieve it.

He literally did this ALL… EVENING… LONG.

He was obsessed with batting that ball.

We all offered to pitch the ball to him, but he politely refused.  He wanted to do it himself.  And so we let him, and he was easy to keep track of, because there he was, all evening long, out front, smacking balls, and he wasn’t going anywhere near the three thousand parked cars behind us, where a boy could take a wrong turn and be lost in a sea of people for the rest of his life.

My heart was somewhat at rest, but I still never took my eyes off our little Jack Jack Incredible.

And look at this little fellow… isn’t he cute?

Little T is two and a half, and he pushed a Tonka dump truck around at the tailgating party, until he’d put twenty thousand miles on it.

And then the unthinkable happened.  Little T pushed that truck through the grass alongside our cars… and he got into the next row of parked vehicles…

… and he disappeared.

He disappeared in the blink of an eye, even though we were all keeping an eye on him.  All the adults in our group split up, and we started looking, going from row to row to row of cars.

If you think this isn’t a scary thing, then you’re probably not a parent.  I knew he was going to show up, but I was also about to puke up my pulled pork sandwich from sheer nerves.  THE BABY WAS MISSING, and we had been watching him!!

It took about twelve minutes of agony before I spotted him, having a glass of iced tea with a woman in her seventies, eight cars away from our vehicles.  I grabbed him up and burst into tears, and he’s not even my own son.  I bawled my eyes straight out, and this wonderful woman told me, “I could tell he was lost, so I just sat him here with me, in some hopes that I could keep him right here, until his parents found him!”

I know I blubbered my thanks to this good woman, and then I cried all the way to hand that little man to his very worried mama.

And guess what Little T received?

Oh, he got a phone number tattoo… on BOTH of his shoulders, with a big, black Sharpie marker!

With our emergency over, the kids went back to playing… and batting.

And then, WHILE EVERYONE HAD THEIR EYES ON LITTLE T… he walked in front of a parked car and turned the opposite direction we expected him to turn, and he was gone a second time, in less than half of a second.

Yes.

He was gone a second time.

The search party banded together again and spread out.  Little T’s mama flagged down two sheriff’s deputies on bikes, who were set to help look, when… all of a sudden… her cell phone rang!  Because those phone number tattoos on his arms?  Yeah… within two minutes, another mother who knew what it’s like to have kids CALLED MY FRIEND’S CELL PHONE!  She had found the little wanderer, and he was safe, and she described her location, which was basically three hundred miles away from our parked car, because that two year old can COVER SOME GROUND!

And from then on, Little T had to sit in someone’s lap for the rest of the night.  The end.  We are thankful that we received two very happy endings, and NO ONE giggled at Thing 2’s phone number tattoo again!

And yes… the boy was with us for a short period of time, while he waited for friends to get off work and come out to the giant tailgating party and fireworks show.  And… look at what he was doing!

The boy is a genius.  He read at the college level in elementary school.  He could read and pronounce any word in existence, and yet…

… he hated reading.

The boy has hated reading since he learned to do it.  Of course, this broke my heart, because I’m the nerd who always preferred to read a book over almost anything else.  I taught the boy to read at the age of four, so that he was capable of reading entire chapter books when he was in pre-kindergarten.  He read the first Harry Potter book as a first grader!  And then second grade rolled around, and the boy announced that he hated reading and wouldn’t be doing it any more.  He never read another book that he wasn’t forced to read for a class.

No joke.

I begged him to read.  I promised to buy him expensive Lego sets if he would just READ A BOOK ALREADY!  It was a no-go.  And then something happened this summer, and the boy decided that DO YOU KNOW WHAT?  I ENJOY READING!  He read two books FOR FUN in June.  That’s two more books than he’s ever read for fun, since he was seven years old.  Over the 4th of July, he was reading a non-fiction book about a mafia member who got out and became a Christian, and he said the story was so fascinating, he couldn’t put it down, so he brought the book to read at our 4th of July party!

WHO WAS THIS CHILD?!!

That is the only picture I have of the boy reading, because the boy has never read before!

Anyway.

Eventually his friends all made their way out to the giant field, and he left us.  I managed to get one snapshot off before the group left to wander in and out of three thousand cars (I thought about writing my phone number on the boy’s arm, but decided against it, because STOP IT, MOM!).  Of course, these hilarious teenagers POSED for their one and only photo opp.

And then they were gone for the rest of the night.

Meanwhile, at our camp, the glow sticks came out.  Someone had a package of one hundred glow sticks, so our kids looked like they could land an airplane, with all the light they put off.

And then we watched the gigantic fireworks go off.  The show was amazing; it is every year.  It’s spectacular.

And… we all made it home before 11:30 that night.  The best news is that we all made it home with the exact same number of kids we had brought with us!

We’d like to thank my friend Jessica, and her straight-up brilliance for that!  Phone number tattoos can be lifesaving.

 

How Is It The Middle Of July Already?

Y’all, I have just been the absolute worst blogger.  It might have something to do with the fact that I am officially stuck on a level of Candy Crush that I actually believe is uncrushable.  This is the level where I will throw my phone against the wall and declare that Candy Crush is dead to me forever and ever, amen.  Of course this means that I sat in a chair a couple of evenings last week and tried to push forward where no man has gone before, as I diligently tried to beat that level, so I was too preoccupied to blog.  And then I was just too mad to blog, because STUCK FOR LIFE, RIGHT SMACK THERE, PEOPLE!

And also?  It’s just been too hot to blog.  Please prepare yourselves for the season where all I do is complain about the intense heat, which is basically equal to sitting on the sun’s equator at high noon, which comes just a few short months after I went on and on, complaining about how cold and snowy it was.  Apparently, I am never happy with the weather in Small Town, USA, unless it’s June or October.  Hubs told me that I seem to be better suited to the climate in San Francisco, and I said, “YES!”  Who doesn’t love a balmy 67 degrees in mid-July?  Hubs waved at me and said, “Have a good life there.  I’ll miss you!”  And so that’s where we stand.  I am married to a man who thinks California is not the place he wants to be, so he has zero plans to load up the truck and move to Beverly.  Hubs is old and set in his ways now, so I guess we’ll stay here in Small Town and drip sweat.

At any rate… do y’all remember when the library declared that I was very possibly the town’s worst book borrower, as they claimed I had a lost book?  They stapled a hefty overdue fine to my account and… GASP!… suspended my library privileges.  This is what my fellow nerds fear the worst:  being banned from the library!  Hubs assured me that this wasn’t really a big deal, because couldn’t I just walk in, pluck a book off the shelves, and walk out?  You know… if I returned it later?  He wanted to know if I couldn’t just borrow a book without anyone actually knowing.  This caused me to worry, because HAS HUBS BEEN BORROWING ANYTHING… LIKE MONEY… WITHOUT ANYONE KNOWING?!  I prepared myself to pay for a book that I was certain I didn’t lose, because Thing 2 and I read books every single evening together, and listen:  I can’t keep reading the same books from our bookcase over and over, without losing my sanity and going to a home, where they serve fish sticks every Thursday.  And then, the favor of the Lord shone down upon me, because the library emailed me to say, “We found the book on our shelves and have reactivated your account, clearing all fines off of it.  We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused you.”

So… just like that… I am a member of the public library again, who is in VERY GOOD STANDING.

I thought y’all should know.

Because apparently I don’t have anything interesting to blog about today.

Except…

… we did have a busy weekend.  Small Town held its annual parade on Friday morning, which was to celebrate the fact that our town was full of cowboys and cowgirls, riding bulls and roping calves, in a heated competition.  However, I think the parade was less about celebrating the rodeo, and more about rubbing it into our faces that HEY!  YOUR SUMMER VACATION IS EXACTLY HALF OVER!

The parade is kind of a big deal in Small Town, because everyone heads to town to watch it.  And by everyone, I mean ALL.  OF.  THE.  PEOPLE.  And then all of the people from neighboring towns.  Hubs always says that the best time to rob a bank is while the parade is going, because no one is ANYWHERE, except on the main thoroughfare, clapping for marching bands, beauty pageant winners, antique cars, cartwheeling clowns and folks who can ride a unicycle.

Hubs and I opted not to rob a bank on Friday morning.  Instead, we made the more honorable decision to watch the parade, which is why our bank account still holds nothing but an echo and six tears.

The gang was all there, armed with their plastic bags, because their mothers have gotten tired of holding all the melting and sticky candy they catch, when it’s thrown from a float, in our bare hands.

After the parade, we had a hamburger lunch, because it’s a tradition to find a hot spot selling a good burger, and then we came home to our air conditioning, to complain about how hot it was outside to one another.  A friend of mine had mentioned that it was “hotter than a hooker’s doorknob on nickel night,” and I laughed so hard, it’s a good thing my own mama didn’t hear me.  She would have kicked me and shot me the stink eye, because DIDN’T SHE RAISE ME A LOT BETTER THAN THAT?

So yes.  It was hot this weekend.

On Saturday, we worked to fight the heat by hanging a pair of triangular-shaped tarps over our deck.  Our deck has sat in the sun for the entire ten years that we’ve lived here, because we failed to become folks who studied the daytime sky and the sun’s placement, in relationship to the giant trees, when we built this house.  Had we done that, we would have learned that our deck is shaded by those trees from 11:03 AM to 11:36 AM during the summer, and the rest of the time, the trees fail to do what they were planted for a hundred years ago, as the sun completely bypasses them, leaving our deck to fry.  In an effort to reclaim real estate that we’d like to be able to use in the summer months, the giant tarps were ordered off Amazon and hung… and listen!

GLORY, GLORY AND ALSO HALLELUJAH AND YES, LORD!!

Hubs’ parents came over on Saturday.  We fed them take-and-bake pizzas for lunch, because we are fancy and not afraid to fire up the oven to 425 degrees, when it’s 572 degrees outside, because AIR CONDITIONING, and they helped rig up a system to attach those shade tarps to our house.  And really?  I only had a LITTLE anxiety when Hubs drilled FOREVER holes into our siding for bolts.

On Saturday night, we sat on our deck as the sun went down, and we said, “Look at us!  We are on the deck, and we cannot hear our own skin sizzling as it fries!”

On Sunday, we had coffee on the deck, and the sunrise didn’t blind us and make us regret the traditional hot morning drink, because we weren’t sweating already at 7 AM.

On Sunday afternoon, we sat on the deck and texted Hubs’ parents:  LOOK AT US, ON THE DECK AND STILL ALIVE!  WE HAVEN’T BEEN COOKED TO OUR DEATHS!

On Sunday night, we ate dinner on the deck and said, “This is how middle-class America is supposed to live!  LOOK AT ALL THIS SHADE!”

So now we feel pretty smug, because we have a deck that is no longer just for decoration on the side of our house.  It’s actually functional, and if you walk out there barefoot, there’s no longer a need for a 911 call and the burn unit of a major hospital.

In between the Friday morning’s parade and the Sunday deck sitting, there was laundry, a quick visit with two of my dearest friends from my childhood, who were in town for a bit, and a trip to the grocery store.  I know in my heart, it’s exactly how Prince Harry and Meghan spent their weekend, too, because we are equally as classy as they are.

Happy Monday, y’all.  May your library cards be clear of shame and may your decks be full of shade!