Celebrating Six Even More

It snowed again yesterday morning, because we are on Third Winter this year.  We keep getting these HOPES that Spring is coming, but then it snows again and smashes all of our dreams of sunshine and tulips into the ice and the slush.  On Saturday, Thing 2 wore shorts, because we’d just cleared Second Winter, and we thought, “Spring!  Finally!”  Everything melted, and the streets ran with our snow that was hopefully going away until next November.  And then it snowed again, for Third Winter, and we woke up to a fresh layer on Monday morning.

Which was on top of all the snow that had melted when it was fifty-six degrees outside on Saturday.

All of the melted snow that was now frozen into sheets of ice.  Sheets of ice… under the snow.

The boy went out to warm up his car yesterday morning.  He came inside and said, “I just biffed it in the driveway and wiped out.”  Since he was still upright, with nary a broken bone in sight, and since he’s seventeen and resilient, I patted him on the back and told him that his lunch was packed and sitting on the kitchen counter.

Twenty minutes later, Hubs texted from Thing 2’s school, as he was dropping him off, and said, “When you go out, be careful.  It is SLICK.”  He used the caps-lock key for SLICK, because Hubs was trying to get his point across.  I texted back something along the lines of, “Blah, blah, blah.  This isn’t my first winter rodeo.”

Which is… clearly… something you should never really do, because… well… KARMA.  Or the Lord.

I went out to start my own Suburban a few minutes later.  I walked out the door, and sixteen-hundredths of a second later, I was flat on my back.

Mama, you see, had fallen.  And what mamas in their forties don’t like to do is actually FALL, because FALLING translates into INSURANCE DEDUCTIBLE and ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON and HIP REPLACEMENT.

I laid there on the frozen patio and thought to myself, “I have broken my ankle.”  Which was evidenced by the fact that my shoe had come plum dadgum OFF of my foot, and was eight feet away from my body.  It was the first time in my life when I decided that I should invest in one of those Life-Alert necklaces that ninety-six year old women wear… for this exact reason.  I suddenly… desperately… wanted a button dangling from my neck that I could push for help.

And then… thankfully… I realized that I had not actually broken anything, and that I was still fully capable of getting up and walking myself back upstairs to change my soaked clothes, because I had unceremoniously landed in a puddle of slop.  I thanked the Lord that I was still alive, without any blunt-force-trauma to the head.  I thanked Him that all of my extremities were still intact, and that no one was near me with an iPhone, getting new footage of LOOK AT THIS FORTY-SOMETHING-YEAR-OLD WOMAN FALL ON THE ICE ON HER PATIO.

I was alive and well.

But today?  Oh, people.  I might as well be Methuselah’s mother, for as limber and spry and wonderful as I feel.  I am what the older generation refers to as STIFF and also SORE.  The Ben Gay and the Aleve have become my best friends today, but NO BROKEN BONES!

Anyway.  This is why I have to be quick tonight.  Mama needs to put some old-fashioned liniment oil on and head straight to bed.

Back on March 5th, our little guy did, indeed, turn six.  He turned six even though I couldn’t believe six entire years had passed since he’d been born.  He turned six even though it sounds like REAL BOY now, instead of MAMA’S LITTLE BABY.

And he was pleased as punch to do so.

His big request was, “Mom, could you wrap my presents in camouflage wrapping paper with turquoise bows?”  It was a tall and very specific order, but THANK YOU, WALMART, FOR COMING THROUGH ONCE IN YOUR LIFE!  They had the wrapping supplies I needed for my birthday boy’s gifts.

Camo paper and turquoise ribbons, it was.

The little man was up early, to ring in the big number six.  But mostly, he was up early because PRESENTS!

His dad is the biggest Colorado Avalanche fan that the team has.  Thing 2 loves hockey, and he likes wearing his Avalanche jersey, but what he really likes (once he heard about them) is the Nashville Predators.

And somehow, Hubs is okay with this, as he came through with a Nashville T-shirt for Thing 2’s birthday this year.

At church, some of the kids have Prayer Pals.  A Prayer Pal is an adult who commits to praying for a specific kiddo, and we were BLESSED, BLESSED, OH HOW BLESSED with a Prayer Pal for our little Thing 2.  Miss Lisa prays her heart out for him.  She calls and checks on him.  She loves on him dearly.  And we love Miss Lisa dearly.

And… she buys him Lucky Charms cereal because she knows it’s his favorite.  For his birthday, she bought him THE BIG BOX.  The family-sized box.  And Thing 2 rejoiced, because Lucky Charms are GLUTEN-FREE!!

Our cute neighbor boy has an even cuter girlfriend.  She’s just a senior in high school, but she already has her own cake decorating business, because she’s a go-getter who knows where her spiritual gifts are.

And those spiritual gifts of hers are in CAKE DECORATING!

People…. BEHOLD!!

Do you know what Thing 2 requested for his birthday?  He asked for a robot cake.  And I asked for it to be gluten-free AND dairy-free, which is a BIG STRUGGLING ORDER for bakers, because they have to buy the special flour and the almond milk, but this little gal came through like crazy for us!

This incredible cake was gluten-free AND dairy-free… and it tasted like baby angels had baked it.  It was, by far, the best cake we’ve had.

But I did feel EXTREMELY GUILTY cutting it apart.  I had to work up some courage to slice it with a big knife.

Thing 2 also requested homemade spaghetti over gluten-free noodles for his birthday dinner at home.  Spaghetti is his favorite!  Grammy and Papa came over with more gifts, and we all slurped noodles and celebrated our precious six year old.

And the next day he got to wear his Nashville shirt.

And  yes.

It’s official.

The family baby is SIX.  Even if his mama can’t believe it.

Ringing In Number Six

Last night, at exactly 9:44, there came a holler from Thing 2’s bedroom.  “Mom!  Mom!  Moooooooommmm!”  It wasn’t the first holler of the night.  We had already hollered our need for a drink and hollered our need to use the bathroom.  We had hollered because we needed prayers for good dreams, and hollered our mama right into the position where she closes her eyes and pinches the bridge of her nose, while she sighs deeply.

I answered the 9:44 summons.

“Mom, did you want to see me REFLEX my arm muscles one more time?”  I didn’t even get to respond, because Thing 2 had already shoved his pajama sleeves to his shoulders and had taken the pose of a body builder on a competition platform.  “Do my arm muscles look bigger tonight, Mom?”

Yes.  THIS is what we stayed awake doing last night.

I believe that I was overheard mumbling, as I shut Thing 2’s bedroom door one last time at 9:46 PM, “‘Let’s have kids,’ he said.  ‘It’ll be so much fun,’ he said.”  I think Hubs was overheard from the next room, mumbling, “Don’t blame me.  I wanted to be a recluse who lived alone in a log cabin in the mountains, completely off the grid.”

Thing 2 was sound asleep at 9:55, when I last checked on him, as he and his pride were finally able to quit flexing (or rather… REFLEXING, as he says) and call it a night.

Anyway.

Earlier this month, Thing 2 turned six.  When I told him that it was time to decide what kind of birthday party he’d like, he immediately said, “I want you to rent a train and take all of my friends for a ride on it through the mountains and across the United States.”  Which is why we had a sledding party.  Thing 2 had a little batch of friends join us at a good hill in Small Town, USA, and they slid down and climbed up, over and over again, until they’d all logged twenty-six million steps onto their Fit Bits.  We had the ONE sunny and sort-of-warm day of the entire winter that Saturday, so we called it a Birthday Party Win.

The kids’ facial expressions were fantastic on their sleds, as they whipped down the hill, shrieking and laughing and screeching, and insisting that this party was just WAY MORE FUN than renting a cross-continental train trip would have been.

Eventually, the little people started packing themselves into the big orange sled, while they begged Sister’s Husband to “Push us!  Push us!  PUSH US!!!”

Of course, Sister’s Husband REFLEXED his arm muscles and shoved that sled full of kids down the hill with every ounce of strength he had, and they all SHRIEKED with delight!

And really?  IS THERE ANYTHING MORE HYSTERICAL THAN COUSIN H’S EYEBALLS IN THIS NEXT SERIES OF SNAPSHOTS??!!  When I put the memory card from my camera into my computer and looked at the party pictures, I laughed until my sides hurt over HER EYES!!

Of course there were sugary goodies for the kids.  Our cute neighbor boy’s girlfriend is a senior in high school, and she has her own cake decorating business.  AND SHE’S INCREDIBLE!  Beyond incredible!  For Thing 2’s sledding party, we had her make gluten-free, dairy-free Rice Krispie treats, which she dolled up like robots.  They turned out adorable, and the kids loved them.  And for those with stronger, more reliable digestive systems, we had gluten-filled, dairy-filled donuts from the supermarket.

We tossed down a chunky candle on a cardboard box of donuts, because we are incredibly fancy, while we all sang a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday to Thing 2.  He blew his candle out like a champ, because he’s six.  Six year olds are professionals by now at blowing out candles.

We opened a few presents and rejoiced at MORE LEGOS!  And REAL MONEY TO SHOP WITH!  And MORE TOY CARS!  And A SOCCER BALL!  Thing 2 was pleased as punch with his birthday gifts.

And then… well… we called it an afternoon.  We went home to hang all the wet snowpants and gloves up to dry, while we watched Thing 2 enjoy his new presents in front of our fireplace.

I don’t think renting a train for a ride from Small Town to the tip of Florida would have been nearly as much fun as this little batch of kids had that day.

Reflexing Like Arnold Schwarzenegger

“I wish I could just do this all day, Mom!  I wish I could REFLEX all day!  I love the way my arm muscles look!”

“Wait, Mom!  WAIT!!!  Let me do a bigger REFLEX for the next picture you take!!”

It’s true, y’all.  We are going through a little spell right now where SOMEONE enjoys REFLEXING his muscles.  He wanted to wear a tank top today… in the snow and the rain and the drippy slop… so that he could admire his biceps.  I told him tank tops weren’t a good choice for winter Sundays, because… well... CHURCH.  And Jesus just wanted to admire his heart, and not his shoulder muscles.

Hubs and I need to get him into counseling for his extremely low self-esteem and self-confidence.

Happy  Sunday night, everyone.

Signing Your Kid Up For Hockey Means Signing Yourself Up To Dress Him Every Week

First of all, let me just say that the jury in the case of THE MAJORITY OF THE JEANS IN THE LAUNDRY BASKET BELONGED TO THE BOY is still sequestered, as they discuss the evidence they’ve been presented with.  They’ve asked for many things — primarily coffee with extra cream and someone to unload the dishwasher, which really frees up their time to contemplate every piece of evidence submitted for them to see — but I feel like they’re still nowhere near ready to emerge from the locked room with a verdict.

Never underestimate what a parent will do if she’s sequestered in a hotel room with room service and a bed with fresh sheets and a bathroom that she didn’t have to clean.  She’ll discuss a trial’s long list of evidence for fourteen months, go to bed at 8:00 every night, and order lattes when she wakes up COMPLETELY REFRESHED at 9:00 every morning, before she finally decides it’s time to emerge back into society and wear something other than pajama pants.

Anyway.

This has to be quick tonight, because I have slaved over dinner and it’s about ready to come out of the oven.  And by slaved, I mean I SLIT PLASTIC FILM TO VENTILATE AND COOKED AT 375 FOR 90 MINUTES.

Oh, Stouffer’s Chicken Alfredo, you have made dinner at the end of a long day of teaching PE bearable.

Every Wednesday night for the last five entire months, we have taken Thing 2 to his little guy hockey league.  I have labored and struggled and pronounced half of a cuss word or six each week, as I strapped on forty-two different pads to his scrawny, forty-seven pound body.  I’ve shoved his feet into skates and cinched them up, and adjusted his helmet straps more times than I can count.  I would complain more about all the work that goes  into dressing a squirming kindergarten boy for a game of hockey, but I feel like I should quit now, as we had a MOTHER OF TRIPLETS there every week, who had those forty-two pads, two skates and one helmet… TIMES THREE!!!… down to a fine science that ran like the proverbial well-oiled machine.  She could wrangle her three kindergarten boys into full hockey gear before I could get Thing 2’s equipment successfully strapped around his elbows and chest.  There were so many Wednesday nights when I just wanted to lean over and ask, “Would you like to see what it would have been like, if you’d had quadruplets?  Would you like just one more to dress, too?”  Because honestly, she was on top of her OUTFIT THE BOYS FOR HOCKEY game, and she was winning it with a smile, without swearing.

Hubs showed up at the rink most Wednesday nights at the exact moment I finished, handed Thing 2 his hockey stick, and pushed him toward the ice.  By then I was a vision of sweat and in desperate need of some quiet time with Jesus, to confess the words I had stifled when I nicked my knuckle on a skate blade.  Thankfully, by the end of the season, I was holding my own against the mother of triplets, and I could have Thing 2 completely outfitted by the time her second son was dressed, and then I’d grin secretly to myself and think, “She didn’t get the third one suited up before Thing 2 reached the ice THIS week!  I’m doing okay!”

Thing 2’s spiritual gift is ice skating.  Little Man CAN SKATE!  He has been so much fun to watch in his little hockey league, as they’ve learned and practiced… week after week… the basics of the game.  He has scored several goals this winter, made a pack of new friends from different schools around our town, and had an absolute ball.

And we have all had an absolute ball watching him play every week.

I have managed to snap a few pictures of the little stinker in action, because OF COURSE I HAVE.  However, I teach PE to little kids for a living, and I do not run a real camera for a living.  My abilities at catching great action shots inside an indoor ice rink lit with fluorescent lights are nonexistent.  So please… enjoy my sub par, mostly-blurry pictures.

Also?  Well, for the kids’ last two scrimmages, the coaches brought in REAL goalies, in the form of KIDS FROM THE TEN AND ELEVEN YEAR OLD HOCKEY TEAM.  Those two boys were ecstatic to suit up and play goalie for the five and six year olds, but listen:  How likely is it for an eleven year old goalie to help boost the esteem of a young six year old player, by letting him score a goal?  The answer is HIGHLY UNLIKELY.  Those two 5th grade goalies played like they were fighting for a Stanley Cup championship.  They showed their teeth, as they grunted and flopped on the ice and blocked every puck that came near them.  Thing 2 took six hundred shots on them, and he was shut down on every single one.

Anyway.

Hockey is finished for the year.  Tonight was our first Wednesday night to have (GASP!) NO HOCKEY!  It has been our first FREE Wednesday night in five months.

We kind of didn’t know what to do with ourselves.

And yes.  I missed it.  I missed watching that little man of ours fly across the ice.

But I didn’t miss wrangling him into forty-two pads, two skates and a helmet.

When Laundry Became Math

I have never read The Lord of the Rings.  I tried to watch it once with Hubs and the boy, but I asked so many questions about WHAT JUST HAPPENED?  WHO IS THAT?  WHAT HAS HE DONE?, they asked me to PLEASE JUST GO UPSTAIRS AND PLAY WORDS WITH FRIENDS ON YOUR PHONE OR SOMETHING, and, for the love, LEAVE US ALONE.  So… even though I don’t have a clue what really happens in The Lord of the Rings… I HAVE pieced together enough information to know that elves… blah, blah, blah… MY PRECIOUSthrow the ring in the fire… those creatures don’t speak English… blah, blah, blah…

But I know enough about it to think that THIS is funny:

I always got an A in math, but it wasn’t because I was born with a brain that easily understood it.  I was born with the drive to study… and then study some more… because my GPA was important.  Of course, now that we are in our forties, Hubs has pointed out that no one even remembers what their high school GPA actually was, except that he faintly recalls that HIS was a two-point-something, because he enjoyed life.  Mine was precisely a 3.98, because I knew where the library was at, and I stayed in study hall the entire hour, instead of ditching, and because sophomore biology broke my 4.0.  The biology and I have never been good friends.

I know… I know… it’s a wonder that Hubs and I even managed to get together.  Apparently, he was in a spot in his twenties, when he needed someone to balance his checkbook for him, and I was in a spot in my twenties when I still thought a guy with a mullet and a lifted truck was cute.

Anyway.

Our family had a little math problem issue this weekend, which we needed to call in help for, as it DIVIDED OUR FAMILY (that’s a little math joke!) into THOSE WHO KNEW THE ANSWER and THOSE WHO DIDN’T.  Sadly, the help we called have split themselves straight down the middle, and now each side is evenly balanced.  So… I’m reaching out to the World Wide Web, to see who can solve this for us.

Hypothetically speaking, there was a laundry basket with jeans in it this past Saturday morning.  Hypothetically speaking, the family’s mom set the laundry basket on her older son’s bed and said, “Please fold all of these.  The majority of them are yours, anyway.”  And THAT, my friends, is where things went South.

That boy announced, “The majority of the jeans in that basket were NOT mine.  There were eight pairs of jeans in there.  Two pairs were my dad’s.  Two pairs were my brother’s.  Four pairs were mine.  I had FIFTY PERCENT of the jeans, which was exactly HALF, and a half is not a majority.”

The mom stared at her son, and announced, “And yet… you will fold all the jeans, because I am the parent, and I have spoken.”

The boy did indeed fold the jeans, because he is good and kind and obedient, but he held to the fact that his mother was, in his eyes, DEAD WRONG, because fifty percent equals half equals not a majority.  Blah, blah, blah.

The mom replied, “Fifty percent of the jeans were YOURS.  Twenty-five percent of the jeans were your dad’s.  Twenty-five percent of the jeans were your brother’s.  Fifty percent trumps twenty-five percent, SO YOU HAD THE MAJORITY OF THE JEANS IN THAT BASKET!”  Then the mom may have added something like, “For the love!” after that comment, because WHAT IN THE WORLD?!  THIS IS VERY CLEAR FIFTH GRADE MATH!  And then I think she also said, “Let me just lie down and rest my overwhelmed brain.”

That boy drew a pie chart on a piece of paper.  He drew a giant circle, and he cut it in half.   On the bottom half, he wrote MY JEANS = 50%.  He divided the top half of that pie chart IN HALF, and wrote, in each quarter-sized section, DAD’S JEANS = 25% and BROTHER’S JEANS = 25%.  And then he flapped the pie chart in front of his mom… WHO, IT SHOULD BE KNOWN, BIRTHED HIM IN A C-SECTION WITH ANESTHETIC THAT DID NOT, ACTUALLY, WORK, WHICH MEANT SHE FELT THE MAJORITY (GREATER THAN OR EQUAL TO 50%) OF THE CUTTING.  That boy kept saying, “I had half of the jeans, Mom!  Half.  This pie chart shows you that I had half, and pie charts don’t lie.”

The mom argued.

The dad got himself involved, because the dad enjoys a good argument, and he sided with the mother.  Thank goodness that man realized how smart that woman really is.

The six-year-old brother hollered, “Stop arguing!  Families don’t argue!”  And then he grabbed a sheet of paper, drew a circle with his name in it and wrote 1,000 under it, and then he drew a second circle with his brother’s name in it and wrote 50 under that one.  He smacked HIS pie chart down on the dining room table and said, “I have one thousand and he has fifty, so I beat everyone!  I am the winner!”

That six-year-old has always been competitive.

Eventually, the boys’ grandparents stopped by to take them both to Small Mountain Town for the afternoon, so that their parents could enjoy some peace and quiet, and quit arguing about math.  The boy explained the family disagreement, and the grandparents SIDED WITH THAT BOY.

The grandparents will always side with their grandchildren, so their testimonies are not actually permissible in court.

Fifteen minutes later, the husband’s sister texted the mother and said, “THE BOY IS RIGHT.”

The mother shot back, “Have they already dragged you into this?”

The husband’s sister fired back, “I have no idea what I’m even agreeing to.  I was told to text you and say THE BOY IS RIGHT.  I am being obedient.  I have no idea what’s going on!”

The mother texted back and said, “You’re an aunt who is prejudiced to the side of her nephews, so OF COURSE you’d agree with him!”  And then the mother explained the full math problem to her husband’s sister.

Five minutes later, she texted back and said, “Hmm.  You and my brother are actually right.  That boy is DEAD WRONG!  He really DID have the majority of jeans in the basket, because his fifty-percent beat out his brother’s twenty-five percent and his dad’s twenty-five percent.”

The court ruled that she was a reliable witness after all, and that her testimony could be admitted for the jury to hear, even though she was a very close relative to both parties.

That put the grandmother, the grandfather and the teenage boy on one side, with the mom, the dad and the aunt on the other side.

The mom texted her eighteen-year-old nephew, to bring in a tie-breaking vote.  He tends to be a math whiz.  The mom explained the math issue, and that cousin texted back and said, “You’re right.  He had the majority of jeans in the laundry basket.”

He, too, was a reliable witness, and the judge allowed his testimony to be recorded, and the jury heard it.  Eighteen is, after all, a REAL ADULT, so the judge said that his tie-breaking vote held some weight.

This tipped the scales in favor of the parents, which should have ended the discussion, because how long can you actually beat a dead math problem?!  It was time for the boy to admit defeat, count his losses, recount his jeans and see that they were, indeed, a majority, and MOVE ON.  The mom and dad HAD THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ON THEIR SIDE.

But then the opposing side brought in another witness, in the form of a teenage friend, who said, “I side with the boy.  YOU are wrong!”  We tried to have the judge bang the gavel a few times and throw him out of the courtroom, but that’s hard to accomplish through text messages.

This family just needed to move on.

Except this family went to church the very next morning, and the problem was explained to a married couple there who are both ATTORNEYS, and who are also both good friends of this family.  Mrs. Attorney immediately sided with the parents on this issue, claiming that if the boy had fifty percent of the shares in a company, his vote on the board would count more than those two folks who had twenty-five percent of the shares.  Mrs. Attorney has always been both beautiful and brilliant.  The judge was pleased to hear her testimony on the witness stand, and he may have even said, “My, my.  I’ve never had such a lovely, perfect witness in my courtroom before.  Thank you for your wisdom and poise.”

Mr. Attorney sided with the boy, and he used very big words that the family had never heard before, like PLURALITY.  The mother had to look that word up, because she likes to stay on top of new vocabulary terms.  She found out that it means, “the number of votes cast for a candidate who receives more than any other but does not receive an absolute majority.”

The mother does not think PLURALITY actually works in this case.  The mother decided that Mr. Attorney was not the wise kind of witness that his lovely wife had been, and she raised one eyebrow at him.  She quit arguing and drank another cup of cream-heavy coffee.  (In fact, when the husband handed the mother’s coffee to her, his exact words were, “Here’s your hot milk with coffee flavoring.”)

(The husband thinks he’s funny.)

(The wife let that one slide, because he had taken her side on the math issue.)

Anyway.

Hypothetically speaking… if you are good at math… HOW DO YOU WEIGH IN ON THIS?!  Did the teenage son, indeed, have THE MAJORITY OF THE JEANS IN THE LAUNDRY BASKET?  Did his 50% of the jeans CLEARLY put him in a position of MAJORITY OWNERSHIP, as the other laundry basket occupants were each a mere 25%?  Or did he simply have HALF OF THE JEANS, WITH HALF NEVER BEING A MAJORITY, BECAUSE IT DOESN’T REACH 51%?

There may or may not be a giant family bet riding on the outcome of your answers, and if the teenage son offers to buy anyone pizza in exchange for their votes, we will notify the judge IMMEDIATELY.

Sixty-Seven Cents’ Worth Of Quiet

We have been on Spring Break all week.  While our friends have been in Hawaii (for reals) and Disney World and New Orleans and sitting on Florida beaches, we have also done incredibly fun things.  We have existed in our pajamas until 11:00 in the morning on some days.  We have eaten Rainbow Flakes cereal (what Thing 2 calls Fruity Pebbles, and I haven’t got the heart to correct him) at all hours of the day.  We have cooked when we’ve had to, washed laundry only when necessary, and been to the grocery store, just to “grab a couple of things,” approximately eight times, because Mama never had the gumption necessary to go into Walmart for the full-cart haul.

And now… it is time for all of our fun to end.  Tomorrow morning I will have to pack a gluten-free, dairy-free lunch.  I will also have to pack the lunch that says, “I don’t want to spend my own money when all my friends go to McDonald’s, because I’ve come to realize how expensive that gets, so I’m going to ride along in their car, while THEY get burgers, and I’m going to eat this ham and cheese sandwich that my mother made with love, because it’s FREE.”  And then, people, I am going to sit down in my VERY QUIET HOUSE, and I am going to VERY SLOWLY sip a cup of coffee.  I expect that I’ll be able to drink this cup of coffee hot, without the need to reheat it, as I run to see about the sound of water going full-force in the bathroom, after everyone has already showered for the day.

God bless all those spontaneous Matchbox car washes.

Also?  Well… ’round about Thing 2’s birthday (which was in early March), Hubs and I wrapped his gifts after he’d gone to bed.  Hubs’ spiritual gift has never been the ability to wrap a present like Martha Stewart can, but he’s always game to slaughter a giant roll of wrapping paper at the kitchen island with me.  This go-around he had some issues with the tape.

Primarily, the tape that cost me exactly sixty-seven CENTS at the store.  This was the same tape that was as flimsy as butterfly wings and had the tendency to flop over and stick itself together EVERY TIME YOU TOUCHED IT.  After yanking tape off his fingers for the thirteenth time, Hubs hollered, “What is wrong with this tape?!”  That’s when I announced my thriftiness and membership in the Resourceful Wives’ Club, as I announced, “You get what you pay for, and I paid sixty-seven cents for this roll of tape.”

On his fourteenth try at getting a piece of tape yanked off the dispenser, only to have it flop down and stick itself together, into a blob of a gigantic mess, Hubs said (in more of an outdoor voice than an indoor voice), “Well I work long hours at a job so that we can buy MORE EXPENSIVE TAPE!”

And then he all but commanded me to shell out a twenty dollar bill, if I had to, so that I could bring home tape the next time I went shopping that behaved like tape.

But then, as a member in the Resourceful Wives’ Club, I let Hubs know… in a little nutshell... why I no longer buy the gold-plated tape meant for kings and celebrities.

This would be photographic evidence of how sixty-seven entire cents filled our afternoon this past Thursday.  Thing 2, you see, is addicted to Scotch tape, and he may need a twelve-step program to cure himself.  He can use a roll of tape faster than a teenage boy can make a Big Mac disappear.  And sixty-seven cents kept him busy for a HEFTY CHUNK OF TIME, as he constructed an elevator / crane hybrid system, with the tape and a box that was destined for the recycling bin.

And yes… we lost a small chunk of paint, when the tape came down, but it was a small price to pay (along with the small price of sixty-seven cents) for me to have an iced coffee and read a book, without any interruptions.

You can’t really put a price on an hour to yourself, and we can start buying the high-quality tape again, when Thing 2 goes to college.

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.

Anyway.

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.

Yes.

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.

And…

… 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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpvl3o7x-Hs

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!

Dadgum!

(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.

Anyway.

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.

Anyway.

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.”

Also?

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.

Love,

Mama

Y’all have a good Sunday night.