Happy New Year!

They say that what you do on New Year’s Day sets the tone for the whole year.  If that holds true, then we are in for an entire year of being Pajama Slugs, with a side order of fried eggs and several cups of heavily-creamed coffee, because RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU EVEN SHOWERED TODAY.

That’s what I thought.

Everyone else did, except me.

I embraced New Year’s Eve with a migraine the size of Saturn.  My friend, Katie, hosted a shampoo party, because Pampered Chef and Tupperware are so YESTERDAY, and also OVER WITH.  This, apparently, is the new thing… organic shampoo that is life changing.  To prove it, our adorable friend, Christa, who is a former-hair-stylist-turned-homeschooling-and-ranching-mama-who-now-sells-shampoo-on-the-side promised to wash everyone’s hair at Katie’s house with this shampoo, condition it, blow dry us, curl us, and send us out for a very merry New Year’s Eve party, full of glamour and cocktail dresses and CAN I HAVE YOUR PHONE NUMBERS?, whether or not we even decided to buy her line of hair care products.  Plus, Christa baked homemade snickerdoodle cookies, because there’s nothing she can’t do, from changing tires on horse trailers to teaching her kids intricate algebra problems to giving a haircut that would make Julia Roberts stand up and slow clap for.

I went to the shampoo party, ready to embrace the upcoming new year with VOLUME and LIFTED ROOTS and CURLS FOR DAYS.

And then a migraine hit, right before it was my turn for the shampoo, which sent me straight home to bed.  I have some dignity, and I didn’t want to dump a belly full of snickerdoodle cookies straight into the shampoo bowl.  Katie, in her instinctual way to take care of people and nurture them, offered me everything from hot tea to Advil to essential oils aimed at easing headaches, but nothing was going to help, short of my bed.

And it was there… in bed… that I stayed… until this morning.  I welcomed in the new year with a cup of coffee today at 6:30.  It was the lifestyle that just made twenty year olds cringe, as they turned to their boyfriends and said, “Promise me you’ll never let me grow so old that I can’t overcome a migraine and dance the night away on New Year’s Eve.”

Today was spent, gloriously migraine-free, but in my pajamas.  And lest you think it was only me leading a lifestyle that screamed out, “I AM THE STEREOTYPICAL ADULT, WHO MAY OR MAY NOT BE LIVING IN MY PARENTS’ BASEMENT AND PLAYING VIDEO GAMES ALL DAY,” please note that Hubs downloaded a game app to his phone this morning, over his cup of coffee, that is the current version of the old PC game we played in the 4th grade, The Oregon Trail, where everyone died of dysentery before they reached the fertile soil of present-day Portland.  (Or perhaps it was only ME who was perfectly terrible at leading a wagon train of expectant digital characters halfway across the continent, and ended up in shallow, unmarked graves in present-day South Dakota.)  Hubs played this game so long this morning, his phone battery died DEAD.

Exactly like the dysentery intended for it to do.

Meanwhile, I read a book and remained productive by frying eggs for breakfast, doing two loads of laundry, reading some more of my book, and… eventually… putting a roast and carrots in the oven, because LET’S EAT DECENTLY ON NEW YEAR’S DAY, SHALL WE?

Help us.  We fell into a rut of DOING NOTHING today, and we can’t seem to get back up.

Anyway.

Our Christmas vacation has been a blur of days exactly like this one.  I’ve had to stop and ask myself more times than twice, “What day of the week is it?”  And let me tell you, THAT is a glorious thing.  After so much BUSY… BUSY… BUSY, it has been wonderful to know that, after Thing 2 wakes us up at 5:00 in the morning (Because heaven forbid that we should oversleep on break!), we really have nowhere to be, except in the kitchen for coffee.

By Christmas Eve morning, our tree was so incredibly dry, it’s a miracle the fire department hadn’t slapped us with a fire violation sticker on our front door.  Hubs and I decided to take the crunchy, seven-foot-tall piece of tinder down, right then, on December 24th, because all the pine needles on the floor were about to cause me to suffer from a mental breakdown.  Both of the boys protested this idea VOCALLY, with volume and tears and WHERE WILL SANTA LEAVE OUR STUFF TONIGHT?  So, in the name of being UN-Grinch-like, we let the tree stay for another twenty-four hours in the house.

Hubs and I always have Sister and her family, and Mam and Pa, over for dinner on Christmas Eve, and we always go to the candlelight service at church.  It’s honestly my favorite service of the year, because ain’t NOTHIN’ can compare to being in a darkened church, at night, with our candles lifted high to sing Silent Night and marvel over the fact that Jesus decided He’d go through with it all, by starting out as a little baby boy in a stable manger.

Thing 2 and his five-year-old cousin, Little H, sat together in our row of seats, where they proceeded to fold and refold and FOLD AGAIN thirty-seven tithe envelopes.  In reality, it probably didn’t make that much noise, but when you’re sitting right smack beside two overzealous paper folders… IN CHURCH… it sounded exactly like this:

Lord, bless the lovely folks around us, with our nonstop folding of all the paper and the envelopes and the asking, out loud in the middle of the service, for stamps with which to send off our “mail.

The boy and Thing 2 even managed to clutch their candles without setting the entire church building on fire, which we chalked up as a Christmas miracle.  This has everything to do with the fact that Thing 2 decided to WAVE HIS LIT CANDLE, back and forth like a cigarette lighter at a Grateful Dead concert, because, “LOOK, MA!!  THE FLAME IS MOVING!!!”

This is Thing 2 and one of his closest little buddies.  They were both so hopped up on Christmas excitement after the candlelight service on Christmas Eve, they could barely stand it!  I could barely stand how incredibly cute they both are!

After church, we came home to a pot of taco soup in the crockpot.

God has placed us in a “time such as this,” and my time, thankfully, involves the crockpot and Germ-X in a pump bottle.  Thing 2 expressed his utter dislike of ALL THINGS TACO SOUP-LIKE, until he was told, “Oh, that’s fine.  You don’t have to eat, but remember… there are no presents for little boys who do not eat their dinners.”

He ate an entire, heaping bowl of taco soup, in record time.

And then the cousins made reindeer food.  They’ve always done this together, over the years.  They’ve mixed and stirred and talked about what to put in it, to lure the reindeer straight to our house, before they take it and dump it outside for Dancer and Prancer and Rudolph to find.  I’ve never been able to break it to them that the wild turkeys and whitetail deer have pounced on that dessert scattered all over the driveway before they even close the door behind them, when they go back inside.

This year, I hauled everything out for the MAKING OF THE REINDEER FOOD, and was met with two teenagers and a pre-teen, who all said, “Pass.”

Pass.

On the reindeer food.

And this is where I sit down and sob out my grief of HOW ARE THESE CHILDREN GROWING UP SO QUICKLY?!

Thankfully, we still have Thing 2 and Cousin H, who are bonafide reindeer food chefs.  They discussed the recipe for a bit.  Do reindeer like flour?  Powdered sugar?  Colored sprinkles?  Is Donner allergic to gluten?  Can Vixen have dairy?

And then the chefs got down to business, like they were on a Food Network cook-off, under time restraints.  They measured and they mixed.  They stirred and they whisked.  They asked to borrow the Kitchenaide mixer and were shot down with an emphatic NO.

Do you see my island counter right there?  Yes?  The floor held 3,000% MORE oatmeal and flour and sugar.

Afterwards… when Thing 2’s belly held more blue cookie sprinkles than the red bowl did… those two tots took their finished snack outside and flung it all over my driveway.  There are no pictures of this, because it was all done and over with in exactly 0.008 seconds, because PRESENTS!!  PRESENTS WERE NEXT!

Hubs and I always get the kids a Christmas Eve gift, and they all know it’s coming, right after the reindeer food has been scattered.  I threatened to cut the three big kids off from these gifts this year, because they took no part in the recipe-making, but… in the spirit of Christmas… I gave in.

We gave fourteen-year-old Cousin L a little tiny disco ball.  She immediately fired that battery-operated contraption up, so that it flashed colors all over our living room, like a 1978 rollerskating rink.  Half the adults in the room found themselves in danger of a light-induced seizure.

Bedtime was a breeze on Christmas Eve, because we simply told Thing 2, “Santa doesn’t come when little boys don’t stay in bed and go right to sleep.”

And that’s how Hubs and I celebrated our first night in months, when we didn’t have to deal with shouting, “Get back into bed!” and “Go to sleep… NOW!” three thousand times.  That, in itself, was Christmas present enough for me.

Afterward, we made sure that the lights on our tree were OFF, OFF, OFF, so that there would be no house fires in the middle of the night, and we all went to bed.  We all knew that the kindergarten kid we live with was going to make it an early morning…

Happy New Year’s Day, y’all!

The Drip

THING 2: “Oh, man! We sure had fun sledding, didn’t we, Vivi?”

NARRATOR: “The kids DID have fun sledding. Indeed, they did. But Vivi would suffer some stress until Thing 2 got a Kleenex for his nose and made that drip GO!! AWAY!!”

I Don’t Mean To Brag, But Our Tree Is A Lot More Dry Than Yours Is

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

I mean, really.  It is.

Our Christmas tree is as dry as overcooked cornbread muffins, which have been left out on a picnic table at a rest area in the Sahara Desert.

For thirty-seven weeks.

It looks a lot like Clark Griswald’s tree, if you want the honest truth.

We have watered that tree with everything we have, funneling enough liquid into the tree stand to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool… twice.  Our tree just slurps it all up, in one greedy gulp, and whispers, “It’s just a little eczema.  I just feel the need to… you know… scratch these itches and shed every last pine needle I have, as I gear up for a naked Christmas.”

I need to run a humidifier in our house, because I’m afraid we’re simply one “I DRUG MY SOCKS ACROSS THE RUG AND SHOCKED THE COFFEE TABLE IN A LITTLE ZAP” away from lighting the entire Lodge Pole Pine up in an indoor bonfire.

Y’all have a good Sunday evening.  I’m just going to wrap this post up here and go set a pitcher of water next to the tree.  You know, in case we need to buy ourselves five minutes of time before the fire department gets here.

Using Excessive Force To Make The Arrest

Thing 2 and I ran into his “recess teacher” at Walmart this afternoon.  She gave him an enthusiastic wave from across the aisle, and said, “Hello, Thing 2!”  My boy tried to hide his head a little bit, but then he reluctantly looked straight at her, returned her greeting with a little smile, and gave her a shy wave.

We moved on down the aisle, with my red flags flapping in the breeze of MOTHER’S INTUITION.

As I pushed Thing 2 around in the cart, I asked, “How was recess today?”

He said, “Oh… fine.”

I said, “Did you stand on the wall today?”

Thing 2 nodded.  “Yep.”

I said, “Should we talk about it?”

Thing 2 said, “We were playing Cops and Robbers, Mom.  And our recess teacher has no idea how you play it RIGHT.  She thinks you just have to tag a robber and send them to jail, but she doesn’t know that sometimes a robber fights and doesn’t GO to jail, so then you have to tackle him.  And she just yells, ‘NO TACKLING AT SCHOOL!’  But if a robber won’t listen to the cop and go nicely to jail, then you HAVE to tackle him.”

I asked him, “Did you stand on the wall by yourself?”

“No.  Four of us stood against the wall… for tackling robbers too much.”

I asked my boy, “So what did you learn about this?”

And, people, I was hoping beyond hope that he would say, “MOM, I HAVE FINALLY TURNED A CORNER IN MY LIFE, RECEIVED ENLIGHTENMENT, AND I LEARNED TO FOLLOW RULES!”

But no.

Thing 2 looked at me with his big brown eyes and said, “I just learned that our recess teacher has no idea how to play that game the right way!”

So now I’m just trying to decide if this situation should be paired with a glass of white or red wine tonight.

December Odds And Ends

Let me just start by saying that I love getting the mail in December.

For eleven months out of the year, I make the trek down our steep driveway, to the mailbox, about twice a week.  It’s irresponsible of me, and not how our founding grandmothers would have wanted me to handle the mail situation, but it is what it is.  I can’t work up any enthusiasm for hiking down the long slope, just to gather a handful of college brochures, the electric bill, new credit card applications, and Walmart sale flyers out of my mailbox.

But then December rolls around, and I pretty much run straight down the driveway immediately after the mailman pulls away from our mailbox in his little car.  BLESS ALL THE CHRISTMAS CARDS, AND BLESS THE SCHOOL PICTURES OF ALL THE KIDS, AND BLESS THOSE HOLIDAY LETTERS THAT FOLKS WRITE!

Bless.  Them.  All.

And I have a system, people.  I’m hesitant to admit it on the World Wide Web, but every afternoon, after collecting the day’s intake of Christmas cards, I ORGANIZE them.  Just knowing from past experience over the years, on who is going to include school pictures of their kids, and who is going to send a fabulous card, and WHO IS GOING TO WRITE A REAL LETTER FOR ME TO SIT DOWN AND READ, I stack my cards accordingly.

Are you just going to send a stock card, with nothing but your name signed to it?

Top of the pile.  I read it first.

Are you going to send a great photo card, but nothing else?

Middle of the pile.  I want to treasure the anticipation of opening it, after I get through the ones that were stamped at the printers’ shop and read, HAPPY HOLIDAYS, FROM JOHN AND JANE DOE, in embossed gold, with nothing else included.

Are you going to send a holiday letter?  ARE YOU SHOVING YOUR KIDS’ SCHOOL PICTURES INTO MY ENVELOPE??!!

You, my friend, will get the bottom of the stack.   Your card will be saved for last, on the day it arrives, because I WANT TO SAVOR IT!!  In other words, the bottom of the stack is where the TOP GUN cards go.

And now I have confessed my sins about how I rate Christmas cards, and the order in which I read them.  I’m sure I could cause all kinds of outrage on every manner of social media with my declaration of my Christmas Card Rating System.

And this is where I’m just going to confess that on Saturday… and today, which is Monday… I GOT A BIG, FAT ZERO AMOUNT OF CHRISTMAS CARDS IN OUR MAILBOX.

Zero.

I struck out, two mail days in a row, making my hike down our driveway a complete waste of my time, as I brought in the satellite TV bill and yet another college brochure, trying to get my son’s tuition money paid at THEIR university.

So don’t mind me, over here at my house, humming, “It’s beginning to look a lot… LESS... like Christmas…” as I sit, empty handed tonight, with no stack of cards to organize.  Clearly, y’all need to coordinate your mailing times, so that I end up with AT LEAST ONE CARD each day!

Anyway.

Our weekend was just a weekend… just a normal weekend.

We had a little babysitting snafu last week, so Hubs brought Thing 2 to me at school.  He got to attend my last PE class of the day, where he met up with three of his FAVORITE FRIENDS, who go to my school.  These three were all so excited to see Thing 2, since his school’s kindergarten class gets out an hour before their class does each afternoon.

Of course, all Thing 2 wanted to do was blow my whistle and be the Acting Assistant PE Teacher, because apparently he felt a little need to be in charge, and then he asked me, “When do you give these kids their recess?”

“Um… I don’t.  Because it’s almost time for school to get out, and they’re in gym class.”

I think it’s safe to say that Thing 2 lives for the recesses.

Our Elf on the Shelf is still going strong, although… it’s December 11th… and Hubs and I are already admitting to one another that THIS MAY BE RIDICULOUS!  Because what we clearly have on our hands are memories that cannot keep up with thinking about that elf at bedtime and the creativity to invent some new location for him to land in, on the fly, when what we really want to do is put our elderly selves to bed.

Yesterday, our elf was on the light fixture, high above our kitchen island.  He was still there this morning, because WHO FORGOT TO MOVE HIM ALREADY ON DECEMBER 11th??!!  That explains why I was out of bed at 5:30 this morning, knocking him down with a broom handle.  He experienced a touch of head trauma, which is to say, I’m pretty sure I knocked him out cold, when I tipped him forward with the broom, seeing as how he hit the kitchen island, face first, and then bounced, only to crack the back of his skull on the hardwood floor, where he came to rest…

… completely motionless, and in need of a 911 call.

Thing 2 named that elf Zach Williams.

Not Sparky… or Elfie… or Batman… but… Zach Williams.  I told Hubs, “It sounds like he’s naming our first grandson.”  I asked Thing 2 why he chose this name, and he looked at me like I was a touch on the side of all the crazy.  (Which… JUST YES.  I am.)  He said, “Mom… I like how Zach Williams sings on KLOVE radio.  I like that song, Chain Breaker.”

Well.  There you have it.  Our Elf on the Shelf was named after a Christian singer, and I didn’t even recognize it.  I’m sure Jesus stood up and slow clapped His approval for Thing 2, over his name choosing abilities.

Anyway.

A friend asked me the other day, “Hey!  Does Thing 2 still use those fuzzy slipper socks as his security blanket?  You know… like he did when he was little?”

People!

DOES HE?  I decided to document his security blanket issues with the fuzzy slipper socks, which he calls HIS BOYS, and which he has clung to since he was a CRAWLING BABY.  He doesn’t need the boys during the daytime any more, like he did when he was a tiny boy of… say… FOUR YEARS OLD, because we are a very mature five and a half now.  But!!!  They are all good buddies at bedtime, those slipper socks and Thing 2.

On Friday night, Thing 2 went to an open gym at the new gymnastics center in Small Town, USA.  I’d say he LOVED IT, but LOVED IT isn’t quite strong enough of a phrase.

Thing 2 went BAT DUNG CRAZY over that open gym!  He couldn’t quit smiling, he couldn’t quit running around, trying out every!! single!! piece!! of equipment!!, and he NEVER wanted to go home again.  He wanted to live there and change his mailing address to the gym’s address.

And that’s pretty much why his mama signed him up for a gymnastics CLASS, that starts tomorrow afternoon.  He has only asked me four hundred and fourteen times this evening if IT’S TIME FOR GYMNASTICS YET.  At least I have some massive bargaining power at bedtime tonight.

“What?  You don’t want to STAY IN YOUR BED, and you don’t want to GO STRAIGHT TO SLEEP?  Hmm.  That is so sad… considering… you know… that we have gymnastics tomorrow… and YOU’LL BE TOO TIRED TO GO!!”  I feel like I’ve hit the mother load of gold with this piece of power.

The kids all got together and decorated Mam and Pa’s Christmas tree this weekend.  Mam bought a tree from a tree lot in town, and it is EVERYTHING that a Christmas tree should be.  It’s smallish.  It’s adorable.  It’s well-behaved.

On the flip side of that, OUR Christmas tree is the size of a Greyhound bus, and is already an EXTREME fire hazard that shouldn’t have the lights turned on.  It has already started to turn brown, it is disrobing and dropping all of its pine needles in a quick effort to become a nudist… or, at the very least… a totally naked Christmas LOG, come Christmas Eve, and I hate it.  It’s drying up enough that it smokes when I turn the lights on now.  It’s so enormous, the only way it’s coming out of our living room is with an industrial-sized winch, on the front of a Massey Ferguson tractor.

I’m just a touch jealous of Mam and Pa’s tree, while I’m dealing with the Jolly Green Giant’s poorly-behaved tree at my house.

Also?

Just this:

THAT is exactly how dinnertime shakes down at our house, all of the time.

Bless those children.

And… Thing 2 is very much into his hair these days, as he begs me every morning to use the gel, to make his hair SWOOP AND STAND TALL.

Swoop.  And stand tall.

The reason I teach PE is because my spiritual gift is not DOING HAIR.  The reason the Lord gave me boys, instead of girls, is because my spiritual gift is not DOING HAIR.  The reason I always look like I slept in a dumpster and drank spoiled milk for breakfast is because my spiritual gift is not DOING HAIR.  But… I think we’re kind of getting the hang of swooping and standing tall.

And that’s about it, y’all.

Happy Monday night.  When you sit beside your well-lit Christmas trees tonight, just think of us… over here… watching our tree smoke a bit, as the dry branches start to singe.

A Well-Rounded Education

Thing 2 came home from school this afternoon, and I quizzed him on how his day went.  This is a ritual that we go through every single afternoon, and it’s like encouraging a baby sloth to HURRY AND GET DRESSED, PLEASE.  The information is SLOW to emerge.

“How was school today?”

“I don’t know.”

“Was it good?”

“Probably.”

“But probably it… maybe… WASN’T good?”

“Maybe it was good.”

“So you had a good day?”

“I actually had an OUTSTANDING DAY.  My behavior clip was on OUTSTANDING, Mom.”

“Who’d you eat lunch with?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, who sat beside you at the lunchroom table?”

“A kid from my class.”

And then I turn to the wall and just knock my head against it, because that always seems to alleviate some of the burning pressure that is a sure-fire indication that the top of my skull is going to explode off, into fragments of QUITE THE MESS.

This afternoon, after asking Thing 2 sixteen questions to determine that YES, AND ALSO INDEED, HE SAT WITH HIS BEST BUDDY, AS HE USUALLY DOES AT LUNCH, I asked him how recess went.  I do this to kind of check on which kids he’s playing with, and to also kind of find out if my beloved son spent any time standing against the wall, in a RECESS BREAK, for such offenses as PERHAPS pushing or shoving.

Today, he immediately answered my question on recess, with GUSTO and EXCITEMENT, as he exclaimed in his loudest voice, “OH, MY GOSH, MOM!!  Recess was so much fun today, because we played MUTANT ZOMBIES!!”

So… you know… clearly we’re getting our money’s worth out of those tax payers’ dollars we give to the public school system, because we had no idea what mutant zombies were BEFORE we started kindergarten.  I think we’re getting a well-rounded education.

 

Dear Elf On The Shelf People, We Have Become One Of You.

As if December isn’t already crazier than we need it to be…

… the North Pole has gone and sent an ambassador to us.

Are Hubs and I a little afraid of what we’re in for during these next twenty nights?  Yes.  Yes, we are.  Did we just inform our seventeen-year-old son, “Start thinking.  You’re going to be helping move that elf around the house, or Santa will put YOUR name on the Naughty List”?  Yes.  Yes, we did.  Hubs and I are just disappointed that this ambassador from the North Pole showed up with a full-color storybook, that explains to little children what he’s all about, instead of a bottle of wine.  Hubs and I always have the worst kind of luck.

When Your Christmas Tree Starts To Undress Before December Even Hits

I don’t  mean to brag, but OUR Christmas tree (which is standing up, but still undecorated) is going to lose ALL of its pine needles WAY BEFORE yours does.   Our living room currently looks like a grenade went off in a pine forest.  You cannot even BEGIN to imagine the amounts of joy that this brings to me.

Thankfully, the little man who drops by to run my vacuum cleaner every hour is cute… and he works for gummy worms.

Thanksgiving 2017

I can’t believe that we’ve managed to flip enough pages in our 2017 calendars to be at the end of November already.  It seems like I was just griping about the heat… THE HEAT… STOP THE CRAZY HEAT AND THESE 96 DEGREE DAYS… last week, and here we are now shivering, because it is RAINING in Small Town, USA today.

Yes.  Raining… exactly like it’s November on the equator, in a tropical rain forest.  Apparently, Mother Nature did not read SUGGESTED DATES FOR RAIN in her operating systems handbook for our area, because… come tomorrow… this rain is going to be frozen into sheets of ice on our streets that make bobsled runs look mediocre in terms of HOW FAST CAN YOU SLIDE?  The end of November is not our optimal time for rain, what with the frigid overnight temperatures and all.

Go home, Mother Nature.  You’re drunk.

This is the type of weather that makes me crazy, as I send my seventeen-year-old off to school, yelling, “THE HILLS!  The hills in town will be icy!!  Try to drive on only FLAT streets!”  To this he yells back, “Ma, the high school is ON THE TOP OF A HILL!  And I’m a professional driver, Ma.  My skills make Richard Petty look like a preschooler!”

Hubs and I are really working on the boy’s self esteem.

But yes.  Thanksgiving has already come and gone, and it treated us fairly well.

We started Thanksgiving Break by joining Thing 2 at his elementary school for their annual Turkey Trot.  This is when the entire school — all three hundred of their students and teachers — are joined by sixty-two million parents, and everyone trots along the streets, for a mile-long loop around the neighborhood.  The kids love that a policeman leads the way, with the lights flashing on the top of his car.

Although this particular Turkey Trot is not a race AT ALL, Thing 2 walked two blocks with me and Hubs, and then announced, “I’m totally going to win this trot!”  His competitive nature couldn’t take being twenty-five people behind the leading police car, so off he ran, leaving Hubs and I alone.

Clearly, it was a family affair… but the polar opposite.

At one point, Thing 2’s teacher asked us, “Are you two on a date without kids?”

Yes.  That was exactly it.  What we love to do together, when we find ourselves childless, is to walk a mile with three hundred other children who DON’T belong to us.

I suppose that it goes without saying that Thing 2 WON the non-competitive Turkey Trot, as he was the first one to step onto the school’s property, behind that policeman.  He was a little disappointed to learn that this was not a competition, and that NO, YOU’RE NOT GETTING A MEDAL OR ANY MONETARY AWARD.

Hubs and I finished somewhere around 30th and 31st place.  Come to think of it, I guess that’s not a bad finish, out of three hundred students and all the accompanying parents.

The kids didn’t have school on Wednesday, so they each did their favorite things.

The boy slept in until 11:30 that morning, and Thing 2 went ice skating with their cousin.  Cousin R is a freshman.  She is a SEASONED ice skater, and she ended up saying, “I can barely keep up with him out there!”  As much as the boy thinks he’s Richard Petty behind the wheel of his car, Thing 2 believes he’s Apollo Ohno and Wayne Gretsky, all rolled up into one small package, on ice skates.

After he’d gone to open skate with Cousin R, Thing 2 had his REAL hockey team practice.  He has been so excited to finally be old enough to play REAL hockey, that he could barely stand it.  That group of 5 and 6 year olds broke into little teams to scrimmage one another on Wednesday night, while we all cheered them on.  It was Thing 2’s very first experience playing in a real hockey game, and he LOVED IT.

He came away with a hat trick, plus one.

Yes.  That stinker scored FOUR GOALS for his little team in their little scrimmage.  He had a ball.  He came off the ice dripping sweat, grinning wide enough to split his face in half, and happy as he’s ever been in his life.

Ultimately, this means we may be traveling for hockey games IN THE WINTER.  Do you know what I HATE, LOATHE and also DESPISE doing in the winter?  That would be TRAVELING.  I had been hoping that Thing 2 would just play baseball, which is such a SUMMER GIG.

Anyway.

Every Thanksgiving, our church puts on a dinner.  It’s a rather popular place for members of our congregation to go, and everyone seems to bring friends.  We gave it a try this year.  Hubs and the boys and I joined Mam and Pa for dinner there.  The menu included all the traditional foods of turkey and mashed potatoes, stuffing and green bean casseroles, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pies.

And then Hubs smoked four racks of ribs.  His biggest disappointment with the Pilgrims is that they decided bagging a turkey for their feast was good enough, when they could have shot a wild boar, trimmed it out, and smoked it right up over a roaring fire.  He threw the ribs on his Traeger grill at 6:00 Thanksgiving morning, and by 1:00 that afternoon, he wrapped everything up in aluminum foil and shouted, “These may be my finest masterpiece yet.”

We’re working on his self esteem, too.

I was a little reluctant to have him set SMOKED RIBS next to the traditional turkey on the buffet table, but listen, y’all.  EVERYONE THERE complimented Hubs on his ribs.  People argued over who got MORE ribs than others.  While I was in the kitchen, getting paper towels, one elderly gentleman came in to grab plastic wrap.  When he saw me, he smiled sheepishly and said, “I stole two extra ribs to wrap up and take home for a snack later.  I love them!”

In other words, Hubs just proved that what everyone wants for Thanksgiving dinner is a piglet with a thick, seasoned, smoked crust.

Also, it was exactly like I didn’t even know myself on Thanksgiving Day, because I took ZERO PICTURES of my children that day.

Zero.  Zip.  Zilch.

The only picture I took on Thanksgiving 2017 was this one:

When you live in a house dominated by boys, you’re never surprised at the weird things you find.  I walked downstairs on Thursday afternoon, to find Spider-Man, hanging out, tearing both of his rotator cuffs, as he whispered, “Could you bring me a plate of turkey with extra gravy and some Ben-Gay?  My shoulder muscles are a little achy.”

Every single year, on the  Friday night after Thanksgiving, Small Town closes off our main streets in the downtown area, so that everyone can mill around, jaywalk and enjoy some nighttime shopping.  It’s kind of a big deal here, as the entire town’s population shows up.  Every single year, we pop in to see Santa Claus.

This year, Thing 2 was a wee bit worried that he was actually on Santa’s Naughty List.  He kept telling me, “I’m not going to ask him for anything, in case I really AM on the Naughty List.”

I guess he knows himself pretty well.

In the end, Santa asked him what he wanted, and Thing 2 blurted out, “I want a drone and a real snow blower.”

A REAL snow blower?  He IS his dad’s boy, with the same motto of “Go big or go home.”  I just worry that Santa isn’t going to come through on that gift.

In fact, I already know that Santa laughed his head off over that and didn’t even bother to write it down on his list entitled WHAT AM I TAKING TO THING 2’S HOUSE?

Later, after we’d left Santa Claus behind, Thing 2 looked at me while he was holding my hand and asked, “Mom?  Did I ask for a drone?  Did you HEAR me ask Santa for a drone?  I was so nervous to talk to him, I don’t even remember if I asked him for that!”

Later, Thing 2 wanted to ride one of the tractor-pulled wagons, and he talked his big brother into riding it with him.

We managed to bump into EVERYONE we knew downtown on Friday night, because… well… EVERYONE WE KNEW was actually DOWNTOWN.

Thing 2 scored a skewered marshmallow, which he roasted over a fire pit in the street.  He toasted it to an absolutely picture-perfect golden, toasty brown.  It was the most beautiful marshmallow I’d ever seen come out of a campfire!  How OUR KID pulled it off, without shoving that chunk of spun sugar straight into the flames and incinerating it to black ash, is beyond me.  But, it was roasted perfection.  Thing 2 gobbled it straight down, and then he looked at me, sighed and declared, “This was the best day of my life!”

And really?  Everyone should enjoy the simple things in life, to where a toasted marshmallow and a wagon ride can give you the best day of your life.

We did a little shopping in the stores after that, roamed the street in the dark, bought the boy a pair of loafers that were on sale for Black Friday, and talked and talked to everyone we passed.

Hubs and I ended up taking Thing 2 out to eat dinner, while the boy met up with friends and stayed downtown.  Then we took our little man to the 8:00 fireworks show, where he managed to watch the FIRECRACKS without screaming like a banshee with his robe on fire this time.

We chalked it up as a Christmas miracle.

On Sunday morning, we had to WAKE this kid up for church:

The Thanksgiving holiday had taken its toll on him.

The boy and Cousin L looked kind of cute at church, so OF COURSE there was a picture.

And I couldn’t resist a picture of my boys together this morning, seeing as how the boy actually GOT UP EARLY ENOUGH to stop and smile.  That in itself was a Thanksgiving weekend miracle.

And the answer is YES.  The boy really IS wearing the same shirt today that he wore to church yesterday.  But, in his defense, he wore it for ONE HOUR on Sunday, and then he tried to take it off and throw it into the dirty clothes.

UM… SON?!  Hang that shirt back up in the closet, save your mama some unnecessary laundry work, and wear it again!

Anyway.  That’s how we spent OUR Thanksgiving Break.  What did all y’all do?