And… We Are On Thanksgiving Break!

Well… hey there, y’all.

This has been one of those days, where I’m just a-crazy-kind-of-happy to see the end.  I’m not sure when you were last in an elementary school, on the day before Thanksgiving Break, following the Super Moon and Halloween and all the candy that went with it, but suffice it to say that the small children were LOUD CHILDREN today at our little school.  It wasn’t exactly the onset of Christmas Vacation, but visions of NO SCHOOL were dancing in everyone’s head today, and, THANKS BE TO THE LORD, we are now on our holiday.

There will be no learning of the multiplication facts, or distinguishing between a hard-C and a soft-C, or finding any quotient properties of radicals for the next few days.  At our house, we have every intention of wearing our pajamas a lot during the daytime hours, with cups of coffee in hand and You Tube videos playing in the background.  Thing 2 is currently obsessed with videos on the iPad of trains with plows on the fronts of them, which bust through enormous snow drifts on the railroad tracks, and videos on giant log splitters.  I cannot adequately explain in words how UTTERLY BORING I find these short videos, filmed by amateur directors, but Thing 2 whoops and hollers every time a man successfully cuts an entire tree into a stack of firewood for the winter.

We also have plans to smoke a turkey and whip up some stuffing, because guess who volunteered to bring the Stove Top?  Yes, that would be the same person who exhausted all of her kitchen skills on sliding homemade pies in and out of the oven all night on Sunday.  And Hubs is smoking the turkey, so I really don’t have any part in that.  Hubs’ goal in life is to SMOKE ALL THE ANIMALS on his Traeger.  All I have to do is sit back, prop my feet up, and exclaim, “Marvelous!” every time he shows me a picture on his phone of how a chunk of raw something or other is being slowly transformed into a PERFECTLY-SEASONED, PERFECTLY-SEARED, PERFECTLY-TASTY HUNK OF MEAT.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to sit mindlessly in front of a show with more dialogue and drama than a man in a plaid, flannel shirt has when he cuts a pine tree up into foot-long sections of firewood.

Enjoy your Tuesday evening, y’all.  Three cheers to that very precious bit of time, when your entire, five-day holiday break is stretched out in front of you, with nary a moment used up yet.

 

 

Pies And Ice

The boy has a good friend who took it upon herself to bake pies this month, which she has been selling to teachers and people around the community, so that she could raise money to give to families in need this Christmas.

I know, right?  It feels like her mom and dad have experienced total Parental Victory, because here are my boys over here, asking, “So what’s the very biggest maximum you’re willing to spend on MY Christmas gift?  If I know how high you’re willing to go, I can write out my list accordingly and save a lot of heartache for the both of us.”

The boy volunteered to help with the pies.  Apparently, helping a friend bake pies in her time of need to raise money for a family’s Christmas dinner is more in line with what he’s willing to do than anything I can think of.  The whole, “Your bedroom is a disaster and is in desperate need of fumigation and a garbage truck backing up to it” was met with a blank stare, which seemed to say, “And?  You expect me to do this room cleaning?  I’m terribly busy right now.  Can’t you see that my earbuds are in and I’m throwing this golf ball into the air and catching it, over and over and over, while I lie on the sofa?”

The baking of the pies shook down exactly like this:

The boy announced at 5:00 last night that he needed three pies to contribute to the fundraiser.  The boy mixed and stirred, and mixed and stirred, and created an enormous bowl of red slop that was called STRAWBERRY PIE GUTS.  And then we had to fit pie crusts into pie tins, which involved trimming the excess dough off, and then… at 6:10 last night, the boy announced, “I am ten minutes late for youth group.  I have these three pies made, Mom.  Can you bake them all now?”

Because clearly what I wanted to do on my Sunday evening was bake three pies.

But, because I knew that his friend’s sweet mother was helping to bake IN EXCESS OF TWENTY-FIVE PIES, I thought that it would look dreadfully horrible if I shook my head NO and refused to push pies in and out of the oven all night.

01710_neverforgetYou should be happy to know that I only broke the edges off one pie crust, as I pulled it out of a 425 degree oven without enough oven mitt between us.  All the cuss words exploded like a stick of dynamite inside my head, as I pitched that pie two full feet, and hoped beyond hope that it would land safely on the cooling rack.

It did, with the exception of the fact that an edge broke off.  No matter.  The scalding strawberry goop was oozing out the side, so I just used that as my glue base and stuck bits of crust back on.

In other words, one-third of the boys’ pies look like preschoolers participated in the baking, while two-thirds of the pies could very possibly win a blue ribbon at the fair for PRESENTATION.

You’re welcome.

While all of this was going on, Thing 2 used the dough scraps from the trimmed pie crusts to form his own pie.

He smashed it and rolled it.  He dusted it with flour, and then smashed it and rolled it some more.  He squished it all into a pie tin and announced that he needed to bake it in the oven.  It was at that moment that I crushed his dreams of becoming a famous baker by reminding him that real ovens are for folks over four feet tall.

So, he did what any intelligent four-year-old would do.

He baked his pie in the refrigerator.

In it went.

And out it came.

And in it went.

And out it came.

Over and over and over, until Thing 2 had baked his pie thirty-nine times in the luxuriously cold LG refrigerator before he had to go to bed.

This morning, he remembered that he had a pie baking in the fridge.

While Hubs was showering… and while I was brushing my teeth… Thing 2 went to grab his pie tin with the dried out bit of pie dough in it.

He returned to the bathroom a couple of minutes later, with a HOT PIE…

… because Thing 2 baked his pie, IN THE METAL PIE TIN, in our microwave.

Do you know the shocked look that crosses a mom’s face when her four-year-old hands her a very warm pie tin, when she THOUGHT he was baking it in the REFRIGERATOR???

de2480c11daacba8ef3893db26ea6789Somehow, we had the favor of the Lord today and the blessings of Heaven, because, although the pie tin and the dough were extremely warm to the touch, nothing exploded, the house didn’t catch fire, and the microwave still works.

For THAT, we offer our Thanksgiving praises.

In other news, Thing 2 is learning to ice skate.  We signed him up last month for ice skating lessons, which threw him into endless waves of dramatic tears and swoons, which made Scarlett O’Hara look like an amateur.  He told us that he would refuse to skate, and that there was no bribe great enough to get him out on the ice.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a four-year-old plant his feet firmly in the ground and take a stance, but it’s never pretty.

In the end, after a couple of weeks of crying and bawling, Thing 2 announced, “I don’t want to twirl on the ice!”

And that, y’all, was the exact moment Hubs and I realized that he believed we had signed him up for figure skating, and that he was going to have to do leaps and lifts on the ice in a sequined outfit.

We all breathed a sigh of relief, because ice skating lessons are not the cheapest lessons a child can take in Small Town, USA, and the ice rink already had my debit card numbers.

But, last Saturday, Thing 2 took to the ice, and it’s safe to say that it was one of the best days of his life.  He completed his entire thirty minute lesson, and then stayed on the ice for Open Skate right afterward for an hour.  He simply glued himself to anyone and everyone who skated by — strangers… friends… kids he barely knew… adults he’d never met.  He held their hands, and around and around the rink he went.

In the end, he could get up on his feet and shuffle along like a bulldog with fierce determination.

img_3831 img_3830 img_3832He was extremely confident before he took to the ice, because running on the skate blades, on the squishy floor outside the ice, was a piece of cake.

img_3835The boy came to watch his little brother’s first skating lesson, too.

(And yes.  That’s a huge blue button I slapped onto this picture.  Sorry, but the boy’s recognizable high school letter doesn’t get to be a featured item on the World Wide Web.)

img_3839Thing 2’s BFF, Vivi, is in his skating class, too.  Vivi moved with grace and a girl-like gentleness on the ice, while Thing 2 looked more like a giant salmon that had been ripped from the river and thrown onto an Alaskan bank.  He flopped and rolled.  He slid and flipped and wiped out.  He was the EXACT OPPOSITE of graceful and gentle on the ice.

img_3842 img_3844 img_3847 img_3855 img_3849 img_3852 img_3857 img_3860 img_3862 img_3869 img_3863 img_3868 img_3877 img_3878 img_3879 img_3870 img_3880After skating for ninety entire minutes last Saturday, Thing 2 declared the day to be the best one of his life.  He could hardly wait for his next lesson, which was unfortunate, because he woke up this past Saturday morning, coughing like a seal.  He coughed and barked, barked and coughed, and ASKED FOR A NAP AT 8:15 IN THE MORNING, which he ended up taking.

We had to stay home from his skating lesson this weekend.

And then he missed seeing his high school cousins play hockey Saturday night, because I didn’t want to take that cough of his out of the house.

But, today is Monday, and he’s all recovered.  He’s more than ready for his next trip to the ice rink.  The glorious thing about our family is this:  THE COUSINS PLAY HOCKEY!  THE COUSINS CAN SKATE LIKE PROFESSIONALS!  THE COUSINS HAVE ALL OFFERED TO TAKE HIM SKATING!  I just sat back and clapped and blew my party horn over this news, because falling on the ice at my age involves a hip replacement surgery.

Happy Monday!

 

The Struggle Is Real

THING 2 (right after his shower this morning, while I was helping him dry off and get dressed):  “I’m freezing!  I’m FREEZING!!”  (*use the whiny voice now*)  “I’m so cold, I can’t stand it!  Hurry up and get my clothes on me!”

ME (trying to avoid the childish reaction of showing him how I could really kick things into SLOOOOOW… MOOOOO… TIONNNNNN):  “I AM hurrying!  Hold still and get these jeans on!”

THING 2:  “I AM FREEZING!!!!”  (*inserts one arm into his shirt*)  “Wait!  What kind of shirt is this?”

ME:  “It’s a shirt!  Just a shirt!”

THING 2:  “Well, what KIND of shirt is it?”

ME:  “It’s just a long-sleeved, maroon T-shirt!”

THING 2:  (*insert Academy Award-worthy whining voice*)  “Oooh!!!  I don’t like long-sleeved shirts!  They make me too hot!!!”

I believe this is why God gave us GRAPES.

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Just A Quick Note

This week has been one of those weeks when ALL THE PLACES have needed to be gotten to, and ALL THE THINGS have needed to be gotten done.

(Somewhere, a retired, elderly English professor just fell over backwards in her rocking chair after reading that first sentence.  She fell over, with the tips of her good leather shoes, which she bought at Montgomery Wards in 1962 because THEY DON’T MAKE DEPENDABLE SHOES LIKE THEY USED TO, pointed straight to the ceiling.  She probably clutched her heart a little and wheezed, “Red!  Pen!  Someone!  Get me!  A red pen!”  Because clearly she needed to mark my introductory sentence all to pieces before she breathed her last.)

We have had a week full of everything, from ice skating lessons to laundry loads… from staff meetings to meatloaf-making… from doctor appointments to post office trips.  I’m pretty sure that my life is exactly like Princess Kate’s, with the exception that I made my own meatloaf tonight and I sat in a podiatrist’s waiting room, reading the newest issue of People magazine, while the boy displayed his broken toenail to the doctor.

Princess Kate and I are both very glamorous.

I’m sure she lets her cat lick the tuna fish can, too, and then deals with the fallout of a cat barfing up her guts on the palace floor at 3:00 in the morning, as well.

So that’s been OUR week.

And, the grand finale of our week is that my beloved dad is going to have YET ANOTHER surgery on his bladder to take out STILL MORE cancerous spots.

This is how I feel about cancer:

(Please hide the eyes of those under the age of thirteen.)

CANCER, YOU SUCK.

My dad has already had three surgeries to take out spots of cancer in his bladder, and tomorrow will be Round Four.  His surgery isn’t scheduled until mid-afternoon tomorrow, so clearly we will be dealing with a patient who hasn’t gotten to eat breakfast OR lunch.

In other words, he’ll probably be as friendly as a bear who has just been woken up prematurely from his hibernation and realizes that… SWEET MOTHER OF YOGI, SMOKEY AND PADDINGTON… BUT AM I EVER HUNGRY!

So, if y’all are inclined to do so tonight, we would treasure your prayers for my dad.  We are begging Jesus for a quick and easy surgery… a quick and easy recovery… and that these little spots of cancer will JUST STOP IT ALREADY!

Also?  Well, Thing 2 will be in the waiting room tomorrow, so perhaps some prayers that the hospital’s furnishings are still in one piece by the end of surgery are also in order.  BUSY has no definition finer than a bored four-year-old boy, who has been waiting on something entirely too long.

Happy Wednesday, people.

The Dinner Of My People

I cleaned house all day.

And by I cleaned house all day, I mean that the housekeeper I cannot really afford came over bright and early this morning.  I did laundry and vacuumed rugs and folded laundry and sorted junk mail and switched loads of laundry and cleaned bathroom mirrors, while she scrubbed my floors and scoured my bathrooms and resurrected my kitchen.  Right now, I am seriously considering booking a room at the Holiday Inn for our family, because I’d like to cherish this moment of THE ENTIRE HOUSE IS CLEAN for more than seventeen minutes.

Because seriously…

the entire house is clean.

All of it.

And the laundry is nearly done… BY ME… because apparently my laundry fairy died in the avalanche of dirty clothes and won’t be flying to our house any longer.

And then…

… after keeping Thing 2 out of the sparkling clean house all afternoon by taking him to one of his best buddy’s birthday parties, I came home…

… and there were people here who wanted dinner.

Now, granted, they were MY people, and it’s probably my job to feed them, but REALLY?  Do they have to eat every single evening?  Since I failed to cook dinner last night, as I gave a shout out to VERY LATE LUNCH!!  IT WAS A LUNCH / DINNER COMBO!!  WE CAN NOW ALL WAIT UNTIL MORNING TO EAT AGAIN!, I figured that I probably had to uncover something for them all to eat tonight.

c8450423609702679f73b354ea79a7ae7281f3fe5898bb1cb323709a3b3fd2b814900469_1142496895804160_7299033581086495156_nSo, I did what every mother who has a sparkling clean house and doesn’t want to mess up her kitchen would do:

I bought a box of real, live Tuna Helper.

It cost me $1.75, plus the cost of a can of all-white, albacore tuna fish, that was caught without any dolphins being injured.

I can’t even tell you how impressed my menfolk were.  I told Hubs, “This is the dinner of my childhood.  It’s comfort food.”

Hubs reminded me that this comfort food of my youth was probably MADE FROM SCRATCH by my mother, and she probably baked it in the oven with cheese and love and garden-fresh vegetables and called it Tuna Casserole.

Yes.

Yes, it probably shook down exactly like that in 1979.  I mean, seriously.  I’m sure my mom knew how to make the Alfredo sauce from scratch, and she probably bought noodles and simmered them with cream and butter and broccoli she picked from our garden, but not me.  I bought a box, that was ALL INCLUSIVE.  I dumped and poured.  I measured out milk and butter, and then I sprinkled the MSG-laden packet of twenty-six different herbs and spices and chemicals over the whole thing, let it simmer for a while, and BOOM!  THERE’S YOUR SUPPER, IN ONE PAN, AND MY KITCHEN IS STILL CLEAN.

Bless.

Also?  Thing 2 cannot stand tuna fish.  He gags every single time I open a can for sandwiches.  He runs and hides and dry heaves and let’s me know that he enjoyed being my son for a while, but he’s expiring now, because the stench of canned tuna is wafting through the air.

So there was that part of dinner that went swimmingly tonight.

You’re welcome for the pun.

So one-fourth of our family had a cheese sandwich for dinner, because I didn’t want to find him, exactly like I found the laundry fairy today.

Happy Monday, y’all.  Happy Monday.

Tubes 2016

Thing 2 and his ears do not get along very well.  In fact, I think his ears have always treated him quite poorly, which seems so unfair, considering how cute he is.  But those ears just haven’t done the jobs that Jesus made them to do, so… LAST November… we had tubes put in.  We were tired of battling chronic ear infections and our antibiotic use was approaching the point where Mama said, “This has got to stop.”

So Tubes 2015 happened.

That act was a game changer, y’all.  Tubes 2015 kept us from being frequent visitors at our pediatrician’s office and moved us into the realm of WE NEVER SEE YOU AT THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE ANY MORE!  In other words, it was worth every penny of our ridiculous insurance deductible.

Then, at the end of September, Thing 2 complained… for the first time in ten entire months… that his ears hurt.  A trip to our pediatrician confirmed that the tubes were out.  We did a round of antibiotics, because it had been ten months since he’d last had them.

Two days after we finished the antibiotics, he was back to bawling with ear pain.

We did our level best to stay out of the hospital’s OR, but it wasn’t meant to be.  Our beloved ear, nose and throat doctor saw him two weeks ago and said, “Listen.  The poor boy needs Ear Tubes, Round Two, and we should consider taking his adenoids out while we have him in surgery.”  A quick trip to the audiologist this week confirmed what Hubs and the boy and the grandmas and I already knew:  THING 2 COULD BARELY HEAR.

And by barely hear, I mean that Thing 2 flunked his hearing test yesterday.  He flunked it with confetti and champagne and fireworks and all the sparkler sizzles.  The boy said it best, when he announced, “Mom, it’s like living with a hundred-year-old man.  The TV has to be turned up to ridiculous volumes and you have to shout at Thing 2, from six inches away, if you want him to hear what you’re saying.”

And THAT is how today came to pass.

img_7946Thing 2 and his curly mop went in for the second set of ear tubes and to get his adenoids out.

After surgery, our doctor announced, “His ears were full of Jell-O pus and green slime.”

Which, you know, is exactly what I didn’t need to hear.

Thing 2 came out of recovery, crying and telling everyone who would listen that his ears hurt and his nose hurt, and HUSH, BOY, BECAUSE MAMA’S HEART ALREADY BROKE WHEN SHE SENT YOU BACK TO SURGERY, AND NOW I CAN’T TAKE YOUR SOBS OF PAIN WITHOUT MY HEART EXPLODING IN SADNESS.

He also came out of recovery WITHOUT his hospital gown.  The anesthesiologist told us later, “He woke up and wanted that gown OFF.  He kept saying that he couldn’t stand it, and he undressed himself!”  I’m sure that had everything to do with the fact that BEFORE surgery, he complained that it looked like a nightGOWN, which is what GIRLS wear.

img_7950Little Cousin H came up to the hospital to visit Thing 2.

She sat on his bed and gently patted him, and made my heart swell with joy over their friendship and how the two of them take care of each other.

img_7949After surgery, he only wanted Mam to hold him, because grandmas trump moms sometimes.

img_7952And then, after he’d crunched an entire Styrofoam cup filled with ice and eaten an orange Popsicle and guzzled some apple juice, we got to take the little man home.

He spent the day on the down-low.  We sat and read books.  And then we read some more books.  And then some more books.  And then, when I thought we’d read all the books we owned, Thing 2 found some more books to read, so we read those, too.

While we were in the rocking chair, reading, Thing 2 sat up and hollered, “What’s that sound?”  It was the bubbles in his fish aquarium, which sits in his bedroom.  He was stunned that it was making noise.  When he went to the bathroom, the overhead light-and-fan combo was TOO loud.  He needed it SHUT OFF, because he had to cover his ears otherwise, which is why he pottied in the dark.

I’m going to venture a guess and say that he probably wouldn’t flunk his hearing test today!

After we read a mountainous stack of books, we watched TV.

And then we read some of the same books AGAIN.

And then we watched some more TV.

And then by 3:30 this afternoon, Thing 2 started to get perky again.  He was up, assembling train tracks across his bedroom floor and pushing his train engines all over the place.

Tubes 2016 is going to be good to us; I can already tell.

Thank you for praying for our wee little man.

 

Ear Tubes, Round Two

Well, I pretty much had a fun day, and it had nothing to do with the election results.  We played a game in PE today that involved loud, LOUD music over the sound system, with running and hula hoops.  We had a blast, and I ended up with several spontaneous dance parties on the side of the gym.  I had five second-grade girls belting out the lyrics to Fight Song with me, at the top of our lungs.  We’re all pretty certain that we’re ready for American Idol now, which is saying something, because singing has never been my spiritual gift.  However, with the speakers that hang from the gym ceiling playing music at a volume that’s usually reserved for basketball practice warmups, we got after it and sang our hearts out.  Plus, I found out that I’m fairly decent at backup singing for eight-year-olds.

At recess, I got right in the middle of the boys’ football game.  They awarded me the spot of quarterback, and I’m going to go ahead and brag:  My spiral throw was spot-on today!  Peyton Manning would have stood up and clapped, and asked me for advice on finger placement and wrist-flicking.  Plus, one of the second grade boys told me, “You throw awesome… FOR A GIRL!”  Considering that second grade boys do their very level best to stay away from girls, I chalked that up as one BIG compliment.  They all asked me to play football with them again tomorrow at recess, and there were even hints that I was the first-round draft choice.  I broke their hearts when I told them that I’m not at the school on Thursdays.

My PE classes were sweaty and happy, today.  I’m calling it a total Gym Day Win, which is good, considering that Hubs and the boy stayed up until 1 AM, watching election results, which is the exact time that they woke me AND Thing 2 up by using their OUTDOOR VOICES.  Do you know how happy the mama bear is at 1:00 in the morning, when she and the baby cub have been woken up?

Right.

NOT HAPPY.

Thankfully, Hubs made amends first thing this morning by making me a cup of coffee at 6:30, after I’d had to spend an hour and a half convincing Thing 2 that NO, SON, IT IS NOT MORNING, EVEN THOUGH THE LIVING ROOM LIGHTS AND THE TV WERE BOTH ON.  WE ARE NOT GETTING UP RIGHT NOW.  NO, WE ARE NOT HAVING BREAKFAST RIGHT NOW.  NO, YOU MAY NOT PLAY WITH YOUR TRAINS RIGHT NOW.

Anyway.

Our little man is heading into the hospital tomorrow for surgery.  He’s having his SECOND SET of tubes put in his ears, and getting his adenoids out, because that’s what we like to spend our money on, right before Christmas.  Hello, giant insurance deductible!  We meet again.

That little firecracker of ours is a blessing to us.  He keeps us hopping… keeps us laughing… keeps us dying our hair brown… with all of his antics, but sweet mercy!  We love him to the moon and beyond, times infinity.  And I tend to get a little nervous with the anesthesia, and the fact that OUR BABY IS HAVING SURGERY… AGAIN.

So… y’all are just more than welcome to say a prayer… or nineteen… for Thing 2 for us.  We are just asking Jesus to hold that little fellow’s hand during surgery and let everything go real nice-like.

Thanks.  We appreciate and covet your prayers.

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Puke And Fluffy Hair

If you want to know how my day has gone, let me just say this one thing:  By 7:45 this morning, I had already reheated my cup of coffee in the microwave THREE ENTIRE TIMES.

And then I walked out of my house at 8:15 this morning, leaving half of that same cup of coffee behind… in the mug… on the kitchen counter.

One of my four-year-old, pre-kindergarten kiddos threw up all over herself and my gym floor in PE.  It was one of those barfs that make you just want to burn the building down and leave, because HOW?  HOW CAN YOU CLEAN SOMETHING UP LIKE THAT?!  And now, on my list of things to be thankful for in November, I have to add OUR SCHOOL JANITOR.  She just happened to walk by the gym as I was digging around in her supply closet for bleach, a mop, and Valium.  And then she said, “I’ll get it.  That’s my job, and puke doesn’t bother me at all.  BOOGERS bother me; puke is an easy cleanup!”

I had to leave the gym, because what I didn’t find in the cleaning closet was a gas mask.

And then I left school this afternoon to go vote.

I voted for Jesus.  He just seemed like the best choice to make.

But then I came home to a roast in the crockpot, because listen:  In the middle of my frantic effort to reheat my coffee three times and get mascara on and squirt perfume all over myself, Hubs managed to throw a roast on for dinner.

So now he’s on my thankful list, too.

I don’t know what it is about coming home to a crockpot dinner after a long day, but it makes me feel like all the world is going to be okay again.

And I also feel like a mother who is on the top of her Dinner Game.

So there’s the crockpot to be thankful for, too.

In other news, we use a lot of hair product around here on Thing 2.  He has this mane of curly-curly curls.  The only way to keep it in line is to encourage it NOT TO FLUFF by smearing in the goop.  We use the gels… we use the mousses… we use the lotions and the potions and the creams.  It all works very well, because HAVE YOU SEEN HOW CUTE HE IS WITH HIS CURLY MOP OF HAIR?

img_3817 img_3814When we don’t use the goop, Thing 2’s hair kind of fluffs out, like a dandelion that has gone to seed.

dandelion_gone_to_seed___02And then… sometimes… we bribe Thing 2 to let us BRUSH his hair.

Last week was one of those SOMETIMES.

The boy had bubblegum; Thing 2 wanted bubblegum.  The boy offered the bubblegum for a chance to brush Thing 2’s hair.  Thing 2 said NOT A CHANCE.  The boy kept the bubblegum to himself.  Thing 2 still wanted the bubblegum.  So, in a manner exactly like a shady deal going down beneath an underpass at midnight on a rainy night, Thing 2 agreed.

Bubblegum for the hairbrush.

The boy brushed out those curls, until they fluffed real nice-like.

And then the boy stuck a MAN-BUN in Thing 2’s hair!

img_3384 img_3386I am NOT a fan of the man-buns.  I just can’t wrap my head around that fashion trend at all, and… thankfully… Thing 2 wasn’t a fan, either.

When he realized what the boy was doing, he yelled out, “This is a girl’s hairdo!  I hate it!”  And that’s when he pushed the negotiations straight to TWO PIECES OF BUBBLEGUM.

I was actually a little surprised that he let me take pictures of the man-bun, when it was in place.  To say our preschooler hated it is the understatement of 2016.  Glory, glory and also hallelujah!  We don’t have to worry about the little man following that hairstyle movement with gusto.

And, as much as he’ll roll his eyes back in his head when he’s thirteen and sees these pictures of his fluffy hair, he did grin nicely for me after having his hair brushed into something reminiscent of the Harlem Globetrotters in the ’70s.

img_3392 img_3388 img_3396 img_3401And THAT is why we use the little bottles of goop every morning at our house!

Happy Election Day, y’all.

Hubs’ Birthday Weekend, 2016

Well, another birthday weekend has come to an end, because, with all the enthusiasm of flat tires, flu shots, bloody noses, and PMS, Monday always rolls around.

Also?  It has been forty-eight hours, and Hubs’ Honda is still covered in SPF-75 sunscreen.  Apparently, Coppertone takes WATERPROOF to a level that the Navy and every submarine ever invented wishes they could achieve.

What?  The Red October has sprung a leak?  Well, let me spray some of this sunscreen all over it, and we’ll be good to cross the entire Atlantic before our next maintenance checkup.

In other words, Hubs’ new favorite pastime is watching You Tube videos on HOW TO REMOVE SUNSCREEN FROM THE SIDES OF VEHICLES.  The good news is that videos on this topic actually exist, and there are literally thousands of people who have written in with advice on message boards, so I feel like we are standing on a firm platform of MY KID SPRAYED COPPERTONE ALL OVER OUR HONDA, TOO.  We are not alone in this, and have many parents standing shoulder-to-shoulder with us in support, across the globe.

God bless the You Tube.  I don’t know how we managed to survive as a species before its invention.

Anyway.

On Saturday, Hubs woke up, another year older.  We celebrated his birthday with a few gifts at home, with coffee in our hands.  And then, we raked leaves.

Adulting is hard.  When you’re an adult, you sometimes have to spend your birthday raking leaves, because it’s the one window of great weekend weather you have, before winter hits.

We pretty much live in Sherwood Forest, if you want to know how many leaves we have on our little chunk of property.  Remember when God told Abraham that He was going to bless him with descendants?  And that his descendants would be greater than the stars in the sky and the sand on the shores?  God should have added, “And my blessing to you will be descendants more numerous than the leaves in the yard of Hubs and Mama.”

Leaves from our yard alone will be responsible for providing Small Town, USA with 97% of its mulch, come spring.  In other words, “You’re welcome, gardeners!

The boy loves to drive the riding lawn mower over the leaves, which instantly picks them up, grinds them into brown powder, and deposits them in a giant set of buckets on the back, which can be dumped in the green waste dumpster across the street from our house.  The only downfall is that the boy has mild asthma, which is always triggered by dust.

Always.

This year, our kid kept himself from drastically wheezing by tying a kitchen dish towel around his face, exactly like John Wayne would’ve done it.

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Mild asthma will not stand in the way of driving a riding lawn mower!

Of course, Thing 2 mooched numerous rides with his Bubbie all afternoon.

image1 img_7905When he wasn’t riding on the mower with his big brother, Thing 2 helped out by hauling leaves in his Tonka dump truck.  The truck and the dirt and the uncountable dead leaves kept that preschooler of ours busy for hours and hours…

… and HOURS.

(He DID take a few breaks to ride his bike up and down the driveway, which is why he needed his MINJUN Turtle bike helmet.)

img_3625 img_3627 img_3634 img_3642 img_3647 img_3660 img_3662 img_3664 img_3669 img_3670 img_3689 img_3696 img_3710And then…

… well…

… Thing 2 owns every piece of heavy machinery a boy could ever hope to own, EXCEPT a giant snowplow.

He has dump trucks and graders.  He has backhoes, excavators, bobcats, combines, tractors, trailers and front end loaders.

What he DOESN’T HAVE is a snowplow.

And what he thought would be QUITE USEFUL on Saturday was…

… a snowplow.

So he made his own, by hooking a giant snow shovel onto his dump truck.  And then he pushed that dump truck for six hundred and ninety-three miles, scooping leaves with the shovel.

img_3703By the time Hubs and the boys were ready to call it quits for the day, Thing 2 looked like he’d been digging in a coal mine for a week without a bath.  I’m not sure that ANY snapshot will be able to convey exactly how dirty our four-year-old was, but listen:

WE HAD RIVERS OF DIRT IN THE SHOWER THAT EVENING.

Rivers.

Of the dirt.

img_3720But that small boy of ours was happy and exhausted.

After showers on Saturday evening, we met Hubs’ parents in the city for pizza.  None of our crew had eaten lunch, because no one would come inside long enough to let me make them a sandwich.  By the time we hit the pizza joint, I had three starving boys who were ready to eat like a pack of Great White Sharks.

Grammy ordered three appetizers and two large pizzas.  Honestly, I surveyed all that food and thought, “We could feed the entire restaurant with the stuff on our table!”

And then my three boys made it all disappear like a pride of lions who have just brought down a wildebeest.  The boy was so hungry, he actually ate little bread balls filled with hamburger AND SAUERKRAUT!!!

THE BOY WILLINGLY ATE SAUERKRAUT!

If that doesn’t explain his level of HUNGRY, nothing will, because our boy doesn’t touch sauerkraut.

And neither does his mama, for that matter.

Ewwww!!!!

After dinner, we all waddled home.  Grammy and Papa joined us at our house for a chocolate, Denver Bronco cake, which I forgot to take a picture of.

img_3721 img_3722 img_3727There were more presents for Hubs to open, but none will top Thing 2’s gift to him of PAINTING HIS HONDA WHITE WITH A BOTTLE OF COPPERTONE SUNSCREEN.

Happy Monday night, y’all.

 

 

 

The Extra Hour

How did y’all spend your extra hour today, after moving your clocks back last night?

Hubs and I spent OUR extra hour in the usual way… just celebrating the fact that we have children…. by cleaning up an entire bottle of Johnson’s and Johnson’s Baby Powder that exploded all over a bedroom.

That’s right, folks.  AN ENTIRE BOTTLE.  Not just part of a bottle.  Not just half of a bottle.  No, ma’am.  It was EVERY LAST DROP OF A FULL BOTTLE OF POWDER, because OF COURSE IT WAS.

Of.  Course.  It.  Was.

Thing 2, you see, found a bottle from the olden days of his babyhood…

… and then he poured half of it into the fish aquarium…

… while he poured the second half into his giant John Deere combine.

And then he drove that combine all over his bedroom.  The laws of physics state that if you drive a powder-filled toy combine at the speed of a NASCAR in a medium-sized room, said powder will fling out.  This results in powder settling on the dresser, the bed, the train table, the bookcase, the floor, the rug, the rocking chair, all the books, the windowsill, the door, and every toy in the toy box.

In other words… YES!  It took an entire hour for Hubs and I to drain the fish aquarium, clean it out, refill it, and mop up baby powder, but the good news is this:

Thing 2’s bedroom is spic-and-span right now.  It’s freshly mopped.  It’s freshly scrubbed.  The fish tank is full of fresh water.  All of the toys have been wiped down with Clorox wipes.  He has fresh bedding on his bed.

And I will never buy another bottle of baby powder for as long as I live.

Bless.

It will also be quite a while before I can bring myself to buy another bottle of spray sunscreen, too.

Why?

Well, because YESTERDAY Thing 2 found a nice bottle of SPF-75, with a spray top, while we were all working outside in the yard.

And then he very proudly — OH!!! SO!!! VERY!!! PROUDLY!!! — sprayed the entire driver’s side of Hubs’ car with it.  He announced, “Hey, Dad!  Come check this out!  I just painted your car WHITE for you!   You’re gonna LOVE IT, DAD!  I did it for your birthday present!”

Do you know how easily sunscreen comes off of a Honda?

That would be NOT EASILY AT ALL.

Half a bottle of Dawn dish soap and two trips to the car wash later, and we can STILL see the WHITE BIRTHDAY PAINT.

In other news… we still love that small fry… and I guess we’ll still keep him…. but feel free to drop bottles of wine off at our house.

HAPPY EXTRA-HOUR DAY, Y’ALL!

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