Mama Had a Camera This Weekend

Our weekend has been one of those weekends, where we used our house more like a hotel room: We slept here. We showered here. And that was it.

I wanted to order in room service, but then I remembered that I’m actually the cook here, and I couldn’t muster up the energy to throw something together in the kitchen, so I bought 89-cent burritos at Taco Bell for my family to eat. I am hoping that there was at least some nutritional value in them; the meat group was represented, and I’m pretty sure that we had some dairy in there, in the form of cheese.

I also wanted to have the maids come in and make the beds and lay out fresh towels for our showers, but then I remembered that I’m also the maid here. So basically, this was a weekend in a hotel where I was the one doing all the work, and I didn’t leave a chocolate mint on my pillow for myself.

The boy came home from school on Thursday with strep throat. Six kids in his classroom went down with it between Tuesday and Friday; that’s a full one-third of their classroom! We’ve suggested a little substance known as Clorox Bleach to their teacher.

I picked the boy up from school at 2:00 on Thursday, and we zipped straight up to his pediatrician’s office for a throat culture, where we confirmed the dreaded bacteria. And then, on the way home from the doctor’s office, the boy shouted out from the backseat of our Suburban, “I’m going to puke! Right now!” I’m not sure that I have ever hit the brakes and yanked a vehicle over to the side of the road faster than I did on Thursday afternoon. The boy and I hopped out, where he proceeded to puke his guts out for ten full minutes on the side of the road. Naturally, this was a rather busy road. Naturally, it was 5:10 in the evening. Naturally, there were a few nuts who honked at us. Hubs, who cannot endure another puking human being without puking himself, slumped down in the Suburban, squeezed his eyes shut, and tried to conjure up his happy place, while I stood with the boy in the knee-high weeds along the roadside and let him empty his stomach.

On my arm.

Which was an accident.

Which, naturally, Hubs did not want to hear about.

The boy ended up throwing up so hard, he broke lots of little blood vessels around his eyes. The poor dear.

He spent Friday laying in a heap under a blanket on our sofa, where he proceeded to watch ten uninterrupted hours’ worth of TV.

Mmm-hmm. Ten. Hours. It’s all the kid felt like doing on Friday.

By Friday night, though, his antibiotics had kicked in, and he was good to go. By Saturday morning, he was a new person, with tons of energy, and no desire to watch TV at all.

And since the boy was bouncing off of our walls, and since our nephews were playing in the state soccer tournament (which Small Town, USA was hosting), we ventured — into the rain! — to watch the boys play.

For a while now, I’ve been laboring to improve my photography skills, so I set some goals on Saturday: I wanted to attempt to get blurry backgrounds, with crisp subjects, and I wanted some decent action photos, which weren’t blurred out.

And I wanted to stay dry, because I am not a fan of being out in nature in the drip and the drizzle.

You know, my action photography tends to be an unidentifiable streak of something blue on the Kodak paper, which was really a soccer player running across the field. Pictures like that never win blue ribbons at the State Fairs, so my goal has been to get better in this area.

Usually, though, trying to understand apertures and film speed and shutter speed makes me so dizzy, I just sit down with a Starbucks cup and throw the camera aside, and try to take big gulps of air — in through the nose, out through the mouth. It’s how I deal with my lack of photography skillz. And, for some reason, sitting in the grass with a single-shot latte while my camera has been given up on and tossed into a bag seldom helps me improve those skillz.

But look!

Our nephew, H, was running at full-on, high speed in this shot! He’s not a blue-and-yellow blur!

H’s team, by the way, rocks! This is his last year of playing traveling soccer, because next year he’ll move onto the (gasp!) high school team. (How can he be headed to high school already? The crazy kid should still be wearing diapers and letting me snuggle him!)

And look again! H was running like the Energizer Bunny on plutonium batteries, and this picture is sort of clear!

Here are the big boys, wrinkling their noses over a call made by the referees in H’s game. (This is Hubs, his dad, and his brother, Brother Joel. Brother Joel is much nicer than Brother.)

The boy and his cousin, M, aren’t on a traveling team, so they were simply bopping around the sidelines of all the soccer games on Saturday, laughing like crazy and trying to stay dry. (Go ahead and say, “Wow! That’s one blurry background, and the boys are sort of crisp!” Totally rocked it, didn’t I? Of course, I’m pretty sure that it was a complete accident!)

And here’s the boy’s cousin, R. R is my hug-buddy. I’m not sure anyone can give a hug like this little lady can! Isn’t she darling? (And may I present this photo as Exhibit B in the blurry backgrounds? Another accidental achievement.)

The boy’s cousin, Miss A, had a green umbrella. It had a funky little button on it, which the boy was mesmerized with. His heart’s desire on Saturday was to steal Miss A’s umbrella away and dismantle the handle, to see how the button made the thing open and close. He spent most of the morning waiting for Miss A to set her umbrella down, so that he could swipe it for a close examination.

Eventually, everyone made a fort out of all the umbrellas. Miss A had shared her green one with the boy and let him appease his mechanical curiosity. Of course, he was not at all pleased with how the girls had engineered their umbrella fort, because he saw structural flaws, so he encouraged them all to just get inside and let him take over with the construction phase of things. The boy is a superb architect and an excellent builder, and he saw grave errors in their initial tries at a solid rain shelter. By the time the boy and his cousin, M, were done, the girls were nestled in, snug as a bug and completely dry from the rain.

This is the boy. And this is one incredibly blurry background! I could just squeal with delight at getting it right this weekend!

Eventually, we left H’s game, and we moved on to watch the smaller boys play. The boy’s cousin, B, is the same age as the boy, and he takes his soccer very, very seriously. Here he is, watching a shot he just fired off. (Oh my! Is that another blurry background?! Why, I think it might be!)

B is also a very quick little runner, and look! He’s not a blur of blueness! (And also? Here is my personal theory: If you’re a boy, and your bangs are so long that you have to wear an actual headband sold for girls to keep the hair out of your eyeballs while you play soccer, then maybe it’s high time you sat down in your barber’s chair and paid him to work his scissor magic on you. I’m just sayin’, Mr. White Jersey! You were a great soccer player, but the headband was a little over the top, for a boy. B, I’m so glad that you play headband-free soccer!)

This is the boy’s ten-year-old cousin, W. Look at that expression of determination. And look at that blurry background! (Sigh!)

W can boot a soccer ball into next week. If we were ever in a kickball tournament, W would be my first draft choice to be on my team. I’m sure that when W comes up to kick in a high-paced kickball game, the other team shouts out, “Move back!” W totally rocked his defensive position.

After we’d watched all of the boy’s cousins play soccer, we moved on to another game, where we watched some of his good buddies play. This is the boy and Carter. Carter had strep throat this week, too, and he was powerfully happy about feeling better in time to play soccer.

Look! It’s Carter, and he’s not a blue blur! Photography goal achieved!

This is Carter’s serious soccer face.

We also got to see the boy’s friend, Jaron, play a little soccer this weekend.

And we got to see Nate, the Great Goalie, in action, too.

Eventually, Hubs and I gave up on the rain on Saturday. We made a final stop at the neighbor’s house, because our cute neighbor boy’s oldest brother was graduating from high school this weekend, so we made a short-lived appearance at his party. And then we went home, soaking wet, and called it a day, because we had to move on to Sunday, which was equally as busy as Saturday.

I had forgotten until about 8:00 on Saturday night that I had agreed to teach the boy’s Sunday School class at church, since his regular teacher was planning to be out of town today. This caused a smidgen of panic in my heart, as I realized that the lesson I had to work with was a bit lengthy and a bit detailed, so I did what I had to do.

I told the little group of Sunday Schoolers, “Listen. We’re watching a movie today on Daniel and the lion’s den.” I was unprepared, and I felt awful, because the boy’s Sunday School teacher is one of those amazing women whose Sunday School class is sweet perfection. And here I was, bailing out of her lesson plans and showing a movie. I hung my head in shame.

But sometimes God is just awfully good, because two minutes after we got started this morning, my friend Sierra (who teaches the first grade Sunday School class) knocked on the door of our classroom and said, “We’d like to invite you to a little party in our classroom. We’ve been studying servant hood, and we’d like to wash your class’s feet and eat a Passover feast with you. Oh, and the Passover feast consists of ice cream sundaes and nothing else!”

Score! We flipped our movie off, and we marched ourselves down the hallway, and the morning was utter perfection, as Sierra’s class washed the toes of the kids in my class, even though they all groaned and said, “This is so gross!” I snapped a few pictures with my cell phone, since I didn’t have my camera with me, but we all know that God in all His glory is the only one who knows where the cable to my phone is sitting, so I can’t post those snapshots on the blog.

And, when everyone’s toes were squeaky clean, and when everyone had washed their hands, Sierra laid out the world’s largest ice cream sundae bar, and the kids feasted like kings and queens. At one point, I told the boy, “Please put some bananas into your sundae; you could use some fruit in that sugary mess.” The boy gazed upon my face like I’d sprouted horns and scales and said, “I don’t want to ruin this sundae with fruit, Mom!” Well, of course he didn’t. Sugar is the boy’s favorite food group.

After church, Hubs and the boy and I hustled out of town — out into the country! — because our friend, Bridget, was getting married! Do you remember the boy’s good friend, Ben? Well, Bridget is Ben’s mama, and she had a little outdoor wedding today, and it was beautiful! Yesterday’s rain cleared up, the sky was so blue and dazzling it almost hurt your eyes, and the hills where she got married were lush and green and breath-taking.

This is the local posse of outlaws, better known as Eli, Ben and the boy. The boy decided that since Ben was going to be dressed to the nines for his mama’s wedding, he would dress up, too. He wore his suit, and spent the majority of the afternoon moaning about how hot he was, even though I had warned him that he’d roast in it, and I had encouraged him to wear a short-sleeved shirt. No matter. He prefers not to ruin his sundaes with fruit, and he likes to realize, all on his own, that a sport coat on a beautiful day makes you sweat.

This is the boy and Ben, standing in the hills. They later went on to strip their sport coats and vests off, and they began having shoot-outs, using sticks as guns. They’d stand, back-to-back, and then they’d each walk their separate way, counting off ten paces, before they’d turn and fire at one another with their stick guns. I am very sad to report that the boy would continually spin around after the third step was counted off, point his stick at Ben’s back and yell out, “Boom!” Clearly, he has no gentleman’s etiquette, where duals are concerned. I think it’s called cheating.

And here’s Bridget, getting a good, old-fashioned, frightfully LONG smooch from Nathan. This snapshot was just too cute not to post!

And now, after a fun reception in the big barn, we’re home. We’re exhausted after our weekend. Our house is in shambles, as we didn’t take any time to put anything away, and the maids did not sneak in and tidy up while we were out.

We’re all looking forward to a good night’s sleep around here, and a lazy Memorial Day.

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