This week has seemed exceptionally long, which… WHY? It started on a Tuesday, and shouldn’t that simple fact have gotten the ball rolling a bit? After two full days of little kids running wild in my gym and getting back to the reality that YES, WE HAVE SECOND GRADERS WHO CANNOT TIE THEIR OWN PE SHOES, as I sit and take knots out of shoestrings and help get little feet into little sneakers, I realized that the feeling of WOW! THIS WEEK HAS BEEN LONG, doesn’t bode well for all the other weeks that we have to get through before summer vacation starts itself up again.
And I know. The sentence structure up there is sub-par. What it really needs is a strict, old-school English professor to tackle it with a red marker, but whatever. The glorious thing about having your college diploma is that you can smash words together however you choose and call them sentences, because you’ve already done your time at writing research papers.
It’s attitudes like mine that will cause the collapse of the Sound Writing Infrastructure in this great nation.
But then the attitude of one of my pre-kindergarten kiddos this week wasn’t much better. He came into the gym all sleepy-eyed, with a big red mark across his forehead that seemed to indicate he’d slept on his arm during nap time, and his hair was sticking out in forty-eleven different directions. It was a bedhead to be proud of. After I’d helped him get his shoes tied, he looked at me and said, “I like gym the best. You don’t have to do hard stuff here.”
I asked him if he had to do hard stuff in his classroom, and he replied, “Yes. My teacher told us to think of two words that started with an A, and I only know Alligator. I don’t know any other A words, and it’s too hard.”
I thought about telling him how one day’s he’s going to be much taller and have to tackle meiosis and mitosis, but we’ll save that nightmare for him to face another day.
What I’ve been exceptionally good at lately is taking pictures of everything we do in our lives… and then those snapshots never make it to the blog. I’ve been a terrible blogger lately, but it’s just hard stuff.
But today, let’s focus on summer vacation, where our hearts really live.
The week before school started, our good friends, Scott and Christy, decided to host a homemade ice cream party. Their ice cream churns were screaming out for attention and rock salt. Christy heard the cries of the churns, and she made some phone calls.
“Come over for ice cream,” she said.
What she didn’t say was, “There will be angry wasps, too, so come with a mental game plan on how to defeat them.”
With thoughts of school on our immediate horizon, we were most definitely up for a last summer hoorah. The kids were all eager to turn the handles on the ice cream makers, exactly like their great-great-grandmothers had done in ye days of olde, because it was such a novelty. And do you know what? The adults were more than happy to turn the ice cream production over to the children, while we sat in lawn chairs to talk and swat wasps like crazed lunatics.
This is Scott. As much as he looks like a Robertson… and as hot as his wife is and as much as Jesus lives in his heart… he’s NOT a member of the Duck Dynasty clan. I thought I should be clear on that, because I’m sure some of you will ask, “Yeah, can I get that fellow on your blog to send me a couple of duck calls?”
This is Janie. She’s Scott and Christy’s daughter, who came to their family all the way from China. Whenever I’m around her, my heart melts into puddles of gooey glop, because she is precious, y’all. I usually end up grabbing her to clutch her tight, until she gasps for breath and says, “Can I get down now?”
When the kids weren’t turning the ice cream handles, they caught Christy’s chickens, because Christy thinks she’s Ma Ingalls living on the prairie. A crazy little secret is that I wish WE had chickens at OUR house, because I covet those organic eggs they lay. But what I don’t covet is the hen house and all the SHOVELING OF THE CHICKEN POOP that takes place. Christy is quick to assure me that THIS IS WHY SHE AND SCOTT HAD SONS, but all I can hear happening at my house is, “Why do I have to shovel the chicken poop? Why can’t Thing 2 do it? Why do you give me all the slave labor jobs? I don’t even like chickens!” And that, people, is what keeps us from building a coop of our own and just going for the home-laid, organic eggs ourselves.
When the children’s arms began to tire on the ice cream cranks, Christy was always quick to pat a back and say, “No. You cannot stop. We all want the ice cream, and it isn’t going to churn itself. Keep going. Think your happy thoughts and keep that handle in motion. There is no ice cream for lazy kids.”
Deedan showed us his muscles and insisted that he’d just be having another protein shake, instead of ice cream, and maybe he’d throw in a couple or six of his mama’s organic egg yolks for added measure.
Some families like to hide their crazy and keep it from public view, but not us. We parade our crazy around on a leash and tell it to smile for the camera! Aren’t they cute? The kids in this pack were all hard fought for. They have parents who wanted them and parents who had to wait years and years to get them; they have parents who overcame health problems to get these kids here, and parents who waited for sweet forevers for adoptions to go through, and we cherish and love them all… funny faces and everything!
Thing 2 has been dubbed The Hulk, because look at him! There are only four months between Cousin H (the oldest) and Janie (the youngest). Thing 2 is three months younger than Cousin H, and a month older than Janie. Thing 2 weighs 41 pounds. Cousin H weighs in the very low thirties. Janie, bless her heart, weighs 22 entire pounds. Picking her up is like picking up cotton candy.
In other words, THING 2 WILL PROTECT THESE LITTLE LADIES! He’s got the bulk and the hulk to do it, and he loves a good fistfight once in a while. Janie and Little H will be well taken care of, with our boy around. Jesus has given him the strength and the know-how to watch out for his people.
The ice cream that the kids FINALLY managed to get done was delicious. We all sat around in lawn chairs and gobbled it up, alongside a homemade cake that Christy pulled off, because she’s Betty Crocker. Her love language is LET ME SHARE THE SUGAR AND THE BUTTER WITH THE WORLD. We swatted wasps until our arms ached, and only one little muffin got stung.
And then the kids decided to throw rocks into the river, which YAY! Throw those rocks. Except Deedan kind of got his head in the way of a launched rock. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a forehead come into close contact with a flying rock the size of a fifty-cent piece, but what usually ends up happening is the head splits in two.
Did he need stitches?
Yes. Yes, he did. But, as luck would have it, we had A DENTIST in our midst, and do you know what dentists know how to do really well? They know how to apply butterfly bandages and generic superglue, so that folks can avoid an ER trip on a Sunday evening. We think our good friend, the dentist, should go into plastic surgery, because Deed’s split head healed exceptionally well.
And that ended the party. It’s always just best to go home when someone is bleeding out and the dentist is trying to get superglue into the gash, as he holds the two flaps of flopping skin together.
We’re all on a countdown around here for NEXT summer vacation already… and all the homemade ice cream we’re going to make the kids churn out for us!