Our weather apps seem to indicate that by Tuesday of this week, we’ll be bringing out the raincoats and putting stews in the crockpot. This is seldom a good sign in October, because late-fall rain in Small Town, USA usually translates into “here comes the snow.” I’m quite a fan of just that first snowfall, and no more after that, because old age will simply destroy your love for Siberian winters. I really hate to see this fall end.
Because, sweet mercy! It has been one glorious fall in these parts!
We spent plenty of time outside this weekend, too.
On Friday afternoon, my friend Heather and I met at McDonald’s with our littles, because we are great fans of processed, greasy, GMO-packed, cheap food, all of which is served with a giant beverage and a bottomless ketchup dispenser nearby. Actually, this is not entirely the truth, because what Heather and I are truly fans of is a good caprese salad, with fresh tomatoes and peaches and basil leaves, drizzled with a beautiful balsamic reduction sauce, but good luck finding a posh little place that serves one of those AND comes with an attached, germ-laced playland for the preschool crowd.
So… we fed our little people chicken nuggets and patted ourselves on the backs for the very wise, nutritional choices of COLD MILK and 100% PURE APPLE JUICE, instead of root beers, because we are GOOD MOTHERS. And then we sat at a table in the playland and subjected ourselves to an hour and a half of Thing 2 using his outdoor voice in the echoing cavern of the tubes and tunnels, while we talked nonstop about everything from What Are Christians To Do With Halloween to What Do You Think About Rearranging Living Room Furniture?
We are skilled enough to be able to discuss everything, even in the middle of constant noise.
After our lunch, Thing 2 and I kept the fun rolling. I brought him home, and we took the Tonka trucks outside to create a construction zone in our backyard, complete with BEEP, BEEP, BEEPS whenever Thing 2 backed one of his trucks up. Realistic sound effects will catapult you to the very top of life, y’all.
Later that evening, we sent the boy to the high school football game, while Hubs and I completely threw it under the bus, opting out. Sometimes, adults get to say, “Our day is full, and what we don’t need is one more thing to do.” And that, people, is how I came to put the preschooler in bed early, right before I set up base camp on my sofa with my book and reading glasses.
(The reading glasses. I’m sorry, younger girls, but you will embrace them in your forties. Buy a cute pair, because you’ll be wearing them to see everything written in a font smaller than size 392.)
The boy ended up at a slumber party after the game, because high school is a time for an extensive social life.
In other words, Friday was pretty much perfect… EXCEPT FOR THAT PART WHERE THE BOY CAME HOME AND ANNOUNCED THAT HE LOST HIS RETAINER AT THE FOOTBALL GAME WHILE HE WAS EATING PIZZA.
You know, what with his braces having been off for ten entire days.
This is why Hubs and I only have two children; we cannot afford another one.
On Saturday, we picked up leaves. It’s because somebody had a vision of building a house smack in the middle of Sherwood Forrest, which is perfectly lovely in the summer, when the temperature is 94, but NEVER YOU MIND, BECAUSE TREES, TREES, GLORIOUS TREES ALL AROUND!
(Well… trees and central air conditioning. Thank you, Jesus, for the luxuries.)
The only downfall to living in the middle of the forest filled with MATURE TREES is a little season called FALL, when the leaves change colors and… you know… drop to the ground in an attempt to completely litter your yard, to a depth of four feet. This is exactly the point in my life that I envy folks who chose to build houses in new subdivisions, where the only trees are as big around as pencils, because FRESHLY PLANTED! These homeowners require a rake, ten minutes, and a single Walmart bag to collect their leaves, and then BINGO! They’re on to the next adventure in their lives, while Hubs and I are still scooping leaves with a giant trashcan.
Yes. A trashcan.
It’s because when the first leaf pile, which is twenty-seven feet long, six feet wide, and four feet tall, has been collected, via the rakes and leaf blowers, it’s just easiest to hold a plastic garbage can that can comfortably hold both of your children in it at once like an ice cream scoop and run it through the heap.
Over… and over… and over.
Then the trashcan is dumped into the back of Hubs’ truck, for a trip to the green waste dumpster.
This process will be repeated six times, which will cause us to hate our friends with the two trees as big around as drinking straws in their backyard.
And then the real fun starts, because what we picked up on Saturday was just the beginning wave. We still have half of our trees clutching their leaves like shawls on an old woman’s shoulders. We’ll be repeating this process again.
And then again again.
Now this is the spot in the blog post where I get to brag about being ORGANIZED and ON TOP OF MY GAME. On Saturday evening, I met my friend, Susan, who is the queen of PhotoShop, and she designed our family’s Christmas cards around pictures that I took of the Sons of Thunder last weekend. We talked a mile a minute over Starbucks drinks, while we pondered DO YOU LIKE THIS FONT? and WHAT ABOUT NAVY EMBOSSING HERE? In the end, Susan created another masterpiece (she does every single year for us), and we hit the button labeled ORDER.
Our family’s Christmas cards will be here in four business days, and I can’t help the feeling that I should be writing a self-help book entitled, STAYING ON TOP OF THE HOLIDAYS.
This morning, we went to church.
Because Thing 2 spent all of yesterday outside in the glorious fall weather, he managed to run forty-nine entire miles in a pair of Crocs, which wore a blister on his foot. He limped into church like a Purple Heart victim, until I took pity on him and dug through a cabinet in the nursery, looking for a band-aide. What I came up with was a Hello, Kitty band-aide. I held it up and showed it to him, and he squealed with delight. I said, “Hello, Kitty is kind of for girls.” That kid of ours looked me right in the eyes and said, “Well, if you don’t find one with guns and combines on it, I can wear Hello, Kitty.”
He also has forty-one pounds of muscle mass behind that pink band-aide and a perfected left punch, if anyone wants to point it out in the preschool room down the hall. It ain’t nothing for our boy to be in a church brawl.
After church, we met some good friends of ours in the park, where we lingered over sandwiches and salads for two and a half hours, while our boys ran and ran. It was referred to as OPERATION EXHAUST THEM FOR BEDTIME TONIGHT. Our friends’ nine-year-old twin sons run hard, climb high, and jump from the tops of skyscrapers, so Thing 2 just followed suit. The grand finale to our afternoon outing was when they managed to catch a wasp in an apple juice bottle and recap it.
And then… I’m sorry, insect lovers… but those three boys shook that bottle like a carnival ride, until the nasty wasp locked inside cried out, “Uncle.”
Of course, that was just moments before the paramedics called his time of death.
It’s how things are done in the Wild West.
And THAT, people, pretty much sums up our entire weekend.
We are dirty and happy and speckled with Hello, Kitty band-aides on our blisters. Bring on the rainy days and the downtime!