Educational Worksheets… On Spring Break


We are closing in on the end of our WE STAYED AT HOME Spring Break, and if you’d like to know how that has gone, let me share these things with you.

The boy discovered Johnny Cash. He also discovered that he prefers to listen to Johnny croon about walking lines at VOLUME NINE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED AND TWELVE. Johnny has become the fifth person in our house, as he wont. shut. up. Lest you think Johnny Cash is the only one playing music, let me tell you that Thing 2 is taking piano lessons now, and he has had a deep need to practice, regardless of the fact that he has not practiced his actual song for the week, as much as he has practiced banging on the low, baritone keys (which probably have a name, but HELLO, MISS MUSICALLY ILLITERATE!) in a rhythmic way that mimics the Jolly Green Giant running across your living room and putting his foot through the floorboards. Also, I needed ice in my drinking glass this morning, so I put it under the ice maker in the door of our refrigerator, and, along with five ice cubes, out came a frozen blue Nerf gun dart. It landed in my glass with a soft thunk. The boy and I stared at it, as he asked, “How did that happen?” I think it’s clear that the boy has never been a parent before, because honestly? A frozen-solid dart falling out of the ice maker with the ice cubes? I don’t even bat an eye at something like that. What I bat an eye at is the picture that was drawn on my living room wall, behind the sofa, in black Sharpie maker.

What else about Spring Break ’19 would you like to know? For starters, we got up at 5:08 this morning, because Thing 2 had wet his bed. This NEVER happens at our house, because Thing 2 is what you commonly call A CAMEL CROSSING THE DESSERT, as he never has a need to use the bathroom… ever. He has been dry at night since he was a tiny baby, so of course we would pull off a wet bed at 5:08 on a vacation morning. When he walked into my room and shook me out of my beloved REM sleep, saying, “I have wet every blanket on my bed,” I casually whispered a word that cannot be found anywhere in the Bible, because the thing I love more than waking up at 5:08 on a Spring Break morning is having gobs of laundry to do on a Spring Break morning. All the blesses and the lovely amens.

So… we were up early. Thing 2 made his own breakfast of chocolate Rice Krispies, because I caved at the grocery store earlier this week and bought SOMEWHAT HEALTHY CEREAL, when he pushed for some off-brand cereal which boasted that it had more marshmallows than all the other leading brands combined. Chocolate-flavored rice seemed a compromise that we could both live with. Naturally, the kitchen floor was covered in Rice Krispie pieces, because that’s what tends to happen when a circus monkey sits on his haunches on the kitchen counter and shakes tiny bits of food out of a big box into a small bowl. These Rice Krispies were then walked upon and ground into a nice, brown powder, that was vaguely reminiscent of the Great Dust Bowl in the 1930s. This was because the kitchen floors were cleaned to a pristine shine on Tuesday, and they’d obviously been clean long enough. And then, while the boy practiced his clarinet in his bedroom, because of something called I AM PLAYING A SOLO IN MY BAND CONCERT IN TWO WEEKS AND SHOULD PROBABLY PRACTICE, SO THAT I DO NOT PLAY THE WRONG NOTES AND BRING SHAME UPON MY FAMILY, Thing 2 used every chair and bar stool and blanket (save for his own blankets, which were in the dryer at the time) to build a fort the size of Texas in my bedroom. Our bed had become the south wall of the fort, while the rest of it extended across all eight acres of hardwood floor in there and completely blocked the doorway, because that fort was large enough to obliterate the sun. You can imagine that I was extremely relaxed and calm when I needed to actually get into my bedroom to put some laundry away that I had folded, when I moved Star Wars sheets and blankets from the washer to the dryer.

And… the Lego crisis this week has become an epidemic of proportions never before seen in the free world. Think THE PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS IN EXODUS, EXCEPT INSTEAD OF BUGS, IT’S ALL LEGO BRICKS FALLING FROM THE SKY AND COVERING THE FLOORS OF ALL THE HOUSES. Pharaoh’s magicians have no hope of ever being able to replicate the plague of Legos, because… well… it’s daunting, to say the least. We did clean up the Legos today… and we folded all twelve hundred blankets draped over all eight chairs and stools… and we put that clarinet away… and we went to lunch at a little posh place that uses linen napkins and serves wine at noon. And… as much as I thought about ordering a glass of grape juice, I ended up getting a Coke with ice… but no frozen Nerf darts. I believe the phrase you’re looking for is RESPONSIBLE PARENTING.

We met Hubs at the restaurant. The boy ordered a twenty-dollar plate of Cajun shrimp jambalaya, because he clearly wasn’t using his own debit card today. Thing 2 ate his weight in grilled chicken and fresh apples with fruit dip (which was some kind of delicious concoction, probably stirred up by Willy Wonka himself, with marshmallow cream and vanilla yogurt). We had a good time. When we left, I told the boy, “You be sure to tell all your friends who come back with suntans after being in Hawaii over Spring Break that YOU got the twenty-dollar plate of shrimp jambalaya, which you enjoyed as much as you would have enjoyed Maui, just without the price of the airfare!”


What Mama needed when we got home this afternoon was a little bit of quiet time, and that was EASILY achieved with the help of a little website called

I’ve done blog posts for before. They’re a company dedicated to furthering little kids in their educations. My favorite thing is that they provide worksheets, which can be downloaded for free American dollars and used at home, and they are FUN TO DO. This is essential, because if it’s not fun to do, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth at our house. So, I printed out a couple of worksheets for Thing 2 this afternoon, and he plopped down at the kitchen counter with a purple marker and a pencil.

And. He. Was. Quiet.

On his first worksheet, he had to find all the hidden Easter eggs. He told me, “This is amazing! It’s like a treasure hunt… but for eggs instead of gold!” In other words, it was basically Oak Island for kids… but with a happy ending, where something was actually found.

After hunting for eggs from the comfort of our kitchen bar stool, we switched tactics, and Thing 2 had to do some genuine writing with a pencil. The worksheet from had a little story for him to read, with spots for him to fill in the blanks with first grade, Easter sight words.

And… I only shook my head a little bit and sighed when Thing 2 announced, “I had no idea that I was going to have to read anything on my vacation!” Yes, my son. Sometimes we really DO have to read on our vacations. It can’t be PAJAMAS AND LEGOS AT 2 PM every single day!

But… read it he did! He read through the little paragraph, self-correcting when he decided to put the wrong word in the blank at one point. His mama clapped for him, because clearly his teacher has taught him well at school. He erased with enthusiasm and gusto… and then he brushed all the eraser crumbs off the counter, straight onto my kitchen floor, because OF COURSE HE DID! I had just swept the entire kitchen after our Rice Krispie debacle this morning!

Our little Thing 2 finished his worksheet, which was aimed straight at his first grade reading level, with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Never mind that he didn’t use his best handwriting; we are on Spring Break!

If you need fifteen minutes of quiet at your own house… or if you want to challenge your kiddos academically… I would like to encourage you to look at the website. There are so many fun worksheets available for teachers and moms, to keep our little people thinking and learning and smiling and growing. is going to be our go-to source for enriching our summer vacation in a couple of months, so that we keep our little brain sharp for second grade!

And… while you’re sitting with your little man, wondering if BUNNY is spelled with one N or two, you can also work in a little conversation called HOW DID A BLUE NERF GUN DART END UP IN OUR ICE MAKER?

Cussing On The Radio

Hubs picked Thing 2 up from school this afternoon, because I was subbing for a sick teacher in the 3rd grade at the little private Catholic school, where I teach PE.

(I had to teach 3rd grade science today.  I had to spend the entire afternoon recess, basically using a Cliffs Quick Review, to brush up on things like WHAT IS THE ACTUAL DEFINITION OF MATTER? and HELP ME REMEMBER THE TRUE DEFINITION OF MASS, PLEASE.  It was every bit as fun as you can imagine, if you’re imagining an old mom, quizzing herself frantically, without her afternoon iced coffee, before the four square games ended on the playground, and all the kids came back inside to me and the dry erase marker I had in my hand and science and everything I could tell them about mass and matter and atoms.)


Hubs dropped Thing 2 off at our little Catholic school with me, and then I took him home when I had finished.  On our car drive across town, Thing 2 said to me, “Mom, I heard a really bad word on the news on Dad’s car radio today.”

I said, “What?  People who read the news on the radio aren’t allowed to say bad words!”

“Well, this guy said a really bad word.”

“What did he say?”

“Do you want me to say the word out loud?”


“Will I get into trouble if I say it out loud?”

“Well… no.  I guess not.”

“Are you SURE I won’t get into trouble?  Because this is a bad word, and I don’t know if I should say it or not.”

“Okay!  I’m sure!  You won’t get into trouble.  I can’t imagine the man on the radio actually said a bad word.  What did he say?”

Thing 2 replied, “He said DEMOCRAT, Mom.  He cussed, and he said DEMOCRAT on the radio.”

I don’t even know what hashtags I should use, nor do I know which wine pairs well with this.  Would it be a red or a white wine for MY KID SAID “DEMOCRAT” OUT LOUD?

Dreaming In Surround Sound And Technicolor

In case there’s any doubt in your mind that I am a bit on the nerdy side, listen to the dream I had last night.

In my dream, we were moving West to settle the land.  It was the year of our Lord, 2018, and we were moving West.  Clearly, my dreaming brain didn’t take into account that we have no more unexplored territory in the West, here in the United States.  No matter.  Dreaming brains are like that.  But, yes.  We were moving West, and we were taking animals with us, and I’m fairly certain we looked like the Beverly Hillbillies meets a circus train, as we migrated.

When we got to the new territory, there were aliens there who had never seen animals, the likes of which we were unloading.  And please… don’t think “aliens,” as in people who are from a different land, because that would be too normal.  In my dreaming brain, these were aliens with three eyes and twelve fingers, green skin and two sets of antennae.  They spoke gibberish and had space ships parked in their garages.  Everyone of us who had just gotten off the train in this new territory was being assigned a class to teach on our animals, and lo!  EVERYONE wanted to teach classes on lions!  And tigers!  And bears!  Oh, my!!  We were all hoping that we would be assigned to a really fun animal to teach about.  Eventually, the teaching assignments were typed out on a sheet of paper, which was then tacked up on a bulletin board, exactly like they would have done it at Laura Ingalls’ post office in Walnut Grove.  We all crowded around to see WHAT ANIMAL WE WOULD BE TEACHING THE ALIENS ABOUT, and there was my name!  And the class that I got to teach was called…

… You and Your Pet Ostrich.

I told the lady who tacked the assignment sheet up on the board, “I am supposed to teach about ostriches, and I don’t know anything about ostriches.”  And she told me, “I don’t care.  I’m just here to hang up the list of classes, and I have nothing to actually DO with assigning the classes.”

And then I woke up, which was a gigantic help, because I was about to teach a three minute class, with the entire lecture being, “Please enjoy your flightless bird that lays huge eggs and buries its head in the sand.  There will be no test, because those are the only things I actually know about ostriches.”

If y’all aren’t done reading this blog by now, may Jesus just draw near to you.  The content is ridiculous on most days.

But… what is NOT ridiculous is how handsome my boys are.

I feel like their personalities are completely covered in this picture.

One of them dresses in collared shirts and sweaters, dark jeans and loafer shoes, every single day.  His wardrobe choices cry out, daily, “I am having dinner on the yacht tonight, so please send a valet to park my Rolls Royce.”

The other one wore a black sweatshirt to school today, with black gym shorts over his black Under Armour basketball tights.  He picked out his own clothes and dressed himself, and THIS is how he would dress, every single day of his life, if his meddling mother didn’t interfere and make him wear jeans and a collared shirt to church most Sundays.  His wardrobe choice shouts out, every day, “I’m heading to the gym, for my workout.”

No matter.

I love them both so much, except for when the little one is sassy and when the bigger one conveniently forgets to mow the yard sometimes.

At least they both lead adventurous lives.  Neither one of them will ever be teaching a class called You and Your Pet Ostrich.  Nope.  They’ll both get to teach courses like Shake that Shark and Corral that Cobra.  Don’t mind me, over here with the giant bird who doesn’t fly.

Fun Worksheets

We have a witching hour at our house.

Come to think of it, we’ve ALWAYS had a witching hour, and it’s that hour in the evenings when dinner is in the process of being made… when bellies are rumbling… and when Mama must devote her attention to browning hamburger and onions in a skillet, because Hubs insists we’ll never be millionaires if we hire a personal chef to do that FOR US each night.

(I have news for Hubs:  I don’t think we’re EVER going to reach Millionaire Status, but we have each other, and we have love, and we have Netflix, so it’s the next best thing to having more dollars than we can count, sitting in a bank.)

Usually the witching hour starts with whining.  There is always, always, ALWAYS the whining about how hungry the little people are.  They are SO HUNGRY!  They are so hungry, they are very possibly near death!  Thing 2 could win an Oscar with his dramatic interpretation of a starving child.  Never you mind that there were bowls of cereal and apples and granola bars devoured after school.  My kids can clean a pantry out as fast as a shop vac can suck up spilled cat litter.  The children want a full meal, while you’re cooking, so that when dinner is actually served, they can look at it, smell it a little, and then proclaim, “I’m not hungry.”

They also have NOTHING TO DO during the witching hour, because Mama’s attention is not fully devoted on them.  I swear, our boys get together and whisper, “Look.  Mom is at the kitchen island, dicing carrots and and opening cans.  You go tell her there’s nothing to do first, and then I’ll come through the kitchen and moan about how bored I am.”  I tell these children every evening during the witching hour, “You are welcome to unload the dishwasher.  You’re welcome to sweep the kitchen floor.  You’re welcome to dust the bookcase.”  They always stare at me blankly when I say these things, as they insist they have no desire to learn these important life skills RIGHT THIS SECOND.

And then…


… I came up with a plan to knock the witching hour to the curb.  It might not work for our eighteen year old, who is already burdened down with several hours’ worth of AP Chemistry homework and AP Calculus homework every evening, but it is working for our little man.  Our little man likes to do everything his big brother does, and that means he likes to do HOMEWORK.  The boy insists that Thing 2 should ENJOY HIS LIFE NOW, instead of begging for homework to gripe about, but our six year old loves a few homework pages when he can get his hands on them.  Homework makes him feel very big and very important and very near being eighteen years old himself.

And… he completes them with every manner of eye rolling and irritated sighing, EXACTLY like his older brother does HIS homework.

A while back, asked me if I’d preview some of the worksheets that they offer and write a blog post about them.  I looked their website over, and I was more than happy to do just that. offers an amazing selection of worksheets, and we used several of them over the summer, to stay on top of our HEADED TO THE FIRST GRADE AT THE END OF AUGUST ball game.  We practiced math… lots and lots of math… and all kinds of beginning and ending letter sounds in words, all with worksheets I was able to download from‘s website.

So… when they contacted me about looking at some Halloween and holiday themed worksheets that they also offer, I jumped on it.

And I slapped one of those Halloween worksheets down on the counter during our witching hour tonight, and I told Thing 2, “Here.  Come do this crossword puzzle.  It’s all about Halloween!”  People, our boy actually ditched the Legos to come check it out, and he was so thrilled that it was a crossword puzzle, aimed directly at things he knew.

When I helped him read the first clue — a food you get when you go trick or treating — he practically screamed, “It’s candy!  It’s candy!!  Mom, I know the answer!  It’s CANDY!!”  His enthusiasm was exactly like he’d bet the entire farm and the Ford 150, too, and won the Double Jeopardy!  So, in between stirring frozen Chinese food in a pot on the stove, which I pass off as homemade, Thing 2 used his smallest handwriting to squeeze the letters C-A-N-D-Y into the little boxes.  He managed to read the next clue himself:  What animal has eight legs?  He immediately erupted, in his VERY MUCH AN OUTDOOR VOICE, “It’s a spider, Mom!  IT’S A SPIDER!!!  THIS HOMEWORK IS SO EASY!!!”  And then I helped him spell the word spider, so that he could get it into the little boxes correctly.

And?  Do y’all know what?  The witching hour passed quite pleasantly.  We forgot that we were starving, while dinner was being made.  We forgot that we usually pester Mama at this time, as we whine about our horrible boredom disease, and how it’s the worst case in  history.  And while we were forgetting those things, we had fun solving a crossword puzzle.

Feel free to check out for all kinds of fun, holiday themed worksheets, which can be done in your own witching hours at home.  Unless you’re one of those lucky families, who had no idea what a witching hour actually WAS, until you read this blog post.  If that’s the case, then just keep doing what you’re doing, as you count your blessings that nobody begs for snacks while you’re getting the ice off frozen Chinese noodles and vegetables!

You can find a bunch of educational worksheets for your little people right here, if you’d like to try some out for yourself:  WORKSHEETS.

Y’all have a good Wednesday evening.

Soccer. Painted Faces. Prison Mike.

We started our weekend out early by wearing our sweatshirts on Thursday evening and complaining about the joys of fall soccer in Small Town, USA.  The wind blew sideways, and the rain didn’t really RAIN, so much as it misted on us, like the overspray from a squirt bottle.  It was lovely.  It was just enough to dampen the clothes and the skin, while the breeze kicked and made us shiver and cuss a little.

Thing 2’s soccer team remains undefeated, as those little kiddos kick for all they’re worth.  It also helps that we have a long-legged little first grade girl on our team, who is in Thing 2’s class, who can score four goals per game, with her eyes closed.  We call her our secret weapon, and I can hardly wait to watch her play in the Olympics one day.

Afterward, we had tacos, because what else says YOU PLAYED A GREAT GAME OF SOCCER, SON like tacos from your favorite Mexican hot spot, where all their ingredients are fresh and wonderful?

On Friday morning, we woke up to snow, because God thinks He’s hilarious giving us that stuff… IN SEPTEMBER!  Nothing lets you know how organized you are, until you’re frantically digging through a child’s bedroom closet, looking for snow pants and two matching gloves and boots, as you ask the Lord to PLEASE LET THEM STILL FIT, at 7:30 on a school morning.  I know some moms try these things on in August, and they take inventory of what they’ll need to buy, and they have everything hanging nicely in the closet, but we like to take a different approach.  It’s called the SCREECH ABOUT THE SNOW COMING SO EARLY AND CATCHING YOU OFF GUARD, AND WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE THE SNOW PANTS, BECAUSE SCHOOL STARTS IN FIFTEEN MINUTES technique of mothering.

On Saturday, the little private school where I teach PE had its annual chili supper and carnival fundraiser… OUTSIDE.  I got to work the fishing booth, where children used real fishing poles to flop real fishing line over a blue curtain.  We had an accomplice behind the curtain, who clipped prizes onto the clothespin dangling from that real fishing line, and the kids got to reel in their catches.  What I loved best about working this booth for two and a half hours outside in the cold were (1) that I couldn’t feel my fingers after the first thirty minutes, and (2) the fishing line kept getting tangled around everything, and I was continually trying to unwind it and unknot it.  I looked enviously across the grass at the teachers working the cake walk booth, who got to stand there and put their hands IN THEIR COAT POCKETS, while kids hopped from one numbered carpet square to another, stretched out there on the concrete before them, and nobody got the carpet squares all knotted up.

On the flip side of that, I was quite thankful to only be at the fishing booth, dealing with knotted fishing line, while I watched the teachers on the other side of me run the bowling booth.  I felt the pain in their backs, as they bent over to set up plastic bowling pins sixteen million, seventy-three thousand and four more times.  I wanted to give them little goodie bags filled with tubes of sports cream and bottles of Ibuprofen.


Hubs brought Thing 2 down to our school’s carnival, and let him work the game circuit.  We were blessed when we realized the little punk had won not one… but TWO!!  TWO!!!… real live whistles.  You know… the kind of whistles that a volleyball referee might use.  All the blesses for the PTO moms who thought whistles as game prizes was a fine idea!  This afternoon, Thing 2 came home and we had this conversation:

THING 2:  “Where are my whistles?”

ME:  “What whistles?”

THING 2:  “I won two whistles at your school carnival.  I put them both on my desk, and now they’re gone.”

ME:  “Hmm.  That’s weird.  Are you sure you put them there?  Maybe you misplaced them.”

THING 2:  “I really DID put them on my desk, and I think someone STOLE THEM!”

And that’s how Thing 2 came to be frantically searching all over our house this afternoon, looking for two whistles on cords that he SWORE he left on his desk in his bedroom, because WHERE COULD THEY HAVE GONE?  And let’s face it and be honest here, y’all:  He really DID leave those whistles on his desk, but there is a cap on the amount of whistling a mother can take, before she snaps and resorts to desperate measures while the kids are at school.  The Lord understands, and He is near to those whose eardrums and sanity have both been damaged.

On Sunday, there was church, and then there was a birthday party.  One of Thing 2’s good buddies celebrated the fact that he is officially six now, and his mother throws the type of birthday party I envy:  LAID BACK AND LOW KEY.  In fact, she’s the type of mom who says, “I think it’s fine if they paint each other’s faces,” and so they did, while we sat and talked, because our children were fully focused on their artistic tasks and were not inclined to interrupt us!  That alone — that conversation where no one interrupted us — was worth all the paint we had to scrub off their faces later, and we never even flinched when one of them said, “I’ll just paint your face to look like you’ve been in a fight with weapons!”

After our faces were scrubbed squeaky clean, we went to the movie theater, because let’s face it:  Mama’s OCD couldn’t take her child playing outside in ALL THAT SLOPPY MUD from the weather, which was bound to come indoors.  She needed a LET’S GO DO SOMETHING WHERE THERE IS CONCRETE OR PAVEMENT alternative, so the movie theater it was!  Thing 2 and I saw the show Small Foot, which turned out to be really cute.  It was about a village of Big Foots who didn’t believe in Small Foots (people), because they’d never seen one before, but lo!  One of the Big Foots CAUGHT a Small Foot and brought him back to the village to show off.  The two of us ate our popcorn and slurped our drinks through straws and giggled all the way through it.

And then there was Monday morning.  This is homecoming week at Small Town High, so the kids are all dressing up, every day.  Today’s theme was COME AS YOUR FAVORITE TV CHARACTER.

Folks, I’d like to introduce you to Prison Mike, from The Office!!

Hubs and I think he did a fairly decent job at nailing the costume, as THIS is the real Prison Mike:

“The worst thing about prison was the… was the dementors!”

“What was the food like in prison?  Gruel sandwiches.  Gruel omelettes.  Nothing but gruel.”

Thing 2’s elementary school is dressing up alongside the high school for homecoming week, too.  We found this out at 7:44 this morning, as I unpacked his backpack for the very first time since Friday morning.  There!  There it was, in the backpack!  The little note that said, “Let’s participate with the high school in dressing up every day for homecoming week!”  Some mothers empty the backpacks out in the evenings, when there is time to read all the notes home from school and PREPARE FOR ANYTHING THAT NEEDS PREPARED FOR.  I think those moms don’t live on the edge enough, so I like to wait until 7:44 in the morning to open the backpack for the first time, after a weekend.  That gives us a bit of a challenge, as we scream out, “WHAT CAN WE WEAR??!!”

Thankfully, Thing 2 yelled, “My Peter Pan Halloween costume from Kindergarten!”  Let it be so.  We pulled it out of the closet, and Peter Pan walked out the door for school at 7:48.  I wanted to throw my hands up in the air and call for the judges to score my time.  The downside was simply that there are no pictures of Peter Pan going to school today, for TV CHARACTER DAY, because… well… 7:48… and that old bell rings at 8:00.

Bless, bless, and bless again.

Rolling The Pumpkins Home

Thing 2’s class, along with the other first grade classroom in his school, took a field trip to the pumpkin patch today, and I joined them.  It was every bit as fun and wonderful as you can imagine, especially if you’re imagining FORTY LITTLE SIX YEAR OLDS and also SCHOOL BUS EXHAUST.

His beloved teacher recruited as many parents as she could for this field trip, because of the loot and bounty that was coming home.  It certainly helps to have twelve adults with you, when twenty kids are going to be carrying, lugging and rolling giant pumpkins back with them.  Before we left, Mrs. R announced, “If any parents are prone to car sickness, please feel free to drive your own vehicle and follow the bus.”  Um…. Car Sickness is my  middle name.  I didn’t even hesitate to take my free pass and basically knocked three kids over, in my hurry to get to my own car, before that teacher changed her mind.  As it turned out, another mom and I rode together, and we had a lovely time, chatting in an uninterrupted manner as we drove, because we had no children with us!  It was pretty much on equal footing with being at a spa, in a fluffy white bathrobe.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you whose kid went three hundred entire yards out into the monstrously-sized pumpkin patch…

… and then chose a four hundred pound pumpkin.

Suddenly the reason for twelve helping parents became crystal clear, as several little kiddos decided to get as far away from the tractor as they physically could, before they selected the biggest pumpkin they could possibly find.  I let Thing 2 heave that beast along, as best as he could, for a while, because he was having a RIGHT FINE TIME doing it.  He was so proud of his oversized squash, he was nearly bursting straight out of his coat, as he rolled it along on the ground.

And I don’t mean to brag, but my kid passed about four other kids, who were also rolling the blue whales of the patch toward the tractor and trailer, because apparently our Thing 2 possesses some powerfully strong rolling skills, the likes of which other six year olds haven’t fully developed  yet.  I was quite pleased to see that while his classmates were struggling to roll giant pumpkins in a straight line, toward the goal of a John Deere which would pull them back to base camp, my kid rolled his behemoth monster like he’d been drafted straight out of elementary school for the professional Punkin Moving Team.  After he’d made it back to the tractor, he even went back out into the field and helped roll others in the right direction, so we could all make it back to the school before nightfall.

He’s a firm supporter of No Pumpkin Left Behind.


We now have a pumpkin the size of Canada on our front patio, which will more than likely sit there until I scrape its frozen carcass up out of the snow and ice, come Christmastime.

That’s how I roll, people!


On Mondays, we build blanket forts.

Come to think of it, we build blanket forts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, too.

And we use every blanket in the house, because nothing says GREAT FORT like THE SIZE OF ALASKA does.  The downfall to this is that our arm span isn’t exactly wide enough to fold all the blankets we use, so guess who does the folding?

And guess who UNFOLDS all the blankets to build a SECOND FORT twelve minutes after the first one has been picked up?

This is our lives now, people.

Colds And Coughs And Congestion And Closets

Someone posted on Facebook this morning that there are 93 days left until Christmas.  My first thought was, “Is this accurate?”  My second thought was, “WHO has time to sit down with the calendar and count this up?”  Because that person?  I would like them to come do some things at my house.

Namely, laundry.

Because what I don’t have time for is flipping the pages on my big kitchen wall calendar to count out how many shopping days are left.  I’m entirely too busy having anxiety about how we’ll actually PAY for Christmas, as well as WHAT DO YOU BUY AN EIGHTEEN YEAR OLD BOY AS A HOLIDAY GIFT?!  I mentioned this to the boy (the CAN YOU BELIEVE SOMEONE COUNTED THE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS MANUALLY? and not the WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR CHRISTMAS, because I already know what he’s going to say:  a 1960 car that’s a total fixer-upper and doesn’t run, so I can let it sit in the driveway and talk about how cherry she’ll be some day soon), and he told me, “Mom…. There’s this thing called a computer, and I imagine if you asked Siri how many days between now and December 25th, she could spot-on tell you in two seconds.”

And this is why he’s getting scholarships for college.


Apparently there are 93 days left before Christmas morning hits us and sends us all straight to Credit Card debt, but what has ZERO DAYS LEFT before we reach it is COLD SEASON.  I’m not talking about the weather, because Small Town has had a moment of love for us and has decided to keep a gentle, warm fall rolling for a bit yet.  I’m talking about COLD colds.  The type that start out at 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon as a sore throat and then morph into a I MIGHT DIE NOW chest cold at midnight.

Yes.  ‘Tis the season, and I have partaken.  I am celebrating and embracing a lovely chest cold that has left me wanting to just lie down on the floor, because my bed is simply too far away.  I blame a friend of mine who kept texting me last weekend, proclaiming I HAVE A SORE THROAT, and I AM GOING TO THE STORE FOR ORANGE JUICE, BECAUSE I FEEL A BIG COLD COMING ON, and I HAVE SOME SINUS ISSUES HAPPENING NOW.  Even though I didn’t see this friend in person this week, I’m fairly certain that her germs went straight through the phone lines and crawled onto me.

(And another thing the boy would probably say?  “Mom, we don’t actually HAVE phone lines any longer.  We have cell phones and it’s nothing but cell towers and the age of being digital.”  WHATEVER!  I taught that child to use a spoon AND the toilet, which seem PRETTY BASIC, so he needs to cut me a moment’s worth of slack.  Grace.  It’s for all of us.)

(And now I’m wondering if I should show grace and mercy to my friend, and blame my second son for the chest cold that I’m in the throes of.  He did, after all, find a REALLY CLEAN TUBE OF CHAPSTICK THAT SMELLED JUST LIKE A DELICIOUS MILKSHAKE on the playground last week, and we all know the kid USED IT.  He probably kissed me with dirty milkshake Chapstick germs.)

Regardless of the chest cold that plowed into my immune system this weekend with the force of a space shuttle launch and left my voice sounding like a six-packs-a-day smoker, it was all THE SHOW MUST STILL GO ON, because MOM STATUS.  So… I gutted our walk-in closet.

Our walk-in closet has been the stuff that the producers of the Hoarders TV series would love to get their hands on.  Every manner of clothes we no longer wear was shoved in there, along with shoes that have seen better days, and the boy’s Halloween costume from a decade ago.  And if you think it was all hung up and placed on the shelves NEATLY, then you grossly underestimate the Jedi family.  I had two giant Hefty garbage bags of hand-me-down clothes for Thing 2 sitting on our closet floor, which the cat had dug into, in her effort to create a cave in the midst of size 6 T-shirts.  She’d managed to pull a good portion of those little boy clothes straight out of the open bag, so that she could have herself a nice bed to hide in.  I had enough dirty laundry on my closet floor to constitute an intervention, too.

“Hi, Mama.  Come on in and sit down.  We’re here because we CARE ABOUT YOU, and we are overly concerned with your inability to wash the dirty clothes in a timely manner for your family.  We say this in love, as we look at the fourteen loads you have on your closet floor, right now.  Let us help you.  Let us send you away, to a facility.  It’s quiet there.  There will be counseling sessions and gourmet dinners; you can stroll through the flower gardens, and you can focus on the hurts someone has caused in your life to keep you from washing clothes like a normal girl should.”

To this, I say, “Thank you,” and also, “Where do I sign the paperwork?”  Because a lovely estate with lush gardens and casseroles for dinner that someone else made sound wonderful.

So yes.  THAT is how I spent my sick weekend.  I wasn’t in bed, as any husband would have done.  I was upright, mentally yelling at all the kids in my PE classes who came to school last week with coughs and snot, as I created a mess in my bedroom that rivaled the fall of an entire empire by air-dropped bombs.  I had pulled everything OUT of my closet.  By then, it was too late to quit, because WHERE WILL WE SLEEP TONIGHT?!  THE BED IS PILED HIGH WITH THE FALLOUT AND DEBRIS OF THIS PROJECT.  So, I kept going.

And the washing machine kept going.

And the Sudafed kept trying to work.

All the blesses.

The payoff is that I now have a walk-in closet that could actually be labeled by a realtor as A WALK-IN CLOSET.  It’s no longer THIS SPACE WHERE YOU STEP ON EVERY MANNER OF CLOTHING TO GET WHAT YOU WANT.  I have a bare, hardwood floor now, and, people, I swept it clean yesterday.  We have shelves with some space.  We have rods that aren’t crammed full of hangers and wrinkled clothing we haven’t worn since the Reagan administration.

Plus?  CLEAN LAUNDRY.  You know… until these heathens all decide they want to disrobe tonight and wear pajamas, as they toss today’s outfits into the hampers.

The punks were kind of cute today, so I snapped their pictures, before I sent them all out the door to church this morning, as I said, “Mama needs to lie down with her cough for seventeen seconds before the dryer tells me it’s time to fold more clothes.”

It doesn’t take a CSI:  Small Town detective to come to the conclusion that the little one had just washed his hands seconds before his mother snapped this picture.

Yep.  That’s water on the shirt.  Why use a hand towel, when you have a perfectly good T-shirt on?

And the bigger punk?  Well, listen.  He’s going to have to stop hanging out with the cute neighbor boy, because the cute neighbor boy is now labeled as A BAD INFLUENCE.  He challenged the two of them to NOT SHAVE UNTIL CHRISTMAS.

Hmm.  Apparently that’s 93 more days without a razor.

I am not a fan of the beards, and I am REALLY not a fan of one attempting to grow on my baby’s chin as wispy stubble, because then I have to admit that he’s now a MAN.  I offered him $20 in cold, hard, laundered cash to shave it all off this morning, before those whiskers really get out of hand and people mistake him for a relative from the Duck Dynasty family.  He grinned and said, “Ninety-three more days, honey!”

I told him, “Then I don’t even have to worry about what to buy you for Christmas, because I don’t buy gifts for beards.”

In reality, I think I’ll just give this child the gift of a LIFE SKILL, and teach him how to use the washer and dryer.  We have 93 days to learn the art of NO REDS WITH WHITES and DAWN DISH SOAP IS YOUR MIRACLE HELPER IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM.

Y’all have a good Sunday.

We May Catch The Plague, But Our Lips Will Be Smooth

Every afternoon, when I pick Thing 2 up from school, I ask him, “What was something awesome that happened at school today?”  And every day — one hundred percent of the time –– that little man tells me something that happened at recess.  In his world, AWESOME can’t  happen at school, if it’s not happening on the playground, because WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE WHO MAKE ME SIT STILL AND READ WORDS?!

Today was no different.  He loaded up into the car in the school parking lot, and chucked his backpack and lunchbox into the back, with nary a care in the world as to what homework assignments he might be bending up.  I got into the driver’s seat and asked, “What was something awesome that happened today?”

And he replied, “Well… at recess today I found a tube of Chapstick, and it was practically brand new.”

Do you know that sinking feeling mother’s get in the pits of their stomachs, when their sons are drafted for war?  It also happens at times like these, when they have potentially been exposed to germs.  You can bet your very last dollar that the sound that I emitted was a SCREECH, as I asked, “YOU DIDN’T USE IT, DID YOU??!!”

But, in my heart, I already knew.

Thing 2 said, “Well… I… um… I SMELLED it, Mom.  I smelled it for a long time, and it smelled delicious.  It smelled like a milkshake.  And don’t even worry, because I looked at it really good, and it was a CLEAN tube of Chapstick.”

And I screeched again, “Did… you… USE IT???!!!  DIDYOUUSEIT, DIDYOUUSEIT, DIDYOUUSEIT???!!!!!!”

“Just a little, Mom.  But remember?  I said it was CLEAN!”

I don’t know why tranquilizers for mothers during the parenting years aren’t sold as over-the-counter products.  I would have bought THREE of them this afternoon, because YES!  My kid used a CLEAN Chapstick that he found on the playground, that smelled like delicious milkshakes!


Once I recovered from the shock of that, we had a snack… and then we went to Thing 2’s soccer game.

The wind blew at hurricane levels, even though we are not in hurricane territory.  It was a biting wind, that let us know that our four days of glorious fall weather could break at any moment and turn into a raging blizzard, the likes of which even the residents at the senior center can’t remember ever seeing before.  The thing about Small Town is that we have six days of spring, followed by a blistering summer, and then we have five days of fall, which is chased off by the onset of winter, winter, winter.

And all that cold winter blowing in will probably end up chapping our lips, but listen!  I know where there’s a perfectly CLEAN tube of Chapstick.

And the bonus?  It smells just like delicious milkshakes!