Off to a Smash Bang Start!

After a day like today, what I want to do most is sit down and write about it.  It feels so good to just sit.  and write.  and tell you about it.  I get the same satisfaction out of typing that one might get out of doing crossword puzzles, which I’m hair-pulling awful at.  I cheat every time.  Cheating makes me feel yucky inside.  Therefore, I don’t DO crosswords.

I blog instead.

Now that we’ve got that settled…
I bounded out of bed today. Our little town celebrated The 4th of July by gathering at the park for festivities. The blazing heat put a damper on things, but my mood refused to be tampered with.
Bliss! Joy! The 4th of July has always, ALWAYS been my all-time favorite holiday. You can’t go wrong with a holiday that wreaks of hot dogs, oreos, lemonade, root beet, gun powder, sun, and water.

Once I got to the park, a friend mentioned that she dresses her kids on The 4th of July. As in: SHE chooses their clothes. “There’s only a few days out of the year that I dress them, and today is one of them.”
Smart woman, that.
I dressed my kids this morning.
She wanted a long-sleeved red shirt to go over her hot pink short-sleeved shirt.
He wanted cowboy boots with his shorts and that blasted purple flower in his hair.
I ruled with an iron fist! Sort of!
Right before leaving the house, my husband downloaded a song and played it. and played it. and played it. AND played it.
“I like it.” He said, when I asked why we were listening to it over and over (I asked nice, just so you know), “It reminds me of you.”

Ahhhh…. no amount of make-up or hair products can make me feel as beautiful as when he talks to me like that.

The first of the attractions at the park was, naturally, Jens.
I held that baby and smelled that baby and SOAKED him in. Then the REBS invaded.
And I surrendered. With my whole heart. Holy Moses, the things a man with a baby in his arms can DO to a woman’s heart.
We retired to a shaded area next to the volleyball tourney which my buddy Lindsay and her team took by STORM. I was proud. After the tournament, my kids took the court.
And then we hit the bake sale. Cookies for 10 cents? Cupcakes for 25 cents? Yes, please!
It really was blazing hot. SO hot that after I finished off my water bottle that came with my hot dog lunch, this guy drove to the store and bought me a big, fat water bottle.
I rike him.

When Grandpa showed up on scene, I lost almost all control of my children:
And my sister got yet MORE experience learning about life with children.
“I want that drink, JuJu!”

I love my small town. Have I ever told you that?
I guess it would be more appropriate to ask if I ever HADN’T told you that.
I tried to slip a couple pictures of me in for posterity.  Apparently in this one, I’m pretending to be a brunette Jessica Rabbit.
In this picture, I kicked my foot up and my husband teased me for 5 minutes afterward.
Someone remind me to stay BEHIND the camera. Thanks.

We came home without children (see above: when grandpa comes, the kids are lost on him), and proceeded to finish watching an episode of “Sherlock.”
I highly recommend “Sherlock.”

It’s available on Netflix instant streaming right now. Aside from being British, it’s witty and fast-paced and mysterious.
Win! Win! Win! Win!

Once the episode finished, we went to pick up our kids, but there were three calves in our yard.

We put them back in like good country bumpkins should.
Behind bars!

And then we got our kids.
And then my husband and daughter laid sod while I sat on my rumpus and my son slept.
Lacy put the scraps on some dirt, insisting that the rocks needed a home. She also named the rocks. “Dace, Jace, Jace, Dace, and Ace. A boy and a girl and a boy and a girl and they are just pregnant!”
So now we know where rocks come from.
We stopped off at the grocery store on the way home to buy pasta salad fixin’s. And then we went to my little cousin’s birthday party.
The Birthday Girl is the one wearing the hat. She ordered a chocolate birthday cake with strawberry filling. And she asked if they might please put some banana slices in it. They did. Anything for The Birthday Girl!

Please note the tiny grill in the corner of the picture -it’s filled with fresh flowers.  I nearly died of cuteness when I saw it.  The local (well, nearly local) flower shop arranged a fresh bouquet of flowers in a tiny grill.  What woman could resist?!  I ask you!!
On the (block long) drive home from the par-tay, Lacy’s balloon flew out of the car window. Because it didn’t have helium, her Dad stopped the car and scoured the ditch bank for it.
A daughter’s tears have a way of moving a father into action. In the end, I blew up a spare balloon and gave it to her. We never found the other balloon. It’s lying dead in a ditch somewhere.

We ate a late dinner of grilled tilapia (recipe to be posted soon, it’s a Steve Specialty), pasta salad, steamed zucchini (thanks, Lisa and Rial!) and fresh corn on the cob.
“I need to take off the corn!”

When dinner was over, I cleared the table and asked my husband to please put away his shoes while I got the kids in the tub.
He walked 500 miles and then he walked 500 more.
O it is wonderful. Wonderful to me!

Just as I finished up the dishes (before bed. I hardly know myself!), I was thinking how great it would be to just sit and WRITE for a bit when the news came to me.

Before I go on, I must say that I mentioned to my friend Lisa (the sod owner, not the zucchini-giver) how much I cringe when people post their children’s potty training triumphs in DETAIL on facebook.
Karma heard, and now I’m going to proceed to eat crow.
My son pooped in the tub. Just when I thought all excitement from my busy was winding down into one pleasant evening with a freshly vacuumed floor…

I knew we were fresh out of disposable latex gloves, but desperation urged me to the cleaning bin anyway -in vain hopes of finding a stray glove. Do you know what I found?
A fresh, brand new package of 10 pair. Placed there by God himself. Angels sang!
While I cleaned, my husband put the kids in the OTHER tub. I went to check on them and found this:
My husband putting my son under oath.
“I, Twenton, pommise to never poop da tub again.”

I rubbed the kids down after their baths with a little extra virgin olive oil scented with lavender essential oils, and then we had our scripture time. Tonight we switched things up a bit and watched this youtube video:

A GREAT video with an even greater message.

After prayers, the kids went to bed and I sat down to write. I’d like to say it was a perfect ending to a perfect day, but that isn’t true.
I logged on and saw that I had a comment on my blog from my friend Laurie. She suggested, after seeing that I had posted a Julian Smith video, that I watch a particular one. I hadn’t seen this one, and I laughed my little buns off.

… and THAT, friends, is the perfect ending to a perfect day.

Santa Baby

One of my best friends from High School and his wonderful wife are visiting.  When I got a text from Lisa on Thursday letting me know they’d be here Friday, it made my day!  We get along so well with Rial and Lisa, and it’s nice to have such an effortless friendship.  No extra planning goes into our time together.

They came bearing gifts, and it feels like Christmas in our home.

All of these gifts are smoking amazing, and I couldn’t even fit the zucchini they gave us in! Zucchini is my favorite garden treat, and my zucchini plant was killed by the wind. I planted another one, and it’s growing nicely. Maybe in a few weeks we’ll have some of our own, but for now… I’m excited about having one on the table!
There’s some Mary Kay Mineral Foundation.
PS: I can’t seem to say, type, write, or hear the words “Mary Kay” without busting out into this song.

“My grandma is awesome.”

There’s some doTerra oils that I’ve had my heart set on forEVER, and now here some are… in my lap… just like that! The joy is too much. TOO MUCH! I keep smelling them and smelling them and smelling them. Wonderful, beautiful! Perfection!

They brought back a fan and some candy from their trip to Japan -isn’t that amazing? Rial served his mission in Japan, and he recently took his wife and parents back to visit with him. That fan is going up on the wall soon, and that candy isn’t going to last past 3 pm today. I can already tell. Also, every time I look at that fan, I’m tempted to do my best June Carter impression, “…behind my Jay-pan fan.”




While they were here, we were able to go see my mom’s newest baby. I’m not talking about my big nephew. I’m talking about a little baby calf. I didn’t snag a picture -that’ll have to come later. My mom is the queen of orphaned calves. She nurses them up, and we all treat them like our family pet. They love us back clear up until Branding Day. Then they see our true colors.
After petting the new calf affectionately named “Didder,” we headed inside where my Mom busted out a bag full of old Santa letters. She saved all the letters we’d written over the years.
Here’s one of my first:
A “TT,” it must be mentioned was what I called Tiny Teddy Bears. My brother had one and I wanted one for myself in the worst possible way. And I got one. Santa always made my dreams come true.
This one was written by my brother, Steve.
A “Trdle.” It’s seeping with cuteness.
This is my oldest brother’s Santa letter. I love it for so many reasons, one of which is that is has both my mother’s and my father’s handwriting.
Also, I love that he asks for a Smurf workhouse and Care Bear playdough AND then he asks for a machine gun. JC’s letters were some of the finest.
JC, it should be mentioned, is the father of my nephew who I haven’t been able to visit on account of my kids having slightly runny noses and I’m afraid of infecting The Big Baby.

Anyway, my mom saved the best Santa letter for last. It’s so angelic -so perfectly angelic.

My sister accused me of aggravated brown nosing.
I asked my mom if he brought me a halo polisher.

Now I’m off to celebrate the 4th in Smalltown, USA. There will be pictures and hot dogs and maybe a few face paintings.
Enjoy your weekend, Patriots!


I go to a monthly Ladies Night Out game night.  Usually we play BUNCO, but occasionally we opt to play “Burn Down the House.”  When we play BUNCO, we all generally bring a gift and a food item.  When we play Burn Down the House, we bring a bag with 3 useful items from around our house and three useless items from around our house.  When it’s time to go home, we all leave with 6 items.  Some we throw away.  Some we keep.

I scored big time last night:
Lotion, lip balm, teensy fire crackers, cute home decor rack that matches my bathroom… lovely!

HOWEVER, there were a few guests we were lucky enough to “win” a cricket in a ziploc, a small tray of chewed gum (gag!), a roll of toilet paper, an empty bottle of hairspray… the list goes on.
Anyone who didn’t win anything nice is always given a nice prize by the hostess.
Anyone who is a niece of the hostess gets to wear a flower bra.
That would be me.
Yes, it was a luau theme.

It is SO nice to meet with the ladies from our town once a month. We have so many great women in these parts, and I enjoy every minute with them. They’re hilarious and refreshing and nicer than nice.
Usually my husband keeps the kids while I play, but he was called into work in the middle of our game. Since we were playing in my Grandma’s backyard, I told him to just drop the kids off and they could play around the yard where I could see them.
He left them (and our car) in such a hurry that he closed part of a tree in the driver’s side door.
Which made me laugh.

And this also made me laugh:
He thought it looked great with his new haircut, which he’s been telling everyone about.
Thanks, Ladies, for yet another wonderful night!
Thanks, Great JuJu, for hosting and feeding us the most DELICIOUS FOOD EVER!
Thanks, Cat, for being born so we could celebrate you!