Three Things Thursday: End of Summer Edition

Welcome to the first edition of “Three Things Thursday.” I’m hoping it won’t also be the last, but there are no guarantees. We will have to see what next Thursday holds. (I’m sure you are waiting with bated breath. Just not bated for too long, as next Thursday is also the second day of school, and I will likely have no more words to use – nor the energy to use them – by the time I sit down at night.)

Our summer was chalk-full of wonderful memories. The kids and I made our Summer Bucket List mid-June, and we checked off almost everything. (We plan on checking off a few more things this weekend.) Annalise’s list items that likely won’t happen over the Labor Day weekend include: “go to disnewruld. go to idoneshu. nooyouc.” (Translation on the last 2: Indonesia, New York.)

What can I say? The girl dreams big.

And also? Her writing. It’s seriously too much, you guys. It has me in hysterics all the time. I may have to do a Three Things Thursday: Leesie’s Letters Edition. I die, I love it so much. I considered having her drop out of school just so I can see her write like this forever. But somehow, “hicing on man bacr” and “watr fat” just don’t seem quite as funny when you’re 16.

But back to the three things. The following pictures from summer are not some of the big things we did, but they are funny little memories that make me smile when I think of them. And come to think of it, each picture represents a story about a different member of my family. So maybe this should be called: Three Things Thursday: Uneventful Summer Events, Why My Family Members Keep Me Smiling. Although, that seems a bit long, so I’ll just stick with the original title.

1. photo(99)

What’s that you ask? That, folks, is gum on clothing. Things like this happen with kids. At least I assume it does. Although, it had actually never happened with my kids prior to this lovely mess. But the unique part about this picture is that the gum was not sat in or leaned against. No, this gum had some real talent. When it fell out of my child’s mouth, it didn’t land on her skirt as we sat in the car heading to Eugene, Oregon. This special gum fell up her skirt. Yes, up. Then it was immediately squished by the legs that were residing in said skirt. As we walked into the restaurant we pulled up to minutes later, my talented child with acrobatic gum climbed out and walked gingerly to the restroom where she discovered that her anti-gravity gum had multiplied, divided and conquered, sticking her skirt to her shorts, shorts to undies, and adhering all of it to her legs. I had to laugh, because of all the people in all the world in all of the history of ever, if I had to pick one girl this would happen to, it would be my girl. She is a beautiful mess, and it makes me smile. And also, she probably actually takes after her mother in this area. It is through no fault of her own that she falls into ginormous fire pits (thankfully, not with fires going) as though they suddenly arose out of the ground where there was once nothing. (This happened while we were having our “watr fat” – or water fight – in grandma’s back yard.) I have been known to walk directly into a ginormous planter pot that measured 3 feet tall and 3 feet in diameter. I’m still not sure how it got moved into my path so quickly.

 

2. In August, we celebrated our girls’ 8-year-birthdays by bringing flowers to their spot. As we pulled up, Jacob grabbed the flowers and shouted, “I’ll carry these!” He hopped out of the car with enthusiasm and ran to a marker where he announced, “This looks like a good spot! I’ll leave them HERE!” It made me giggle, seeing him standing proudly on Tillie E. Cue’s headstone, ready to give her the flowers meant for his sisters. photo(100)His other sister, a bit annoyed with his ignorance, quickly informed me, “MOM! Jacob is standing on someone else’s GRADE!” These two. I love them to bits. photo(101)I am so thankful they are mine. And when we got home, they ran to the door and stood there like this, waiting for me to walk up. photo(102)How can that not make a mama smile?

3. Let’s see, who is left in my family? Oh yes, my dear husband. What a good Daddy and husband he is. He carries the kids to bed when they’re tired or already asleep, shares his last bite of a treat, and gets an armband at the fair so I don’t have to go on any rides and the kids don’t have to ride alone. photo(104)That is true sacrificial love, people. Unlike for our 13 year-old-selves, fair rides are not either of our favorite thing. But here he is, taking one for the team. And because the kids are just a little bit more grown up this year, we decided we’d head over to the big rides to start. It was not quite time for them to open, so we were first in line at the Yo-Yo. (If you’re not familiar with the Yo-Yo, picture a giant swing going around a circle. Like a carousel, only faster, higher, and you’re riding a swing instead of a horse. That’s it.)

The kids seemed a little apprehensive about the ride, and since it hadn’t opened for the day, they weren’t able to see how tame it really was. Matt, good dad that he is, offered to ride once so they could witness for themselves that it was not too scary or fast. They agreed. He climbed on, with just a few other kids riding far away from him. The swing was lifted into the air and began its circular path. Matt had passed us just twice when the kids looked at me and said, “Can we go on that maze over there?” I agreed, because it only took a few rotations for them to see what the ride was about. No use standing here for the last 45 seconds watching the swings follow the same path.

Only the ride didn’t last another 45 seconds. Maybe it was because there was no one in line waiting to get on. Or maybe the guy operating the ride thought it would be funny, since there was a big dude sitting up on the Yo-Yo all by his lonesome. But whatever the reason, that ride continued for another 8 minutes. EIGHT MINUTES OF GOING IN CIRCLES. The kids were done watching Matt after 15 seconds. He continued riding without them nearby for another 7 minutes and 45 seconds.

At one point, Matt considered taking off his shoe and hucking it at the (I’m sure very amused) carny.

At another point, a friend walked towards the ride and didn’t see me. As she looked up, I saw her say with confusion, “Isn’t that Holly’s husband up there?” Why yes. Yes, it is. My husband likes to be the first in line to go on carnival rides, he loves it so much. He goes all by himself, because they are THAT fun.

8 minutes later, when he finally got off the spinning wheel of death and the children had gone through the maze approximately 3,127 times, Annalise declared that she would like to go on the Yo-Yo after all. Phew. At least the long ride wasn’t in vain. Except Jacob had determined that it was actually too high for him. And then Annalise decided that, while it looked super fun, it would be too scary to go on alone.

And so that, ladies and gentlemen, is why my husband got back on the Yo-Yo after 8 minutes of nausea for yet another round of torment. Because if his little girl looked up at him and asked for a real live unicorn, he would probably buy a horse and adhere a giant party hat to its face. He is that dedicated. Or suckered. Take your pick.

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Priestman Home Stage

After a great – barring one minor ER trip – (who am I kidding? THAT was great, too) 4-day family stay-cation, Matt and I got another treat tonight… THE PRIESTMAN HOME STAGE. It was the perfect way to end a couple of snow days.

Matt set up the photo booth backdrop and the kids used it as a stage curtain. They took turns performing, and each introduced the following act for their sibling. Having been to a few High School plays themselves, they knew enough to turn off lights before removing stage props, such as stools. Super cute overload mixed with some serious hilarity and multiple knowing glances at the hubs. I love it when we can make eye-contact over the littles and just know.

Tonight’s performances particularly highlighted the kids’ different personalities…

HER Performances (all while holding a mic, of course):
1. Dramatic Reading of A Hippopotamus Ate the Teacher
2. Dramatic Reenactment/Singing of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” (from Frozen)
3. Dramatic (and beautiful) ballet performance
4. Dramatic Lip Sync/Singing of “Let it Go” (Also from Frozen)
5. Dramatic Leap Pad Demo of a Measuring/Cooking Game (Dramatic? Really?? Yes. It’s all in the facial expressions and vocal inflections.)
6. Passionate Singing performance of “Steady My Heart” by Kari Jobe*
(It was at this point that I BAWLED LIKE A BABY. Because there is nothing – nothing – that gets me more than my kids singing full-on TRUTH. IT IS MY FAVORITE IN ALL THE WORLD. I just sit there, weeping and stifling loud sobs, begging God that this will be buried deep in her heart forever, and thanking Him that she is so passionate about it right now. And of all her Dramatic-with-a-capital-D performances, this is the ONE that was NOT acting. I would’ve videoed it for you all, but I couldn’t FOR ALL OF THE TEARS.)

HIS Performances:
1. And I quote, “Rockin’ out” to “We Built This City” by Starship circa 1980s (Due to a little stage fright, this performance only continued when he could get his sister to share the stage with him. She – of course – was happy to oblige.)
2. Roaring (i.e. Like a lion. With a James P. Sullivan mask on)
3. Growling (i.e. Also like a lion. with a James P. Sullivan mask on)
4. Leap Pad Demo #1 (With sister sitting next to him on stage)
5. Leap Pad Demo #2
6. Guitar Solo (That lasted 15 seconds, because while he loves to talk, he does in fact get embarrassed while being the center of attention. Love him and his sensitivity.)
7. Bonus Performance after the show ended and he was no longer on “stage”: Dramatic Falling (He is all boy, after all.)

My heart is full. I love these people. Times one billion.
And now I am weepy again. Geeze louise.

*These lyrics. Sung Belted out with passion by my 6-year-old. May she remember this truth all her life.

Steady My Heart
Wish it could be easy
Why is life so messy?
Why is pain a part of us?
There are days I feel like
Nothing ever goes right
Sometimes it just hurts so much

But You’re here
You’re real
I know I can trust You

Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
‘Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart (x2)

I’m not gonna worry
I know that You’ve got me
Right inside the palm of your hand
Each and every moment
What’s good and what gets broken
Happens just the way You plan

You are here
You’re real
I know I can trust You

Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
‘Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart (x2)

And I will run to You
And find refuge in Your arms
And I will sing to You
‘Cause of everything You are

You steady my heart (x2)

Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
‘Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart (x2)

I’m not gonna worry
I know that You’ve got me
Right inside the palm of Your hand

Lesson(s) Learned on a Snowy Day

This is the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)

photo(89)

 

This is the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)

photo(90b)

 

This is the husband who swatted snow off the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)

photo(96)

 

This is the thorn that stuck all the way through and broke off inside the finger* of the husband when he swatted snow off the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)

photo(91)

 

This is the husband at the ER because of the thorn that stuck all the way through and broke off inside his finger* when he swatted snow off the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)

photo(92)(He looks so happy, doesn’t he?)

 

4 shots to the finger later…

This is the surgery – complete with neon green tourniquet – performed on the husband in the ER because of the thorn that stuck all the way through and broke off inside his finger* when he swatted snow off the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)

photo(94)

 

This is the finger that STILL harbors a thorn AFTER surgery was performed – complete with green tourniquet – on the husband in the ER because of the thorn that stuck all the way through and broke off inside his finger* when he swatted snow off the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)

photo(95)

 

This is the husband soaking his hand because of the finger that still harbors a thorn after surgery was performed – complete with green tourniquet – on his hand in the ER because of the thorn that stuck all the way through and broke off inside his finger* when he swatted snow off the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)

photo(93)

 

This is the lesson learned by the husband soaking his thorny hand because of the finger that still harbors a thorn after surgery was performed – complete with green tourniquet – on his hand in the ER because of the thorn that stuck all the way through and broke off inside his finger* when he swatted snow off the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.):

Never judge a bush by its “cover.”

 

Other versions of this lesson:

A soft and fluffy exterior may hide a world of thorns.

Never swat at snow unless you know what is underneath.

Sometimes, beauty is only skin-deep.

 

Other lessons learned yesterday:

  • Never ever bring kids to the ER. Ever. (So thankful for friends who came to the rescue so we didn’t have to! WE LOVE YOU, friends!)
  • Winter gloves are great for keeping your hands warm, but they don’t do much to protect you from sharp objects.
  • When going to the ER with a thorn/stick broken off inside your finger, be prepared for the receptionist to say something like, “So. You’re here for a… splinter?”
  • Be grateful for the nurse who says, “Not a splinter. More like an impaled foreign object.” Yes. That sounds much better, thank you.
  • Just because something doesn’t show up in an x-ray doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
  • When you’ve been impaled by a foreign object, one that enters your finger on the palm side and is visible just under the surface on the top side, you might think it is best to cut into the top to pull it out. And you might be right. Or you might just create a crater in the top side, so now you have matching holes on both sides of your finger. And the impaled object still stuck inside.
  • Just because a scalpel can tap the impaled object so that you can actually hear the click, doesn’t mean that the surgeon will be able to retrieve said impaled object.
  • When you go the ER with an impalement and they do x-rays, give you Benadryl, 4 numbing shots in your finger, a tetanus shot, and perform minor surgery on your finger, yet they do not remove the impaled object, you still have to pay for the x-rays, Benadryl, 4 numbing shots in your finger, the tetanus shot, and the minor surgery. Bonus: You go home with a hand that hurts worse than when you went in.
  • Sometimes, in order to get a date night, you have to impale your finger. (JUST KIDDING RHONDA! And lots of others. We know you’re willing to babysit.) 🙂
  • You know you have a good relationship with your spouse when you spend 4 hours in the Emergency Room, laughing the whole time, leave with the same problem you had when you came, and are still laughing together by the time you drive home on snow and ice covered roads. I love you, my brave husband! (This is, by far, my favorite part of the “lessons.”)
  • Oh yes. And never ever bring kids to the ER. Ever!!

*Summary: A stick/thorn pierced his glove, entered his finger on the palm side, went all the way through to the opposite side, and stopped just underneath the outer layer of skin. We could see it. His finger turned red and hot and was painful to the touch, not to mention had some serious swelling. The broken thorn still stuck in his glove. The remaining chunk of thorn was inside his finger.

The end.

Fall Changes

Last night, as we drove down a windy road lined with colorful trees, I said to the kids, “Look, guys! Look at all the beautiful fall colors!”

Jacob started in with one of his long one-sided conversations. The kind where he asks lots of questions but answers them himself. The kind where he pauses often, but you can tell it’s only because he’s working so hard at figuring something out. Here is the monologue he gave…

Yeah! I see them. And you know why it’s called fall, Mama? (Pause) Because da leaves change colors and den fall from da tree!

And you know why they fall, Mama? (Pause) Because it’s called fall!

And do you know why it’s called fall, Mama? (Pause) Because da leaves change and fall.

And do you know why they do? Because it’s called fall.

(Long pause)

I guess… I guess when things change, they dist fall.

(Long pause)

Da road doesn’t change, and it doesn’t fall.

(Long pause.)

A bush and grass doesn’t change, and dey don’t fall.

(Really long pause, then he perks up and says excitedly…)

I fall when I change my undies!

(Pause, then he wraps up his monologue with this concluding statement…)

Yep, only things dat change fall.

 

And there you have it. The answer to the question “Why the Leaves Fall.” Wisdom from my three-year-old.

And be careful next time you change your undies.

Feeling old

Some days, the reality of how old I am hits me.

Well, once I can remember how old I am, it does.

This morning was one of those mornings. Today was a family day. No work. No computers. No cameras. Just me, the Hubs, and the kids. We were headed to the Pacific Science Center.

I remember going there as a kid. I remember some of the same exhibits (Touching the sea life? Oh yes. Loved it.) I remember family days and car games and all the stuff we were going to be doing today.

And as I was getting ready and remembering all these things, I started to feel old. The kind of old that starts with this thinking, Who allows young people like me to be a parent??? Don’t they know I’m not ready for that? Then changes to, Oh wait. I’m not young. I’m in my thirties. I remember my parents being in their thirties.

Am I the only one? The only one that remembers things from their childhood and feels O-L-D when observing said things being repeated in their kids’ lives? The only one that has these moments of panic where I realize I’m not just out of high school? But then begins to do the math and suddenly realizes I’ve been out of high school longer than all the years I was ever in school… including pre-school, but excluding college – or at least some of college.

Then this conversation happens in my head EVERY. SINGLE. TIME: Ok. So I’m 33… No wait… I’m not 33…I’m thirty – …34… No wait… I was born in ’78. It’s 199-… NO WAIT, it’s 20–… what year is it, dangit??? Am I that old?… Calm down, old fogey…It’s 2013… That makes me… 33… no wait… I’m 35… no wait… I’ll be 35 when my birthday comes this year… HOLY CRAP. I’M ALMOST 35… I remember when my parents were 35!”

(Funny thing is, I’ve had that same conversation in my head for a few years now. And I went an entire year believing I was 33, only to discover at my birthday that I, in fact, was turning 33. Which was a great birthday present to myself – to not grow another year older. And now, I still think I’m 33. That would make me 33 for 3 years and running…)

Anyway, this conversation that I have regularly in my head gets me thinking (once I figure out exactly how old I am) about what time I have (or don’t have) left. It usually goes something like this:

So, I’m 34. If I live this long 2 more times, I’ll be 112. Not gonna happen. So my life is more than 1/3 over. If I live this long just one more time, I’ll be 68. That’s likely and doesn’t actually sound too old. So hopefully, my life isn’t yet 1/2 over. Which means, my life is more than 1/3 over, but not quite 1/2 over. 2/5 over? That would mean I’d live to be 85. Maybe. Give or take a few (but not too many.) So I still have 3/5 of my life to live. Not too late to make some changes…

This morning, this thought was interrupted right about then by the sounds of children fighting, reminding me that however long I live, I have a job to do now. Which makes me feel just a little bit younger.

The family day was great. The science center was the most crowded I’ve ever seen, but it was still enjoyable. Look at me! I’m not a grumpy old lady! We stopped for dinner on the way home. At the noisy restaurant, we saw a man about in his 60s working with the hostess at finding the perfect table for himself. He apparently requested a quieter area, to which she replied, “I’m sorry. We don’t have an area designated for quiet dining.” And then she sat him directly behind our booth. A recipe for disaster, if you ask me. (Maybe she planned it that way. Just to annoy him for his snooty request.) And despite Annalise’s bumping the back of the booth (also his back of booth), he never once asked us to quiet down or stop jiggling his seat. So even though the waitress spilled Matt’s coffee and dropped a knife on Jacob and brought Matt the wrong entree (he ate it anyway, also a very “not-old” thing to do), and even though Jacob dropped the ice cream right off his spoon six times – three of those times right onto my lap – I’d consider the dinner a success. And I left feeling sorta young again. And sticky. Young and sticky.

Now home, I was no longer thinking about age but was just enjoying reflecting on the moments of quality family time that filled my heart throughout the day. I overheard Jacob talking to his daddy, who was helping him get his PJs on…

“Daddy, I’m starting to get bigger! Den I’m gonna get big… and big… and Big.. and BIG… and BIG. And den, I’m gonna be bigger den Mommy one day! And den I’m gonna pick her up, and put her to bed, and get her all tuckied in. Wight, Daddy? Wight?”

Which, of course, made me teary, and also reminded me of this book:

love you bookWhich also makes me cry.

And I remember this book making my mom and my Auntie Jill and Trish cry.

Another childhood memory I’m now living out as an adult…

…And so now I feel old again.