Category Archives: Flipping Your Tube


Come on, now, friends. Finish that one with me. In unison, everybody!

When it rains, it pours!

It’s been a bit of a rainy season around here. First, let me say, thank you so much for your patience! It’s been a long three and a half weeks of waiting and wading through all the issues that come with a site crash and attempted retrieval/repairs. Those of you who’ve been tuned in for a while know how much technology and I don’t get along, so I won’t belabor the point. Let’s just say, this incident has done nothing to repair that rocky relationship. We’ll leave it at that.

I had all kinds of plans for a profound and amazing post to re-launch a season of fabulous and funny blogs….and then the rains came. We got pounded here in sweet little New Braunfels and the surrounding areas….as tends to happen. This time, to add to the fun, a tornado showed up as well. Schools closed. Roads were blocked. The river rose and flooded, causing damage and flashbacks. All plans and events were cancelled. Chaos ensued.

Naturally, any hope of accomplishing anything outside of chasing and/or entertaining kids and river watch/clean-up was squashed over the week’s end. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a crisis. We were lucky this time, and did not sustain damage to the actual river house itself (water stopped a mere eight steps from the front door – how’s that for a close call?). Our neighbors didn’t get to dodge that bullet, even though the river returned to its banks relatively quickly.

We have wonderful friends who showed up to check water levels and help clear debris, and many others who called or texted to check in and offer to help. Bless them all. It makes such a difference, and we are well aware that being loved like this is an amazing thing.

It definitely switched my focus to being grateful instead of frustrated.

Once we got everything cleared away and relatively organized, things started flowing (no pun intended) in the right direction. Weather cleared so that Halloween plans could go through. Gregg took Drew and headed to West Texas for their hunting excursion. Luke got prepped and set for his night of middle school shenanigans. I helped Emry get ready, and the Pink Power Ranger and I were ready to party. We left for fun with friends, dragging teenage boys in tow with promises to feed them and then drop them off at their party (I may have had a few small heart palpitations, since this was my first run at not helping chaperone). They were even good sports about posing for a picture or two.


Despite all the craziness, running around, and managing of kids at multiple locations (one of which took forever to get to due to residual road closures and flooding, yet we did prevail…parties stop for no man around here), things were going relatively smoothly. At least, until it was time for Pinkie and I to head out to get the boys. As I said my goodbyes, she walked around the couch to get her candy, or say her farewells, or whatever she needed to do in that moment. Suddenly, there was a chorus of, “Emry’s bleeding!”

She came walking towards me, blood running down her head and all over her hands, tears pouring down her sweet face. For the love…. We’re still not sure exactly what happened. She wasn’t running. She didn’t fall. There was no wrestling or rough-housing, and not another child near her. She said she just sat down and leaned forward, hitting her head on the coffee table.

And busted the skin above her eyebrow open to the bone.

It was so random. Sadly, after my initial shock, I remembered that I was probably due an incident of this proportion given that my husband was out of town, and we all know how that goes around here. Off to the ER we went, with Emry lamenting that she “wished I never sat down.” I guess her take-home lesson interpretation is to never stop moving…

Kudos to a wonderful staff. From check-in to nurses to the doctor who ultimately sewed her up, everyone was so kind and patient and gentle with her. She was a trooper, not a tear was shed once we got there, and her primary  concern was the color of the stitches (she was quite adamant that she needed white, we compromised with blue). We texted Daddy and big brother pictures of the procedure (I’ll spare you those), and ended up with four stitches above her eyebrow.


The rest of the weekend we laid really low. Both mama and daughter were exhausted, and frankly, I don’t know that I could have handled any other surprises. It seemed safest to just not leave the house until Monday morning. And even though she looks a bit like a tiny prizefighter, she was off to school with her usual verve; with the addition of a swollen eye and Hello Kitty bandage. We specifically picked out one of her birthday shirts that says “Sassy and Fabulous” on the front in gold letters, because if you’re going to show up to kindergarten with stitches and a shiner, the world needs you know that you are definitely those two things.

I’m hoping to channel a little of that this week.

I’m grateful to be back in the proverbial saddle, blogging and posting to you fabulous people. I’m grateful to have survived another bout of single-handed parenting. I’m grateful that Halloween is over, and that there are wonderful souls out there who believe in giving away quality chocolate. I’m grateful for amazing friends who help clear flood debris, pinch hit to grab kids in an emergency, attempt to help glue gashes shut, and hop in the car for a midnight ER ride involving a child that’s not their own.

I’m even grateful for the time change. It’s nice to get kids off to school while the sun is up.

Here’s to all of you, sassy and fabulous, bruises and all. Thanks, as always, for joining me on this ride. Drop me a line to let me know you stopped by. I’d love to hear from you. I’m sure you have a story to share.

Solidarity, sisters. It’s great to be back.




Followers and Flu victims

I have a dream.  I do.  It’s not as profound as the one the phenomenal Dr. Martin Luther King shared in his history-making speech.  I don’t aspire to such lofty goals.  My dream is much simpler.

Are you ready?

I have a dream that someday, some way, my plans for the day or event or task or even hour, will actually pan out the way I envision them.  That is all, good friends.

Some of you are completely underwhelmed by this vision.  Others of you are nodding as though you are competing for Bobble Head of the Year.  You are thinking to yourself, “She is singing the song of my people.”  Good.  That means we belong to the same tribe.

I had a plan for today.  It was a great one.  I was all aflutter at the thought of wrapping up our wonderful online Bible readings/sharing time with The Blog to End All Blogs, completing our journey with a literary masterpiece that would enter the category of Things I Could Never Have Imagined Missing Out On to all who beheld it.  Ok.  That’s probably pushing it.  I really did have a great idea, though.  I took notes and everything.

As usual, that was not to be.  My first clue should have been the fact that Gregg left town yesterday, and we all know how well that goes for me.  For any of you just tuning in, my stints as a temporary single parent generally involve plague, pestilence or weird disasters.  It’s gotten to the point that’s just past funny and rounding the corner to enter borderline scary (like, truly scary….not just tossing the word out there).  My second clue should have been my pending trip.  I rarely travel, and I never travel alone for something that involves only my “stuff”.  I have this incredible opportunity to attend a Women’s Ministry training in Nashville, so bit the bullet and booked myself a shot at learning how to do this right.  I have been on pins and needles about this trip, alternating between excitement and intimidation (this is totally unfamiliar territory for me….and I don’t know anyone else in the group, including my roommate, who I’ll meet when we check in).  I have incredible Mommy Guilt about leaving kids, and Work Guilt about taking off.  Plus, I hate to fly.  Like, really hate it.  I won’t go into details on how much or why because that would take pages of explaining and result in me having an anxiety attack right here and now.  Just know it ain’t pretty.  And be glad you don’t have to sit by me on a plane.

Despite having trouble sleeping because of all the lists swirling around in my head, I was feeling pretty good about the whole situation.  So, naturally, Drew woke up with 102 fever the morning before I’m supposed to leave.  For the love….. I can’t type the words that came to mind because this isn’t that kind of blog.

I made the necessary calls, cancelled my work day, and waited for our pediatrician appointment.  Sure enough, the verdict was flu.  I knew it would be.  The poor child looked positively terrible.  Plus, Gregg’s out of town, so plague.

And now the crushing weight of additional Bad Mommy Guilt versus Flaking on a Marvelous Event Guilt.

I sat in the car with my sweet, sick boy and cried the whole way to the pharmacy.

Because, despite everyone’s assurances he will be fine (grandparents, friends, his doctor, his daddy) and that we got the Tamiflu early enough to help, and both grandmothers managed to keep his parents alive so should be able to pull this off……I just felt totally deflated.  I’m his mother!  I shouldn’t pick anything over him!  I should be there for every sniffle, every tear, every fever or need for a hug.  Yes, I feel called to pursue this path….but I’m called to be a wife and mother first!  Maybe I’m hearing the wrong calling.  Maybe I’m totally off.  Maybe I suck at this and God decided to knock me aside for someone better suited.

I bet the women who do this really well don’t have sick kids and disasters pop up when they try to leave.  God probably sets rainbows up to pave the skies for their planes.

Yes, that is ridiculous.  I can, on occasion, be ever so slightly melodramatic.  Shocking, I know.

So, I pulled John 21 for our final reading, and for my reality check to myself.  It’s pretty amazing.  You should read it if you haven’t in a while…or ever.

Jesus is super clear.  He says, “Follow me.”  And when Peter looks at another disciple and asks, “What about that guy? What’s he doing?”, He basically tells Mr. Nosy to mind his own beeswax.  If the path for the other guy is longer or shinier or full of rainbows, “what is that to you? You must follow me.”  I love a good Savior Smackdown (when it’s not aimed at me, of course).  Because once we hear His call, we’re out of excuses.  The detours and obstacles are temporary.  We’re supposed to follow Him.  Period.

In spite of our fears.  In spite of our egos.  In spite of our distractions, disappointments and devastations.  He has a plan, and we should fall in line.

The final verse in the book is John 21:25, and it was like a dagger to my little writer’s heart.  It says: “Jesus did many other things as well.  If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

Perhaps what I envision isn’t quite the point, eh?

Perhaps my musings and ramblings aren’t the issue as much as my ability to listen, and then obey.

So, I’ll be boarding a plane soon.  I’ll be staring at my baby’s picture and lifting him up to the One who loves him even more than I do…and who is actually the Great Healer of all.  I’ll be humbling my heart and opening my mind to learn from those who know way more than I do, and I’ll be bustling down the path that leads me to my Father’s plan.

I’m sure I’ll be derailed plenty more times.  That’s ok.  I know a great book that was put together by an inspired team of writers for just such an occasion.

I’ll be clutching it tightly during take-off and landing.

Solidarity, sisters.   You are now free to move about your destiny.

Have you ever has those moments in life in which you are so ludicrously out of control that, in the midst of your words or actions, your inner voice is yelling, “Stop! Stop it! Stop it right now!”, but you can’t, so you just keep going, spiraling farther and farther down the path of social awkwardness with no way out?  If your answer was “no”, you may not be able to relate to this post at all.  You will, however, get in a good laugh at my expense.  Here we go….It all started a couple of weeks ago.  Some of you may know exactly what week I am referencing, since everyone I spoke to around that time was having exactly (ok, not exactly, but a relatable version) the kind of week I was having.  It’s like a dose of insanity powder was released into the air and made all hell break loose everywhere it went.  Yes, I did just throw that out there – airborne insanity.  You’re welcome.  Monday of said week, I had what can only be described as a total breakdown.  I mean, to the point that I looked at Gregg through my tears and said something along the lines of, “Something is wrong with me.  I’m broken.  I think I’m actually broken.”  Considering I had just done six cycles of alternating crying -> laughing -> crying (and not smiling with a gentle chuckle to choking up a bit; I mean full on laughing out loud to sobbing…it was incredible) in under 30 minutes, I think this was an accurate assessment.  Gregg was horrified.  He is also terrified of having to raise our children alone, so instead of agreeing with me and perhaps driving me to a facility that handles these situations, he just kept repeating, “Stop saying that.  Don’t say that.”  I’d like to think that his reaction was more love than fear….we’ll leave that one for now.

The funny thing is, this kicked off a week that wasn’t as crazy as some, coming off of a weekend that had been relatively calm (for us, which I know is generally not the definition for the rest of the world).  So my meltdown was quite unexpected.  Except for one circumstance.  Friday and Saturday of that week was the women’s conference for one of our local churches.  This group of amazing ladies is generous enough to include me in many of their events and studies, and this weekend was no exception.  I had a small role in helping out at this phenomenal event, and was so excited to do so I could hardly stand it.  Naturally, by the time things were in full gear, I was emotionally and spiritually beaten up to the point that I was seriously questioning whether I should go.  Which means, of course, that I absolutely was supposed to.  Even in my hysteria, I knew there was something I needed to hear or experience there, and the worse my week got, the more that thought crystalized.

Did I mention the speaker?  Oh, not yet?  Yeah….the other reason I know things were blowing up is just how excited I was to hear this amazing woman live and maybe even get to meet her (gasp). I’m not sure exactly what the etiquette is in the blogging world on mentioning names, but let’s be honest, she’s never going to read this and I didn’t use her picture and none of you are paying money to humor my ramblings, so I think it’s okay.  The keynote speaker for the event was none other than the incomparable Jen Hatmaker.  I know!  How awesome is that?!?  I simply adore her, and truly admire her work.  I know, just know, that we are supposed to be lifelong friends and have many hilarious conversations in our future.  I wouldn’t call myself a super fan (is there even such a term?) – I have her HGTV episodes recorded, but haven’t managed to watch them, yet (because I don’t actually have time to watch TV, but it’s on my to-do list), and I don’t read everything she posts (again, time factor), but I have read several of her books and am in the midst of one of her Modern Girls’ Guide to Bible Study books (if you’ve not done one, I highly recommend it).  So, I feel like I have a fairly good grasp on who she is, and can say with some certainty that we would get along famously (I share that sentiment with countless other women, I know).

That being said, I have to say, I’ve never been one to get overly starstruck.  I don’t have a history of crying at concerts or freaking out over the chance to chase down a celebrity.  I stand next to Bruce Bowen every year at the Buddy Walk (he MC’s, I sing the National Anthem….we’re buds) and joke with him about all the people who walk through or over me to shake his hand or ask for autographs. I’ve run into one or two famous people in my life (not a ton, but, you know…it happens), and it’s not been a primary focus of mine.  For some reason, I found myself really caught up in the fact that this woman was going to be our speaker and in the same building as me (and about 400 other women, but whatever) and would I get to meet her or get her to sign a book or ask her a question or….. It was a little ridiculous.  So, I made myself a deal.  Obviously, I was missing the point of the whole event if this was my focal point.  It was time to change focus.  As I drove to the church Friday, I gave myself a stern talking to – and decided that on no uncertain terms would I seek to meet her.  I was there to serve in whatever capacity they needed me to, and to learn from a fascinating teacher.  Period.  The end.  Let it go.

Amazingly, as I pulled into the parking lot, I felt totally calm, like the crazy powder had dissipated.  I walked in, asked where I needed to go, and got to work.  At some point, I noticed there were more than enough helpers to greet and direct attendees in my area, so I headed to one of the ladies in charge to ask if they needed help in another space.  That’s when I noticed the very nice camera sitting next to her with no one to man it.  My offer to roam the venue taking pictures was met with enthusiasm, and off I went to record the event for posterity.  It was so fun!  I took shots of every conceivable area and got to meet so many beautiful and interesting ladies, chatting with anyone I could.  My heart was so grateful and happy to be there.  There is nothing quite like a building full of women who are excited and relaxed and anticipating an inspiring occasion.  I headed to the “green room” area to get backstage candids of the worship team and MC, and to do a little more chatting.  I love this worship team – they are such a talented group, and at intervals I get to sing with them, so I know most of them relatively well.  It was quite the party.  The MC was a lovely lady whom I had met at a previous event in which I was an MC, so I was excited to see her again and play a bit of personal assistant.  She had a question about door prizes, and with a promise to find the answer and get right back to her I rushed out of the door on a mission.

And that’s when it happened.
The Game Changer Moment.

Before I go any further, let me set this up by reminding you that I was on an adrenaline high, happy to have survived my week and make it to an event I had been looking forward to….a lot.  I was moving quickly, with my mind racing ahead to the person I needed to find and information I had to get.  And I am basically always super high energy, even more in social settings.  Also, I was in the back of the church, in an area that was not part of the main setting.  As I burst out of the doors, to the right was the hallway leading back to the venue and to the left was a short hall, then entryway with double doors that open to the back parking lot.  These doors are locked and require a code to open from the outside.  Stay with me.  I’m about to land this plane.

I rushed out of the room, prepped to turn right, and something to the left caught my eye and I heard a light rattling of the doors.  I skidded to a halt and turned to look left.  There, locked out of the building not 30 feet away, stood none other than Jen Hatmaker herself, waving and smiling.

The longer I live, the more I am convinced that God has an unrivaled sense of humor.  And sometimes, when He’s throwing us a bone, He decides to get a chuckle out of it.

Girls, what happened next is indisputably one of the most embarassingly unrefined social interactions of my adult life.  Actually, my entire life.  I completely flipped out.  Like, to the nth degree.  It’s like I was possessed.

In the history of doors, there has never been anyone as excited to open one as I was in that moment.  I cannot believe I am even going to describe this….. Mid-swerve, I flung my arms up in this L shape (you know how cheerleaders do that move with their arms fully extended, one up and one out? That was me, but with completely open jazz hands) and opened my mouth….the only word to describe the sound that came out is “trill”.  I trilled this “Ah-ha-HA-ha-ha!” pattern, then took off for the door at a speed that any character on The Walking Dead would envy.  Seriously, the way I raced for that entryway you would think that she was escaping a zombie horde as opposed to standing in the afternoon sunshine at the back of a church simply because she couldn’t open a locked door.  As I was running, I was literally telling myself to “calm down right now, you idiot!”, but I just couldn’t.  I was already laughing (out loud, which I’m sure made me look even more sane) when I got to the door. I ripped the door open with a resounding “HI!” and let her get almost all the way into the building before stepping just a little too close as I chirped, “Of course!” in response to her thank you.  I then opened my arms and asked, “Can I just hug you?”

Oh my gosh!  Oh my gosh!  Make it stop!  Who does that?  Who accosts someone that way?  A crazy person, that’s who.  I am a crazy person.

And apparently, awkward hugs are my go-to move.  I’d love to say this is the first time this has happened, but it isn’t.  Last year, at a school board meeting, I hugged the assistant superintendent. It was only the second time I had ever seen or spoken to her.  In my defense, I used to work for the school district, so am often hugging people when in that building.  And she did walk towards me with one arm out to the side (she was carrying a folder and trying to hand it to the person next to me, so I may have misinterpreted that a bit).  And, in addition, I was really tired and saw her out of the corner of my eye, so reacted before the identity of the person I was reaching for had fully registered.  At that point, it would have been more awkward to try and stop myself, so I just went all in and wrapped her up in a big ol’ bear hug.  I believe her startled reaction was, “Oh! Okay.  We’re doing this.”  To which I replied, “What can I say?  I’m a hugger!”  Shanie, who (bless her) is a Director for this district and has to work with these people, so I had to promise not to let on that we’re friends, was beyond the ability to breathe through her laughter when I sat by her and explained what had happened.  She looked at me in confusion and asked, “Are you a hugger? How did I not know this?”

No!! No I am not a “Hugger”!!  That’s not a descriptor I would use at all!  I just couldn’t think of anything else to say in that moment to help excuse my weird behavior.  I only hug people I know well.  Or, apparently, that walk up to me in professional settings.  Or for whom I open doors.  Yeesh.

Back to Jen.  I did redeem myself a bit when I directed her to the bathroom, I think.  And I cheerfully took pictures of her and anyone who requested it.  We had a lovely discussion on gardening and eggplants and recipes, which may have helped her not feel the need for a restraining order – though I did kick off that topic with the pronouncement that I would bless her by sharing the knowledge of my favorite thing about her.  When I said that I was sure she heard that all the time, her answer was, “Actually, I don’t.  No one ever says that to me.”  Fabulous.  Glad to be the first.

You’ll be happy to know that my favorite Hatmaker fact is that she quotes Bon Jovi lyrics to her garden plants.  I know.  I am so deep.

Through tears of mirth, one of my friends to whom I related this story was commenting on how Jen would never believe that I actually lead worship or speak in public or write.  Yes, of this I am aware. Thank you for pointing that out.  I’ll just stay categorized as the insane fan with no social skills or restraint who did a spirit dance then attacked her in a doorway; and out of the profound lessons in Seven, came away with 90s music references.  Stupendous.

After meekly asking for one pic of the two of us on my phone, I stayed away from her for the rest of the event, with the exception of walking her to her car Friday night.  It was late and she was parked back there alone (obviously I knew where she had come in).  Even crazy people have some manners and safety awareness.

In case you are wondering, the lesson/topic of the weekend was phenomenal and punch-you-in-the-face convicting.  Over 400 daughters of  the King laughed and cried and learned.  I am still processing her material and doctrine, and actually have many thoughts that I will share in a later correspondence.  Because, let’s face it, none of you could take me seriously at this point.  I can’t even take myself for real.

It’s humbling to know that, at any age, you can geek out with the best of them.  Gregg’s next national sales meeting is in Hollywood, and we have plans for me to join him there for a few days of getaway time.  I am already praying that we don’t experience any celebrity sightings.  I obviously cannot handle it.

Solidarity, sisters.  Everyone loves hugger.

Ok, maybe loves is a strong word….tolerates?

Cut lemon and lime

So, let me begin by expressing my need to come to you, my friends, in confession of yet more of my fallacies.  I feel I owe some penance, seeing as how I have managed to go a ridiculously long time without writing (not a global tragedy, I know, but still….), thus once again proving how easily distracted I am and how much I suck at my whole “word of the year” thing – that word being discipline.  Um, yeah….not so much.

Summer just throws me off completely.  The constant lack of structure and changes to daily schedules makes my brain hurt and leaves me, at times, incapable of rational thought.  On the flip side, we are having an incredible fun-filled and active summer season, so there’s that.

For example, last week, Gregg and I got to have an impromptu date night – on a Tuesday!  I wasn’t as fascinated by the day of the week as much as he was, but he kept saying, “It’s a Tuesday evening,” so I thought it merited mentioning.  Maybe there’s a marriage or date night clause of which I am unaware stating what an exceptional circumstance this is.  He may know something I don’t here.  If any of you are aware of such a distinction, please feel free to enlighten me.  I’m always up for learning something new.

I digress.

Back to Tuesday Date Night.

Both boys were unexpectedly invited to last-minute sleepovers at friends’ houses, so I called my parents, wrangled a grandparent slumber party invite for the Bug, and texted Gregg to be ready for a date night extravaganza (ok, I didn’t use exactly those words – he rolls his eyes at overly-flowery phrasing, and let’s face it, extravaganza sets the bar a bit high for a week night dinner date……unless it’s in Paris.  Then extravaganza is exactly the right word, don’t you think?).  We got all the dependents to their respective locations, changed clothes (I even wore a dress), and headed to a lovely local restaurant downtown.  It’s one of those places we rarely go because, well, kids.  After a few stuttering starts at attempted conversation (it always takes us a few minutes to warm up and get going in the cadence of normal adult conversation.  We’re so used to all of the start/stop interruptions and distractions that it takes us a few tries to string together multiple complete sentences.  Sometimes, I just stop talking in the middle of a story, like there’s a phantom interruption.  Which, to be honest, I don’t think is a real thing.  Like phantom limb pain – that’s a real thing.  It is, trust me.  My thing is probably just more proof that my attention span is ridiculously lacking….a fact made more obvious when there are no children around to blame).

That may be the single most ridiculous rabbit trail of my life…..I apologize.  Especially to any phantom limb pain sufferers.  I really wasn’t trying to be flippant.

And now I’m lost.  Oh….dinner conversation.  Hang in there.  I promise I have a point.  Or at least an end to the story.

We were thoroughly enjoying our evening out – drinks, appetizers, a bubbly waitress named Candy (I jest not – she was delightful, even though I couldn’t stop singing under my breath, “My name is Candy and I taste so sweet; you get a cavity each time we meet…” Anyone? Other children of the 80’s and 90’s?  Anyone at all?).  I even held on to enough self-control to order salad instead of steak smothered in blue cheese (discipline finally kicking in).  Not only did I order salad, but I chose to forgo the dressing and just asked for lemon slices.  My self-control knew no bounds.  Then came the hiccup.  Candy looked at me with the sweetest (ha!), most helpful expression and asked, “Is lime ok?”  She stood there, pen poised above her tablet, anticipating my affirmative response, ready to bounce back to the kitchen and place our simple order.

So, now I had a quandary.  Because lime is actually not ok.

It’s not the same, not really, and if I had wanted lime on my salad I would have asked for it.  Just like on the rare occasions I order a Coke, I want a Coke….and, no, Pepsi won’t work.  And when I introduce myself as Rebecca, that’s my name.  The one I answer to and have my whole life.  So, no, you may not call me Becky (I’m always surprised when people ask this.  It makes no sense.  Do you want people to substitute for your name?).

I sat, mentally arguing with myself.  Do I refuse the lime substitution?  Do I change my order to a less healthy dressing choice?  Do I forget the whole salad thing and order the steak?  Or do I just settle for something I didn’t really choose, accepting it this time, thus making Candy’s job easier and preventing any more time out of date night conversation?  This particular restaurant does not have lemons, something I learned on a Girls’ Night a couple of years ago (and actually still get made fun of for when someone remembers it, because that time I did make it a hill to die on, engaging in the Unacceptable Substitutions lecture with our poor waitress that night), I had just forgotten that fact since we hadn’t eaten there in so long (which, now that I think about it, may have been intentional on the part of my girlfriends or the restaurant itself, given the intensity of my lemon tantrum.  If memory serves, I think one of them actually ended up popping down the street to the store to sneak lemons in to me.  Not one of my best moments, I am aware.).

You’ll be relieved (or perhaps bored) to know I took the road less argued this particular evening.  I smiled pleasantly, nodded at Candy, and decided I could survive a lime-sprinkled salad for once.  It’s date night, after all.  On a Tuesday.  Why rock the boat?

Why indeed?

How many times have we dealt with the substitution crossroads?  Have you had those days?  Those times when you had your heart set on something, or your path set a certain direction, and time or circumstances or people derailed you with an offer of something….less, and the expectation that it should be ok.  Sometimes, we need to bend, and to give someone else’s suggestion the priority.  But other times….. There are hills to die on and expectations we should hang on to no matter what.  There are days when the search for the genuine trumps a surrogate every time, and when generic isn’t going to cut it.  Our hearts beat for true love, joy and fulfillment, and nothing else will do.  Our souls are made for legitimate relationship – with Father, with others who have a positive presence and with intimacy that cannot be faked…..not for long, anyway.  Our hope is built and our faith holds strong when we refuse to settle for imitations or seek counterfeit comfort.

Candy skipped off to the kitchen, pleased with uncomplicated table service.  I was a little disappointed, but also proud of my decision to be an adult and accommodating.  I looked across the table at my handsome husband, and before I could speak, he lifted his hands up, shrugged his shoulders and said, “What’s that about?  Why do they assume lemons and limes are interchangeable?  I mean, it’s like Pepsi and Coke.  Not the same.  Not the same at all….” Followed by, “You should write a blog about this, babe.  Seriously.  Lemons vs limes and all the annoying substitution attempts out there.”

I fell in love with him all over again.  Just when I think he can’t surprise me…..BAM!  The power of Tuesday Date Night manifests.  He totally gets me.

Plus, it’s the first time he’s ever weighed in on a blog.  So, naturally, I was inclined to acquiesce to his request.  Please tell me someone got that reference.

Solidarity, sisters.  Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby.

Celebrate school daysWe made it through another first week of school!  We were on time every day, had paperwork signed and turned in before deadlines, remembered water bottles and last-minute school supplies and only experienced one major debacle, which involved confusion on the bus home -> missing boys for a while and a stern e-mail and face-to-face meeting between myself and the transportation department.  Since that mistake was actually on the part of the school district, it doesn’t count against us, so we’re in the black this year.  Wahoo!

Anyone else this excited about the beginning of the school year?

I’m not sure I can adequately express how ready I was for the routine and days not spent lounging about the house to commence.  The last two weeks of summer vacation nearly killed me – or led me to commit unacceptable acts upon my offspring.  The day before school started they actually tore through the house like a tornado, destroying everything in their path while trying to maim each other.  It was incredible, really.  I’ve never seen anything like it.

That evening, we laid out clothes, packed backpacks and had a motivational speaking session about our goals for this year and how much they have all grown and how proud we are of them and go get ’em, Team Greebon!  Most of this was done by my husband as my boys sat sullenly (Drew) or glaring (Luke) and Emry cried because she didn’t want to go to pre-school the next day.  What was I doing during this reluctant pep rally?  I’m so glad you asked!  My contribution was to dance around the house while singing Kool and the Gang’s “Celebrate” over and over.  No joke.  I couldn’t stop – it was like a compulsion.  I knew it wasn’t helping the situation, and that I was poking the proverbial bear.  I just didn’t care.  The relief I felt overshadowed everything else.  Mom of the year, here.

The first morning went well – I even cooked breakfast, which will probably not happen again until the last day of school…don’t judge me.  The two youngest kids were in great moods (hallelujah) and Luke was quite possibly in the worst mood I have ever seen him in.  Awesome – let the pre-teen years begin.  When I asked him what he was thinking, his reply was, “I’m thinking we should have pulled my wisdom teeth out earlier in the summer.”  Oh, that.  I guess I should be fair and point out that he had his wisdom teeth cut out and two permanent teeth pulled the Friday before, so was still really swollen and somewhat sore, not to mention limited in his diet.  So, basically, he started fifth grade looking like a really tall, angry chipmunk.  Oops.

All things considered, it was a pretty great first week.  Especially if we compare it to last year’s first week.  What a fiasco that was!  Here’s a summary:

Someone who either doesn’t have school-age children, or really hates his wife (or ex-wife) decided to schedule my husband’s company’s National Sales Meeting week the first week of school.  Which meant that I was on single mommy duty the first week.  Normally, that’s not too bad a week to have full duty, other than daddy missing the photo ops and trying to get everyone where they need to be and get myself to work on time as well.  Okay, so it’s not the best timing…

Still, I was determined to plaster a smile on my face, don my Superwoman cape and show everyone how it’s done.  Naturally, this meant that all hell was going to break loose.

Two nights before Gregg left, I was awakened to a scratchy, scrabbly sound coming from the direction of our bedroom dresser.  This sound persisted for most of the night, but of course would stop every time we turned on a light.  It was incredibly frustrating.  Finally, Gregg sighed, squared his shoulders, and pronounced his verdict – we had a mouse.  Excuse me?  EXCUSE ME???  Needless to say, I sat up shaking the rest of the night.

Gregg purchased some mouse traps and sticky paper and set them everywhere in hopes of catching said mouse before he left.  I cannot emphasize enough my stress and displeasure at this situation.  I don’t do rodents.  Period.  I spent the day tiptoeing around the house and peering under everything, while avoiding walking into my bedroom alone.  I procrastinated at bedtime and pleaded with Gregg to sleep with the lights on.  He alternated between amusement and annoyance throughout the ordeal.  He started saying things like, “It’s just a mouse, Bec.  Not a mountain lion.  A mouse.”  All things considered, I might have preferred a mountain lion.  They have a harder time hiding inside a house!

That night, I was again awakened to the sounds of tiny tap dancing along my furniture.  As the sun rose, my heart sank with the realization that our traps had failed (the little sneak had snagged the bait, but escaped with it) and I had to face this situation alone.  For the next five days.  The first week of school.

My dad came over with more traps, this time the old-fashioned snap traps, and we set them throughout the house.  I sat up well into the night, watching television (goodness knows I wasn’t going to be able to sleep), waiting for the “snap!” that would indicate this creature had been caught.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  This had to be the smartest mouse ever born.

First day of school madness ensued in the morning as we ran around trying to get everyone dressed, combed, cleaned and packed up.  Luke was chasing Emry in her then-favorite game of “catch me to dress me” and I was tying Drew’s shoes with one hand while stirring pancake mix with the other.  In the midst of all this tumult, a shot rang out – “SNAP!”.  I froze, turning my head in slow motion.  Many words and phrases were running through my mind.  The only one I can print is “Are you kidding me?!”.  NOW?  In the middle of all this noise and movement?!  Now, the mouse decides it needs a peanut butter breakfast snack?  Oh, yes.  Not only did it decide to go for the gold and set off the trap at the most inopportune time ever…it didn’t even have the good manners to do it correctly.  Instead of having the trap snap down on it’s neck as planned, the trap caught it by the hind leg.  How did it even do that?  Was it backing up to snag the bait with its foot?  Was it showing off for someone – hey, check me out…I can grab food without facing it!  So, at this point, much to my shocked panic, there is a mouse trying to run across my living room floor while dragging the trap holding its leg behind it.

This was too much for me to handle.  Superwoman or not, everyone has their limits…..and this was mine.  I promptly began screaming for Luke.  Yes, my friends, in my hour of need, I reached out at the top of my lungs for my nine-year-old son to come rescue me.  I’d love to explain this with some profound mother-son relationship lesson and psychology babble about giving him opportunities to develop as a man and provider/hero/leader/etc….but that would be lying.  I just flipped out.

My little hero came running, and among my shouted instructions to be careful and grab the edge of the trap furthest away so as not to get bitten (I did retain some semblance of mothering instincts), he brought it to the trash bag I was holding open with my arms fully extended away from my quaking body.  After a short arguement about releasing the mouse back out into the wild vs. putting it in the trash bag (you can guess who won that one), it was over.  I managed to pull it together enough to take pictures, make it to school on time and walk everyone to their respective classes.  Barely.

Then I called the exterminator.  Gregg was not in agreement on this decision, but I informed him that she who has to deal with the vermin gets to pick the method by which she does so.  End of discussion.

Throughout that week, two more mice were caught and disposed of….but not by me, since the professional was on the job, so that helped.

The second day of school, I received a call from after school care that Luke had fallen and scraped his knee.  It seemed like overkill to call for such a minor injury, until I got there and saw that he had a rock embedded completely in his knee….I mean, to the kneecap, flush with the surface.  When I dug it out at home, his leg looked like I had use a small melon baller on it.

The fourth day of school, I received a call that Drew was in the nurse’s office because a fellow student had thrown mulch at him and his eye was red and hurting.  A quick trip to the eye doctor revealed a scratched cornea and need for a contact bandage to prevent further damage.  Voila!

And yet, we survived that week and school year.  And I was still beyond ready to start a new one.  Because, no matter how much chaos and craziness and calamity we experience during the busyness and bustle of our full agenda and timetable, the boredom and disorganization brought on by the end of summer vacation is bad enough to drive us back to the grind of routine.

Plus, it’s 137 degrees here.  Bring on the fall.

Solidarity, sisters.  There’s a time for every season.  Except for one with mice…there’s never a time for that.