Tag Archive | funny

A Christmas Surprise (or, what Todd hunted in the house)

When I was in college, these two guys did a funny skit making fun of all the squirrels around campus. At the time I thought it was kind of mean. Squirrels aren’t that awful, I thought. It’s not their fault there is 250 of them for every eligible tree in North America. They’re just misunderstood, I thought.

Until today.

Certain events have transpired in the Smartt household that, were I not to witness them myself, I would surely never, ever believe.

It started like this. Yesterday our heat went out. Of course, the boys and I escaped our frigid 54-degree house to my parents. That afternoon, I got the following message from my husband:

“Waiting on guy to fix the furnace. I am currently trying to kill a squirrel that is in our chimney. With a broadhead arrow. This can only end one way. Dead squirrel.”

I guess I should be alarmed or fazed or surprised to receive texts like these, but I know my husband. I know that he hasn’t done anything resembling hunting in about ten years, and I know the crazy glimmer that gets in his eyes when he hears a mousetrap click and runs to check his prey. So I sort of expect this kind of thing every once in a while.

We arrived home that night to a working heater, but an empty-handed husband.

“He’s still in there. I opened up the fireplace to see if it was working, and he was staring in my face. I tried to get some weapons to try to attack him. But a bow was the only thing that would fit. I did ask Dan (our brother-in-law) if he had a BB gun. But I realized I couldn’t get to him. So I guess he’s still in there.”


For an hour or so, our family enjoyed our new (to us) cozy, warm fire. It was a really special time. Sam and Ty were cozied up right next to the mantle, laughing, hugging, and singing “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” (more or less).

A little while later, I was relaxing on the big red chair next to the fire, when I heard some rustling noises coming from the chimney. I started to say, “Todd, I think he’s still up the–”

When All Of A Sudden.

Folks. I kid you not. I heard a loud, clanging crash like someone was smashing all the windows with baseball bats, and then saw, out the corner of my eye (but dangerously, horribly, terrifyingly close to my chair) I saw A HUGE FAT GRAY SQUIRREL LEAP FROM THE FIREPLACE INTO OUR CHRISTMAS TREE.

“Todd!!! Todd!! AHH! AHH!! HE’S IN THE HOUSE!!!” I leaped from the chair and the living room, like I was sprinting over burning coals.

Not that I needed to make that much commotion, because it was clear to both Todd, and Sam (who unfortunately had not yet retired to bed and was receiving the most interesting wildlife lesson he’d ever seen), that there was, indeed, a squirrel frantically jumping from branch to decorated branch of our brightly lit Christmas tree. The same Christmas tree, mind you, that has already fallen over twice, and is currently secured by lines of fishing wire.

Well, the squirrel kept making frantic laps around the tree, obviously a bit confused by this glittery domestic version of his habitat.

Todd jumped into action. “Quick! Get Sam upstairs!”

My hunter/husband and I made eye contact for the briefest of seconds, and I saw in his eyes, not fear, or alarm, or even surprise, but joy. Sheer, exhilarating joy.

He was a man. A hunter. He would catch this squirrel.

Sam and I escaped to the upstairs hallway to view the action from the banister. I sort of felt bad that Sam couldn’t see, so I pulled him over a chair.032

In the meantime Todd had acquired, in lightning speed, a few tools for the hunt: some rubber-lined gloves, a rake, and a fishing net. I was a little surprised by this combination, but what do I know about catching squirrels. Then he started eying up the tree.


Todd prepares to lasso a squirrel by its tail.

“WHAT THE HECK are you going to do??” I shrieked. “HOW IN THE WORLD ARE WE GOING TO CATCH HIM???” (I am extremely good in crisis situations.)

At this point our worst fears came true.

The squirrel leaped out of the tree and started running all around the house.

Yes, there was a squirrel (rabid, poisonous, or vicious, for all I know) making laps past our TV, jumping on our sofa, parading around on top of my children’s blocks and toy cars. And my husband, chasing him with a rake and net.

It was chaos.


I couldn’t tell you exactly what happened, but a few minutes later, there was silence.

Scary, deafening silence, like after a tornado ravages the landscape.

“Todd? Are you telling me…we don’t know where he is?”

“Um. I think he ran out the door.”

“You think??? Are you sure??”

It did seem that the squirrel had escaped, but if he did, he would remember us forever. Todd had proof. He walked over to me, a gloating smirk on his face, holding…something. What is that? Oh…the tail.

The squirrel’s tail, guys. My husband ripped a tail off of a squirrel, in our own home.

As if I needed more proof, we surveyed the wreckage, and found a bunch of tree bristles, a broken ornament (sniff, sniff), AND, BLOOD STAINS!!! From a squirrel! In my house!


I know, right?!?!

Chaos mostly ended, Todd and I retired to our independent tasks. Todd, to wipe up blood stains; me, to put Sam to bed, answering nothing short of 57 questions about who the squirrel was, where he lived, why he was in the chimney, where he was now, etc. etc. Fortunately Sam has not discovered that this creature is running around without a tail.

Yet, that is. When I came downstairs, Todd was holding the tail, proudly, like a rack of deer antlers, and asked me for a plastic bag. No, a clear one, he demands. So I can show people.

I’m not sure where the tail is right now. I think Todd has sequestered it in his truck to take to show off to all his friends at work. As he should, really. Now, if he wants to mount it, I might draw a line. (Even if it was a highly memorable night.)



the one where Sam throws up on me

You won’t even believe me when I tell you what time the boys woke up this morning. Eight. Fif. Teen. (!!!) 8:15, people!!

Todd and I both enjoyed a late wake-up, because of a long, ongoing discussion we’ve been having. The argument concerns whether we’d prefer to wake up gradually (like, say, over a span of one and a half hours, with smoke detector-like beeps every nine minutes or so to keep us from really settling into deep slumber), or – brace yourself for this crazy idea – at the actual time one of us needs to get up. This particular morning, I’m pretty sure I threatened Todd with his life if he continued these shenanigans of snoozing again and again. So he just turned the alarm off at 5:30, and both of us gloriously overslept like we were livin’ it up on a luxury vacation.

Which we are, basically.

Anyway, when I got the boys up, the three of us climbed onto our cozy green rocking chair together and started to rock. We do this everyday, for at least fifteen wonderful seconds, and then Sam starts giggling (not in a cute way, but like a seventh-grade-boy-being-naughty-in-church-way) and Ty asks repeatedly for a stuffed animal jammed between the crib rails and starts squirming down, and Sam bonks his head against Ty’s on “accident,” and I sort of begin gritting my teeth as I’m singing Jesus Loves Me. That’s how it usually goes.

But today, this particular morning, I realized that I had gotten through a complete verse of the song with both children still nestled close and still beside me. Oh, this is nice, I thought, I just love being a mom.

They were so calm, and precious, that I was just about to begin a new hymn, when…I heard gagging beside me.

And then, well, you know.

Blech. And blech, and blech, and blech again. It was a doozy. We all sat there stunned. Ty got down and said, “What Sam doing Mommy?” in a sing-song kind of voice.

I can’t explain how I feel when someone throws up without sounding crazy. Something inside me just jumps into business mode. Like when there’s an international crisis and the President calls his cabinet in the oval office for a brainstorm.

I get this wave of adrenaline, and start wiping faces, and administering sips of water, and Lysol-ing surfaces and disinfecting clothing. It’s almost…fun. {I know, crazy.}

Anyways, this particular stomach bug was a really odd. I think I scared it with my aggression. Soon, Sam was asking for breakfast, and by 10:30 had eaten a bowl of oatmeal, two sausage links, a banana, a chicken patty, and an orange.

All of which I fought desperately to resist picturing in regurgitated form.

So the day, again, took an odd twist when at 12:15, I found myself riding a bike, pulling two kids in a wagon behind me (one with a bizarre stomach bug), in the semi-rain around the neighborhood, four days before Christmas. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time.


Here we are!

Anyone driven one of these? You feel like an ox plowing the fields. No, literally. It is the physical equivalent of reaping the harvests with a yoke around your loins. I don’t know if yokes go around loins, but that just sounded right.

The boys love it. They squeal and put their hands up like they’re on a roller coaster.

And Sam does what he always does when he’s happy…he talks, and asks a million questions.

At first, it was super-cute. Mommy, are we going SO fast? Mommy, how do you go so fast? Mom, is this fun? And other things that made me feel a little more like an awesome triathlete and less like an ox.

But today, I was just tired. I was trying to be a good sport, but truly, I felt like I was the one that had had the stomach bug. (How is that??) Plus, it’s embarrassing. I’m wearing a helmet, dressed in total  “mom-wear” sweatshirt and waist-riding yoga pants. And, to top it off, I’m not strong enough to pedal the wagon all the way up the hills, so I have to walk beside my bike looking like a big giant wimp of a dweeb. Obviously I am a dweeb, because I just used that word. Dweeb. Dweeb. Who says that.


Here are a sampling of the questions that I received, and attempted to answer, during this humiliating and physically exerting workout:

  • Mom, was that the garbage man?
  • Mom, why are those dogs barking?
  • Mom, why are we going up this hill?
  • Mom, why do you stand up like that?
  • Mom, Ty keeps sticking his hands out. Can you make him put them back in?
  • Mom, how did you learn how to ride this bike?
  • Mom, what is it called when you stand up on the bike?
  • Mom is it called balancing? Is that what you’re doing?
  • Mom, how do you ride that bike?
  • (Sam, I’m working really hard here. I can’t answer anymore questions. Ask Ty questions.)
  • Ty, how do you ride that bike? (Silence.) Mom, he didn’t know. Mom, I’m going to have to ask you the questions.
  • Why do our heads go back and forth when you go slow?
  • Mom, why are you going slow? (x3, over and over, louder and louder, until I answer that I am working as hard as I can.)
  • Mom, why did you step off the bike mom?
  • Mom, is it hard work? What would happen if you didn’t step off the bike?

See, that is the thing about motherhood. You can call it a lot of things, but you can’t call it predictable. You never know when you wake up in the morning what the day will hold. Maybe you’ll be scraping puke off a fuzzy green cushion! Maybe you’ll be undergoing a domestic version of the Inquisition while pedaling your hiney off around the neighborhood! Maybe you’ll do both! It’s an adventure!!

In the meantime, as far as our household is concerned, Todd and I have disinfected our sheets and are giving ourselves probiotics in IV-form. Stay tuned to find out how this bug manifests itself in adult form! Be sure to subscribe to updates so you don’t miss this one!





Why are tantrums from someone else’s kid so funny? {and other questions about discipline}

This afternoon during the witching hour (when the boys were hammering each other with plastic food and rubbing sticks of glue on their arms) I called my sister to ask if she was up for company.

“Um, well yes, as long as everyone’s in a good mood. The upstairs is a mess, and it’s really chaotic. But if they’re happy and behaving, then come.”

“Oh, sure,” I said. “Yeah, we’re all in great moods.” (Muffling the phone as Ty is clawing my legs and whining.)

So we went, and the weirdest thing happened. About 12 minutes after we got there, I saw Sam out of the corner of my eye violently pounding his cousin Jack with a drum stick, yelling orders to hide in a different bear cave.

Deep breath, Jessica.

A few minutes later their whole house shook with the the blood-curling screams coming from the cruel, horrific, awful punishment of the time-out chair.

Nice, Sam, pull out all the stops. Use violence, scream at the top of your lungs, yes, keep saying, “No no no” over and over. That’s perfect.

And my sister? What was she doing during this traumatic and stressful parenting moment?

She was smiling. Laughing, really.

I would have been annoyed, except that I remembered how hilarious and entertaining…another kid’s tantrum is. I guess no mom can resist the enjoyment of being reminded that her kid is not the only conniving, tyrannical 30-pound devil on the face of the planet.

I need to back up, though. Because one day in thirty years if Sam and his future wife read this (that’s what they’ll do, right? Read it, and laugh over all the good parts, and thank me for being such a wonderful parent?) they’re going to feel I was unfair in my descriptions.

It’s an age of contradictions. As horrible these moments are, I love how wonderful Sam is. He really is. I love hearing him pray that God would “hold up the whole earth, and save all the people from hurricanes, and give new, new, new toys to kids who don’t have any.” He’s so precious when he tells me I’m the best mommy. I love when he tries to make Ty stop crying.

He is just the cutest thing ever.

Except when he’s not.

And I have nothing to say. I’m not Smartter today. I am confused, and wearied, and kind of have a tension neck ache from the stress and grimacing. Also, I’m sick of finding my flyswatters over the house from places where I’ve threatened/enacted corporal punishment. Which actually brings me to my first question.

  • Yeah, the spanking. I’m not really in the mood for any long arguments on this today. But really – if you use corporal punishment, how do you decide when it is absolutely necessary? Do you wait for Dad to come home? How do you ensure that it is effective?
  • And another question. Is it me, or does bad behavior go in phases? It seems like we have months around here full of bliss and stickers and hugs and “okay, mom”s (or something), and then for a few weeks it’s like Discipline.Boot.Camp. Is that just us? I honestly ran through Sam’s diet today in my head, thinking that surely he had inadvertently been consuming large amounts of Red 40 food dye for the last several weeks. (Still waiting on confirmation for that one.)
  • But further, if you have two kids, does it not seem that unfortunately they are never bad at the same time? On second thought, I do remember a few days where both were difficult…and probably, the alternating-schedule-thing is a better idea.
  • And, why is it so difficult to discipline? I mean, for real… I’m a mean person. I’m honest, I’m logical, I’m a rule-follower… I am shocked at how difficult it really is to be fair and firm, to dare to discipline. It is so much easier to be a bad parent, to ignore things, to let your kids tell you what to do, to tolerate disrespect, to basically do anything to avoid those shrill and disturbing “temper tantrums.” Man, those little boogers are smart! They know what works!
  • And one more thing… I guess I lied. I am getting smartter (and the audience breathed a huge sigh of relief) because I have learned one thing. And that is, being a parent just brings to the surface what a horrible person you are. And how much you need the Lord. I sure wish I wasn’t so snippy and easily angered. Sigh.

But I have found one thing that helps.

If I find myself getting too harsh, being annoyed too easily, and disciplining quickly without kindness, I have come up with a little checklist. It’s called: “The What Are You Really Annoyed About Checklist.” I stop and ask myself:

  1. Are you hungry? (This is easy. I’m always hungry, so whenever I break out the list, I usually just eat something, and proceed with #2)
  2. Do you have to go to the bathroom?
  3. Are you thirsty? (Guys. Being thirsty makes you real miserable.)
  4. Did someone else make you mad today? Are you worried about something else?
  5. Are your pants or underwear too tight? For real, ya’ll. That makes you just grumpy. So just go get Old Faithful underwear (you know the ones), and the yoga pants. Do it for the kids.
  6. Are you tired? Would a cup of coffee help? Granted, you can’t always “fix” this, but at least you can know.
  7. Are you hot? (This is a big one, too. You know that southern phrase “hot and bothered”? They know what they’re talking about.) Take off a sweatshirt. Life is too short to be hot. It just is.
  8. And, is there something that is kind of funny about this? Is there something I should take a picture of so that I can show my husband because he will never believe me otherwise?

So there’s my checklist, and thoughts, and questions, about parenting today…Anyone have any answers? 🙂

What’s it’s like to be a mom with A.D.D.


A while ago I observed some classes at a local public middle school, for some graduate work I was doing. (Don’t you like how I said “graduate work”? I’m glad I said that, and not “a class I was taking that I should have taken in college.” It’s so much cooler.)

Anyway. It was quite an experience. I should make a separate blog about the unnecessary amount of cleavage I observed in sixth-graders, and how I have 101 reasons spanking should be allowed in middle school.

These are both fascinating topics, but I learned something else interesting.

I hated school.

It was horrible. I wanted to claw my eyes out; I was so bored.

Maybe it’s just because I’m so smart(t) now. Maybe these teachers were extra lame and boring. Maybe I didn’t eat enough protein or something.

But also (and I am just theorizing here), is A.D.H.D. one of those things like cavities and varicose veins and hemorrhoids that people get after having babies? Is it possible? (Not that any mom I know or have ever known has any of those.)

Because I’m pretty sure I have Attention Deficit Disorder. or something.

I used to love school. I used to love knitting, and long theology classes, and studying in the library for hours.

But now, I think if I had to sit through eight hours a day of that school stuff, I, too, would try to throw tiny bits of scrap paper in the long braids dangling in front of me.

Because the following is a sample splice of my day. Here is me attempting to make a bowl of spaghetti.

  • Open a drawer to get a pot.
  • Remember that Ty used the frying pan to make soup out of the nativity pieces.
  • Head to the living room to get the frying pan.
  • Ask Sam why there are diapers strewn all over the floor, and get sidetracked for 35 seconds explaining that, yes, diapers are bigger than snowflakes.
  • Start putting the diapers away, and spot Ty, who looks like he has a water balloon between his legs.
  • Start to change his diaper.
  • See he’s wearing no socks in the freezing cold house and run to the dryer to find some clean socks.
  • Get out two socks, but determine if you don’t fold this load of clothes now, you won’t ever.
  • Retrieve the laundry basket from the foyer where it was being used as a giant train going down a mountain. Go get the clothes, stopping first to remove Ty’s toothbrush from inside a shoe.
  • Dump the clothes in the basket and bring them to the kitchen.
  • Wonder why Ty doesn’t have any pants on. Or socks. Ohhh…the socks…
  • Dress Ty.
  • Remember you were supposed to be boiling water. Put a pot on to boil, and go to the pantry to get an onion.
  • Open the pantry, and for some reason realize you haven’t actually brushed your teeth today.
  • Or taken your vitamins.
  • And you’re hungry.
  • Start feeling a little stressed, and like you should be doing something else but you’re not sure what it is.
  • Hear loud sounds coming from the dining room, and intercept a wrestling match with a stuffed reindeer, two toddlers, and a broom.
  • Try again to figure out what you were in the middle of doing.
  • Notice the water is boiling. Add pasta.
  • Start to set the timer, and discover there is a cup of coffee in the microwave. Reheat it.
  • While you take a sip, think, It wouldn’t hurt to read a magazine with this coffee. Head out with the boys to get the mail.
  • Remember it is garbage day, and suddenly feel that the very messy diaper upstairs in the hallway that must be taken out of this residence today.
  • Herd the boys inside frantically to retrieve the diaper.
  • Remember the pasta that was supposed to be “al dente” is still cooking. Mushy. Mushy is good, too.
  • Drain the pasta.
  • Feel an unnatural amount of satisfaction in finally completing this one small task, even if it did take 28 minutes and resembled one of those “Family Circus” cartoons showing all the paths the little kid made around the neighborhood.

I feel like I was trying to make a point with this piece, but, oddly, now I can’t remember what. I’ll suffice it to say that if you were one of those kids I had, who never knew what paragraph we were on, and brought the wrong binder to class, and kept tapping your pencil on the desk…

I’m sorry. I really am.

And do me a favor. Ask your mom if that weird herbal remedy she was giving you worked at all? Will you? 🙂

Sunday, a day of rest …

Before this piece treads into the humorous and sarcastic, I want to give a disclaimer.

There actually is a real piece about Sundays and Sabbath rest working itself out my head. I don’t want to spoil it, but I’m sure I ponder about making crock pot meals ahead of time, and laying out your clothes, meditating on Scripture, and other neat ways for busy moms to relish their God-given days of rest.

The thing is, though, it’s tricky.

No matter how you slice it, any mom on any given Sunday will change 8 or more diapers (at least 2 poopy), listen to 15 1/2 tantrums, clean up three meals and four snacks, wipe up crumbs and smushed noodles on the floor, give two baths, wipe 18 boogers, and, most notably, dress, drive, and disciple aforementioned little ones for a Sunday church service.

I probably made that sound a little worse than it is, because I was trying to make myself feel better for the trespasses I committed today, of all days, Sunday, the Lord’s day of rest.

Our Sunday actually started out really nice. It was a pleasantly late 7:45am when I brought Ty into our bed.

He looked so cute in his pajamas. He was showing us his blankees and giving us kisses. Then, Todd even herded him out so I could wake up gradually in a warm, undisturbed room. (Brownie points!)

I enjoyed about seven minutes of cozy prayer and rest time before Ty realized I wasn’t around. He started clawing at and banging at the bedroom door. Thankfully, Sam wasn’t going to allow for this misbehavior, and continued to yell at Ty and, from what I could tell, yank his hands/body off the door.

By the time we all had breakfast, we looked at the clock and realized we had 21 minutes to shower two adults and dress four people. Perfect.

We were all getting in the car when Todd reminded me he had to drive to church separately, because he had choir practice. I didn’t even know we had a choir. Nonetheless that my husband had a practice for it.

I am embarrassed to tell you that this surprise choir practice was the cause of at least three tense exchanges, and one tearful blowup during naptime. I know. Silly.

In addition to this juicy argument, here’s a few other things that happened today.

  • Ty has an extremely loud meltdown in the middle of Christmas pageant rehearsal. No worries. It’s not like they were trying to hold the attention of 25 two to six-year-olds in there.
  • Ty drinks 2 entire sippy cups of church juice and poops his pants in the nursery.
  • Ty has a meltdown when we get home. He does that thing where his whole body goes limp and stretches a foot longer while I drag him sideways up the stairs for a nap.
  • Although clearly tired, he plays/screams/calls my name for an hour before finally drifting off. I fume for most of the hour.
  • Post-nap time, Todd and I try to implement our new plan to instill Sam with a good work ethic by making him pick up little sticks all over the yard. He hates it. He picks up four and starts drawing circles in the dirt. Every eight minutes one of us yells, “Sam! Pick up sticks!” I’m pretty sure our neighbors think we are running some sort of bizarre child labor program.
  • Sam finally starts to accumulate a reasonable amount of sticks in the box, and Ty decides to overturn it. All h$%## breaks loose. We tear Ty away from the box, encourage Sam to continue working, and decide this would be a good time to wash both cars. (???!)
  • I take a break and go over to my sister’s house. When I walk in, Tommy has just peed his pants, and my brother-in-law is in the middle of a family talk about “improving our behavior.”
  • For some reason I decide tonight is a good night to attempt chicken marsala. Ty claws at my legs begging for banana slices while I cook.
  • During dinner, Sam refuses to eat the chicken marsala because he doesn’t want to eat “mascara.” After we clear up the confusion (and I dump ketchup all over it), he eats it.
  • I yell at Todd because 1) he is wearing his hat at dinner 2) he didn’t tell me how delicious dinner was and 3) he was ravenously eating and not talking to us.
  • I yell at Ty because throws his spoon and water bottle down seven times in dinner.
  • Ty starts yelling at us.
  • Sam, apparently jealous of the reprimands, also yells at us.
  • Todd and I make eye contact and share tired, commiserating smiles.
  • I tell Sam when he finishes his bath we can make another special Advent ornament. “I don’t want to do that today. Or tomorrow. Or ever,” he tells me. Nice.
  • Post-bath, Sam melts down. “I’m not tiiiiiiiiired. (Sob, sob) I don’t waaaaaaant to go to beeeed… Sob, sob, sob.”
  • Todd and I pass on the stairs like ships in the night, each obediently retrieving something for one of the children. We have to laugh.

We’re pooped from our day of rest.

I totally do not believe in eating as a way of dealing with stress. But if Todd asks me again if I want that $5 Papa John’s pizza, I think I should probably support him. Don’t you think?

a real Christmas story

I admit I’m the grinch of all seasons. Peeps are gross, Halloween is freakish, and, sorry, but Christmas music is just awful. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen chestnuts, or silver bells, or, for that matter, SNOW 😦 😦 . I like music that’s real, and Christmas music isn’t!!!

Because Christmas just isn’t all those glittery moments. For one thing, that putting up the Christmas tree is the seasonal equivalent of getting ready for church on Sundays…it should be calm and wonderful, but there’s just always a fight. or two. or five.

I had visions of us snuggling under the tree while we reminisce with Sam and Ty about each ornament. The boys would play happily with the nativity scene, Sam tenderly explaining to Ty the Christmas story. Todd and I would share a laugh and a wink as we hold hands and put up our anniversary ornament.

And this year, to be honest, it started great. We spent the weekend with my family in the mountains; the highlight of the trip was to choose and cut our own tree. We had a blast at the Christmas tree farm. Which was also, still, a pumpkin patch.

It was like a two-for-one.

When time came to pick a tree, we threw caution to the wind. My dad generously provides us all with Christmas trees, so we thought, what the heck. Let’s get a mammoth tree. Our ceiling is huge. Our kids are little…Let’s go crazy. Cause we’re like that – crazy.

Everything went fine until Sam and Todd were in the garage a suspiciously long time “putting the tree in the stand.”

When I walked out to the garage, there was sawdust everywhere, and a chainsaw running, and the end of the tree was whittled down like a pencil point. only still huge.

Shocker: our huge tree had an even huger stump. I had never, until that moment, spent more than eight seconds thinking about the importance of a good Christmas tree stand. And how your tree should fit in it. Whoops.

To make a long, three-day story short(er), here are a few of the things that happened:

  • We decide, in the interest of our new financial policy, we are not buying a new tree stand.
  • Todd goes to Lowe’s to buy a piece of PVC pipe in an attempt to improve the old tree stand.
  • We (Todd) put the tree back in the stand.
  • It’s crooked.
  • It falls over if you touch it.
  • We (Todd) take out the tree and saw more plastic off the pipe.
  • Todd puts the tree back in.
  • Less crooked, but still sways back and forth when you wiggle its branches. Todd and I debate for a little before eventually deciding that, yes, an extremely unstable mammoth tree is in fact a hazard for two small boys.

leaning tower of Christmas

  • Todd saws the tree down so it’s smaller and replaces it in the stand, again.
  • Luck! It stays up. Until my Aunt Jamee comes over, and we briefly remark how beautiful it is. It falls over before our eyes.
  • Todd puts it back up.
  • Todd goes to Lowe’s and buys hooks to screw into our windows, to stabilize the tree with strings.
  • It’s a good thing I don’t use words like “ghetto,” because if I did, that might have been what I used to describe this proposed set-up in a brief discussion with Todd.
  • Todd secures the tree with thick, black, camping rope.
  • Todd and I have a brief discussion about how the tree looks…well, you know… the word I don’t use.
  • Todd puts the lights on.
  • Sam and Ty dump out all of the Christmas ornaments.
  • Ty throws, and breaks, a vintage airplane ornament.
  • Sam yells at Ty.
  • Sam tells me that the reason God put a giant star in the sky is to tell everyone to decorate their trees. Good thing at least he understands the reason for the season.
  • Todd finishes putting up the lights. I come a little closer, and we have a brief discussion about whether or not those are icicle lights on the bottom half of the tree, and whether or not icicle lights belong on a tree. (In case you’re curious, they don’t. Ever.)
  • I take off the lights and put them back on, sans icicle lights. Sam and Ty step on cardboard boxes, play tug of war with strings of lights, fight over a mini-Christmas tree, try to plug in mini-Christmas tree, bang on the door where Todd is going to the bathroom, pull out all 25 verses in the Advent calendar, and “help” me take off more lights on the tree.
  • I realize that the pandora Christmas music station I’m listening to is, for some reason, making my blood pressure go higher, as this night is not silent, and there is no fa-la-la-ing happening at the current time.
  • Todd comes back and sits down, wearing his, “I give up” face.

  • We decide it’s time to put the boys in their special Christmas pajamas.
  • We realize that Ty can unzip and take off his special Christmas pajamas. Cool trick.

  • We manage to get the boys in bed. I ask Todd what we should do next about our crooked, redneck, wobbly Christmas tree and the mess all over the place. “Cry,” he says.
  • After a few brief moments of individual decompression (I check facebook, he watches football), we regroup. Eight fittings, three saw-ings, two hooks, and one PVC pipe later, Todd goes to Lowe’s to get a new Christmas tree stand. (We are really at good decision-making.)

Which is why, again, I don’t like Christmas songs.

Because life is messy. And Christmas is messy. And humans are messy. And as wonderful as little kids, and Christmas, and marriage, and life in your cozy home is, there are just moments where you think, what is that strand of Christmas lights doing under the refrigerator? And you have no idea.

That’s why, although I hate Christmas music, I love this song. It’s real.

I love that He knew our messes, and came to our messes, and (dare I hope it?!) still loves grumpy moms who yell at their kids and husbands while “Silent Night” rings in the background. Thank you, Jesus, for gifts I don’t deserve.

just a bunch of funny things from today

Some days are funnier in retrospect. Here’s what happens on some of these days, like today, for instance.

  • Someone’s up at 4:50. In the morning. For the day. Hint: This person is not a parent or guardian. Second hint: This person did NOT want socks on, was NOT thirsty, most definitely did not want his diaper changed, but oddly, was pacified by clunking a box of blocks in the dark. Guess he woke up with an architectural vision.
  • Consequently, everyone is dressed and eating oatmeal by 6:30, eating lunch at 11, having meltdowns at 10:30 in the morning, dinner at five, and in bed at 6:30. Thank you, daylight savings time.
  •  Good news = you made cookies. Bad news = afternoon snack was globs of cookie dough for everyone. Whoops.
  •  It was the best idea you had all day to lug a fifty-pound muddy outdoor basketball hoop into the living room.
  •  You make a doctor appointment because you think your son has MERSA, only to realize the skin disease in question were ant bites. Oh, wait, that doesn’t ever happen to you? Oh.
  •  Somehow the idea of making a plate of seconds is really tiring, and a better idea is to eat bite-sized chunks of BBQ pork right off of a one-year-old’s high chair. Look, he wasn’t going to eat them anyway.
  •  By the time the sun sets, you will have broken up six fights over a plastic lug nut-remover. At least the time that blood was drawn, the perpetrator promised he would never, ever scratch anyone again, “unless it was a really bad person who came into our house with a sword.” Mark that one down in the “win” category, I guess.
  •  Sweeping the floor is like a bittersweet trip down memory lane. Ahhh, I remember the raisins. That was a good snack. Oh, THERE’S marker lid. When did we use cue tips??? Oh, yeah, when Ty got cookie dough in his belly button…
  •  You realize while cleaning up the day’s wreckage that someone apparently occupied himself for solid amount of time with half a bag of rubber bands and a log of metal staples. Mother of year, right here.
  •  You find wooden spoons all over and honestly cannot remember if someone was making soup or got a spanking.
  •  You hear ferocious dinosaur jumps and various other “cool tricks” coming from the bedroom of the one who was “too tired” to carry his water bottle to bed. (?!?)
  • And, lastly, at the end of said day, you fish through the freezer to reheat a freezer-burnt peanut-butter brownie from six months ago. {Update: this was one of the sub-par ideas of the day. Just as a word of advice.}

But overall I’d say today was absolutely a success, wouldn’t you?!? 🙂