Now that I’m in my thirties and have lived in at least seven different places since moving out of my parents’ house at eighteen, I’ve realized what a gullible little fool I was as a child.  With a baby and a husband to clean up after constantly, I see why my grandparents had nine children.  Because, although more children equals more mess, more children also equals more forced labor without violating child labor laws. 
I actually didn’t think my brother, sister and I had to work that hard when we were kids, but more than once a visiting neighbor kid or friend would comment on how much work we had to do.  Once, a girl questioned if I always had to work so hard after my dad asked me to carry an empty bucket about 200 feet to the barn.  Clearly our worlds were very different as I didn’t even consider that task to be “work.”  We did regularly help clean the house, make dinner, do the dishes, and mow the yard.  In the summers, we helped in the hayfields most days.  And also in the summers, because my mom was a teacher and was home with us the entire break, we were roped into projects like cleaning out the basement or pulling weeds in the garden.  I remember doing a lot of whining and complaining (with the help of my siblings) and that always resulted in my mother’s most infamous words: If we all just work together, we’ll get this done much faster.
To this day, it’s an inside joke with my siblings.  Any time we are all together, you’ll hear one of us ring out at some point, “If we all just work together…” and then laughter ensues.  (The phrase has been shortened to those six words over the years.)  But in reality, I find myself using this mantra in my current life.  It rings true.  Perhaps moms do know best.
As my Mom nears retirement and begins her final school year next week, she has taken on a much more leisurely pace in life.  She spends a large part of her summer break reading and napping now, and much less of it cleaning out the basement or pulling weeds in the garden.   This past weekend, I realized that this change has brought about a new Momism. 
Saturday morning my mom and I got up early, grabbed some coffee, and hit up a few garage sales.  We left the house at 6:30am and returned about 10:30am.  The husband and baby were batting a hundred, and insisted that I return to town with my mom to run errands (in husband speak this means “please go with her now so I don’t have to go with you later.”)  So off we went, with a plan to make three stops.  I should have known better as another thing my mom has become infamous for over the years is reeling you in to run one errand and then dragging you along for five or six instead.  Five hours and six stops later, as we were leaving the last store, my mom—looking truly befuddled—asked, “Where does the time go?”
So, until we reach that golden age of retirement, and can really wonder “Where does the time go?” it will be another great inside joke for my siblings and me. 
And in retrospect, I realize that at about the third hour in, I should have said to my mom, “If we both just work together, we’ll get this done much faster.”

[Also posted at my Moberly Monitor Index blog, Sunny Side Up.]
We took a two week road trip through Texas in March, so it wasn't until half way through July that we realized we didn't have a summer vacation planned.  So we've been trying to make the most of some daycation staycations.
Our son is the first grandchild on both sides of the family. His first word should have been "spoiled." We are so lucky to have all of his grandparents and great-grandparents living within a two hour radius, and the majority of them being within ten minutes of us. I said we're "lucky" not boring and unimaginative--watch it. We use the grandparents as babysitters all the time, but we're always going to the office instead of on dates. So, two weekends ago when my father-in-law called and said they wanted to keep the baby on Sunday, we jumped on it. We went to our first movie in over a year (ah! even a matinee is getting too expensive for my cheapskate self) and had dinner without a highchair and without going by the drive through window to avoid waking up the sleeping child. It was pure bliss.
This past weekend, my parents offered to come to our house and watch the little chunk and put him to bed. They've done the bedtime routine a handful of times since he was born, so again, we jumped on it. This time, we decided to take the boat to the lake for some fishing and to watch the Blue Moon rise. We were both clearly determined to enjoy the evening, because when our boat motor still wouldn't start after messing with it for almost two hours, we were both just laughing and smiling (and sweating, my poor husband was really sweating.) We grabbed a blanket and some lawn chairs out of my Jeep, opened the cooler, soaked ourselves in bug spray and had a blast watching the huge, orange moon come up over the horizon and create a beautiful reflection on the lake.
Sunday was the annual St. Mary's church picnic in Wein. Every year it's so hot you're pretty sure you're going to melt, except for the years when it pours rain. This year, we got the heat. They have a huge, delicious dinner of fried chicken, roast beef, and all the yummy sides and desserts. You sit at long tables in the church hall with all the other guests. Young children fill and re-fill your sweet tea and clear the table when you're done. Or, in our case, the young children keep picking up the silverware your baby repeatedly throws on the floor. Everyone knows everyone and you can't walk but a few steps without stopping to talk to someone. After stuffing yourself, you go outside and either post up at the beer garden or play bingo, the turtle races, the ring toss, the duck pond, or several other infamous picnic games, and then eventually make a sashay through the church's thrift store: Share and Care.The whole thing is so charming, from the napkin holders that adorn the tables every year made by the parishioners many moons ago, to the children's ride that has been going round and round for generations. Seriously, I remember riding it with my sister and cousins over and over and over again. The whole thing is a bit of a marvel--the way hundreds of people turn out, no matter how many buckets you're going to sweat, in the true middle of nowhere (we're talking NO cell phone service), and spend their entire Sunday just enjoying each other's company. And where else can you go to a church event to drink beer and gamble? I've never seen anyone having a bad time. The whole thing has such a sweet, antiquated feel, and that's something an old soul like me truly loves.
[Also posted at my Moberly Monitor Index blog, Sunny Side Up.]