SQUIRRELS and BATS

Squirrels and bats…bats and squirrels…anyway you say it its just not a pleasing combination.  Now, squirrels, I have watched playfully running and jumping from tree to tree, scurrying round the tree trunk chasing a friend….even trying to figure out my bird feeder…unsuccessfully, I may add. They can be amusing.  Dogs like them…and so do little boys.  Then there are bats…bats….NO,  there is nothing I can say good about them…except they dine on mosquitos!  And, that one took his dying breath along side my driveway a year or so back…and Levi was able to see what a bat looked like up close.  No, we didn’t touch it!

Several, SEVERAL, months back, I heard running over my head.  Tiny little steps.  I thought they were on the roof.  They were not.  They got louder and louder. At odd times during the day, I would hear them.  Still not knowing they were inside.  Scratching…by tiny little claws…close to me, but hidden.  And, it was then I realized there was not an attic separating them from me…there was only a ceiling between us.  Scratching the floor…you know how a dog will find something in the grass and he will scratch  really fast for a few seconds then stop and sniff…then scratch again.  Like that.  It was freaky. I would hit the ceiling where they were…which was around my dining table…and they stopped.  I went back to bed after closing all the air vents in my bedroom…just in case one of them tried to gain access.  I told Don when he got home and he said he “never heard them so it must not be true…I was hearing things.” !!??!!!?  And, for sure…sometimes I wander over to the crazy side for a visit…but I wasn’t visiting when I heard this.  A few more nights, I’d hear the same thing.  He was never around when it happened.  Then I heard thumping.  What could they be doing?  Do squirrels thump their tails or something?  Or were they engaged in frisky play that would result in a litter of little squirrels doing their homework in my attic?  This happened over and over for months!

I fussed….I fumed…I complained….I even nagged…it’s possible I did even worse, too.  I wanted them out.  And, today was not soon enough.  Yesterday was better, but it was gone and that made me madder!

Finally, he called a man with a catchy name who came out and checked into it for us.  He gave us definitive news.  We had squirrels in our attic and a nice community of bats, as well.  Living peaceably together in MY attic.  “Get them out!”  says I.  He responds that he can surely get them out….the ones he can find.  But, he finishes with the statement that there is nothing he can do to KEEP them out.   That’s not his job.  He’ll GET them out…but that’s the extent of it.  Then if their grandma and fourteen second cousins come back the next night…he would have to come back.  And, then he reminded us of this archaic law of the land.  IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO KILL BATS.  Did you know that?  Well it is.  So to get them out, he would have to lure them out of a device and then fix said device so they could not get back in.   But, that still was not his job.  We were on our own.  This nice man did get a 4 foot rattlesnake out of my garage once.  But when I told him recently that my yard person saw 3 Copperheads under the wooden shed in the backyard, he did not offer to come and rescue me once again.  But, he said, if they were able to make it up onto the porch or into the garage..call him!  THAT’s his job!

There is not someone here in our town that will get monsters out of the attic and prevent them from returning.  No one in our fair city offers this service.  So Don found a company out of Marietta, Georgia that does this very thing…gets ’em out and keeps ’em out.  And, they happen to have a man stationed in Panama City, FL.

The Bat Man comes to our house and makes the acquaintance of all those residing upstairs.  Then he shows us where they are entering and leaving.  The bats in one place…the squirrels another.  They have managed to hone in on a wonderful setup…if you are a bat or a squirrel.  We have those louvered vents all along the house and they are made of metal.  So the trap he has will not work.  He has to rig up something to get them out…and then cover all the louvers.  Because he cannot break the law and kill them.   Then he will clean the attic and fumigate.  And all will be well.  He worked for 2 weeks.  He set traps for the squirrels that I could hear snapping shut during the night!  To trap the bats he made traps that looked like big black garbage bag flags flying from all the vents of my house.  So classy!

The squirrel family…the wayward brother…always bringing girls home with him…creep4

The Mom who was the lookout in case the bats crossed the line…

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The Head of the Crime Syndicate…Mr.. Whiskers…

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And, Bob, the playful sibling…..

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These were the only ones I could capture on camera…

And here are the Bats….Dad…keeping the whole house under observation…

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The 3 worthless brothers who just ‘hung around’ all day…

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And, the babies, they tucked in gently every night while they all left to frolic in the moonlight!

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Finally, we were told all the bats were out and cleaning would commence…followed by disinfection.  The cleaning out, I did not see..but after the disinfection…I had to leave town.  It was chemical laden and drifted down into the people part of the house.  It actually made me physically sick.  Thank goodness I had a little cottage at the beach to hold up in for a few days.  And, I did.  With my sister.  It was nice.  However the television was not working so we had to entertain each other with singing and dancing and skits and plays. I prefer TV.  But I digress.

I came home and the smell was still there.  But different…actually, it was worse…lots worse.  The Bat Man came back…said a couple of the brothers had hidden out under the insulation and he had to take care of that.  He did.  I had a day or two of peace.  Then Don had to leave on a trip last Thursday.  By Saturday… that most awful smell was back in my house…again it made me physically ill.  Don walked in from his trip and caught a whiff!  He called the Bat Man before he even put his suitcase away.  He came the next day.  3 squirrels and 1 bat, had been trapped inside, but had succumbed to the elements and chose the attic as their final resting place.  Not fine with me.  He got them out…I lit every candle I had.   By morning all evidence of death was erased.  Gotta buy some more candles!

And, now its been a week.  If I hear a limb or a pinecone hit the roof…I go into panic mode.  But, so far, so good.  After I picked up all the scrap metal netting and screws out of the yards and out of the pool…hopefully all traces of this horrid event will fade from my memory.

But, remember  year or so back when the chimney sweeps (little birds) got into my fireplaces and laid nests?  You may not, but I distinctly remember them because they would chose 2 o’clock in the morning to teach their little ones to sing. Their chirping sounding like squawks.  It echoed and reverberated throughout the house.  It was spooky. We told them to leave and made lots of noise.  We watched a lot of them fly out.  We gave them plenty of warnings.  And then lit a fire.  They didn’t comeback.  But, wire netting is covering all the chimneys now, too…just in case!

Stay away, critters.  We do not deal nicely with unwelcomed guests!

And I betcha Don believes me next time I hear something in the attic!  If he doesn’t, I have The Bat Man on speed dial!

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO IN 45 HOURS?

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Beaches are for sunshine and warm breezes and cool drinks and playing in the water…and sunshine.  But, when God sees fit to water his creation, there’s still lots of fun to be had.

First thing…sit in the only spot of sun on the porch and watch as the clouds roll in…

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Ask your Mom to go get doughnuts for breakfast…cause doughnuts can make any disappointment so much easier to bear!

While you wait for your Mom and your Lulu to get ready…why not rearrange the toy shelf?  Everything out…and everything back in again.  But better suited to my liking!  Good job, Levi!

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Mom… Where would you like to go?

Levi...Wal Mart!  Wal Mart!

Mom…But we are not buying any toys…

Levi…I just want to look and see all the things they have in there!

Mom…OK…here we go!

Lulu...Oh, My!  Wal Mart?  Really?

Thank goodness for umbrellas!

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First we look at all the toys…ALL the toys.   Then we find a cooler for our lemonade stand (Coming soon).

Lulu...I need some keys!

And, so we get an up close and personal lesson in key making!

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5 keys later..we set off to find something else interesting…Look at this!  A bicycle just for Lulu!

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Here and there we go…all over the store.  Suzanne found a great way to keep Levi under control!

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Levi and I decide we need some white cheddar popcorn and chocolate chip cookies…you know…rainy day food!

So, we check out and head to the car…popcorn, cookies, m&m’s, and cooler in tow!

Levi...Look!  It’s not raining now!

Suzanne…I think it’s time for a smoothie!

Levi...I think it’s time for McDonald’s.

And, so we go to both.  Suze and I have a smoothie and Levi has a Happy Meal!

We stopped at the paint store and Suzanne did a little touch up painting in the house!  Thanks, Suze!

Back to the Sandcastle to wait for Pa and Uncle Ian…they are dropping in to spend the night on the way to Las Vegas.  Pa likes to fly out of PCB.

And, once we visit a few minutes…it’s off to Boondocks for a great meal!  Levi managed to get Pa’s hat from him and proceeded to wear it all night!  Levi and Uncle Ian having too much fun!

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Levi and Pa and Uncle Ian decide to stop at Pier Park and let Levi ride some of the fun rides there…but Suze and Lulu sit it out in the car.  We’ve had a busy day.  We get tired…but Levi never does!

To tie up the night, we stop for ice cream and sno cones!  YUMMY!

Up the next morning, we wash sheets and towels, tidy up,  and hurry home for an important meeting .

BACK UP A DAY…

A few pics from our first day.   First we went to the Frank Brown Water Park and soaked up lots of sun and fun!  The day was perfect!  Not too hot…cool breeze…a little cloudy.  Just like we ordered.

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After a quick shower back at the Sandcastle, we set out on a search for supper.  Every place was crowded.  Somehow…and I’m still not sure how…we ended up at a little local place.  There was live music, folks dancing and having a ball!  There was even a pool the kids could swim in during dinner!  We sat outside…and laughed and laughed and laughed!  We decided that even though the place was not crowded…and we had to wait over an hour for our food…we’d make the best of it and enjoy being together!  And, we did!  When we finally got out food…it was delicious!

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And, since no one likes to go to bed on time at the beach…Suze and Levi took a few spins on the go-carts.  Me?  I was safer just watching from the sidelines!

Sweet fun on a quick 45 hours at the beach!  A huge amount of fun in a short amount of time!  Hey…you just gotta cram that fun in  in the time you have!  And, we did!

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See you soon, Sancastle!

 

 

BOOGALOO CAMP… 2017

 

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And…once again   Boogaloo Camp is history… for this year.  Oh, but the memories will keep us happy until it’s time to do it again!

***Lots of pics here, but it’s all about the documentation***

Joy and I arrived at The Sandcastle on Monday and spent two days watching the rain pour and pour and pour!  Which wasn’t too bad.  Gave us a great chance to catch up and just spend time together.  We did manage to get to the grocery store.  I had chicken salad to make…which is a tradition at BC….and Joy wanted Potato Salad, too…so we did that, too!  The girls and boys arrived on Wednesday!  Fun was just waiting to happen.

We started off with me explaining to the boys what a Scavenger Hunt was.  And, then I gave them a list of things to be looking for all week…such as a red straw, a throw away cup with writing, a rectangle shaped napkin, a smooth rock, a lea with two colors, a ticket stub, etc.  They did great. They stayed busy everywhere we went looking for those 12 items!

Another continuing project we did was weaving.  I tore up an old canvas and used just the frame.  We tied jute on tip and bottom .  Then we learned about weaving…under, over, under, over….then over, under, over, under.  They caught on pretty quickly.  We even used some palm fronds and drift wood and finished off by tying on some shells they found with holes in them!

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That tropical storm didn’t bother us…we saw a break in the weather and made a beeline for the Panama City Beach Pier!  One of our little campers wasn’t sure if it would be sturdy enough for us to walk on, but soon those fears gave way to fun!  This was probably not the best time to go walking on a pier.  Winds, we found out later were at 40-45 mph!  We were blown sideways by that mighty wind!  The boys had a ball!  But, us girls, had mighty tangles in our hair!  Oh my!

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We stopped at a restaurant just outside the pier, Hook’d, and had delicious fish tacos!  The rain held off, but the wind continued to blow!

Up early the next morning and an art project to start.  We tried to do tie dye last year, but, ran out of time.  But, we got it in this year!  The boys designed their own shirts.  They decided on the design they wanted and picked their own colors.  Us girls all made us one, too.  We had to let them set overnight…so we began another project…String Art.  We had previously hammered nails into a circle on a slab of wood.  The boys then used all different color string to wrap the nails and come up with their version of a beach ball!  Looks pretty good!

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And, here’s how the shirt making turned out…

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We took a little trip over to Destin, because I wanted the boys to  experience the fun of eating at LuLu’s.  (In case you don’t know, this is a restaurant owned by Jimmy Buffett’s sister.  It’s on the water, and all open air.  Their is a big sandy playground for the children complete with water play, and bungee jumping .  The boys loved it!  We all did, actually!

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We stopped and did some very minor shopping…you know…two little boys…not what they wanted to do…whines and “let’s go!”.  Back home the girls took the boys for a walk out on the beach…almost dark.

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Then they stopped for ice cream.  Joy and I stayed home and rested!

Bright and early the next morning…we started another art project…this time we made candles.  We decided on color…and scent…and containers.  John Thomas was the instigator of this fun idea!  The boys were amazed that they could actually make their own candles.   They measured and leveled, added wicks, and leveled again!   And, boy did they ever smell good.

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The sun was out in full force and it would have been terrible not to have enjoyed some sunshine and swimming!  So off we went to the PC Water Park…which has a wonderful facility for younger children!  It’s the boy’s favorite place to go.  We spent several hours there.  And, SURPRISE !!!!…our Lori showed up!  We had missed her, but her work wouldn’t allow her to be with us all week.  But, there were 2 happy boys when she showed up!  She lightens up all our lives!

And, after showers, we all went out to BoonDocks for a delicious meal!

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And with that, we had to begin gathering up supplies…cleaning up…

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…and preparing to leave the next morning!

A FEW MORE PICS…

The boys had a pillow to color and went about their work diligently.

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Levi made a very interesting color choice on his and I complimented him and said, “Levi, I like how you are using your artistic eye!”  He turned and look at me…did this…

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and said, “Actually, Lulu, I have 2 artistic eyes, don’t you know!”  So you do, my Little Man…so you do!

I taught them to play Old Maid…that was lots of fun!

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John Thomas looking cute in his new outfit…

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I bought the boys some cute shorts and painted them a shirt to match…

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Another fun project was a little tedious…on my part.  I made pics of the boys in the same location.  We then had them printed.  I taped the picture to a stack of 6 square Duplo Blocks, then carefully cut apart the picture between each block with an exacto knife.  Then I handed the boys a jumble of pieces and they had to put themselves and their cousin together.  Then is was so funny to put the wrong legs or the wrong arms on the other person!  Picture Blocks!

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They each have a set, and can take each other home and play together whenever they like!  We used one rectangular block on the bottom so they would stand side by side.

John Thomas designed, painted and lettered the Boogaloo Camp sign at top of this post!

PaPa Clyde…we were thinking of you while we were gone…

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Scavenger Hunt went well…they found all on their list and both won prizes!

And, of course, Thomas’ Doughnuts was visited quite often!  

I could go on and on here about the blessings we have and the memories we made on this trip!  But, I’m going to leave it here with just this thought.  Every good thing…every happy thought…every burst of laughter…every sweet hug…every goodnight kiss…and every Good Morning…is a gift from Almighty God.  He causes His favor to rest on us all.  He gives us more than we deserve.  He sends His love to us in so many ways.  I praise Him and honor Him and thank Him for this beautiful week!

“It is God who has given us these times of joy.”  Psalms 81:4

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A NEW GAME

I love my grandson.  I adore my grandson.  Since he was an infant we have shared our days together (along with other grandmother).  We have enjoyed wonderful days together as I’ve watched him grow.

I’ve watched as the toys have changed  signaling new skills or interests.  We’ve gone from rattles and chewy things to pull toys and toys that easily amuse.  We’ve gone through big fat Legos to millions of teeny tiny ones that hurt like OUCH!!! when you step on them.  We progressed from Play Doh to Mr. Potato Head…along with his missus!  He fell in love with the movie CARS…and we have no less than 75 of the delightful people/cars to inhabit my our studio.  Of course they have an entire city consisting of pastures, and drive ins and car shops and tire stores and a junk yard for Mater!  We have progressed from stuffed animals to the Disney characters to the Monsters, Inc family to the whole gang from the Toy Story conglomerate.  We have colored in books, on paper, on cardboard, on canvas.  We have painted on easels, on canvas on rocks on leaves, on the table.  We have cut reams of paper and glued the results to other reams of paper…only colored.  And, for the last little while..we have been inundated …and converged on…enveloped even, by Star Wars.

1xxx The characters are plentifully bestrewn all across the studio floor.  There are big space ships and little spaceships and teeny tiny space ships.  There are people in war regalia and creatures I did not know existed…but are ready for battle.  There are 268 teeny tiny guns….each of which go to a certain character.  To me a gun is a gun.  To Levi, the character’s correct gun in his or her hands makes all the difference in winning the battle and living another day.

Now the thing about Star Wars is that I’ve already gone through this Invasion twice in my lifetime…about 40 years ago and again 7 years later  with the instigators being boys named Adam (Levi’s daddy) and Alex (Levi’s Uncle).  Alex was actually the more enamored one and when he was 16, insisted that we pack up the brightest and best of his collected dynasty to save for posterity.  And it all sat in a big plastic bag at the top of his closet just waiting for another little man child to have the love and vision for what could be in a galaxy far, far away.  And, one such devotee was birthed into our family.  And, may I just add…the young one plays with those toys for all he’s worth.  The ones from 39 some odd years ago are not even made anymore.  He has some special pieces.  And, they mix together just fine.  He makes sounds for each separate spaceship and people mover.  He engages in battles and wars that extend out of my studio into the foyer and down the hall.  There is nothing…NOTHING…he loves better than for his Uncle Alex, who knows the finest details about Star Wars and has lived with these people for 33 years, to engage in battle warfare with him to save our very existence here on Planet Earth…or some such place.  And, his daddy is becoming about as crazed as he is about collecting the various good guys and bad guys and good space ships and bad space ships…which is great by Levi!

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So, my point her being…that Dear. darling Levi has a plethora of toys and books and art supplies to keep his healthy little mind occupied with plenty to do.  That’s why this was particularly hard to take………

LEVI…Lulu, I’m thinking of another game for us to play.

LULU….OK, I’m a little tired of blowing up planets and sailing spaceships through the universe.  How do you play?

LEVI…First, you go sit on the couch.  But don’t lean on the back of it… sit at the edge of it.

LULU…OK, I can do that.   And so I did!  He proceeded to take himself all the way to the other side of the room.  He then placed his body in a position reminescent of a runner beginning a big race. ” Something is amiss”, my clever brain told me.

LULU...Can you tell me the name of this game before we start?

LEVI…Sure…It’s called KNOCK DOWN THE GRANDMA !!!!????****!!!!

LULU…Well little man, there is one thing I need to tell you before we start.

LEVI…What, LULU?

LULU..You’ve picked up some tragic space sickness and it is lodged in your brain and is making you think about crazy things if you think I’m playing this game.

LEVI…AW, come on Lulu, it will be fun!

LULU…NO!  NO!  just no!

And, I destroyed the light in a little boys eyes who had such high hopes that his new game would be a delightful change of pace for all involved.  But, I’ve seen that particular light in years past…and I never forgot it   Hard history lessons only repeat because some one didn’t remember.

And, because I am a wise and clever grandmother, I was out the door and into the yard before he could blink.  I grabbed the basket ball and threw it into his arms as he rounded the garage door.  And we then spent half an hour shooting baskets.

And, that’s the way I saved my life on 2/22/17!

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BOOK LEARNING

DH went on a business trip last week, and obviously I was on his mind while he was away.  I mean…what other reason would there be for him to bring me a ‘gift’ when he returned?  He does fairly well with the major days like birthday or Christmas.  but he’s just not one to randomly bring me a surprise.

So, imagine my reaction when he walked in and said, “I brought you something!”  Surely, he is kidding.  He never does gifts for no reason!  What could it be?  I love surprises!  NOW, imagine my reaction when he handed me this…?

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Friends, I have learned many things in my life.  I have learned lesson upon lesson upon lesson.  I am so much more mellow than I was when I started my journey.  I am so much wiser.  And, one of the most important of these lessons is this… ‘there are times when words are just not necessary, appropriate or appreciated.’ You see, there are times when none of the words and phrases that make up our language will add anything to the moment.  There are those times when the greatness of beautiful word will not convey adequately how you feel about the situation.  Silence, then, is just best for all concerned.  And, this was one of those times.  (I did mutter a ,”Gee, thanks”).

I am a Southern girl, born and bred…never lived anywhere else except 200 miles north of here for college. Visited lots of the world, but lived only in the Deep South.  I am about as Southern as you can get.    So why, pray tell, do I need to know the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing?  I have visited Japan twice….and they are very organized…and uncluttered in their way of life.  Oh, I loved their country and their culture, and way of life, but I wouldn’t go to them for any ‘life changing magic’…or anyone else I know, for that matter!

And, while I am extremely proud of myself for my restraint when I was presented with this ‘gift’…that surely doesn’t mean I haven’t had a lot of things running around in my head just dying to get out….

Shall I share?
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And, in accordance with the life lesson I alluded to earlier…that’s all I have to say about that!

PS…No.  I have not read the book.

 

PERFECT

This morning (Monday), Levi was looking for a teeny, tiny, itty, bitty gun that goes with his Star Wars creature.  Now the deal was, on Friday as he was cleaning up, I told him to put ALL the little guns in the box so he would not lose one.  Really, they are so tiny, you could easily think it was a piece of trash!  And when he wants me to find one…not fun!  When he went to the box this morning, that one particular gun was not there.  CRISIS

I asked him if he put it up on Friday.  He said that he did but he got it out again when his mother and I were talking.  He showed me where he thought it was…but, alas, no gun there.  We looked and looked…in several places.  But no gun.  TEARS

Don had come into the kitchen to fix breakfast…as he does every morning.  It is a tradition that he and Levi started long ago and no one can fix the breakfast now, but Pa!  Which is ever so fine by me.  Of course,  I do the getting dressed and combing hair and brushing teeth and driving to school part!  (And, we all know how fun it is to wrestle a pair of jeans and boots on a four year old who would rather be doing anything else!!!)

Well, my dear hubby usually has a word or two or ten to interject into how I can do life better or more efficient or faster or like him.  So, he told me that I should have gotten a specific place for Levi to keep all his Star Wars things, so they could all stay together.  It did my heart good to tell him that I did that. ( Nah! Nah! Nah-Nah! Boo-Boo!)  SMUG

Levi walked into the kitchen and I reminded him that he had the big box to put all his Star Wars things in and if he would just do that every day when he left, they would not get lost!

Don was looking at me like a goon and said, “Lulu is right, Levi.  That’s why she can always find what she’s looking for and never loses anything.”  SARCASM A MILE LONG  He did say it with a smile, but …you understand!

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So, I sang, to the room at large..a strange, little silly song….”LuLu is not perfect. She loses things. She makes messes. She forgets where things are!    Oh, well, Big deal….Lulu is not perfect!”

Sweet, innocent, angelic Levi then took me by the hand and looked into my eyes with all the seriousness in the world  and said, “Why did you not tell me that before now?”
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UH OH…slipped a little off that pedestal…

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“Sorry, Levi.  I’m not perfect.  I mess up big time…lots of times.  But, one thing’s for sure…Messes can be fixed or cleaned up or done over.  And, I don’t mind doing that.  Believe it or not, some of the best lessons you will learn in this life come from when you really mess up bad!  We just clean it up and start over!  Besides, aren’t messes the most fun, sometimes! And, in the grand scheme of things…what’s a few messes?  I don’t put things away like I should.  I know I need to, but I get so busy.   I lose things.  And, they may stay lost for a while.  But, it’s so exciting when I find them again!  Oh, well, this is me. I love you.   I love your messes.  I love seeing you so involved in a project that everything else fades away! We can always clean up after…and we do!  And, we’ll try to do better keeping up with the Star Wars guns.  OK?   Your Not Quite Perfect Lulu”

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