Surviving Summer
by Jen Hatmaker on June 13th, 2013

Folks, I’m one week into summer, and I have some thoughts. First of all, for all the teachers and parents who made it: HALLELUYER. For those of you with four days or two weeks left, may the Lord’s face shine upon you. We are on the other side, lighting candles for you. Godspeed.
Second, some readers struggle with satire; it is lost on you. I get it. We aren’t all fluent in sarcasm. Example: a district employee where my cherubs attend read my last post, dashed to her principal with the truly horrific discovery that I was only educating two of my five children, and lamented, “Something has to be done!” So for you, I’ll include [[non-sarcastic parenthetical notes]] so you can stop holding prayer vigils for my family.
 
I, like most of you I suspect, approach summer with equal parts delight and dread. Delight, because NO HOMEWORK FOLDERS. We’re all chilling out! We’re so chill! We’ve got our kids to ourselves and no one is our boss! And of course, no pre-dawn wake up calls to hasten the moment when some kid is all I can’t find my shoes and Did you sign my reading log and Where is my library book and Jessica’s mom eats lunch with her every Tuesday and Thursday. (Well, Jessica’s mom also cried when she went to kindergarten, and my friends and me went to brunch, so...)
 
[[I actually LOVE to eat lunch with my kids two days a week, which equals about 80 days of the school year in which the first kid’s lunch starts at 10:50 and the last kid’s lunch ends at 1:10, so let’s see, I’ve been at school two-and-a-half hours in the middle of my work day (twice a week) dodging the petrifying cafeteria monitor and pretending Brandon packed lunches because I would *never* send Pringles and a tortilla slathered with Nutella. We are legit, me and Jessica’s mom.]]

^ That was my attempt at "non-sarcastic" and I'm going to go ahead and give it a D-.
 
But there is also a teeny bit of dread, because here they all are. Every day. Up in my grill. Even on my best days, we spearhead a cooking project together, finish a craft, take a bike ride, and go swimming, and that gets us to 1:35pm. It’s like time stands still, and plus, the sun goes down at approximately 11:20pm, so it can feel like the summer solstice of doom.
I believe this was approximately 10:49pm.

I’ll be honest: I’m pretty decent at the big activities, but the filler stuff that gets us to bedtime isn’t my jam.
 
Remy: “Mommy? Can you play beauty shop with me?”
Me:     “Oh, I would, but I can’t.”
Remy: “Why not?”
Me:      “Because I don’t want to.”
 
[[Never fear. I totally love playing kid stuff with my kids. I find Legos riveting. You should see my towers. So straight. So towering. Absolutely no dimension or visual interest. This never, ever gets old. In fact, I play Legos by myself when the kids are gone.]]
 
This can backfire. For instance, say your sons decide to fill the unstructured time themselves, and you say sure, whatever, just whatever takes up another hour, and they fill a giant, inflatable punching balloon with water in the upstairs bathroom, and since the hours are infinity, you say fine, but the next thing you know, five gallons of water is pouring through your downstairs light fixture, seeping through the floor, because evidently water balloons eventually break. When the husband has a coronary and asks WHO LET THEM DO THIS, you work up a tear about staying home all summer while he works in his quiet office, and he backs off because he doesn’t want his solitude screwed with.
 
[[Disregard this. I carefully supervise every single moment of summer, and there is never a moment where I can only account for three kids.]]
With natural light plus the cascading water, Remy noted, "We have a rainbow in our house!" I'll be sure to include that amenity for future resale.

I’ve culled a few structural ideas for us Mediocre Mamas who want this season to be fun and memorable, but we also live in the real world where not every solitary day is pinnable (thank you for these shame-based new verbs, Pinterest). Nor can we afford to take five kids to water parks each day, because Brandon is a pastor and I am a writer; two professions noted for wealth building, except not that.
 
There are loose structures, because for me, complicated systems are basically an invitation to fail more. I can handle one really cool fun thing a week. That is the outer limits of my capabilities, and just whatever about it.
 
So we are enjoying our third summer of “Mystery Thursdays.” The kids know every Thursday we go somewhere neat, and it is a surprise: floating the river, going to the lake, daytime movie and a picnic (a bunch of theaters show free kid movies all summer), swimming at Barton Springs so my kids might see an old, naked person (Austin keeps it weird, folks), paddle boarding, Schlitterbaun, anything that shakes it up. Some of these are free, some really inexpensive, some super pricey, but after fifteen summers as a parent, I’ve calculated the value of keeping us occupied and the summer moving along, and I am willing to pay 17 million dollars.
 
[[Of course I don’t really think we can buy our kids’ happiness and our personal sanity. I also philosophically reject babysitters, house help, date nights, a hefty book budget, movies on demand, DVD player in the car, and all forms of child bribery incentives.]]
 
With average success, we carve out an hour of Room Time every afternoon. Theoretically, the kids are supposed to read, and some do. Others probably do something involving a controller, but Mama needs the Hour of Peace and I don’t even care. This will technically fulfill the Summer Reading Program I agreed to at the end of school because I was just trying to get out the door. On the fifth hour of summer, Remy gasps: “MOMMY!! WE HAVEN’T STARTED OUR READING LOG!!!” and I think I had a stroke; I smelled burnt toast. So 1.) Room Time for reading, 2.) log your own hours, and 3.) I’ll sign them the morning of August 26th as you’re heading back to school.
 
[[Don’t spaz over reading minutes. WE LOVE TO READ. I’ll remind you I am a writer and place a stout premium on the written word. But when we have to do it and log it and sign it and turn it in, it’s like the difference between running for fun and running from a murderer. I’m totally kidding. I have no idea what ‘running for fun’ means.]]
Summer Rule: The trampoline can sub for a bedroom. Room Time for reading? No problem.
Actual nighttime sleeping? Sure.

Everyone still has a daily chore, which marks the end of Room Time. At first I said, “You have a chore a day. You can finish it whenever you want.” And the children did. Interestingly, whenever they wanted turned out to be never. They never wanted to finish a chore actually, which is shocking because they obviously care so much about cleanliness and order. Opposite Day! So Room Time ends with Chore Time, and I hope you are starting to get the picture of this Hatmaker Summer Party.
 
Then we brainstormed a list of filler activities instead of risking their lives by saying I’m bored: ride bike, rollerblade, basketball, four-square, Rip Stick, board games (or as I like to call them, Bored Games, because Monopoly is like a very slow and horrible way to die), arts and crafts, iStation (a cool online reading program our school hooked us up with), trampoline, friends, make a movie/video, iPad apps, build something, write and illustrate a book, Legos/Bionicles (my 15-year-old begrudgingly “helped” the younger boys "for a minute" and I discovered his complicated architectural war-scape five hours later), Spa Day, or any of the zillion games we have for the Wii, Xbox, and Kinect. Swimming at our neighborhood pool is in regular rotation too, as these homeowners’ fees better go toward something other than watering demerits and hate mail about our fence.
 
Therapists say healthy people have boundaries, so I set some. Kids, things I am not in charge of this summer:
  • Breakfast.
  • Lunch is a crapshoot.
  • Figuring our your snacks. You know where the kitchen is.
  • Entertaining you.
  • Solving all your problems.
  • Enduring fighting. You fight, the thing is gone, good times are over.
  • Being your cruise ship director. 
I will stock the kitchen with the goods, so if you ask me what’s for breakfast, I’m going to show you my coffee mug and give you a blank look. I taught you how to make eggs and smoothies and breakfast sandwiches and oatmeal, and I’m sad to admit this, but there is the cereal. Enjoy your chemical concoction, a nutritional hypocrisy I’m comfortable with.  
 
Last, Mamas and Daddies, do not forget to get away from the darlings periodically and do something together. As Remy says, “Sometimes I just need to be by my lone.” Summer contains some of our best family memories, but after *a lot of togetherness* it’s good to have a breather. Do what you gotta do: pay a babysitter, trade free child care with another friend, put the littles in day camp one week, trade time off with your spouse, ask Grandma/Aunt/Sister to take them for an evening, trade sleepovers with your kids’ friends (we once engineered all five kids at sleepovers on the same night, and I turned instantly Pentecostal, waving my praise flags and I’m pretty sure I spoke in tongues).
 
Our plan is to keep it light and keep it fun. It’s so nice to enjoy my kids outside the rigors of school for awhile. For me, structure summer too much and all the joy is gone; structure it too little and I will lose my crap. There is a sweet spot somewhere in the middle where we balance resting and playing, chilling out and going out, staying at home and hitting the highway.

When I remember I only have three more summers with my oldest, everything suddenly comes into clear focus, and I realize what Bo and Hope and Stefano have always known: these are the days of our lives. May they be filled with laughter and cannonballs and good books and grilled hamburgers and fireworks and road trips and friends and happiness and love.
 
And may the children learn to make their own lunches. Amen.
 
One last note: Happy Father’s Day this weekend to all the amazing Daddies and Papas and Grandpas and Papaws! Whenever men invest heavily and sincerely into their marriages and children, love abounds. For every time you’ve attended tea parties, recitals, student-led conferences, baseball games, concerts, and then tucked the littles into bed, we love you! In your honor, please enjoy this card Remy made for Brandon after following the template at school:


Want more? Click here to read "10 Things to Do With Your Kids This Summer" which I wrote for my BFF, Barnes and Noble today, where I've spent around half my salary for the last 15 years. After I wrote it, I realized 10 things was my absolute maximum, so in other words, here is everything I know about Summer Fun in 1000 words. So sad.


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328 Comments

Jen - June 13th, 2013 at 11:36 AM
I love your sense of humor. Oh my gosh, we are two peas in a pod. Must be the name. ;)
Jen S - June 13th, 2013 at 12:10 PM
amen.
Jen G - June 13th, 2013 at 1:29 PM
Double Amen:)
Jen N. - June 13th, 2013 at 1:14 PM
totally agree!
Jen T. - June 13th, 2013 at 1:22 PM
Couldn't have said it any better!
Jen M. - June 13th, 2013 at 1:54 PM
For sure!
Jen L - June 13th, 2013 at 1:50 PM
Abso-freakin-lutely!
brian - June 13th, 2013 at 2:54 PM
same!

oh wait.
Melissa - June 13th, 2013 at 11:40 AM
This is fabulous, reassuring, comical, and the line about "me and my friends went to brunch" killed me! I am praising our sweet Father's name for giving you the gift of writing and I am thanking you for "keeping it real." Lord knows we need more of that!
SL - June 13th, 2013 at 11:58 AM
It's Mimosas for Moms in my 'hood....no one has to drive and the school bus doesn't come until after nap time. ;-)
Brandi - June 13th, 2013 at 11:42 AM
Always love your post but I may have swooned at the Bo, Hope, Stefano reference. Even in Hawaii, summer can be hard. (Don't hate me because I'm in Hawaii.)
Heather K - June 13th, 2013 at 11:44 AM
Love Love Love this! Thank you for not reining in your sarcasm!
Sandi - June 13th, 2013 at 11:44 AM
I propose that your future posts all have parenthetical asides. They're almost as good as the post itself. :)
Sandy S - June 13th, 2013 at 3:17 PM
Oh my God, I could not agree more!!! I about died laughing!!!!!!!
Samantha - June 13th, 2013 at 11:46 AM
Your are speaking my language!!
Heather - June 13th, 2013 at 11:46 AM
I've just recently found your blogs. I love them!!! I'm a mother of four. Write now I'm hiding in the bathroom for a moment of sanity - but it's only a matter of time that I will be found. Keep blogging and Happy Summer!!
Lisa - June 13th, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Love it, and Amen on all fronts. We have a little class called "The Joys of Washing Your Own Freaking Clothes." It's a big hit.
Melissa - June 13th, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Now that's my kind of summer, especially "my coffee mug" and "a blank look." :-)
Michelle Melhorn - June 13th, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Love Love Love.
Karen - June 13th, 2013 at 11:48 AM
You are HILARIOUS and just so SO real. Love reading your stuff, Jen!
Sonya - June 13th, 2013 at 11:49 AM
Love it and for the record, when they play school sports, structure gets added to summer and I don't like it!
Jennifer D. - June 13th, 2013 at 11:50 AM
Wonderful!! We've been out of pocket since February, as we live overseas but are in the states until August. We've not been in any one place long enough to set any kind of routine...except if we're home on Wednesday morning ps we go to kids' club at the mall. Wow. So I totally get the "not enough structure and I will quite literally lose my crap." We've got 2 more months till we go back, and it's going to be the least busy, least travel time yet and I totally plan on implementing some of these. We already do room time, but I love the rest!! Thanks for keeping it real so the rest of us who don't even have Pintrest don't feel quite so inadequate or abnormal. :)
Sarah - June 13th, 2013 at 11:51 AM
I love you!!!! Exactly how I feel about summer with my kids but I also have a home daycare. Add in the copious amounts of fog that we get and naptime for little people....it's a delicate balance. Thank you Lord for camp and being able to rotate kids in and out.
Dawna - June 13th, 2013 at 11:51 AM
Wonderful! I was reading it aloud to my kids, actually they are young adults, but many of the truths you wrote are ageless and apply. They like you!
April in England - June 13th, 2013 at 11:53 AM
that is hilarious that someone actually went to a school principal!!!! Seriously!!?? Love you Jen..keep the laughs coming...and the good ideas!
Laura - June 13th, 2013 at 11:54 AM
You helped put a smile the face of this self-employed consultant, working on vacation because her husband is an inner city pastor who makes no money. Kindred spirit girl, you are helping me get through it!
Kim - June 13th, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Love, love, love all of the realness that you shared and may your sweet summer rock on ;)
Jodie Daniels - June 13th, 2013 at 11:54 AM
You are my daily dose of laughter! I love your humor and sarcasm!
Kari - June 13th, 2013 at 11:55 AM
Crack. Me. Up! Please keep writing! I would think you make this stuff up, but the pictures are classic! Loved the Father's day card!
Shannon Wiebe - June 13th, 2013 at 11:56 AM
Honestly, if I were going to dash to a principal regarding something on the last post it would have been for the misguided auditory reading and not the logical choice to educate 2 children. Auditory reading; it will go down in history forever right after the phrase "what fresh hell is this".
Bec - June 13th, 2013 at 3:38 PM
What fresh hell is this was the best line. I started laughing out loud at my desk. Was at that moment last night with 5 days left...
Rachel - June 13th, 2013 at 11:56 AM
I steadily giggled throughout the entire post and then flat out lost it when I saw Remy's card. That girl...she's too awesome.
Katie - June 13th, 2013 at 12:43 PM
Me toooooo!!! I totally died at that card!
Allen - June 13th, 2013 at 11:57 AM
Oh my gosh you let your children see naked old people! And Remy spells her name N-A-M-E. I will finish this comment later. I have to go call the prinicpal, DeFaCS, and my senator.

Hook Em Horns!
gretchen - June 13th, 2013 at 12:02 PM
Perfect. Thanks for the parenthetical parentheticals. ;)
mike - June 13th, 2013 at 12:04 PM
hilarious , informative and encouraging . mos def sharing with my wife.
Micah - June 13th, 2013 at 12:04 PM
The dog asleep on the trampoline. perfect.
Julianne - June 13th, 2013 at 12:06 PM
I am sitting here reading your latest blog post for a 2nd time because we are first time empty nesters and no one, not the shih tzu or the poodle, have asked me to play barber shop once this summer! My flock has flown! It is a sweet time around here but your's a sweet season too! Balance is the key.
Jen - June 13th, 2013 at 3:05 PM
Thinking the same things, Julianne. Mine are in high school and working (nannying- does that count?) full time so my house is empty all day. I miss screaming at my naked children to put their suits back on as they are running around the front yard completely out of control. Good stuff Jen. And keep the sarcasm, pleez.
Adrianne - June 13th, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Wow! Could have written this word for word! Thanks!!
KC - June 13th, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Too bad that you have to include " [[non-sarcastic parenthetical notes]] " now. If people don't like what they read (or don't understand the tone), they can just, well, not read it. It sounds easy enough. I really enjoyed it - thanks!
Kristina - June 13th, 2013 at 12:08 PM
I cannot get over the [[non-sarcastic parenthetical notes]]!!! They are perfect. [[And for those of use fluent in sarcasm and satire, even better.]]
Donna - June 13th, 2013 at 12:09 PM
Amen sister. We do just about the same here... balance, time "lone" and lots of together time too. And everyone makes their own darn lunch. :)
jodi fletcher - June 13th, 2013 at 12:10 PM
Y'all got a trampoline net?! Safety is the theme Summer 2013 :-D xo
Kim - June 13th, 2013 at 12:12 PM
I do not have children yet, but I seriously hope I have your sense of humor when I do. Cracking up the whole way through.
Bonnie Buck - June 13th, 2013 at 12:12 PM
It's always a breath of fresh air reading your blogs. I came to see you in Raleigh and that weekend challenged me to my core. I have four boys and homeschool lasts until the end of June (because I don't know what to do with them if we finished earlier!) One time they said they were "bored" and my husband made them sit for an hour facing the white wall. After the hour was over, he said "This is bored!" They never said "bored" again. I remember entertaining myself during the summer because my parents were working. I say "Go play or we will do school!" a gazillion times! By the way, school is starting mid-July this year.
sheree - June 13th, 2013 at 12:59 PM
I can't stop laughing. I'm crying. I using that this summer.
Clare - June 13th, 2013 at 12:12 PM
Too funny! Loved the parentheticals :)
Kira - June 13th, 2013 at 12:14 PM
Love, Name - Oh my goodness! I love it! I always enjoy reading your posts!
Marisa Hartley - June 13th, 2013 at 12:14 PM
Brilliant!!! All my thoughts exactly!! Ha
Elizabeth - June 13th, 2013 at 12:18 PM
Awesome! I love the sarcasm!!
Rachel - June 13th, 2013 at 12:19 PM
You are hilarious! U remind me a lot of my mom with your sense of humor. This really makes my day haha. I, like your son, only have 3 summers left before college so I think we are gonna try to have as much fun as we can. Please keep posting, though, these really make me smile :)
Amy - June 13th, 2013 at 12:21 PM
Discovered you on the Today show as summer is the only time I get to watch the show. I'm a teacher and thankful for my summers! Great tips to entertain my 13 year old twin boys! It is nice to see that my rules for summer are similar "we ride the same wave"! I love mystery Thursday idea too! I tried to do that today and go to Hamilton Pool and discovered it is closed for bacteria issues! Yuk! So here I am still in my pajamas at noon!
Anyway, thanks for the blog! I love it!
Nancy - June 13th, 2013 at 12:24 PM
Can I come live with you?? Or be your BFF?? Or just bow down at your feet and bask in your glory?? As my 9-year-old says, "You are totes hilar!" (Please don't tell her I said that. I'm TOO OLD!)
Nikki - June 13th, 2013 at 12:25 PM
LOL! I love you, Jen!! You should look into year-round school! The summers are only 6 weeks! Haha... my oldest starts K this year... I will cry, just a little. Probably when my youngest goes, I'll be singing Halleluyer!
Deb Siciliano - June 13th, 2013 at 12:25 PM
I am a teacher on the other side and with grown children, a parent on the other side of summer entertainment as well. But your blog brings such horrific [[lovely]]memories. Now my summer days are filled with every excuse not to clean and organize my house. Love the way you express your views. Do I detect some sarcasm in your [[ non-sarcastic parenthetical notes]]?? Youuuu!!
Tammy - June 13th, 2013 at 12:26 PM
you always make me laugh out loud!!! "Will you play beauty shop with me?, No." Love it! Summer Solstice of Doom?? So true! Keep it up...I appreciate your humor and totally get your sarcasm :)
Grace Dobson - June 13th, 2013 at 12:26 PM
Laugh out loud funny especially the parenthetical comments. I'm sure you and your children will have a blast this summer. I was oh so delighted to see you on the Today Show.
Gabi - June 13th, 2013 at 12:29 PM
Love it! Love your writing ... I may or may not be imagining that we are best friends! ;) ( yes I'm aware how stalkerish that sounded! Don't judge me.. I homeschooled last year , I'm losing it!) PUBLIC SCHOOL HERE WE COME!
Melissa - June 13th, 2013 at 12:30 PM
I think you live in my house!
Monica W - June 13th, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Hilarious read while I sit in my car and feed my kids fast food in the back seat while watching videos- just to get us out of the house.

PS you're really bad at trying to not be sarcastic... [you may need to give up] :)
Alison Chino - June 13th, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Brilliant!
SUCH a great follow up to last week's!

Here in Little Rock, we're trying to stay same AND waste less because we're on Month 5 of Seven! But summer = lots of cheating/fudging, so we may have to redo in the fall!

Happy Summer an thanks for the extra giggles today!!
Amy - June 13th, 2013 at 12:39 PM
I don't even have children yet and love these posts so so much. I catch myself laughing out loud reading them. It's so refreshing to hear someone be honest and real about raising kids... not the usual "don't disturb the baby/ cater to their every whim" crap. So, thank you lots, from a (hopefully) future mother!
Tiffany - June 13th, 2013 at 12:40 PM
Can I just say that you and I would be BFFs if you lived in Dallas? Like for real. Love your ability to put into words what we all think, feel and lament over. Didn't catch you on the Today Show because mornings are my quiet time (as in I literally creep around the house so that I won't wake a child up until I'm good and ready for the day to start), but I felt like patting myself on the back, because I liked and shared your blog, which you know, launched you to stardom (don't take that from me, I need it :). Anyway, love you, love your parenting and love your blog. Keep up the amazing work and stay as sarcastic as ever.
Linnea - June 13th, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Couldn't have said it better myself!!! Especially after having just cleaned up baby powder that was [[sprinkled]] all over E's room. It's going to be a long summer!
Michele - June 13th, 2013 at 12:47 PM
I heart you!
Love,
Name
Jolene - June 13th, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Preach it!
Emily - June 13th, 2013 at 12:52 PM
My kids are long grown so I wish I'd read this 20 years ago. Love your list of things you are not in charge of!
Megan - June 13th, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Oh my goodness, tears rolling down my face at "summer solstice of doom."
Melissa - June 13th, 2013 at 12:56 PM
I. LOVED. THIS.

I am not a SAHM, but this summer I am getting little taste of it, because I just went back to being a 1099 self employed Mortgage Loan Officer. So, while I have an office, I also set my own schedule and am able to work from home on occasion. As I am doing right now, because I have a stomach bug. Kids have been out for 2 days, and I so get what you are saying. You have given me so many ideas that I am stealing. Bless you.
Alexandra - June 13th, 2013 at 12:59 PM
I always smile and giggle a bit at your posts, but I legit laughed out loud at your Days of Our lives reference! Even as a nanny, I appreciate the recommendations- I had two complaining girls by 11am last Friday- they hadn't even been out 24 hours yet... I thought I was gonna lose it and needed some 'lone time too :)
Candice - June 13th, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Like Shannon above, ever since your last post I have been muttering "what fresh hell is this?" and cracking up every time. Now I think I'll fixate on what Bo and Hope and Stefano have always known. Thanks for the chuckles, and the perspective.
Robin - June 13th, 2013 at 1:02 PM
brutal honesty. love it. thanks for making us feel so much better about ourselves (strength in numbers....moms unite!!!).
Kathy - June 13th, 2013 at 1:03 PM
You had me laughing so hard and then crying at the end as I realized I have about the same number of Summers left with my oldest ... put it in terms like that and it hits me like a punch in the gut! Thank you for your posts, your amazing humor and your willingness to let God use you to encourage the rest of us who sometimes feel like we're on our own and doing it all wrong :-)
Jodi - June 13th, 2013 at 1:04 PM
Love it all.

my summer rules:
#1 make yourself breakfast and do something quiet until mommy wakes up.
#2 when mommy wakes up (which is not until she's good and ready to!) everyone gets dressed and clean sweeps the house and helps with laundry and the faster you go the quicker you get to free play time!
#3 after that it's summer fun time and if mommy's not having fun (ie: is listening to bickering/fighting/whining) NO ONE will be having fun!

(And yes, reading and piano practice and the likes are still required. Perhaps inconsistently but whatever.)
Rae - June 13th, 2013 at 1:07 PM
Let me start out by saying that I absolutely LOVE your sarcasm - it meets me where I'm at! Thank you for being real :) I do love summer... and I do hate (I mean don't really care for) structure. However, absolutely no structure does lead to WAY to much hand holding with the remotes, so June is already consumed by activity. The roller coaster ride of activity will let up mid-July, at that time I will steal your Mystery Thursday idea - and right away I will put the room time into practice :) Thanks so much for the great post!
cck - June 13th, 2013 at 1:10 PM
I feel so bad for people who don't get satire. You guys are the best and make us feel so not alone!
Kerri - June 13th, 2013 at 1:10 PM
God bless Remy because that card just about made me pee my pants. I never say "LOL" because every time I read it I feel like the person would be more honest if they said "Smiled a little then moved on." But that card? Actually still laughing. Out. Loud.
sally - June 13th, 2013 at 1:13 PM
hilarious! love it!
Kim - June 13th, 2013 at 1:16 PM
I love the { } !!
Kristie Allen - June 13th, 2013 at 1:21 PM
Love Remy's card!!!!
Jenni K - June 13th, 2013 at 1:23 PM
I just have one 1 year old, but I've planned a lot of summer activities using freefuninaustin.com. Lists of splash pads, museums, .50 or $1 activities.
Melissa - June 13th, 2013 at 1:26 PM
I'm channeling you the next time I meet "Jessica's Mom". That's all I'm sayin'. And the overanalyzinghypersensitivechecklisting school person.
Michele - June 13th, 2013 at 1:29 PM
You are my favorite person I've never met.
Katy - June 13th, 2013 at 1:52 PM
I second that!
Tracey - June 14th, 2013 at 9:34 AM
Absolutely. We are best friends. You just don't know it.

Alicia - June 13th, 2013 at 1:31 PM
Absolutely love this post!!! We were supposed to be leaving for Europe for a month on our first adoption trip with our three children. Of course, there's been a snag so now we are in waiting mode. Unfortunately, because we were told we would not be here I did not schedule anything and still can't as we will only have 2 weeks notice when the snag gets ironed out. Definitely instituting your "boundaries".
Laura - June 13th, 2013 at 1:59 PM
You're my favorite! I am a self proclaimed mediocre mom & it is so hard to find mom friends who keep it real, keep it fun, and can laugh at themselves. Keep on, keepin on pretty mama!
Aaron P. - June 13th, 2013 at 1:38 PM
Excellent blog! From a Dad who is both a fan of satire, as well as mind.-boggling amounts of sarcasm, I sincerely appreciated your candor and (not so) subtle jabs at those without this sane appreciation. Thanks for cleverly throwing in ideas for how to keep the kiddos entertained (see: alive) over the summer.
Anita - June 13th, 2013 at 1:41 PM
"I have no idea what %u2018running for fun%u2019 means." Oh my word! I just PMP! (It's kind of like LOL except there's pee involved...)
Liz - June 13th, 2013 at 9:30 PM
PMP - hilarious!
Jodi Cole - June 13th, 2013 at 1:44 PM
Seriously girl, hilarious! I am usually diametrically opposed to the "Christian-mommy-blogging" world. I too am a writer, mom of 4 boys and pastors wife and struggle with my sarcasm being taken wrong, oh a lot of the time. I have read your last 2 posts thanks to some cool FB buddies. It's brilliant! I'm officially a fan--which is something I have never said to another person on their blog. You so totally rock, dude.

ohAmanda - June 13th, 2013 at 1:50 PM
And my favorite part--> "I have no idea what %u2018running for fun%u2019 means."

Happy Summer, Jen!
a
Susana - June 13th, 2013 at 1:56 PM
Love your blog, all the way from the UK. Hilarious and so very true.
Olivia - June 13th, 2013 at 1:56 PM
I just moved away from Texas, under Army orders, but I'd be willing to move back and live on your street! Enjoy Barton Springs for me this summer!
Erica - June 13th, 2013 at 2:13 PM
How.Do.I.Follow.You??? Second read from a friend's FB link. I don't even have littles anymore (my youngest will be and "adult" in two months), but I soooo relate!
lisa - June 13th, 2013 at 2:15 PM
Had many summers like these. Sometimes I miss them,...most times NOT. There are just those moments...of awwww...remember when.... and then I wake up in my quiet house until my 2 year old grandson comes over and reminds me why I love "grammy" mode! But still...occasionally...
Rebeccah - June 13th, 2013 at 2:16 PM
The fact that the whole log is on fire is my favorite part. Haha!
Kay H - June 13th, 2013 at 2:16 PM
You are hi-LAR-ious! I love satire and am fluent in sarcasm so I have an infinite appreciation for your blog. I've only been reading divorce blogs lately due to my husband having an affair because my dog chewed his hate. (True story.) How can you not turn to satire and sarcasm once you are hit with a situation like that? dowehavetotellthekids.blogspot.com

Thanks for making me laugh! Your blog in my new favorite!
Nicole - June 13th, 2013 at 2:25 PM
I literally LOL'd at the end reading that sweet card (and several times during) :) I pray people are led to God because of your wit and humor.
Pamela Graham - June 13th, 2013 at 2:57 PM
Here's the thing...we've got 6 days left. And I'm so excited, but so scared at the same time. Both my kids are sanguine fun-lovin' bright-eyed fun-seekers. Every morning, "What are we gonna do today that's FUN, mom??" "I was thinking we could weed the garden....?" Trails off....quietly exit...seek coffee mug with wide and frantic eyes.
Kara - June 13th, 2013 at 3:12 PM
I am the mother of 3 sons and the last one graduates from HS on Saturday. Yippe!! My nest will be empty come August. I live in Virginia but born and raised in Texas. You are so darn funny, brings back many memories of how I was the cruise director each summer for my kids for my sons and so glad I no longer have that title to hold to my name. Your references reminded me of the summer days in Corpus Christi when all the mothers made us come inside from 1 to 3 because it was so hot. What the hell were they thinking because if I remember correctly we tormented them with I'm bored! I still roll my eyes when I think of all the times my kids said the same. Your blog is awesome Keep up the sarcasm. A little sarcasm keeps us sane.
Boedee - June 13th, 2013 at 3:15 PM
You are hilarious and I am a total fan of sarcasm. :)
Tara - June 13th, 2013 at 3:16 PM
"A"men !!! So glad I sat down to read this. I literally laughed out loud and my oldest child wondered what was soooo funny?!?! ;)
Angie - June 13th, 2013 at 3:27 PM
you're my sister from another mister! I make one meal a day. choose wisely.
Rebecca - June 14th, 2013 at 9:32 AM
Ha Ha Ha Angie- Thanks for giving me a new house rule. "I make one meal a day. Choose wisely"
Carlene Benelli - June 13th, 2013 at 3:27 PM
If it wasn't for sarcasm, there would be no communication in our house! Love your honest, heartfelt, sarcastic sharing!
Kelly - June 13th, 2013 at 3:31 PM
Love this. You are SO encouraging and I appreciate your honesty on the whole mama thing--love your humor too. Could you possible share a picture of your chalkboard wall? I saw a piece of it in one of the above pictures. I have my paint just haven't painted yet and am still unsure what is going on the wall!!
Jackie M. - June 13th, 2013 at 3:37 PM
Jen, you make me feel validated as a mom and a human being with your witty writing! Tears of laughter as I read "Surviving Summer," from the brunches comment to the gesturing at your coffee mug comment. :) I LOVE your writing!
Cindy W. - June 13th, 2013 at 3:44 PM
To Anita and all those other women that Jen is making "PNP"~ Ladies... my hubby is a urogynecologist. Not to be confused with a European (although as I write this, I chuckle at the irony!) Gynecolgist, but a Doc who helps ladies hold their pee when they laugh. Yes... that's right! That's what he does! SO... now that Jen is officially getting us all to discover that yucky symptom caused by those *we are strong, we are INVINCIBLE!" vaginal births that we all wanted, ...check into your local urogynecologist if need be! Just a little public announcement! LOL, PNP! :)
Wendy - June 13th, 2013 at 3:48 PM
YOU...You...and God!!! Make the best pair!!! Love it! Keep on keepin' on, Sister!
Delia - June 13th, 2013 at 3:52 PM
I am so sorry that you now have to clarify your blog with non-sarcastic brackets because some people don't have the mental capacity for a sense of humor. Reading within those brackets broke my heart this afternoon.
Torrie - June 13th, 2013 at 4:20 PM
You are absolutely fabulous! Thank you for every bit of your sarcasm! Your blog is the reason my kids are asking, 'mom, what are you laughing at in the bathroom?' And while that answer can be numerous reasons like Special K not helping me into my jeans, its mostly due to reading your hysterical motherhood blogs. So thank you again for making me laugh in my never -stays -locked -bathroom! Keep your blogs coming, I'm running out of Pottery Barn Magazines.
Jamie - June 13th, 2013 at 4:23 PM
Hilarious! I was in tears [happy!] reading this post! So true!
Rachel - June 13th, 2013 at 4:34 PM
A few weeks ago, I went upstairs to my room, flung myself face first onto the bed and declared to my husband that I was done and I didn't care if the kids went to school anymore. They'd done well and learned enough. I couldn't bring myself to pack another lunch but couldn't bring myself even MORE to let them eat the stuff served at school, so I rummaged through the fridge at 11:30 looking for anything I didn't have to prepare. At the back were a few pieces of 2 day old pizza. Jackpot. A water bottle, bag of Pirate's Booty and lunch was packed. That night, I opened my facebook and saw a link for your Worst End of School Year Mom post and read it 4 times. Today, I took my kids to a local pizza place for which we had received free pizza coupons at the dentist today and began laying the ground rules and mapping the loose schedule for summer. And then I read this. Awesome. Speakin' to my heart, girlfriend. If we lived close, we'd be friends. ;)
suburbancorrespondent - June 13th, 2013 at 4:51 PM
Brilliant - thanks for the distillation of many years' worth of hard-won knowledge. By August, I feel like screaming at the thought of popsicles, pools, or marshmallow roasts. Burnout, pure and simple...
Denise Grosch - June 13th, 2013 at 4:58 PM
Hilarious!! I miss you Jen
Betsy - June 13th, 2013 at 5:13 PM
I just found your blog - you are hilarious. Thanks for keeping it real! Betsy - wife, mom of three 14 and under and pastor.
Katie - June 13th, 2013 at 5:15 PM
This really sounds like how I run my household during the summer. Over here we have "Field Trip Fridays." It teaches them not to expect anything big the rest of the week :o)
Renee Bates - June 13th, 2013 at 5:25 PM
I love your blog! I wish I would have found you sooner! Now, I cannot wait to read you! You bring me to tears of happiness. Please don't stop!
Sarah - June 13th, 2013 at 5:27 PM
I woke the baby laughing, yes, out loud at the Father's Day card.
Marylee - June 13th, 2013 at 5:35 PM
I love love love your blog! I look forward to them. I laugh out loud! Thank you for the best emotion.. laughing so hard I cry!

Lori H - June 13th, 2013 at 5:43 PM
My refrain to my children has been "I am not Julie McCoy, cruise director. Say you are bored and I will provide you with a list of chores to entertain you" Big grin. Love this post!
Celeste - June 13th, 2013 at 5:48 PM
As a second grade teacher, I've lose count per day of how many times I say, "Don't write the word name, but write YOUR name." I'm glad parents find the humor in it because by 3:15, I am crying!
Deanna - June 14th, 2013 at 11:38 AM
I'm a kindergarten teacher and once in awhile I put my name where there's is suppose to go for an example....I wonder how many parents "I love...." I agree...by 3:15 I sit in my classroom wondering if anyone else understands what their child is trying to "write" to them:)
Sue Goebel - June 13th, 2013 at 6:36 PM
Really enjoy your blog!! I think you are so funny and I enjoy your sarcastic humor! It reminds me of real life! There are truly mom's who are so good at everything I just want to hang my head and puke! Please no one is that perfect!!!!! Thanks for being normal!!!!


kim - June 13th, 2013 at 6:50 PM
sooo funny. and awesome. and that card? I snorted out loud.
Esther - June 13th, 2013 at 7:27 PM
Awesome. I'm a writer and have also been outed by a 'concerned person' to my school's administration. I feel the need to install a sarcasm meter - if you don't get sarcasm you don't get to read. Rock on!! Thanks for living real and loving God - the two are not mutually exclusive.
Danielle - June 13th, 2013 at 7:29 PM
Love it! By 1pm on the first day of summer break, I called my husband at work and I was like, "I need permission to spend an indiscriminate amount of money." By the end of the day, I had every week of summer break covered. Between the park district, my blessed still-working mother, and any church that had VBS, we know have something resembling structure for the summer break. I can't wait till my kids actually sleep in!!
Kristin - June 13th, 2013 at 7:44 PM
Once again, Jen, you have made me laugh out loud, because you must live at my house :) I love the staring at the wall for an hour and the summer solstice of doom! And the Father's Day card...Hilarious. Please keep writing, and saying what we are all thinking, and living!
Ashley b - June 13th, 2013 at 8:07 PM
Love!!! %u2764
Diane - June 13th, 2013 at 8:24 PM
Thanks. You have justified all my bad behavior. , pastors wife, 6 kids, and some adopted. You could be reading my mind!
Michelle - June 13th, 2013 at 8:27 PM
I've laughed so hard I've cried while reading your last two blog posts. I am in a tough place spiritually and emotionally right now, as I am "stuck" in my adoption (adopting two children from Haiti), and you have provided MUCH needed laughs for me. Thank you!
Jennifer Culley - June 13th, 2013 at 8:34 PM
I'm a teacher. That means I'm thrilled about summer, except that little part where my kids are home. I was in Target today spending one sweet hour that fell between checking out at work and picking the kids up. Two boys were running loudly around the women's clothes department while their mother(who obviously has no control over them) asked them 10 bazillion times to settle down. We locked eyes for a quick moment and I couldn't resist...I said, "There are 2 teachers out there that are so happy to give them back to you." She just stared at me and I spun around and exited the area:)
teresa - June 15th, 2013 at 8:41 AM
I. LOVE. YOU!!
Mandy - June 13th, 2013 at 8:47 PM
OMG Remy's card....just awesome.
Kim Eichstead - June 13th, 2013 at 8:51 PM
At the ripe age of 22 I have been a nanny, a babysitter, a big sister, a mentor and a teacher. Its all good. However, you parental blogs are the best birth control I've had like...ever. Keep em comin' sister! Also btw hilarious :)
Crystal - June 13th, 2013 at 8:59 PM
I think I love you.
Jan - June 13th, 2013 at 9:02 PM
I may have just peed my pants laughing so hard at Remy's letter. Also, my favorite part of your post was "explaining" your sarcasm, with un-sarcasm. But thanks for the recommendations. Time to start some of those around here!
Tina - June 13th, 2013 at 9:08 PM
We just moved to Austin a few weeks ago for my husband's new job (youth pastor). We moved from a 3000 sq. ft. home with a large yard and friendly neighbors to an almost 1000 sq. ft. apartment just shy of ghetto. Keeping my 3 kids occupied is a daily test of faith :) Thanks for the fun read!
BTW, I remind all my friends back home in Alabama that I live in your city now. Your's and Matthew McConaughey's. they are jealous.
Cindy - June 13th, 2013 at 9:12 PM
I remembered one summer my only goal was to take my kids to a live performance. they were so movied up. it worked out we found a summer kids theatre to attend for the younger ones and took the older to see, Greater Tuna.
Jenny - June 13th, 2013 at 9:22 PM
They are TOTALLY bringing you back on the Today show. Or they may just want Remy.
Thanks for the laugh. Will be stealing some of your ideas. I am glad someone else is willing to admit that lunch is a crapshoot.
Leslie - June 14th, 2013 at 4:14 PM
I was just thinking the same thing! I think a regular parenting segment with Jen would be an awesome addition to the Today Show!!!
Bran - June 13th, 2013 at 9:23 PM
" (we once engineered all five kids at sleepovers on the same night, and I turned instantly Pentecostal, waving my praise flags and I%u2019m pretty sure I spoke in tongues)."

That's so funny. Love your descriptions. I work full time, away from my babies and it's hard for me to not have mommy guilt about it. I'm missing out on so much. :(
Mary - June 13th, 2013 at 9:26 PM
I've had one of those days where I was literally ready to break into hysterical sobbing and then I read your blog and LOL'd instead!!! Thanks again for keeping it real and laughing about it and being sarcastic because that is just what I needed.
Karen - June 13th, 2013 at 9:28 PM
Cannot believe that someone reported you to the school. I LOVE the unsarcasm in the parenthesis for the sarcastically challenged.
You are awesome!
Darlene Giarratano - June 13th, 2013 at 9:29 PM
I got admonished tonight as I'm laying here quietly (I thought) giggling. My husband has to get up in 5 hrs (3am). I absolutely love you and identify entirely!!! Just everything you write is so profoundly funny!! And the card! Ha! She is too cute. God bless you baby, I'm a Christian mom, everything we do revolves around prayer, God, we are always at church, and I am blessed by your writing!! I thank you from the bottom of my faithful heart!! %uD83D%uDE4F%u2764%uD83D%uDE0A
Catherine - June 13th, 2013 at 9:31 PM
LOL! You are hilarious!
Julie - June 13th, 2013 at 9:37 PM
I loved reading this. We have a "bored" jar in the summer. If you say you're bored you have to pick something from the jar and do it (and it's ALWAYS a chore).
Jo - June 13th, 2013 at 9:43 PM
I just found you, and I'm super glad I did. I laughed my way through this one. We parent very much the same. ;)
Jody - June 13th, 2013 at 9:50 PM
So refreshing. This makes me miss summers with my kids when they were little.

Maddie Davis - June 13th, 2013 at 10:01 PM
I lept onto your blog from mombot blog. OMG you are hilarious. I so agree with many of your do's during summer. My baby girl just graduated and moved out, so enjoy them while you have them. You forgot one other great invention, well 2, summer school, yippee, they can do next years work early and the library has activities that are free and you don't have to make them up!
Lindsay B - June 13th, 2013 at 10:04 PM
Hilarious Jen! You just say it so well :) thanks for your transparency...it's very refreshing. Can't wait to see you in Birmingham in August!!
Jenny B - June 13th, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Jen, you've really out done yourself this time. Remy is sooooo going to be a comedian.
Laur a - June 13th, 2013 at 10:48 PM
I laughed till I cried!!!
Marcie - June 13th, 2013 at 10:57 PM
I died laughing at the Father's Day card template! I'm a 5th grade teacher and have had several kids do the same thing when I write "Name" where they should be writing their own name....I even tried putting my name and they copied that instead of writing their own. LOL
Love reading your blog. thank you for sharing your life.
Kim Williams - June 13th, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Jen, I'm pretty sure we were separated at birth. I am well-versed in sarcasm, and I find myself shouting, "Testify!" at key points in your posts. And I am only managing one child. One. I think if we added 4 more to the mix I would, in the words of "O Brother Where Art Thou?", R-U-N-N-O-F-T. Keep it coming, girl, because I think that most women don't hear or understand that they are doing just fine, thank you very much, and that you don't have to have a pinnable life to have a pretty awesome one! Solidarity, sister. Solidarity!
Beth B - June 13th, 2013 at 11:08 PM
So funny! It is so nice to read blogs by real moms who deal with real kids .... and sometimes hate summer. You are hilarious and I totally appreciate the satire. I'll be checking out your blog more often and hope you and your "littles" have a great summer!
Stephanie Paldi - June 13th, 2013 at 11:25 PM
I love you, Jen Hatmaker! You crack me up! PS...just completed Seven, and it sucked in such a good way! ;-)
ThatGuyKC - June 13th, 2013 at 11:26 PM
You are awesome. Keep rocking the sarcasm w/ shameless glory!!

My wife is a teacher and will be home w/ our 3 kids for the summer. I'm a little jealous, but after I take a few days off during the summer I ride the bus back to my safe and secure cubicle wear the coffee flows freely and there's no one hanging on my shirt sleeves or spitting up on my shoulder.

However, I do love coming home to all the hugs and kisses. And I do pitch in w/ household chores like laundry, dishes and such.
Single Dad - June 13th, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Thanks for helping me to feel normal.
Joanne - June 13th, 2013 at 11:53 PM
You make me laugh, thanks!
Amie - June 14th, 2013 at 12:33 AM
Jen, you are my best discovery this year even though you made me give my Vera Bradley collection away...ok, so part of it. My kids looked at the pile of "stuff" that came out of my closet and said, "where was all that?!" Yeah. Sooooo, back to the now. I was also one of those moms cheering on the beginning of summer...until summer came. That is when I always think to myself, wait a minute, why did I want summer? Fickle, I tell you. I thank you for your honesty sprinkled (ahem, covered) in sarcasm. It is a refreshing change from the "supermom" expectations that are so predominant. You ROCK! Sweet bonfire, by the way. :)
Dana - June 14th, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Girl, you need your own late night TV show for moms, but have it come on about 9 pm.
Kelly - June 14th, 2013 at 7:18 AM
Yes! Brilliant idea.
Veronica - June 16th, 2013 at 2:28 AM
What needs to happen for this TV show to happen??
Kristi D - June 14th, 2013 at 12:58 AM
OMGoodness. You make sleep deprivation so worth it. (Nursing mom here.) And your sarcasm is just what I need after a long day of mothering. xo!
http://kloverhouse.blogspot.com
Tara - June 14th, 2013 at 1:07 AM
Jen, you make me laugh and manage to describe how my life (with four boys around the same ages as yours) feels, sarcasm and all! Two weeks in and I can tell the balance of structure and chaos needs some tweaking. Thanks for sharing that kids have the ability to forage food. I stock the pantry and fridge and make dinner so thats enough already. I'm positive I read about some vitamins on the side of the cereal box, and I stopped reading after that so it's all good!
So glad I fell backward into your blog so I can feel normal every now and again. Looking good on the Today's Show!
Leanne Penny - June 14th, 2013 at 5:23 AM
You are the funniest person I know and you make me feel so much better about my own life because I'm not having a mom-gasm 27 hours of the day. I love my kids, I love motherhood, but God help me I can't wait until they can make their own somewhat acceptable breakfast.
Skerrib - June 14th, 2013 at 5:51 AM
I was telling my husband about this post, and therefore had to explain about the last post, and he saw the double-bracketed comments and was all, "Wait, those aren't sarcastic? Or they are?" and I said "Exactly"
Miriam - June 14th, 2013 at 5:56 AM
Remy's card is fantastic! I love it! :)
Jennifer P - June 14th, 2013 at 6:23 AM
Not usually interested in being one of the 3000 commenters, but honestly, the dog sleeping on the trampoline cracked me up. Totally!
JennSu - June 14th, 2013 at 8:44 AM
The dog on the trampoline cracked me up too. I looked closer...is that your husband out there too?!? Cracked me up and kept me laughing long enough to worry my children..
Candy - June 19th, 2013 at 3:15 PM
I didn't notice the dog on the trampoline until I read this the 2nd time. Hilarious! Like a hidden gem just for me!

Alisa - June 14th, 2013 at 6:58 AM
You are delightful.
Amy - June 14th, 2013 at 7:05 AM
This is an hysterically true picture of motherhood and summer. thanks for making me laugh and for recharging my batteries. i just said to my kids "it's not even 8am, really you are doing this already???" Now I can go apologize with a happy heart
Susanne Cash - June 14th, 2013 at 7:12 AM
You rock! I absolutely laughed out loud at the Pentecostal phrase and Father's Day card. Also, I'm a teacher and a word to the poor woman in your school district who has no sense of humor, please don't come work in my district. I find you have to have a clear grasp of satire and be a bit mad to work with kids everyday. Also, if a parent is a actually present enough to know there is a reading log, I'm ecstatic. I'm home with my 4 year old twins and 20 month old, and there are days I miss my high school students! ;)
Beth - June 14th, 2013 at 7:36 AM
Jen Hatmaker! You are so funny!
Christin - June 14th, 2013 at 7:43 AM
Schiltterbahn!!!!!! I miss home :(
Christina - June 14th, 2013 at 8:02 AM
Real raw and truthful. So refreshing to read your posts, we all feel this way just rarely let it out!! Keep them coming. Great writing!! Keep rocking girl!
Lynne - June 14th, 2013 at 8:02 AM
Thank you for keeping it real! I loved Remy's card. God Blessed!


Becky - June 14th, 2013 at 8:24 AM
LOVE this and all of your work!!!! :) As a transplant to Texas, (Houston) with 4 kiddos we are dying in the heat. I'd like to request a post about this sauna in which we live!!!
Flannery - June 14th, 2013 at 8:29 AM
This post is pure genius! Love it. You're hysterical!
Lisa - June 14th, 2013 at 8:39 AM
Anybody that doesn't appreciate your sarcasm is just plain boring! I saw your post about the end of the school year and almost peed my pants from laughing so hard. (Mostly out of relief that I am not alone.) You are inspiring and hilarious. Keep up the amazing mom work. ;)
Jen G - June 14th, 2013 at 8:56 AM
Thank you for writing this! My slight Pinterest addiction has left me wondering if I'm doing my girls a disservice by not hyperscheduling and making everything we do printable and chartable and all in chevron print. I needed to read this today!!!!
Joan - June 14th, 2013 at 8:58 AM
If I could, I'd pay to meet you and then take you to a fabulously prepared $4 million dollar meal. God love you, my dear.
Taylor - June 14th, 2013 at 9:11 AM
A long-forgotten rule of original Monopoly that makes it one bajillion times less torturous and SO. MUCH. SHORTER.: when someone lands on a property space, they get the chance to buy it. If they don't want to, it gets auctioned off to the highest bidder. I hope this changes your life as significantly as it's changed mine.
Paige - June 14th, 2013 at 12:14 PM
Yep I was going to tell her that too, you beat me to it!
Alison - June 17th, 2013 at 12:34 AM
My dad would shuffle all the properties at the beginning of the game and deal them all out. If you didn't get a total set you could then wheel and deal but the torture of not getting to buy any because of someone else buying them first and all that was eliminated and sped the game up tremendously... :)
Meg - July 15th, 2013 at 10:47 AM
My goodness, I've been suffering through Monopoly with kids for going on 15 years, and NOW you tell me this??
Kristen - June 14th, 2013 at 9:38 AM
Such awesomeness! I loved it all! I have 5 kids ages 14 down to 2 and thinking about them being out of school all summer has me a little stressed! But I'm also totally happy not having to deal with wake up calls and school stuff for a while! And Remy's card had me laughing out loud! Too funny!
Stephanie - June 14th, 2013 at 10:10 AM
Lunch Recipe = box of crackers, block of cheese, bag of baby carrots, quart of strawberries. Available every day between 11 and 1 on the kitchen table. At my house, the strawberries get eaten, everyone snubs the carrots and crackers, makes their own sandwich or concocts weird smoothies. I feel like I've "prepared" a healthy lunch, and move on to nagging them to clean-up the respective (and colossal) messes. Also, warming up left-overs inspires even the 6 year old to culinary creativity. The key here is to consistently make lunches your kids don't actually want to eat. After a week of this they will BEG to make their own. Your welcome. ;)
Stefanie - June 14th, 2013 at 10:21 AM
My oldest son and I have long thought there should be a special font just for sarcasm. Loved every part of this:)

Amanda - June 14th, 2013 at 10:36 AM
Jen, you are a hero and an inspiration. Thank you for these stories. They keep it real. You address common parenting dilemmas with grace and humor. I look forward to the day that our paths cross in Austin!
Michelle - June 14th, 2013 at 10:42 AM
Love this! The dog sleeping on the trampoline with kids...priceless. Thanks Jen for making us not so perfect moms feel ok :)
joyful potter - June 14th, 2013 at 10:58 AM
This is downright hilarious. A friend sent me here, and if this is the way you normally write, you may have a hard time getting rid of me. Although I'm not much of an LOL gal, I'm sure I would have this time, except that I was being interrupted every 27 seconds with requests to watch the 3-yr-old and his dump truck or come look at ants ..... As it was, I smirked in recognition a lot. Thanks for speaking our truth with humor.
Lauren - June 14th, 2013 at 11:09 AM
Jen, Thank you. I am a new mom to three precious children, as I married their dad, a widower, last fall. While I know that you LOVE your children as I love these precious gifts...thank you for being real. Summer is hard...the days are long. I appreciate your humor and truth!!
Christina - June 14th, 2013 at 11:41 AM
I love it! Thank you for the good tips and even better laughs!
Camilla - June 14th, 2013 at 12:21 PM
If this lady and MOM ever wants a job I think it would be safe to bet that there isn't a MOM out there who wouldn't want to send children or clone her. Love the story.
Theresa - June 14th, 2013 at 12:45 PM
Love the sarcasm:). Thanks for the ideas & for coining the term mediocre mama. Pretty sure I am one & there's no shame in that.
suzanne walther - June 14th, 2013 at 12:45 PM
so funny. i have no idea how people survive without sarcasm. my son has learned well: at 3 he asked my husband if he was "sarcasming again". have a superb summer!
bbbbarry - June 14th, 2013 at 1:29 PM
This is all why we're raising our kids in the 1970s. Tons of completely unsupervised outdoor-all-day summer stuff, and plenty of television as well. It's culture *and* nature!
Whitney - June 14th, 2013 at 1:31 PM
I love finding a blog and knowing that I have a kindred spirit somewhere. We will probably never meet, but I'm fist-bumping you from Dallas.
Melissa - June 14th, 2013 at 1:37 PM
Awesome post! I love the sarcasm and don't tell anyone in my town that I blog (kind of defeats the purpose of readership) because I don't want some teacher/neighbor reading what I write and thinking "Something has to be done!" You gave me a good laugh, especially the running from a murderer part!
Nita - June 14th, 2013 at 1:42 PM
I'm glad that I'm not the only one who has seen the old naked person at Barton Springs. My eyes were burning!!!
Loreal - June 14th, 2013 at 2:04 PM
Thank you so much for your honest candor. I'm a child and family behavior therapist and just love your blog and your books! It's really easy to feel pressured to have a "pinned" life and miss out on the big picture. I am one of six kids and my mom told us summer was also her vacation so it was alright to be more if a Pirate crew then the Von Trap Family until school started. Honestly my favorite memories of my mom are her reading under an umbrella while we swam in the pool and when we would yell that we wanted a snack my mom would throw red vines in the pool form the bucket she kept next to her chair without looking up from her book. We thought mom was so cool how she thought of this great game, person with the most red vines wins!
Carrie - June 14th, 2013 at 2:13 PM
I absolutely love your blogs. Its like you are in my head and write what you see or hear. I went back to work in December. This is the first summer I will not be with my children every day, all day, and I tell you, I am sad. I am already missing the pool, free art programs, VBS at every church that doesn't worship the devil, and just hanging out with no real purpose. Keep the blogs coming, they are THE BEST!!!
kp - June 14th, 2013 at 3:19 PM
First time I've read your blog and I'm pretty sure we are twins separated at birth...
Spirit mom - June 14th, 2013 at 4:02 PM
Brilliant. Here's to us mediocre moms!
Dona McKee - June 14th, 2013 at 4:02 PM
Wonderful to read your posts. You're a long way from Houma in so many ways.
Hannah - June 14th, 2013 at 4:09 PM
A friend showed me your blog post on "worst mother of the year" and I am now hooked. We are a pretty sarcastic family - and humor is what gets us through the tough times. I am now getting ready to send my 5th daughter (she's also adopted) off to college. Two others are married, one to a pastor and has a 1 year old daughter so the ability to laugh as what life brings you will be passed on. I am also a biology teacher to 8th grade students, which has its own set of humorous and not so humorous issues to deal with and I totally get the school thing (I NEVER assign projects before breaks). Thanks for brightening my days - and I hope you actually get the time to read all your comments!
Kate - June 14th, 2013 at 4:19 PM
This is pure truth and your way of sharing it with the world is absolutely HILARIOUS !!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts as I was able to relate your awesome sarcasm with an un-saved friend of mine and she loved it, too. Bless you and your family.
Amy - June 14th, 2013 at 5:07 PM
Love your blog!!!!! Thanks for making me laugh out loud and not feel alone!!
Fauneil - June 14th, 2013 at 5:25 PM
OH my gosh I love you!
JC - June 14th, 2013 at 6:08 PM
I just love everything about the way you write. You're my new favorite blogger...bloggist...blogologist...whatever. I like reading what you wrote...thanks!
Jacolyn - June 14th, 2013 at 6:56 PM
My husband is teaching the kids (7 year old triplets) to play monopoly as I read this. God bless him...I'm rather be stabbed in the eye with a fork. You totally get me :)
christal - June 14th, 2013 at 8:48 PM
Loved reading this! Especially about the unexpected moments (the water balloon episode!) As I was enjoying my moment reading this, my husband came to inform me that two of our kids are busy throwing froot loops in their bathtub. ;o)
Erin - June 14th, 2013 at 9:11 PM
Thank you for making me feel like its okay to be me! I never feel like I can be me....sarcastic Jesus lover...cause those two things just should not go together. I love my kids, and they make me nuts all in the same breath. School drives me crazy. I never read a book for pleasure in 12 years and grew up just fine! (Even went to college to become one of those teachers for a while). Thanks you! Jesus made me who I am, and you, a holy pastors wife, make me feel understood ;). God Bless You, your family, and your ministry.
Sarah - June 15th, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Can we hang out sometime?
MeganB - June 15th, 2013 at 12:35 AM
The dog on the trampoline is killing me. Seriously, I'm totally snorting trying to stifle my hysterical cackling since my computer is in the hallway in front of my boys' room... and heaven help me if I wake my sleeping cherubs. Oy.
Love,
Name ;)
Steph - June 15th, 2013 at 9:32 AM
LOVED. IT.

Thank you for the laughs, my precious trio will
be starting Kindergarten in exactly 2 months
(but who's counting) and I have my Brunch
date scheduled! :)
Dana - June 15th, 2013 at 11:38 AM
LOVE!!!!
Jessica Sheets - June 15th, 2013 at 1:07 PM
This is beautiful!
Trina W - June 15th, 2013 at 3:01 PM
As my children are fighting over Legos this very minute, your blog is my saving grace! Thank you for bringing humor and "normalcy" to the insanity that is summer!
Bec from Melbourne - June 15th, 2013 at 7:38 PM
Oh my goodness, you rock.
Breann - June 16th, 2013 at 1:32 AM
I think I love you!!! lol
Jill - June 16th, 2013 at 8:05 AM
I only have three kids and in a moment of quiet - during which, lets face it, I just sat with my tea and I didn't even want to KNOW what they were doing because, you know, it was QUIET - they made potion in the toilet bowl with three containers of ajax, mouthwash, and hand soap, stirred it with the plunger and whispered over it like a trio of ghouls. So I'm totally with you on the light fixture waterfall and and I praise you for finding the love and not losing your ever-patient mind. (Or maybe you did and it's just that that part didn't make the blog). Regardless, well done.
Suzi - June 16th, 2013 at 4:10 PM
Another perfect post! I love your blog. I loved your last post, too. This one had me howling with the "make your own breakfast" and "Parenthesis for non sarcastic types". You cover it so beautifully - we have "down time" each day for reading, too. And pool time. And fun activities. And a budget! And I just love the truth about how hard and slow these days can be - mixed with knowing these days aren't here forever! Thanks for sharing your words with us!
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