Archive for the 'Humorous' Category


Lent In My Belly Button

Recently, Jeff and I decided that our kids would give up all games, computer and video for Lent. We decided this for our kids, spouting the usual spiritual application that giving up stuff for Lent is good because we’re looking forward to Easter with Christ’s death and resurrection, and it helps us remember to anticipate this when we give up something really hard.

But, really, I think we were trying to stop the craziness of gaming that had kind of taken over, and this was just a good excuse to do it without having to pull the “I’m the parent, get off the computer” card. Plus, it also made it “spiritual.”

Since Jeff and I don’t have a problem with computer games, we had to come up with stuff to deny ourselves as well. Jeff gave up looking at trivia on his phone and the computer.  He is a trivia fanatic, constantly in search of information and news flashes. He loves the Drudge Report and knows crazy minutia. So this was hard for him.

Personally, I would rather bury my head in the sand than put anything else in my brain. It rattles around enough without throwing completely worthless stuff in there, to boot. So, my Lent give-up was the weather channel. And I’m not talking about the cool weather channel on cable. I’m talking about the ghetto weather channel that you get when you don’t have cable. Regardless, I turn it on all the time to check to see what I should wear and when I can hang laundry outside and just out of curiosity because I have to know, and I can’t just stick my head out the door.

The Lent “rules” say that you can take Sundays off (or so I’m told; I’m sure this was some bit of information that Jeff told me).  So my kids, well, they go a little nuts with the games that day. And Jeff, I’m sure he’s cramming all the information in that he missed over the past week. I, too, take full advantage and try to memorize the temperatures for the upcoming week. But it doesn’t seem to stick, so Julia wrote down the weather for me for last week, including the temperature for each day, complete with drawings of rain clouds and suns. Somehow, I think we’ve all missed the point.

A couple weeks ago, Julia and I went on a girls’ trip, just her and me, for one night at a state park complete with chilly indoor pool. We had so much fun. But I needed to know if I was going to have to drive home in the rain, so I wanted to check the weather. But, it wasn’t Sunday. I told her I was just going to check the weather real quick when Julia said, “I won’t tell anyone.” But then added, “But God will know.”

Geez. I don’t think it was supposed to be like that. Some where along the way, it took on a pharasaical bent. If keeping Lent just means not breaking another rule, then really what’s the point?

So, we’ve kind of let it go. It seemed to have taken on a life of its own and in the process lost its real significance.

Yep, next year they can choose to do their own Lent or not do it. Lesson learned.


Oh, Brother

We recently went out to eat for Jeff’s birthday. We went to one of those all you can eat buffets where we enjoyed our time and ate a whole lot of food. During our trip, Jonah, who is 14, went to use the bathroom. Not realizing that Jonah went to use the bathroom, Jesse, 15, also went to use the bathroom when Jesse saw Jonah’s shoes under the bathroom stall. Jesse told us all back at the table, “I didn’t even have to formulate a plan. I already knew what I was going to do.”

So here was the “already formulated plan” that was in Jesse’s head: Jesse went into the stall next to Jonah and started throwing toilet paper over the top of the stall onto Jonah. Jonah did not realize that Jesse was even in the bathroom and got nervous that some stranger was throwing toilet paper over on him. So Jonah started kicking the tp back under the stall with his shoe.  Jesse did not get the result that he was looking for with the toilet paper (it lacked heaviness), so he wet the tp down using clean toilet water (gross) and then threw it into Jonah’s stall. Still, Jonah did not realize until he came back to the table that the person who caused his bathroom agony was his beloved older brother.

A couple of days later, brotherly love came around again when Jesse took Jonah and Jake’s doorknob off and switched it around, so that the lock was on the outside of the door, making it to where he could lock them in their room from the outside.  Apparently, Jonah and Jake did not like being locked in their own room and started yelling, so Jesse switched the doorknob back around before anyone else was the wiser.  To be honest, his misplaced creativity boggles my mind.

But, apparently, this is how Jesse shows love. And he often goes too far.  He tickles Jeremiah until he can’t breathe and teases Julia until she really can’t handle it anymore and sometimes wrestles Jake to the floor, which is really funny to watch two big kids with long legs and long arms rolling around on the floor laughing.

We just watched the movie Warrior which I really liked. One of the themes was families but more specifically brothers. It was about love and anger, betrayal and forgiveness. I loved how they beat the crap out of each other, only to compassionately walk with each other in the end. The younger brother was finally willing to let go when he heard his older brother say that he loved him, and that was when the  I got tears in my eyes and a really large lump in my throat, like I sometimes do around here.

Jesse recently got his air soft gun out and threatened Jonah and Jake with it. I thought everyone was having a good time. Jeff had the hose out, trying to soak Jesse with it, and I was laughing my head off. Jonah and Jake were way out in the backyard, while Jesse stood near the house shooting his air soft gun in their direction (it can’t shoot that far, and they both wear glasses, so I thought they were okay). They weren’t okay. In fact, they were angry and scared. At some point, Jesse realized that they weren’t okay with his game.  Without saying anything, he walked inside and put away his weapon. Walking away at that moment was Jesse loving his brothers; it was Jesse showing compassion. And that is the way of this brother.


Driving Miss Crazy

Jesse, my 15 year old, is now driving. He’s pretty good. He knows he’s not when I grab the van door and the armrest at the same time and hold tightly until my knuckles turn white.

This letting go stuff is hard. Really hard.

With Jesse learning how to drive and living in Nashville, where roads are busy most of the time, it feels a little out of control, and it makes me want to hold my breath a little. You either drive on interstates or back roads, and I think some of the back roads are scarier than any highway, especially with someone just learning to drive. It makes me think about all these student drivers on the roads and freak out just a little. And knowing that I have four more kids to go through this driving thing with.

When I was learning to drive, I drove around our little city of Anderson, no big deal (okay, for me looking back it was no big deal, but I’m sure there were times when my dad wanted to hyperventilate, and my mom was never involved in that process, lucky her). Ten minutes pretty much covered where you wanted to go. My dad, in teaching me how to drive, had me drive routinely to the DMV so that I could practice my parallel parking, which, to this day, I never would have passed if he hadn’t figured out that I could line up the middle of our car with a telephone pole across the street. I still don’t parallel park. Mainly because there’s no telephone pole. And for me, parking in general can be a problem. Good thing I like to walk.

My dad never let me drive on the interstate, which was safest for everyone involved. He did, however, let me drive in the Everglades in Florida when we went on vacation down there one summer. I guess he figured the worst that could happen would be for me to hit some kind of wildlife. I didn’t cause any injuries or fatalities, but, I did manage to go the wrong way, which sent us an hour in the wrong direction. Things have not changed much with me. I now have my beloved GPS, so direction doesn’t matter so much.

Jeff and I approach the driving thing a little differently. He doesn’t talk to Jesse at all unless to give some kind of warning, like “brake, brake, Brake, BRAKE.”  And I’m the running commentary, all the while pointing out the mailboxes that he’s getting way too close to as well as the oncoming traffic and telling him not to roll his stop signs (which I consequently did and failed my first driver’s test at the very first stop sign coming out of the DMV) but also telling him to “gun it” because it’s hard to see around some corners (crazy Tennessee back roads), only to tell him to slow down again because I don’t particularly like the combination of steep hills and old vans and speed so much. But I’m also throwing those “When I was learning to drive” stories in there too for comic relief. Jesse tries to listen to the radio while driving with me, which he doesn’t try with Jeff. Jeff says he doesn’t need to be distracted. Which makes me the fun parent.

I kind of like to drive, and it’s been hard for me to give up my driving time for this kid of mine, only to be scared half to death a few times.This doesn’t sound like a good exchange. But this parenting thing, it’s very rarely an equal exchange. I’m going to have another student driver next year and then again the next year after that. I may not ever get to drive or breathe again.

I’m enjoying my family more than ever these days. Some days I really wish I could freeze time, just for the moment. But probably not when Jesse’s behind the wheel. Not yet anyway. Right now, I just have to remember to exhale and not hold onto the door quite so tightly.


Kids, Diapers, and Stand-Out Moments

When you have really little kids, older moms like to say, “Enjoy them while they’re young, because you’re going to blink, and blah, blah, blah,” and I know I smiled sweetly and rolled my eyes, but in my brain I was thinking, “Are you crazy? I would give anything to have my kids grow up faster so I can have ten minutes in the bathroom to myself without someone beating down the door.”

Come to think of it, they still beat on my door while I’m in the bathroom. That really hasn’t changed all that much. But there are definitely some things that have changed; some things that made me giddy and had me jumping up and down.

Here are a of those few stand-out moments for me:

1. A few years back, on a trip I realized there were no more diapers to change. NO ONE WAS IN DIAPERS ANYMORE. I no longer had to try to change a wiggly little kid with a dirty diaper on a van seat, trying to figure out where to put all those used wipes, while trying not to get poop all over the van. And after 11 years of diapers with one year off around year 7, I was ecstatic.

2. But, even though there were no more diapers to change, there was still poop to deal with because there is the butt-wiping that takes place for a good while longer. But the day I woke up and realized I wasn’t wiping anyone else’s behind was a good day, a very good day. It’s the kind of thing that catches you off guard. It just kind of happens, and then you notice you have been freed and the freedom is, I must say, rather crazy good. So much so that you want to start telling everyone you see.

3. A while back, when my in-laws took us out to eat, I noticed I didn’t have to order off the menu for anyone. They all read and can figure out what they want. And not only that,  I’m not cutting stuff up anymore. I noticed Julia picked up her hunk of steak and chowed down. But you know what? She’s happy; I’m happy. She’ll probably eventually learn not to do that.

4. I don’t have to lock cabinets afraid that someone might drink something they’re not supposed to drink or down too many gummy vitamins. I haven’t had to call poison control for some time. That’s always nice.

5. No one has played in the toilet or put things in it that don’t belong, like say, toys or toothbrushes for a good long while. Now, they don’t always flush and since I have four boys, my bathroom is rarely clean and the seat inevitably stays up. But, no toilets have had to be completely taken apart to retrieve toothbrushes.

And, here are some really good things that stand out these days:

1. Talking. We sit around and talk a lot, which I love, since quality time is my thing. We talk about everything. Into the wee hours of the night sometimes. Like last night, my two oldest just didn’t want to go to bed. At 1  o’clock in the morning, they followed Jeff and me into our room, exhausted, but wanting to be around us some more. Very cool.

2. We play games and do puzzles. I have a few kids who really like to play games and connect in that way when connecting is sometimes difficult in other ways.

4. We watch movies that I have loved sharing with my kids, which inevitably evokes more conversation since we have to analyze everything to death.

5. We laugh and joke and have fun. And, yes, sometimes at other people’s expense. For Thanksgiving, we went to see my family. Julia got carsick and threw up. Jeff insisted that her brother Jonah, sitting beside her, hold the trash can while she was vomiting so her hands could be free to hold her hair out of the way. Her brother Jake, sitting in front of her, was holding his ears so he wouldn’t hear her vomiting. And Jesse (biggest brother, sitting as far away from her) and I were laughing, while Jeff continued to drive and insist that Jonah keep holding that trash can. I’m just not sure what Jeremiah was doing because I was laughing too hard at Jake and Jonah to notice. We finally came to a gas station, where we all tumbled out of the car. We all talked and laughed and replayed the whole thing again while Jeff washed the trash can out in nasty, leafy, drainage water. More laughter, of course. And then we all piled back into the van and continued on.  Julia was fine, by the way.

6. We camp. And even though a couple of them aren’t that fond of it, they humor me. And we have a good time. Together. And even though we’re together all the time (due to homeschooling) we’re really together in a tent, out in nature, and it’s great most of the time. Unless you bring one scooter and have four kids who all want to ride that one scooter at the same time, the whole time. Will be camping. Won’t be bringing the scooter.

7. They run around like a bunch of crazy lunatics who are completely out of control. And they’re big; they could knock each other and me down, and it would hurt. A lot. They have no common sense when they get like this, and their hearing becomes impaired (I read this in a magazine somewhere), so I get out of the way and laugh. And say things like, “Watch your brother’s neck” and “Please, don’t drop him on his head.” Even though I know they can’t hear me between my laughing and their lack of sense.

So for any moms out there who still have little ones, they really won’t stay that way long, (blah, blah, blah), hang on and enjoy. And please, by all means, share your stand-out moments.


too old to sled…

With all the snow we got this winter, we went sledding on a hill near our house. The second time we went, it was very cold and the snow had turned icy.

We have two sleds, so it takes a while for all seven of us to get a turn. A couple of my kids went down, and then Jeremiah and I got on our long blue sled and went down together, like we had done the day before.

I knew as soon as we pushed off that I was sitting up too high in the sled.  And, due to the ice,  the sled was going faster than it had the day before. I knew we might be in trouble, but I didn’t have time to “right” myself.

I usually laugh all the way down the hill, but when we hit the first bump, I quit laughing because I knew the inevitable was about to happen.  We hit the second bump, and Jeremiah and I went flying off the sled. I tried not to land on top of Jeremiah, so I stopped myself and landed on my hand.

I don’t do so well with pain.  I don’t know how in the world I gave birth to five kids, even with drugs. Because, I can stub my toe really badly and feel like I’m going to throw up. So when I landed on my hand, I laid in the snow for a long time and focused on not throwing up.  

Jeremiah immediately jumped up and looked at me and said he wanted to go home. I just nodded at him. Jeff thought I was ok at first and waited for me to bust out in laughter.  He kept calling my name from the top of the hill, but I couldn’t answer because I really thought I might pass out or throw up or something.

So I just laid there in the snow until Jeff came down the hill.  When Jeff reached me, he said he would pull me back to the car in the sled.  But I declined and said I could walk.  I mean, there were people standing at the top of the hill, and I’m not that much of a baby. Geesh.

However, I should have taken him up on his offer because every few steps I would get lightheaded and feel like I was going to throw up all over again, so I would lie back down in the snow, kind of like a slow collapse.  We had 50 steps or more to get to the car.  So it took awhile. Step. Step. Step. Collapse back down in the snow until the lightheadedness and urge to throw up subsided. Step. Step. Step. Lie down in the snow.

We eventually got back to the car and got home. I couldn’t move my hand, and my wrist looked broken or at least out of place. I was all pale and lying gingerly on the couch, moaning in pain.

So Jeff took me to the emergency room to have a few x-rays, to find out not only was it not broken, but that there was nothing they could even do even if it was.  But that’s a whole other thing about our broken health care system and the absurb amount of money that they now want for doing next to nothing. (note to self: never go near an ER ever again.)

My wrist and hand are somewhat better now (it’s been 3 months), but I’m thinking I might have to forego sledding in the future if I want my body to remain intact for the long haul.

Actually, the RN at the hospital said I couldn’t sled anymore. I didn’t bother to clarify with her…Did she mean just the rest of this winter or forever?

I’ve always been spastic and prone to injury, so it’s no surprise that I would hurt myself, and I inherited my dad’s pain tolerance, not my mother’s. Although I don’t think my dad feels like throwing everytime he hurts himself.

Unfortunately, one of the people who witnessed my whole sledding incident told my neighbor about it the next day when they were out on the hill.

He described it to my neighbor something like this, This girl and her kid went sledding down the hill, and they hit a bump and legs went flying in the air, and they went sprawling across the snow. The kid got up, but she just kept lying in the snow. Her husband called her name several times, and she didn’t answer. So he went down to see if she was ok. He helped her up, but then a few minutes later, she fell back down in the snow.  After every very few steps, she would slump back down and lay with her face in the snow.  It looked really bad.

Which you’d think from how I was acting, it was really bad.  But nope, I just hurt my hand.

If anyone ever tries to hurt or torture me (too much Criminal Minds), that person will definitely have some surprises coming his way…


When Stuff Disappears…

My stuff just disappears sometimes. I have 5 kids. Stuff disappears all the time.

So when I couldn’t find my tweezers a few days ago, I thought one of my kids had taken them. I looked everywhere I thought I could have put them. And they just weren’t anywhere.

So I began asking each of my kids if they had taken them.

No big deal.

I just wanted them back. I needed them back.

I really needed to tweeze before Jesse’s basketball banquet tonight (not that anyone cared what my eyebrows looked like).

So, I mentioned it again, and still, no one owned up to taking my tweezers.

After the basketball banquet, we came home and watched the movie “Nanny McPhee Returns” with our kids.

Nanny McPhee is kind of like Mary Poppins, but scary kind of ugly with a snaggle tooth that hangs over her lip, a mole that has hair growing out of it and one long unibrow that my teenage boys made fun of.

Anyway, during the movie, I announced that if I didn’t get my tweezers back soon, I would have a unibrow like Nanny McPhee’s.

I guess I scared the child that borrowed my tweezers because I found my tweezers sitting on top of our upstairs railing a few hours after we watched the movie.

You know, I could very well have put my tweezers there and overlooked them with all the other stuff sitting on the railing…

But I think it’s more likely that one of my children vividly saw that unibrow growing across my forehead and was wondering if the mole and snaggle tooth were part of the unibrow package…


Happy New Year from the Darnells…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Please notice the progression…it only takes a short while for it all to go downhill.

Jesse: Pinching his brother’s back while smiling innocently. Poor Jonah. (Pic 3)

Julia: up on stage supposed to be singing “Jesus Loves Me” for Jeff’s Grandma’s birthday but is instead being Julia…Jeff had unfortunately given her a mint right before she went up on stage, and she enjoyed sharing it with everyone.  (Pic 4 and 5)

Me (not pictured) : in the second pew from the front trying hard not to roll on the floor I was laughing so hard. I love that girl.

Hope your year is filled with the good stuff of life…faith, family, friends.

time flies

June 2019
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