Mar 21 2011

I just titled a post “Cows.”  Next I’m going to introduce you to a friend.

I’m confident Jody and I have friendship that can withstand my tactlessness.

I, for one, would not be thrilled to be introduced to you following a title like “cows” with a lovely photo of bovine friendship.  In fact, I’m still trying to get over being born in the Chinese Year of the Cow.  Yeah, yeah, technically it’s the Year of the Ox.  But you know what picture is next to my birth year on the paper placemat at the Chinese restaurant?  A cow.  A great big, eating cow.

But Jody’s always been made of tougher stuff than me.  I bet she can take it, especially with this specific disclaimer:  Jody is not at all cow-like.

Enough prefacing.  On with the post:

You know how you have those friends who turn into family?  Jody’s one of those friends.

She lived with us for a couple of years after she finished college, back in the “Three Kids Are a Lot of Kids” days (aka, The Days When We Had a Spare Room.)

Jody’s sassy, cool, fun, and likes kids.  Our family fell in love with her, and she accidentally became our kids’ 3rd parent.  Whoops!  And, yay!  ‘Cause who needs more parents?  My kids do!

With Greg, Abby and Ian away in Mexico, I loaded Aden, Cai and Cael (and lots of crap) in the car, and we drove 2 hours to see Jody, way out in the country.

I’m trying to figure out how we’re going to break it to Abby and Ian that they missed out on the trip.  Jody’s so cool that “but you got to go to Mexico” probably isn’t going to fly.  Let me know if you have any great ideas.

We went out for breakfast on Saturday.  The kids didn’t play underneath the table until, like, 20 minutes into our meal.  That’s probably a new record.

Reason #1 My Kids Love Jody:  Jody never says dumb things like “Stop climbing on the pig.”

Check out the pig’s expression.  Not bad for a statue.  I think he has some real acting chops.  (Sorry.)

Reason #2 My Kids Love Jody:  She lets them drive.

Drive, baby, drive!

Or sit and contemplate the joys of farm life.  Either one.

Reason #3 My Kids Love Jody:  She has cool friends who have toy rifles and real cattle and horses.

More specifically, toy rifles my boys are allowed to shoot.

(Can you tell by their expressions that they don’t have rifles at home?)

Live horses that they’ll let my kids touch,

and brush,

and — Oh, Mommy, this is my DREAM come TRUE! — ride!

Monkey the Horse was introduced to us as the equivalent of a 90-year-old man.

See all that dust?  Yeah, that’s ’cause my fearless kid made Monkey, the 90-year-old man, really move.

Sorry, Monkey.  You’re good peeps.

Mr. Cai, making kissy-kissy noises at Monkey:

Like his sister, Cai rode alone and made Monkey move.

Unlike Cai and Aden, Cael did not want a long ride.  Nor did he want to ride fast.  Or alone.  Or on a horse.

Cael:  Can I get down and be done now, please?

Me:  But I didn’t get a good picture of you riding Monkey.

Cael: Can I get down and be done now, please?

Single photo of Cael riding Monkey:

Monkey:  Cael’s my favorite.

I tend to think we live in a place that’s pretty rural.

Granted, we can get to a city within 30-40 minutes.  But we can also see llamas and hear coyotes from our house.  My kids can walk to a creek.  Sometimes, quail and rabbits run across our yard.  One time, we had to shoo a cow out of the front, which was quite entertaining since the front of our house is all suburban neighborhood with its sidewalks and streetlights and whatnot.

I think we’re country folk until we go to a place where people work hard and use words like ropin’, and heelin’.

Our hosts have full time jobs as teachers.  They raise kids, dogs, cattle and horses.  They take care of acreage and their neighbors.  They’re generous and hospitable and welcome strangers like us, just ’cause Jody’s our mutual friend and our kids want to hang out with horses and cows.

Nice, nice people.

Their only fault is that they do all that and keep a clean house.

I mean, really?  Really, really?  You couldn’t leave a dirty diaper laying around, or empty beer cans, or have a cow wander through the living room?  Anything to make me feel a little less like a lump of lazy?

Clean house confusion:

I feel it, too, boys.  I feel it, too.

Reason #4 My Kids Love Jody:  Her nice, nice (clean-house keeping) friends teach them all about ropin’

…even when Cai almost hits her in the face with said rope…

…and feeding…

… and dirtin’.

Our hosts have a two-year-old son.  Dirtin’ is his very own term.

That kid has a future as a writer, I tell you.  If you’ve ever been around a boy, you know instantly what dirtin’ is.

Can I get a what-what?

Cael dirtin’:

Cai dirtin’:

And just in case you missed the way Cai used his boots for dirtin’, here’s a close up:

Aden and Cael dirtin’:

Notice that the girl-child is the only one lifting her pants legs out of the filth.

The inventor of dirtin’, showing off his epic dirtin’ style:

Cael, finishing up the dirtin’ to head home:


What a weekend.

Special thanks to Jody and her friends for showing us a great time.  You’re all the kids can talk about.

And, if you ever want to see how we live, I’m happy to do an exchange.

Bring your boots.  You’ll need ’em for my living room.