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This post could alternately be titled as “Bad Things Happen When Children Are Too Quiet”

What do you get when you combine puffy paint and small children?

A mess.

Last Saturday Casey, the kids and I went to my youngest sister’s basketball game.

(Side note: Sydney is in 7th grade and is playing on the junior varsity AND varsity teams! How exciting is that? She even scored a three pointer during the varsity game! Back to the story at hand.)

Our kidlets sat for a while (like 6 minutes) and then Casey and I alternated in taking them to the concession stand, restroom, hallway, etc. Basically anywhere that was unlocked and not off-limits within the school.

Their favorite spot was the lobby, where the students’ lockers are housed. They ran around and around the first set, chasing each other and laughing. Casey and I stood together and watched them, having one of those moments where you’re just totally in love with your kids and their utter adorableness.

We stood there visiting as the kids continued their laps, extending themselves from the first to the second locker banks and finally on to the third. It was pretty much a date, right there in the school lobby. Take them when you can get them, I guess.

The date came to an end when Peter came up to us and said he got dirty. Dirty? How would he get dirty in here?

That’s when I noticed that Charlotte’s boot had something blue on it.

Blue? There is nothing blue in this area. What is that?

Casey and I got closer to the kids to respectively examine their blue dirt.

Oh crap.

Paint.

Where did they find paint?

I walked behind the third bank of lockers and stopped short.

Puffy painted shirts were drying on the floor. Cheerleaders’ puffy painted shirts. Cheerleaders’ puffy painted shirts with little footprints on them. And carpet. Carpet with red and blue paint.

Oh. My. Goodness.

The kids had run around the corner, coming from opposite directions, and ran right into the shirts. Definitely an accident on their part, but why do accidents never involve buckets of soapy water?

Casey took the kids to the bathroom to start cleaning up their shoes while I paced and tried to figure out what to do to clean up the mess. 

I found a random roll of paper towels and headed to the bathroom to get some water so I could start cleaning up the carpet.

I poked my head into the men’s room to see how the cleaning was progressing. The shoes were coming clean, but Peter had another accident…this time in his pants.

Excellent.

We decided that Casey would take Peter home to change his pants, and would bring back carpet cleaner and a scrub brush.

In the meantime I took Charlotte back into the gym to sit with my parents and siblings while I started cleaning the carpet. They asked what was going on and I told them the story. They thought it was funny.

Yep. Funny. That’s exactly what I was thinking as I worried about getting beat up by high school cheerleaders.

After scrubbing out what I could, I joined my family in the gym and wrote notes to the three cheerleaders who had been impacted by the incident.

The apologies...

I wrote out three $10 checks (accidents are also rarely inexpensive – bummer) and stuck them in the envelopes, then waited for Casey to return with the supplies.

He soon arrived and I got to work. I was glad to have done the “pre-treating” because the paint came out really well with the Resolve cleaner and a bit of scrubbing.

I placed each card by an affected shirt and headed back into the gym for the rest of the game.

Evidence A Exhibit B Exhibit C

After the game, we hung out for a few minutes congratulating our basketball star and letting the kids run in the gym.

As we left the building my phone rang. I didn’t know the number and my heart dropped into my stomach as I thought again about angry cheerleaders.

I answered hesitantly.

It was one of the cheerleaders.

She said she got my note.

She said she and the two other girls tore up the checks.

She said that was way too much money and it was an accident and I didn’t have to worry about it.

I almost started to cry.

Cheerleaders at private Christian schools are awesome!

I told her she was a sweetie and apologized again.

My heart returned to its normal position and we headed off for our next adventure.

Even though we’d already had enough adventure for a few days.

Our family had a great Halloween night, with lots of trick or treating which resulted in LOADS of candy! I’m doing my part to whittle it down so that the kids don’t get too sick. I’m such a good Mommy.

Here’s my little dragon, Peter (I made his costume this year – bought the fabric weeks ago but, for some reason, waited until literally the last hours before he needed it for school to sew it. Some day I’ll learn.)

Peter

And my little lady bug, Charlotte (costume courtesy of Carter’s)

Charlotte carrying her own loot

Casey and I took the kids and my sister Sydney out for three blocks worth of trick or treating (our longest Halloween trek yet!)

smiling for the camera

The kids had a great time ringing the doorbell and waiting for homeowners to come with their treasures. Peter complimented almost all of the homeowners on their nice decorations or cool candy bowls. What a sweetie.

at the alley neighbor's house

waiting

and seeing a HUGE pumpkin was a family favorite!

neighbor's huge pumpkin!

When we returned home, Peter ditched his costume and spread out all of his candy

Peter and his stash

Charlotte preferred to sit on her loot. I think it was more functional than protective.

sitting on her pumpkin

I think the highlight of the night, though, was watching my two little kidlets playing together.

playing together with Peter's candy

What a great night…makes me want to stop time.

It just hit me again as I laid Charlotte down to sleep in our bed. This is all going to pass by so quickly.

I first felt it when Peter was just a few weeks old.

Casey and I were at the dinner table, Peter at our feet in the crib from Uncle Andrew. I looked down at my sweet baby and started to cry. Casey asked me what was wrong.

“I don’t want him to grow up,” came out as a sob.

“Honey, we do want him to grow up,” reassured my sweet and so practical husband.

“No. I. Don’t.” I sobbed back.

I really didn’t. I wanted that little baby to stay in that crib for all eternity. That sweet baby will turn four in July.

And now my new baby is leaving her babyhood. Her arms and legs are starting to stretch out. Her blonde hair is getting longer and thicker every day. Her legs are holding her steady as she bobs up and down and ventures forward a few steps without the aid of a couch/parent/table/stationary object. Her mouth has four little teeth. Her vocabulary consists of “ma-ma”, “da-da”, and “go”. Her brother is her hero and the way she looks at him makes me break out into a grin instantly. Her first birthday is coming up in just over a month. Unbelievable.

So tonight as I laid Charlotte down to sleep in our bed, I softly muttered, “This is going by so fast. They’re going to be gone in the blink of an eye.”

I started to get teary and waited for Casey to say something profoundly reassuring…and kept waiting.

“Are you asleep?” (The world’s best question from a wife to her husband when he’s clearly sleeping.)

He roused long enough for me to repeat my sentence. His answer wasn’t reassuring. It was practical. “Yes.”

And so I’ll continue to stare at my babies as they sleep, willing them to stop growing but recording each moment of their lives in my mind.