Meanwhile, here in Kansas City, the boys paid tribute to the Americans who have built our country brick by brick...by rebuilding our patio brick by brick. This is Justin's declaration of independence from weeds. He's using a special kind of sand guaranteed to prevent weeds until we sell out house. I don't know how the weeds know when we are going to sell our house...because I sure don't. But apparently it is going to happen at some point.
Justin also declared independence from mowing the grass...by teaching Johnny how to operate the lawn mower. I almost cried when I looked out the window and saw my oldest wearing a football t-shirt with the sleeves cut out and pushing a lawn mower. When he came inside, he was beaming. "It wasn't at all like I thought it would be, mom," he said dreamily. Did Justin pull a Tom Sawyer on him or what?
That night, we were going to see fireworks at something called the Star Spangled Spectacular (Question: How do Independence Day events manage to make the tenets and symbols of our great nation sound dorky as hell: Freedom Fest, Star Spangled Spectacular, Red White and Boom. Come on. How about: F.U. England. We're Doing Our Own Thing Now. That's just one of many festivals I'm considering getting started.)
Unfortuantely, it rained, so we didn't go to the fireworks. Instead, I regaled the children by reading the Declaration of Independence, which the newspaper had printed. (Newspaper=freedom from ignorance. I still believe that, even though they are going through hard times.) I only read the first paragraph to Richie and J.J. I figured that was all they could handle--well, J.J. anyway.
Earlier in the evening, J.J.'s Nana explained to him that it was America's birthday. He was like, "It's your birthday?" Um, J.J., is your Nana's name America? Jeez. Talk about needing freedom from ignorance.
I made Johnny read the whole thing, which he absolutely loved. Some moms buy their kids bottle rockets. I say, set your mind on fire, son, not your head. (The lawn mower makes me nervous enough.)
Today, Justin got rained out from work, so they are back to laying bricks. Which the boys actually do like. Justin is a fun boss. He even let the boys bid out the job. He is big on teaching them to bid out jobs. Johnny got a job in the fall raking our neighbor's yard--$20 front and back. Well, the leaves fell faster than he could rake, and soon, he had twice the work. I went over to help him, wanting the lesson to be, "Hard work pays off."
Justin said, "I'm too old to rake people's leaves. Johnny needs to learn to bid higher." For him, the lesson was, "Charge a realistic price." In the end, our nice neighbor saw that the job was bigger than Johnny had thought and paid him $20 for the front yard. He did the backyard by himself. I don't know what the lesson was. Maybe: It's nice to have nice neighbors.
Anyway, while they're outside, I'm going to write a book about crocodiles and alligators. So, goodbye now. Or should I say, See 'ya later alligator.