This here bringer of the pooper to the fun party

It’s not even August and already we are armed

This post is brought to you by Target.

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A few weeks ago an unusual heat wave hit Salt Lake where the temperature during the day continually topped 104 degrees. I say unusual because we’re used to those temperatures happening later in the summer, not in June. In June my friends and I are usually texting each other WHY ARE THE SKI RESORTS STILL OPEN. Except with a lot more spelling errors because we are so angry we can’t see our fingers. Or the cars in front of us.

JOKING. We do not text and drive. Even if we were that stupid we have children who think they see us reaching for our phones and start screaming from the backseat, “THAT’S ILLEGAL! THAT’S ILLEGAL!” And all of us are like, do you have any idea what our parents did while we WALKED around the backseat of the car? They smoked and drank and read paperback novels and baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from scratch. Our parents steered WITH THEIR KNEES. Usually while they were sleeping. So when we reach for our phones at a stoplight to check for directions, you can calm down and adjust your four-point harness and the bubble we had installed around your body.

I don’t think the air-conditioning in this rental was ready to handle that kind of weather, or I guess I should say I DIDN’T think it was ready until I found out that a certain someone who will go unnamed (TYRANT) had programmed it to remain at a billion degrees all day and throughout the night. One Friday night it was so hot Marlo didn’t sleep a wink, and eventually both girls ended up in bed with me moaning that it was the hottest it’s ever been in the history of the world and universe anywhere nothing could be worse what if we die surely we will die. Boy, those two did not fall far from the tree. In fact, I think they’re still in it. Leta is reading Steinbeck in a hammock hanging between my arms, and Marlo? She’s imitating Tarzan in my hair.

Once it was late enough in the morning I called my mom to beg for her mercy. Tangent: you’ve got to love that role reversal. How many times my mother urgently needed to call me in college only to wait until 11am to make sure she didn’t wake me up. And now here I am with two young kids watching that clock move ever so slowly—tick………tock………tick………tock—waiting and waiting and SUFFERING until a decent hour to call her. She is going to read this, rub her hands together and cackle, and then revel in the glory of it all day long. I’ve said it here before and I will say it again: grandparents are pure evil. Does your child have a behavioral issue? It’s probably because she has a grandparent. It’s scientific. 

We had plans that night to attend a family picnic at my sister’s house, but I didn’t think the girls and I could wait that long. It was the hottest it’s ever been in the history of the world and universe, you see. So she said we could head to her place and spend a few hours there before the picnic. This was good for two reasons: one, the air-conditioning she keeps at PRESERVE HUMAN REMAINS and, two, her yard where we could set up this thing:

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My rental does not have a lot of yard to it, or I guess I should say “grass upon which to set up a slip and slide.” It’s got a few different concrete areas, sure, but have you ever tried to slip and slide on what is essentially a parking lot? It’s a lot like rug burn, but, you know, fatal.

They’ve been wanting to try this out for a few weeks. This is how it went:

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This plus some lemonade and air-conditioning kept them cool enough until the party at my sister’s home that evening. And since my sister and her husband built a new porch on the north side of their house, it was late enough in the day and there was enough shade to break out the activity Marlo had been awaiting for hours.

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And then the BYU pep squad showed up. You guys. I told my sister that when you see these photos you’re going to scratch your head and wonder, wait… does Heather ask them to dress like this every time she photographs them? For those of you who saw them last year on their family road trip to DC you have firsthand knowledge that this? This is their uniform. They even sleep in these clothes.

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And lo, we made it to the end of the day without dying. After a very technical conversation with my stepfather I was able to go home and reprogram the thermostat so that the three of us could breathe in our sleep that night. And then I sent Tyrant an email that said, “Your attempt to torture us has been thwarted. Please note, this is not an invitation to try a different tactic. Please note also, I’ll be sleeping with a bat.”

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This summer inspiration is brought to you by Target. Find more fun and surprises all season long on Target’s #SummerUp Pinterest board.

  • rossana

    This was the funniest post… thank you thank you for making me laugh out loud many times…

  • Amy

    In the photo of your nephew in the “Y” hat, was that a postcard of JESUS on the bulletin board behind his head? Do these people know JESUS well enough that he sends them postcards?

  • Heather Armstrong

    I believe that’s a magnet on the refrigerator. But the notion of Jesus sending a postcard is awesome. Like, he’s frugal. Doesn’t want to spring for the full postage when he can get his message across for several cents less.

  • Rrrandall

    Jesus saves.

  • santa barbara

    i officially love the sponsored posts because of all the pictures! and the captions! and the amazing diversity of utahns!

  • nicolio

    OMG, the captions are genius.

  • Chris

    Loving the color commentary in your photos and, as usual, your adventures with your kids. Thanks for this 🙂

  • AnEmily

    Gluten Receptacles. I die.

  • Debra

    There are so many freaking hysterical things about that post I can’t even speak.

  • Kate S.

    Love the photo and caption thing. This post cracked me up.

  • tmb

    Captions=win. Seriously.

  • tmb

    OH YEAH and the trampoline in a pit? Way safer than 4 feet above ground if you have the yard for it. My best friend growing up had one of those. Her brothers spent a week digging the hole by hand. And they were Mormon, too. Are Mormons super safety conscious? Or is it just a good project to keep the boys busy working?

  • sarah

    Wow – this post was hilarious from start to end! I was laughing out loud & even had to read the texting while driving part to my hubs b/c SO TRUE! loved the pics capturing your daughters’ personalities and the captions were so funny. also – your daughters are just beautiful!

  • Kristina

    Does your family pre-approve these posts? Or do they just don’t care that you’re basically making fun of them on the internet. I mean I’m sure you make fun of them to their faces so what’s the internet matter?!?

  • Heather Armstrong

    They have no idea that this website even exists. Shhh!

  • JRSF

    The cat is so getting one of those bubble machines for Christmas. She thinks bubbles are aliens landing from another planet, and then I don’t have to do all that hard work blowing them at her. I can sit there and read a book on my Kindle instead. Team Leta!

    Also: Does this mean that Tyrant is the Valedictorian of the Thermostat?

  • Heidi

    The captions for the photos are priceless (especially the lisp)! Although, I have to admit that I’m a little bit sad… I don’t know if I’ve ever felt as jubilant as Marlo looks in so many of your photos of her. You can see in her eyes she “sucks the marrow out of life.” What’s her secret?!

  • Nancy B.

    But Moses invests.

  • Guest

    I enjoy many of your stories and photos but it makes me sad ever time you mock your daughter’s lisp. It’s mean and it’s something bullies do. You probably don’t care what I think, but after months of leaving your page every time you did it, I decided to share my opinion.

  • JennyA

    *rests forehead gently on desk, weeps with joy*
    –Jenny who can’t ever remember her Disqus password

  • Andrea Shipman

    OH MY LETA! She is so so so gorgeous and gangly! Thanks for sharing and I can actually HEAR Marlo playing with thosth bubblths.

  • Andrea Shipman

    This is the greatest comment in the history of all comments. *snorting laughter*

  • Machine that blow bubbles?! Kids today don’t know how lucky they are.

  • Laird Nelson

    One of your all-time bests.

  • Breanne

    She’s not mocking – if you read her newsletter when Marlo turned four you’ll see that she sees it as “fundamental [to her] spirit.”

  • Anne

    Next time, throw some dish soap on the slip n slide- it makes waaay more fun! I PROMISTH!

  • Breanne

    I loved every single bit of this post and laughed SO SO much. A couple notes:

    1) I think I send this before, but the captions. Oh how I love the CAPTIONS!
    2) The limbs!!!!
    3) So, did you slip n slide too? 🙂

  • We had a slip ‘n slide when we were kids but it was long and skinny and the hose would just lay near the top so the water would run down… hmmm, in retrospect, maybe it was just a tarp my parents threw on the ground. We would lay it on the hill so that you really got some speed (and tarp burn) and then you would go flying off into the mud puddle at the bottom. SO MUCH FUN! Now my kids look at me like I’m an alien if I suggest they run through the sprinkler. “Why? How is that fun?” they ask. “Because you get wet, and it goes up your nose, and… Oh, I don’t care what you do!”

    Great shifts of emotion in the photos of the girls! Almost as much fun as my old muddy tarp!

  • Heather Armstrong

    I understand your opinion. Marlo is rapidly growing out of her lisp. It will be a matter of months before it’s gone. It has been so much a part of her personality since she started talking that when it’s gone those of us her who know her offline, who hear her magical voice, we’ll feel like we’ve had to let go of something as meaningful as her infancy. I’m celebrating just how wonderful it is to hear her speak right now while it’s still here.

  • CB

    If you read Heather’s earlier posts about Marlo she explains this. It’s done out of love. Heather is an amazing parent (and I am a professional judge of that sorta thing).

  • KristenfromMA

    Your sister’s house has an in-ground trampoline? Can I come over and play?!!!!!!!!!!
    😀

  • Birdietwoshoes

    I laughed out loud through this entire post. It was delightful. Water. Water! WATER!!!!! Oh, and let’s not forget bubblesth!

    But for reals, parents driving with their knees eating a cheeseburger while my brother and I mooned neighboring cars and layed IN THE BACK WINDOW. Yeah, that’s what it’s all about.

    Also, I heart happy Heather.

  • I remember my mother telling me to lay in the back window and have a nap when I got tired on long car trips. When my older sister was a baby, they drove with her in a laundry basket in the foot-well behind the driver’s seat!

  • Katie

    I was one of those people who saw them in DC (and emailed you about it!) and I can confirm they were just as BYU-ed out as they are in these pictures. That slip and slide looks fun. Too bad yards don’t exist in DC… Sad face.

  • Heather Armstrong

    Haha! Yes! I can only hope that my girls will be as close to each other and to me as my sister’s kids are to each other and to her. They have this shared love for BYU and, yes, I poke fun of it, I know it’s a wonderful thing.

  • Your captions make my life complete.

  • katalia

    We weren’t even fancy enough for a tarp. My parents had a roll of industrial strength garbage bags (my dad was a chef and had access to this sort of industrial thing), so our slip ‘n slide was made of trash bags, and we loved every second of using it!

  • Jessica

    Oh man, all of your slip and slide pictures had me laughing so hard my husband came in to check on me. He saw your page went “You’re laughing that hard at HER?” It annoyed him when his frustration made me laugh even harder.

  • kbow

    My husband stayed at home with my kids when they were little while I worked in a pleasant air-conditioned office. While I was at work one day he decided to cool our kids and the neighborhood kids off by setting up a homemade slip & slide which was just a big sheet of painters plastic. They didn’t slide very well on our lumpy lawn with just water. So, he slathered olive oil all over the plastic and let six kids get nice and greased up sliding around in the hot sun…like fried chicken. 😐

    (He did sprinkle water on them once in a while…but still!)

  • Lori

    This was hilarious and boy have those girls grown. They are beautiful. Funny stuff all that captioning of M and L. Can you believe all that gluten that those dang gluten eaters eat! For the love of gluten!!!! Gluten Receptacles!!!! Ha Ha!

  • Lori

    Ditto everything you just said and more! I actually wrote the same things above a whole 10 hours later. 🙂 I am glad other people can enjoy this post for the simple fun of it. It was a fun post! I am a fan of the captioning in all the pictures. Too funny!

  • guest

    I guess it depends on how she feels about it. I was very sensitive to this sort of ting as a child and still am I guess. I appreciate you addressing my comment.

  • ChickWhitt

    Why oh why, when it is a billion degrees outside, do children insist on sleeping in your bed and sitting on your lap and just plain being anywhere near you? Why must they whine about the heat WHILE SITTING ON TOP OF YOU?? It baffles me!

  • americanrecluse

    I was really hoping for a picture of you on the slip ‘n’ slide thing. Oh, the limbs! :o)

  • Heather Piper

    *applause*

    Also, because portmanteau is not only fun to write, it’s fun to do:

    Gluten receptacles = Gluticles.

  • Liz

    Dude, you are crushing it lately with the blog posts. Well done!

  • Jennifer

    Jesus was a packrat.

  • Lana

    Gluticles. LOVE it.

  • Jen Wilson

    The slip-and-slide photos had me giggling. I need to get my girls one of those.

  • Heather Armstrong

    Thank you. I’m doing my best.