February 05, 2011


My house is filled with the sound of boys. Big boys. All sizes. An additional... seven.

My eldest is REALLY into paintballing. That's all he wanted for Christmas, a special paintball gun he found on-line, saving his money so he could split the cost with his father and me. He has a group of friends from various schools that are into it as well and its become their past time... they even have a name.

The Shrubs.

They meet at our house, go out paintballing, and use our home as homebase. I feed them, have them shower here, and most of them spend the night.

Today we went through a pound of lunch meat, cheese, hoagie rolls, all around 2PM, and for supper two 9x13 pans of baked ziti, two large loaves of garlic bread, a pan of brownies, and a variety of desserts that I brought home from a women's meeting. (At the end of the meeting I said to the women, "Any of you who do NOT want to take your leftovers home, please give them to me. I have teenage boys staying the night... its like having locusts." They were generous with muffins, cookies, cakes, etc. They were ALL eaten.)

Tomorrow morning I have four dozen eggs, two pounds of bacon, and 15 cinnamon rolls, with a gallon of orange juice.

My husband and I will be the short order cooks in the morning.

And I love this.

Someone once said to me, when my children were small, you want you children's friends to be at your home. You know where they are then and what they're doing.

My sons' friends always feel welcome here. Ringo's paintball buddies now have requests for certain foods. 'Mrs. L, could you... make us brownies?" "Mrs. L... we LOVE your sandwiches. Can we have sandwiches?"

At first I was puzzled. I was like, "It's a SANDWICH", but for some reason, they love them, even though they too can get one by buying cold cuts and bread from Publix.

If they have a request, I make it. I want them to feel welcome. I want them to want to come back and I'm finding food works.

Teenage boys are like stray cats. If you feed them... they'll keep coming back.

When I grew up, my Mom used to have my friends over. She'd cook and my girlfriends would hang out on the back porch or family room. We'd put on music and dance.

I remember when my one girlfriend was turning 16, she was an immigrant from Southeast Asia. Her parents were very strict and there were no sleepovers or parties. So my Mom threw her 16th birthday party at our house. We girls invited the boy she had a crush on, my Mom made her special request meal... which I think was meatloaf and hotdogs... something crazy American, and we put on music and made sure our friend danced with that boy.

The love of her life.

He thought she was just sweet, but that was it. They reacquainted 12 years later at our 10 year reunion and married the next year.

She still talks about that birthday party. All my friends talk about hanging out at my house. My best gf of 30 years still calls my Mom and Dad when she's in town and stays with them. I don't even have to be there! As a matter of fact, MY Mom and Dad were the first non-family babysitters for her son when she came in town for HER 20 year reunion. (I'm older than she is.)

So it's what I know. I come by it honestly. My Mom did it for me. I do it for my sons.

And as I go to bed tonight, I hear the low man/boy laughter in the family room as they're all gathered around watching movies and eating chips, planning their next paintball excursion, telling 'war' stories of who shot whom and when, showing their paintball welts and bruises to one another, laughing and plotting revenge on one another for the next time.

And Thank God for Publix. Everything was two for one this week. It couldn't have come on a better weekend!

Posted by Boudicca at February 5, 2011 11:50 PM

I hope your boys get you awesome Mother's Day gifts.

Posted by: Andrew Phule at February 6, 2011 12:36 AM

They are really cool on Mother's Day, Bones in particular.

I meant to put this in the post, but these boys the come over are such great kids. I was dropping them off at the paintball field and one of them said to me, 'Mrs. L, I know you're getting beds ready. If you wait, I'd like to help.' Those are the types of boys my son hangs with. I thought it was an anomaly at first, as Son#4 is like this (he's not into paintball, he's a tennis player), but all the kids my son gravitates to are like this. Its really really nice.

Posted by: Bou at February 6, 2011 09:01 AM

I had to laugh reading this post! As I discovered this weekend - 8 12 yr old girls can eat just as much as boys!

Birthday sleepover food menu

7 bags of chips
2 lg packages of strawberries
2 12 packs of hansens soda
4 4 packs of Izzies
1 extra large Papa Johns pizza
1 large pizza
1 1/2 gallons vanilla ice cream with assorted toppings for sundaes
gallon of milk
1 large sheet chocolate cake

Breakfast menu

dozen eggs for scrambled eggs
4 small pancakes a piece
2 lbs bacon
half gallon of OJ

Girls - 12 yr old girls at ALL of that! And my daughter wants to do another spring break sleep over! COSTCO and 2-1 @ safeway will be my friend!

Good times were had though. Much giggling, silly string wars outside in the snow, Wii competitions until about midnight and then movies after . . .

Like you - I want my house to be a gathering place for my daughter and her friends . . . I'll need another fridge/freezer in the garage though! LOL

Posted by: Nina at February 6, 2011 10:53 AM

Your boys are very very lucky. I wish I could have been half as good a mom, but there it is, too late now. LOL.

Paintball... there is an old cheesy movie that I love called "Gotcha" with a very young Anthony Edwards who is in college and has a group of friends trying to take each other out with paintball guns.

Of course if kids today watch it, they would wonder what all the big deal was about since the main part of the movie takes place between East and West Germany with the whole "Wall" thing. I'm guessing they'd wonder... was it really that bad...

But whenever I watch it, it makes me laugh - the boys and paintball games.

Posted by: Teresa at February 6, 2011 01:34 PM

You are the mom I hope to be. Maybe you should write a book...i know there are parents out there who could use the help... :)

Posted by: Jody at February 7, 2011 03:48 PM