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My Comedy of Errors at the Grocery Store

Last week I decided it was time to attempt a big ole Thanksgiving shopping trip with the three boys in tow.

Mistake of gargantuan proportions.

We arrived at the store, a store very unfamiliar to me and we begin with the usual, “can I get in the cart? or ride on the outside?” No and no. I need space IN the cart and the 2 big boys on the OUTSIDE of the cart make for heavy and unbalanced cart pushing. So, already, I’ve got unhappy campers.

We start in the unfamiliar produce section and proceed slowly, as I mark things off my list, trying above all odds to not miss something. Didn’t happen.  We get about halfway through, when I hear, “I have to go to the bathroom!” And then, a squeal of horror. A little warning a little too late.

“Stop peeing, stop peeing, the bathroom is right over there, please stop peeing!” Was my desperate and genteel reply. As we entered the bathroom (which by the way I had to kick the janitor out of,) and got him situated to finish up, I realized I had no change of clothes. Nothing in my purse, nothing in the car. Road trips do that to you. So, I told him he’d have to suck it up and just proceed. And, of course I also asked if he actually went to the bathroom before we left like I told him to. You know the answer to this.

I’m used to dodging people at stores with my cart and the boys. But, at the commissary, as military folk understand, there are an abnormal number of elderly folks doing their shopping always. And I’d say it’s about 60/40 of nice grandparents types that get a kick out of little ones and their shenanigans and grouchy crochety folk who would like to shoot laser beams through anyone who get in their way as they march down the middle of the aisle.  Either way, I’m trying to wrangle 2 boys out of the cart so they aren’t the cause of a broken hip.

And my boys cannot get it together. Cannot keep their hands to themselves. Cannot keep their mouth closed or produce any helpful words. Cannot pay attention to save their lives. Cannot walk nicely. And what’s crazy is, throughout the trip I got so many compliments as to how well they were behaved.

Are expectations really that low?

It was a nightmare, which is unfamiliar territory for me because even if they behave like crazy lunatics at home, in public, they are almost always very well behaved.

With just the perishables left, we march on in unfamiliar territory that is also littered with construction to make things a bit more confusing and I’m becoming more and more frustrated that I can’t find anything and realizing I’m nearly out of workable kid time.  (You all know what I mean by that too, it’s the time you have to do your errands before you children turn into stark raving mad lunatics which produce meltdowns and other horrifying behavior.) And by this time, my 3rd little big boy, Houdini, has decided to walk, having climbed out of the cart.

Round and round we go through the same aisles looking for frozen rolls and I can’t find them. Soon, Diego noticed our circular route and asked, “Why do we keep going in circles?”

I’m looking for stupid (we don’t say that word) dinner rolls, kid. That’s why! And nearing tears as I say this, they appeared! Thank you, Jesus!  Now we can proceed to our final stops of meats and poultry! Upon approaching the poultry, Diego whines, “I can’t go any further, my legs are too tired.”

A woman nearby busted out laughing. Clearly she was shopping without kids, having her sense of humor still in tact while mine had disappeared aisles ago.  Glad someone is enjoying our plight.

Finally, we head to the checkout lines, which had grown considerably when I hear from the pee culprit, “I have to poo! Now!”

Are. You. Kidding. Me.

So off we head to the restroom, for the second time, this time with a cart FULL of groceries.

Successful bathroom trip and cart full of groceries, bad attitudes and all, we head back to the checkout. I unload about half of my cart when the person in front of me finishes paying and I attempt to take out my military ID card, which you HAVE to have in order to pay for your food and which I always have with me and…I don’t have it.

It’s not in my wallet or pocket or purse.

I had to have had it to get on base or else I wouldn’t be there. But I don’t have it now, in the commissary, at the very end of my stupid (we don’t say that word) shopping trip. It’s in the car, I’m sure of it.

I must have looked completely defeated and pathetic to the chuckling yet sympathetic cashiers and baggers. They told me to run out and get it, they’d wait. So, with the 3 boys in tow we head into the cold to fetch the stupid ID card.  ID card swiped, my helpers and I unload the rest of the cart, (“please stop throwing it and place it gently!”) And then, it happens.  I look up to see my husband smiling and walking towards me. This was no apparition.

Words can’t express how excited I was to see him. And with much relief I exclaimed, “You’re here!” and then I grabbed him and kissed him right there and then. If the baggers were laughing at my folly of leaving the ID in my car, they were downright giddy from this display of affection!

Groceries bought, (except for slices of cheese, dang it!) my children still alive (just barely), no elderly hips broken (phew!) and my handsome prince charming to my rescue–we had survived.  I guess it turned out alright in the end.

I’m just never going to leave my house ever again.

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Camille

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I had lunch with a friend yesterday. We met not too long ago, and yet she’s become a valuable encourager and friend to me though we don’t see each other often and haven’t known each other long. But this friend, she’s super special. We aren’t the same age or at the same place in life, but I’d say we’re birds of a feather.

I feel incredibly blessed to have met and gotten to know her. As usual, during our lunch she encouraged me by reminding me that for everything there is a season, and right now, my season is full of busy busy busy.  I wish there was more time for me to write about women of the Bible, and I will…one day.  When I told her that wish, she reminded me that there was plenty on my plate right now, to not feel guilty, and that after this season of busyness and moving, there will come a time when things will settle down and allow me to get back to writing.

Why do I tell you this? Because it’s so important to be a friend, to encourage, to lift each other up, and pray for each other. Women have a tendency to feel guilt easily along with feeling the need to do it all, all the time.  And when we can’t, in creeps guilt.  So, remind one another that God gives us different seasons to teach us different things and that it’s ok.

My friend reminded me that it’s ok to let go of things during the busy seasons, they’ll be there later. I needed that reminder yesterday.  My life has going at a breakneck pace and I can’t catch my breath, and sometimes a gentle reminder of “it’s ok” is just what is needed.

So to my sweet friend, I thank you for the reminder. I so value our friendship and pray that one day, we get to have another of our Red Robin lunches.

Maybe you know someone in the midst of a busy season, trying to do it all…trust me, it’s a relief to hear, “it’s ok.” Please, encourage them…TODAY!

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Bucket List and a Good Buy

Last week we were able to cross off a bunch of California bucket list things.

And now I’m tired. I mean TI-RED! I might just drift off to Zzzzzzzz……Sorry, dozed off for a moment, what was I saying?

To start, we drove to Yosemite, probably our #1 thing on our bucket list. I knew we wouldn’t get to see the glorious waterfalls that occur in the spring, but I was still excited about its beauty.   And it was beautiful.  And wet.

Very very wet. But did that stop us? NO WAY!

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That’s us standing in steady rain, in a big sequoia tree. In the dark. Perfect hike for little kids. Wet and dark. Thankfully, the next day was absolutely gorgeous and we set off with hopes of seeing some amazing panoramic views. But to get there, we had to drive on winding, twisty turny roads. Curve after sickening curve. The kind of twists and turns that make one…ahem, me…sick.  But did that stop us?

Why yes, actually, it did. I was so carsick we had to abort our original plan and just head out of the park because I couldn’t hack it.  But on our way out of the park, we did manage to see a few glorious views (after all, I needed to get out and walk and get some air.)

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Plus Isaac had to make sure that anyone who walked near us knew it was his birthday. “I’m four! It’s my birthday!”

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Gotta love that kid, he cracks me up.

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And here I’ve finally regained some semblance of normalcy.  At least enough to fake it for a picture. And that was our Yosemite experience. Making memories, people, just not the kind I had intended.

Then, it was a tour of Pixar.  And it was quite a dream come true for me to see where the magic of Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Cars, etc. happens. What a super cool place. Listen up kids, this is why you should work hard and stay in school. So you can work at Pixar!

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Next day we went apple picking, though there weren’t many apples to be picked. We only needed 3, one for each boy.  Papi to the rescue, he searched high and low and in between for 3 acceptable apples! Thankfully, Justus was helping too, otherwise who knows what might have happened.

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Along with apple picking came apple turnovers, apple cider doughnuts, and apple cider. Pretty sure I gained 5 pounds that day. But it was so worth it.  I should have taken a cue from the boys who ran off their apple delights jumping from hay bale to hay bale and joined them. But instead, I sat in the shade and watched them have fun.

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Some were more successful in their jumping than others. But bonus points for style and effort!

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Finally, we finished our week with a little purchase. And here it is…

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Our new house!  Just a little something we picked up for our move, paperwork is all signed and it’s ours!  I’m looking forward to moving into it and making it a home.

So, it was a very busy stay-cation week. The boys are overtired. The hubby is…as energetic as usual (how does he do that?)  And I’m utterly exhausted. I mean, zero energy left. Falling asleep as I type.  Good night…Zzzzzz

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Porkchop and Acorn

“So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book – when shouldn’t it be the other way around?” — Meg Ryan, You’ve Got Mail

So much of what inspires me in life come from what I read in books. And our Wednesday at the pumpkin patch is a perfect example of just that.

In gearing up for our trip to the pumpkin patch, we started reading books about pumpkins and fall. Because that’s what we do. We read books, learn and get ideas. The book that most stuck with us was Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller. Cutest book ever.

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Seriously, I love Sophie and her squash. So much so, that I might or might not have planted the seed (squash seed to be exact) in the boys’ heads that when we go to the pumpkin patch, it might be fun to find our own squash/pumpkin to name and draw a face on and love.

When it came time to choose, they were quite determined to find just the right gourd to love. Diego found his right away. A small, green pumpkin. Green is his favorite color.  When he excitedly called me to look at his choice, I knew right away it was a match made in pumpkin heaven.  Isaac had to search a little harder. I wasn’t sure what he was looking for, but then, he squatted and discovered his dream gourd. And ya know what? It looked like a miniature version of Sophie’s squash. And then there was Justus’ choices, bits and pieces of gross, broken gourds and pumpkins he found squashed in the dirt. So, I chose for him because seriously, I’m not bringing gross things home.

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Could they be any cuter? Or more proud of their choices? I think not. I love them. My heart melts.

Next they named their gourds such original, fitting names that fit their personalities. Diego named his green pumpkin Acorn Rosado (do not forget the last name, I made that mistake and was quickly corrected!) And Isaac chose the absolutely perfect name of Porkchop.

So, we came home with our precious adopted family members, plus a few others and the boys were ready to get to work…after they showered because even I have my limit as to how blackened and browned knees should be.)

First up was painting with pumpkins. What would it look like if we rolled our mini pumpkins in paint and then rolled them onto our paper?

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And when the joy from that experiment started to wain, I sliced the pumpkins in half and we used them as stamps.

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By this time, they were really messy so we just jumped right into handprints!

Next up, was drawing faces on our beloved new friends. And this, my friends, was the absolute highlight for them. The moment they’d been waiting for. Giving face and personality to Acorn Rosado and Porkchop.  They chose their colors carefully, stuck their tongues out, and set to work. They also drew faces on other mini pumpkin friends, Diego named his Chalk-colors (Chalk for short) and Isaac’s other friend was Gold-Pumpkin.

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That night, Isaac snuggled Porkchop and Gold-Pumpkin as we read Sophie’s Squash before bed.  Then, they sweetly laid their gourds on a pillow and tucked a towel blanket around them for the night.

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Good night, Porkchop.

Good night, Acorn Rosado.

Good night, Gold-Pumpkin.

Good night, Chalk.

Good night, John-Boy…wait a minute…

Good night, Diego.

Good night, Isaac.

And may tomorrow’s book inspire the same amount of excitement as Sophie’s Squash did this week.

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It’s Not Easy Being 3

Isaac has had a tough week.

Battles included clean up, wasting time, tantrums, colors of breakfast plates, and excuses to name a few. Oh, and he had a fight with the pavement and lost.

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Yes indeed, it’s been a rough week for both him and me. It’s never fun for mommy when each day seems to include a mini revolution–you know what I’m talking about, moms.  Trying to assert independence and will over the motherhood dictatorship is destined to fail.  But, he won’t be 3 forever (just a couple of more weeks) and then he’ll be 4–oh my.

How was your week?

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The Glorious Unfolding: Finding Our New Home

Lots of cornfields on our house hunt.

Drove by many cornfields on our house hunt.

Would you believe it if I told you that a song pretty much sums up the story of our house hunting adventure? As this particular song was playing on the radio on our way to the airport and I realized just how glorious God’s promises for us had unfolded.

Glorious Unfolding by Steven Curtis Chapman

“Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight
Don’t try to figure it out
Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart
‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it’s just not true
There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold”

Lay down, rest from the fight and don’t try to figure it out.  After our first day of house hunting I was exhausted and couldn’t figure it out. To say I was discouraged is putting it mildly.  I had been so sure we’d find a house quickly, but instead it felt like the end had started closing in. I was wondering if we’d find a home at all.  It was not like anything that I thought.  Jesus might as well have spoken the words, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Mt 8:26) to me, just as he had to Peter so long ago.

“And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding”

What I didn’t realize was that there was about to be a glorious unfolding.  God knew which house was right for us, a house he saved and just put on the market that week. A house that my research-obsessive-husband-whom-I-mock-mercilessly-for-it (thanks honey!) found online and added to the next day’s house viewing list.

The next morning, we went and looked at this new house.  This new house that God had set apart and kept out of the housing it, guided my hubby to it online at the perfect time, right after it was put on the market.  I liked it from the outside, it was cute and homey.  As I walked from room to room exploring the layout and spaces, I realized that this house could work for us. This house felt comfortable.  As our agent said, “It makes you want to cozy up with a blanket and pillow.”  It felt cozy and lovable.  We looked at few more houses, but soon, I was comparing all other houses to this one house and we realized that this house was something special.

“God’s plan from the start
For this world and your heart
Has been to show His glory and His grace
Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of
His unfailing Love
And the story has only begun”

See, God knew our wish list, our hopes and dreams for the new house even before we fully knew.  And He saved this house, revealing it to us when it was time.  God loves us so deeply and beautifully that he gave us this gift of a house that felt like home.  So, we met with our agent the next morning and made our offer. Then we waited.

“And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
We’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding”

We had to wait so we could believe that our story was far from over, that this would be a glorious unfolding.  We found out that afternoon that we got the house and the next morning before we left for the airport, we signed paperwork for the new house.  As we were signing, we got a text informing us that our house in CA was officially closed. I mean seriously — what perfect timing of our Lord!  We closed on our old house as we signed paperwork for the new house.

The entire, stressful house saga–selling and buying–was so perfectly timed and arranged by my God who loves me and cares for me.  Looking back, I can’t look at all the events and not be amazed at this glorious unfolding.

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A Few Travel Observations

We went on our very first trip without kids last week and I noticed a few differences in traveling without kids. Here’s a list in no particular order.

1. Airline travel can actually be relaxing. I mean seriously, you find a seat, enjoy a coke or water, read a book, maybe nap, have a snack in peace, and then repeat the process. It’s lovely. 

2. Eating is an afterthought.  In our first 2 days of house hunting, we saw about 95 million houses and had about 20 minutes for lunch each day, which was often a late lunch, and then we didn’t eat dinner until close to 7pm.  Drive down the road, go into the first local pizza place you see, order a salad and pizza, take it to go, and shovel it into your mouth in the 5 minutes remaining before you’re supposed to start again. Amazing and completely un-kid-friendly! I forgot lunch could be so quick and thoughtless.

3. You can cover a lot of ground.  You go ’til you drop.  We would start our day at 9 with our agent, and stop around 6:30 or 7pm every day, house after house after house, (95 million houses, remember?) until we finally found the house (and then we saw a few more just to be sure.)

4. Buckling and unbuckling carseat buckles takes up hours of of my life. Without kids, we simply hopped into our rental car or our agent’s car and take off!  Zoom!  Onto the next property.  And when we get there — we could just get out!  No unbuckling carseats!  In and out.

5. Playing “tour guide” doesn’t impress the hubby. Pointing out American flags, airplanes, ducks, cornfields, and anything else mildly amusing doesn’t elicit the same excited response from a grown man that it does in little boys. I caught myself on more than one occasion starting to say, “Look! An airplane!” at the airport.  Yes, I was showing an airplane to a pilot…who sees airplanes all the time.  It’s a hard habit to shake.

6. The feeling your forgetting something is very strong. Traveling with my boys to the airport, we try to pack as light as we can with a few small bags for the plane, and 1 or  2 bigger bags to check.  Traveling with just my hubby to the airport, I brought my purse, he had a small backpack, and we shared 1 piece of luggage to check. I constantly felt like I was forgetting something, not to mention traveling with my 3 boy circus was also unnerving. (But I got used to it!)

7.  A lighter purse. Without extra diapers, extra wipes, extra underwear, snacks, water bottles and the kitchen sink, my purse was light as a feather!

8. Everything is quieter.  I could read in silence. I could watch TV in silence. I could eat in peace and quiet. Shhhh…what’s that? It’s the sound of silence.

9. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Oh how I missed those boys! Missed their arms around my neck, their giggles and laughter, their kisses and sweet smiles. And I looked forward to our reunion all week long. There’s no place like home, which is in the hugs of my boys, within earshot of their laughter and bickering, smelling the gross “boy” smell after a hard day of playing, and seeing their sly smiles on their sweet “innocent” faces as they try to con me.  Nothin’s better than being home.