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.


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.


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?


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.


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.



How About A Story? Root Canal Saga, Part 2

 This morning, I’d like to tell you a story, in the style of Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse A Cookie.  It just seems fitting. (We love her series, by the way.)

If mommy is having trouble sleeping, it could be because of a toothache.

And if mommy’s got a toothache, she’ll go to the dentist.

And when she goes to the dentist, he’ll tell her she needs a root canal.

So she’ll go to another dentist, and he’ll start to do the root canal and discover her canal system is screwy.

When he tells mommy her teeth are screwy and she needs to come back, she’ll burst into tears sobbing like a crazy lady.

After she stops being a crazy lady, she’ll agree to sedation for the 2nd part of her root canal.

She’ll take the sedation pills for her next appointment, and start to feel relaxed.

And when she starts to feel relaxed, she’ll fall into a deep sleep.

During the deep sleep, life is grand and doesn’t even realize the root canal is happening.

Once the root canal is over, she’ll head back home and go back to sleep…for the entire day.

And chances are, if she sleeps all day, she’ll have some trouble sleeping that night (so she’ll write this little story.)

Thanks to all who prayed for this second half of the root canal to go well! Our God is so good! And a big shout out to my dentist and his staff for the sedation suggestion — brilliant!


Future Yankee All-Star

This year, Diego told decided to play t-ball. Completely his decision, though I was thrilled he’s taken an interest in my favorite sport. And, as he’s only 5, I figured the games would be once a week with maybe a little practice. Ha! We live in a time where it’s all or nothing!  I was surprised to find out that we’d have 2 games a week plus a practice, all after 5pm.

Uh..what? That seems…intense. I mean, for older kids, sure, but can we not ease us parents…I mean, the younger kids…into baseball life?  When do we have dinner?  Not to mention the bedtime routine would get all screwed up. And the 100 degree days. Yes, I admit, I quite often did not have the best attitude. We’re not talking about how it’s taking up a little bit of our Saturday morning, we’re talking three stinkin’ nights a week! And so close to bedtime, which of course is the easiest time of day when all the kids are super cooperative.  Not.  There were many days I saw a mom or dad carrying an exhausted ball player from the car to the field, after falling asleep in the car ride over.  Time to grow up kids, you’re ball players!

And yet, after all that, I’m a little sad that t-ball has ended (relieved, but sad.)  Why?  Because watching Diego play and watching him enjoy playing as much as he did made it all worthwhile.  Listening to him describe his at bats or the plays he made with excited enthusiasm was absolute joy to this baseball loving mama.  The days he had baseball became his favorite days.  And I love dreaming about him playing for the Yankees…I mean, hearing him pretend to play for the Yankees.

I dare you not to fall in love with this little ball player!



Apparently he’s paid attention to the MLB games we’ve watched, because other parents/grandparents commented on his batting style with his high leg kick.  Every ball player should have a signature style! Get ready, here’s the high kick, very deliberate with each swing.



Everyone in t-ball bats twice and fields twice, 2 full innings. 2 long innings. And often times, 2 hilarious innings of watching kids play in the dirt, talk to each other, surround and chase after the ball, build sand castles, sit, slide (5 feet from home plate), and run to the wrong base.  But not Diego, he knew where and when to run.  I absolutely love watching Diego run the bases.

IMG_3170 IMG_3172

Phew, safe! It’s also hilarious watching the kids run, or not run, leaving 2 of them occupying the exact same base at the same time. And then there’s Diego.  Focused and serious — he had his game face on, no doubt about it. IMG_3176

I mean, just check out how he’s staying alert and waiting for the batter to bring him home. IN-TENSE!  And he brought that same intensity to fielding.  He stayed in his position, worked hard, tried his best, and had a blast!

IMG_3178 IMG_3180This kid’s batting average is through the roof!  You can see the pride in his face.


T-ball, while a huge pain in the neck with all of its evening games and practices, was also a lot of fun. Watching Diego make a good scoop (which, for a kid his age’s coordination is quite the feat) was spectacular! And watching him do a slow motion REPLAY of his incredible scoop for us (during the game before throwing the ball where he was supposed to) was absolutely hilarious. I love that he really truly invested and worked in each game.  I love that he’s learning to love a game that I love.  I love that he’s already talking about next season (as is Isaac who will be FOUR and old enough to play!)

So, despite my sometimes terrible attitude about how annoying it was (and come on, sports parents, I think we all can relate to that), I can’t wait for next season.  But though I’m thankful it’s 9 months away!


My Sad Tooth Saga

available at amazon.com

available at amazon.com

As many of you know, I had a horrible toothache recently which meant I was getting a root canal. And for a self-professed baby when it comes to anything dental, I was quite calm about the whole thing. I just wanted to get it over and done with. Fix and move on. This calm I felt was a miracle, to be perfectly honest. I felt even better when I realized I’d met the wife of the dentist I was being referred to — I’d met her through a friend and had enjoyed group dinner with her.  I was even more reassured that everything would be ok. 


Everything was not ok. I mean, it will be eventually, but the appointment and the rest of the day for that matter, was not what I had expected or hoped for.

I was scheduled for a long appointment in order to try to get it done in one shot.  And after just a few minutes with the jaw-holder-upper-thingy (the technical term, of course,) my jaw was killing me.  Good start.  So, thanks to my TMJ, I had to just open wide myself and relax it when I could.  This would be a fun two hours. And yes, halfway through I had to use the restroom — nothin’ like raising one’s hand like a first grader needing to go to the bathroom to boost one’s confidence in an intimidating situation.
When the dentist finally finished and took everything out of my mouth, I expected him to say, “all done!”  So, I was rather shocked to hear him tell me that it took him 2 hours to do what he normally can do in 5 minutes.  
Well, apparently,  I’m special.  My mouth and teeth are special.  In fact, it’s amazing I have any teeth left in my mouth at the ripe old age of 33! (By the way, no one said any of this, it’s just my interpretation of their explanations.)  Instead of an average root system of 3 ordinary and straight canals, I have 5…yes, FIVE that aren’t so ordinary or straight.  They are special, including one which is going the wrong direction, so that even after they fix my tooth now, it may cause me problems later on–maybe not–but probably.
And then they explained the options: yank it now or save a doomed tooth to be yanked later. Superb.

Faced with this information, I did what any normal person would do.  I started crying, actually, i tried holding it in (because that ALWAYS helps) but eventually let it out after the dentist left and I was alone with my friend, S, the dentist’s wife.  In fact, I cried so hard–ugly crying you might say–that she even offered me some oxygen.  I tell ya, I haven’t cried like that in a very very very long time, let alone surrounded by strangers!  Oh, it was sad.  Pitiful.  A bit ridiculous.  But, at least I hadn’t thrown up on anyone, like the patient who threw up earlier in the day had done.  But still, I was sitting in the dentist’ chair blubbering like a baby.   Is it any wonder they recommend sedation next appointment? (I agreed.)
But wait…it gets better. The madness wasn’t over just yet.
While describing how crazy life has been this summer, (selling the house, hectic t-ball schedule, getting ready for an upcoming move, etc) at the front desk, I finally gained control over my emotions until I got a text from the sitter letting me know that my baby just threw up.
I kid you not.
I smiled, started laughing and sobbing hysterically at the same time.
A mess. An absolutely mess.
I couldn’t even tell them what was wrong, I showed them the text while sputtering, “baby…threw up…sitter…” It was at that point that S gently took my shoulders and guided me to a chair.  Yes, I had sunk pretty low and couldn’t even be embarrassed anymore.  If my mom had been there, I’m pretty sure I would have crawled into her lap and sucked my thumb.
Boy, this was not the day I had expected.  I wasn’t even home yet. I still hadn’t even left the dentist’s office. And S wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do make it on my own…understandably, I was acting like a basketcase, a nut, a lunatic!  I thought everything would be fixed when I got up out of the chair but instead I was more messed up than when I entered their office if you include my complete mental breakdown.  Where’s my white flag–I surrender!
I did talk to the sitter’s mom who reassured me that she and my sweet sitter had cleaned things up and that Justus  was playing happily with his brothers, and everything was under control. Glad things were under control there because I felt like I had completely lost control of everything!
Feeling slightly relieved that the situation with the boys was under control, I managed to regain enough of my composure to drive myself home and finish the rest of my day…such as it was.  I can handle many things, but when it comes to my teeth, I am the biggest baby, which is the only excuse I have for my behavior that day.  I’m not proud of it, but I can laugh at it now…even knowing I’ll be back in that dental chair soon to finish up this sad tooth saga.