Hello, blog, is that you? Where did the week go? It just flew by for some reason. Here's the conclusion to my grocery escapades. Better late than never.
Post Trip Pampers. While changing diapers is a usual (and necessary) step sometime after shopping, it's not what I'm going for here. After we shop, we like to do something fun. I consider it a little reward for making it through the whole experience.
Fine Dining. You gotta do something on that 20 minute ride home, and nothing works up an appetite like looking at shelves and shelves of food. May I suggest chicken nuggets with apple slices from Mickey D's? NO CARAMEL DIPPING SAUCE. There are enough sticky fingerprints in my van, thank you. Nuggets and apples usually gets four stars from the preschool crowd and most other foods are extremely disgusting to find six weeks later when you get around to cleaning out the van. You have to think long term here. Petrified nuggets and apples? Mildly gross. Moldy burgers or tacos? BLEH BLECKY BLEH GAG GAG HURL! I rest my case. Sometimes we get really wild and get cookies or fries with our apples and nuggets. That depends on if I am extra hungry or if I know the bank account has more than three dollars in it. And always, always, always get water to drink. It's like the toy aisle. Soft drinks, milk, and juice at fast food places are only a fantastic myth. These aren't the droids you're looking for. Etc. (Did I just make a Star Wars reference? Oh my, I did.)
Parks are da bomb. If the weather is nice, I LOVE to stop at a near by park for a few minutes and just let the munchkins go nuts. I love being outside. I love to play on the equipment myself. It's free and we all have a blast. I have an unspoken agreement with myself that I will visit as many parks and playgrounds as possible in the tri-county area before all my kids go off to school. Maybe I should write park reviews for mothers of small children and rate them on a scale of 1 to 4 see-saws. Hmmm...that idea has merit.
Handy tip: If you are planning on stopping at the park, remember to stay only as long as the frozen food will stay at least semi-frozen. Don't stay an hour if you bought ice cream. You will just have to go to the store again and that might put you in some kind of Ground Hog's Day state of affairs. (Endless cycles of shopping and playgrounds and warm gooey ice cream and weeping...if you add some gnashing of teeth it's pretty much like hell.) Of course, you can play as long as you want if you have a cooler in your car, but do I seem like the type of mom who would plan that far ahead? Of course not! So don't forget about the frozen stuff.
We're home! By this time, somebody has fallen asleep. If I did a good job of wearing them out at the park, all three somebodies have fallen asleep. Yeah, that means three separate trips to and from the van carrying children who seem to have miraculously gained 87 pounds during the morning, but the silence is priceless. Now all I have to do is free the dog from confinement, pray her yipping doesn't disturb the sleepyheads, and unload the groceries. You'd never guess it from the state of chaos my house is in, but I kind of like putting things in their places, so I usually don't mind this part. You just need to make extra sure you get everything out of the van. My Mom once had a can of frozen orange juice roll under a seat and it hid long enough to ferment before we found it. Now THAT was a funky smell.
Ok, I think I've now met my quota of disgusting food references for the month. And I hope you keep this extremely lengthy three part guide on hand in case you find yourself with three small children and no food in the house. Because you will totally have time to read all of it with three children competing for your attention...
Leaving the Silly Behind or, What Beth Learned So, are you tired yet? Most of you commenters out there said something to that effect after the last post... I don't always take all of the kids with me when I shop. Sometimes I go at night and Frank works his daddy magic at home. Sometimes we go as a whole family and get the luxury of two carts, taking up entire aisles, and making people swear at us. But I do go by myself more than I used to. The kids continue to get more autonomous and I continue to handle the whole thing better with practice. Every once in awhile I still get grumpy and yell at my kids and fail to see any humor whatsoever.
But what amazes me is that many of you (uh, "many" might be an exaggeration) left comments saying that you couldn't imagine yourselves doing what I do...that made me think! Because each person who said that does things or has triumphed over BIG situations that I think I would fail at. It really brought to my mind the verse that says, "And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (I Corinth. 10:13) I might be stretching the meaning a bit...but we all have our unique challenges and situations that God has put before us. (I'm not saying God tempts people, that's clearly against scripture. See James 1:13-15.) But what I am saying...isn't it freeing to know that we just have to do the best we can with the life and circumstances we've been given and God always has our back? We don't have to base our worth on what Joe and Jane Super-Christian have accomplished. We can certainly be inspired by or learn from their triumphs, but at the end of the day, it's how we handle what we have. Us and God. Ok, so that may be equally freeing AND a little scary. But it's my really obtuse way of saying- whether I know you in person or online, you are my hero, too! You have done incredible things that I will never get the opportunity to do, and that makes me excited about what God has for your future and ministry to others, and it inspires me to keep being faithful with what I have, too.
As usual...thanks God, for letting me see spiritual principles in a place I never expected to find it.
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