Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Grocery Getter and the Last Crusade

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.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Grocery Getter Part Deux

(Not my actual kid in cart)

Yeah...I knew it took a lot to go grocery shopping with my kids (I prefer to think of it as my mini-entourage), but who knew it would take three posts to explain? Here's part 2:

Execution without Execution: You arrive at the store! The nearest parking space is roughly 5 miles (8.05 km) away from the store entrance, but you are still determined to have a successful shopping trip. This is a good time to remind yourself that this can be done without bodily harm to children, self, or store employees. You know how some people pray for traveling mercies? Well, this is the time to pray for shopping mercies.

Decide what shopping cart best fits your needs. This is the biggest roadblock I have. With two children who can walk, you can use the super-duper kid cart with the two little seats attached to the regular cart. You need the strength of Sampson to push it, but no grocery space is taken up and you can keep the kids securely attached to the cart. With one baby, they have carts with infant seats built in. This also has plenty of grocery space and a happy, secure place for a baby. But I have both. There is no cart for that. So currently I use the regular cart and sit the baby in the front part now that he's good at sitting (Hoorah!). Middle child sits in the part intended for groceries. YES, I know there's warning on the cart against that, but it's a lot better than having him run through the store touching everything, including other people in questionable areas. The oldest child walks with me. Now, it's still not a perfect solution. Oldest child tends to wander a little. Middle child gets to share the space with the groceries and usually by the end of the trip, I have to make him walk as well. He will either be buried alive or he will try to open something messy that's in the cart with him. Applesauce, laundry detergent...you get the idea.

Stick to the plan. Sure, it would be fun to wander through the home decor and look for curtains on sale or see if you can find a pair of shoes for under 5 dollars..but every wasted second increases the likelihood of a problem. And always, ALWAYS skip the toy aisle. Don't even let your children know there's one in the store. See someone you know in the store? Wave and smile, say "Hi!" even, but keep moving. A stopped cart and distracted attention is an open invitation for children to 1) Put as many things in the cart as they can or 2) Wander away, causing a Code Adam.

Don't let the baby chew on the grocery list. Only bad things can come of this.

Give the kids some buy-in. Let them make decisions about which bunch of bananas to buy or whether they want apple juice or orange juice. I give them tasks like picking things off the shelf for me or putting it in the basket. We talk about how much things cost. I give them the real reasons why we can't buy some things (too expensive, not healthy, no one will eat it), and if there's not a good reason to say no, I'll buy some treats that they want, too, especially if it's something new we haven't tried before. Unless it's Go-gurt. I can't bring myself to buy Go-gurt.

Don't panic in a crisis. Despite all the preparation, you will forget something they need or someone will have to use the bathroom when it is at the opposite end of the store. Stay cool. Count to ten, salsa to the store music a la Helen, or make a farting noise when someone walks by. The key is to do something that distracts the kids and removes the Glare of Death off your face. If the crisis escalates, no one will arrest you if you open a package of animal crackers and feed them to your kids before you get to the check out. At least no one has arrested me yet. If that fails, it's time to GET OUT NOW. It's better to have shopped and bought some things on the list than never to have shopped at all.

Check out stinks, and there's no way around it. Everyone is now tired. The line you pick will usually be the slowest or have the checker from Hades. There are glowing, glittery, sugary things that scream for your children's attention. The rotating bagger thingy is irresistible to little hands and has a huge pinching danger. The cart is never unloaded before the checker needs to put the bagged groceries in it. Your child will run five lanes down and proclaim to everyone that they have a snotty nose. The one redeeming thing about checkout time is that you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Grocery shopping is almost done!

People are idiots in a parking lot. Act accordingly. Our rule to be safe in the parking lot is that you must hold on to the cart or Mom in some way the moment you leave the store. This is non-negotiable. I must look like I'm about to be taken down by the little people, but it is the only way I've found to keep track of my kids in the parking lot. Once we reach the car, the children are again loaded scientifically followed by the loading of the groceries into a van that's usually filled with music junk. Oops, I mean "equipment."

You've now completed grocery shopping, and only the animal crackers were harmed. But you're not out of the grocery shopping woods yet...stay tuned for the magical ride home...and more! And if you can't get enough grocery shopping (Who can??), be sure and visit my wacky friend Katdish. Who knew naked butlers frequent Kroger?

P.S. You can never get too many blogs about the grocery store. Salsa, anyone?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Grocery Getter Part 1

Do you remember all those essays you had to write for school and scholarships? Inevitably, they always asked something like, "What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?" Or sometimes you would get the dreaded, "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" I never knew how to answer those. I think I made up a lot of stuff and hope I sounded smart and successful...and I think it usually worked.

But after almost 30 years of life, I take great pride in revealing to you what I feel is my greatest accomplishment so far...(Okay, God's gotta take the top spot somehow, but I am proud of it, so humor me.)


I googled "grocery shopping with small children." This is the picture I got. WHAT!?
Ring! Ring!
This is reality calling. Your picture is hilarious because it is far off from my reality. Do you hail from PreppyPerfectVille? And I think an eight year old knows what an orange is. Trust me, she is making fun of you in her mind.

Okay, I'm back. Sorry. The first few weeks after Annabelle's birth, I was overwhelmed by the thought of going anywhere with just her and me. There were so many new possible scenarios that spelled disaster. If nothing else, this one thing lets me see how far I've come as a mom in almost 5 years. I know some of you have put this phase behind you and have survived. Some may find some handy tips for the future. Some are right where I'm at. But I hope you come along and see what life around our house is like.

So...what does it take to go grocery shopping with my munchkins? We'll break it down into three easy steps: Preparation and Planning, Execution without Execution, and Post Trip Pampers.

Today we look at Preparation and Planning: The day starts like this...
"Crap! We're out of baby formula, diapers, milk, bread, juice, toilet paper, and cat food... All we have to eat is three slices of bologna and a pickle circa 2003. How did this happen? It must be all Frank's fault. I guess I'll have to go to the store."

1. Timing is critical. You have to make sure the kids are fed, clothed, changed, and have a little playtime before leaving. But if you wait too late in the day, it is 86% more likely you will have a child meltdown. Of course the baby is tired at opposite times than the older children...but fussy babies are more tolerated than three year olds who have the power to take down a store with their wails Jericho style.

2. Pack like your about to embark on a trip to Mt. Everest. Who knows what the future holds? You'd better have everything from sunscreen to tissues to an eight day supply of Cheerios in case a natural disaster strikes or the Tribulation begins.

3. Make the trip seem like a fantastic adventure. Announce the trip like it's Disney World. Do this exactly 1 minute and 34 seconds before you are ready to leave. Any sooner, and the questions will be unceasing. Any later, and they will not have time to grab Blanky or a rock or whatever is necessary for a happy car ride.

4. Use charts, graphs, and logic puzzles to determine how best to load children into the van. We have three different types of car seats for three different kids. Middle child, Joey- more mobility, least likely to obey, and least fearful. He is loaded first and sits in the middle. Oldest child, Annabelle- most mobility, but most likely to obey. She goes next and can do everything but buckle the seat belt (it's kind of tricky). Baby Jay- least mobile and goes last. He can't run from you. He sits directly behind the driver, the safest place in the vehicle. This way I can defend him from the rock, which Joey decides is a super fun toy to throw at a baby.

5. Never forget to take the dog out and put her in the laundry room before you leave. Unless you really enjoy cleaning pee spots out of the hallway carpet.

And you're off! Wasn't that easy? You've only made 42 trips from the house to the van so far. Make sure the van is stocked with kid-friendly music and a magna doodle or two since the nearest megastore with everything you need is at least 20 minutes away. Next time we will explore Execution without Execution: A successful shopping trip does not involve violence. Usually.

P.S. If anyone's interested, I found a really cool blog today. This gal feeds her family on $60 a week! And she has FOUR kids. I'm in awe. Plus she's funny and loves chocolate. Grocery Cart Challenge

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thank Goodness for Commenters, Plus a Bonus Random Funny!

Wow, who knew people intentionally leave books for other people to have? If you didn't read the comments from my last post, that's what I learned last week. I don't think the book I found on the picnic table was a part of something like that. It had highlighted parts...almost like someone was studying it as a textbook. Something just didn't feel right about taking it.... But maybe it was all in my head. It all goes back to the time my family visited Mammoth Caves and when they turned out the lights to demonstrate "dark" to us, I stole a little cave rock and put it in my pocket EVEN THOUGH the tour guide had already told us that taking anything from the cave was a CRIME. It still haunts me. Lock me up. Throw away the key. I deserve it. I will never steal again!

Despite my life of childhood crime and subsequent guilty conscience that does not allow me to take abandoned books on picnic tables, SharkBait was kind enough to point me to www.bookcrossing.com. A totally cool concept I didn't even know about! I'll have to try it sometime.

Also, my cousin's wife, Lisa, gave me a nifty link to a running plan. I tried it out for the first time Friday, and I think it will prove very helpful. For those of you keeping score at home, that's three runs for Beth. Zero ducks. (So far. The ducks at the lake could be plotting my eventual downfall even now.)


It's Random Time! Some things are too funny not to share.

I have watched a whole lotta basketball this weekend. I think it's required for native Hoosiers, so it's a good thing I really like college b-ball. But...what is up with the mascot names? I've been watching the women's tournament tonight, and who could take a team seriously if they are called...The Jackrabbits? Or worse, Frank is taking online seminary classes from Liberty University. Their women's team played tonight...The Lady Flames. I mean, I'm all for the Holy Spirit helping out the team, but I don't think everyone is going to get that reference...

But my favorite by far tonight:
The Tennessee Lady Volunteers vs. The Ball State Lady Cardinals (Ball State came away with an amazing upset, by the way!)

Not so crazy until the announcers kept saying "Lady Vols," and I thought they were talking about Ball State and saying "Lady Balls." Yeah. Make your own joke here.

This is probably why my basketball career ended in the 7th grade. While the other girls were out for victory and blood, I was making astute observations such as this from the bench.

And so ends my weekend. Curtain.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring? Is That You?

Yesterday was a beautiful day. It was a for real warm Spring-like day. I say Spring-like because I know it's too early to STAY warm. It's supposed to storm and get colder later today, in fact. But it was SO nice while it lasted.

I packed up lunch and the kids, and we headed to the park at Merom Bluff. Yeah, it's a few miles away, but sometimes you need a change from the ol' city park. It's got a kickin' playground for one....well, if you're 3 or 4 or 29 it does. And the bluff overlooks the Wabash River. It's a beautiful view. For being smack dab in the land of flat, the bluff is pretty dramatic. You can see miles of farms and little towns on the other side of the river. So we ate and played for awhile. Baby Jay started to get cranky and needed a bottle. I wheeled his stroller to the little shelter house and sitting on the table was a book on...worship.

Doo doo doo doo. Cue Twilight Zone music. Is this for me, God? Pretty hefty and specific reading to be randomly lying on a picnic table in a deserted park in Merom, Indiana. Population: 294 people.

So while the older kids played and Baby Jay downed the bottle, I had a nice little quiet time reading the first few pages of the book and enjoying the breeze and sunshine. Ahhhhhh. Refreshing.

Don't ask me what I would have done if someone came up to claim their book. Probably stammer something like.."Uh...worship is cool!" and look incredibly guilty and hand it back to them. But no one did. I can't say I wasn't a little tempted to keep it. But I figured stealing a book on worship would be wrong somehow. Yeah.

The kids must have played pretty hard, because they all konked out on the ride home. As we were flying down the highway through all the farm land, I was reminded of the fields near my home growing up. I loved walking down the little dirt road between the fields and pretending I was a pioneer. Who knows who the land belonged to...but they sure provided hours of fun for me as a child!

The kids were sleeping so well, that I drove right past the house and decided I'd drive my running route around the lake to see how far it really is. Good naps are priceless around here- gotta keep the peace and quiet when I can!! Boy was I off on the mileage. It's almost exactly 9 miles. A pretty hefty run...yeesh. But last night I watched the contestants on The Biggest Loser run a half-marathon (13.1 miles, baby), so I suppose there are no excuses. So the revised goal is: Run the 9 mile lake route at least once by Sept. 15. There. It's in print for the whole world wide web to see. No backing out now.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

See Beth Run

Yesterday, I went for a run. It's been awhile...

I used to run quite regularly. In high school I ran cross country and track. Those were the only sports in which I wouldn't completely embarrass myself. All I had to do is run from point A to point B as fast as I could. Which wasn't very fast, mind you, but I loved being on the teams and competing anyway, even if it was mostly against the clock and not other people.

A classic Beth running story is when I was running the 3200 at a high school in our conference. That's 8 laps around the track, folks. Nobody liked running that race, but I don't think my coach knew where else to put me. As usual, I was the last runner in the race, but I was chugging along, doing my thing. I looked up ahead and....ducks. There were ducks on the track. Yes, ducks. Did anyone see fit to help me by shooing the ducks off the track? Nope. I was on my own. I tried yelling and waving my arms a little, thinking they would move. Nope. They stayed right where they were. I had to run AROUND them. Did I mention this was a race? Did I mention I was last already? Thanks ducks, for heaping on the embarrassment. Those people were definitely laughing AT me and not with me. So as you can see, any awards I won for running were usually because the awards outnumbered the runners in the race...

But I truly do like to run. There's something very freeing about just pounding the pavement, breathing in and out, and talking to God along the way. Lately, I've been exercising a little at home. I turn on some music and do some crunches and push-ups and do some generally ridiculous dancing to get my heart going a little. But it's time for something more. When I start reading about my cousin winning running trophies on Facebook(Trophies? Is he really related to me?) and my friend happened to mention she ran 9 MILES last Saturday morning...surely I can do more! Besides, Frank has been going to the gym before work, and I refuse to let him be more in shape than me. If there was a husband vs. wife athletic competition, we would be the laughing stock of the group, but we would probably die trying. We are just competitive like that. A fierce game of horse, croquet, wiffle ball-you name it. You're going down.

Yesterday the weather was perfect for running, so after dinner off I went! It seems there's some areas that jiggle a lot more than they used to...ahem...but other than that, it was a fairly successful run. Not an incredibly long run, but hey, a run none the less. I hope I didn't blind anyone with my white chicken legs. YIKES! I hadn't realized how bad it was until the shorts were on. But as I was running, I came up with a goal. I know myself well enough to know if I don't set any goals, I will run once or twice and not run again until next year sometime. So the goal is by next fall, I will be able to run from my house, around Sullivan Lake, and back home again. I don't know the actual mileage of that, but I'm guessing it's in the 5 to 6 mile range. I'm going to go measure it later this week.

Last night as we were going to bed, Frank and I had a thought. Maybe we could enter a 5K together. Now, I know that we would never be able to run TOGETHER in a race. Our styles are completely different. I'm a slow and steady tortoise. Frank's style is run fast and then take a break a la the hare. Using that analogy...I might win the race! An appealing thought. :) But we both agreed that we would NOT ever win any awards for our age category. Unless we keep running until we're 80. Then we might have a chance if the rest of the competition dies off....

So to keep me motivated and accountable, please ask me during the next few weeks how the running is going. If I know people are going to ask, I might be more likely to stick with it!

Friday, March 13, 2009

My, That's a Mighty Moody Monster Haiku You Have There

Baby wakes me up
Plod down the stairs in the dark
Cat comes and says....food?

Chunky Monkey Boy
Holds his own bottle, mostly
It's dark and quiet

Change clothes and diaper
Happy baby plays with toys
I grab my Bible

Groggily I read
I have a bad attitude
Pray for change in heart

Does it come right now?
It changes slowly with the sun
Not great, but better

I've been in the house
For five days without a break
Sick, sick, kind of well

Surely that attacks
Any sense of perspective
I usually have

Can that be caused by children?
Even if I love them?

If I run away
To a sunny beachy place
I promise to write

Alas, in my head
Vacation will stay for now
My brain's in Fiji

My body it seems
Is a little bit stinky
(No deoderant)

But I will fix it
One luxury I do have
Is my whirlpool tub

This, too, shall pass, right?
Happy Friday the Thirteenth
Blessed, not unlucky

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Short Beth Post

I'm still kind of sick.

Joey is sick but still hyper.

Annabelle is a little tiny bit sick.


That is all I have to say about that.

I might invest in flu shots next year.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Math Problem

1 sick Beth + 1 sick Frank + 3 children under 5 who are NOT sick = 1 long day and a very messy house.

Fortunately I'm at least feeling well enough to sit at the computer for a little bit. Earlier today I didn't even want to move or open my eyes. I'm a wuss. Frank got what I'm referring to as the "plague of death" on Saturday and made it through leading worship at two churches AND finished a term paper for his seminary class. Now me on the other hand....the plague was unleashed upon me last night and I have alternated from laying on the couch and laying in bed. My big feat of the day was taking out the trash before collapsing in a weepy, snuggie bedecked heap on the couch. Does anyone else tend to cry about everything when they're sick like I do? But like I said, I'm much better for the moment. So in honor of NOT feeling like lukewarm death, here's my list of things that kept me going today:

1. The song, I Love You, Lord sung in my head replacing words like "song" and "voice" with words like "thoughts." I dunno why. It's just one of those weird things I've done for a long time.
2. Baby Jay smiling at me no matter how horrible I look. He loves his mommy!
3. Equate brand acetaminophen taken every 4 hours.
4. Wet washclothes.
5. Orange juice.
6. Annabelle being extremely helpful today beyond her 4 1/2 little years.
7. Our "new" hand-me-down couch. It's got recliners built in! Score!
8. Frank loading the dishwasher so I wouldn't be overwhelmed tomorrow.
9. Of course, my snuggie.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Little is Much

2 Corinthians 8

And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.

Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."


I know this is a big chunk o' Bible verses, but it really challenged me this week. Do I excel in the grace of giving? Do I demonstrate my sincere love when I give? Do I give with Jesus in mind, who became impoverished just for me?

What an encouraging and beautiful picture this is, too. I don't have to be the biggest giver. I can only give out of what I have. But I must first give myself to God, and then to others to see where my "too much" can best be used.

There's an old song that goes like this:

Little is much, when God is in it
Labor not for wealth or fame
There's a crown and you can win it
When you go in Jesus name

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Powdered Gold

No, I'm not talking about those dumb Cash4Gold commercials that I have memorized because they get played more than your momma's Gaither records...

I'm talking about baby formula.

Really, why is it so expensive? It is milk. Powdered. Although if you read the label, the ingredients look like a chemistry lab blew up. The cheapest can I can find for a small can is about $10, and it's regulated so you know it's pretty much the same stuff whether you get the cheap stuff or the expensive stuff. I'm sure the answer lies somewhere in how our capitalistic economy works, but it somehow seems wrong to profit so much off of a necessity, even though it happens with a lot of products I guess. Maybe I'm naive.

And why is it getting harder to buy? At least in our area, Wal-mart has pulled formula from the shelves and it is now a behind the counter item. When I asked...I suspected I knew why...but it still kind of jarred me. Because it was getting stolen. A lot.

My first thought was...well...what about WIC? And after doing a little research, I found MY family might qualify for WIC. I don't know whether that's a good or bad thing. It seems fairly easy to qualify. Why would someone steal formula instead?

The only things I can come up with are that:
A. There must be information that they ask for that people don't want to give. The risk of stealing is worth not disclosing this information.
B. You can be sanctioned(stop receiving services, usually because of trouble with the law) or something similar like with the TANF program (food stamps).
C. It's easier to steal the formula than follow the system like you're supposed to.
D. There are some people out there who are very numb to sin.
E. WIC is maxed out and turning people away.
F. A combination of all of the above.

Whatever the reason, it is one of the only things in this floundering economy that has effected me personally so far. I was out of formula today and I stopped at the discount store. They don't even carry formula. Wal-mart means asking for it specifically. The locally owned grocery store (most expensive in town) still has it on the shelf.

I am thankful that I can feed my baby when he's hungry, WIC or no WIC. Would I steal food for my children if I couldn't find another way to feed them? I really don't know. How many babies in my own town will be hungry tonight? That makes me overwhelmingly sad. I hate bringing up stuff like this when there's no solution in sight. But if nothing else, it makes me see just how broken our world is. The people are broken. The system is broken. The churches are broken. Our country is in need of Jesus. And one of the ways to show Jesus to someone might be in the form of providing a simple can of formula.

Deut. 15:10-11
"Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land."

Update: Ok, looks like I was a little off on my reasoning. Probably why I'm not a criminal... I thought stealing formula meant you wanted or needed formula. Silly me. I guess you might just want money! I guess that goes under reason D. Check this article out. Hopefully this means less hungry babies (Whew, I was about to start buying extra cans to give away, and I still plan to find out if this IS a problem), but it sure doesn't look like the world is any less broken...