1. I’m finishing up a few things and will mail out your caption contest prizes this weekend. Some of you will receive hats (most of them are kiddo size) and some of you will receive happy polka dot garland and some of you will receive surprises.
2. Holy Elflings, y’all came through Monday on the stocking patterns! Within 2 hours, I had 10 new websites and photos to check out. This weekend is Make Stockings weekend. I’m sorta kinda really excited.
3. I’ve been really bad about taking photos that include ME in them this past month. I am hoping to do better over the holidays. My kids are going to wonder what their mother looked like.
4. I believe you will recognize the cast in the following story despite their Stage Names.
Once upon a time, a weary mom threw on a clean t-shirt and the closest shoes she could find that sorta of matched her black sweat pants. She wrangled both children into the car and drove 45 minutes to a large box store that was known to have clothing, shoes, linens, foundations, and luggage. She was in need of all these things and, feeling particularly brave that day, decided she was up to the task of Public Parenting Whilst Productively Shopping.
[switch to present-tense for added drama] As their Subaru enters the parking lot, a large thunder-clap applauds their arrival. The heavens open and water acres of pavement surrounding Big Box Store. Crazy Mom carries both children inside, hitches her sweat pants back up, throws the youngest one in the weird shopping cart/stroller combo and then perches the oldest on TOP of the weird shopping cart/stroller combo.
Certainty #1 when attempting Productive Shopping: the children must be attached or restrained at all times.
Crazy mom navigates around the Millers and Stand-Abouts and Aisle Blockers, throwing children’s socks and women’s underwear in the cart as she passes. There is no time to stop and be picky, and that’s how Child #1 ends up with green undershirts.
Finding the Luggage Aisle is a miracle, but Crazy Mom is rewarded with a BUY ONE GET ONE 1/2 OFF deal. What?! After 33.9 years of luggage with no wheels, the woman will return with TWO, I repeat TWO, wheelie ma-bobs!
Certainty #2 when attempting Productive Shopping: you must enlist the help of the children.
Crazy mom demonstrates the Pulling Technique of the large, oversized luggage full of smaller, undersized luggage. Look! Wheels! Retractable Handle! Full to Roll, yes? Child #1 is skeptical. Crazy mom promises candy because, short of stashing Child #2 and weird stroller/cart combo IN THE luggage aisle, there is no way to get these beasts up to the front without an additional driver.
Crazy mom leads the way to the front of the store. Luggage set #1 is in one hand, weird stroller/cart combo and Child #2 in the other. Child #1 is close behind, thrilled to be driving ANYTHING that will lead her to candy. They re-navigate around the Millers and Stand-Abouts and Aisle Blockers and get in line to check out.
Certainty #3 when attempting Productive Shopping: upon being ready to pay, a child will require a trip to the bathroom.
Child #1 begins to squirm. Crazy mom immediately recognizes the Potty Dance and scans the Big Box for options. They are, she is told by the lady behind her, at the VERY BACK OF THE STORE. Of course they are. Making eye contact with the cashier, Crazy mom stashes the RIDICULOUSLY ON SALE LUGGAGE to the side, throws Child #1 back on top of the weird stroller/cart thing, and pushes Child #2 back down into the seat he is so desperately trying to escape.
Certainty #4 when attempting Productive Shopping: the Millers and Stand-Abouts and Aisle Blockers will multiply when you are in a Hail Mary Potty Situation. Exponentially.
The ridiculous family makes it to the potty but has to leave the weird cart/stroller thing with merchandise OUTSIDE the potty because, ew. Crazy mom is holding Squirmy Child #1 and ushering Child #2 into an open, oops next one sorry, stall just go with the door open I cannot fit in there with you. Child #1 performs admirably.
Crazy Mom and family make it back to the front of the store, re-aquire the luggage, and re-enter the check-out line. Child #1 is restless and begins to play Pretend Cashier in an empty Cashier Booth. She is the Doll of the Check Out Lanes. Everyone admires her. Crazy Mom begins to unload her weird stroller/cart thing and open every single piece of BOTH luggage sets because… because the lady said she had to. The lady then says, “I will honor that expired coupon. You were an amazing shopper today.”
Certainty #4 when attempting Productive Shopping: things may begin to unravel at the end.
Crazy Mom is just about to lean over and Kiss the Cashier when she hears the BEEP of an impending announcement over the Big Box Intercom system. Everyone, like you do, pauses and looks up to hear the latest news. They are greeted with a squeaky but confident,
courtesy of Child #1 whose game of Cashier has apparently turned into a part-time job as Greeter during the holiday season. She is talking into the receiver of the phone at Empty Cashier Station #4 and is none the wiser that 300 people can are now her captive audience. The Millers and Stand-Abouts and Aisle Blockers are confused. Is this a game? The managers at the front begin flipping through their Procedure Booklet. The Cashier simply applauds and asks to see Crazy Mom’s identification.
Crazy Mom retrieves Child #1. Cashier begins to shake with laughter. Crazy Mom pays Cashier. Child #2 realizes he is hungry and begins to partially disrobe Crazy Mom. Crazy Mom books it to the car, escorted by a torrent of rain. She turns around after buckling all 15 million car seat straps to find Cashier running out to her with the brand new luggage that was going to be retrieved with an illegal “Leave your kids in the Car for 15 seconds” maneuver.
But sometimes the kindness of people surprises you and you don’t have to be illegal.
And sometimes you find a package of goldfish crackers on the floorboard to quell a child’s hunger.
And sometimes you actually get everything on your list.