Simple Tips for Bringing the Circus to Target

Maybe you’ve been stuck inside for a few days and need a change of scenery. Maybe you’re out of an essential household item: toilet paper, coffee, Lindt truffles and aren’t thinking straight as a result. Or maybe you have older children that can actually verbalize their needs (“Mom, can I please get new pants. My friends think I’ve started wearing lady’s capris.”) and today is the only day free to buy them what they need.

Whatever the reason, you’re facing the possibility of loading up the van with a gaggle of children, at least one bag of supplies (diapers, wipes, sippy cups, hip flask, etc.) and you’re still in yesterday’s clothes…or is it the outfit from two days ago?…. never mind… You can do this!

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It’s like the Magic Kingdom for poor moms.

Five tips to surviving Target with a barrel of monkeys.

1. Leave right after everyone has eaten something. I don’t care what it is, so long as there is food in their stomachs. Then announce you’re not buying any. food. at the cafe or to snack on, unless that’s your favorite brand of hell. Maybe it’s Lent and you’re feeling in need of a good mortification, then fine, otherwise the more gorged the better.

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Oh man, I can hardly wait to run off, get lost in women’s intimates and make mom cry….again.

2. Maybe you’re out of food at home and that’s why you’re heading to Target. Okay then. Maybe you need that cafe visit carrot to dangle in front of your kids, lest they never leave the Lego aisle. Fine. Just be sure to loudly announce your intentions as you walk through the store so everyone else will know to clear out for the crazy lady from the day care and you’ll have no trouble snagging a table or seven for your well-rounded meal of popcorn, pretzels, slushies and a bag of apple slices someone will promptly dump on the floor.

3. If your older children want to bring money to buy themselves something, just accept that it’s going to suck and be a total waste of their money. Take a deep breath and just smile when they take the only $3 they have and blow it on plastic junk from the dollar bins because “I have to buy something! Yes! I REALLY want this!!!”

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Let’s be sure to stock up on more barbed wire for your floor while we’re here.

4. If you’re not going to buy their good behavior with a toy, pretend like, you’ll totally remember to get them this exact Barbie dress / action figure with oversized hands for their birthday…in eight months. Take a picture to act like you share a special bond with said child over this hideous piece of imported garbage. “Oh no, I wouldn’t want to forget this for the world!!”

5. You’re not going to enjoy yourself. Even if you pick up a Rubbermaid trashcan, drag it to the Starbucks counter and order the barista, with just a hint of madness in your voice, to “Fill it to the top with (your favorite calorie boost) and damn right I want whipped cream.” I mean, I do that anyway because then I’m numb to the cashiers chatter about saving 5% and whatever she mentioned about Teddy driving out the door into the parking lot. Know that when you get home, the rest of your day is shot so be sure to pick up some frozen pizzas. But, rest assured, this trip to Target will remain in the children’s memory much longer than any other special day trip you may plan for them (zoo, historic reenactment homestead, family reunion).

Grandparent or adult who cares: “Hey kids, what did you do last week?”

ANY child of mine: “Oh, uh, nothing…I guess.”

Me: “Wait, don’t you remember we went to the Wetlands Nature Center? And learned about ecosystems? Remember how fun and education it was????”

Same favorite child: “Oh yeah. But OH! We also went to Target and I bought a new Lego minifigure with the last of my money and even though I already had it, it’s cool. Plus Mama bought us all juice boxes. We were also going to have apple slices, but Teddy dumped them on the floor so we ate cookies instead!”

I’m currently in the midst of a Target hangover. The regret, the sickness, feeling guilt about all the over-indulgence. Ugh. So much better when I indulge in Target alone. No one to rub in the fact that I agreed to spend way too much money on a pair of pajamas with Minions on them.

So anyway, don’t forget these tips next time you need to shop and remember this old saying, “Beer before liquor, never be sicker. Liquor before Target and everyone has a good time.” #bullseye

{SQT} Favorite Takers of the Quick

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I’m a pretty busy gal, but I always enjoy reading through everyone’s takes week after week. Admittedly, I can’t read all the takes, every week, but I do read a bunch and occasionally I’ll leave a wordy comment that includes an abundance of caps, italics and quotation marks. (Since I can’t use hand gestures when I write online, I’ve learned to make do.)

This week, seven of my favorite Quick Takes posts from the previous week’s link up.

1. I just found all of Jenny’s takes hilarious and very relatable this week. 

While I was sweeping up the mid-sized mountain of food on the floor after dinner last night, my 3-year-old came over with her plastic toy cell phone and started pressing the button that makes camera noises.

I asked what she was doing and she answered, “Taking pictures of the mess for my blog” and continued snapping away.

I fear for how this blog might be molding her young brain.

2. Having just made a quick trip to NYC, I enjoyed Grace’s takes on meeting celebrities (which has never happened to me while in the Big Apple), pet obsessions,  and what Upstate NY means to residents of NYC vs people who actually live in Upstate New York (which was me for three bitterly cold years immediately following college.) Plus a great safari story.

A year ago March I went on a real safari in South Africa.  The kind in which you sign a waiver in case you get eaten alive walking about camp, and ride out at unholy hours of the morning in an uncovered jeep to spot rhinoceros and hippos and lions and such.  It was incredible…

3. It’s been almost a year since I finished my 35K4SMA and I don’t miss running at. all. Seven races did nothing to whet my appetite for repeatedly banging my feet into the ground. I’m content now to walk; alone, with my husband, with the kids, on the boardwalk, at the track. So long as at least one foot is on the ground at all times and I’m not too sweaty. However, if you’re thinking about taking up running, Lisette has some great takes. I second her recommendations to try a Couch to 5K app and to incorporate prayer into your run.

 Initially, I started praying when I was looking up a big hill, praying a decade of the rosary to get me to the top! Towards the end of the C25k, I found that jogging was a good way to incorporate prayer into my routine. Now, I often pray a whole rosary during my jog. And I offer up any suffering! Its also a good way just to get some head space and think about any ideas / problems or figure out what’s for dinner!

4. Spring picture books of all kinds! Mary has you covered! With a twaddle free guarantee. (From me, not her, so don’t go bugging her for your money back if you don’t like something.)

When our oldest had not yet started preschool, I started a home library. I turned to homeschooling bloggers for lists of books that would be beautiful, informative, and interesting both for the reader and the child. I found a treasure trove of resources. The more blog posts I read, the more I learned about the importance of reading books to young children that were meaty. I had come up empty-handed too many times when we would take trips to our local library. I had no idea where to begin and so I would just allow the children to start grabbing what looked interesting to them. Nine times out of ten, the books that were attractive to the children were full of fluff and nonsense. So, to help you moms out there who may be feeling the same way about the junk you’re finding at your public library, I have compiled a list of all our favorite books having to do with spring.

5. Have some time to kill? Looking for something funny, yet more intellectual than a typical Buzzfeed list? Try a Google Patent Search. Ronni found seven funny inventions, and I challenge you to do the same.

6. & 7. (Plus a bonus!)  It’s spring and love is in the air and it’s infected the realm of Quick Takes! Rounding out my list, with three bloggers sharing tips for those times when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie.

Who reading this isn’t tired? Making time for your spouse when you’re exhausted can be hard. Tacy offers up a reminder to keep on keeping on, and tips for how to do so when your brain is mush. 

Recently, my husband turned to me and said, “I’m really glad you run the dishwasher every night. It is so nice to wake up to clean dishes everyday.” For a while, I ran it inconsistently, such as after breakfast when we had enough dishes to fill it up. Now, even if there is some extra space (there usually isn’t!), I just run it after dinner. Stephen noticed- and said something about it.  It’s the little things, that- when noticed- become a soft spot for me. When I notice that he is working really hard on his studies, or in the yard, or does overtime for work, I tell him I’m proud of him. I can tell I’m not alone when I say that to feel appreciated? It improves the love and chemistry between us. Especially when I’m tired.

Kristen has seven at home date nights! And while I usually like to get out of my house (since that’s where all my children live) sometimes, it’s nice to send them elsewhere and just spend time at home with the hubs. My fav suggestion; (if you substitute cider or wine for beer…and maybe make it cheese instead of pretzels…but you get the idea!)

Beer tasting + homemade pretzels. Pick up 6 different beers from your local grocery store (preferably fun ones neither of you have had before). Taste them and try to guess their flavors before revealing what kind it is? Enjoy some pretzels too. You could even mimic Old Chicago’s World Beer Tour and keep track of all the different places the beer was brewed. See how many different places you could map in a year.

Happy Anniversary Ellen and thanks for these great mushy quotes on love and marriage! I’ll be bookmarking these for our next anniversary. Finally I’ll be able to write something in Tony’s card besides, “I love you and I still think you’re hot. xo”

“Intense love does not measure; it just gives.” (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta) This quote so perfectly illustrates the sacrificial love of marriage and, indeed, of any relationship. I see this illustrated every day when my husband goes above and beyond to sacrifice for our family. I try to live this quote: every morning I wake up and think, “What can I do to make my husband’s life easier today?”

Did you have any favorite reads this week? Link ’em up! And don’t forget to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Seven Quick Takes. As always, I look forward to reading your posts!


Sunday Funday Into Manic Monday

I finally feel well rested enough to start my week, though I’m not sure if I have enough added energy for all the catching up I need to do. But, how about a little recap of some of family fun?

We spent the past weekend in Virginia with my husband’s oldest brother’s family. The weather was gorgeous, and my kids had a great time with their cousins. The only bad part was the inevitable gridlock we hit on 95 South on Friday. We never hit open highway from Northern Maryland down. With all the stop and go, most of the kids got motion sickness, except for Fulton who just pretended to be sick, then spit repeatedly into a plastic grocery bag because it was hilarious.

Sunday afternoon we went to the Marine Corp museum in Quantico and if you’re ever in the area I highly recommend going. First it’s free, second, it’s awesomely accessible and third, the exhibits are top notch. It was our second trip in six years, so it felt pretty brand new to the kids. The older ones ran on ahead, absorbing as little of history as possible, while Tony and I navigated Teddy and Fulton through the galleries, stopping mostly to point out guns, vehicles and really big vehicles with mounted guns. Fulton was in his manual chair but Teddy took full advantage of the wide open spaces to drive around at top speed and equally entertain and terrify passersby. Once he actually woke up that is.

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marine weapons

WEAPONS!!!

For added cuteness:

marine corp museum

2009

marine corp museum update

2015 (Byron was SO excited to recreate this photo for us.)

Sunday night, the adults headed out to a wine festival at the home of George Washington, Mt. Vernon. Tony and I had never been and we enjoyed getting a brief look around the grounds and a tour of the home without having to listen to “This is boring. Can we skip this exhibit? Who cares???” that usually accompanies a family visit to such an establishment. There were a few times I thought, “Oh, this is neat! I can’t wait to tell the kids! We should bring them back here!” But I must have already tried too many wine samples because I know full well my enthusiasm would be met with at best a forced smile or as usual an eye roll. “But just look at the conditions of the shoemakers shop! How is this not the coolest thing ever?! It even smells like leather!!!”

It was nice enjoying an event without worrying about Teddy driving off into the Potomac river or Fulton crashing into and damaging a historic structure. A coupe times I instinctively thought, “Oh wait, I can’t see the kids..where did they all run off to? I hope they’re not bothering the re-enactors!!!” Only to remember, they were at home with their eyeballs glued to one of the Lord of the Rings movie.

President Washington and his wife Martha even made an appearance, but George made a point of saying they did not have overnight accommodations for everyone. We tried to argue for some floor space in the dining room to no avail. I think it was because of Tony’s beard. The president bluntly stated only sailors and pioneers have beards and he offered to bring someone to give Tony a cold water and razor shave. Tony politely declined.

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Of course no one gets home and to bed at an early hour from a wine festival. So our Monday morning 9 a.m. departure was especially painful, and not just because of long goodbyes. Thankfully traffic was on our side with only one accident holding us up; mostly because the driver in front of us slowed down (almost hit a couple traffic cones) and took pictures.

I was glad to be home…..for three hours before I drove up north to catch a train to NYC to see my sister’s last performance in the city. Her show was great, and a good crowd came out. Once again, the occasion called for staying out way too late, and then forcing myself to get up around 6 a.m. to try to catch a train home at a reasonable hour.

Thankfully, I got home Tuesday just in time to start school with the kids. Phew! What a relief I didn’t’ miss that!!

The remainder of the week looks blissfully empty of extra activities until Saturday. I’ll either get the pool cleaned out for the start of the summer season or lay around on the couch checking Facebook to celebrate.