Monday, May 19, 2014

how to grocery shop with multiple littles

2014-03-05 09.00.32

Ideally, I'd always shop alone. But that's just not life.

So in the mean time, I thought I'd share how I shop with multiple littles in tow. Currently I have two boys, 3 and under, who accompany me to the grocery stores. Next month we'll be adding a newborn to the mix. And yes, I fully intend to continue shopping the same way. Thank goodness for baby carriers!

Before we get into the details of how I shop, I need to explain our family philosophy:

For us, when a child is born into our family, they become a part of our already established family. You might be saying, duh, that's obvious isn't it? But allow me to explain further. What I mean by the child becoming a part of the family is that they are not in any way, shape or form the focus of our family. Even when it was just Isaac. Instead of everything revolving around my children, they are simply included in the everyday going-ons of our family as a whole. We are not a child-centered family.

One specific example of this is grocery shopping. Not only are they included in this activity, but they are expected to behave while doing it! It's just a part of life. And because they have both accompanied me on almost every shopping trip, they are used to it and guess what, they do behave! because that is the expectation.

What does grocery shopping look like for us?
To give you a bit of background, you can see how I menu plan and prep for shopping here. Basically we shop for 2 weeks at one time, every 2 weeks. Once my list is completed, we head out, usually first thing in the morning. The reason for this is two-fold: 1. the stores are close to empty so Isaac can wander outside of the cart without getting into anyone's way. 2. I feed them breakfast at the first stop rather than at home so we can get going first thing.

We always go to three stores in one trip. Yes, I take both kids to 3 different stores. It usually takes about 2 hours, which is one of the benefits of having almost the same exact shopping list each time. I know the stores, I know exactly where everything I need is and we are in and out.

At the first stop, which for us is Kroger, Eli sits in the top part of the shopping cart (when he was still a baby I wore him in the Ergo and Isaac sat in the cart). Isaac usually sits in the big part while he eats his donut and then gets out to walk as the cart begins to fill up. I give neither kid toys, ipads, iphones or anything to distract them (I'm not going to say that those things are necessarily bad, but just that using them teaches a child they get what they want and aren't expected to behave otherwise. Besides, we severely limit any screen time in our house). Instead, we talk about what's going on around us and what we see. I ask Isaac questions about the items we are picking out, especially in the produce section. The only "distraction" they get is our first stop to pick out a donut for Isaac and a bagel for Eli. It usually takes them about half the trip to eat. 

2014-02-05 08.45.00

One suggestion when picking out food for your children to eat while you shop: Either pick something that has a barcode to scan- and be sure to keep it so you can pay for it! or pick an "each" item. This would include any bakery item or a produce item that is priced each rather than by the pound. If you pick something by the pound, it becomes impossible for the cashier to ring you up for the correct amount since your child will have eaten the item (believe me, as a previous grocery cashier, this was a total pet peeve!)

Another suggestion with older children would be to have them help you shop. Give them their own list to shop for or let them know what to look for on each aisle and in the produce section. Involve them in the activity.

Oh and always ask for stickers at the checkout for the kiddos. Isaac always remembers to ask and has quite the collection these days.

Our second stop is Trader Joe's. Here Eli sits in the cart and Isaac walks. Some TJ's have kids' carts which can be a great way to get them involved. Our's does not. This one is usually a quick trip because I only get a handful of items, but they're essentials! TJ's is the easiest trip for us because Isaac is always on the look out for the kangaroo so he can get his treasure at the end of the trip. There are also plenty of yummy samples at the back of the store which I always give to the kids.

From there we head to Sam's Club. I love Sam's because there is room in the cart for both kids! So both sit in it. By now, we've run out of food so they are expected to simply shop without any distraction at all. Again, we have conversations the entire time we shop. There is plenty to look at and talk about in a big box store so they usually do very well. Isaac's favorite part comes toward the end when we stop in the meat department to watch the rotisserie chickens spin. I don't know why, but he loves it. From there we check out, load up the car and head home!

There is really nothing special about how we shop or what we do while we shop. But the one huge piece of advice I would give to all parents is that if you plan to take your kiddos shopping, start doing it while they are very young and do it often. The more they go, the more used to it they are, the more it becomes a normal part of life and the better they will behave.

Do my kids sometimes complain or fuss? Yeah. They're kids. But for the most part, our trips are quite enjoyable and a part of daily life.

I'm curious, do you take your kids grocery shopping? What tips or tricks do you have for shopping with them and staying sane?

Monday, May 12, 2014

day in the life // 05.08.14

See other week and day in the life posts here

2014-05-08 07.43.492014-05-08 08.04.462014-05-08 08.18.422014-05-08 08.19.362014-05-08 08.10.532014-05-08 08.15.382014-05-08 09.17.282014-05-08 09.24.302014-05-08 09.35.302014-05-08 09.37.232014-05-08 10.00.252014-05-08 10.46.502014-05-08 11.37.342014-05-08 13.12.502014-05-08 13.17.122014-05-08 13.49.022014-05-08 16.10.352014-05-08 16.41.282014-05-08 17.26.02
2014-05-08 18.17.012014-05-08 18.41.29
2014-05-08 22.24.42-1

quiet time alone in bed. Isaac hangs out with his dad before work
get dressed and head to the kitchen 
wake up this sleeping monster
prepare breakfast (bagel and cream cheese with fruit)
water all the plants and grass outside
outside playtime
back inside to clean up- unloading the dishwasher
tot school. Isaac is matching lower case and upper case letters
snack time and Daniel Tiger on TV while I check email
free play with beans
(we eat lunch somewhere in here but I didn't snap a photo)
while Eli naps I set up a craft for Isaac- Mother's Day Cards for grandmas
and then free play for Isaac before his quiet time/nap time
working on Project Life while the kids sleep
a quick snack and some reading before they wake up
dinner prep
dinner- fried egg and chipotle bacon sandwiches with an avocado/tomato/lime mayo on sourdough plus fruit salad
Eli's first hair cut. It was time, dontcha think?
after the boys went to bed I cleaned and relaxed on the couch with Ben (not pictured)
reading in bed before lights out

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

the extent they'll go to normalize abortion

A message for Obama.

Initially I had just planned to post my feelings about this on Facebook (which I did) but as I said there, there are about 28974938 rants I could go on after reading about the woman, Emily, who filmed her abortion. If you're unsure of what I'm talking about, you can read her article (from Cosmo magazine) here and there is a link to the video if you feel so inclined to watch. I honestly can't. I cannot bring myself to watch someone cheerfully and happily murder her own child, while filming it for all to see, under the guise of showing abortion in a positive light.

Excuse me while I go vomit.

There are several things I'd like to address and comment on. Full disclosure: I have not read a single article, blog post or response to this yet because I wanted to be able to write my thoughts first without distraction.

First of all, the entire article disgusted me. Her casual, unconcerned, nonchalant attitude. Her flippant, negligent and irresponsible behavior, that she so blatantly admits to with little to no apology, in sleeping around and not using birth control. Her unconcern for using abortion as a form of birth control. And of course, her complete disregard and disrespect for her very own child.

We sometimes argue within the pro-life community about whether or not women who choose abortion are victims themselves. That they are coerced or backed into a corner and feel they have no other choice. They choose abortion as a last resort because they are literally convinced that there is not a single other option in their situation. And yes, there are post-abortive women who would say that is exactly what happened to them.

This woman, she is not one of those.

This woman premeditated the murder of her own child. She happily chose abortion. And then she took the time to decide how she could "use it" to show other women that abortion could be a positive thing. A positive experience. Really?

There really are no words.

She even says in the article, "every time I watch the video, I love it. I love how positive it is."

Sorry, I need to go vomit again.

You love it? You love watching yourself murder your own child? That's a positive thing? That is the most sick, twisted and sadistic thing that I think I've read in a really long time. Or ever. I mean,  you were a mother. You were entrusted with the life of an individual, separate, innocent, fragile, dependent human being. You were responsible for that tiny little person's whole being, his/her whole life and you snuffed it out. And for what? The sake of entertainment? So you could encourage other women to do the same thing to their children? That is the most negative thing I can possibly think of. No, it's not just negative, it's down right evil.

You know what else is the opposite of good and positive? The recent attempt from abortion advocates to equate abortion to birth, that somehow the two are similar in experience and validity. Honestly, I think a concept like that is so absurd that it doesn't deserve a response because, I mean, logic. But apparently we aren't dealing with logic here, so I will respond.

Emily says in what I find to be the most disturbing paragraph of her article,

"I was focused on staying positive and feeling the love from everyone in the room. I am so lucky that I knew everyone involved, and I was so supported. I remember breathing and humming through it like I was giving birth. I know that sounds weird, but to me, this was as birth-like as it could be. It will always be a special memory for me. I still have my sonogram, and if my apartment were to catch fire, it would be the first thing I'd grab."

Wait a minute. Let me see if I can get this straight. If there was a fire in your apartment, you'd save a printed photo of your baby from being destroyed? A printed photo? An inanimate object that intrinsically carries absolutely no value whatsoever. And yet, you so quickly, with what seemed like absolutely no thought or concern at all, destroyed the very baby who is in the photo?

Am I in some alternate universe here? Is this for real? My heart is broken for you Emily.

And oh, there are so many other insane statements in that paragraph above, it makes my head spin. But let's focus on the part where she attempts to equate her abortion experience with birth, like that is even possible. In case you're questioning if it is, I assure you, it's not. Abortion and the birth of a baby are diametrically opposed to one another. The ending of a child's life through abortion is the exact opposite of bringing a new life in to the world through birth.

She mentions earlier in the article that there are now abortion doulas. Again, how disgusting. Birth is a natural, God-designed, amazing, and beautiful experience and event. A woman was designed to carry, nurture, grow and sustain life. After 9 months she, through something that is so unique and so incredible, and through something that happens naturally as a part of an amazing plan, brings that life into the world. From there she continues to carry, nurture, grow and sustain the life of her child for years. That's the design. And it's beautiful.

A doula's job is to support that natural process, that birth, that process of bringing life into the world. It angers me that there are people who call themselves doulas and use that title to do something so very opposite. Abortion completely denies, rejects and even sacrifices the very natural design of women. And a so-called abortion doula, instead of supporting what it means to be a woman, promotes, supports and encourages a woman to deny her very nature and end the life of her own child.

But let's get back to Emily. At one point she mentions a woman who came to her as the result of her video, but not because she had also experienced an abortion. She writes, "Another woman told me she'd had a miscarriage and that because of my video she felt like she could talk to me about it."

Let's make one thing absolutely clear: miscarriage and abortion are not alike. And the fact that this woman approaches her abortion so light-heartedly should be downright offensive to those of us who have experienced a miscarriage.

You see, when I saw the two lines of my pregnancy test, I was elated. It's one of the most incredible feelings you'll ever experience, when you've been so desperately wanting a baby and you are given confirmation that yes, you are with child. But during the weeks that followed, I started to notice signs that told me something just wasn't right. And I started to worry I was losing my baby. I went in for an ultrasound so my doctor could check to see what was going on. And I have to tell ya, the moment your doctor says, "there's no heartbeat," that is the very worst feeling in the whole world.

Don't try and tell me that somehow you ending your own child's life and me losing the life of a child that I so desperately wanted is anything remotely alike. It's nothing alike. It can never be alike. The only similarity in all of this is that now, we're both mothers, whether we planned it or not. Whether those babies are alive or not. And my prayer for you Emily, right now, is that you'll acknowledge that in your heart. That your eyes would be opened to the truth that you were given the gift of life and that you chose to end it. You carried a child in your womb and you ended her life. That was your choice and there will be consequences for it.

But you know what else is true? Jesus forgives. And He is holding your baby in His arms right now. And He wants you to turn from your sin, toward Him, mourning the wickedness of your actions but looking to Him for hope of a new life. And He will graciously and lovingly give you just that: a new life, a new heart.

To any woman who is reading this right now and has abortion in her past, that is also true for you. There is forgiveness, healing and hope in Jesus. All you have to do is seek Him. If you or anyone you know has had an abortion and needs hope, please visit this website, contact a pregnancy center near you, ask about post-abortive healing and get help.

My final comment in all of this is just a request to everyone who is as appalled by this article as I am: stop buying and reading Cosmopolitan magazine. The money you give to them is supporting things like this. Junk like this. I can't imagine that you want your hard-earned dollars to go toward a campaign of attempting to normalize and put into a positive light, something so heinous and tragic as abortion. So please, I beg you, stop buying it, stop reading it. Just stop.

Monday, May 5, 2014

looking forward to a new season

2014-04-20 10.13.20

I haven't posted much about this pregnancy on the blog so you may be thinking, "oh she's pregnant?" or "when is she having that baby?" But yeah, we're about 5-6 weeks out from meeting this little lady of ours. And no, we still have no name for her. I don't know why, but choosing a girl name has been far more difficult than it was to pick the boys' names. It feels like there's more pressure to get it right. Yes, we do have a list but so far nothing that just stands out and we absolutely love. So I'm going to just say, don't be surprised if we wait to decide until she actually arrives. 

But, I've been thinking lately, it's wonderful that this baby girl is due in the beginning of June. Although it's not the official start of summer, in Vegas, by then, we'll be well into the hot temperatures of summer and so for us, it will be summer. 

That means the start of a new season.

Like literally, she will be born right at the transition from spring to summer. A new season. A new start. A new change. We'll be wearing a different wardrobe and playing outside with a different set of toys. Our dinners will be made of different ingredients and we'll be preparing more of them outside on the grill rather than inside in the oven. The fruits we eat will be different (yay for watermelon and peaches and berries!!). The flowers that fill our home will be different from those of spring. There will be more time for family activities and most of them will include water. Speaking of, all the pools will be open and we'll be spending a lot of time swimming. Little ones will be enrolled in swim lessons.

And you know what's funny, I never look forward to summer. I really dislike summer. But this year the Lord has granted it an entirely new meaning, because aside from summer simply being a new season, with this baby's arrival it will be the start of another new season entirely.

I'll be transitioning from a mother of 2 to a mother of 3. As a family we'll go from a family of 4 to a family of 5. Five. That just sounds like a straight up party to me! (But seriously, I'm not that naive ;) We'll be welcoming a new life into our home, into our family. And we'll be welcoming a girl into a home that's been completely dominated by boys for the past 3 years. Our hearts will be more full. There will be more love, more adoration, more delight. But there will also be more craziness, frustration, sleepless nights, and learning to do. A new person means a new personality. And that means a new need for us to get to know her and how she works and what she needs.

All that sounds both wonderful and exhausting, but that's what comes with a new season. A new adventure. A new change. And you guys, we are so looking forward to this new season, which is a good thing because it is right around the corner!

Okay, on top of all of that, I can't tell you how excited I am to just not be pregnant during summer! Like, whoa was God's timing perfect. And I'll get to wear regular clothes (non-maternity) for at least the last part of summer. That is going to be glorious! Mommas, you know what I'm talking about.