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Four Boys: Spreading the Joy of Large Families Everywhere I Go

This weekend was a doozy. Thursday night we dropped off Kylie and her kids to head on to their next adventure, then attended a Cub Scout Pack meeting. Friday afternoon I met with a birth client, then we headed to my parents’ house to celebrate my mom’s birthday with pizza, cheesecake and chocolate torte. Mordecai was in a dark and broody mood and Apollo was whiny and tired. Chaos ensued and one child stormed out of the house and another threw a plate across the room. Happy birthday, Mom!


Saturday morning I attended just the first part of a Ladies’ Tea at our church. I am apparently missing the gene that appreciates tea cups and flowers and coordinated napkins, but it was great to visit (and get out of my house, alone, for a bit). I finished the Milo Baby Vest I was working on and started a new one (lots of new babies on the way). I left early so Chuck could head out with the teens to a band competition in another city. Judah had a friend performing that he wanted to go watch.

That left me with six kids at home (the oldest 12-year-old Mordecai) and in desperate need of groceries. Oh, and I needed to deliver photos to a client. I was in denial most of the afternoon…”it will be okay” I told myself. I will leave at four, buy groceries, feed the kids dinner then deliver the photos to my client. It wasn’t until I was ready to walk out the door that I realized taking a nine-year old with a broken foot grocery shopping would be challenging. A neighbor kindly volunteered to watch Avi (oh, the wonders of Facebook) and Jubilee stayed with her as well. That left me with only four boys to take shopping in the pouring rain. For the sake of anonymity, I’ll call my four boys: Grumpy, Witty, Rascal and Whiny.

It was pouring down rain. Our chosen store was more crowded than Costco on a Canadian Holiday. We somehow ended up trailing a couple who was, I hope, dressed for a Halloween party. The man was dressed as a pimp and woman as his, ah, friend. My boys took turns “helping” me get groceries. At one point during our frantic, desperate search for a cucumber, Witty said, “Don’t you find it ironic that they sell cactus leaves, but not cucumbers?

I was desperate to feed my kids a quick, cheap and filling dinner and opted for hot dogs. If  you know me at all, you know that I rather despise hot dogs, but  desperate times call for desperate measures. They fit the three point agenda (cheap, fast, filling) and the kids like them. Sold.

We finally made it to the check out line and I let the kids each pick out a candy, and to select some for their two sisters as well. This was such an unexpected twist, a whole new brand of happy chaos ensued.

photo 2

The checkout guy made some minor mistake in tallying up our groceries, and needed to call over a manager. All of this prolonged the joy of our shopping trip. At this particular store you have to bag your own groceries. Grumpy was on his game loading groceries back into the cart. He didn’t seem to understand the concept of putting them in bags first…so once I had finally paid, I had to unload and then bag everything. It was still pouring down rain outside and I could hardly have groceries rolling loose all over my van. Just as everything was bagged I realized that I had forgotten hot dog buns! I looked at my groceries. I looked at the check out lines. I looked at my boys. Finally, I sent Witty and Grumpy with five bucks and told them to grab buns (the bread aisle is directly behind the checkout aisles in this store). Soon Grumpy was back asking how many hot dog buns to get…would 16 be okay? Yes, yes, just buy those darn buns.

Finally, I saw the boys in the longest, slowest checkout line in the history of Bellingham. Rascal pointed out they could just use the self-checkout. Yes! I sent Rascal to go tell them to move to the self-checkout line. The three boys jogged along to the self checkout, while I jogged along with Apollo and our cart-o-groceries on the other side of the checkout. I glanced over to see Grumpy, Witty and Rascal hovered over the machine to checkout and pay. In Rascal’s hand was the candy I had already purchased. Arg! I left my cart-o-groceries, grabbed Whiny and headed over to explain to Rascal that he could not haul already purchased candy back into the store stand at the self checkout with it in his hand.


photo 1

Finally, we were on our way home. I glanced at the clock and realized I now had just enough time to pick up the girls, pick up the photos, and rush out to my client’s house. No time for dinner. So like any good mom, I allowed my children to fill up on candy before dinner to keep them occupied in the van while I took care of business.

Sometimes I really rock this mothering thing, you know?




  1. Laurie

    You rock — ALWAYS!!! And I think those same dwarves live at my house…. at least grumpy and whiny…
    Love you, dear friend!!!!

  2. vivian

    sounds like you had it all under control, even if you did have to go outside the box…ha ha.
    sometimes we have to do what we can to keep our sanity!

  3. kelly

    Loved this post! Maybe because I can relate… I have 5 boys and a girl (13 yrs. and under) and another boy due any minute now. My *favorite* part about taking them all to the store with me is the checkout lane (ok, maybe NOT). We have a “look but don’t touch” rule in the check-out, which they usually abide by, but it seems like the baby always saves her melt-downs for this particular part of the trip : )
    Something you mentioned in this post made me think of a question for you… are you going to let us readers know if and when Adalia and Ben are expecting a baby? I know you try to let them have their own space by not publicizing their private lives on your blog , but we at least want to know when you get to become a grandma!!

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