Shopping Every year I get a little extra cash for Christmas. So it is the one out of two times a year that I go shopping (the other being my birthday). Every year I get excited for getting some new things and I somehow forget how much I really can’t stand shopping. I love getting new things, but the process of getting there kills me. This is my usual cycle:   Step #1 Begin thinking about all the possibilities. Shoes, purse, clothes, accessories, coat. Step#2 Get overwhelmed at possibilities and put off shopping. Step #3 Go to mall. (this is also mistake #1) Step #4 After only a short hour, I’m tired and can’t decide on a thing. Step#5 Decide I could get all this stuff for way cheaper at Ross, TJ Max or Marshalls. Leave mall. Step#6 Put off shopping again. Step #7 Go to Marshalls with the two younger kids (mistake #2) Step #8 Find some cute clothes for cheap Step#9 Put them all back because I somehow missed the clearance rack and found some things for dirt cheap. (mistake #3) Step #10 Bring home my new purchases with excitement…soon to discover exactly why these items were on the clearance rack.   So there is a comedian named Sebastian Maniscalco who has a whole thing about shopping at Ross. It is hilarious and absolutely true. As I slipped on my new gray thin corduroys that I purchased for a steal at $10 I noticed something right away. Problem #1 Stain on left leg….marker? grease? who knows. No problem, I think I can get it out in the wash. I decided to wear them anyway. It’s not that bad. As I walked around for awhile I noticed something felt a little strange. Problem #2 Left lower leg is slightly tighter than the right. Still, I will adjust. I go out to run errands and as the cashier goes to hand me my change, I reach down to put it in my front pocket…but wait! Problem #3 I don’t have any pockets in front! Nope, they just give the illusion that there are pockets…but…gotcha! No real pockets here! So I’d like to say I’ve learned my lesson about buying dirt cheap stuff off the clearance rack at Ross. But no! I will wear these pants with pride because after all, they were a steal at $10! I can’t help myself. I have a certain price set in my mind of what things should cost and I don’t want to pay anymore than just that. So maybe someday I will skip steps #3-6 and just go straight to that clearance rack where I can be confident that I will find clothes for cheaper than a thrift store. And oh the excitement when I get to find the little surprises of all the “irregular” stuff that of course did not catch my eye in the store or even before I quickly ripped the tags off.

Judah’s 4th birthday As always I feel like I am just barely trying to keep up. So Judah’s birthday was on December 6th…just a little behind. Judah loves being at church. He always wants to go whenever Andy is going. He runs to get his shoes on and cries out “wait for me!” One time I asked Judah why he liked going to church so much and this was his response: Judah – I like it because I get to ride in the church van and because Angie makes me hot chocolate. Jen – Yes, but if you couldn’t do either of those things, would you still like going to church? Judah – (pause for a moment) That would never happen! He had been saying for awhile that he wanted to have his birthday in the church van, so that’s what we did. Yes, we did it all. We decorated the van while he was in class and then pulled it up in front of the church to surprise him. He loved it! We drove home in it, ate lunch in it, opened presents in it and had cupcakes in it. Definitely not your average kid’s birthday party, but it was all he dreamed of. He went to bed saying “this was the best birthday party ever!” It really is the simple things I guess.   P1050802 Charlie begins the decorating P1050805 Josie is also overjoyed about the church van P1050806 “It’s just what I always wanted!” –Judah P1050810 Party time P1050840 Taking his cupcake very seriously P1050847 A quick nap before phase two of the party P1050849 A trip to Starbucks for another of Judah’s favorite things…hot chocolate! P1050896 I love this guy so much P1050900

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