Thursday, December 24, 2009

What Does Santa Eat?

Phone call to a few of the nieces...

Me: Ella, it's A. B & I are getting ready for Christmas and we've forgotten-- what does Santa eat? What do we leave the reindeer?

Ella (3): You need to leave cookies and M&Ms and carrots for the reindeer.

Me: What does Santa drink?

Ella: Oh... I don't know!

Me: Milk? Juice? Mountain Dew?

Ella: Santa drinks Milk, but the reindeer drink Mountain Dew. And don't forget that you have to tell all your friends Merry Christmas.

Me: I won't. Merry Christmas Ella.

Ella: Merry Christmas A!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Emily's Wedding Weekend!

The real reason for the Cousin Camp weekend all goes back to my dear friend Emily's wedding, which she was amazing enough to invite myself, B, my brother and sister-in-law, and my Mom to. Once we had that much of the family in town, we knew we had to make it a weekend!

The weekend got started for me when I really switched gears. I didn't have to fly for this wedding (a first!) so it really snuck up on me. Up through Thursday night (when we had every bite of our traditional Christmas dinner) it was all monkeys all the time. Starting Friday, it was a real change up!

Friday got started with a wonderful airport pickup of my dear from Carolyn, and then a great bridesmaids lunch in honor of Em. Friday night we had a quick rehearsal and then headed right to the rehearsal dinner as snow began to fall. It kept falling through the appetizer hour and right on into the dinner. By the time we left, it was slush-city and I was so glad B was driving! We headed home early to get off the roads.

Saturday was a weird day for me. I woke up feeling anxious and things just kept going wrong. I wasn't feeling well, my curlers broke when I didn't have time to go get new ones, and then the crying started.

I had no idea how hard going to the first wedding after Dad's death would be. I was a little upset at the rehearsal dinner, remembering Dad's toast, but then the morning of the wedding it just hit me. B came in the bathroom and just held me as I dissolved into tears again and again as I tried to get ready.

Are you picturing this? Me with barely-warm curlers on my head that keep falling out as I sob harder and B tries desperately to get me to smile. I finally get him to make me a drink to help me calm down. It was mixed with an entire can of a coke, so this was no stiff drink, but I just needed something to calm me down.

So I calmed down and stopped crying long enough to get my makeup on (there's no crying after eyeliner, friends!) and get my hair up (which ended up looking fine, no thanks to you curlers!). We ate something and B dropped me off at the church where I felt amazingly better. I think being with the girls and focusing on Emily was enough to distract me from my own issues.

We took pics, enjoyed some snacks, and before we knew it it was time for the ceremony.

Ah, the ceremony. It was lovely and wonderful and everything I'd hoped for for a dear friend. And as I was focusing on the joy of the ceremony and Chris' happy face (I LOVE that being a bridesmaid puts you in the perfect position to see someone adore your friend!), I started to feel really hot. Unbelievably hot. It started in my (broken) toes and worked its way up to the top of my head. So I'm fanning myself with my program and working my knees to move the blood around and then, the cold starts. It starts at my head and starts working its way down my legs, which begin pouring sweat and getting to shake.

At this point, I look at the girl in front of me, my dear friend Carolyn, and say "I'm going to faint." She grabs my elbow and I turn to see the door on stage right and i make my way over there, an act my brother later noted that I completed without ever lifting a foot. Hello super shuffle! I collapse on the steps (out of sight, I hope!) and a doctor and B appear, rushing to my side.

The doctor says my pulse is thready and I need to lay down. I tell him my mostly medical family is likely right behind him. He asked me what area of medicine they were in and I told him "Ortho, peds, & OBGYN." "Well," he says, "They're about as helpful as I will be--I'm an ophthalmologist."

Amazing how your bar for a "pretty good day" goes from putting your hair up despite some complications to getting through a ceremony without throwing up in the piano.

After my little incident ("I just hate the bride having all the attention"), I felt much better. Fine during photos, fine at the reception, and fine after. Who knows what made it happen, but B and I agreed that we can certainly call it "a day."

Cousin Camp: Painting Day!

My sister, also known as the amazing planner, wrangled the kids for an afternoon of painting with three kinds of paint. When he walked in, B dropped this inspired bit of artistic knowledge:

Remember kids, when it comes to art, what you paint on the page is just as important in what you don't.

While brilliant, his thoughts didn't quite garner the response, or attention, that you might have assumed. After all, when the oldest at the table is three and the youngest is eating the paint, it's more of an impressionistic crowd.

I Love This Man

Wanna see why? I rest my case.

Cousin Camp: Christmas Edition Part 3

Cousin Camp: Christmas Edition Part 2

Cousin Camp: Christmas Edition

I'm so worn out that I can hardly type. Of course, I say that as B works furiously to finish his last paper before the holidays (yea! 70+ pages!!) and as I look at the laundry list of things we have to do before leaving town tomorrow morning. What list, you ask? Well, let's just say it includes packing for two very different climates, one holiday, one birthday, taking down a Christmas tree, and the usual pre-trip things, like laundry, dishes, and general cleaning up. Whew!

But, before we get to all of that, let's talk about this week. This week, friends, the cousins came to town. And by cousins, I mean all the cousins. Seven-and-a-half little people plus eight adults gathered to celebrate an early Christmas. And boy did we.

The festivities got underway on Tuesday when my sister-in-law Bets and her two kiddos arrived. Wednesday, her husband got in, plus Mom, my other sister-in-law, and her three kids. We spent the next few days hitting the park, painting, making (and decorating!) Christmas cookies, attending preschool sing-alongs, opening presents, reading stories, enjoying mass bath time (for those four years of age and under only, please), changing diapers, changing clothes, playing in the freshly fallen snow (whaa?), making and eating Christmas dinner, taking a holiday pajama picture for Mom/Nana, and more.

You can think about this crew in diapers, changes of clothes, sippy cups, or hugs needed, but however you choose to quantify it, know that it was a wonderful, welcome week of madness. Did I mention that the original point of this weekend was to celebrate a friend's marriage? Ah, but we'll get to that. For now, I thought you'd like to see a little bit of my life this week. More to come.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dad in Sports Illustrated

My awesome big brother said that years ago Dad had mentioned being in Sports Illustrated, a claim we'd never proved but had no reason to doubt save for the fact that we'd never seen it. Well, thanks to Lloyd (and the SI Vault!), now we can.

Want to see a glimpse of Dad in his basketball days? Check out this link, then skip to page 19 (page 14 of the actual magazine). In the bottom right hand corner, you'll see three guys. Dad's the one on the left. It made me so happy!

We also found this mention. I only wish Dad was around to call; he'd love that we were all so excited!

It makes me wonder if this is why Dad always had such a slant towards SI over ESPN magazine. It's all starting to make sense...

Grandma's Christmas Card Letters

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Remember last year's edition of Grandma's Christmas Letter? Well, it's that time of year again!

I went to the mailbox today and amidst a pile of magazines, bills, and cards was Grandma's Christmas letter. If you didn't read last year's post (above), you really must before continuing, otherwise you'll want to send me hate mail for the post to follow.

A slight recap for those of you unfriendly with linked content, my Grandma is 91, living in the house my Mom grew up in, driving a late-nineties white sedan, and spending her time playing bridge, swimming at the Y, and having dinner with her friends. In short, she's in great shape and fabulous. One of the reasons I'm sorry to move away from Birmingham is that I'll no longer be within five minutes of her, or have a (205) area code so she can call me anytime she likes and leave messages that always, always, always end in her leaving her phone number (again, the number my Mom has had all her life!). Believe me, I know it!

So this year, her card came and it made my heart swell so much so that B & I sat down right then and there and had our annual reading. The opening line sums it up best:

I thought about "no more Christmas letters" but then you'd wonder if I were alive, so I am alive and loving being active even if I have a hard time getting out of chairs.

Ack! I love Grandma! She really knows how to get your attention! But don't worry, she didn't sell it all out in the opening; she closed in her classic phone-call way:

My phone number is (205).... Call me after 7.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I Have So Much to Learn

Bedtime at my nieces' house? Eight pm. This is what I hear at 9:30...

Ella (through the monitor): I'm hunnnnnggggry.

Me (going into her room): Sweetie, you had four bowls of popcorn after dinner, I'm sure you're not hungry.

Ella: But I'm so hungry.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


When we were in Atlanta, I wore B's little brother's old vest every time we went outside. When we returned to Durham, I adopted B's. So it should be no surprise that last night B showed up with an early Christmas present: and Old Navy vest for me! How cute is it? How great is he?

And yes, this is the first official clothing purchase, aside from a super-soft terrycloth bathrobe, a camo tshirt for our first anniversary, shorts and tshirts from his various baseball exploits, and other clothing of his that I've nabbed (they're ALL super soft!).

Job Opening

Me: Oooh! Mad Hatter's is looking for a cake decorator!

B: Go for it.

Me: They want to know if I have any of the following skills: Running an espresso machine?

B: No.

Me: Operating a cash register?

B: No.

Me: Scooping ice cream?

B: No.

Me: Selling baked goods? Now I have done that.

B: Where?

Me: At bake sales!

B: Under that theory, you've also scooped me ice cream.

Me: Yeah, but you didn't pay me to do it. The last one: Driving a delivery van, which I can do, but am choosing not to list. Right?

B: Right.

7 Months!

One day late, I know, but B & I have been having a surprisingly busy and yet hugely slow week. But we did take time to wish each other happy anniversary, which went something like this...

11:15am, driving to Costco
Me: Ha! Happy Anniversary!
B: No! I was going to say that!

Ah romance, aint' it grand? We had a great day though, celebrating being back in our apartment as we anticipate another very fun round of family holidays. Plus he lapped me this morning by putting two Christmas presents under the tree. Jerk. :)

So let's see, what happened this month. La de dah, not so much, right? Let's just say it's been a wild month!
Torn toe ligament? Check.
Knowledge of job ending? Check.
Thanksgiving in Durham? Check.
Thanksgiving in Atlanta? Check.
Picked up wedding album? Check.
Hosted fabulous friends for football weekend? Check.
Bought, transported, and decorated first Christmas tree? Check.
Ate body weight in popcorn that Mom so lovingly sent? Check.
First boston butt cooked (details to come!)? Check.
Celebrated my brother-in-law and sister-inlaw's bdays? Check.
B's next-to-last exam period prep? Check.
Saw friends and family on visit to Birmingham? Check.
Visited dear friend's newly purchased first home? Check.

It's been nutty! B & I are still learning a lot about each other. He had to deal with a pretty emotional version of me when I learned about my job, and a self-pitying one at that ("All I want is six quiet months," which is so unfair to say).

But we're learning and growing. He's so good to me, being loving and supportive when I'm feeling bummed and excited when I'm on a new lead ("They're looking for a cupcake decorator at Mad Hatter's!").

We've had a great month full of change and excitement, and we're ready for more. I can't wait! You'll have to wait, though. Next time the 9th rolls around, we'll be floating around the BVIs with his family for a week on a sailboat. While I'm told there's wi-fi on the boat, I can assure you that you won't be hearing from me...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lady of Leisure

Yesterday I took a break on Monday to do what I always do: Lunch with my Durham ladies. Only this time, I also got a manicure. B is SO proud at all the money I'm saving. Granted, we're violating child labor laws, but damn my nails look good!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Woohoo! Thank, Mom!

Any siblings who haven't received a special delivery today, STOP READING! The rest of you, you should know that I have the best Mom ever. She sent B & I a huge tin of four kinds of popcorn from The Popcorn Factory.

The Popcorn Factory and I go way back. Dad's Mom used to send it to us for the holidays, and then Mom would send it to me at camp when I was homesick or college when I was studying.

So now, just in time for B's exams and our holiday prep, this delicious tin of my childhood arrives (which I'm already thinking could be a perfect storage spot for our ornaments, once fully enjoyed, of course). Of course, back in the day, we only had plain, cheddar, and caramel. These days, they've added a fourth contender: white cheddar.

Be still my beating heart! When I was little I liked the caramel (I think), but in my wise old age I've developed a love for the neon cheesy goodness that is the cheddar popcorn. Works out well, as B is clear a caramel man. Does anyone eat the plain?

Thank you, Mom! You made our night wonderful and ruined our dinner completely. :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wonderful Advice

In the wake of my announcing my departure from work, I've gotten such kind and encouraging words including the reminder of this verse:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

O, Christmas Tree

It's so fun learning new things about each other as we move through our first year of marriage and living together. Case in point? Christmas. B knows I love Christmas. Not the gifts, but the family, food, and, of course, the tree. The moment he mentioned getting a tree, I went nuts.

First, because he said it had to be a real tree. Woohoo! First, I should point out that my Christmas faux-ficas stayed decorated year-round with Christmas apparel. Second, I should note that B keeps his tree, Tanner, in the living room year-round to the point where we don't even notice him anymore. Did I mention that he's a fiberoptic light-up tree? Yes indeed.

So he mentioned tree, I went nuts, and off to Home Depot we went to find a 6-7 foot frasier fir. After making him haul out roughly half a dozen of Home Depot's finest, we settled on one that was perfect-- just tall enough (with his Grandma's hand-me-down angel proudly on top) and
not too thick (we are in an apartment, after all).

I stayed with the tree while B went inside to pay, telling the cashier that "At this point, she'd rather have a tree than a Christmas present, so I'm going with that." The guy bellowed laughing and told B, "Good luck with that!"

We (the royal "we") tied the tree on the roof of B's jeep and ran a few more errands before heading home. ("Hm, I wonder which car is ours, sweetie?" Tip: If you lose your car in parking lots, tie a piece of seven-foot greenery to the top of it. Problem solved!) Once at home, B unloaded the tree, got the stand on, and got him inside into his rightful corner
. We held off decorating that night to let the branches settle and I was a little bummed when the burritos we made that night chased the evergreen smell out of the apartment.

The next night, we sat down with our collection of ornaments and hand-me-down lights and got to decorating. I pulled out the white lights, to which B gasped, "No! White lights are for outside! Colored lights inside!" I shrugged and headed to the back porch without realizing what I'd done-- Mark my words, we'll have colored lights on the tree inside forever!! Like my sister said, "the person who waters the tree the first year waters it forever." Good luck with that, hon!

His lighting job was excellent and we loved looking over the ornaments we've collected. On our trips since May, we've tried to find something for our tree as kind of a gift for ourselves. We've got one from Little Dix, Charleston, San Francisco, and lots from our wedding, including about 30 of those little Williams-Sonoma metal pineapples.

So our tree is lovely (both of the, if you include Tanner, which we definitely do) and our porch is happy with its garland and white lights. Mom did something great this year, giving each of us kids a few strands of white lights. It was Dad's thing each year to put the lights out in the front yard and it would take him hours. We're talking several hours a day spread over the course of the week. I remember coming home after I got my acceptance to Princeton and finding the enormous "P" Dad had made in white lights on the front lawn. He always wanted to spell out the Alabama-Auburn score on the roof. That, dear readers, is where Mom drew the line.

She gave us each white lights as a wonderful reminder of Dad's devotion to the fun decoration of the holidays. The lights, and watering the tree, were always Dad's thing, and it's been fun to discover more as I remember them. We passed a stack of those basic, brick-like fruitcakes in Sam's and I remembered how Dad would happily, enthusiastically receive those as gifts, often buying himself more of them. And yes, he ate them.

This year, though November and our specific "season of thanksgiving" is long gone, I am so thankful for my family, both the one I grew up with and the one I married into. What a blessing to love and be loved, and to have to fight over what color lights go on a Christmas tree.

Newlywed Moment of the Day

Watching the Christmas commercial where the little girl wakes up and runs to see if Santa has eaten the cookies she left out on Christmas Eve...

B: Man, that is a great house.

TV Announcer: Come experience the magic of the Biltmore this Christmas...

B: Oh.

Newlywed Moment of the Day

B: Good morning!

Me: I dreamed I could wear shoes again!

Friday, December 4, 2009

What a Whirlwind

This week has been a swirling whirl of emotions. I've surged "up" in happiness about celebrating Thanksgiving and all that goes with it... food, family, friends, leftovers... and then plummeted "down" thanks to hurting my toe, missing Dad, and having to leave my job.

I was fighting a lot of issues until I talked to Mom, my beacon of wisdom on perspective, who said such wonderful, encouraging things to me.

It's been hard for me to process all of this change. I'm doing great now (thanks to B and our Christmas tree decorating plans for later this evening), but it's been a hell of a "season" in my life. Never have I been so excited and happy and in love, but also, never have I experienced such heartache, confusion, and sheer transition. As I talked to Mom in the Atlanta airport, she said, "I know God never gives you more than you can handle, and I really feel that maybe God thought that losing your job, getting married, moving away, and losing Dad all in the same week might have been too much on you, so he delayed what he could, giving you your job long distance until you could handle that transition, too."

I think she's right. I can't imagine the huddled mass I would've been this summer had I have entered B's parents home so completely broken with no clear purpose for my days. Instead, I had my job and a list of things that had to be done each day. Thank you God!

Mom also said she looked out the back window and saw a bald eagle, a rare but occasional treat at the Florence home, and remembered that eagles weather storms by raising their wings and rising above it all. Excellent advice, indeed.

So I'm back in Durham now, working with HR to finalize details and feeling such great peace about what B & I are walking into in the coming months. I'm so thankful for what I have in my life right now. What I'm given is a blessing. My job was a blessing for four years. Dad was a blessing for longer than that. My friends and family continue to be blessings to this day. God forgive me for ever taking any of them for granted.

Dear Santa...

A friend of mine posted a few letters her kids at school wrote to Santa. She had a few skeptics this year. Check her blog for more, but here's my favorite:

Dear Fake nonreal Santa,
I don't beleive in you because you're a over weighted large person who goes down chimnys. You would get stuck in chimnys because you suposedly eat cookies that kids who are not me belevie in you. Christmas isn't about you Its about God and Jesus you shouldn't steal children away by giving them presents. You better stay away from my house because Christmas is about God not you. But I also sorta beleve in you because I feel terible being mean to you if you exist. If your real please don't put me on the notty list because I'm realy a nice person.

Nonbeliever #1

Decking the Halls

Story to follow... B & I got our first tree! I'm so excited to decorate it that I can hardly stand the wait! He's lucky that I don't decorate the whole darn thing while he's on the golf course...

More Babies!

I got to see the Birmingham contention of the Johnson clan this weekend. They're growing up so fast!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving in Atlanta

You've heard the words, now see the pics.

First up, we've got B, who always finds a way to show me exactly how hard law school is. :) What I really love is that he manages to do a little school work amidst any adventure we have without ever letting it take over. How he gets it all done is beyond me! Lord knows I try to distract him from his work.

Then we've got B's Dad, also known as Master of the Turkey. I'm pretty sure you can see why.

Then one snuggly picture roughly 42 seconds before Toegate 2009. All in all, a wonderful, wild, and memorable day.

NC Thanksgiving Prep

We had such a blast prepping for Thanksgiving in Durham before we headed down to ATL for the feasting. We got to make mashed potato casserole and sweet potato casserole with the ladies and then Sienna got down on the floor and imitated her favorite movie: Cinderella. I love these ladies!

Insult to Injury

Turns out it's not the one that ate roast beef, but the piggie that had none. Now my foot is hurt and hungry.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"The One that Ate Roast Beef"

Is Mom the best Mom (and Nana) or what? While B has dubbed my hurt toe my "ring toe," Mom has gone one further and dubbed it "the one that ate roast beef." What is life without smiles, right?

So my dear sweet brothers took good care of me. Lloyd got me in to see someone in his practice who was not only nice and obviously smart, but really a fun guy to talk to. He took a look at my chart and said, "Hurt knee when sledding in Vermont; Hurt toe by walking into a chair... Sounds like someone needs Valium and a padded room."

They took all the Xrays they needed and discovered my old breaks (see the posts below) and that my toe, while not broken (thank you God!), does have a torn ligament. Thankfully it's swollen enough not to veer from its proper location (pointing due straight) on my foot, but, for good measure, I've taped it up really well and am wearing my cute bootie.

Dr: We can put you in a bootie, but it's not very fashionable. Me: Will it hurt less? Dr: Definitely. Me: Give me that bootie. See? It matches my jeans!

It also matches the navy bridesmaids dress I'll be wearing two weeks from Saturday. Here's hoping I can get in ANY other shoe at that point!

B's been a champ about everything, even going so far as to retape the toe before I left for Birmingham, "so Lloyd can see that I did a good job." Lloyd's response? "Tell him he did a great job... for a lawyer."

See? I'm all about bringing people together, even if it costs me an arm, a leg, and, well, a piggie that eats roast beef.

Toegate 2009 Update

Dr: Wearing this boot will make it hurt less because there won't be any pressure on your toe. However, your toe is now much more exposed to the elements, so be careful.

Me: (laughing)

Dr: No seriously. People let their toes freeze.

Me: (stunned) Don't you get some warning? Like... pain?

Dr: You'd think.

Toegate 2009 Update

Dr: Hmmm... Did you break this toe before? I see an old fracture line here.

Me: I don't know. I've broken four toes, so maybe.

Dr: You don't know which toes you've broken?

Me: No. I mean, a few on each foot, I guess. Seriously, I do this a lot.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Family Moment of the Day

B: Lloyd, it's B. A's had a bit of a run-in with a chair and is thinking that she may have broken her toe.

Lloyd: Well, the first thing to do is get a good lawyer, and she's got that so she's off to a good start.

B: Let me guess, second would be checking the max on the homeowner's insurance policy?

Lloyd: That sounds right to me.

The men in my life are wonderful. :)

Thanksgiving 2009

I almost hate taking time out to write during a holiday. Seems like, instead, you should be tied down someplace, sucked in by the distinctly fall combination of football mania and turkey coma. But write I will, because oh what a Thanksgiving it's been.

Wednesday got off to a great start with a lot of baking, cooking, chopping, and mixing in NC with my sister, Mom, and the nieces. B came over around lunch and we headed out for ATL (rightfully) anticipating a surge of pre-holiday traffic. We got in in time to enjoy a homemade pizza dinner and some great company before gearing up for the next day's feasting.

It was fun coming back to ATL. B's Mom had found my wedding jewelry (oops) and B's grandpa had landed three boxes of my favorite pumpkin bread mix (yea!). All in all, a great start!

The great start hit a hiccup just as B's Dad started carving the turkey. Clumsy as I am, I do this kind of thing all the time. Turkey 09's disaster? Running into a chair leg with my toe. I'm not saying it's broken, but I am saying it's hard to walk on and points waaay too far "west" for a left-foot toe to do normally. Good thing I know a great orthopedist!

I cried, mostly because I was scared (I've done this before) and embarrassed (really? 20 minutes before dinner?), but also because, well, it hurts, for one. Other reasons? I can't wear shoes (except for B's sneaker). I have to go to the Birmingham office this week for "the big talk" and now I'm going to end up hobbling in wearing jeans and (mismatched) sneakers. But also, and perhaps the biggest reason, was that I couldn't call Dad.

Normally when I do something stupid (physically, at least), Dad would be my first call. He'd tell me I was fine and to go see a doctor on Monday for an x-ray. (All of which I'm doing, by the way.) But it was still hard not to be able to call him. So I cried for my toe and for my heart. Overall, it was probably a good thing; I got the tears out that needed to escape anyway.

I was teary before, during (oy vey), and after dinner, but B's family is fabulous; they know and "get it" and all of that. If I wasn't with my family this year for Thanksgiving, there's no place I'd have rather been than here.

So we've iced, elevated, and rested my poor foot and locked down a Monday morning visit to my fabulous orthopedist, my big brother Lloyd (with a second opinion coming in from Minnesota should we need it, I'm sure). Other than that, there's not much to be done! B's been wonderful, making me feel better about all sides of the pain and even knowing enough to ask if it was foot pain or heart pain. What would I do without him? Probably cry a lot more in my stuffing!

I'll update more on Toe-gate 2009 after my Monday appointment. I'm hoping it's just badly bruised or something like that, but it could be broken, with a worse-case scenario being that I need a pin. Prayers, please!

Monday, November 23, 2009

THAT's What Seat Belts Are For...

Yesterday, to kick off the holiday week, I asked (begged, really) to go grocery shopping with my sister and her two girls (ages 3 and 1, if you've forgotten). Let's just say, I have a lot to learn.

They picked me up just as it started to rain. "This complicates things," said K. "Normally we park near the carts, but all the carts will be wet, so we're going to park closest to the door." We dashed into our first stop (Sam's), where we found a mostly-dry cart, played with the flap wall that lets the carts in, and finally loaded up to begin the shopping. Sam's was uneventful, mostly because they had the best samples ever that day: cookies, brownies, and croissants. YUM! We did have a number of requests for blueberries and a few reminders to Mom to get more orange juice, but all-in-all, we made it through without a hitch.

We loaded up to head to our next stop, Kroger, and K warned me that this one might be tougher. We were getting things not normally on a shopping list (onion strings, anyone?), which would make the trip longer and more complicated. Plus, dinner time was looming.

To be honest, I wish I'd live-blogged this adventure. We got in the door to find there was one car shopping cart left, thank goodness. Otherwise, you've got two little kids with only one spot in the shopping cart. K buckled them in the two-seater car at the front of the cart and announced that one of the seat belts was broken. "Hm," I thought. "The cart seems pretty safe; I'm sure she'll be fine." ROOKIE MOVE! Note to self: Seat belts in carts just aren't for keeping little people safe, but also for keeping little people in.

Before we'd gotten through the produce section (imagine debating scallions and chives while explaining that you can't have the knee-high (or eye level for them) pile of candy because it's Christmas candy and not Thanksgiving candy), Sienna had busted out of the car twice. Each time, we found her standing beside it holding something. We moved her to the side that had the buckle and, minutes later, my sister called me over. There stood Sienna, outside the car, holding a package of feta cheese. Knowing she was busted, she held up her little one-year-old finger and said, "I'll be right back. I need to get something."

In case you're keeping count, we're currently at...
20 minutes in the store
5 items in the cart
3 times Sienna has escaped
1 bananas eaten

I watched her a little more closely and noticed that she never unbuckled the belt, but rather flipped her tiny self over and shimmied out of the belt, onto the dashboard until she was free, then out the door. "Houdini," my sister labeled her.

We made it through the store in about 40 minutes (and two more escapes) and managed to get nearly everything on the list including a 24 lb turkey, squash, baking potatoes, sweet potatoes, frozen yogurt, oatmeal, turkey oven bags, stuffing, and cranberry sauce in a can. The one uninvited purchase? One of those pickles in a bag. Still no idea how that got in the cart, through the checker, and into the bag!

I got home, had dinner with B, and crashed. How do you parents out there do it? I'm in awe. I wish I could send you all massages for Thanksgiving!