You made it! Here it is... the blog where you get to sit back and laugh at - or be completely horrified by - life with 5 kids, 2 parents, some frogs, a cat & a rabbit (and those are just the creatures we know about).


You Can Get So Much Crap For Five Dollars!

A few weeks ago, my good friend Sue Diamond-Phillips (not her real name, but I wish it was) wrote a blog post over at Diapers or Wine all about taking her five kids to Five Below. First off, I love her because those of us "crazy" enough to have a basketball team -sized family need to stick together. Secondly, I'm pretty sure she's stalking me because I had just been to Five Below that same week with my five kids. (Sue, stop stalking me. Even though I love it.)

If you haven't been to Five Below, it's better than your average crummy dollar store, and everything in it is $5 or less. Hence the name. There is nothing more exciting to my kids than when we tell them we're going to Five Below. Luckily for me, both Auntie Juju AND the Easter Bunny gave each of the kids a $5 gift card to the store. So, I had five very excited kids who couldn't wait to spend their respective $10. This is what I tweeted to Sue:

I knew she'd understand. See, as great as this place is when you need stocking stuffers or hula hoops, or more $4 sunglasses after you sat on your last pair, it's a lot to handle with the kids. 

We went yesterday with gift cards in hand.

My three oldest children can do the math associated with figuring out what they can spend and what they want to get. The problem is, we have so many kids who have different interests, (plus the two who can't add and subtract yet), that they just fan out when we get inside the entrance. PJ & I try to keep an eye on them all, but I think it's more effective if one of us just stations themselves at the door to make sure none of them escapes.

Patrick is easy. He goes right in, and figures out what he wants. Usually he heads for the books. Yesterday he got a science experiment kit and some new sunglasses because he really needed sunglasses. Piece of cake.

Lucy, on the other hand, is very shrewd. She knows she has only $10 to spend and she isn't about to rush into any decisions. It's a painstaking process. Eventually, after I was following her around saying, "We can always come back if you can't decide," she settled on a necklace, friendship bracelet kit and some new shades. It was painfully slow, though.

Sophie is tough. She will walk right in, find something, and be all set. Until she walks ten more feet and finds something else that she wants more. Then she has to put the first thing back and figure out how many more dollars she can spend. This little scenario will repeat itself over and over until, finally, she settles on a game and a travel pillow for your neck. (Keep in mind, this place is full of candy and toys. Sophie gets a travel pillow. She's awesome.)

Sophie being Sophie
Sean and Charlotte gravitate toward the balls in the store. There are bouncy balls, basketballs, soccer balls... you get the idea. There are ginormous, silver trash cans full of all kinds of balls. Unfortunately, these two have to try them all out to figure out which one they'll buy this time. That's when you'll find PJ and I running like idiots down some aisle to retrieve the latest haphazardly bounced ball. It's a shining moment in parenthood.

Patrick and the little ones checking the bounce factor
Taking five kids with $50 in gift cards to a place where everything is $5 or less is a little chaotic. There are at least 85 million combinations of things you can get with $10. I'm sure there's some elaborate mathematical equation that could calculate the exponential degree of chaos, but I haven't had enough coffee to go there. After a good, long while, everybody got something that made them happy. I even replaced my crushed glasses with another styling pair of $4 shades.

Nothing but the best, baby.
Added bonus, they had paper lanterns for sale, so we finally took the orange and black ones down from Halloween and put up some new colors.
Hopefully, these aren't up for six months, too.
I'm always a little traumatized when we make a Five Below trip, but everyone gets something they want and it keeps them quiet for a while afterward. And, thanks to Sophie, we can all take a turn resting our necks in the car.

So manly.

What about you...any places that your kids like to go that make you want to cry?

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The One With The Epic Meltdown

My kids are relatively good most of the time. They may fight occasionally, they may be fresh when they're cranky, but, for the most part, they are pretty good.

Except when they're not.

I have a theory that kids have a certain quota of nonsense they have to pull. Unfortunately, mine like to save it up for one atomic meltdown every six months or so. There was an episode, when Lucy was about 3 years old, that she cried for 4 straight hours because I wouldn't buy her a toothbrush at the grocery store. Sean once went the way of Linda Blair (a la The Exorcist) because I wouldn't buy him ice cream for breakfast. So, I know this isn't an unusual phase for my kids around the age of 3. Unfortunately for me, Charlotte has always been a little advanced for her age.

Charlotte decided to try her hand at the atomic meltdown at the grocery store the other day. My first mistake was saying out loud that I was just going to run into the store for a few things. I should know right away that I'm tempting fate with a statement like that. I only had Sean and Charlotte and really only needed a handful of items. Piece of cake, right? {Go ahead and laugh at my naiveté. You have my permission.}

It started with the shopping cart. Both kids wanted the cart with the car attached to the front. Sadly, every single one of those carts had only one steering wheel. Instant recipe for disaster. Luckily, the kids figured they could take turns driving. Until Sean decided he was going to get out and walk. Then Charlotte wanted to help me scan the groceries with the hand scanner. This isn't usually a problem, but I let Sean have a turn. Apparently, this was the ultimate offense, because that is when Charlotte proceeded to lay herself down on the floor of aisle 6 and sob like I just killed her best friend.

I thought I could just walk down to the end of the aisle and say goodbye. This usually brings her running. But, my little friend was in it to win it. She stayed right there and didn't even care when I turned the corner into the next aisle. I then had to run all the way back and grab her before someone called child services. Not to be conquered, Charlotte resorted to the boneless chicken maneuver. You know, when your child is suddenly made of Jello and can't be lifted? Of course, I'm not new to this game, so I had a pretty good handle on her. So, my wonderful angel of a child went straight up crazy and tried to kick me.

Oh no, sister. Not happening.

I took my little demon child and buckled her (by force) right into the car carriage. She proceeded to scream and cry for the remainder of my "quick" trip to the grocery store. She finally settled a bit when I was checking out, but then started up all over again because I wouldn't let her pay. Although, if she had any cash, I definitely would've given in on that one.

My darling daughter cried the whole ride home and finally fell asleep at the house. Which made me really appreciate the sound of silence. Until she woke up mid-nap screaming, "I WANT TO SCAN IT!"

Is this chick for real? She was carrying this tantrum straight into her dreams. What a lunatic!

All told, the atomic meltdown lasted for about three hours. Not including naptime. Let's be glad that they don't happen more than once or twice a year, because I'm sure one of us wouldn't survive.

What about your kids? Have they ever had a memorable meltdown? Please let me know I'm not the only one! ;)

HEY! If you enjoy the blog, why not become a follower? I'm the one who has the screaming kid at the store. You can also stalk find me on Facebook and TwitterLike the page and follow me!

**And be sure to visit my Zazzle store. Don't you need a new coffee mug or apron?