22 steps to a successful grocery store trip with a three-year-old

It’s really simple to spend an hour and half at the grocery store and only leave with 28 items. It can be accomplished in 22 easy steps.

Step 1: Document the experience for Snappers around the world with a caption, “Lord help me at the grocery store with this guy.”

Step 2: Opt for the obnoxious cart to buy yourself a little more time. Convincing the toddler that the red fire truck is WAY better than pushing his own cart. {Lifesaving tip right here, folks.}

Step 3: Get yourself a soy latte, you’ll need something to comfort you. This is a bit of a risk because you’ll spend the precious calm minutes ordering and waiting on your drink. But the crazy is inevitable and I always feel better when I can grab a drink, think, and then respond to the madness.

Step 4: Let the toddler help fill the produce bags and count when you put them in. This is a risky move because of the potential for said toddler to ruin your food. In this outing, he may have “softly” banged the apples on the bottom of the cart. I think I got him stopped before he did any damage. We’ll know later when we want to eat them…

Step 5: Stand around and watch the water spray the produce. Three or four times. This was a major time suck, but I was nervous about pulling him away too soon for fear of loud screaming. This is where Step 3 comes in handy. Text your husband, take pictures, and enjoy your latte.

Step 6: Bribe him with a free cookie to get moving.

Step 7: Stop to see “The Robs” on the way to the free cookie. Also known as the lobster display. Here’s another opportunity to text your husband and enjoy your latte. Almost making it an enjoyable experience.

Step 8: Bribe him with a free cookie to get moving and stop to look at all the birthday cakes along the way. Then ask him five times if he’s sure he doesn’t want a cookie. I’m still in disbelief that he passed up a cookie, but I was well prepared to have to go back across the entire store when he wanted one later. {It didn’t happen.}

Step 9: Let him move from sitting behind the wheel to sitting in the top tray of the cart. Whatever. After making sure that the weight could hold him, I gave him strict instructions to sit down and not stand up. And then I had to stop the cart every aisle while he pulled groceries from the bottom cart to play with. At this point I should tell you that I had been strategically putting all the groceries in the bottom cart, as far away from him as possible. That could have enticed him to move out of the seat in the first place.

Step 10: Threaten to put him in time-out when we get home if he doesn’t stop ruining the groceries. Tell him he cannot stand up and if he does either of those again he will sit where he’s supposed to. {Also where I’ve been putting the meat and boxes because he’s sitting in my second storage location.}

Step 11: Tell him we need to hurry and finish shopping so we can see daddy and Maximus. {Also how I got him out of the house. “Let’s go so we can be home when they get home!”}

Step 12: Threaten to tell daddy he wasn’t being nice when we were shopping. Of course do the threatening after picking up his coat off the floor, grabbing the aluminum foil from a different aisle, and pulling the ziplock bags out from under his smashing body.

Step 13: Try to distract him with a flying bird in the store. Not the best move because he missed it.

Step 14: Help him get back into the sitting part of the cart. HALLELUAH!

Step 15: Try to distract him with a beeping sound. Worked for a while as he tried to guess what it was.

Step 16: Agree to go into the cold room {wine & spirits} to see if that’s where the beeping sound is coming from. But only after we get all of our stuff. Use this as a threat in case he doesn’t behave while we grab the last of our 28 items.

Step 17: Go into the wine & spirits section and drive around the aisles. Then text your husband to tell him you aren’t buying beer because there’s no safe place to put it in the cart.

Step 18: Pick the checkout aisle he wants to go in to prevent a meltdown. Hand him some non-breakable items so he can help put them on the belt. Pull items off the belt when he starts to scream so he can “help.”

Step 19: Ask him once if he wants a coat on and let him keep it off while telling him he’s going to be super cold and say brrr when we get outside. Walk outside the door and stop so he can experience the cold. Then ask him again if he’d like a coat. Take a couple of pictures to document his craziness.

Step 20: Put him in the back of the car so he can put the bags in the car.

Step 21: Tell him he needs to get into his seat before I count to three otherwise he can’t watch his Polar Express movie.

Step 22: Sit in your seat, turn up the movie, and drink the rest of your latte.

There you have it, 22 easy steps to buying 28 items in an hour and half with a three-year-old helper at the grocery store! One other word of advice, always park the cart in the middle of the aisle when you stop. This prevents your toddler from grabbing things off the shelf. It may be annoying to others, but it’s for the good of the store and patrons. Trust me. No one wants to listen to a three-year-old scream when you take things out of his hand and no one wants to see flying food.

My personal goals: health and fitness

I’ve read a lot of blog posts about health and fitness, so maybe that makes my post a bit cliché. However, I have put a lot of time and effort into myself this year. Primarily my health and fitness, but spending a little bit of time on the fun things like hair, nails, and clothes. 🙂

I used to think doing things for me was going out with friends or shopping. Then I realized there was a whole part I wasn’t focusing on and that was my health. It doesn’t always look like something for you, but it really is. Health and fitness help your confidence and self-esteem. What’s not to love about feeling good about you?! I wrote about my switch to clean eating here. Before the food changes, I had a semi-regular exercise regime. However, with the food changes, I really focused on an exercise routine. All of a sudden I was planning out my meals and workouts.

I’m in an accountability group that really helped me get a routine and new lifestyle in place. Seeing my friends continue to eat healthy gives me new food ideas but also keeps me accountable. Hence the purpose of the group! 🙂

After almost a year of a pretty strict schedule, I’ve learned to let go a little. Letting go means I don’t get up to workout every morning. Some days my workout is a softball game at the end of the night. Some days my workout is a bike ride at 5 am or a Body Pump routine in my living room. And other times it’s a Yoga workout during nap time. I’ve learned that it’s important to put variety into my routine and that rest days are just as important…as long as they don’t last more than one day! While the varied workout times isn’t working well with my morning routine, I’m adapting. And not feeling guilty that I start some days without a workout.

I’m not sure why it took me this long to realize that health and fitness are ways to take care of me. I suppose that the hectic lifestyle of little humans and a full-time job finally took its toll and opened my eyes to the more important things. After all, when your time is limited you are forced to pick your priorities. And I don’t think I have many friends who are willing to hang out at 5 am. Wait, I have a couple of friends who enjoy riding their bikes with me at 5 am! Guess, that’s a double win!

I started 2015 with what I felt like were attainable goals of healthy eating and a focus on strength training. Halfway through the year, I am more than pleased with my accomplishments so far. I’ve never felt more fit and healthy. And that makes me feel even better when I do my hair, nails, or get a new piece of clothing! Here’s to a continued focus the next six months so I can end the year with a checkmark next to Health Eating – less processed, more clean & more hydration and also Exercise and Strength Training.

Are you for or against breakfast for supper?

Every couple comes to this point in their relationship as father and mother. It happened tonight. The calendar said leftovers and Maximus didn’t want any of them. He just wanted fruit and watermelon (isn’t that fruit?) and a smoothie. He didn’t want meatloaf, chicken fajitas, or hamburger. So we told him he needed to eat something with protein. Peanut butter taco? NO. A cheese stick hot dog? NO. I know, basically four course meals, but we already cooked meals the past few days. That’s the purpose of leftover night. No cooking!

And here’s where you pick a side. You’re either cereal for supper is ok or you’re not. I don’t know that you can convert someone either. It’s a pretty solid line that’s hard to cross.

Here’s the thing, I think I’m right. Breakfast food can be eaten for supper. It’s totally legit. 😃A couple weeks ago Quinten and I had scrambled eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches for supper. I loved having pancakes for supper when I was growing up. I know I had them in college, but I’m afraid we haven’t exposed the boys to that awesomeness. And I think it’s because 50% of the adults here don’t think it’s ok to have breakfast for supper.

Maximus, “Can I have cereal?”
Me, “Sure.”
Maximus, “Can you get me the superhero cereal?”
Bryan, “You’re not having cereal for supper. Pick something else.”

And that’s where our opinions differ. I guess I’ll be making some breakfast meals for supper on the nights Bryan is gone. After all, every child should experience pancakes for supper.

Which side of the line are you on? Breakfast ANY Time of the Day or No Way It’s Only for BREAKFAST!

Gingerbread Man

Maximus wanted to make gingerbread cookies tonight. (From a package: add butter, egg, and water. Cookie cutter borrowed from my mother.)

I’ve never made them but it’s not hard to add three ingredients. I put the batter in the fridge for 15 minutes because they looked sticky. It didn’t help! Not even with flour on the counter. IT WAS SO MESSY. I WAS SO ANNOYED. Quinten threw three tantrums between mixing and having my hands covered in sticky batter. (It doesn’t work when your husband puts the coat on the baby before he leaves because the baby asks. Que epic crying when your husband leaves and your baby has a coat on but didn’t go in the car.)


I almost tossed it all away. “Maximus this is not fun.” Somehow I pulled it together and Maximus got to cut out some gingerbread men. Somehow.


I thought about throwing the batter away after we made four. But Maximus wanted to keep going. Quinten stopped crying long enough to start eating the scraps. Whatever.

I gave them both a large, weird looking cookie. Then Maximus reminded me that I didn’t put frosting on. I tried to tell him we didn’t have any. He found some in the “birthday drawer.” So, I decorated them.


And then Maximus told me it was the best gingerbread cookie he ever had. (Maybe the first?) It was dicey, multiple times, but I’m glad I stuck it out. It’s not about things being perfect or going the way I want. It’s about including my kids and doing the things they enjoy. Even if it means sticking both my hands in a sticky, gooey mess of gingerbread batter.<

An anniversary we won’t soon forget

Coming home from a 7-day work trip is hard on everyone. Hard for the parent coming home and hard for the parent who has been handling the home. This time I was the one gone and Bryan was wrangling the boys. Of course Maximus spent the first Monday home sick. 😥

We had big plans for my reentry. A football game on Saturday and anniversary afternoon/evening on Monday. It was a great plan until I got sick. With E.Coli. Not a great thing to bring home from a trip. And not a great way to spend a week. Our anniversary plans were cancelled so Bryan could take me to the doctor. We didn’t know it, but the “excitement” was just beginning. After a very painful hour wait, the doctor told me he had to send tests in and wouldn’t give me any medicine until he knew if there was something toxic in my system. Basically, if it was toxic he didn’t want to stop the way my body was getting rid of it. I waited two days for the test results. It was an awful two days. Looking back, we both agreed that I probably should have gone to the ER. But I was told to go in if I had three symptoms and I never had a fever. Just two out of three. 😁

On Wednesday I got a call that it was toxic but they didn’t know what. They gave me an antibiotic to take for five days. It caused immense stomach pain in a different way than I was already having. But on day two I was able to look at my phone without getting dizzy, sit up, and have general thoughts.

On Friday I got a call that it was E.Coli. Either from uncooked food or from an infected person “leaving” behind their grossness. Since I was in a giant hotel for a week, it’s about 50-50 on where it came from. And that grosses me out completely. PEOPLE, WASH YOUR HANDS! It doesn’t matter if I was mine if someone else leaves behind gross things for my clean hands to pick up.

I’ve finished my meds and am going back to work tomorrow. I’ve cleaned my bathroom and washed my sheets. I’ve washed my hands at least 500 times in the last week and I haven’t touched any food that wasn’t handed to me. I finally feel 100% and can stomach the idea of almost all foods. I lost five pounds in four days. I didn’t sleep longer than 45 minutes at a time for two days. I didn’t eat anything for four days and could barely drink anything for at least two.

I can say without a doubt that Bryan and I won’t ever forget our 7th wedding anniversary. We thought having babies and breaking feet were our “through sickness” part. Turns out E.Coli takes the trophy. He’s a great care taker. Even when the boys were both screaming and the dog was barking, he was in my room giving me sips of water. He’s definitely a keeper! And now we need a redo on our anniversary. One where I can eat food and we can be normal.