1 - I found something more unpleasant than scrubbing toilets.
And looking at Carson, I'm sure you're thinking that the unpleasant thing I'm referring to is cutting hair, but nope. It's taking four kids to the grocery stores in Miami. The tiny aisles can barely accommodate two carts passing each other, and are filled with hoards of shoppers. And those shoppers, donning their sweaty work out clothes, six-pack abs, baskets full of vegetables, and giant, dog-carrying purses, somehow miss the adorableness of these four precious faces and just see them as disruptive and menacing. I've gotten good at ignoring the disapproving looks that shoot in my direction, but I still see them (in every aisle). "Sugar cereal?" the one with the raised eyebrow thinks as she sees the boxes cascading out of my tiny shopping cart. "FOUR kids?" comes from the one with the wide eyes as my attempts at control must look a bit like I'm trying to stop a fire hydrant from spraying with my bare hands. "Can't she control that baby?" plays cleanly through the squinted eyes of the lady watching TK squirm and fuss to get free from his seat-belt for the 528th time on that side of the store. Sometimes the look is fleeting as the offender remembers her manners. But sometimes the looks of disapproval follow me through the aisle and around the corner without shame. Interestingly, the looks and thoughts (and often words) of disapproval are secondary to the ironic fact that no one actually appears to see us. No one scoots their cart to the side when they see my entourage coming, leaving me with no choice but to single-file my children and literally pick up the back of my heavy, kid-filled cart to move it to the side to get past. No one exhibits patience as I'm loading the 8th gallon of water into my tiny cart full of food and children, leaving me with no choice but to haul the rest of the water out of the aisle and around the corner to finish loading (remember the small aisles? I wasn't kidding). More than a few times, people with a handful of items have deliberately cut in line when they see I have a cart full of food. "I'll be fast," they offer, if they offer anything at all. Never mind the fact that my baby is screaming (and clawing his way out of the cart), that my 4-year-old is trying to open the bags of crackers and that my two older kids are dancing around me and carelessly bumping into the other shoppers. Can't you see that I just need to get out of here? I want to say. But I refuse to become one of them, so I bite my hot tongue and smile at them instead. "No problem!" I say. "I see that you only have a few items in your hand, and we will definitely take a while." And, remarkably, there is never even a thank you. It's simply expected and understood that their needs are more important than my own.
But, of course, there can be something beautiful about these shopping trips, too. Hopefully, if these little shopping buddies of mine are seeing the way that others are treating us, they are also seeing the way I am treating others... and maybe the lesson that we can be beautiful to others even when they are being ugly to us will find its way into their hearts.
2. The air is starting to smell like sunscreen again.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the city... back to our own little town on the beach... the water and palms recharge and refresh me. The smell of sunscreen? Summer is here.
3 - Doctors and Lawyers? Nope. My kids want to be this guy.
4 - Either that guy, or bulls. It's good to keep your options open.
5 - This make-believe world had me smiling back tears.
They play so well together... I snuck around these three, snapping pictures of their precious make-believe world before discovering that they had smuggled McKenzie's Kindle Fire in there and were huddled around it like vultures over their kill. I was not impressed. After the confiscation, they were much happier... at least, once the tantrums had finished.
6 - I found the inspiration for glitter.
I used to think that the Tooth Fairy invented glitter. Whenever she visited my house as a child, she'd leave trails (and sometimes piles). I figured that the glitter factories followed her around every night with a tiny, quiet vacuum, collecting the piles and putting them in the jars I found in the craft store. Maybe they do... but no glitter in a jar can compare to this.