Last night for Family Home Evening we had told the kids we would go to the Dollar Store. Of course, by the time FHE came around, some of us were exhausted from making and decorating dozens of sugar cookies. But, they were so excited about going shopping, and I was feeling guilty about having been gone all weekend and most of last week, so I sucked up my tiredness and rounded up the kids to go to…THE DOLLAR STORE!

First we have to make sure that each kid does indeed have some money. I give them money every week if they do their chores, so I know that they have had money, but that doesn’t mean they still have it. They might have:
a-lost it
b-spent it
c-lost it
d-left it in their pockets and then put their pants through the wash, in which case, the person doing the laundry (me) might have claimed it as their own
or e-all of the above.

We did manage to find some money for all of them, so that everyone had at least a couple of dollars. But even at the dollar store, two dollars does not cover all their wants and needs.

As we were pulling up to the crowded store (a popular place on a Monday night before Christmas, I guess), a contest came on the radio, and after I dialed in a few times and it was ringing, I handed the phone to Ryan, because I have won recently on that station (remember that large prize I told you about? The one that they wouldn’t let Ryan pick up for me last week when he went to go and pick it up? Yeah, that one), and what do you know, he was the correct caller. Lucky him! I think he won a 7-11 prize pack, which my carpool should enjoy. We were just talking about that the other night…”remember when Paige had those 7-11 coupons and we went there after rehearsal every week for a month? We should do that again sometime…” Well, I guess we will get to do that again. On the phone, the DJ asked him his name, and when he said Ryan Erickson, the guy said, “Oh, yeah. We’ve had a lot of Ericksons winning lately. Are you any relation to Kyle?” Kyle (his brother) must have won something again that day–no surprise.

Anyway, I got out of the car while he was finishing up the phone call and took the kids into the store. John had plans to buy presents for his teachers, and one for his class party. Natalie needed something for her secret Santa gift for her class, and the other kids had grand plans to buy presents for each other on the cheap. I have never seen a dollar store so crowded! It was near mayhem! We wandered up and down a few aisles, and then I told the kids they might do better splitting up, since they were picking things up and saying, “I think I’ll get this for Cole,” while Cole is standing RIGHT there.

John picked out a fun play set with handcuffs, a gun, a phone and a whistle for his preschool gift exchange. I hope a boy gets that one. He also picked up a very “pretty” red fur purse for his beloved teacher, Mrs. Net (She really goes by Miss Annette, but who am I to correct him when it’s so cute. And he wouldn’t listen to me when I tried to tell him her real name. I’ve tried.), and a cute little goofy figurine. For Miss Andra, he got a pair of gloves and a little LED flashlight. I hope they’ll understand that these gifts come from John, and that he picked them out himself.

The real fun is when the kids make it up to the register to pay for their stuff. As each child was ready, I would take them up and help them pay for their purchases. They reach into their pockets and pull out the one crumpled up dollar bill, along with a handful of change and plop it onto the conveyor belt. After the poor frazzled teenaged clerk counts up all the change, they let me know how much we still need to pay, and then I either put it on the debit card or pulled out some cash of my own. Then I would take that child out to the car where dad was waiting and then go back in to try to find and help the next child. Believe me, it was quite an adventure!

When we were finally done, and the last straggler was in the car, we went to Thanksgiving Point to drive through the light exibit. My nose was running something fierce, and there was not a Kleenex to be found in the car. I searched through the glove box and my purse for a tissue, maybe an old napkin? Nothing. Finally, I remembered the 12 pack of toilet paper that was in the back of the vehicle. I called back to the back row and had Cole grab me a roll of TP. “You mean open the package?” he asked me. Um, yes, that is generally how we get a roll out. But don’t ask me, I’m just snippy because my nose won’t stop running and I’ve got nothing but my sleeve to wipe it on. He finally handed me the roll and I was able to blow my nose! Heaven in a tissue, I tell you! I was relieved and could be happy again.

John was asleep before we even got there. We tried multiple times to wake him up, but he just drifted back to sleep. Oh well. I guess sleep is more important than seeing fun Christmas things sometimes.