Saturday, June 21, 2008

Kids Rule!

Today was Sarah's "special day" to run errands with me. We went to Barnes and Noble per her request. We looked at books while it stormed outside. We played stuffed animals. She was dogs and I was cats. We put gas in the car. We dropped junk off at Goodwill. We ran into Walmart in the rain and shopped for cotton swabs, bandages and food. We went to my favorite grocery store after Walmart to stock up on Buy One Get One Free pasta. I loaded the cart with about 24 boxes (4 boxes of each shape.) The lady beside me in the aisle watched me. I looked at her look at me and she asked, "What are you going to do with all that pasta?"
"Eat it."
"You must like pasta."
"Well, my kids do. I have six of them and they eat it almost everyday."
"You have six kids?"
It was at this point I couldn't tell if her expression was shock or disgust.
"Do you think that's a lot of kids?"
"Uh, yeah."
She went on to tell me how she didn't know how we did it. She told me she has one kid and her husband makes good money and with the way the economy is going she just couldn't understand how a large family can make it work because it's difficult enough for them. I basically told her we do without a lot of things and live pretty basic. I still couldn't tell if she was disgusted. I think it may have just been plain bewilderment. I really didn't think 24 boxes of pasta was that big of a deal especially when it was on sale. She asked if my husband and I came from big families. I told her we didn't and that we just enjoyed having kids. She became even more shocked when she asked if we were going to have more and I told her yes. It was kind of an awkward conversation, but fun.

When I checked out, the cashier said, "That's a lot of pasta!" Seriously, does no one in this town ever stock up on anything? The bagger then offered to assist me to my car. I told him that it wasn't necessary. I didn't want him to see the evidence in my trunk of my shopping at Walmart. But he insisted and I agreed. When I opened my trunk, he gasped and said, "You've been shopping somewhere else today!" BUSTED! I wanted to throw my arms around him and tell him I was so sorry, but I refrained and quietly admitted that I was a traitor and that I do most of my shopping at Walmart. I felt awful. Again I used my favorite grocery store for the deals. Out of guilt during my shopping trip, I purchased 3 reusable shopping bags and 2 bags of garbanzo beans because Walmart doesn't have garbanzo beans. What's up with that?

On my way home I thought about my conversation with the lady in the pasta aisle. I'm curious why she thinks it would be so difficult for a large family to make ends meet. My life is my life and it's all I know. I don't live a life of luxury, but it's still good. I would love to see new releases in the theatre, but will patiently wait for them to come on TNT. 12 passenger vans simply just don't come with many expensive upgrade options. I don't feel it necessary to have to pay for preschool because my kids have plenty of in-house socialization and access to Noggin. We are trying to raise our kids to be as genious as possible so they will have plenty of college scholarship opportunites. We aren't currently saving for retirement because we are raising our retirement. We don't buy video games or many electronic toys that use batteries or expensive accessories. We budget (maximum $25) for one meal out per week: pizza, Wendy's, Taco Bell, or kids eat free night. We buy store brand, cheap toilet paper and Ivory soap. I only take kids to the doctor for vaccinations, or if they have a fever for more than five days, or if they need stitches. I shop clearance racks and won't spend more than $10 on any clothing item, unless it is a dress. I often get items for $5 or less. I buy $0.99 baby soap at Target. I don't have a gym membership because I have constant access to a 45, 40, 30, and 15 lb. set of weights. The kids only get one pair of shoes for Spring/Summer, one pair for Fall/Winter and one pair for church and many are hand-me-downs. We only have family birthday parties with homemade cake and one simple birthday present. We have a three bedroom house and the kids love sharing a room. I think the most expensive piece of furniture we have ever purchased is our king size bed for $1100 (best purchase ever!) when we gave the girls our queen. I will gladly buy used furniture and fix it up, except for mattresses or couches. We mow our own lawn. We don't take many vacations except to visit family. We find fun in feeding the neighborhood geese on a Saturday afternoon.

There were 36 of them today.

I don't have time to shop much. Who needs shopping when you've got blogging? And of course, I stock up on food that is on sale. So that's how we do it. I love my life even if I don't have surround sound and trips to Hawaii. Kids are the best! We've been blessed.


  1. What you describe as living simply, I consider normal. If only more Americans could be as sensible!

  2. I love it!! What you said was perfect! It almost made me cry! I love my kids too! I love finding good deals! I wish my husband was more frugal, he doesn't understand why it takes me 3 months, along with 3 hours at the store, to decide on which car seat I want to buy. When we are millionaires, then we will blow money on designer shoes and trips to Hawaii!

  3. You make me wish I could do it over again! I would love to be like you and have a family like yours!

  4. I am still enjoying my Mormon Mom humour regularly, I know I should stop but you are too darn funny in such a stressful world. I admit I consider your blog a "guilty pleasure". Despite appearances, I must say I relate to a few comments. So you have us in a couple of areas; Yes we enjoy the surround sound system my husband wired in our home(along with laying 600 square feet of tile,landscaping, and helping with the roof), I do have a gym membership on hold for the summer(everyone needs a happy pill and the fee is cheaper than medication). I recommend Hawaii or Mexico anytime your husband's work picks up the tab. How do you feel about black tennis shoes to church and one dollar flip flops for summer? We enjoyed our four four dollar Dominoes pizza's tonight and have only paid for three stiches in a chin this year. Does the King size bed remain a good purchase if it came from a Hilton with used mattresses for $200 dollars? Do you think our two year old cares that he got a Hot Wheel for his birthday and yes I mow our lawn every week-it takes 3 1/2 hours. Land is over-rated. In all seriousness you are a model of how a woman could and should live a frugal and happy life as a mother. Here in Eagle, Idaho we spend our time exchanging hair color tips, discussing the bests new lines of clothing and going to lunch on a regular basis...well some of us!!! Did I mention the continual discussion of the top rated plastic surgeon in the area. Doesn't everyone want to restore those sagging A's into the perky DD's they were intended to be? O.K. it is apparently late and yes my husband is out of town so I must except my lonely King size bed until my three youngest join me through-out the night.

  5. Guilty pleasure? You make me feel so naughty! Please don't stop.

    Surround sound - if your husband can DIY it, then go at it. My husband is a computer geek and has very limited capabilities in the physical world. We would have to pay someone to install anything in this house.

    Gym - you live where it snows, you are entitled to that. It doesn't snow here and I have no excuse for not getting my butt outside for a good walk or bike ride.

    Hawaii - my husband's employer is a total jerk. There is no way they would ever send him to Hawaii. He did some out of town training a couple months ago and we were expecting them to send him along with a cardboard box to sleep in. He was lucky and got a hotel.

    Black tennis shoes - that works.

    $1 flip flops - that's all they need. I have a rule of no socks in summer (May - October.) I hate folding socks!

    4 for $4 - Yes! It only works if you stick to only the one topping though. Extra toppings add up quickly!

    Stitches - you got lucky with the chin. We are still Mederma-ing a between-the-eyes stitches scar from April. I still need to pay the $113 bill. It's hard for me to pay because they didn't do a very good job. He still looks like Frankenstein.

    Used mattress from a Hilton? - If you're ok with it, then I'm ok with it.

    Hot Wheel - That's awesome! I guess I'm going all out with a $10 budget for my 3 year old.

    Land is overated. I hope you have a riding mower. I wish I had one for my .15 acres.

    My idea of plastic surgery is padded bras from Walmart and Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-touch Sunblock with Helioplex. I love that stuff. But yes, we have a lot of that going on around here too. Women all of a sudden coming to church so perky.

    I don't dye my hair anymore. I decided to be happy with my natural color. But I will start buying some Loreal when the grays start rolling in.

    Of course I didn't list all my vices like Diet Coke, Scrubs, etc. But line upon line.

    You closed your blog! Are you willing to invite me? I need to see proof that there are other mothers with lots of kids surviving life! You're my mentor.