I'm not really big on giving specific advice or tips on any specific situation or activity. Everyone is different. So instead of talking about how "strategies" for the grocery store, I just want to share a little bit about why I enjoy it.
First, kids are freaking hilarious. Even if I have one or two that are a little grumpy or tired, I still have at least one or two that are in a happy, joking mood. There's something to be said about constantly focusing on the kids that are whining or complaining. It just causes me stress or adds tension to the situation. In my opinion, if that kid is safe and I've tried to cheer them up to no avail, I just let them get over their funk and have fun with whoever is in a good mood.
For example, I remember one time a few weeks ago, we had to run to Dollar General in Hahira for milk or something. The younger two kids were not really feeling that fact that they could not get a bag of Doritos. However, the older two were quietly whispering back and forth with each other giggling. They were being so sweet and well behaved, but all of their attention seemed focused on this little empty Styrofoam cup they were carrying around. I didn't ask what it was for. Honestly, I just figured it was for collecting some kind of bug or making some sort of trap (they like to make traps, hahaha). Anyways, we walked through the entire store and finished getting all of our things. I was loading up all of my stuff at the checkout and I turn around to find Neela and Stevie trying to convince the elderly lady behind us in line to spit in their cup because they really needed her spit to add to their "collection". I literally had sit down from laughing. The lady and the cashier did not find it amusing.
Since I dont have a bunch of time to go shopping, typically I wait until we are "food poor" to go. That being said, usually when we do go to the grocery store, it's a big purchase. Hahaha, here's a funny story. I'm just writing these things as they pop in my head. Well, one time about a month or two ago, I had our cart LOADED DOWN with food. I mean we had been in the store for over an hour. Anyways, we get the check out line and get almost completely done with our groceries being scanned and suddenly Olive has this massive, spewing vomit all over herself, the shopping cart seat, and a little on the conveyor belt. I asked her if she felt ok, she said yes with a smile, but that she had "ate too much grapes at school". So I just kind of wiped her off and continued loading up the food on the checkout conveyor belt. I mean honestly, what else can you do? I'm not leaving without this food because we are out and there's already throw up everywhere, so let's just get this thing done, right? I mean the food was clean and I only had like a few items left. I did feel bad, but I could tell this young teenage girl just kind of in shock. Here's this dude handing her food with one hand, and a kid dripping with puke in the other trying to explain to his six and seven year old to push this cart with our bagged food close to their exit door, so puke isn't just piling up by the register. All the while, I look over and Titus is completely obvious to the entire situation and is running around the front of the store in full power ranger costume doing his karate moves for whoever happens to be walking by. Well, we got through that one. As I walked out I looked back and saw like 4 people cleaning up after us and just staring at me. I would have let it get to me, but we bought brownies that night. No one can be upset when you got some (non puke covered) brownies in your grocery bag.
Speaking of carts, I am the only one who really loves those tank looking things at walmart. They are like the golden egg at Easter. I always want to find one, but those things seem to be hidden in some secret spot that you need a map and a cracker jack decoder ring to find. One time, I did have one recently. Yeah, they are pretty much like driving a tank and I love it. You get so much momentum with those things. You can't really steer them, but that's ok. Because when other shoppers see you barreling uncontrollably down the cereal isle with one of these bad boys, they will jump up next to the Apple Jacks to avoid getting pummeled.
"the golden egg"
Now that I'm on the topic of Walmart, let me tell you two fun stories that happened at walmart within the past two weeks. Actually, I think these are my latest two shopping trips at walmart. (Something funny always happens there). The first were my kids were really hungry and I felt bad making them ride all the way that hungry, so we went to the little deli there and ordered some food. When we got it, I finally noticed that there were no more little tables or anything to sit down at, so I let the kids pick a low traffic spot and we set up a walmart picnic. I turned on my phone and played some music and we just sat down around the baby and shoes area just hanging out for about 30 minutes eating our food. I think the reason I enjoyed this so much was because it was pretty much the most redneck thing you could possibly do. Eating walmart deli food in a picnic on the walmart floor and drinking sweet tea and orange soda. That junk is country, son! I love it. hahaaha
Don't worry germ people. The food never touched the floor :)
My last shopping story did take place in walmart too, but I gotta give a little backstory. I've been working for Bouncing Balloons and costumes since I was 18 or 19, so about 12 years. I do kids birthday parties as superheroes, clowns, mascots, etc. However, I think what I am most known for is doing Spiderman. I've done Spiderman probably about 200 times. It's always fun and kids have a blast with Spidey.
However, that spiderman suit is completely spandex. This costume can legitimately be balled up and fit into a mason jar. Needless to say, this suit doesnt leave too much to the imagination. It took me about 3 or 4 years to get the perfect crotch cover wear. If you wear just a pair of boxers or boxer briefs, you won't be leaving much to the imagination. It didn't take me long to figure out how awkward it is having spiderman at birthday party and all the kids pointing and telling their parents "Wanna know how I know Spiderman is a boy?" hahaha. So then I tried, wearing a cup. Ok bad idea. I won't go into that, but the cup just made Spiderman look really excited... I will leave it at that. After all of that, I started just wearing a few different pair of underwear to try to effectively hide the thunder. That approach didn't really work well because it was so bulky it made Spiderman look like he was wearing an adult diaper under his suit. Finally, after much trial and error, I finally found the perfect combo. (I promise I am getting to the Walmart Shopping Story, hahaha). Anyways, the trick is wearing like these little men fashion briefs. Google them if you are curious. I promise you won't be looking long. They arent the most masculine looking things (think male lingerie), but wearing those under some boxer brief really does the trick. I call them my Spiderman underwear since I only wear them for Spiderman. So back to my story, I got off work and I remember it was raining and we were all soaked after I picked up the kids from their summer care at the YMCA. So I had to change everyone's clothes. Well being a single dad, I always feel like people are expecting my kids to look homeless with unkept hair, so I always try to make them look nice. So I get my kids in somewhat nice clothes and I just grab some shorts and a tshirt for me out of the dryer and run out of the door because I know we still gotta go to town, shop, come back, cook, eat, baths, clean, etc. Well, the shopping trip goes fine but Walmart is packed and theres only like two lanes open. So I get to the check out line and just wait there with the kids. I remember bending over and do something like tie a shoe or something and I felt something slip out from the back of my pants. I turned around and find this big guy decked in camo picking up this little black thing off the floor and looking at it. Well, of course. It's my spiderman underwear. I guess they just clung to the inside of my pants while in the dryer and I didn't notice they were wedged between my thigh and my shorts. They must have fallen out when I bend over. Anyways, me and this guy just kind of stand there looking at each other. I can tell he's wondering why these sexy little panty looking things just fell out of my butt and I'm trying to think if I should explain the situation or just take them back & say thanks. I did the latter... So I stuffed them in my pocket and just turned back around. Of course, we stood in line for another 5 minutes it was our turn to checkout. Yeah, that was a funny shopping trip.
Here's a few pictures of some other shopping trips.
Neela bringing her bullfrog (from our last frog hunt) for a little show and tell at Harveys ;)
Shopping with friends.