This morning Mary and I awoke with the birds, fed the baby, and then left the rest of the crew home with Tim while we hoped to beat the crowds at the local thrift store. This particular chain has everything 50% off on holidays and I promised Mary a shopping spree for her birthday. We stood in line outside in the 30 F cold for 45 minutes so we could be one of the few shoppers able to snag a grocery cart. The place was a mob scene with the aisles filled with voices chattering in several languages.
I snagged some great items including 2 Hanna Anderson dresses, fuzzy sleepers for Julia Ellen, a pair of oars for our rubber boat (the boys destroyed one by trying to dig up gravel), warm socks, puzzles, and a bag full for Mary. Over and over people asked me if they could have my cart, but I refused to give it up until I spotted a young mom with a baby and a toddler, "Excuse me, but you look like you really need a cart. Would you like this one?" As we were navigating the hordes of cars and people in the parking lot Mary asked if I could wrap up her gifts so it would be like a "real birthday." "We can also make a cake this afternoon after you finish school and piano," I said, "especially since you can't take cupcakes to the next co-op since it is Ash Wednesday." Almost a full week after Mary's real birthday we will actually celebrate our oldest girl hitting double digits with gifts, cake, and many happy wishes.