I mean, seriously?! Where IS the time going? YESTERDAY was practically Black Friday and TODAY there are only 22 days until Christmas! This just further proves it for me:
Thoughts? Anyone else's life flying by?
Yeah, I thought so.
I, Mama, have been one of 'those' people on Black Fridays for a few years now (while only taking a one year respite from this Holiday For Retail Insanity during pregnancy for a better cause: sleeping) and look forward to it just about all year long. Julie, you understand: you were with me at Opry Mills those Black Fridays of yore--and Opry Mills of yore, nowadays. As any good, deal-loving, and thrifty Mother would, I took Carina as my partner in deal-hunting this year.
Teaching the value of money early is important, you know.
We hit Wal-greens to pick up photos (they can be seen further down) and then Kohl's for 65% off practically everything we purchased. Woo! Carina was Mama's Big Helper during our shopping trip because we didn't take her stroller along, however, this was not intentional. I had forgotten it in Jared's trunk since that's not it's usual place, so I was worried at first about losing her in the crowd, someone grabbing her (etc.), but she did incredibly well, stuck right by my side and she either held my hand or was right in my sight.
There are just lots of strange strangers out there who seem to think that an adorable child is reason enough for them to get creepy and attempt to pinch her cheeks, tousle her hair, or try to get her to smile at them, which is especially disturbing when 'The Stare-er' is someone who resembles a pedophile, by definition. IF you're loved by us, then it's acceptable to coddle, tousle, and even lovingly gaze, but only as long as Carina is OK with it. Otherwise, don't invade our personal space and get offended when I ask you not to touch my child or we get the heck away from you, leaving you standing there saying,"Uhhhhhh, I was just lookin' at her. She's so purty and she was thinkin' 'bout smilin' at meeeeeee, Mama...".
I mean, really.
*Dear Carina, your Mama and Dada are like a Mama Bear and Papa Bear when it comes to you, at your current age, at least. We will strive to give you all of the personal freedoms, privacy, respect, and treat you as the age-appropriately maturing sweetheart you are in the years to come, but for now, the claws are out and the teeth are BEARed.*
While Black Friday shopping, Carina got to play with her current favorite article of clothing in the whole-wide-world: SHOOOOOOOOOES! And not 'baby' shoes, only 'Mama' shoes. She was completely uninterested in the baby shoes section, meaning I picked her up to see the selection, she pointed her index finger at them and blew a raspberry: PFFFFFFFT! Her favorite 'Mama' shoes was a pair of maroon crushed velvet ballet slippers with big, floppy bows. She scooted at her running pace up and down the aisle and didn't bump into a single person!
I was so proud to have my Big Girl shopping buddy along! :-)
Shoe Department at Kohl's: Carina's Inaugural Black Friday 2010
From the Shoe Department we moved on to the only department that truly matters: THE TOY DEPARTMENT. We found an unpopulated corner and parked our shopping bag and my purse so we could try out all of them! We've never been toy shopping in this capacity because normally we just pick out something we think she would like or hand her a few things to try out while she's buckled into either her stroller or the shopping cart. After tasting the freedom of THE TOY DEPARTMENT, I doubt she will ever be satisfied with just looking at the toys on the shelves again. So many things were already strewn on the floor that her playing with them, riding on them, and pushing the many noise-activating, ear-plugging-inducing buttons didn't make a difference in the organization of it all...since there was none.
She really got excited about a few (65% off!!!) 'pretend play' toys, so while she wasn't looking I slipped them into our Kohl's bag. Carina is all about Little People and Weebles at school, so they will play a part in her Christmas this year. When she finished up and we left THE TOY DEPARTMENT without wailing and screaming (honest, she's a very well-behaved and calm babe unless she's well beyond over-tired), we made our way to the checkout counters.
Oh wait, what's that?
There's a line forming?
Oh, okay, honey, let's go get in line...at the end of the line...20+ people-ahead-of-us at the end of the line.
At least the ones nearest us in line were very sweet women who were diehard Black Friday-ers like ourselves. A reasonable wait later, we made it to the front of the line, had our items scanned and I set to digging out my wallet from my oversized (terrible idea) purse. It wasn't there.
***Insert ALL of the expletives that I was silently screaming: HERE!***
The very kind cashier held our not-quite-yet purchases while we power-walked out of the store and to the car. The whole way I was saying "Ohhhhhh nooooo..." to let Carina know something was wrong...and to keep from saying what I was REALLY thinking. Found the wallet in the car, wedged between the passenger side seat and the door, returned to Kohl's, bought the items, and crisis averted. Had it actually been lost or stolen, they wouldn't have gotten a whole lot from me except for a gift card with $95 left on it for The Fret Store; everything else I could have easily cancelled or replaced.
As a result of my mantra-like chanting of "Ohhhhhh nooooo...", Carina has picked up a new phrase and uses it with amazing accuracy. For example: Mama's blueberry waffle slides off of her plate and onto the floor the next morning and Carina says,"Ohhhhhhh noooooo..." with so much sincerity and genuine concern, even shaking her head side-to-side for 'noooo'.
Everyday a learning experience.
Everyday a learning experience.
We were staaaaaarving after all that shopping and Carina answered my question to her of: 'What do you want for lunch?' with a 'BOK BOK BOK' for chicken. So, we ate chicken nuggets in the backseat together and talked about our adventure. By the end of her 3rd nugget, she handed me what little bit she had left, said "Mama. Eat." and reached for her beloved gah and gray puppy. We arrived at a red light after about 5 minutes of driving, I turned around to check on her, and this is what I saw:
She had shopped 'til she dropped. So sweet...
Now, about those photos we picked up at Wal-greens. I have been trying out my new-old camera, a Canon Rebel XS (early 90s or late 80s model) and below are my test shots that turned out pretty well, I think.
I got to pick up Carina early from school, so we played on the playground for a while with her friends.
Carina's Current 'Flame': Xander
The expression on her face when she first noticed me since I had snuck up to the playground while she was playing. To me it said, "Uhhhh, Mama, what the heck are you doing here so early?!
We were just about to tie up our teacher and run amok!"
This one is absolutely beautiful and really captures her candidly.
I love it!
Xander and Connor having a rocking contest!
Then Carina joined in...
We had so much fun playing together and with her friends and teachers!
I hope Jared gets to do that with her soon, too.
I'm still learning how to use this SLR camera, but I'm getting a little better. Carina gets excited when I pull it out. She immediately noticed the difference between it and the digital camera: this one has a BRIIIIGHT flash!
We have more photos and videos to post, so I'll add those to the next post. We're all looking forward to having the whole weekend together to go to a local craft fair, Knoxville to their HUGE Hobby Lobby, and taking Christmas portraits for those long-awaited annual Christmas Cards! If you want one this year and didn't receive one last year, comment and give me your address. They're just the best! I love taking pictures, but especially of our family. They tolerate me pretty well...