Getting me up early in the morning takes one of three things: a baby, an airplane, or a sale. I can’t say I sprang out of bed lightly when the alarm rang this morning at 4, but it only took a few minutes to be raring to go. My valiant hubby and I left the house at 4:40, balancing coffee mugs, sales ads, and a slab of pumkin pie apiece.

First stop: Shopko- 5:10 AM. On the way there we’d divided the list. Hubby’d be going to toys, and I’d be doing the rest of it. The parking lot was full, but inside the store it wasn’t too bad in the first few minutes. I headed for kids clothes (you can’t beat jeans for $7!) and pretty much found what I came for. Then I headed over to check on John in toys.

The crowd was getting thick near the toys. I was glad I had bags instead of a cart. Via cell phones we located each other, and it turned out he’d had no luck finding things on his list. Stuff had been snatched up so fast hadn’t gotten a thing. And already the line was nuts– clear to the back of the store. By the time we got into line, it was winding along the back wall. Fun.

I held the place in line and John tried to locate a couple more things. No luck. After waiting a few minutes together, we decided he ought to go to the nearly Staples, which was opening in 20 minutes or so, while I waited here.

I ended up chatting with a couple gals around me in line– the lines move so slow you always end up feeling like friends with your line-mates after an hour or so. We took turns making little forays into nearby aisles, and pushing each other’s carts forward. I had fabulous luck finding toys that way. So good, in fact, that I grabbed an abandoned cart when I spotted one.

Some of the things I found were items people had set down in odd places (probably running, screaming when they’d seen the lines!) And other things had been restocked after that first crazy rush. By the time I’d snailed my way to the front, the cart was piled high, and my list was mostly checked off.

When I was near the checkout, my cell rang. It was John, jubilant because he’d gotten all three items we’d wanted there, despite huge bunches of people. By the time I was checking out, he was back to help me rassle bags.

Next stop: Lowe’s for me and Radio Shack for him (around 6:30). We consulted via cell phone as we shopped. Again, by the time I reached the checkout, John was there to pick me up. But this time I frantically told John via phone NOT to come in the store yet because I’d bought HIM something I didn’t want him to see. The check-out lady and I hurried, laughing, to make the see-through Lowe’s bags opaque thru judicious use of sales ads.

Our final stop, around 8 am, was Target, which turned out to be a DREAM compared to Shopko. We were in and out in half an hour.

Then it was on to IHOP for breakfast. We had a nice chat (mostly spent delighting over our good deals!) and then it was time to head home. We made it home by 9:30. That’s what I call 5 hours well spent. Needless to say I took a nap this afternoon with my toddler.

When I woke up, John and the big kids had set up the tree, all ready to decorate. And all I had to do was delegate the decorating jobs…and snap pictures of the decorating party…

…and unwrap the new string of lights and show it to the two year old…

…and show the little girls the nesting Christmas Santas that they’d forgotten all about since last year….

and wipe up sticky candy-cane fingers..

….and put a casserole in the over for dinner…

…and vacuum….

…and sit back and admire the effect.

Now we are watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” to the twinkle of Christmas lights as we munch popcorn. Isn’t popcorn the loveliest smell?
And isn’t Christmas the loveliest season?

I’ll show you my living room soon….


  1. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the pic of dear daughter looking at the lights!!! Oh, I hope I can steal the idea and get a shot like that tomorrow. You have had one productive day, my friend – and how fun to get to have all that fun with the hubby; mine would rather not shop, thank you very much! Congrats on the bargains!

  2. I am impressed that your husband does Black Friday shopping with you! Love the photo of your little girl looking at the lights. Such a great movie you are watching, also. Wow – you guys seem all ready for Christmas!


  3. Hey, there. I’m looking into an agency I believe you used to grow your family (was that you on their link? I’m pretty sure it was.) If you have the time, would you please jot me a quick note on how it went? We’ve had an “almost adoption” 4 times now. I just can’t go through this again. I need it to work this time. Dare we dream that Africa is attainable for an average family like us?

  4. Solomons and Malachi– I emailed you privately, but our agency is http://www.adoptionadvocates.org
    And absolutely this works for average families..look at us!


  5. what a day! love the pics -especially the one with your younger girls rembering the dolls. adorable.

  6. Very fun! I’m too tired right now to write on my blog about our day. But I’ll say here that we were in our first line (Sears) by 4:40, and didn’t stop for even a bite of food until 11:00, when we crashed at Red Robin. Then, after a late-evening movie, we hit the stores tonight, until they closed at 11:00. Oh, and I’m heading back out tomorrow at 8:00 to see if Target has re-stocked some specific items. Crazy!

  7. Sounds like a very successful and fun day! I love the pictures, especially the one of your little girl with the Christmas lights and eating the candy, she’s so cute! Yes, Christmas is the loveliest season, but no popcorn is not the loveliest smell. I think living in the dorms in college and having half the hall making microwave popcorn every night – so I got to smell it on a regular basis — kind of ruined it for me. 🙂 But watching a Christmas movie with family to the twinkle of the lights — that is definitely lovely!!!

  8. What a wonderful day! Your babies are absolutely beautiful.

  9. I was in line at 4:15 am to get into Kohls, got all I needed to so that was good. Hubby hit WalMart and Best Buy (which was so crazy), only missed one thing at Best Buy that he had wanted. I hit a few more stores and we were home taking a nap by 8:30. Hubby was looking at the sales ads going are we sure we want to get up that early, I tell him it is a tradition!
    We also set up the tree, but have boxes and boxes of decorations for the rest of the house ready to be gone through today…maybe.

  10. Yes! Christmas is the lovliest season……I’m glad you and your husband had a successful trip- ours was too- such a great feeling to get a bargain! The pics are great! We are looking forward to decorating too but we wait until after my sons birthday……Meg

  11. How ironic that my husband and I did the SAME thing: Kohl’s at 5AM, Home depot at 6, then Lowes at 6:20. We had all of our Christmas shopping done and we decided to have breakfast at IHOP at 7AM! We thought we had to be the most organized two waiting for the store to open, having our lists on index cards (a HIS and HERS list of course), so we could split up and get what we needed. We rolled up to Kohls at 4:45, and the line was already 60 people! It took us five minutes to gather toys and goodies, then 45 minutes to stand in the lines to check out. Still, my husband and I agree without each other, it would not have been an enjoyable experience!
    Your children are breathtaking! We begin our tree-trimming today. Have a blessed weekend.

  12. Sounds lovely – and the photos are great! I love that feeling after the tree is up, you turn off the rest of the lights, and just bask in the glow. *sigh*

  13. I am enraptured by the photos of this post. Just gorgeous. And I thought of you all day yesterday as I avoided the malls. Glad the day went swimmingly.

  14. What a great day! And great pictures.

  15. Beautiful photos, and it sounds like you had quite the shopping day. I must admit that after almost 10 years of working retail, I avoid the shops on Black Friday.

  16. There isn’t a sale that could make me go shopping on Black Friday.

    But it sounds like you had a great day. Your pictures are wonderful. Great capture of your baby with the lights. And I really like the one of the tree going up – the out of focus effect is so cool.

    It is a wonderful season. Truly truly.

  17. What an adventure! 😉

    Yes, Christmas IS the best season, as is popcorn a lovely smell. 🙂

    I love the pics!

  18. The mystery and wonder in your children’s eyes over their long forgotten nesting Santa’s captured my heart.

    It also reminded me that no matter how much we say it, we will not be waiting 5 years to adopt again..

    Do you celebrate Timket? We are planning on having a celebration with a lot of kids that have came home but we are a bit lost in planning and would love some ideas if you have any!

  19. Are you serious? 5 AM??? Wow, stores here don’t even open that early on Boxing Day.

    And I love the photos, too.

  20. Gorgeous photos of the kids!
    I can’t get jazzed about shopping day after Thanksgiving. Though I do love a bargain…
    But you made me want to pull out my It’s a Wonderful Life DVD…I used to have a trivia quiz page for that movie on a previous webpage! My favorite!

    Thanks for the words of encouragement about diabetes. It’s always getting easier, at least that’s the plan!

  21. I absolutely loved this post. The pictures are breathtaking and the word images really speak to the wonder of the season. Christmas is a wonderful time of year! Thank you for “jumpstarting” my season! I’m off to find the DVD and get out the tree!

  22. Now see it sounds nuts to me. Although I will say my day seemed crazy since my wife was standing in line at some store and I was at home playing with my son.

    Nevermind it was great…

  23. Janell the Great says:

    Beautiful pictures!