Robbing my children of joy and wonder since 2004.

It’s only 12:45 and I feel like I’ve already accomplished SO MUCH today; one of those accomplishments was “going to Costco.” I have discovered the key to non-frustrating Costco trips – other than Shopping Cart Karma – and that is to go more frequently for fewer things. Of course, this would not be feasible if I lived in a rural area, but I’m 15 minutes away from my nearest Costco and so that half-hour round trip made more frequently is well worth it to not almost die from the physical exertion of pushing several hundred pounds of things through the parking lot, and then unloading all those things from the car and putting them away, necessitating several dozen trips up and down the stairs. Smaller frequent trips = Costco happiness.

Longtime readers will remember how I used to loathe Costco with all my might; I’d spend all the time shopping steeped in resentment, and also I would be deep breathing for fear all those gigantic boxes would suddenly let loose and fall on me, killing me instantly. This was a silly fear for in all these times, I’ve only been almost killed once by a falling pile of tampon boxes. Well, “almost killed” is probably an over-statement. In any case, I actually ENJOY my Costco trips now; possibly because the children are growing so rapidly that they eat every single thing in sight. They MIGHT even have eaten these, if I had deigned to buy them:


Ha! Just kidding. They’d never eat those. Hell, I don’t think I would eat those, and I am exactly the target market for such things. Kale and chia tortilla chips. Please. That’s too sad even for me.

It was insanely busy in there, but I amused myself the way I usually do when I’m in a giant lineup: by surreptitiously peeking at other people’s cart contents. It’s so interesting. I often wonder what people are going to make/ cook/ do with the variety of items. It’s a fun little game. For example, the man in front of me had nothing whatever except a giant pork tenderloin and a 1000-count box of Splenda packets. I wonder if people are looking at my cart, wondering about me, although my cart was a little boring today: mostly fruit – fresh, frozen AND dried – nuts, and chocolate, with a flat of Perrier thrown in for balance.

I also bought a few candy-type things for loot bags because…we’re planning a birthday party for Mark! This is big news; we haven’t had a kid birthday party for a few years – neither boy has wanted one, but this year, Mark does. Mostly, it’s going to be eight kids “hanging out” in my basement. I’m not going to lie: I’m slightly nervous at the thought of having EIGHT KIDS IN MY BASEMENT FOR FOUR UNSTRUCTURED HOURS but maybe it will be fine. Mark isn’t interested in party games or the like, so the vague plan is for the kids to play Just Dance and watch a movie on DVD, but we shall see. Hopefully it will be fine; as long as I remember to put away my husband’s free weights and reiterate that no one is allowed on the elliptical machine, there should be few injuries, at least. I’m sure the kids will have fun – there’s going to be pizza and a DQ Treatzza Pizza so ALL WILL BE FINE, RIGHT?

One thing that we are doing, and have done in the past, is eliminate the gifts and instead ask guests to bring food bank donations. This works well for us; Mark is a pretty charitably-oriented guy, and really doesn’t need a whole bunch of gifts – he has two sets of doting grandparents, aunts, and uncles, plus gifts from us. But the other day I saw an article in Today’s Parent about “No Gifts, Please” and the Facebook comments were as full of anger and vitriol as a piece on measles outbreaks. I know, I know, don’t read the comments. But really, you would have thought that, instead of focusing more on “good times with friends” and less on “unwrapping a ton of things to add to the million things in the kids’ room” meant “depriving child of all joy and wonder in life.” Well, if that’s true, so be it. My children will look back on their childhoods and say well, it was pretty good, except for the total absence of joy and wonder.

Speaking of joy and wonder, yesterday I had my hair coloured and cut – a week late, due to my pressing commitments as Book Fair Lady – and today I am having the best hair day ever. Soft, bouncy, shiny…and the only witnesses were the people shopping at Costco and the girls at the dog park. Due to the miracles of the modern age we live in, you are now witness to Nicole’s Best Hair Day of March 2015. Yes, I’m calling it now, I don’t care if it is only the fourth.


SO much better than the before photo, am I right?



  1. I was at Costco too! Meat, fruit, nuts and hey! they have Lara Bars now (which are my new somewhat healthy right? on the run snack). I knidof like the before photo….

  2. Great idea on the Costco. We just did the birthday party with the good bank except we did promise that half will go to donations for the Food Bank and half to buying a gift of my daughter’s choosing. However my daughter is a bit younger than your son, so I think we will get to just the ‘donations’ point soon! Good luck with the party. 🙂

  3. Oops – I meant Food Bank not Good Bank, sorry.

  4. I was there today too! I must have just missed you, I was stuck in the hellishly long returns line (bad strawberries, blergh). Just wanted to say that we’ve done the food donation party too, and it was great. And we always do home parties, I plan a game or two, but the kids mostly just have fun playing together as a group of friends. Another big trend I’m seeing that I love is the $5 and $5. $5 to the charity of birthday kids choice, and $5 to a pool for the birthday kid to buy a special gift with. I love when an invite includes this idea! I hope Mark has a great time!

  5. I noticed your hair.

  6. Oh my goodness! Thing 2 is having a party this year, too! I am excited! So fun! She’s opted for a pool party and I had a stroke of brilliance today (far better than an actual stroke, by far) and thought we could do a Beachy Luau themed party!

    Now, it might be all the crazy icy Arendelle weather we’ve been having or perhaps I am wigging out from all the Macadamias I’ve eaten (Oh yes! I made a little Costco trip of my own this week!), but I think this is a fantastic idea! Wouldn’t you agree?

    I’m thinking Hawaiian inspired fruit kababs with pineapple! Ooh!

    Oooh! Maybe I can borrow Nick Nolte’s shirt!

    Have I mentioned winter’s been long?

    Anyway, yay making Costco better. I find if I plan to be in and out in under an hour and then make a little game of that by shortening the time allotted , the experience is greatly improved, too. 🙂

  7. I have a birthday party to plan this month, too. Her theme is Things with Wings so we bought way too many bird, butterfly, bat, angel, fairy, airplane, dragon, etc decorations and gift bag trinkets. J doesn’t do minimalist parties. Other than that we haven’t planned much and I keep panicking about it.
    I think when you have two teen-age boys in your house, you will be needing to go to Costco daily. N just inhales cereal and we can’t keep milk in the house. I am constantly going out for more.

  8. We did full-on birthday parties for each kid for ages 4 through 8, and after that we told them they were cut off – they could celebrate by doing something with a single friend, like a sleepover or a movie, but that was it. However, every year since the older two turned 9 it’s been trickling into bigger and bigger celebrations – they just HAVE to invite there three best friends! And they just HAVE to go bowling AND get pizza! SIGH. The one thing that we have managed to stick to is no gifts – it’s the one thing that makes us able to cling to the idea that it’s not a party so much as a “hang out.” Parental delusion for the win!

    • My daughter’s only allowed to have four guests at her party because it’s a slumber party and I just don’t want more kids than that sleeping at my house, so that’s pretty close to your guest list. But they are staying at my house for 16 hours.

  9. smothermother says

    Those kale and chia chips are actually delicious!

  10. Eve went to the sleepover with four friends party this year and it was fabulous – they stayed most of the next day because it was so fun and chill having them hanging out here. In contrast to the years of ten kids at glow-in-the-dark golfing or making clay owls? SO much better. Hanging in the basement will be fine. And I had dropped Angus at school, grocery shopped and gotten an oil change before 9:30 this morning – WHO AM I?

  11. I was thinking of your post about shopping with Baby Boomers the other day when I was in the store. I might have to look that one up again just to make myself feel better.

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