NOTE: the pictures in this post have entirely no context.
This morning, my children and I headed out first thing to go to the passport office once again so that I could sign that one freaking signature that had been grievously overlooked at the appointment on Tuesday. I was miffed about the whole thing (c'mon, they haven't heard of forgery? I'd never tell!), but I was determined to not let this ruin our day. I've found that the children behave the best when I'm not tense or visibly upset, and plus, it's a quick trip for one signature. Should be simple, yes?
We arrived at the office waiting room and I immediately took note of several large, boldfaced signs announcing PASSPORT OFFICE CLOSED TODAY. I located the smaller sign with a schedule on the wall, and realized that the passport office is always closed on Thursdays, except for afternoon appointments. It was 10 am. I briefly considered hyperventilating, then lying down on the floor and giving a good shout (hey, it's Lavella's answer to anything), but then a guy came out of the office area and asked me what I was there for (several official offices are grouped together in the same common room, with the passport offices located just off of that). I told him, and with a quick, knowing glance around at my 4 little ones, he went back inside for a minute. Thank God the passport lady was actually back there somewhere, and pulled my file for my ONE SIGNATURE. Crisis averted. I may have burned the place down had the nice man not intervened.
We had entered the building with Lavella strapped in the stroller and Elijah pushing her, with the promise that Andrew could push her back out. Apparently it's a High Honor to zoom her about like a race car. Of course, however, as we turned to go, Elijah suddenly decided that it was not OK for anyone else to push her, and collapsed in a heap of wails. After some terse threats, we made it out to the car ("ANDREW IS GOING TOO FAST!!! HE'S RUNNING WITH HER!!! BLAH BLAH BLAH I WANT TO MAKE YOUR EARS BLEED WITH THE SHEER POWER OF MY LUNGS!!!")
There were one or two things we needed from the PX. On the way there, I hit a curb coming off of a traffic circle, and then nearly got in a sloooooow accident with another driver on the larger traffic circle just before the PX (most Americans cannot drive around those things properly). As I was turning into the parking lot of the PX, I noticed a Military Police car (MP) pull in behind me, then turn on his lights. He directed me into the nearest parking spot (thanks buddy, I wouldn't have known where to park otherwise!!), and then walked over to my window.
MP: "Do you know why I pulled you over?" (Is there a textbook for these sayings somewhere?)
MP: "Ma'am, are you OK? You hit a curb back there, and then you were ALL OVER the road. I mean, it's kind of early to be drinking, but..."
At this point, it's possible that he caught a whiff of the animal crackers I'd been eating. He looked confused, embarrassed, not sure what to say next.
Me: "Sir, I have 4 children under the age of 6. I was distracted." (In my head: "Dude, I'm ALWAYS all over the road. Your point?")
MP: "Well ma'am, please drive safe, be careful, mumble mumblemumble I'm so embarrassed and I'm young and I don't really know what to say right about now, because It's clear that while you are, indeed, a hazard for our fine pedestrian citizens, there's nothing I can do about it mumble mumble."
After this enlightening conversation, I gathered my little troops, and we headed inside, this time sans stroller (in an effort to avoid the earlier fighting trouble). As soon as we entered the store, Lavella made a quick right into the clothing department, and....was gone. The store, mercifully, was fairly empty, so it was just me and the boys screaming her name, peering around clothing racks and feeling stupid/concerned/mildly panicked. A 2-1/2 foot person who does not want to be found can be a challenge, to say the least. Darn that toddler stubbornness.
I finally located her taking her jacket off. "I have to poop", she announced. Thankfully, nothing came of that.
The rest of the (mercifully brief) shopping trip that followed was nothing short of disastrous. Pharmaceuticals being plowed off of shelves, dropping shopping baskets on the floor, and then the crowning glory: a full out fit at the register, courtesy of Elijah and Lavella, because they had to relinquish their goods to the cashier to get "beeped". Truly, it was a horrific ending.
After quickly getting some gas, and mailing something out at the post office, we were finally able to go home.
Nevermind me sobbing over here in the corner, rocking with my arms over my head.
I think it will probably be a good idea for us NEVER TO GO OUT OF OUR HOUSE AGAIN.
Not really, but hey! Here's a fun cookbook!
It's from one of my fiber friends, who sent it as a little gift for the children. I'll post more on it later -- it's already inspired some good, creative eating.