It looked a lot like Christmas! I also had many individuals staring across the mall, snickering comments under their breath wondering why I was pushing a buggy full of material items. The fact is we have birthdays coming up every month and I found great clearance deals! I was only shopping for one son but finished five birthdays, started on Christmas for 2011 and found clearance deals on clothing! I normally hate shopping but when there is great deals, I think ahead! It was an interesting day at the mall. I had my second oldest daughter and two of our middle aged sons. After the last store while paying the cashier one of my sons asked, "Are we finished now Mom?" "Yes" I said. Happily he replied, "Thank you Mom Thank you" The cashier giggled. Then the fire alarm went off. Surprisingly no one seemed to care. The fire trucks arrived, there was fire fighters everywhere. "Is there a fire Mom?", my son asked. "No, someone probably pulled the fire alarm", I explained. We left the mall and waited outside. After the day putting everything away I continued to smile. Not because I found great deals but because I really love children. I get many comments from people stating that I must love children after finding out how many we have. I really do. 90 percent of my time is with our children. With having adult children, I know how fast time goes. I still remember when we once had a baby, he's now turning eleven this year! Looking back I spent many hours working outside our home. I can or could have been career lead and I know most of our population have to work to make ends meet. My husband started working at age 13 and I was 14. When we married, from there we created what we call our Empire for our children. We always explain to our children that what we have comes from hard work. I've also explained that there was a time in my life where I was counting nickles, collecting pop cans for milk and to pay our heating bill. Most of us have to start somewhere and starting at a struggling place isn't necessarily bad. It teaches us to appreciate, to teach our children the meaning behind working and I wouldn't change my past for anything because it makes me who I am today. Both my husband and I really need to remind ourselves when to step back from being a helping parent. We've realized that if you put a silver spoon in your child's mouth they won't be able to function appropriately on their own and like my husband says, "Growing up on a farm taught me to work" Working is a reality. So the years I did outside our home needed to be as much as I missed our children at the time. Our oldest son made a comment one day stating "Look at what we have" comparing to others. I had to remind him that everything comes from hard work. It's a choice and getting there is just the dough. Meaning you have to work, knead through years of incredibly hard times to become who and where you want to be. Life isn't easy. Understanding, accepting and appreciating the kneading part of life will bring you the bread. To spread the butter you have to continue working. There's not a day that goes by where my husband or I aren't working. Speaking of, it's Monday! I better get cracking or there won't be any butter spreading this week!