Monday, June 27, 2011

Off the grid

I'll be taking the next few days away from the allure of my blog. A brief hiatus more than a sabbatical.

Many know it's been an emotional week or so with the death and celebration of life/funeral of my grandfather. Unfortunately, the hits keep coming, and my newly widowed grandmother is not doing well (was just admitted to the hospital last night--pretty much after we all left her house in Pennsylvania).

Combined with aggressive work deadlines and projects that seem incredibly unreachable right now, and some unforeseen obstacles Eric and I have confronted (luckily, it has nothing to do with any health problems for Eric, the kids, or me, and at the end of the day, it is making our relationship even stronger and better if that is even possible...), I do not have a lot of extra time to blog and post pictures.

Thanks for everyone's kind words, cards, and messages; it has made this time much more bearable.

I'll be back in a few!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day 2011

(What better way to spend Father's day than taking pictures of your children?)

Gifts were simple this year:

1. sleeping in until 9am
2. doughnuts for breakfast from the 'hood sub/doughnut shop
3. a new stainless steel water bottle with Eric's running company logo and website
4. 2 books for the library:

Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Boxed Set, Volumes 1, 2, and 3

And outside of good quality family time, we didn't do anything remarkable. The weekend was capped off, as most holiday weekends are, with a great time at the D's house--our Atlanta family. (And lots of toddler nudity.)

We didn't take a ton of pictures over the whole weekend, but did manage to get a few shops at one of our favorite new parks. Once we read that digital photography book, we have a fighting chance the pictures will be better!


WWYD? To Mini or not to Mini

Week long trek up to Ohio is pending.

That's 12 hours in a car with 2 toddlers. (I'm not a world traveler, but we have traveled a LOT with these kids when I think of it!). Although no one is teething, and no one has an ear infection or an antibiotic reaction (Dang! No benadryl!), we also don't have the convenient stop in Cincinnati to stay overnight now that Eric's sister lives in a different state. And by convenient, I mean a stop after 7 hours of driving.

12 hours overnight.

Do we dare rent a minivan?

Is the expense worth it?

(Maybe it will be a good test run to see if we will ever be a minivan family.)

Throw this into the mix--on the way back, my mother will probably be with us as we abduct her for childcare services for 5 weeks. Read: I'll be in a Britax car seat sandwich for 12 hours, which means Felix will throw his shoes at my face (he's allergic to them in the car), Miles will demand I hold his hand, and I'll need to mediate lots of dinosaur screaming.

At least I won't be pumping this time.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Foreign Accent Syndrome

Foreign accent syndrome is a rare medical condition involving speech production that usually occurs as a side effect of severe brain injury, such as a stroke or head trauma. Those suffering from the condition pronounce their native language with an accent that to listeners may be mistaken as foreign or dialectical. 

One case has been reported of an individual with the condition due to a severe migraine, and 2 cases have been related to a developmental problem...

...make that 3. 

I think once Miles hit 2 1/2, one night his brain got off of a stop on the MTA New York City transit line, and he's never been the same since. And we all know that NYC is a different country.

Miles has a foreign accent, and while I cannot pin it exactly, I think the origins are from NYC. I am no Dialectologist, though.

It is NOT a southern drawl, NOT a Boston/New England accent from my shallow end of the gene pool, and NOT a midwestern accent from Eric's deeper end of his gene pool. 

But it certainly has to do with how he pronounces the letter "r."

I first heard about this certifiably real condition on the news a few years ago, and then heard about it again on NPR this year. 

Miles's biggest offenders:

"Mo-Wah" (More)
"Ca-Wah" (Car)
"Pahk" (Park)
"Sam-ich" (not an accent thing, but I love how he says it)
"Cloh-ahk" (Clock)

And then there are just words we love hearing him say, like "slippery" and "shower", which comes out more like "chowder."

I'm glad we have the fip video to document his voice, because I have a sense that over the next year, it will change. And you'll see Felix is in the background trying to "cheers" with Miles since he will take any opportunity to ram his spoons, glasses, or food into someone else's and scream CHEERS!

(Dark portion of the video is the 2 of us cuddling before bedtime under his "Twighlight" turtle stars, and me badgering him to say cute words.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My summer boys.

I don't know why, but the picture below makes me want to put Felix in a business suit (and wipe off the boogies and Mac n Cheese on his face):
The beauty of the picture below is that you can see how Miles's hair now parts where he got his princess castle head wound last year. I think that is pretty bad a$$. Falling onto the spire of a friend's princess castle is right up there with getting into a knife fight on Skid Row, right?
Swimming is serious stuff, folks:
If you can handle the skeeters, there is a lot of fun to be had in our front yard this summer.

Below: proof positive that my children, despite current popular sentiment, are not, in fact, twins as everyone asks us these days.

(Interruption--I, need, a, comma, intervention),

I had to crop the photo so that I didn't completely give away too much cheekage (I don't want to be the next Anthony Weiner), but please know that Felix's legs (he's the twin on the right) are COVERED in obscene bug bites. And the scratch on Mile's bum was a result of naked pool dancing:

Felix gets eaten ALIVE while Miles's skin stays unblemished. Maybe it's the antibiotics that Felix always has coursing through his veins.

Yup, on another course. Thanks to an ear tube being CLOGGED and pushing it's way out while letting infected fluid swirl around in his middle ear. And the ENT said we cannot get rid of the clog at this point. At least 1 tube is working perfectly, but the verdict: ear infection. Another 10 day cours of abx, and now we get to administer Flonase daily forever. Come fall, if we are still dealing with trouble, it's on to adenoid removal. I'm sorry Felix, but the plumbing in your head STINKS. Although, I have decided to develop a baby and toddler medical modeling company. I don't know if it exists, but I'm starting a southeast division. Parents magazines always have those ads with "sick" children on them--runny noses, pink eyes, sour expressions. Really, I have got to figure out how to capitilize off of Felix's chronic infections and those big eyes--at least enough to pay for all of our copays. (I kid!!!)

Just stop me if I ever threaten to put them in tuxes and try out for Toddlers and Tiaras.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

P Day: 5

Status update?

Pees in the potty: 0
Poops in the potty (NOT counting the cheek residual that dropped in over the weekend): 0

So...yeah...that's where we are.

But in the spirit of potty positivity, Miles isn't *asking* for a diaper, and our diaper drawer is not emptying as quickly.

I'll try to shake things up a little with a good ole fashioned picture heavy post soon--I need a bit of time to gather some reserves to get back to written journaling.

There is a lot going on in our lives recently, so have patience until things settle and I get back into the groove.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Worst Case Scenario

For Mother's Day, Alison requested that I write a blog post.  I am certainly tardy (I get one free right?), but I will come through and live up to my promise.  I can't promise that I will be as funny as my wife, but I will do my best to describe things as thoroughly.

I am a stay at home dad on potty training duty, you know this will have to be good.

We are sitting at the kitchen table eating lunch like any other normal day.  I had just changed Felix's diaper and Miles into his 4th pair of Thomas underwear.  The boys were "eating" raspberries by acting out the scene from Go Dog Go where the two pooches comment on each others' hats.  A finger was capped by said berry and the time it was acknowledged that the opposing dog did not appreciate the sartorial brilliance of said hat, it would be gobbled up by one of my sons.  Easy enough.  This gave me an opportunity to eat some left over chorizo tacos that we whipped up on Saturday night.   Miles stops mid-argument between the berries and says "all done."  He gets down, starts to run around and proudly announced that he had peed.  I glance over to spot a wonderful puddle.  Success!  At least if I am going to change some underwear I want him to have really peed and not just dribbled enough to wet the front.  I go and get a rag while Miles gets some new undies.  I ask Miles to pull off his underwear and he does and I help him put on the new pair. 

Then I see it.

Yes.  It. 

Having been to the Frosty Caboose many times, you can often spot a casualty in the parking lot.  The poor single dip melting on the hot asphalt, somewhere between liquid and solid.  You can imagine the poor child who dropped his precious treat only to have it lost forever.  Salty tears streak the poor soul's chocolate-stained cheeks.

Yes, it looked like a melting scoop of chocolate ice cream.  Miles had failed to inform me that he actually peed AND pooped in his underwear.  Okay, don't panic.  What the hell do I do?!?!  I tell Miles to not move and I grab some paper towels.  S#!&!  Appropriate enough I guess.  Miles moved.  He stepped in the poop and sort of danced in a circle trying to get the poop off his foot.  S#!&!  I scooped him up and moved him into the bathroom to plop him on the potty (moved the rugs of course!) while praying that Felix would continue eating raspberries (coincidentally, I have no doubt I will see those berries tomorrow in his....).  I returned with spray disinfectant and a pile of paper towels.

I start spraying only to find Felix standing on his high chair.  S#!&!  I get him down and quarantine him in the kitchen so I can clean.  I see him run through Miles's room and I panic that he might go into the now contaminated bathroom (remember Miles's feet?).  I hear pitter patter as I am searching the hall and Miles' room only to hear a crash followed by tears.

Worst.  Case.  Scenario.

Felix had run and slipped in the disinfectant spray...which just happened to be on top of the poop that I had not finished cleaning up.  S#!&! 

I put Felix on our Ikea plastic mats under the kitchen table and clean him up.  I then put him back in the kitchen to finish cleaning the floor.  He is utterly besides himself. Poor guy.  You would cry too if it happened to you. 

I temporarily abandon the initial scene of the crime and bring him into the bathroom hoping to calm him down while cleaning up Miles who is dutifully sitting on the potty like nothing happened.  Felix will not have any of this.  I have to put him in his crib to keep him out of the feces and the tub and can't let him run free (not that he wants to) because of the dump on the floor.  

"My feet are all dirty Dah-de." 

"Yes.  They.  Are."  S#!&!

13 organic baby wipes later, Miles is clean (who would have thought S#!& could be so sticky?).

When does school start?

PS, this summer, with the exception of this incident, has been really fun and I look forward to more time with my boys.

P Days: 1 & 2

P Day: Potty Day

We've been dancing around the whole potty training thing for many months. Miles has both peed and pooped on the potty, although, I'm now of the belief they were mere happy accidents rather than true signs of readiness.

We decided to wait until his childcare was over for the summer so we didn't have to involve childcare too much. And at this point, Miles is verbal and easily able to tell you the whole run down on what the potty is for, where it all comes from, why you don't go in diapers when you are 3, etc.

Problem is, I don't get the sense we'll be very far come August when he returns to school.

Because my shelves are swollen with sleeping books that I purchased during Miles's first 9 months, I have no room for potty books. Outside of the handful of kid's potty books that Miles has, we are going rogue on this adventure and applying our own technique (with the guidance of the pediatrician).

It goes something like this:

Wake up one day, put on underwear, and go about your daily business. No fuss, no big deal, just "oh, and if you have to pee or poop--go into the bathroom and use that potty you have been using as a play chair for the past year."

I'm not sure I completely agree with the idea, but Eric was at Miles's 3 year appt, heard the pediatrician, and is taking some aspects of his advice as gospel.

I dictated things like sleep plans, feeding plans, etc, so I guess I defer to Eric on his potty edict.

The first rule of potty training, you don't talk about potty training. (If my husband ever read my blog, he would love this Fight Club reference.)  We don't ever ask if he has to go potty. Eric scolded me the first true P Day this Saturday when I asked Miles if he had to go potty.

That is when I immediately (and justifiably, no?) said:

"Eric, are you kidding me? I cannot ask him if he has to go potty? Okay. Your rules, YOUR laundry. I humbly resign from any leadership position in this process. Enjoy all that extra soiled laundry."

Meanwhile, I'm just thinking about the extra job I'll have to secure to pay for Miles's lifetime therapy sessions.

Luckily, Eric is a stay at home dad for a few weeks before my Mom arrives, so I'm just waiting for the miracle to take place. He has full weeks of implementing his system. And of course I am documenting it!

Apparently we are past that "sweet spot" of 2 1/2 that so many claim is the one and only time you can train your boys before you have to hire a child psychologist and look into pediatric colostomy bags if the child resists for too long.

So, how have the first 2 days gone?

P Day 1: Great! No accidents! Wait. We didn't put underwear on until 4pm, and then soon after, he had a bath and was in bed for the night. No pee or poop on the potty.

P Day 2: Eh, not stellar. I think we went through 12 pairs of underwear. No poop in the underwear, but certainly not in the potty. He cleverly saved it for nap time when he had free reign with his diaper.

P Day 2 had us go out of the house with underwear on (because during the summer, we run our family ragged. We are on the move, exploring playgrounds, pools, shopping, playdates, etc). So, we went to a new playground to explore, Chastain Park, and Eric was very eager to go with Miles in underwear.

I packed extra shorts, underwear, and a diaper just in case. I figured, he WOULD pee, but probably not until we are in the middle of swinging. We would get a good 30 minutes of eating and playtime before we had to attend to soggy Thomas underwear.

We packed up picnic lunches, and were off. So begins the comedy of errors:
  • We get to the park, and as I unloaded the bag of food, clothes, sunscreen, etc, I realized it was sitting in 2 inches of water in the back of my car. Eric's water bottle leaked--on the extra shorts, the diapers, the extra underwear and my PHONE. No biggie, perhaps Miles will be okay without back up. We are due for a miracle, right?
  • We sat down and started to eat: Miles: "I peed." Of COURSE you peed! And so, Eric walked back up to the car, and put him in the emergency car diaper.
  • Miles and I had some races on the open grass. At the third tree, he informed me that he was pooping in his diaper. I guess that emergency diaper was a good thing! But FAIL
  • After nap that day, we put underwear back on, and it was a constant: "Mom, I peed. Change my underwear."
  • During one episode: Miles said he pooped. I looked in his underwear, and it was fine. So I sat him on the potty in case he thought he had to poop. After he stood up, there was a little in the potty. But I realized it just fell out from when he did it in his underwear. He saw it, and I don't think he quite understood it. I don't blame him--no pushing or anything, and it ends up in the potty? Ugh, what's the number to the psychologist?
Eric thinks we should let him stew in it a bit. But not sure it really upsets him, and not sure I want him to get comfortable being wet.

In case you aren't following the count of the last 2 days:

Changes of underwear: at least 15
Pee in the potty: 0
Poop in the potty: 1--but it was a "hangers on" that really shouldn't count.

Best part? Felix is all about the potty. He delightfully yells "POTTY!" and even sits on it no problem.

Maybe we'll get a "twofor" out of this??

Stay tuned...

I promise I won't chronicle every day...but this adventure that Eric is kindly orchestrating is too good not to write about from time to time...and if I'm still writing about it come Christmas, I'm going straight to the colostomy option.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

34 barely there

We all know Felix is my boy who will slip out of the house when he is a sophomore in high school to meet up with his super secret senior girlfriend (most likely Miles's recent ex-girlfriend who dumped him over the new teleporting "app" citing the "it's not's me" line) in the parking lot of Friendly's restaurant to go hook up with her to whatever the decade's Stairway to Heaven make-out soundtrack is...and then the next day teach Miles the "one handed brassiere release" move.

I'm not a boy, and I've never been a teenage boy, but I've dated a few in my time. And I am pretty sure there is some sort of boy scout badge for being able to release a girl's bra with one hand. 

I figured I would give them both an advantage and bring them bra shopping for the first time today after work.

So, we headed off to Target (I'm all couture when it comes to over the shoulder boulder pebble holder) right before dinner time. This was immediately after we flew up and down the aisles of Michael's craft store.

Really--could I pick a better time? Low blood sugar. Traffic. General dinner time crankiness. 99 degree heat. Can we get me in for a brain scan? Maybe I have subconscious tendencies to inflict pain on myself and anyone within earshot of my children.

Do NOT...I NOT go into a craft store at dinner time without anesthetizing your children. It took me about 20 minutes to pick out the 3 skeins of yarn I needed because most of the time before I even got to the yarn aisle, I was ripping spools of thread out of Felix's mouth and preventing Miles from making me take home 7 broken porcelain birds that are used for God knows what kind of craft. And then by the time we finally got to the yarn aisle, within 3 seconds, they both figured out how to unravel a skein, and wrap it around two aisles.

Ah, boys.

Then--guess how many check out aisles were open? One. But I think that is too generous. Can you have only 1/2 an aisle open? Cuz that is what it felt like. Kudos to grandma who was working the checkout, but she either needed some additional training, or a 5 hour energy drink. Not helping things was that the 1 person in front of me must have been secretly trying to open a savings bank or something, because there was all sorts of back and forth with the cashier and lots of confusion--over a little black picture frame and a jug of marbles.

Finally, we made it out of the potpourri infused tchotchke paradise. 

Back to the bras.

We headed to Target, and outside of the "mommy underwear" I told Miles we needed, I also had to get Eric some face wash--a Target basket wasn't even warranted for so little on my shopping list.

But Miles refused to get off of the dirty floor until I picked out the monstrosity of the "kiddie" cart for us to use.

This isn't a Kroger or Publix cart that has a little "car" plastered on the front. This is like an RV of carts, with this ridiculous "seating area" right below the handle bar. I think the entire cart is the length of two carts put together. The poor kids cannot even see anything when they are strapped in, but the "luxury" of being put into seats like that on a cart is enough to make them demand a ride...

...for 5 minutes before Miles determines: "Mommy, it's time to get out and shop. UNDO MY SEATBEALT!"

And Felix: "Walk! Walk! Walk! DOWN!"

So, I abandon the 11,000 foot cart right in the middle of the racerbacks and Playtex extra udder support section. Nobody will notice, right? (I used to get so upset seeing products in stores that were misplaced or left in the wrong area. I always assumed laziness. I mean, c'mon...just take the extra 3 minutes to walk back to the toothpaste aisle and put it back where it belongs and NOT on the shelf next to the Ziploc bags. Now I am pretty certain that a good portion of the guilty are probably mothers who many times just have to leave something where it is because they are involved with a precocious toddler, or 2 in my case.)

When we got to the underwear area, the boys immediately split and went into different directions--Miles toward the briefs, and Felix toward the thongs. (I mean, could they have picked more appropriate areas reflecting their personalities? Extra support versus scandalous.) Felix then started to find and pull down any 44 quadruple D bra and hand it to me--as IF I needed a reminder that my 2 together wouldn't even fill a quarter of the right cup. Miles just preferred to hide under any pair of underwear that fell over his eyes. (Please, always wash your underwear after you purchase it--you never know what toddler has been hiding in it.)

It was like manic shopping. I would have to do a quick scan of the wall of poorly organized bras, and then quickly bolt through the aisles, trying to avoid the monstrous kiddie cart that SOME irresponsible and lazy parent just left in the aisle, and scoop up a toddler and convince him that Mommy was almost done scanning the bra section.

Really, am I that delusional to think a 3 year old and 1.5 year old would just stand and watch me shop for bras? Okay, I have GOT to get in for that brain scan.

Luckily, Felix found the wall of Hanes panties, which all pretty much had belly buttons on them, and decided to point out every package's "bee bees" (ie, belly button). Miles was much more entertained by playing hide and go seek.  But by seek, he meant: once you find me, I will run away from you, knocking down the whole Jr's Xhiliration pantie display, and scream loud enough for Target employees to get on their walkie talkies and whisper messages that contain the words like "bad mother", and  "demon child".

Best part? Miles asking me in his loudest outdoor voice, "Mommy, you find underwear? You put on that underwear like Daddy? You try on underwear in the store?" (The image of Eric in a bra was priceless at least.)

To which I quickly said out loud, "Um, anyone here own this boy?"

I kid...

Felix kindly held my purchase all the way to the check out (remember, I abandoned the space craft in the intimates area). There is nothing like seeing a little toddler drag his mother's bra on Target's floor. If it's good enough for Miles to throw a tantrum on, I guess it's good enough for my bra.

This all reminds me of one of my oldest friends, Dan H. In high school, he told me that his mother would make him go to CVS and buy her tampons.

You got to start somewhere in the path to humiliation...I think I now have good footing.

And a new dirty bra.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

That's always a favorite tag line in our house courtesy of Eric. Along with "Wakey Wakey! Eggs and Bakey!" (As in Bacon.)

We have a winner of the Girl's Juicy Watermelon Kit! And I think it came down to "odds."

MedWriter (and my friend YW) was "racking" up the RAKs and with her extra entries, statistically made her odds at being selected from my high tech Excel randomizer even better!

Congrats! What is even better is that she already knows exactly who she is going to give away the adorable hats and blanket, too. Kind of like the RAK is continuing.

Doesn't it just make you feel good?

MedWriter/YW--I'll be contacting you to get you the goods!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Wow. I need to hire a proofreader. Or commit myself to finally reading my posts before publishing. I knew my content has been suffering (I'll be back on my game in a month when Felix turns 18 months--they say it takes that long for your body to recoup from pregnancy and having a baby), but my grammar, speh-ling, and punctuation are pathetic!

Patent Pending

In my spare time, I scheme up all sorts of creations I want to mass produce to vulnerable parents (myself included) and end up on one of those programs "self-made millionaire-ss."

My friend AS just informed me that Target is now selling friendship bracelets. I mean--who didn't make buckets of these back in 1990? I actually used to use multiple toes to create more than one bracelet at a time I was so obsessed. And now someone is making millions on them through Target.

And what about the person who created the hooter hiders? It's essentially a piece of cute fabric you throw over your baby while nursing. (In full disclosure, I had one and really liked it--but will admit that a blanket worked really well, too.)

Snack traps--"McGyvered" tupperware

Baby Legs? Cut up tube socks. (Again, I LOVE these and have way too many pairs for my own good. They are now being used as arm warmers and probably will for as long as my boys let me put leg warmers on their arms.)

I have mentioned before that I would like to sell Petzl headlamps for parents to use when tiptoeing into their babies' rooms and check on them. I know, I know, EVERYONE has video monitors now, but there have to be a few of us old schoolers who opted out of the video monitor craze. Plus, as we recently discovered, they are GREAT for giving moonlit baths when your power is out for 30 hours.

I'll just invest in some fun elastic patterns for the headband part, jack the price up $5, and convince Babies R Us to put it in the "your child will NEVER get into college if you don't get this registry item" category.

And for my other sleep deprived inventive ideas:

  1. The Boogie Belt. Maybe I'll work with the Boogie Wipes empire. This is more geared toward childcare facilities when they are outside on play spaces. Basically, it is like a fanny pack on steroids. Instead of one pouch in the front, it has smaller compartments all around (think running water belt). There is one area for Boogie Wipe dispensing, one for regular tissue dispensing, and a lined area (think cloth diaper wet bag) for used "tissues" that snaps in and out so you can wash it easily--like in the dishwasher. Depending on if the childcare facility allows, there would also be a holster area for non-alcoholic hand sanitizer (CleanWell). I'm sure there are other things we could snap on and off of the belt. Perhaps make them customizable like those 1154 Lill studio bags. Given that most childcare workers are females, I could totally capitalize off of their desire to do fun things like custom bag parties. Maybe even have custom booge belt parties! Choose your fabric, elastic, fun wet bag design, etc.
  2. Stealth Steps. This invention is part of the middle of the night product line (I am still working on a creative name for the Petzl headlamp). This is more geared toward us hardwood floor/older home folks. Whenever I put Felix down to sleep, I have to creep out, watching to prevent even a piece of my baby toe hit the 4th floorboard--or a resounding CREAK echos, and Felix bolts up. Let me tell you--my boys have slept through every thunderstorm, but a floorboard creaking? Even worse, my HIP cracking (it does all.of.the.time), and it's like a bomb has gone off. or the slight will rouse the beast. I've pretty much identified the path of least creakiness, but sometimes I under or over shoot--enter Stealth Steps. (Great for babysitters who don't know the topography of your floors). Basically, it is a lined footprint (just the outline, not the whole footprint) of glow in the dark tape that you can put on the floor so in the dark, you can see exactly where to step. Easy to remove for when the baby is old enough to not care you are secretly leaving the crib side (there are others who have to creep out of their baby's rooms, no? We used to be able to with Felix, but we have entered the 15-18 month sleep regression. Topic for another day.)
  3. This is the newest item to my product line that Eric and I discussed today. It's a smile shield--name still with our creative team. This is explicitly for that time period when your children's "naughty" behavior borderlines on hysterical--but you cannot show weakness and laugh or smile in front of them, or they get encouraged. BOTH Miles and Felix are in this stage. They love being naughty--getting your attention--and then laughing really hard. The worst right now is standing up on chairs and high chairs. Emphasis on HIGH chairs--when a 17 month old and 3 year old stand on them, they are HIGH! And I immediately have myocardial infarctions. But the less risky move I deal with every day is them standing on the couch or the upholstered chairs. They'll say "look at me!" or if it is Felix "Ma!"(and then a grunt of something indiscernible) And they have a look on their face like they are the hottest thing in town, laughing, and the moment you say "ON YOUR BOTTOM PLEASE!" then jump onto their bottoms. Sometimes it really peeves me off...but other times, Eric and I laugh at how rotten they can be. When you try to discipline, and they give you that ear to ear grin, we work so hard at not smiling. So, if we could have this mask that has a stern "I am serious, don't mess with a parent" mouth on it that you could just paste on during those times, it would be great. Clearly this idea is more fun in theory.
It's these "issues" of parenting--the problems that aren't really problems, but annoyances--are, in a strange way, what makes it "fun." Sometimes, it's nice to focus on the little things when you have no "big things" to contend with.

But anyone willing to invest--I'm all ears. :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Goodwill Hunting

Confession Time!

Before I get to the confession, let me provide you with some back story:

Eric and I do not make New Year's resolutions, but we do make year "promises." Sure, they function the same way, but if when we don't follow through with our promises, we don't fall into that category of the 98% of Americans who fail to achieve their resolutions.

I'm a perfectionist.
I don't like to fail at emotionally binding things like resolutions.
I let completed checklists govern my emotions.
I have babies weeks early just to get a jump start on parenting.

This year, Eric's promise was that he is not going to buy a piece of clothing in all of 2011*.

*Fine print: Clothing that comes into his wardrobe as a gift is fine. And let's also establish that Eric is currently a sponsored Brooks ID athlete and gets tons of Brooks running swag for free. He also wear tests for Nike, so he gets not only Brooks shoes for free, but also Nike. So his promise is not as extreme as it seems.

I, for one, cannot make that promise. I'm not a shopanista, but I do like some good outlet shopping a few times a year. And Eric really hit the jackpot with me--in comparison to many of my friends and colleagues, I rarely get my haircut and have shamelessly resorted to scouring coupons for $5 natural instincts blend away gray (with mediocre results), I barely get manis/pedis, and almost never buy clothing at retail prices. I acquiesced and we no longer have cable TV. The last time I saw a movie in the theater, I think Felix was only a few months old. I'm a pretty cheap date--with lots of stubborn gray hair.

But I have wanted to be even more mindful of our spending in 2011.We DO hemorrhage money on things like groceries. And we now have a neighborhood guy cut our grass during the school year. And I finally buckled and got a house cleaner every month. And then there are the unexpected and unmodifiable expenses like pediatrician co-pays and antibiotic charges. And $70 nebulizer treatment paraphernalia we had to get. You don't want to even know how much we have in "medical" expenses since the start of 2011--and it's not like we had truly, serious, medical emergencies.

So where to trim the fat?

One of Eric's adult runners has limited himself to 200 personal items. And this is a guy who probably rakes in a substantial amount of money--like, he would not be eligible for a tax break if you asked Obama. And by 200 items, I mean 200 items. Every book, individual sock, razor head, etc, counts as "1" item.

Can you imagine?

While we cannot go to that extreme (I think we are the proud owners of at least 200 toy cars. Thank goodness we aren't required to hold insurance on them), we love the general principle of reducing your material presence on the earth.

So we've been slowly going through our house paring down our lives. And now we have dedicated to specifically remove 10 items from every single room to donate, trash, or sell. Mini confession #1: we decided to do this about 3 months ago, and haven't official started. Good thing it is a promise and not a resolution. Here's hoping this blog post (if the hubs ever reads it), will jump start this process.

I decided to make an additional promise to myself to try to limit myself to used clothing purchases for the rest of 2011. Since there aren't the awesome seasonal kids clothing sales for adults, I've been doing my research on brick and mortar adult consignment stores in the Atlanta area. I have a list of a few, but the market is pretty sorry. And then there is ebay and craigslist...but I really am the type who needs to try clothing on before purchasing.

A few months back, I noticed a Goodwill a few miles from my house. I've wanted to just check and see if they had any cheap camisoles because I pretty much use those to layer with every item that I wear. The best are the ones with built in support because, well, you know how ridiculously busty I am. (Oh, b-t-dubs, it was opposite day during the time I wrote that last sentence.) I figured, for a layering piece, I really didn't want to spend $15-$24 like they charge at Vicky's or even The Limited. And target brand ones tend to be eaten by our dryer.

One day after work, I swung by the Goodwill...

In the donation lot, there was a BMW and a Lexus SUV, with their drivers toting in huge boxes of items. Read: GOOD OMEN!

I only had but a few minutes to look, but it was the retail land of milk and honey: tons of name brand clothing packed on well organized (by color) racks.

By color? Are you serious? Are you channeling my obsessive nature? How did they know I organize things like colored pencils and hanging items by color (and then sleeve length)?

And there were people shopping. Like, I almost thought I had walked into Macy's semi-annual sale (that seem to happen every weekend, no?)

I readily admit I had preconceived notions of what Goodwill would be like. The only time I had really been was during college when I looked for costumes to wear at keg parties. And the Goodwills up in Lewiston, ME were not being supplied by any fashion mavens. So I had some serious stereotypical ideas of what a "thrift" store was going to be like--and in all honesty, felt a little self conscious about walking in with the full intent of buying myself clothing that would reside in my closet, and not in a dress up bin.

My first trip, I spent a whopping $9 and got 3 dresses. One was Gap (okay, XXL Gap kids, which I use as a tunic with leggings), and I immediately got compliments on it when I wore it to work a few days later.

During my first checkout at GW, I asked about the general operations of the store. There are no price tags on individual items, but colored tags and rack prices. And low and behold, every week they promote a different colored tag, and that clothing is 50% off! If only I had known--I spent "full price" for the 3 dresses.

I went a couple other times just in and out, and got a few tops (J. Crew, Banana, Michael Kors), for mere dollars.

But this weekend, I was given the coveted nap opportunity--that's when one parent gets to spend the boys' nap time doing something for himself. In other words, Eric goes running. But this time--it was a "herself" nap situation. I went to treasure island! I chose to spend an hour at Goodwill to shop.

Again, it was full of shoppers coursing through rack after rack, filling up carts and arms full of gently used clothing. Finally, I could spend some time examining the multitude of racks. And this time, I focused on finding "red" tags, as I knew they would be 50% off. But even at "full price," most shirts are $4, pants $5, dresses $5, formal wear $10, shoes $6, and even jackets are $6. 

I know the clothing is used--but you just have to be particular about reviewing the fabric and looking for smalls stains or tears. I rarely found anything. And isn't this truly another wonderful way to reuse? It reminds me of a TJ Maxx with a soul.

To date, I have spent $75 on all of my trips...and here is the score card. (Many items were $2.80)
  • 1 pair of barely worn Nine West knee high brown leather boots ($6!)
  • 1 pair of new wedge sandals of non-descript name brand--but it has European sizing--that has to mean they are good, right?
  • 5 dresses
  • 1 J. Crew lime green summer blazer (one of the $2.80 steals)
  • 1 pair of "dressier" dark jeans
  • 4 dressy tops
  • 3 Sweaters
  • 2 layering camis
  • 1 pair of never worn pink J.Crew dress pants/khakis
  • 1 pair of Anne Taylor brown leggings
This isn't the best picture, but an example of a recent $12 outfit I wore: jeans, sweater top, and wedge sandals all included. (Cute boy and silly faces not included in the purchase). Eric asked me if I was going to listen to Cyndi Lauper and wear my hair in a side pony with this top...but he just doesn't understand "throw back" fashion, yet. (It's throw back--I prefer that over "dated." Still too new to be vintage.)

So I confess: I am addicted to Goodwill.

I hesitated writing about this because I selfishly don't want too many to find out and steal all the good deals...but I also cannot keep such greatness to myself.

Honestly--there is no need to shop anywhere else-ever again.

And I have to thank the community at large, because I know this Goodwill is not necessarily representative of all Goodwills. It is nestled in a location where lots of "Dunwoody Divas" live, and probably rotate their wardrobes on a bi-weekly basis. 

I do wonder, though,  if I am wearing anything from Eric's students...or their mothers.

Eh, who cares. $6 barely worn leather Nine West boots? Bring it!

I think I'm off on spree this weekend--who wants to come?

Memorial Day Weekend 2011

Bueller? Don't forget about the giveaway! Linked here! To all of my (2 1/2) blog friends--don't disappoint me. I've been waiting with baited breath to hear about all of your random acts of kindness!

Our weekend was p-a-c-k-e-d:

Marist baseball playoff game
Going out for breakfast a few times
Road race
Farmer's Market
Car washing
Lots of water play

And topped off with a great picnic with our Atlanta "family" (C, F, & S) and a Frosty Caboose nightcap.

I love spending weekends with "our" D family (and I think we all make some pretty cute kids)

Serious about bubbles
Sandbox exploration (and a few handfuls for dessert)
The resident (and ridiculously stunning) girlfriend
Sweetheart Table!
Having fun hearing our voices in the outdoor bug fan

I hope you all had safe and sunscreen filled Memorial Day weekends.

Now, if we could only have this Monday off thing more often...