Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween and October-In-Review

First, this...


If you didn't just about die from cuteness there, you might be a lost cause. ;)

Now... For some reason, it seemed like I always had my camera this month and we did LOTS of fun things.  I thought a collage would be a great way to document the month for me/my family AND to share some of the easy, happy moments of motherhood with you guys.  (I'd love to think that this will become a monthly thing for me, but let's just take it one step at a time. K?)

So, without further adieu...
October 2012

Also, a big thanks to my awesome sponsors as always!  Be sure to visit Room to Romp, Perch (my newest), and Windows by Melissa, and show them some love!  Tell them E sent you!
Room to Romp
Perch
Windows by Melissa
*Want to advertise with me for the holidays? Contact me today!




Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What's Your Decorating Personality?

I'm off of school today because of winds and the threat of more rain/snow.  I have to admit that, selfishly, I'm feeling pretty awesome about a "free day;" but, the reality is that a big part of the country is living a true nightmare right now.  Friends and readers in the areas affected by Sandy, you are not forgotten!  Lots of prayers and love to you!
 

I saw this on Kathi Lee & Hoda a couple of weeks ago, and I had to give it a try myself.

HomeGoods StyleScope asks you to select five photos from a montage of things that stand out to you.  Then, they figure out your style/decorating personality and give you tips for incorporating it into your life and spaces.


I chose the ampersand, the metal 7, the yellow chevron (of course), the flip flops, and the coffee (obviously).  Here's what they said...


I'd say that's about right since I literally own that pillow and have ceramic owls and a rug almost identical to that one in my dining room. :)  I also think "Farmhouse Glam" is an excellent way to describe some of my decorating.  (Does dog hair on the floor count as glam?)

They give great tips (like the ones above - now I need a starburst mirror and some mismatched tables) and even offer tips for entertaining, how to shop Homegoods, and what gifts to buy for a "Sassy."

They also have a Pinterest board you can follow on your style and a blog suggestion.

And, look who the "Sassy" bloggers are...

But of course!

Go try it, it's fun!  (And come back and tell me YOUR style.  Were they right?)
P.S. HomeGoods sponsors bloggers like YHL, not me. I just shared this because I like it. :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

What You Might Not Know about Pregnancy Tests

This is a very important post (obviously), but first... Congratulations to Meredith from The White Pages.  You are the winner of the custom birth announcement artwork from Boy Oh Boy Boutique!  Please email me (e@emyselfandi.com) to claim your prize!  *Side Note: She has a cute post up today about dog-hair... Story of my life.


And now...


1. The Dollar Store (or any variety of that) is a great place to buy tests.  Yes, they are accurate. How accurate? I can't say for sure.  BUT, if you are like me and need to take fifteen tests to believe anything, this is definitely the more economical way to go.  If you take six and still need confirmation, then invest in a high dollar drug store test.

2. Pregnancy tests are "high theft items." Why is this important? Because it means they aren't stocked on the shelves like other items; instead, you usually have to specifically ask for them at the pharmacy or front register.  (Is there no privacy in the world?!?) I just learned this recently when I went to several stores to buy tests (for a friend - no, seriously) and the shelves were all empty where they should have been.  By the third store, I was frustrated and thought that either there was some sort of major 'baby boom' going on in the world or someone was playing a mean trick on me.  I sucked it up and asked one of the clerks who taught me this valuable fact.

3. They inspire awkward, personal comments/questions. I've bought quite a few pregnancy tests in my life (mostly because I'm crazy rather than out of actual need), and so far I have yet to encounter a pharmacist or sales clerk who is able to resist the temptation to comment.  "Oh... How exciting, good luck!" "Were you trying?" "What are you hoping for?" All these seem innocent enough until the actual moment when you think you might be pregnant at which point you want everyone to leave.you.alone so you can sneak out of there as soon as possible and get to the nearest bathroom.  Consider yourself warned - the drugstore staff will NEVER be more helpful or informative than when you buying pregnancy tests. :)

4. They are best taken in the morning.  Ironically, I actually learned this from the pharmacist when I was first pregnant with Sam.  It has something to do with pee-concentration or whatever. I, of course, promptly ignored the advice and the result was a false-negative at 7PM on Tuesday night and a positive-positive on Saturday morning.  I've heard that if you are pregnant enough it will work anytime; but, who has that kind of patience? My advice is to buy two tests - take one as soon as the urge hits you (to keep yourself from going crazy before morning) and another in the morning (to validate the response you receive at night).  Problem solved. :)

5. A faint line IS a positive line. Google this, or just read my story.  It's true that any kind of positive is positive; but, you can have a false negative.  Sam is living proof. :)  *On that note. this is also why I actually prefer the cheapy "double line" tests over the more expensive digital kinds.  The line tests will show a very faint line if you are very newly pregnant when I digital test might not pick up quite enough to trigger the "Pregnant" reading.

6. Lines last forever, but batteries die. If you take a digital test, be warned that in about 24 - 48 hours they will "die" and you will no longer have proof of your pregnancy in stick form.  (This is especially important if you are trying to use your stick for a cute announcement or something.) The line tests, on the other hand, last forever; so, you can forever memorialize the moment you "first found out" AND use them for fun April Fool's pranks in the future. ;)

7. They make great gifts. Seriously, if you have a friend who is OPENLY (don't just assume) trying to get pregnant; pregnancy tests are a great gift.  It is much less awkward to handle #2 & #3 if you don't actually think you are pregnant.  I recommend four or five to help with #4, #5, & #6.  FYI.  I also think this could make a fun gift for Bachelorette parties if you want to be the Debbie Downer. :)

Ok, I think that's enough pregnancy test information for one day. Hope you learned something! Haha!

*No, I'm not pregnant or trying.  I'm also not a pregnancy-test or medical expert. I just have a lot of (currently) useless information. Promise.  You can, however, read about my personal pregnancy test experience here - many of the above lessons were learned "the hard way." :)

Hope you are staying safe in the winds of Sandy!

Until tomorrow,

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lesson 16: Two Diapers at Bedtime (and other tricks of the trade)


Lesson #16: Put Your Baby to Bed Wearing TWO Diapers

Last night I was talking with some mom-friends who were all sharing their nighttime diaper woes - i.e. trying every size, shape, and variety of diaper out there; but still, somehow, waking up to a soaked baby every morning... Apparently, it is a common problem; but I think we might just have this one figured out folks. (Yes, I realize I just totally broke the cardinal rule of parenthood - I'll pay tonight, I'm sure.)

Anyway, if there is anything important to Jeff & I in life it is sleep, so solving a problem that kept our boy from sleeping as long as possible, was priority A1A from the very beginning. We, too, tried lots of things to stop the overnight leakage; but the only thing we have found that works is to put Sam to bed wearing two diapers. There is nothing fancy or complicated about this approach.  We use the same size/absorbency/etc. as we always do, but we double up at night.  Plain, simple, and EFFECTIVE. 

I can't remember exactly when we first started doing this; but, it has been a long time (my guess is that he was around 4 months old).  Since then, the only times he has woken up wet are on the rare nights when we "chance" it to see if perhaps he has outgrown the problem.  So far, it's a no go. 

Before I shared this with my friends last night, it never occurred to me that we were doing anything novel; but they were super impressed (haha, the things you get excited about in motherhood), so I thought I'd share it with you too.  Hey, no one likes changing sheets every single morning. 

It's the little lessons too.

Here's a bonus one for you: Layer your baby's bed: mattress pad, sheet, mattress pad, sheet so you can simply strip off the top two layers after middle-of-the-night "accidents" instead of having to totally change the sheets. (I never particularly liked this one, because I still thought it was a lot of work; but, it is good in theory.)

What "little lessons" or tricks of the trade do you rely on? Please share!
P.S. Today is the last day to enter my Boy Oh Boy giveaway...  Please go enter HERE for a chance to win an adorable custom print!


This post is part of a series for 31 Days of Change hosted by The Nester. To see my other "lessons," click here.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lesson 15: It's OK to Think Your Life Is Hard

In fairness, I actually had already written a 'Lesson 15' on how, even though everything is a lot more work once you have kids, it is also a lot more FUN.  But, in light of this week's response, etc. it felt a little forced (even though it is 100% true); and then yesterday, I randomly stumbled upon this article from the National Catholic Register back in January, which is just PERFECT for where we are in this discussion... Enjoy!


Lesson #15:  It's OK to Think Your Life Is Hard.

When I first read this article, I immediately had an uncontrollable urge to print hundreds of copies and mail them to every person I know with a baby, or heck, maybe even hand them out to strangers I meet at the playground or Starbucks with a little one in the stroller, crazy hair, yoga pants, and tired eyes. The words that writer, Simcha Fischer - who is a mother to NINE children - has for moms with only one child spoke straight to my heart. It is so encouraging and such a good reminder for new moms as we navigate this uncharted territory; I only wish I had found it earlier in the journey!

I've copied my favorite passage (with complete credit given to Simcha & the NC Register) below; but, in case you can't tell, I really think you should go read the whole thing...  And, maybe also print a copy and mail it anonymously to your friend with the three month old... just saying. :)

To become a mother, I had to learn how to care about someone more than I did about myself, and that was terrible.  But who I am now is something more terrible:  the protector who can’t always protect; the one with arms that are designed to hold, always having to let go.

Dear mother of only one child, don’t blame yourself for thinking that your life is hard.  You’re suffering now because you’re turning into a new woman, a woman who is never allowed to be alone.  For what?  Only so that you can become strong enough to be a woman who will be left.

Dear mother, don’t worry about enjoying your life.  Your life is hard; your life will be hard.  That doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong—it means you’re doing it right.

That's good stuff friends!
Happy Friday!

P.S. You might have noticed that I never announced the winner of the Boy Oh Boy giveaway... Don't worry! In light of all the "drama" and over-posting in the last couple of weeks, I've decided to keep it open until THIS Sunday and announce a winner on Monday.  Please go enter HERE for a chance to win an adorable custom print!


This post is part of a series for 31 Days of Change hosted by The Nester. To see my other "lessons," click here.



Thursday, October 25, 2012

R.I.P.


Thanks for all the kind comments on yesterday's post.  They have all meant a lot to me.  (And, wouldn't you know, I'm already behind on responding to them.. But, I will get there.)

Anyway, I don't have much for you today (remember, I'm cutting myself some slack); but, I thought you might get a giggle out of the little "tombstone" my lovely students made me for at school:


Ha! Remember the days when you thought your teacher slept under her desk and lived and breathed literature and essay-writing?  At least they recognize the role Sam plays in my life too - that seems like a pretty likely cause of death to me!

Is anyone else SO excited for Halloween?  I usually don't care about it at all, but with Sam being at such a fun age this year we have several events and festivities to attend.  You will absolutely DIE when you see his costume!
P.S. Sam's babysitter "gifted" me with a vacuum cleaner yesterday.  I'm trying not to read into that... Haha!  ;)


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dear Readers

On Monday, in a moment of weakness, I pounded out a blog post titled "Frustration" and clicked publish.  The post was about the lack of comments recently and (in a nutshell) asked why

Almost immediately, I started receiving comments from some of my most loyal readers apologizing or explaining themselves.  These are readers that I respect and appreciate a lot; and, making anyone feel guilty or like they owed me an explanation for whether or not they commented was NOT my intention.  I took the post down 35 minutes later because I just didn't feel like it accurately reflected what I was thinking and feeling.  (All that's left now is a broken link in your reader - sorry for the teaser!)

In all honesty, I wrote the post primarily because I'm fed up with spam comments - you will see some below almost all of my previous posts advertising cigarettes or hemorrhoid cream, I'm not kidding.  I feel like I get at least one or two on almost every post lately; and, frankly, I am frustrated with them.  I've also been frustrated because little random things on my blog - including some new comment forums I had tried out etc. - seem to not be working; and, I'm at a loss as to how to fix it. Hopefully, some of you that also have blogs can relate to sometimes just being annoyed by the technology of it all. THAT was my frustration and the original intent of my post.

THAT SAID, as the comments continued to come in (most found their way to this post once the original was removed) and I read each one of them, and had some time to think about and process my feelings a little bit more, I realized a couple of things...

The truth is, I am human.  And, sometimes, I get carried away on my blog.  Last week, I was working so hard to crank out blog posts as part of my 31 series and keep up with some of the other topics, give aways, etc. I had planned to post about that I forgot - for a little bit - why I blog. I was looking at blogging as more of a JOB, and I was allowing your response and the number of comments etc. to determine the value of what I had to say. Without realizing it, I think some of my "frustrations" did come from a deeper place of insecurity and exhaustion and just... wanting approval/affirmation/whatever.

So, for that, I'm sorry.  I'm sorry if I made anyone feel like I was "accusing" them of something, or that I was "entitled" to a certain response etc.  I genuinely feel bad about that, and I'm ready to just move on and put that post behind me...

BUT, before I do that, there are a few other things I want to say in response to some of the comments you have shared in the last two days.  Many of your comments have really made me think & reflect on my life and my blog.  It has been a rather unexpected outcome of my crazy post on Monday, but a good one all the same.  Here is my response:

- First and foremost, I am SO THANKFUL for each and every one of you. You DO NOT owe it to me to come here and read what I have to say everyday, and you absolutely DO NOT owe it to me to leave comments.  But, you do it anyway.  YOU are the reason this blog has become such a safe place for me to share the realities of my life on both the good days and the bad days. You are such an encouragement to me and to each other.  I've said it before, but I can't say it too much, this little internet community is FAR beyond what I ever expected it to become.  I consider many of you my friends, and I find so much wisdom and support and laughter in what you have to say.  So, THANK YOU.

- And, to my 'Anonymous' Commenters, I actually think you gave me exactly what I asked for and you tried to be honest and real in a way that was still nice and (mostly) complimentary. I do wish that I had a name (and an email address) attached to your comments so that I could respond more personally, but I'm not mad, or even hurt, by what you said. I will not apologize for making my blog too much about motherhood, or even for the fact that it is less "fun" than it was in the beginning.  As some other commenters wrote, life changes.  My life has changed A LOT since I first started writing here, and one of the things I love most about my blog is the way it traces and records those changes. The truth is, life is harder now.  It is busier and more tiring and - sometimes - more frustrating than it was three years ago. BUT, it is also SO much more fun and rewarding and happy.  I am truly sorry if my blog has come across as discouraging or whiney.  That is NEVER what I want to represent. I KNOW that the chance to be a mother is an absolute blessing - and I never want to appear ungrateful or unhappy.  (And, honestly, I think if you read enough of what I write, that really does show through most of the time.) I write about the 'hard' things because I don't think the internet needs another "perfect" mom or "super-woman."  Quite the contrary, I want to encourage other women and other moms that they are not alone, that I 'get it,' and that being a "good" mom (or person, or whatever) isn't about how clean my house is, how well my kid talks, or how many craft projects I did last week.  I tried being that mom and it stressed.me.out.

So, 'Anonymous,' it's ok if that style doesn't speak to your life right now.  You really don't have to stick around - I'll be sad to see you go, but I understand. Maybe one day you will find yourself in a similar place, and you'll know where to come. :)

- And, last, some of you really did inspire some changes around here.  Here's what I'm going to DO about all this:

1. I'm going to try REALLY hard to respond to more of your comments.  I know how much it means to me when other bloggers send an email back in response to something I've said about one of their posts; and, that sometimes I get annoyed when people don't respond at all.  This is something I have NOT been good at - I admit - so I'm really going to work to improve that.  (P.S. Make sure you connect your email address to your blogger account, so I can do this!) 
and
2. I'm going to cut myself a break.  I like the "Lessons Learned in Motherhood" series, I'm just not crazy about the 31 days part.  (Let's face it - I'm not The Nester.) So, I'm going to finish it (because I don't want to just quit... I have the cute button and everything), but I'm going to take my time and sprinkle in a good bit of other stuff too - one.post.at.a.time.  We'll aim for December 31st, k?

Just because it makes me smile, and it perfectly captures my crazy, messy, wonderful life. :)
Ok, if you read all this, you really are loyal.  Thank you.  Love you!

P.S. If you happen to be new here, there isn't usually this much drama and sap.  Promise!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lesson 14: Everything Is A Lot More Work

One night last week, Sam took a late nap and I didn't get the lasagna in the oven until after 6.  When Jeff came home and Sam was awake, I noticed we still had a good hour before the sun went down and my kitchen timer went off, so we hurriedly bundled our boy and dashed across the alley to the park.  On a whim, I texted our neighbor (and Sam's buddy), and they joined us.  Later, we ate lasagna at 7:30 and then took a spur-of-the-moment trip through the Starbucks drive-thru for a Pumpkin Spice latte just because... It was a WONDERFUL night.

There was a time not very long ago, when a night like that would have seemed ordinary.  We would work or play until close to seven, eat a late dinner, and often go out afterwards.  That was my life B.B. (before baby).  These days, it goes a little more like this:
6:30PM - dinner
7:00PM - clean up dinner while Jeff takes Sam upstairs for bath
7:30PM - wrestle Sam into his pajamas, brush his teeth, read books, say a prayer, put to him to bed
8:00PM - fold laundry, grade papers, feed Addy (poor girl), respond to emails, lesson plan, etc., etc. and literally collapse into bed, exhausted, some time between 9:30 and 1:30 depending on the night.

Can you relate?

Lesson #14: Everything Is A Lot More Work

Sometimes I catch myself dreaming about the Saturdays when I could sit at my laptop cranking out blog posts and Facebook stalking and re-heating my coffee ALL day if I wanted.  Or the days when I could shop with only a small purse or get ready to go out by simply showering and primping myself.  Or the nights when Jeff and I would decide at 7PM to go out to eat and catch a movie with friends, then come home tired and go right to bed... and stay there until well after 8AM the next morning.  Sometimes, I admit, those feel a little like "the good ole days."

Life with a baby is BUSY.  Everything - and really, I mean everything - is more work than life before.

To be honest, this has been one of my most difficult transitions to motherhood - just the constant feeling that something needs to be done and you are the one to do it --

A trip to the grocery store requires strict planning because I only have thirty minutes before someone starts climbing out of the cart.

An afternoon at the mall requires a stroller, diaper bag, change of clothes, snack, sippy cup, toys, jacket, and a strict 3PM deadline for nap time.

Dinner out? No problem, as long as we have a lifetime supply of food, a bib, our own high chair if we are going to someone's house, a sticky mat for the table... Or, better yet, a babysitter. :)

And, don't even get me started on a quick weekend getaway or - heaven forbid - a beach vacation.

Nothing is ever simple...
This post is part of a series for 31 Days of Change hosted by The Nester. To see my other "lessons," click here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lesson 13: Sleep is a Rare and Precious Gem

First: Don't forget to enter my Boy Oh Boy Boutique give away here!!!


I'm pretty sure this one goes without saying; but, it must be included...

Lesson #13: Sleep Is a Rare & Precious Gem
 If you are not a parent yet, please enjoy a morning of sleeping in for me! :)
This post is part of a series for 31 Days of Change hosted by The Nester. To see my other "lessons," click here.

15 Month Update

In case I haven't said it already ;), I can hardly believe that we have a 15 month old!!  It, seriously, doesn't seem possible that our baby is now a toddler.  Where did the last year go?!?!  Since I haven't done a strictly-Sam update in a while, I thought I'd hit a few highlights of life for our boy right now.  I will admit that this post is 95% for my documentation - since the days of baby-booking ended about two weeks after he was born - and about 5% to show off the incredibly adorable (not that I'm bias) photos we took at the pumpkin patch a few weeks ago (feel free to just scroll through).

I'm going to try to stick to my old update format with some changes to account for this new season of toddlerdom...  Here we go.
Absolutely LOVE this picture... "Big boy" clothes and all. (It had to happen some time.)
Size. When we went to the doctor last (a few weeks ago to get his ears checked), Sam weighed about 25 1/2 pounds.  It amazes me how much the weight gain slows down once kids start eating strictly solid food and moving around all the time.  (He weighed 7 pounds at birth, 17 at 6 months, 20 at 9 months, and 24 at one year).  Clothes are all between 12 months and 2T - with the bottoms needing to be a little smaller than tops.  (Poor boy got his mama's chubby thighs and short legs.) Still rockin' the big head. :)

Mobility. Sam walked across a room by himself for the first time ON his 14 month birthday.  He still looks a little like a drunkard (complete with a major beer belly), but he is getting more and more steady on his feet and faster every day.  He really did not have a hard time transitioning from crawling; even when he falls down, he always just stands himself right back up and keeps going. I'm thinking this might because he just took his time and didn't really "start" walking until he was good and ready. 
No, I will not say "cheese."
Language. Other than the occassional "maaaaamaaaaa" or "dada" when he thinks no one is listening, still no real words from this guy. This, of course, makes Mommy anxious and forces her to over-Google; but, the doctors are not too worried - especially since Jeff and his brother were both late talkers too. (Wouldn't you know the English teacher's kid is the one that refuses to speak.) We are hoping to have his hearing checked soon - just to rule out any issues there - but we suspect he is, once again, just being stubborn and taking his time, and that there will be some kind of a language "explosion" one day soon.

Aside from actually using real words with meaning, this guy is communicating up a storm!  He points at EVERYTHING, does lots of babbling, singing, yelling, and squealing at different tones (especially in the car and stroller), and understands us/does what we ask him to do most of the time.

Personality.  Just as I have said from the the beginning, Sam operates in extremes.  When he is in a good mood, he is in SUCH a good mood.  Seriously, he has the BEST laugh and just really lets it go when he gets tickled about/by something.  He is also very friendly - will still pretty much go to anyone, stares and smiles at most strangers (especially women), and loves to crawl in laps, any lap. :) He also gets SO excited when he sees people he knows - usually running from the sunroom to the front door squealing in delight.  It's the best.

I wouldn't call him "cuddly" per se, but he does like to be held, and has recently learned to give hugs.  I just about die when he "hugs' Addy and lets out an "Ahhh."  He's going to be a heart breaker, no doubt.

On the other side of that coin, we are experiencing some temper tandrum for sure when he doesn't get his way.  I admit that, for a long time, I was quick to pick him up or give him his paci when these happened to prevent "causing a scene," but we are getting better at just ignoring him; and - shocker - that seems to be working well.  

I love my boy's passion even though some days it is more enjoyable than others. :)

Eating. My boy is an eater.  Honestly, we have been really blessed that Sam will eat pretty much any and everything.  Cooking and ordering out for him is really easy.  I pretty much feed him whatever we are eating, and he (pretty much) eats with us in his high chair at the table and feeds himself.  We are still mastering the fine art of eating with a fork and spoon, but he gives a valiant effort.  He also can drink from a cup (we gave up the bottle completely at 13 months - mostly at his own insistence) by himself about 90% of the time.  Some of his favorite foods are: lasagna, green beans, grilled chicken nuggets, apples (only on the core), strawberries, raisins, "Buddy Fruit" pouches, & graham crackers.

Sleeping.  Hit or miss.  (I'm beginning to think this is just the way it is going to be.)  Really, he is a pretty good sleeper, so I shouldn't complain.  Probably six out of seven nights, he goes to bed by 8PM and sleeps until about 7AM with little to no interruptions.  The other night, he wakes up SCREAMING and refuses to go back to sleep unless he is in bed with us.  You win some, you lose some. :)

We attempted to switch to just one nap a day (in part because I, selfishly, wanted to be able to hang out with friends with kids who nap from 1 -3), but Sam is still quite content with two for now.  The "normal" schedule is a nap from 10 - 12 and another from about 3:30 - 5.  I'll take it.


Likes. MUSIC.  (He recently started a little music class with Jeff's mom on Monday mornings, and she says he is the "star of the show."  He absolutely loves it!!)  He loves to dance, clap, sing, and play the drum his daddy bought for him. Being outside. His friends Benji, Charlie, & Jack in the neighborhood.  Riding in his wagon. Drinking from a straw. Climbing stairs. Taking things out of drawers, off of shelves, etc. Bath time.

Dislikes. Having his diaper/clothes changed. Not being picked-up or put-down at exactly the second he wants. Being "strapped in" to a stroller, shopping cart, high chair, etc.


That about does it.  Enjoy your Sunday!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Go Tigers!

Remember this from last year?

It is probably one of my favorite pictures of Sam because of that adorable little expression, and because Clemson went on to beat VT that night (and again in the ACC tournament two months later)!!

A lot has changed in the one year since then...


But, one thing has remained the same: Clemson still beats VT!!!

Yay for a wonderful fall Saturday and a Tiger win today!!  Here's to another year of bragging rights!

Lesson 12: Shop Second-Hand

Yesterday I was off from work for the end of the first quarter (Halleluiah!), so you can imagine my excitement when I looked out my window this morning and saw the people at the end of our street having a HUGE yard sale of their grandson's clothes, toys, etc.

I might have gone over immediately - while still wearing my pajamas, no bra, and carrying a pj'ed baby with a dirty diaper - and come home with a bag FULL of clothes, a Leapfrog Learning Station, and $20.00 less. Might. ;)

Anyway, even though I've already mentioned it before, I decided this deserved a lesson all of its own. So...

Lesson # 12: Shop Second-Hand

Before I got married, I bought mostly designer brands and full-price items.  After I got married, I became an expert TJ Maxx and sale-rack shopper.  And, since having a baby, I've become almost obsessed with shopping consignment and yard sales.  (I guess if we have another baby I'll start making my own clothes or something!)

Sam grows FAST (although, it is slowing down now that he is a little older).  He is dirty (my boy loves dirt, what can I say).  And, he goes through a LOT of clothes.

I LOVE shopping.  I LOVE dressing my little guy. I also like buying myself cute clothes, going out to eat, decorating my house, and saving for college... 

So, to keep myself from going totally broke, these days, I hardly EVER spend more than 5 - 10 dollars on clothes for Sam.  In his closet right now, I would honestly say that about 90% of his clothes were not bought new. And, lest you be confused, I still think Sam is one of the best dressed toddlers in town. ;)

Thanks to stores like Once Upon a Child, big local consignment sales like Back on the Rack and Lauren's Friends and Alex (going on now in Roanoke), yard sales, and many generous friends - We get the name-brand adorables that I can't resist at less than HALF (usually less than 1/4th) the regular prices! It is the best of both worlds!

(Many of my friends also shop Facebook auctions for great deals on smocking etc.  But, I mostly save those for special occassions only - as the prices are still usually in the $25 - $40 range.)

So, there you have it.  You can have cute clothes for your little one and not spend a fortune.  Just buy yourself some Dreft and don't be afraid to dig.  Trust me, it is the way to go! :)

*And, a Word of Warning: You may want to avoid stepping into places like Baby Gap until you officially have the "consignment bug."  Today, I can't really stand to buy an item for full price; but, at first, it was much harder to practice self control. Ha!

This post is part of a series for 31 Days of Change hosted by The Nester. To see my other "lessons," click here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

"Thank You"s and "I'm Sorry"s

or should it be "Thank yous" and "I'm sorries"?

Whatever... :)

Dear Parenthood Seasons 1 - 4 on Amazon Prime free instant streaming, thank you for getting me through the last four days of insane paper grading and laundry folding.  I couldn't have done it without you.

Dear Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, I'm sorry for ever saying I didn't like you.  I take it back. You are delicious.


Dear nurses at the pediatrician's office that always answer the helpline (eventually), I'm sorry for calling you incessantly.  I am considering creating a fake name for future calls so that you at least think you aren't talking to the crazy mom who worries about everything again.

Dear $20 leopard print tuxedo flats from Target, thank you for making me feel partially trendy and put-together on days when my hair looks like a squirrel's nest, my shirt is wrinkled, and I have bags under my eyes.


Dear Sam's incredible babysitter Jennifer, thank you for loving my boy so well when I'm not there, for unloading my dishwasher every.single.morning, and for not judging me for leaving my bed unmade and my underwear on the bathroom floor.

Dear "little man" clothes, I'm sorry for judging you before I even knew you.  I might think you are kind-of cute now. (Or maybe it's just the pumpkin hat!)


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lesson 11: It is a Privilege


I'm a few days late with this, but in catching up on some of my blog reading (read: putting off grading papers) last night, I realized that October 15th was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day


Reading some of my favorite bloggers' writing about their own experiences with loss reminded me of perhaps the most important lesson of motherhood so far...

Lesson #11: Motherhood is a Privilege

I think sometimes I (in real life and on my blog) can get caught up in the hard parts of being a mom.  But, it is good to stop and remember that it is a GIFT.  Having a baby is not a guaranteed in life.  I do not "deserve" it.  It might feel like a job some days, but it is a job I am incredibly blessed to have - one that many many women pray and long for every day.

At this point in my life, I don't have any direct experiences with this kind of loss; but, being a mom has made me keenly aware of how powerless I am over those things... Yes, I get caught up in the busyness of being a mom - in my own "to do" lists of laundry and feeding and chasing - but, in the quiet moments, I remember those mamas who have had to say goodbye to a baby too soon or are still waiting for their turn to receive the gift, and my heart hurts.

In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (but really, any day), I am saying a prayer for those mamas and babies today.  I am holding Sam just a little tighter; and I am remembering what an absolute privilege it is to be a mother.  I do not take it lightly friends.
This post is part of a series for 31 Days of Change hosted by The Nester. To see my other "lessons," click here.


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