H’s Sunday, with Xylophone Goodness

This morning H went to church and spent the first 35 minutes being extremely interested in the vocalists and organ, then went down to the nursery for the sermon because he’s two and hasn’t yet gained the patience to listen to a sermon. They had a plush Elmo down there which made him pretty happy.

Oh, and he took my hymnal away and loudly said, “B! book!” His Auntie M took his picture after he speed-read the entire thing a few times.

Afterward we went over to his Auntie M and Uncle A’s house to see M’s latest art installation (so cool!). Uncle A, who is a music teacher, had been working on a school xylophone and wheeled it out for H… Hope this video link works.

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When he wheeled it out, H looked at it and declared, “X! Xylophone!” Because he’s freaking adorable.

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He loved playing it.

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At one point I got one of the mallets away from him and picked out the tune to “Row Row Row Your Boat” upside down, which is a little harder than I thought it would be. He lost his poo — so excited. He’s an absolute sponge when it comes to music and learned [some of] the words to that song after I sang it twice in a parking lot. This is his version:

“Row row the boat
Down the stream
Nummy nummy nummy
It’s a dream!”

I recorded him on my phone tonight but can’t seem to get it onto my computer, so I’ll work on that. It’s pretty cute.

Later we went to Costco and found ourselves next to a sample-distributor who said that he was beautiful and looked like a movie star baby because of his eyelashes. It was pretty funny. Then she gave him a second sample (because he loved it — tomato basil lentil crisps) and I bought a bag of them.

Oh, and at Costco we were waiting for a parking spot, with our turn signal on. When we went to take it, another car blasted its horn at us and tried to push their way in, but we were already halfway there. The driver gesticulated angrily and glared at us when they walked past a moment later — because there was another parking spot literally two past that one. I’m like, Lady, I’m 4.5 months pregnant with a 2-year-old; I was waiting there for several minutes with my turn signal on and was almost CERTAINLY there first, and you and your husband are able-bodied. Get over it!

After that we had to go to the grocery store and he yanked his foot out the proper leg hole and got it stuck between the cart and the handle and yelled. It took me a few minutes to get him out, and later in his bath tonight I saw that he’d bruised his ankle. Poor buddy.

He dumped water all over himself and then passed out on the way home.

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Tomorrow we are back to work full time and he goes to a new day care for Mondays. I hope he likes it better than the last place. I sure do love my little friend.

More Consignment Clothes

Kate the consignment shopper strikes again!

First, if you remember, last time I was making fun of the crazy expensive baby pants people buy — well, I found myself a pair for $3!

corduroy pants

These pants, or similar ones of the same brand, are selling for $45 new, and this particular pair looks like it’s been worn about twice… goodness.

Here are some more:

moose overalls

adorable lined moose overalls

gray fleece jacket

gray fleece jacket

shearling lined flannel shirt

shearling lined flannel shirt

Children's Place dress shirt

Children’s Place dress shirt

thick orange sweater

heavy orange sweater

striped zip-up sweater

striped zip-up sweater

argyle cardigan

argyle cardigan

red hoodie with helpful kitty

red hoodie with helpful kitty

turquoise hoodie (I know it doesn't look like it)

turquoise hoodie (I know it doesn’t look like it)

orange REI fleece vest (pre-laundering)

orange REI fleece vest (pre-laundering)

black velvet dress vest

black velvet dress vest

d'Artagnan likes the monster booties

d’Artagnan likes the monster booties

Two kitties

Two kitties

 

There’s a cute dragon sweatshirt, too. I don’t have a clear idea of what H is going to be for Halloween, but we’ve got a couple of cute things to play with, anyway. 🙂 He makes a very cute black kitty cat!

Dressing my Little Dude

So, I guess there must be people out there who can pay $155 for a pair of pants that their infant son will outgrow in a matter of months, but I kind of hope I don’t know them, because seriously. Heck; I’m not going to spend $20 — or $12, on sale — for a baby sweater, not unless it’s a special occasion.

Fortunately, there are plenty of people out there who can and do buy more expensive clothes for their kids, because thanks to the magic of our throwaway society, those clothes end up in like-new condition at thrift stores and consignment shops, just waiting for people like me to come along and give them a second round of play.

Here are the highlights from today’s treasure hunt:

fleece lined orange flannel

blue & green flannel

blue & green flannel

blue and green sweater

blue and green sweater

zip-up fall sweater

zip-up fall sweater

moosic maker shirt

moosic maker shirt

fleece sweatshirt -- new with tags

fleece sweatshirt — new with tags

a bevy of sweater vests

a bevy of sweater vests

dragon play suit

dragon play suit

 

All of these were $2-$5 each. Can’t wait for the weather to cool down so we can break out the cute warm clothes!

Shoes for My Stocking

I used to try to write a “December wish list” (my birthday is in December as well), for the fun of window shopping if not to provide actual shopping inspiration. I’d gotten away from doing so in the past year or two, but I actually have a few things that I’d love to show up in my stocking now — or rather, that I’d like to stick my stockings into — so here we go! Santa Claus, take note! 😉

I love shoes, but not like most women; you can keep your Manolo Blahnik wearable sculptures (okay, I like looking at them just fine) but please, keep my closet well-stocked with Alegria and Dansko! What can I say; I’m a teacher. I’m a big fan of comfy feet, and these brands are actually really cute and quirky on top of being kind to my toes. The only problem is that, at around $100 a pair, these are definitely special occasion purchases… or, this time of year, the perfect thing to request from the North Pole.

teva

I live in Teva Tirra sandals from the earliest hint of warmth in the spring until the last possible moment in late fall. And when I say “live in,” I mean it doesn’t matter if I’m at work, church, a mountain trail, the shopping mall, or wandering around my house in the middle of the night; these are my warm-weather uniform. Currently I have a pair of black and a pair of red; I’d LOVE a pair in Chocolate Chip. These are an awesome investment for me. If I had these, I would wear them until they fell apart three summers later — which, incidentally, is what is about to happen to my black ones.

The Tirra sandal is also apparently available in green, and I’ve been hunting for a pair of green shoes forever… just sayin’…

Speaking of green shoes:

_alegria greenIsn’t that beautiful? Perhaps the crown jewels of my shoe closet are my three pairs of Alegria Paloma mary janes. I love these not only because of how they feel, but because they come in such delicious colors! My existing Palomas are patent leather pink, yellow, and metallic red; I would dearly love to add this pair in Forest Magic to their ranks.

On those rare occasions when I actually acquire a pair of good work shoes, I tend to go for fun colors (hey, I work with kids, and besides, I’ve always said that life is too short to have boring feet). The consequence of this is that I don’t really have good shoes in black and brown — and as fun as school bus yellow shoes are, one doesn’t necessarily want to wear them to an important meeting, y’know? So if the elves were feeling like putting something practical under the tree, they could not go wrong with any of the following. (I especially lack brown shoes for some reason.)

_alegria black

The Alegria Abbi Oxford (shown above in Black Emboss Rose, but there are two other black versions that I like just fine) is a great shoe. I have a pair in blue that I adore and wear all the time, once it’s not Teva season :). The only sad thing is, I think the Abbi may no longer be in production, so it may be unobtainable.

_dansko brown_dansko black

I saw the Dansko Ainsley on the display table at Dillards and fell in love with the floral-ish detail and name, so despite the price I tried them on and really loved the fit (most Danskos are really wide, but these fit like a dream). They come in Dark Brown and Black, as well as some less practical metallic shades; honestly, in this shoe, I wouldn’t want the sheen. They’re pretty enough as is!

Others I like:

Just in case you are Santa Claus and actually want to spend $100 on a pair of shoes for your favorite blogger… Post-baby, I am a pretty solid 9.5, or a 40 in European sizes. No petite tootsies here! By the way, I’m linking to an online shoe emporium, but sometimes there are better prices on Amazon or other places.

6 Great Gifts for a Pregnant Friend

Let’s say your friend or relative just told you that she’s pregnant, and you’d like to give her a congratulatory present. What is the perfect gift?

There are five things that, looking back on the past nine months, were absolutely indispensable to me. Individually they’d make a pretty funny present, but they’d make a kick-butt gift basket!

In increasing order of cost:

Calgon bath beads

Calgon Ultra-Moisturizing Bath Beads: $2-4

Calgon, take me away!

Despite some alarmist advice you may have come across, it is NOT harmful to take a nice bath while pregnant. The thing is that you don’t want to raise your body temperature too much; hanging out in a hot tub or hot springs can be troublesome because the high temperature stays constant. A bath, on the other hand, gets cooler as you sit in it, so you’re safe.

Baths are relaxing, both physically and emotionally, and a pregnant lady’s skin can always use moisturizing. I’m a big fan of a bubble bath, but when you’ve become bulbous, it can be hard to get all those suds off your feet when it’s time to get out. Bath beads are a pretty lovely compromise; they smell lovely, turn the bathwater pretty colors, and don’t get you all bubbly. Calgon beads don’t stain the tub, and they come in waterproof containers so they can hang out in there when you shower.

Potential downsides: A container goes pretty quickly, and they can make the tub slippery. Solution: buy lots (they’re cheap) and be careful. 🙂

TumsEnormous Bottles of Tums: $5ish

I am not sure any pregnant woman can have enough Tums. I’ve had a big bottle on my desk at work, another big one by the bed, a third one downstairs in the living room, and a smaller bottle (but by no means a “travel-sized” — I’d empty that in a day) in my purse.

In my case, the mint flavors were intolerable; it was Assorted Berries all the way. But different people will have vastly different tastes….

double-walled travel cup

Double-walled travel cup with straw: $6-15

I have become so attached to my cups that they may have to surgically remove them at some point. I like the bigger ones that will hold a large quantity of ice and water. They keep the ice from melting very quickly, and you can keep hydrated in style. The ones in the picture are pretty boring; I’ve gotten most of mine at TJ Maxx, and they’re pretty stylish! My current cup has freezable goop between the walls to keep it cold even longer, and an insulated sleeve to keep your hands from getting too cold. The double walls also keep the cups from condensating, which is very nice at work.

body butterThe Body Shop Body Butter: $20

(Whoa! They’re on sale for $10-12 on the Body Shop website right now!)

When I first started getting stretch marks, I knew that there wasn’t really anything I could do about it (they’re genetic and, if you’re gonna get ’em, inevitable) but I wanted to keep my skin as elastic as possible just in case it would help. I read somewhere that body butter was the way to go, and ultimately cheaper than all the fancy products especially marketed for stretch marks, so I went to the Body Shop. Got lucky — hit a buy 2, get 1 free sale. 🙂

Each tub of body butter from The Body Shop costs about $20, although I’ve seen their products at other stores (Ulta, Nordstrom Rack, etc.) for about half that. They last quite a while; I’ve gone back and forth between two containers and haven’t emptied either one, although I don’t use it every night either.

At the time that I got mine, I was extremely sensitive to smells. Some of the body butters have very strong fragrances; the “baked good” scents in particular really turned my stomach. I ended up getting two with very light, benign scents: Vitamin E and Olive. I also liked some of the lighter citrus scents.

I don’t know if I can credit the body butter, but I haven’t had any problems with itchy belly skin — and since I always get itchy, that’s pretty miraculous! If nothing else, some luxurious lotion is always a nice gift for someone who isn’t feeling top-notch.

snoogle pillow

Snoogle Body Pillow: $40-50

Okay, so this might be a funny sort of present, depending on what kind of relationship you have, but it has basically saved my life. You can coil it into several different shapes to support whatever part of yourself needs supporting. The C-shape you see above gives you back support and hip support, and if you can coil it around you tightly enough it also supports your belly when you hug it. But you can do lots of different things with it, and there have been many nights that I don’t think I would have had any sleep at all without it.

And finally…

gift-blue

Something that is for HER, not for “Pregnant Her” or “Momma Her”

Once someone is pregnant, people want to talk about that a lot. You get lots of baby-related conversation, lots of baby-related gifts. Think how meaningful it would be for her to receive a gift that says, “I am happy for you, the person who is still herself even though she is incubating another human being, and this made me think of you.”

Trust me — she’ll love that.

What do you think? What are the things that made your pregnancy survivable? Share your suggestions in the comments. 🙂

Baby Things and Helpful Pets

Today, we didn’t find The Perfect Chair on Craigslist (we found the perfect chair a few days ago, but someone bought it from under us) so instead we wandered around town in the fog and sleet looking for inspiration. Honestly, it was rather nice just driving around town listening to the rain on the windshield and the music on the radio.

I had half-promised myself that we wouldn’t do anything baby-related today, but then I remembered that Other Mothers (one of the local consignment shops) was having their monthly Quarter Sale. We drove down but got there too late for the sale, but since it was so gross out and we’d driven down, we went in anyway. We’d been in a couple of times before (that’s where our dinosaur and bassinet came from) but until now had refrained from buying any clothes… but I’d been eying a fleecey ducky sleep sack for a while, and it was there for $3, and, well, one thing led to another.

We also went by Ross, in a moment of weakness, and found a couple of things there too. Kermie got a little bit spoiled today!

baby things

Pardon the bad photo quality; I took it in poor light on my iPhone, and I’m pretty sure I need to clean the lens. At the top is a painting that we just love for the nursery (I’ll post a better picture of it below). Then, from left to right, top row first: green gingham summer suit with giraffe, orange polo-shirt onesie, green “Snuggle Saurus” onesie, froggy onesie with pants and hat, tie-wearing teddy bear onesie with pants, two fleecey ducky sleep sacks, orange-and-blue stegosaur shirt, monster onesie, “smile” sleep-and-play for ironic squalling baby photos, a two-pack of baby mittens, tiny maroon corduroy overalls that stole Ryan’s heart, and a diaper bag that matches the stroller we registered for. The frog suit, bear suit, striped shirt, and mittens all still had new tags. They’re a variety of sizes from 0-9 months.

Here’s a better shot of the picture:

ABC painting

Again, not great photo quality — doesn’t really show the colors to their best advantage. It looks really cute with the other things we have, and we love that it isn’t all dinosaurs; we didn’t want a mono-themed nursery, necessarily.

I suspect that in some ways it’s pretty silly to be buying baby clothes three months before Kermie is scheduled to make his appearance, especially given that babies tend to get a lot of wardrobe gifts and hand-me-downs, but it’s just very difficult to resist adorable little onesies and whatnot on a dreary January afternoon! (I’m seriously contemplating braving the Nampa store’s Quarter Sale, which is supposed to start next Friday afternoon, even though I’ve heard it can be a bit cutthroat. I’m a big fan of garage sale/thrift store/etc. “treasure hunting” and I’d love to see what one of these sales looks like, and a month is a long time to wait for the Boise one.) (Back-to-back parenthetical comments! I’m also looking forward to the Moppet Togs sale in March — looks a little crazy, with the lines and all, but I’m promised that it’s amazing!)

The critters were, as usual, very helpful when it came to things related to their little brother. Paisley added her own contribution to the clothing lineup, and d’Artagnan pointed out that C was really for Cat, not Crocodile:

paisley's present c is for cat

(Every time I turned around, that spider was in the middle of my shot again… Paisley is very helpful.)

Maybe the neatest thing about our unintended baby expedition was that we ran into someone we knew from Blue Thunder, who was at Other Mothers with her week-old baby boy. We talked for some time and I just soaked in that little guy — got to watch him have a diaper change and have a bottle. So little! I really wanted to hold him, but wasn’t bold enough to ask. I’ve been wishing that I could spend some time around little new babies — just to feel a little bit more prepared, you know? And this was amazing. I wonder if Kermie will be that size when he arrives!

(And man, if anyone was wondering if maternal instincts are hardwired — they are. It took an enormous effort of will not to swoop in when he started crying… like, it almost caused a physical feeling of pain to stand back! And Ryan felt it too… Goodness gracious, but we’re programmed creatures, aren’t we.)

The other VERY fun thing that happened today was that we got Meredith’s wedding pictures, and they’re extraordinary. I can’t wait to share some of them with you, but I think that will have to wait until tomorrow because it is going to be torturous to narrow down the photographs to a blog-sized sampling! Until then… good night!