Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Free stuff this weekend

A few weeks ago I attended a seminar about educational and fun stuff to do with your kids in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  I don't usually attend these types of events but this one was free and I was semi-guilted into it by some moms in our playgroup.  It ended up being a great talk so I'm glad I went. 

Anyway, the speaker definitely opened my eyes to the fact that I have NO clue how much awesome stuff there is to do with your kids around here.  And best of all a lot of it is free and is going on nationally so if you're looking for something to do this weekend, read on! 

Home Depot

I must be living under a rock because I had no idea that Home Depot (Lowe's too I believe) does free kids' workshops on the first Saturday of every month from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  The kids make and take a different craft each month, learn how to work with tools, and get their very own orange Home Depot apron to take home (how awesome is that???)  October's craft was a firetruck, November was a Thanksgiving-themed napkin holder and this Saturday's craft is a holiday picture frame.  Hello grandparent gifts!

Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

If you bank at Bank of America or have a Merrill Lynch credit or debit card, you can get free admission to more than 150 museums, zoos, botanical gardens and science centers nationwide on the first full weekend of every month by presenting your card at the location.  To see what museums participate in your city go to this website and select your state:  This is an awesome deal because I know some of the museums here in Dallas cost $15 a person to get in so even for our little family of 3 that's a big savings.

Showtime Saturdays at the Mall

You'll have to check your local mall on this one but one of the primary malls in Dallas has magicians, musicians and comedians performing a kids' show every Saturday at 11:30 a.m. for free.  Each show is different and takes place in the play place adjacent to Nordstrom.  **Awesome idea: get the hubs to tag along, leave him at the show with the kids and sneak into Nordstrom for a little solo shopping, or even just a latte.  Sounds like a plan to me.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My turn for preschool prep

The fam and I are a few months behind Erika on the majority of child-rearing experiences. So as you know, Erika embarked on the world of preschool and mothers-day-out programs back in September. A few months later, it's now our turn.

T is starting at a Montessori school in January. It's a bit bittersweet for me, as I absolutely adore the woman that takes care of him daily while I'm at work. Back when he was an itty-bitty baby and being "18 months old" seemed so far down the road, we envisioned starting him in a "school" by that point.  But, he was so happy with our daycare provider and still seemed so little to us - so we let that age come and go without even considering taking him out of her care. 

However, she encourages parents to find other arrangements once the kids turn two. Maybe something about them becoming hellions around this time? So, with his birthday over the holidays, it's time. Sniffle, sniffle. 

To take my mind off of the fact that my baby is growing up so fast - I have a shopping list we have to bring to class on the first day. 

1. The infamous nap mat. I think I may spare myself the torture Erika went through and order this one. We have to use plastic ones anyway - so at first Google search, there's not a whole lot of room for my indecisiveness to come into play.

2. House slippers. We bought T some adorable little Lightning McQueen slippers for the house, which, to be honest, he's kind of afraid of at the moment. However, for school, the slippers can't have any distinguishing marks on them that other kids might also want. So I think I might order these boring things.

3. Rain boots. Same thing goes for the boots. No cute fireman rain boots for school. I think we're going straight black.

4. Lunch box. I think this will be a Christmas gift from Grandma, personalized with T's name. Cute, right?

5. Cloth napkin and napkin ring. Really? Not sure what to make of this one, but it's on the list. My son is going to be one classy dude. Hope he doesn't start to expect this type of service at home!

6. Blanket and sheets for nap mat. I'm also sort of at a loss on this one. T has a zillion blankets that he got as baby gifts -- but are these appropriate to bring to sleep on the floor with at school? I picture toddler tug of wars - not sure I want to subject our pretty blankets to 20+ 2 year olds, but then again, what else do I use? And what about a pillow?  I ordered a set of these sheets for the nap mat, but these seem pretty pricey for sheets that are going to be on the floor daily. HELP!

7. Packable lunch containers. I guess I could just buy tupperware, but I feel like he should have his own? Overthinking, much?

Basically, I'm afraid T's going to show up for the first day and I'm going to be that mom that forgot to pack all the essentials.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Please talk me out of this

You know when you've been looking for a certain clothing item forever?  Like almost 2 years?  And you just can't seem to find IT (i.e. the one)?  And you've sort of thrown in the towel and given up?  And then one day you're out buying wrapping paper and you see it.  And it's gorgeous.  And there's only one left.  And it's in your size.  And it happens to be your birthday in 4 days.  And everyone in the store is telling you how awesome/cute/fab it looks.   

And then you look at the price tag.

And it says $600.  (Yes, six HUNDRED.)

And then you're not so excited any more.

And then you have a moment of insanity and try to rationalize such a purchase.

And then you call the hubs and vent to him.

And he starts laughing.

And then you get depressed.

And then you're suddenly craving chocolate.

Well, I'm having one of those days. 

Sniff, sniff.

(Here's the part where you tell me that this jacket isn't really all that nice.  That the leather isn't that buttery and that the shearling isn't really that soft.)  Can we all agree that it's against the rules to be tempted with things like this at freaking TJ Maxx??  I mean jeez, I thought I was safe there.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Every kid needs a car, right?

When T was first born, Chris's clients got him a little ride on BMW. Talk about a great gift.  T takes it for a spin pretty much every single day -- these days, he drives his car from his room to the bathroom for bathtime. Door to door service.

So, we're thinking since he's about to turn the ripe old age of 2 in a little over a month, that we're due for the next big thing in big boy cars....

However, if we do go this route, I am pretty much positive that getting T a mechanical car is probably going to result in at least one trip to the ER.  Think toddler toys come equipped with airbags?

Any other good ideas for 2-year old boy gifts? I'll take any gift advice I can get!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Daddy's in charge

Erika and I were both out of town this weekend visiting Erika’s old stomping ground and one of my most favorite cities, Washington DC, to celebrate the impending birth in a few short of months of one of our college besties. Since I left both the hubs and T at home, it was a great weekend full of wine, girl talk, and s’mores banana bread. (Yes, there really is such an amazing, heavenly thing.)

So, Chris was in charge on the home front. He and T appear to have had a great time together doing all sorts of manly stuff like watching tons of football and visiting Cabela's (and T has a new gigantic shark stuffed animal to prove it). But a weekend with 100% dad duty has to have at least one funny moment for me to zero in on.  It turned out I didn’t have to pick T up at Twin Peaks (AKA Hooters copycat) when I landed on Sunday after all, so I couldn't write about that (though I'm not sure why the hubs thought I’d expect he was joking about the outing when he has taken T to Twin Peaks in the past…).

Nope, instead, it was the random reaction T got when he appears to have paired lunch with Ranch dressing. Apparently, he doesn’t have the same all-things-go-better-with-Ranch gene that his daddy does. Instead, my kid turns rashy and splotchy.

 Blurry, but I think you get the general idea. 
And yes, an abnormally high number of our pictures are taken with T in this highchair.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Holiday pictures

Am I the only one that stresses out about holiday pictures every year?  It's like this silent pressure I put on myself to get a cute holiday family photo while walking that fine line between cute and uber cheesy.  Last year I bought a $10 Groupon and we had them taken at JC Penney.  We got some great candid shots of Audrey so the hubs and I left ourselves off the Christmas card that year (score).  This year I really want to get a picture or two outside, since my attempts at doing outdoor family photoshoots have gone up in flames (see Living Social Sucks post). 

We were at the Arboretum last weekend but Audrey could not be bribed to sit still for even one picture over a 2-hour time period.  When I tried to sneak up behind her in the hay maze while silently motioning to the hubs to start snapping away, she promptly turned around and dumped 2 handfuls of hay on my head.  Here she is squirming, kicking, and screaming at a decibel that only dogs can hear:

Picture drama aside, there's the whole outfit issue.  I have some strange aversion to those poufy satin and tulle little girls' dresses that are routinely foisted on me by well-meaning moms who JUST WANT SOMEONE ELSE TO WEAR THIS DRESS ONE TIME.  But finding something festive, semi-afordable, yet not fancy is not that easy.  I love the sweater dresses that Hanna Andersson comes out with every year but after multiple attempts I've concluded that their sizes are simply weird.  Audrey is consistently too small for one size and way too big for the other so I guess they only fit Swedish kids??

After much eBay searching and stalking I settled on this dress from the Gap:

I'm pairing it with these tights, which conveniently match some brown shoes Audrey already owns (me lazy):

I buy the Tiny Prints deal on Zulily every year for holiday cards so now all I need is that picture.  Our neighbor has offered to go to the park with us and try to get some cute family shots so maybe this will actually work?  Or maybe it's time to can the photos and start writing one of those awesome "Here's what we've been up to this year..." letters.  Oh how I love those things.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Going to the polls

Whenever I think of Election Day, I have memories of one of the most obvious MomFail moments I witnessed Pre-T.  I'd say it was before I had a kid of my own and learned not to judge -- but well...not in this case.  So, I reached back into my email archives to find the story word-for-word that I shared at the time. Hopefully it's still as funny now as it was two years ago!
Date: Wed, Nov 3, 2010

So I have a funny story to share that makes me feel better about my as-of-now-non-existent parenting skills. No matter what we DON’T know, we still know more than this lady did!

I went to vote yesterday after work. Apparently, there was some fire in Houston where voting machines got burnt up in storage, so Houston took some of Austin’s voting booths, so my voting place had a pretty long line. We’re waiting on line, and this lady comes out with her adorable little baby. I’m guessing 8 months old, but of course, I don’t know anything much about babies at this point, so I’m not sure. She could hold her head up and was totally aware, but was still an infant for sure, and still had no hair, etc. But she was dressed in pink tights, a little skirt, and had on a lightweight tank undershirt. Her mom was carrying her – and the baby’s adorable little baby cardigan, that had little pink do-dads on it. And her mom was totally immaculately dressed, cute black sweater cardigan (it was cold last night!), adorable all around, and pretty. The mom, finished with her voting, walks to the door, where we are all waiting on line, and exclaims to the baby “Oh no! It’s raining outside! What are we going to do!” you know, just chatting with the baby the way moms do. So she puts the baby down on the bench, and it appears as though she’s going to get the baby ready to go outside in the chilly rain – by putting the cardigan on her, so she has something covering her body. No, the mom puts the baby down on the bench, in order to put the baby cardigan on her own HEAD, to keep her hair from getting wet. I kid you not. She puts the baby cardigan on her head, picks up her baby (dressed for summer still) and heads out into the pouring rain. Really?  So I am kind of just watching this, wondering if I’m the only one on this massive line that has an issue with this….and the murmurs start traveling down the line, as people are going “Oh my goodness! God forbid my HAIR get wet! My baby doesn’t need to keep warm, my hair looks too good!” and “People who are that unaware shouldn’t have kids” etc.
So regardless of what I don’t know about parenting at this point, I know that if I don't wear my own baby's clothing on my head to keep my hair dry, no matter how good I might look that day, when my poor baby is going to be bare-skinned outside in the cold and wet night.... I will be a parenting success :)
Story still has the same effect on me. A cringe and a chuckle.  How about you?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dressing Room Adventures

The stars aligned last weekend and I finally made my second SOLO trip to the mall in 16 months.  Yes, two trips in 16 months.  Don't be too jealous now.  I decided to start with a little blast from the past and ventured into The Limited...I don't know about you but I used to shop there all the time in high school and college.  It was on the go-to list.  Then the store in the mall near my house closed and I guess I moved on.  I seriously had not been in there in 10 years probably and it's one of those stores were everything is perpetually 40% off so I decided to take a peek.  I ended up trying on a few things and they had some potential.  Here is their version of black jeggings with a black and gold lace top that looked better on the hanger than on me:

Next I tried this tank and sweater combo that basically just emphasized the perma-baby bump I am blessed with:
Finally I tried this striped sweater, which I did end up buying.  It comes in 3 different color combos and I love the relaxed fit and the lightweight knit for TX weather:

I left the jeggings behind because I couldn't get past the strange chemical smell they were emitting and all I could think of was spontaneously bursting into flame while wearing them, but fit-wise and price-wise they were a decent buy.

Next I snuck into J.Crew, specifically to drool over the Biennial Hobo (oh Santa, please work with me on this one):

While I was there I tried on the Frenchie sweater and toothpick cords in charcoal gray.  Love love love.  I had low expectations for the cords, given that I tried them on last year and pretty much ran out of the dressing room screaming.  Apparently someone at J.Crew finally saw the light and added more stretch, thinned out the corduroy, and removed the awful ankle zippers for this year's version.  White ankle socks aide, these are super cute with ballet flats or tucked into boots.  Love them in the burgundy color too.  Unfortunately both the cords and sweater are $98 so I had to put them back and hope for a sale...

I saved my splurging for Anthropologie.  As usual I could have gone totally nuts in there and come home to divorce papers, so I only picked up this sweater dress for a few upcoming functions.  Not sure if I'm going to wear it with tights, boots, or bare legs like the model.  Thoughts?
Does anyone else get as excited as I do for two hours alone at the mall these days?  How are all these other moms doing hair and make-up and showing up in cute outfits every day at school pick-up/drop-off while I am trying to remember if I put deoderant on or not?  And did I mention that they have 3 children and I have one?