Friday, October 28, 2011

All Grown Up (and I'm referring to myself)

Happy Friday, everyone. I apologize once again for such slack blogging. It's been another busy week here, which I mainly attribute to the  fact that I can't say no and am volunteering way too much at both kids' schools. I think this is what happens when you don't have a full-time paying job. Guilt kicks in and you think, "Oh, I guess I need to be giving my time to the school rather than giving my time to retail spending." So, on the upside, I have spent very little money this week. On the downside, my house is filthy and we have no groceries.

Speaking of shopping, I did manage to do a little of that last Saturday. After a big day at the NC State Fair (where deep fried Oreos were consumed. They are totally worth the extra 5 workouts they necessitate), I headed out to run a few errands. My six-year old shopping buddy came along. We hit our new lululemon store for an exchange, then Target, then Belk. Belk had recently sent out a 20% off coupon with NO EXCLUSIONS. That meant I could use it on Lilly Pulitzer, Theory, Vineyard Vines. Whatever I wanted. And I already knew what I wanted: Frye Paige boots in grey:

I had already tried them on and put them on hold. I had almost purchased them several times, but kept resisting. I just couldn't pull the trigger. 

But what I COULD pull the trigger on was a new coffee maker. How boring is that? Here's the story: last Christmas, I thought I really wanted a Keurig. 

So, the husband got me one. This one:
And I liked it fine, but have never loved it. I like 2 good cups of coffee every morning. The Keurig really doesn't brew a big enough cup for me. The K-cups are really pricey. And frankly, I don't think it makes coffee that tastes all that great. I know, I know. Everyone else loves it. I'm in the minority. 

I had put away my old Braun cofee maker. One day, Davis got into the cabinets and the glass carafe fell out and broke. I thought maybe I could replace it, but Braun doesn't make that particular one anymore. So, after putting it off for a few months, I knew what I wanted to use my 20% off coupon on. (And yes, I could have purchased more than one thing. But I'm trying to adhere to a bit of a budget, and I just couldn't do it all). 

After a little research, I knew I wanted a bells-and-whistles coffee maker. So, here's what I got:

The Cusinart Brew and Grind. It brews. It grinds. It has a stainless carafe. I heart it. We have become really good friends this week. I set it the night before. Then, I get  back from my early morning workout, and hot coffee is ready for me. 

Obviously, when you choose a coffee maker over boots, you have truly grown up. 

On a related note, if you would like to purchase a pre-owned Keurig, I'll make you a good deal. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dear Santa....

Yesterday evening, Davis had the biggest meltdown of his entire 2 1/2 year life. It was ugly. I should have known it was coming. He mistakenly thought the two minutes he slept on the way home from school qualified as an actual nap, and then proceeded to sing songs in his crib for half an hour. Not to mention that he was up super early, and in bed super late the night before. I think you can see where this is going.

The husband was traveling, and since I don't cook when he's gone, the kids and I were heading to church for dinner. I had us in the car at 5pm for the approximately 8 minute drive. I was having to reach behind my seat and tickle Davis to keep his heavy eyelids from completely closing.

Dinner went surprisingly well. The trouble started when he wanted to play in some dirt on the way back to the car. When I told him NO and then proceeded to carry him to the car, the night turned into complete bedlam. It took forever to get him into his car seat. I practically had to bend him in half he was arching his back so hard. He screamed the whole way home, and then for another half hour after that.

Finally, I was able to get him into pajamas and into bed, where he promptly fell asleep. I don't think he moved for a solid twelve hours.

In the meantime, Ava was pretty fed up with her brother's antics. She asked if she could write her Christmas list for Santa. (Obviously, she doesn't have my penchant for procrastination. Hello? Not even Halloween yet.). I suggested that a rough draft would be fine for now.

As I was wrestling with Davis, Ava got busy writing. She produced two letters. The first outlined the things she wanted and mentioned how good she's been. The second was a letter advising Santa about Davis' poor behavior, and Ava's suggestion for how Santa should handle it. Here's the letter:

In case you can't read it, it says:
"Davis has not been good. He called me a poopy head today and said I can't go to school today and so I don't think you {should} give presents to him. Love, Ava."

I added in the punctuation for you since there wasn't really any there. Please note that she signed the letter with a heart and a peace sign.

By the way, it's true that he called her a poopy head and said she couldn't go to school. She cried about it. 

Oh, kids.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Little Cart

I know that any of you with small children will relate when I tell you that I absolutely hate taking Davis to the grocery store with me. As soon as he was mobile, he hated riding in the shopping cart. Naturally, I've tried to avoid taking him at all costs.

Sometimes, though, it can't be avoided.

A while back, I had to go to the store with both kids. They really wanted to ride in that race car cart. Whoever invented that monstrosity obviously hated parents. Why else would someone create a cart that weighs three times more than a standard cart and has zero steering control? But, I gave in. And the kids were happy, especially when they had the complimentary cookie and bread sample that Harris Teeter so generously provides.  We've taken the race car cart a bunch of times now, and all goes well up until the point when they start getting annoyed with each other. Then it's time to leave. Fast.

So, sometime back in the summer, I had to go pick up just one thing at the store. I took Davis with me. And, I made the rookie mistake of letting him push The Little Cart. You know the one. The "Shopper In Training" one. Davis did great with it and had a great time on our short trip. Remember, though, I only had to get one item. So it was easy.

Now, however, he thinks he needs to have The Little Cart every time we walk into the store. If I'm purchasing more than one or two things, this is a huge impediment to my speediness. Yesterday I went in with a list. There were about 5 things on it, and I had a few other things in mind that we just needed to quickly pick up. This particular store has the wine in the front right when you walk in. Davis immediately took his cart to it and picked up a bottle to put in his cart. By some divine miracle, he didn't drop it, but we had to flee that section immediately.

The rest of the trip was spent with him putting things into his cart and me distracting him while I swiftly returned most of those items to the shelves. I got caught a few times and got a loud, "But I WIKE that!!" We had a number of times when he just didn't want to proceed. And several times where he nearly collided into other shoppers. A trip that should have taken 10 minutes took about 30. And I'm pretty sure I ended up with a few items I didn't pick out.

Next time I'll just go during preschool.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall TV

I know this will come as a huge surprise, but tv is one of my favorite past times. Sometimes, I even watch non-Bravo shows. (Frankly, though, I'm a little obsessed with the Beverly Hills Housewives, and of course, Rachel Zoe. Which reminds me, is she not the whiniest pregnant person ever? I love her, but seriously. We KNOW you're working yourself ragged and you're 8 1/2 months pregnant. We KNOW. And to tell you the truth, we don't pity you one little bit. In fact, we kind of envy your fun life and the Hermes throw in your baby's nursery).

So, let's see. There are a few new shows I'm loving this year, in addition to all the old standbys (Glee, Gossip Girl, The Office, Modern Family). First off is "Revenge" on ABC. Love this. It's so overly dramatic, so unrealistic, and such fun tv.

Who doesn't love watching rich, beautiful people in gorgeous clothes? It's right up my alley.

That's the only new drama I'm really hooked on. Last week, I watched the premier episode of "American Horror Story" on FX. 
Oh. My. Gosh. This one scared the hell out of me. So disturbing. But I love Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott. Plus, it's from Ryan Murphy, the creator of "Glee" and (the also disturbing) "Nip/Tuck", so I figured it would at least be entertaining. Let's just say that it's the scariest thing I've ever seen on network tv, and scarier than lots of horror movies. It's just got that whole "edge of your seat" thing going  for it. But I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't stop thinking about it, and then was scared all over again.For that reason alone, I just don't think I can add it to my regular tv schedule. 

Onto the comedies. I'm sure you've all seen "Up All Night" with Christina Applegate and Will Arnett. Pretty funny stuff. Not up there with "Modern Family", but funny nonetheless. Christina Applegate is funny enough. She kind of reminds me of Jennifer Aniston in her acting ability. Will Arnett is great. And Maya Rudolph is always a good addition. 

Finally, I really like "Suburgatory" on ABC. Really funny show about a teenage girl and her single dad who move from Manhattan to the suburbs. It's one of those comedies that could be really lame, but good casting and good writing seems to be keeping it well above average. Plus, Cheryl Hines is really funny as one of the suburban wives. 

I think that wraps it up for the new shows. The new season of "Glee" has kind of fallen short for me. I love a good Broadway number, but come on. Good pop music is what made that show so good to begin with. Time to get back to the roots of the show. 

Speaking of tv, it's time to get the kids to bed and get to watching!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween Scrooge.

Here's my confession for the day: I loathe Halloween.

Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. For the kids, I love Halloween. I get to steal their excess candy. What's not to love? I enjoy dressing them up and taking their pictures, and maybe even slapping a little makeup on Ava. (This year, we're going as a mother-daughter team from Toddlers and Tiaras. Just kidding).

I even like decorating my house. I just picked up some giant spiders from Target, along with some webbing, so this weekend, they will take over my front porch. I like pumpkins, I like ghosts, etc. And I love perusing Pinterest for more decorating ideas!

halloween #halloween


halloween decor

all images via Pinterest
I also like cooking anything sweet with pumpkin. Paula Deen's pumpkin bars are definitely getting made this week:
I also think this is hilarious. Unfortunately, it would give Ava nightmares for years to come:
for halloween
via Pinterest

But here's what I hate: adult costumes. We're invited to a couple of Halloween parties, and I'm trying hard to be a good sport, but I am so bad at coming up with good costumes it isn't even funny. I feel like you're supposed to do something as a couple, and so far, Morgan and I are  coming up empty. My only idea so far has been Teresa and Joe Guidice from Real Housewives of NJ.

I thought it would be funny to get Morgan to spend the evening in a wife beater, but he wasn't so amused. He seems to want to reprise a costume of his from about 10 years ago. He calls it "Count Blackjackula." He dressed up as a vampire, but instead of a cape, he donned a felt tablecloth for a poker table.

I'm at a loss and just can't decide what to be. I'll probably end up with a prefab costume from a Halloween shop. Honestly, though, there aren't that many costumes for women that aren't some slutty version of something. Sluttly Alice in Wonderland? Check. Slutty maid? Check. Slutty cheerleader? Check. Thanks, costume industry. Oh, and I've even noticed that a lot of the little girls' costumes are taking on a tawdry appearance. Nice. No need for them to have their own boobs! Just put some fake ones in a costume and let them pretend to be 19!

Oh, and yes, I do see the incongruity in my wanting to dress as a RHONJ while bereating costumes being too sexy. But being Teresa is funny. So it's different.

If you have suggestions about what we  can be, please leave them in the comments below. Otherwise, I may end up as another one of Count Blackjackula's victims.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Weekend Update

The husband and I were graced with a kid-free weekend, thanks to my parents. They took Ava and Davis Saturday morning, and Morgan and I went to the UNC game for a day of fun. It really couldn't have been a more perfect fall weekend, weather-wise. The game was fun (although so boring, from an athletic perspective. Not like I really ever watch the game anyway.). I got to hang out with my old friend Katie. We lived together, along with two other girls, back when we were in our early twenties and single. Lots has changed over the last 14 years or so, but we always have a great time. Here were are cheesing it up for the camera. Someone needed to tell me to tone down the smile. Geez.

Thank goodness for big sunglasses. 

We spent the whole fall day in Chapel Hill. Sadly, I had come down with a nasty cold and almost totally lost my voice (perhaps to the delight of my husband). I was exhausted when I got home. I got in bed, watched my DVR'd episode of Revenge (which, by the way, may be my favorite new campy drama of the season), then The Rachel Zoe Project. I was ASLEEP at 9pm. I slept all the way until 7. TEN HOURS! 

We took advantage of our empty house and finally put together the IKEA bookcase I got for Ava's room. (Yes, this is how you take advantage of a kid-free house when you've been married for 9 years). I'd heard some horror stories of IKEA furniture assembly and was prepared for the worst. After laughing at the pictures in the directions:

....we got started. Assembly was a cinch. I think we were done in half an hour. Here's the finished product:
I need to work on that top row of shelves a little. I'm not loving how I've got stuff in it, but I'll get it worked out. At first I was worried it was too big in the room, but once I filled it up and then moved some other baskets out of her room, it was perfect. I figured Ava would hate it, just because she's not comfortable with change of any kind, but to my surprised delight, she loves it. 

After my good IKEA experience, I am now obsessed with the idea of an IKEA kitchen. Especially since kitchens are 20% off. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

How do you inspire giving in kids?

I have no business blogging right now. You should see the state of my house. Gross. Dust, dirt. But I've got something on my mind, so here we go.

I've no doubt my daughter is a bit of a hoarder. I'm hoping she won't end up on an A&E reality show one day. Luckily for all of us, she does like things in a certain place, and she isn't horribly messy, but she doesn't like to dispose of anything. The girl likes to hang on to her stuff. Once a week or so, I have to do kind of a clean sweep through her room to dispose of some of her treasures. I've recently tossed out about four American Girl catalogs, numerous gum packages (not wrappers, thank goodness), and a random assortment of things like paper clips. She has a drawer in which she keeps things that are "special." One look in that drawer and you'd know it's not hard for an item to be considered "special." It's absurd. But, I like for her to have her own space, and as long as I can clean it all out once in a while, I just sort of go with it.

Since school started, Ava has started quite the collection of key chains on her backpack. She started the year with two, I think. Now she has 15. See?

(love Instagram for cool-looking iPhone pics!)

So, the thing is, many of these key chains were given to her by her sweet little classmates. I would estimate that five friends have given her one of her chains. That's really sweet, isn't it? So, yesterday, when yet another friend gave her a key chain (another light-up shoe from McDonald's, bringing the tally of those to three), I suggested that maybe she should share the love and give one of hers away to a friend, too. Yeah, that didn't go over so well. The conversation went like this:

me: "Ava, wouldn't you like to give one of those to your friend?"
Ava: "Um, no. I don't think so."
me: "But honey, think how good it makes you feel when one of your friends gives you something of theirs. Don't you want to be a good friend like that and share?"
Ava: "But all my MY key chains are SPECIAL!!"

I give up. 

So here's my question: how do you make children that give selflessly? How do you promote genuine altruism in young kids? We all want our kids to be smart and successful, right? But a child that grows into a generous person, one who gives without thinking of what he or she is giving up? To me, that is the true mark of success, at least in parenting. And maybe it's not even something that's taught, although I do think it can be. Maybe some people are just more giving. Maybe it has to do with birth order. I don't know. But I do know that a kid with fifteen key chains needs to learn that giving one away isn't going to kill her. And it might even make her feel pretty good.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Girls' weekend recap

Well, I'm back and refreshed after a super-fun shopping weekend with my mom. My first trip to IKEA was lots of fun. We stayed there for about 3 1/2 hours. I came away with the Expedit for Ava's room, as well as a new dresser for her room. Poor girl was using the dresser I had gotten when I was about 10, and besides being, well, not really my style (white wicker), it was starting to get a little shabby. It's now on Craigslist. We opted for this one, which will take up less room while also providing some much needed larger drawers:

HEMNES 3 drawer chest, white Width: 43 1/4 " Depth: 20 1/8 " Height: 38 1/4 "  Width: 110 cm Depth: 51 cm Height: 97 cm
Obviously, it's nothing fancy,but at $199, it's a great little versatile piece that should last through her little girl years. I'm dying to completely redo her room. It's currently a way-too-bright green, and I'm thinking of scaling back to a soft lavender and white, with celery green accents. Or to keep costs down, I may just change the wall color to a very soft pink and then keep the pink and green bedding she already has.

From IKEA, we went to North Carolina's shopping mecca, SouthPark, in Charlotte. That is one serious mall. I thought we had gotten a little upscale here in Raleigh, but no. SouthPark has Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Tory Burch, Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, and even Hermes. We did a lot of drooling. A lot. In Neiman's, I tried on these TB boots:
Pinned Image
I'll tell you something. The difference between the $150 I usually spend on boots and these is the fit. I don't have skinny calves, but cheap boots tend to be either too big around my calves (so I don't know what you seriously skinny girls do), or they bunch up at the ankles. Yuck. For the bargain price of $495, the Tory boots fit like a damn glove. To be honest, I don't really even want black suede, but it was all they had in this boot, so I just tried it for the fit. I love the look of the black suede, but if I'm going to drop that kind of dinero on footwear, it's gotta be for something that I can wear all the time. Suede is not the way to go there. Brown leather? Yes. But, I used my better judgement, polished up my Bandolino riding boots that are in their third season, and left the store. And, to be honest, I've had my eye on these Frye Paige boots for a while now, so I may have to ask  Santa for them:

However, I did not leave empty-handed. How could I? We all know that shopping out of town is not REAL shopping. It's sort of like being on vacation. I did get a cute new pair of wedges, that I deemed perfect for all occassions, including church. See? 
Yes, you're right. I may have a small Tory Burch obsession. I can't help it. And when you go and look around Hermes and then the Chanel and Prada collections at Neiman's, Tory starts to look downright reasonable. Which is absurd, really. (Seriously, the woman in front of me at dropped about $1400 on some Prada boots). 

But these days, I don't buy a lot of shoes, so I like to love the ones I have. And really, I have bought a number of Target shoes, and they last exactly one season. I'm coming up on my fourth season with my very first pair of beloved Revas, and they still look good. 

See how I can justify that? It's an art form. (I can teach you, if you're interested).

After our day of shopping, my mom and I drove back home (her home) to meet my dad for dinner. It was so much fun to spend such great time with my parents without the distraction of my kids. Don't get me wrong. I love seeing my parents with my kids. But I'm a little selfish, and I still like to hang out with just them. We had a fun, grown-up dinner, and then I got to get a really good night's sleep in my old bed. 

The next morning was wonderful. My mom made coffee, and my dad went out to pick up biscuits at Biscuitville. (Vacation food is like vacation money, right? Calories don't count). We spent a lazy morning talking and just hanging out before going out to lunch. It was back to Raleigh for me mid-afternoon, where I was greeted by two very adorable, very excited children. And one exhausted husband. 

Honestly, the husband is so good with the kids. I have to admit, though, I loved it when he said, "I'm not really tired, but I've been  more irritable than usual." 

Guess he understands now why I'm not always Mary Sunshine when he gets home at night. 

Thanks to my parents and my husband for a fantastic weekend!