Stay Thrifty My Friends

Coming from a large family, I’ve always been comfortable with hand-me-downs. It just makes good sense, especially when it comes to baby gear. Unfortunately, all of our family and said gear is 3,000 miles east. Meanwhile, most of our LA friends are either waiting to start their families or have littles that are Luke’s same age range. We were blessed with multiple baby showers and incredibly generous friends and family, but I knew for the long haul, I’d need to find a way to snag some gear on the cheap.

photo 3We’ve had massive luck finding furniture and the like on Craigslist, but I’ve found the baby gear to be wildly competitive. Plus, lugging Lucas around in LA traffic to pick up one piece here and another piece there is far from practical.

When we heard about the LA Kids Consignment sales, I was wary. There are huge variables with things like that. Plus I kept envisioning the  bridal sale scene from Friends. (Friends – Monica’s Wedding Dress).

photo 2We’ve been to two sales now and found great deals about both. The organizers rent out a huge space for the weekend and there’s beyond scores of kids gear. The first sale we went to, Luke was just 8 weeks old and I wasn’t yet adept at taking him out solo let alone shopping so it was more of a scouting mission, even though we got some good deals.

Last weekend we drove about a half hour north of the city to the Santa Clarita Valley for another sale. We hit the jackpot. I went in with a list of “nice to have” items we were scouting for and we found almost everything we wanted. Luke’s now the proud owner of a jumparoo, a music table, a big dump truck, four new sets of pjs — including two Christmas-themed pairs, new sippy cups, safety equipment, board books and (my personal favorite) a baby bow tie. Not bad for $100.

photo 1I can’t wait to hit up more of these sales — and to sell back some of the gear we don’t have space to store.

How We Accidentally Named Our Baby After A Farm Animal

Like most parents, we wanted to give our child a great name. From the moment we found out we were having another boy we started brainstorming. Our naming process ends up being a lot of ruling out. Can’t start with K, A or E since those initials were already occupied in our family. Can’t end in “s” (like our first son, since the possessive is hard to say). Can’t end with an “en” or “er” because we live in the South and that invites a weird drawl. Can’t be a noun or a verb since our last name is an adjective/adverb. So after all of that we finally came to a name we loved.

We told our toddler the name. Once. Just to make sure he could say it. We spent the next five months referring only to “baby brother” so that our secret would be safe. We kept the name to ourselves to build excitement and to combat the rather deflating conversation I had daily when I was pregnant:

Anyone: “Aw, what are you having?”

Me: “Another boy.”

Anyone: “Oh…” (whomp, whomp…) “What’s his name?”

Me: “Not telling. You will just have to wait and see.”

Our toddler has the memory of an elephant. He can scrounge up random details from over half a lifetiime ago. Once he told me that he remembered being born and that it sounded, “loud, like a combine harvester.” OK kid, sounds about right to me.

Still, we were shocked when he announced, out of the blue, at our final prenatal appointment that he wanted to listen to the heartbeat of “Calvin” (perfectly enunciated and clear as day), not “baby brother.”

Calvin was born a few days later. People were surprised (mostly because we named our son after a cartoon boy; the best cartoon boy in history, but still). It was great. Of course, in the first few weeks we started getting lazy with the two syllables we selected and sliding into nicknames. Calvin became “Cal.” A sweet shortening, but one that had not been proofed through a toddler’s mouth. “Cal” in 2.5 year old language is “cow.” So now all day long I hear “Where is baby Cow?” “Is Cow ok?” and my favorite: “Mommy, Cow wants some milk.”

My maiden name meant “cow” and I got called that my whole life; I hoped I had married up and out of that name. But now it looks like I am right back where I started, and I guess Ellis will get the last laugh for reworking our carefully selected name.

Although we never call him “Ellis.”

We call that kid “Bug.”

Mama’s Got Some Magic

It’s Wednesday night and I’m dying to get home after a long day at work, traffic and wrapping up a huge project at the office. Eric sends me a text and asks me to stop for a few things at the store so he can make dinner. I oblige figuring if I stop at Trader Joes I can overindulge on their pumpkin products (butter, oatmeal, soup, ravioli).

Pumpkin Heaven
Pumpkin Heaven

I’m making my way into the store when this guy bounds up to me. He had to be 23 or 24. He proceeds to tell me how beautiful I am (laughable sir, I am pretty sure there is still a cereal puff stuck on me somewhere), and how he just moved to LA.

I’ve always though that I wasn’t cool enough to be single and this proved it. I was so dumbstruck I didn’t even say anything. He passes me his number, on a playing card none-the-less. (He tells me he’s a magician.) And heads on his way. My first thought was that he made me a mark for some kind of pickpocket. So, I quickly scurry off to grab my pumpkin cookies and head home.

photo-3

Only later did I realize that this was the most ingenious marketing ploy of all time. Find tired-looking mom, humble her with hallow flattery, pass her your number. Boom, first birthday party booked. Well played young sir, well played.