I have decided not to consider or ‘subtract’ the child tax credit because that is waaaay too much math. (Since it’s not a straight deduction from our tax bill — or is it? I don’t even understand it really.) Also, any tax credit credit IN NO WAY covers the cost of raising a child. And definitely not this privileged little middle-class Babystar in our privileged pocket of America. But mostly because we literally never get a tax return. We always always always have to pay. How much or how little depends on the year, but there is no refund headed our way.

So that is why. If you were wondering.

Also regarding taxes: Sometimes I add in the sales tax when adding up Babystar’s total and sometimes I don’t. Quite honestly, it really depends on how easy it is to add the tax to the total. I save receipts, and I have a giant list on my phone of what we purchase for Babystar. If it is an Abby’s Lane email receipt for a Babystar purchase, I’ll add the total including tax. If it is a Target receipt with a bunch of other non-Babystar items, I’m not adding the sales tax. (I am definitely not asking the cashier to ring Babystar’s items separately so I can be more accurate, like I would if this bloggy experiment were an actual job. But now that I type this, maybe I should. It would definitely make my receipt pile smaller and more accurate.)

Just if you were wondering.


Toddlers Be Like.

Toddlers be like, Oh Hey Ma, you just cleaned the kitchen. I’ll fix it while you take 43 seconds to pee and speed wash your hands nbd.


Cool, now please make me an egg. (With the sign language please and everything so I just die and do it and clean it all over again someone help I think I have Stockholm Syndrome.)



Busboys and Birthdays and Bees, Oh My.

Babystar loooooves outings. She is basically a puppy. If you tell her she’s going ‘bye-bye’ she immediately jumps up and starts panting and wagging her tail. Just kidding. She runs to find her shoes and sits on the first step which is apparently her Official Shoe Step and yells and points at grown-ups until someone helps her get her shoes on.

Even if she isn’t yet wearing pants.

We have had a lot of fun outings over the last few weeks. The parks are free. (THANK GOODNESS THE PARKS ARE FREE. Or more accurately, thank you Arlington County’s liberal public works tax spending, the parks are free.) But not everything is free.

We went to Busy Bees twice recently — once with cousin V and once without. Babystar loves Busy Bees but I do not love paying $15 a pop now that she has turned one. We go much less than before, of course, but she is playing in more areas and getting braver, probably because her 3yo cousin is a little trailblazer.


We also saw Culture Queen at Busboys & Poets, which in theory is only $5 per kid. So $5. But their sweet potato pancakes are amazing and I ordered them with eggs and turkey sausage and a vanilla latte AND Babystar made a royal mess (because she is a Tower of Royal Power) so I tipped the poor server that got stuck in the kiddie room $10 so that morning’s total was $44.70. Worth it. It’s only once in awhile and did I mention that the sweet potato pancakes are SO FREAKING GOOD?

Finally, we attended a birthday party! Babystar’s first invitation. The party was adorably pumpkin-themed and the kids each got to choose and decorate a mini-pumpkin. So clever. So cute. So Babystar ignored all of that and mowed the grass instead. It was a toy lawn mower, at least. She was not into the party or the kids at all. She did enjoy a fruit skewer before getting tired and we sadly left before any cake and before the 1yo Party Girl opened her presents. We brought her sensory balls. I hope she likes them.



Buried Treasure.

You know that Thing where you finally clean out a closet because the College Boy is coming home from school for the summer and you find boxes of baby clothes labeled 6-12 months and 12-18 months that you totally forgot about and whoops the baby already grew out of some of these and then you get mad at yourself because you literally JUST BOUGHT more clothes and then you forgive yourself because you were so very sleep deprived when you packed these up last year?

Yeah, that just happened.

Babystar’s summer wardrobe is set. Her drawers are bursting. Hashtag blessed.

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Free Crib WHAT?!

Now that I am officially moved out of my Florida apartment and back in Virginia for good, my brother brought over the ‘baby things he was saving for me.’

Holy bananas! Apparently my almost-two-year-old niece never sleeps in her crib so he gave it to me! Mattress, mobile, the whole shebang! Freaking awesome!

Along with tons more clothes and two bags of baby toys.

Pro Tip: Try to arrange to have a baby after your siblings. It needs to be right after them — before they give away everything to their pregnant friends.

Total so far:  $257.99

Showers on Showers, y’all

I thought for sure that there would be zero baby showers due to living in Florida for most of this pregnancy.  We have now had four sweet showers! The first one was in Florida, then my office threw a surprise party and gifted us a $350 Buy Buy Baby gift card and a few other gifts.  Sean’s office threw a not so surprise shower for us and gave us a really nice BOB Jogging Stroller.  And Sean’s church group even brought over an amazing cake and some gifts, including a diaper sprayer since we plan to cloth diaper.

So blessed. So lucky. I am overwhelmed with emotion at everyone’s generosity.  It’s probably just hormones.


Total so far:  $257.99

Ciao, Baby.

My sweet, soon to be 16-year-old daughter and I just got back from Italy!  Trip of a lifetime!  Technically, Baby was there too, but she couldn’t see anything.  What with being in utero and all.

We brought home two dresses made just outside Venice, on the island of Burano, which is famous for lace-making.  The exchange rate was great!  Dresses were 18 and 22 euros.  Worked out to about $43.



Update: I feel lucky.

Since telling my teens and then the rest of the family last Thanksgiving, I have been showered with hand-me-downs.  I am ever grateful and so lucky.  My little brother back in Virginia has my sweet niece who will be two in July and my sister here in Florida has my sweet nephew that is one next month in March.  I also have a very close cousin here in Florida with a baby girl only seven months old.  They have been trading baby clothes and baby stuff back and forth, and they all swear they are done having babies.  I currently have a closet full of bags of baby stuff.  So much baby stuff.  I started to sort things today to only keep what I need.  I am having a little girl but she can totally rock my nephew’s hand-me-downs, so I will not need to buy clothes for at least the first six months.  I am drowning in onesies.  I feel very lucky and very blessed to have boxes of pajamas, gowns, pants, onesies, socks, shoes, hats, everything.  Receiving blankets, a bassinet, breastfeeding supplies (one mom stocked up but baby refused), a Boppy pillow, another breastfeeding pillow, baby bath tub insert, Bumpo seat.  I’m actually glad for once that I’m so far away from home and will not have a baby shower, because I really don’t need to buy much more for baby’s first months.  Do I?

Total so far: $159.99.