The Artist at Work.

Can I pretend my baby is a sea otter?

Hear me out.

Babystar is an artist. She is really feeling the modern art these days and is totally digging the whole minimalism-one-single-blue-line-on-a field-of yellow-construction-paper look. Or she may add a few circles. But not, like, the basic round circles of the bourgeois. Her circles don’t close. Or they loop around three or four times, expressing themselves.

One time she accidentally made a triangle.

I am sure she is making really interesting statements about society and the rate at which we dole out snacks. Or something.

Also, she can only work with broken crayons.

Once. She can use the broken crayon once but then never again.

She is almost certainly making really interesting artistic statements about society and our insistence that she wear sunscreen.

ANYWAY. This minimalist inclination of hers has got me going through paper like whoa. Paper doesn’t grow on trees, you know. Well, it kind of does, in a way, but you take my point.

While Babystar’s work isn’t great for a human, it is excellent for a sea otter. What I want here is permission to completely misrepresent her work as being done by a sea otter and then sell it on Etsy. I will even split the proceeds with an actual sea otter. Does anyone know a sea otter?

No? Ok, fine.

I bought the Ikea easel ($19.99) to try to stop the paper flow. You know the one: one side is a chalkboard and the other is dry erase.

Ikea easel

Thankfully, Babystar LOVES the chalk medium. She covers the entire chalkboard with a rainbow of colors. The easel distracts from the crayons and markers for at least ten whole minute every day. So I figure I’m saving thousands of trees.

Also purchased in the interest of supporting the arts: Ikea roll of paper ($9.98), Ikea table top paper holder ($7.99), chalk ($2.97), dry-erase pens ($5.98), smock that is already lost ($4.99), 96-pack of crayons ($4.99), drawing pads ($2.19×7), watercolor pad ($3.99), canvas ($24).

PROTIP: For amazing grandparent/godparent/whomever gifts, give the kid canvas after canvas but only TWO primary paint colors. And some of the colors in between. Like blue-purple-pink-red. Or yellow-orange-pink-red. You get it. Be on standby to change out the canvases like a toddler assembly line and voila: gifts for a year.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,429.30

 

I’m never paying retail again.

Just kidding! We all know that I can’t stop won’t stop with the Target runs. And if I’m not ordering random things on Amazon at 2am, AM I EVEN LIVING?

But still. If I had a Time Machine right now this minute, I would hop back to my pregnancy, get out of bed early, and get myself to a consignment sale. WHY did I pay retail for so many things?!?

I’m certain there were consignment sales in Virginia. There must have been, right? I vaguely remember some Facebook posts about consignment sales, but they always seemed to happen at seven o clock in the morning.

7am people are not my people. My bad. 7am EASTERN STANDARD TIME people are not my people. Something about the Colorado sun (or the lack of black-out curtains or the lure of a quiet early morning farmhouse) has me waking up at six these days.

I cherish the ability to wash my face before my family starts asking me hard questions like do we have any pears. My coffee tastes better when I drink it before anyone else wakes up. I adore the sound of birds chirping in the morning sun.

I do NOT love the sound of the stupid robin that attacks his reflection in my bathroom window from sunrise to noon every single damn day. Has anyone effectively deterred a dumb bird?? Please advise.

Wait. What was I talking about?

Consignment sales. I love them. Colorado seems to love them. But there are Consignment Sale Rules to consider. Behold.

Consignment sale number one: the Just Between Friends Sale in Longmont, Colorado. This was a four-day sale and I went at noon on the third day. Like a freaking rookie. I bought a Radio Flyer wagon, a bunch of Fisher Price toys, an adorable unicorn sweatshirt (with a horn on the hood!!), a pair of leggings, and a Gymboree shirt. $110. Remember when I thought that was a good deal?

jbf sale haul

Consignment sale number two: the Boulder County Kids Sale, hosted by the Boulder County Moms of Multiples, and affectionately known as the ‘Twins Sale.’ This sale is open to the public for only one day. I did not buy an early shopping pass for $15 but I will next time. Someone bought an American Girl for TWO DOLLARS. I saw it with my own eyes. They were the first person in the door, of course. But still. I did shop as soon as I could, and I got some really cool things. And then I also came back to shop the first minute of the last hour, when many things were half price! All together, I spent $112.50 for a big-wheel-esqe tricycle, a stuffed dinosaur, a Stella doll, a Worry Eater stuffed monster, a Care Bear, a pink plastic bento box, a dinosaur Skip Hop punchbag, two reusable Skip Hop snack bags, a bunch of books, a Fisher Price airport, and some clothes.

twins sale haul

I saw amazing deals on all kinds of baby stuff. Like, bouncy seats for ten bucks and pajamas for one dollar. Cloth diapers for two dollars. I almost cried.

So here are my CONSIGNMENT COMANDMENTS.

  • Thou shall purchase the Early Bird pass. You just might score an American Girl for two dollars. I’m not bitter.
  • Thou shall arrive early. Be that person waiting at the locked door with a cup of coffee and three shopping bags. Did I mention that you might find an American Girl for two dollars??
  • Do a quick sweep through the toys and the ‘other’ section and scoop up anything that you might want to purchase. Then do a slower sweep through the books and clothes. Sort afterwards. (But put the stuff back pretty quickly because, come on, don’t be a jerk.)
  • Come back at the sale’s end when prices are slashed. A Fisher Price airport that you don’t need for ten dollars becomes a much better deal at five dollars.
  • If you know how to stop a robin from pecking at my window every single stupid morning, tell me. Please.

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,234.15

 

 

Moving. Is. The. Worst.

It’s true. Moving suuuuuuucks.

I have a theory. Moving is so terrible that talking or thinking about a past move brings on a sort of PTSD situation. This is why no one tells you how bad it is. And so when you ask your friends and family and acquaintances for recommendations, no one really wants to think about that horrible time in their life. So they just pretend they didn’t hear you or avert their eyes and walk run away in a state of avoidance.

I get it. I don’t want to talk about it either. But I think that’s how I ended up with the WORST MOVERS EVER and I was crying on moving day but only because the mean mover guy made me hang out in 40 degree weather with no coat for two hours while he told me AFTER LOADING ALL MY STUFF that it was going to cost about twice what I thought. Fuck that guy. (I mean, thank goodness my husband’s company paid for the move, but it was still awful. And they couldn’t fit Babystar’s playhouse. And I was cold and tired and hungry and he kept adding wrong and starting over and talking to someone on that stupid phone clipped to his ear and omg I’m having flashbacks.)

Ok. Forget it. Never use Long Distance Movers. Oh yeah, I’m linking to them so you know exactly who I think you should never ever use. Trust me on this one.

(Though the guys that moved us IN in Colorado were simply lovely. But they also contracted for United Movers so maybe use them instead.)

So, moving sucks. Colorado is AWESOME, you guys. FREAKING. AWESOME.

But moving still sucks. I am STILL not completely unpacked. And that’s not even counting all the boxes in the basement. There is still one box in my bedroom and a few hidden in closets throughout this farmhouse. I doubt I will ever truly finish. I give up.

ANYWAY.

I have totally been feeding Babystar this whole time. And we went some fun places too. We also went a lot of boring places so Babystar got some cool Patience Presents. And I bought more Cat & Jack clothes from Target because they are so darn cute. And I bought other stuff because I am a sleep-deprived sucker.

I have a pile of receipts and no time or desire to take pictures or think of clever titles for separate blog posts so I’m going to cheat and list a whole bunch of stuff here.

(You know, for the Smithsonian. Yep, that one. Babystar turns eighteen in 2033. Hey Smithsonian, hit me up then, k? K.)

  • Princess Poppy pillowcase (for the bed she still won’t sleep in) $4.79
  • Princess Poppy blanket (that she at least uses in her teepee) $9.59
  • This adorable shirt because why is Target so cute!? $4.50
  • This shirt for St. Patrick’s day $4.50
  • Two more shirts and some leggings $5, $4.50, $5
  • Princess Poppy hat that we lost the same day $0.90

 

poppy hat

  • Brand new awesome stuffed Branch doll from thrift store $5
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie book from thrift store $1
  • heart shaped rock $6
  • green rock from a random shop in downtown Boulder $2
  • quartz crystal (yes, the kid loves rocks) $5
  • Blue!! from eBay (that tag lasted twenty years outside of my house but twenty seconds inside of my house) $26.70

blue puppy

  • 3-pack of Contigo water bottles from Costco $11.99
  • Coffee and snacks and tip at Java Mama which is a cool coffeeshop with a playspace that I wish was closer to my house $12.43
  • three sets of 4T pajamas from Costco that were marked $3.99 but I just noticed while looking at the receipt that I paid $7.99 each and I’m slightly annoyed although I knew that price was too good to be true
  • dinosaur dig kits from the Target dollar aisles $3 (times three)
  • four mall dinosaur rides, you know, those animal shaped ride on things in every mall in America $40
  • four mall carousel rides $4
  • another trip to Frolic, an indoor play place a bit too far from the house $9.86
  • a trip with dad to the Denver Children’s Museum $26
  • three crochet finger puppets from the grocery store line $2.99 (I didn’t know the price until they rang up and I was already feeling too defeated to try to put them back)
  • m&m tee shirt and m&m’s from dad’s trip to NY $29.65
  • Aldi wipes $3.49 times four because I made my son bring back a bunch from the east coast in February because Aldi wipes 4 lyfe and now anyone that visits me from the east coast needs to please bring me Aldi wipes because I miss them so much ok thanks
  • Other wipes $3.79, $3.49, $4.99, $6.99
  • Diapers $14.99, $7.99, $21.99, $21.99, $14.99, $14.99
  • laundry detergent (she shares with us obvs) $4 per month so $16 through April
  • Seventh Generation Coconut care baby wash $7.99
  • Honest bubble bath (that she asked for but hates) $10.79
  • Babyganics bath wash $8.99
  • bathtub crayons $2.99
  • dinosaur egg bath fizz thingy that she hates $1.49, $1.49
  • January food $159.42
  • February food $144.06
  • March food $142.24
  • April food $146.94 (Hit me up if you want the full list. I’m talking to you, Smithsonian. Also, I see your kid’s meal price jumps, Chick-fil-A.)

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,011.65

(And now, hopefully, back to our regularly scheduled sass.)

 

 

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#FarmLife

What is better than a dozen eggs?

A DOZEN CHICKS!

I’ve wanted backyard chickens forEVER and we rented a farm in Colorado so DUH.

There are like four or five barns in my backyard. I’m turning one of them into a super fly chicken coop.

And I better hurry because LOOK: CHICKS!!

chicks1

One of these chicks is not like the other, tho.

chicks4

Ok, the stuffed chick doesn’t actually live in the little brooder thingy. I totally staged that picture. But. Babystar’s stuffed chick was the most expensive of all the baby chicks we bought at $6.99.

OMG you guys, she named it Eggy. With no prompting (that I know of). What a great name!

Also, I feel like I need a subblog (is that a word?) about the cost of backyard chickens. Then when they start laying eggs I can calculate the cost per egg. Jeez, I need to calm down. Just kidding, I love this plan! Off to find my farm store receipts. BRB.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,863.79

 

 

Wild, Wild West.

We made it to Colorado!

(Actually, we made it to Colorado over a week ago but we are still unpacking and we still don’t have internet so I blog from a coffee shop down the street when I can convince the older kids to hang home with Babystar which is not as often as I would like since they both are getting over the DeathFlu. Anyway.)

Let’s see how much I can fit into this forty-five minute coffee break.

The girls and I left Arlington on January 15.

Oh, but before that, we spent all of January packing and also taking Babystar on a Farewell Tour of her favorite parks and friend’s houses and indoor play spaces (because it was super cold!). I used up the rest of my passes to Nook and Busy Bees and we played at Scramble a few more times. (We spent $38.00 at Scramble that last week including snacks).

We didn’t get far on January 15, but the movers were really mean to me and I had to get out of Northern Virginia for my sanity. Plus we didn’t have any beds to sleep in anymore. We spent the night near the Virginia/North Carolina border and the drove to my brother’s house in Ashboro, North Carolina, the next day.

My brother works at the North Carolina Zoo so we got an awesome behind the scenes tour. Dude. DUDE. It was amazing. We met a bear and some zebras and an ostrich and a rhinoceros. Princess Buttercup and I were awestruck. Babystar was so casual about the whole thing. She fed a freaking BEAR and was like, “Next!”

Toddlers, dude. I can’t wait to tell her the story when she’s older.

She really did love the ostrich, though. They are super silly birds, and she laughed and laughed. She also loved the flamingos. Because they were pink. And the sea lions, because they were on a rock and she was super jealous because she loves rocks.

TODDLERS.

Anyway.

We got snowed in at my brothers for an extra day but finally got on the road again eventually. We made it to Tennessee and had dinner with friends before stopping for the night.

I bought Babystar a $7.00 pint of Haagen Daaz from the hotel snack bar.

The next day we got up early-ish and drove to the Parthenon. Did you know there was a Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee? I did not. We found out about it while lying in the hotel bed the night before.

It was super awesome. Babystar’s admission was free, but I did buy her some little toys in the gift shop for $13.40. We all adored the 42-foot Athena statue, and Babystar kept asking to go back upstairs to see ‘the tall lady.’

athena

Eventually we got some Chick-fil-A ($3.49 for Babystar) and got back on the road and drove through bits of Kentucky and Illinois and past St. Louis before stopping in Missouri for the night.

We drove to Wonderscope in Kansas City the next day to let Babystar get some quality playtime in and some wiggles OUT.  Wonderscope is a super cool children’s museum and I’m really glad we stopped. Admission for the three of us was $24 ($8 per person) but it was totally worth it to let the toddler play. We all played a bit, actually. I preferred the Art Room, Princess Buttercup was obsessed with the huge play grocery store, and Babystar loved the Vet Office. We did lots of check-ups on ‘Tillie’.

We finally left Wonderscope at 5pm when they closed, and we decided to drive out of the city before stopping for dinner.

The plan was to eat, drive a little ways, and find someplace in Kansas to sleep for the night.

Things did not go as planned.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,051.62