Trash or Treasure?

One thing I really do like about myself is that I’m not too good for Goodwill. I probably never will be. One of my good buddies says that she doesn’t have the patience to rummage through miles of old people’s stuff, but for me it’s more like a treasure hunt. And I usually strike gold.

Some may attribute my thrift success to living in one of the richest cities in the US –and there is definitely some plausibility to that observation –but the truth is, I have been finding the end of the rainbow since I was in high school. That’s right, I could locate a pair of Seven For All Mankind jeans (in my size) a mere year after they’d made their runway debut. And for me, this little hobby is cathartic. After a rough day with the kids, there is nothing better than landing a practically brand new Lululemon dress for $6.99 – which only further proves that one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure. It’s out there if we will take the time to look.

But because I’ve never recorded my amazing finds, I thought I would showcase a few recent gems.

While I am privy to name brands and definitely know what to look for, I sometimes go on a hunch. I suppose I could pull out my phone and do a smidge on-site of research, but I rarely do that because time is of the essence. On a lark, I snagged this little beauty with the tags still attached, only to later learn Hippototamus is a line sold at Saks (make wrist limp as you say Saks). And because I’m Mrs. Buy-out-of-season, Sabra is now set in the coat department for the winter of 2015 thanks to this little New with Tags Hippototamus Unisex Duffle Coat I scored!


I believe Janie and Jack would also be none too thrilled to know that someone donated this New with Tags Spring Derby Pinstriped Seersucker suit that my son was able to sport for Easter (not at the asking $98, but rather Goodwill’s One Dollar and fifty-nine cents asking price for 2pc. sets under 24 mos.).

And while not everything I land has the price tag on it, sometimes the sheer shock value of the brand is enough to eschew a smidge of wear. That was the case with these pink baby Frye boots. $2.99 later, my infant doesn’t even know she’s a fashionista.

And, finally, while it would appear that I only hunt for my children, I do hit the occasional lotto for myself. See new (without tags) Tory Burch bag below, which I purchased for $3.99 then later came home to find online for $129.


Alrighty, enough bragging, I have to stop somewhere.

Fashion Forward Feet

At this point in my foot debacle, I am down to only two pair of shoes that don’t cause my feet pain. They are the Birkenstock Gizeh and the Altra Intuition 1.5.

That’s it. There are no other shoes in my closet that keep the Fascia monster at bay. That said I have been wearing Birks for years, regardless of bodily ailments. So today, when my friend said, “Oh, Birkenstocks are coming back! They were in this summer’s J Crew catalogue,” I was both surprised and delighted. See, I never knew they went out of style. I’ve just been wearing them like they were the coolest thing around for 15 years.

“Good to know,” I said, pondering whether or not I liked the idea of every other mom at the museum walking around in my Birks. Because, as silly as it sounds, they kind of feel like my Birks.

This feels like the 30’s version of being really into an obscure band and then feeling cheated on the first time you hear them played on mainstream radio. It’s heartbreaking and they somehow instantly become less desirable. Then again, I’m too old for that crap. Birkenstocks work for me. They don’t hurt. And they aren’t entirely hideous. That makes for a wardrobe staple in my book!

Skipping School

I recently texted a wise friend of mine who stays home with her kids and asked her the following:

Top 5 favorite things about NOT sending your kids to preschool….go…

She replied:

  1. I get the best of their time
  2. They get the best of my time
  3. We have a super flexible schedule
  4. We save $$$
  5. I’m going to appreciate kinder so much more this way

See, out of nowhere, Spence and I had this huge preschool reservation. We’d been on the waiting list at this sweet little (but very desirable) preschool for a literal year and finally got in. I hustled to fill out all the paperwork and get the needed signatures and deposits in on time and I thought we were good to go –until a few nights ago, when Spence asked what we actually got out of the whole thing. “Why are we doing this?” he asked.

I’d been envisioning baby Sabra and I having our girl time together while Brooks was at school. The quietness of it has consoled me during this rough patch which is taking place under our roof. But then I started thinking about his question and I realized that he is already learning above and beyond benchmarks here at home with me. He’s getting “socialized” at Bible study on Wednesdays and in Sunday school. We frequent the park and have playdates, so I know he can play well with others and follow directions. Honestly, I had to really think about it.

So, what do we get? What we really get is daycare with an acceptable name. There is nothing wrong with daycare, but let’s call it what it is. It’s not school. (A dear friend has pointed out that true day care is all day and five days a week, but I digress.)

And these years I get with my kids while they are little are so short.

“And are we going to take Sabra’s favorite person away from her right as she becomes mobile?” Spence asked. It’s true. Sabra’s eyes are like magnets on her brother. She loves him. He loves her. And why would we split them up if we don’t have to?

Yes, it will be very hard work. Yes, I will be tired and worn out on many days, but the truth is that no one is going to love my kid like I will.

As I write this, we are still registered, but we both feel strongly convicted that the best place for our children is together with their Mama. And I know that most kids at this age learn best on their parents’ laps.

All of this kind of freaked me out and threw me for a loop – until we went to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center a few days ago. We explored this paradise (located a mere 1.5 miles from our house) all morning. Brooks ran and pointed at ponds and turtles and flowers and rocks and caterpillars. And when it came time to leave, Brooks shouted, “Go back, go back.”

This is how I want to school my children. Austin is flat rad. We have so much cool, free stuff available that I could make my own preschool for the few short years I have these little people at home with me. And, really, this is my dream job. I want this time with them, so I constructed my own top 5 reasons for skipping preschool:

  1. Chillax mornings at our own pace (I’m sure they will be rushing around for the rest of their lives)
  2. Doing whatever we want to do (and whatever happens to be on the Free Fun in Austin Newsletter each week)
  3. Experiencing this oasis of a city to its fullest with my favorite little humans
  4. No guilt about missing something we are paying for (or the money we are spending)
  5. The minutes I get with my babies while they are small and all the firsts I get to witness


Slicing Time

Yesterday we glanced back at our Easter pictures from two months ago. “Look at how long his hair is,” we commented. Of course, it is even longer now, but I can’t bring myself to cut it. It is the most beautiful color of dark red and when he sweats, it curls a tad on the ends. It’s heavenly. And I can’t bear to see it go.

Eventually I will cut it. Someone will mistake him for a girl on a day he is wearing something gender neutral and I will face the facts: It’s time for a haircut. But until that day, he can just keep looking like one of the Beatles and melting my heart every day.

This Sucks

Dear Sabra,

I am tired. I love you to the core, but I am tired. I had beginner’s enthusiasm with your brother, but I have been pregnant and/or nursing since the summer of 2011. You are just over 7 months old now and I really want to throw in the old towel (read: quit nursing). I want my body back, literally and figuratively.

Also, I’m tired of carrying around these 34F boobs and this extra 10lbs. I’m just worn out. Every time I mention adding a little formula to the mix, your daddy says, “No! You breast fed Brooks for a year. What you did for him you have to do for her.” And, because I am tired, I don’t argue.

But I forget that I won’t always be tired. One day, many years from now, I will wake up well rested. And you will be sleeping in the next room or a dorm room (yikes) and I will look back longingly on those days you nuzzled at my breast. I will miss rocking you back and forth in the glider as your suck weakened until you passed out. I will miss needing a nursing glider and a nursery.

As much as I want my freedom and a weekend away with no one needing me, every single time I cringe at the comment “They grow up so fast,” I just know it’s true. Yes, it’s hard now, but it won’t always be.

So, just like I endured and survived two children under two years old, I will make it to October 20, 2014. It won’t be easy and I will  probably want to quit a few times along the way, but you may be my last baby, hence the last child I will ever nurse. So maybe it’s not a matter of having to or wanting to as much as it is getting to.

Sweet baby Sabra, I get to nurse you. I get to be your momma. I’m so glad you are here. Thank you for making us a family of four. It is my honor to give you all I have and all God created for me to give to you while I have it.


Mom (your fast-food machine)

Comic Relief for our Dark Days

This was not our week: pain, surgeries, doctor’s appointments for everyone in the house. Spencer’s mom came up to watch Brooks during the surgery and help out with the kids before and after the procedure. She’d had a long day with Brooks, so I encouraged her to get out! Go to the mall! And of course I feel like it’s may fault that she stayed until they closed and abruptly got into a car accident. Her car is probably totaled, but everyone was okay – except for this nasty burn on her arm. In short, it could get worse, but I can’t even begin to think about how.

All of this on top of a scabbed nose Brooks has been wearing for a week after falling off our extremely tall King bed (see pic). But as we bruise and heal, we mostly keep having dinner together, where Brooks points to Rutherford B. Hayes on our Presidents Placemat and says, “Grandpa Bill.” Without fail. Every single time. Grandpa Bill is my mom’s husband and the grandparent he knows the least. Nevertheless, the kid is convinced they are one in the same. And it makes us laugh at a time when we really need to laugh.

I love this kid. I love his long, floppy red hair that gets daily compliments. I love that he will gladly take a bath in the backyard and run around in the buff until someone wrangles him back indoors. And I love that long after he is asleep, Spencer and I will look over at each other and say, Grandpa Bill.