Week 29: Repentance Purging & Tempting the Inner Shopper

Week 29: Repentance Purging & Tempting the Inner Shopper

I had some deep thought regarding spending this week, something inspiring, and I didn’t write it down…and it’s gone. Oh well. I hope it will come to me again. If it does, I’ll let you know.

This week I decided that a wee purge was in order since last week I spent too much on unnecessary items. But since I am a mom with kids at the high demand stage, I wasn’t able to attack it with as much energy as I had hoped. I did manage one sort and purge session during a particularly long nap. I spent an hour reorganizing the toys into their designated bins and in the process pulled some toys that either have seen no love from the kids at all or are now too “baby” oriented. What I did was then post those toys as a single lot of “baby distracter” toys for sale on the local facebook buy/sell/trade page. That and a few other items all of which, to my surprise, sold. Yes, one thing I gave away for free, and the others were just token money, but it felt good. I not only got stuff out of the house, but I got a tiny bit of cash for it too.

I also returned those sparkly shoes I’d gotten for my 3 year old. ‘Why return it?’ you ask,’ if she really liked them and they were only a few bucks’. Well, for one, I had bought two other verysimilar shoes, and two, she herself said she wanted them returned. The slight glitch was that in the time it took me to make that final decision, I’d lost the receipt. I thought, ‘gosh darn, I’m going to have to keep them after all’. And then I thought, ‘gosh darn, other people would just go ahead and ask if it were possible anyway, I need to grow some cojones’. I am such a chicken when it comes to things like that. You should have seen me standing there, my two kids eating a snack in the back of my Volvo station wagon while I debated whether or not to go in with the shoes without the receipt to ask if they’d still return it, or if I should go in first, ask and then if they said yes, go back to the car to get the shoes…or if I should declare to the door security guy that I had a pair of shoes with tags on I was bringing in and that I was just going to the counter to see if it could be returned..just so he’d know I hadn’t stolen them. See, it made me nervous to go into a store without proof of purchase. I even thought about calling the whole darn thing off. What ended up happening was that I tried to channel my brother-in-law, Daniele’s, gumption ( he is a pro at returning items) and walked in, hauling both my kids with the shoes prominently held in my hands with tags on so the theft prevention guy could see it plainly, then walked straight to the line at the counter. When I got to the counter I WAY over explained myself, clearly, as the woman looked at me dully, said “yes, we can give you store credit” to which I thanked her and blathered on about how my toddler had chosen another pair from this store that she was currently wearing and that toddlers have such distinct individual tastes…and the woman said “yes. NEXT!!” …and that was that.

I have such a persecution complex. Honestly, I think that’s why we got through my immigration interviews so well, because I just blather and sweat so much that it is clear that I am so goddamn honest. A person who can truly lie well is someone with ready answers and a dry brow.

The history behind all of that is that I used to be painfully shy. I mean really shy. Like, I didn’t want to eat at friend’s houses because I didn’t want to draw attention to my chewing; I’d try to make no noise at all (which, of course, in hindsight, is way more conspicuous), I was terrified of answering phones (and sometimes still am). Along with that, as I grew older was fear of having to pay for things (because I didn’t want to take too long counting the money and make others wait) and hand in hand with that was not ever wanting to return something for fear that the store person would think that I had done something to the item and then scammed them by returning it. I know, crazy right? But there’s also more history there, because there was one time I was scammed as a retail sales person myself. Some man came in without a receipt with some elaborate story, I returned the item for him, gave him cash and then an hour later realized he’d simply take the item off the shelf while I wasn’t looking. So, yeah, I had a lot going though my head as I made the return. It seems silly, but that’s the mind for you.

But the ultimate take away is that I did it. I overcame all of that mind gunk.

And then I promptly put that store credit to use on birthday presents, because, yes folks, I have now entered that chapter of life when your kids’ friends have parties. Three parties in the next three weeks to be exact! Now, I don’t mean to out myself as a cheap skate to my mama friends who may be reading this blog, but the truth is that I want to find presents, good ones, at reasonable prices. Ideally we’d get all crafty and make something awesome, but this mama is getting real with herself…it ain’t happening. So, I had made my return at Ross, so that’s where we went to look for toys and books. Since Christmas fever has already struck all the major retailers, they are really well stocked. Now, while there were troves of overly cross-marketed, tv and movie character driven toys, there were still some great, not so branded items. I just had to dig. But we did good, and then we got right out of there. I will admit that I had a lot of fun!

This is Halloween week. I like to think that I am creative and that I can make costumes, but I tell you what, I was so glad when my eldest said she wanted to be a black cat. THAT I can do. For my littlest, I got a dog costume from a thrift store for a couple bucks months back. This is almost the last time she will not have an opinion so I took advantage of that ( though she certainly has an option about the hood part of the costume – she DOES NOT want it on her head!!!). For the cat, I relied on my eldest’s existing black clothing- black leggings, black sweater, black shoes, and then dug out a cat tail I had in my “costume” bag in the closet (a bag my husband questioned me about a while back when I refused to purge it along with my clothing I had been KonMari-ing. See! It did come in handy!). The only thing I had to do was knit a hat and buy some black cheapo mittens that I hot glued paw pads to and voila! Two costumes for under $10. Not bad.20161029_103644.jpg

I also stepped into the land of temptation just yesterday. It’s a long story but the gist is that the store was the newly opened Nordstrom Rack, we were nearby having just come from dinner, the kids were hopped up on rocket fuel aka food ( all food is rocket fuel for the kids; why does it always entail the desire for a nap in me?), so we needed to walk it off. After circling a set of benches (with the enthusiasm only the very young can muster)…oh, about 15,000 times, I just wanted to walk somewhere else. My sister in law was game, so we walked through the adjoining mall and ended up at NR. Man, that store has NICE stuff. In my head I was thinking ‘I want that…and that…oooh, do I need that? I think I need that….no I don’t…maybe I do…’

But we got out of there without anything. Phew! Why do I do that to myself? Maybe just to see if I can. I will say that it definitely did trigger the thoughts I sometimes have of wanting a select number of really high quality, classy items. A nice concept but not something I’ve managed to do or will manage to do in the near future. Right now it’s all about throw on clothes that will get stained despite my best efforts. It was interesting to note that these thoughts occurred along with feelings of excitement. Not sure what to do with that info though.

This week, I feel perhaps, a bit more successful than last. I’ll take it.

 

Week 28: The View Will Cost You

Week 28: The View Will Cost You

I’m so behind on this week’s blog I considered just skipping it and combining it with next week. I feel like it is getting harder to find time to write than it was just a few months ago. Or maybe it’s flagging enthusiasm for this challenge?

Yet I soldier on because I do not want to be a quitter. I have started to think about what all this will have meant once this one year challenge is over. Will I have gained any knowledge about how I operate as a consumer? Will I have learned to tighten my belt? Will there be any significant changes in the way I spend money? I don’t know the answer to any of those questions.

Right now I am feeling both grateful for my life and the plenty that I am surrounded with and I am also stressed by the on-going financial issues that our medical bills from a few months back continues to plague us with. I am reminded of how lucky we are to manage to get away for the weekend, as we just did, on a mini family vacation to Yosemite. At the same time, I am frightened by how costly that ended up being and feeling slight guilt over that (more on that in a bit).

I’m essentially an internal mess. I want to be frugal and thrifty, yet time and again we end up spending. I am caught between wanting to be content with only the bare minimum and finding that sometimes spending is not only just necessary but sanity fortifying. I wonder if we are being wise to enjoy our money now despite challenges, or foolish and should be more cautious and knuckle down and save, save, save. I do not want to be a foolhardy millennial living off of credit like there’s no tomorrow. I think it’s safe to say that that is not the case, but sometimes I feel as though we teeter on that brink.

Last week I did some online shopping for “essentials” thinking that I was being efficient with my time and energy (my time is worth something, too, right?). Well, as it turns out, some items were not exactly right. Now, I had to deal with the rigmarole of returns. Essentially, I ended up settling for ‘less-than-exactly-right’ items and gave another item to a friend’s kid rather than make that effort to repackage and pay for return shipping. What I have learned from that is, a physical store is still preferred despite the effort involved hauling the kids with me.

I will also confess to cute, sparkly, holiday appropriate shoes that I impulse bought for my girls. There was definitely no need there. I thought perhaps that I would use them in our yearly photo shoot ( my internal spending trickster came up with that one!), but have decided on a theme that actually will not include sparkly shoes. Sooo…I have been staring at those shoes, set right by the door with tags on, debating and debating. To return or not. Every time I think, ‘ok, I’ll return these’, I envision my littlest running around with those sparkly Mary Janes and she looks so CUUTE. But, when it comes time to take off the tags, I can’t. Maybe I will change my mind and want to return them….20161025_185125.jpg

So, they sit there yet. My eldest’s sparkly shoes with the tag on have made it as far as the trunk of my car ( she has a pair of shiny shoes already)…now to look for the receipt. I don’t know why this is so gosh darn hard for me. Honestly. And in accordance with the rules I laid out when I started this challenge, if I am unable to return items I’ve spent frivolously on, I need to give away items. So, I will focus on that. More purging is in order!

And about Yosemite this weekend. It was amazing. It is one of the most picturesque places one could ever hope to visit. It is definitely something as many people as possible should see. It also happens to be one of the most expensive State Parks one could visit. For a two night stay in their tent cabins (camping sites were already booked up when we booked  a few months ago) we were out almost $400. Then take into account that you aren’t allowed to cook there (lots of bears, drought with the potential for fires) so you need to buy dinners at approx $35 per meal for two adults and two kids. Also, the gas to travel 5.5 hours in both directions. Also, a $30 entrance fee for any and all visitors to Yosemite. All told we were looking at about $600. Now, the reason we like to camp is because it is the most affordable way to have a vacation. This did not fall into that category. It really did not. But we went with friends and they were all in and so were we. We had an absolutely marvelous time. The girls loved it. I loved the ease of having a cabin with beds, a bear box, a working light, and no food clean-up. It was quite fantastic. Aaand it is something we will not be repeating for quite some time!! So, yeah, there’s some guilt, but there is also gratitude for the fact that we could do it at all. 20161022_072900.jpg20161022_171652.jpg

So, what is this blog all about this week? I dunno. A sort of confessional. And I feel the need to admit that I am really feeling quite embarrassed about all of this. I set out to do this “no needless spending” thing with a lot of enthusiasm and optimism. As it turns out, I feel like I have been failing at it quite miserably. I am embarrassed that more often than not this has been a list of my failures. Why does it matter? It just does. I know that this blog is mostly just talking into the wind, but for the few of you who are reading (for which I am grateful) I want to be able to say that I am making progress, that something is shifting within me. I want answers to my query: why do I want to spend? I will have to just end with no answers, as yet, reached.

love and gratitude.

S

 

 

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

I’ma gonna go ahead and hijack my own blog for a moment and use it for a topic totally unrelated to my shopping detox challenge:

It seems there is a heck of a lot of anxiety these days (I know it’s not just me). Things are just not going well. It feels like there is stuff in the air, people have a general sense of unease and even panic, for some, depression. The list is endless if you really start to look at it, local tragedies, natural disasters, unnecessary violence here and abroad. Optimism seems at an all time low. I would have to say that the political landscape right now is a leading contributor. What is going on in US politics is particularly disturbing.

My concern  mostly in all of this is that no one seems to be hearing anyone else. This is not new, but it seems to be heightened right now. Is there no civil discourse any more? Yes, there are great articles, balanced or otherwise, that explain each and every angle. All, seem logical and convincing.(This is not unlike the vaccine debate, where the more I looked into each side, the more I couldn’t decide because all sides had valid, convincing points. And those who bullied with their comments pro or against did nothing to help me with my decision, just added to the anxiety) That is what debate is, to convince each other of our view. But, when all of it devolves into name calling and bullying, it’s no longer a debate but a school yard gang-up. I am disturbed by the comments sections on most threads where people are yelling profanities through their keyboards at each other. Since when did you ever manage to convince someone to see your side by first prefacing it with “you’re an ass faced idiot?” and that is a somewhat comedic example, but there is SO much more vile and frightening name-calling out there. Don’t we know that the louder we yell, the less anyone is likely to listen? Perhaps it is because we live in an age where we have anonymity through the internet that we think we can devolve into rude, aggressive assholes? ( See, look, now I’m name-calling!)

And granted, not many of us have learned to listen well. I think that listening, true, active listening, is something that needs to be taught and practiced. Most of the time we are simply waiting for the other person to stop talking so we can put in our two cents; not listening  as we prepare our comeback. I know, I know, this might not be true for you. I have met quite a few good listeners (but they are not the majority – all mamas with kids are, of course exempted, for obvious reasons!). Those people stand out to me because it comes as almost a shock, to realize that they’ve heard what I’ve said and remember, even consider my view point.

I understand, this election cycle has raised everyone’s passions regarding their beliefs and ideals, I get it. I get quite worked up myself. BUT, I am willing to listen.

I’ve been reading a lot and listening a lot. I can understand why Hillary is vilified. I’ve read the naysayer articles, the ones about her corruption, I hope they are not true. There are also intriguing articles about how honest she is (how can she be both? Who is telling the truth?) I also know that she has done more than I will ever do for this country starting way back in the day up until the current moment. She was a revolutionary force in the 60’s and 70’s ( don’t let her clean cut granny look fool you!) When we judge some of her actions, that yes might not be to our liking, we also need to ask, given the pressures and the unknowns (to us since we are not privy to our country’s intel) at play, could I really do better? Would I even know what the frack to do? The answer is no. So, consider that when condemning her – how would you do better? Could you? Do you really know all that was at play or are you basing it on some opinion piece you read? Did you fact check? She is one of the most qualified presidential candidates and yet she has had to endure criticisms as base and sexist as the tone of her voice and her appearance. Unlike other candidates she has to walk a fine line between assertive and meek so as not to be a “bitch” or too “weak”. Poise. And a uniquely female requirement….yes, I will pull the female card, because it’s true. We are, unfortunately, not yet as a society free of gender bias.

Third parties. Also an option or a dire mistake. I’ve heard both. I’ve heard heated arguments for both. All seem convincing. I am more confused than ever. I have always believed that as a true democracy we should vote for the person we want, that my vote wasn’t “thrown away” if I didn’t “vote strategically”. Perhaps I have been a babe in the woods. Or, perhaps, if I and millions of others stick to that belief, actual change could happen. And if, despite that, the system is rigged…well…we have big problems. Or simply a mathematical reality due to our two party system, in which case, if we don’t agree with it, we need to ask for change, but voting third party won’t do a damn thing at the moment. Would a protest vote do anything good? Who is listening? We also need to assess, are the other options truly fit for office? I heard Gary Johnson didn’t know what Aleppo was (or was that spun and taken out of context?)?!? ( So many sides to hear, so much research to do and so little time!)

I am even curious to hear someone’s reasoning for supporting Trump. I really, really want to know. I am willing to listen (Try this: watch the presidential debate where he lurks in the background and flip your mind to being empathetic to him, in that scenario, he is the bullied maverick, pacing as he tries to figure out how to overcome the evil Hillary..it is an interesting exercise ). I am pretty sure, though, that you would be unable to convince me that Trump is anything but bad for us all, not because I am close minded, but because he has literally shown us time and time again that he is unfit for the leader of a country based on his numerous heinous past and current actions (I’m not attaching links because all you have to do is google “Trump”…and honestly, I don’t know where to start). The fact that his rallies insight violence and acts of hate is an instant deal breaker for me; it points at something deeply troubling on so many levels. And I keep thinking that anyone with even a microscopic iota of an intelligence should be able to see that. The fact that they don’t is not because they don’t have an intelligence, it’s because they are voting with emotion not logic . They are focusing on certain aspects of what they like about him to the exclusion of all else- he can do no wrong.( Here is a handy dandy link referring to the Dunning-Kruger effect that argues that intelligence deficit might be at play, though you didn’t hear it from me.)

Which lead to a recent epiphany on my part. I was pondering why it is that Trump has risen so high as to be running for office? I wondered why those who have been and will be walked all over by him, are the ones convinced that he is going to “save the country” (even though it doesn’t need “saving” per se, perhaps a remodel) and work on their behalf. Well, for one, we hear what we want to hear. And if we haven’t been accustomed to opening our minds to other possibilities, we tend to stay in that rut. Some of those ruts are so deep that we only see the sides and can’t see out of it, or the fact that we are in it. I am sure I have ruts.

But the epiphany was this: Those that believe Trump is going to “Save America” are no more deluded than I am when I, a fully intelligent being, believe that I will never grow old.

“What?” you say. Yes. It’s true. I have a REALLY hard time believing that I will grow old. The evidence is all around me: every year I have a birthday, I get older ( I have a few white hairs), the people around me are visibly aging,  I know that people die, but a part of me still believes that it won’t apply to me.This is a hold over from childhood, when the world was new and peachy and everything was as it should be and I had no cares or worries. My family was invincible. I know this to be absolutely, not true, and yet, most days, I believe that I will not age and die, because that is what gets me through each day. It is a creation of my mind, not based on any facts and purely just a personal, emotion based belief. Because I want it to be true.

So, if I can be that delusional (though not susceptible to the Dunning effect, since I am at least aware of this flaw), it isn’t a stretch that others can be the same way regarding other, to me, outlandish beliefs. To stand back and point my finger and say “THOSE people are idiots” is to ignore the fact that I too am selectively illogical. Knowing that, I can’t feel quite as outraged by their stance. It helps me feel a bit more empathy, and that, my friends, is what we are all in need of. We don’t have to agree, we just have to listen. And perhaps, if we can be grown up enough to listen and empathize, perhaps that will one day be reciprocated. After all, it would appear that, en mass, we tend to learn from each other how to operate. Let’s not learn from the Trumps of the world to run our mouths without thought and bully those who don’t see our way. Let’s instead open our ears, consider other possibilities and set an example for what civilized discourse can look like. And maybe, just maybe we can convince another to see our way…or maybe not…and that’s okay too.

And another thing ( Ha! You thought I was finished!). Could we all just step back, take a breath and recognize one thing? Yes, there are many not so good things going on in this country: there’s violence and poverty, there’s the rich getting richer, there’s a deeply flawed health care system…but, for the majority of us, do we not have a roof over our heads? Jobs or the possibility of jobs? Working libraries and schools, fire stations, emergency services, police protection ( I know, don’t say it, there are definite flaws there), grocery stores with (mostly) affordable food? We are free of war, with no threats of bombs falling on our heads. I was reading a story to my girl called “the Water Princess” about a girl in Africa whose sole job along with every woman and child in the village is to get up early, walk all day to (hopefully) get water, muddy and questionably safe, carrying it in bowls on their heads, to finally go home and boil the water before they drink it and cook with it. They do the same every day, with no time to go to school. I was almost in tears reading it. I don’t know what it’s like to not have water when I am thirsty. I have never experienced such a tenuous existence. Let us not forget that we live with such luxuries as water, and food, beds and a roof over us. There are safety nets in place to support us if we fail. So many are not so lucky. Looking at us, those in other countries, in third world conditions must feel as though we are insane, oblivious to what true struggle and need are.We are entitled to our opinion, but we are also entitled. So while we run our mouths off over our opinions about presidential candidates, let’s remember that we are operating from a pretty privileged position, take a deep breath, calm the hate, let more love in and let’s all try to be civil. After all, we are “fighting” for our “civil”ization, in which we all hope to have our needs met: food, shelter, safety and to be treated with respect ( Do you hear that Donald? R E S P E C T). To receive respect you also have to give it.

 

Week 27: Mulch Ado About Nothing

FeaturedWeek 27: Mulch Ado About Nothing

This has been a spending week. I will just come right out and say it. There were things that needed buying and I decided to not footsie around with it. It’s a fine balance between finding deals and just getting the shopping over with. One requires a lot of time and searching, the other requires being willing to throw down the money at one location and be done. The latter is what I did. My hubs needed new shoes, I needed work-out leggings and my kiddo needed new “fancy” shoes as her most favorite mary-janes are now a tight squeeze.

Since my hubs hates shopping, and when he does get a chance, usually backs out of it because he can’t be bothered, I decided to hit the shoe racks at our local Ross. I found 3 shoes that he potentially might wear and bought them all. It felt weird to do so, but the plan was to have him try them and then return the others. I know, it’s an extra step for me while hauling two kids, but believe me, this was the simpler option. And miraculously there was one pair in the three that he liked and which was on clearance price for $12; so we did good on that front ( And I’ve already been back to return the others so we got the cash back in hand). I picked up fancy shoes for both my kids as we are going to be doing a photo shoot for our yearly Christmas card (I do the photoshoot). Sparkly shoes were in order. It did feel a little frivolous, but when it comes to the girls and especially my oldest who is particularly fond of the glitter these days, I know that they will be well used beyond this photo op.

I had also ordered rain boots online for my oldest along with a few more items in the same order off of Amazon. It feels like I went on a massive spending spree, but I do believe that all items are of value to us: two thermoses for holding warm foods (now that it’s cold, it will be nice to have warm foods for our picnics!), rain boots, a double set of windshield breaking devices (I won’t go into too much detail…but after two local families experienced tragedies in which their children were trapped in submerged vehicles, this item is a necessity for me), and absorbent training undies for my eldest.  I think we will be using all of these items!  Oh yes, and four Peppa Pig books are on order from our local book store as potty training incentives.

I also had an influx of clothing into my wardrobe courtesy of my very generous sister-in-law. I did not spend a cent. If you can believe it, after all that mulling over puffy jackets a few weeks back, she gave me her Patagonia puffy jacket! I will cherish it for a long time. Thanks Rebekah.

And last but not least, the hubs threw down a couple hundred on mulch. It’s been a long time coming. We live in Nor Cal after all. It’s about time we did away with our lawn, which, truth be told is barely a lawn and more of a weed garden. So we laid down cardboard to suppress the weeds and put down a thick layer of mulch. It felt good to get that taken care of. I’m so impressed with my man and how he just gets things done. The girls had a grand ol’ time tumbling about in the mulch as we worked.

And that is all I am going to report for now. It’s been a spendy week but all for a purpose, so I think I can live with that.

Oh! And I consigned my stuff this week and made just over $200! Not bad! Feeling pretty good about that.

Cheers.

Week 26: Consigning

FeaturedWeek 26: Consigning

I don’t know if it’s worth it. Getting stuff ready to consign is labor intensive. There’s the selecting of clothes: is it in good condition? Are there stains? There’s the prepping of clothes: washing, ironing. There’s the hanging of the clothes and tagging. Then there will be the drop off. All told, I don’t know how many hours will have gone into it. And then, will they sell? Did I price it well enough? Are the items desirable enough?

But, I must say that it feels good. In a way it is a great way to move stuff along but at a pace where you get to say your goodbyes and prepare for separation. There are a lot of memories attached to some items of clothing. And truth be told, I can’t bear to part with some of it. For the most part, though, I am letting things go. Having kids necessitates that. I am always letting go. I have to let go of trying to hold onto the baby version of my toddler…and now my quickly growing baby too. I have to let go of wanting to feel needed when my big girl walks away without looking back. Clothes, to be honest, are the least of my worries!

And what helps fuel the letting go is the need to make room for the next influx. Change happens so quickly around here. It’s exciting, it’s stressful, it keeps me on my toes.

I am also preparing to make some purchases for my girl. She is hovering on the brink of growing out of all of her shoes. This means I need to assess what is necessary for her in terms of footwear. I think running shoes are the bees knees. My kid thinks patent Mary Janes are the bomb. I think rain boots would be appropriate considering the rainy season is approaching. My kid thinks “what’s ‘appropriate’ got to do with anything?” So, not only do I need to assess whether something is necessary, I have to very much take into account whether or not it will be worn. Pretty much anything not pink or purple is suspect in my kiddos eyes right now. It makes me want to weep.

So, after having reported last week that I was not talking about shopping much, I found myself doing exactly that ( what I like to call “shop talk”). I’ve been eyeing other kids’ shoes and asking their mom’s about them. All for a purpose, of course, but I am afraid I will fuel my shopping monster. I hover on the brink.

I can hold out a little longer. The need is immanent but not immediate. For the moment, I will focus on the letting go. Wish me good consigning mojo!

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Week 25: In Which a Mess Gets Messier before the Clean gets…Clean(i)er.

Week 25: In Which a Mess Gets Messier before the Clean gets…Clean(i)er.

Let’s start with the highs, shall we?

I realize that my language around shopping has decreased significantly. I do allow myself to talk with others about retail related things, but it definitely doesn’t dominate. I don’t go out of my way, anymore, to ask where someone got something or comment on how cute an outfit is. It’s not that I don’t think it, but I choose not to make that a feature. I realize that my kid is listening, ALL THE TIME. I don’t want her to fall into that trap. Right now she is having so much fun experimenting with her own style, layering in whatever which way takes her fancy. It’s more about the independence of choice and the ability to dress herself that is the draw ( not how “cute” she looks) and I want to keep it that way for as long as possible. So, that is an added motivation, besides trying to un brainwash my spendy self, to not talk about buying things or focus on material things.

Okay, another high is that I felt no urges to shop this week. I got only the basics. Even went into the lions den, Costco, with a friend, and though we admitted that it was a house of temptation, neither of us left with anything frivolous. ( Side note, if you are a Costco fan please check out my Aunts blog: My Costco Odyssey. She has just set out on an adventure to visit at least one Costco per State, documenting their individual peculiarities and qualities.)

Heck, even had a date night with the hubs and we both agreed that while our previous date night had been a hoot, we couldn’t go around throwing down a hundred per date night…so we went super cheapo, brought a thermos of hot water with us, biked to the local Safeway for some cup ramiens and Ghirardelli chocolates and then spent hours biking around our neighborhood and surrounding area. We ended up at our local State Park where there was a nice picnic table repleat with view of trees and setting sun, where we chatted and noshed on spicey ramien. Then, we went to our local Tap Room to use a generous gift certificate my hubs got a while back from his sister and bro-in-law, and had a nice saunter home,  in the dark, eating Takis and cheesy Ruffles chips from bags tucked in our pockets while we pushed our bikes homeward (no biking tipsy in the dark!).

There actually isn’t truly a low to report, just that in my continuing effort to purge and sort (a looooong, drawn out process) I finally launched into Mission : Sort the Kids’ Clothes. Now, it’s all fine and dandy that I Kon Mari-ed my own wardrobe many months back and have all the clothes I possess visible to me in my closet. But, the kids clothes are a whole different story. It’s messy. When my oldest grows too big for her clothes, I put it away in storage until they fit my little one. Now, the sheer quantity of clothing my first born received from ages 0-24 months is staggering, though not at all news to any mom I’ve met…and I totally get it…dressing a baby is so FUN ( and I am truly grateful to family for providing so much for us). But there is definitely an element of stress in there for me, trying to keep all of those items in rotation, making sure they are all used and enjoyed. Do you KNOW how many items of baby clothes are in one full load of wash? A LOT. On a good day I don’t enjoy folding or putting away my own clothes; now take that amount and quadruple it at least…now add a rambunctious toddler and a baby alternately clinging and crying while holding my leg and/or unfolding what I’ve just folded and sorted and you can start to see what I’m dealing with. I have been known to leave a load of laundry, washed and dried in the dryer for upwards of five days…because I have no baskets…because they are full of another load of dirty clothes and/or I have folded and sorted clothes waiting to be put into their correct drawers. God help me.

Soooo. I really wanted to finally go through all the clothes my girls possess, assess and de-stress (TM) (just kidding) by eliminating. Okay…so turns out I am not as good at eliminating items when it comes to my kids clothes. For one, they are cute. For another, they contain memories. And for another, I know where each and every one came from…mostly loving aunts and grandmas.  AAAANNND, let’s not forget that these girls require multiple changes a day. So…all this ads up to me not being able to get rid of anything that currently fits either of them. Even the stained stuff….because they are just going to keep dirtying it.

What I could do was remove the items they no longer fit. This actually required a huge switcheroo. The giant dresser that my eldest used to house the massive amounts of clothes up to size 24 months now  started to feel empty as she handed down her clothes to my little one…and vice versa, my little one now has too much clothes to fit in her small dresser. A switch was needed. That’s what I did. I spent a good chunk of Saturday making the switch. Not a small feat.

I’ve been wanting to set up my girls room for a while in a way that makes it her space and feels special. I abandoned the make-over aspect of it because of budget, so that will have to come later, but I did get my hubby to help think up a way to make it so that she can access her own clothes. He had seen this nifty life hack somewhere on Reddit or something, making our unused crib (both kids never slept in it) something of value, finally (and FYI, for all your worriers out there, it is screwed to the wall. I’m married to a cabinet maker, after all!). All you moms out there know what this means of course, that I will forever be picking up clothes as she moves from outfit to outfit throughout the day…but it’s a small price to pay.20161002_090156.jpg

Now, as to the clothes that I could move on out ( I possess a small collection of baby clothes and favored items that I am keeping for posterity) I am planning to consign them…or at least, the ones that are not destroyed by food stains and over use. This is my one way of hopefully recouping some additional value from all of this, an attempt at least, before it all makes its way to the goodwill. And it does feel good to have some cash in hand. I also have quite a few girl friends who are expecting, so, if they let me, I will hand over some of my most favorite items to them…but most likely they will already be drowning in their own avalanche of clothes…so not sure if my gift would be more of a stress than anything. Hard to say. We certainly do live in a world of excess when it comes to clothing, and the baby industry is a huge culprit. We might be able to resist buying clothes for ourselves, but when it comes to those gosh darn adorable baby/toddler outfits, it’s neigh on impossible to resist.

…though I must say it was not hard to resist today when I walked into JC Penny’s to see if they had ballet slippers ( my aunt wants to give a pair to my eldest who loves tutus and dancing) and possibly rain boots. I took a look at those price tags and almost had a heart attack. Forty five dollar tops and dresses! Even the sale stuff was still way too much. And at those prices, I’d rather be buying from someone local rather than from a big corporation making their stuff overseas. It was not hard to walk out of there at all! Okay, it was a little hard because my littles were enticed by all the colors and sights, so I had to lure them with the joy of taking the escalator…which was, it turns out, very exciting.

That’s all for now. Goodnight.