Pocketfuls of Sunshine

Archive for August 2008

Thanks to my cousin, (you know who you are!), I recently attended my first mom to mom resale extravaganza. I call it an extravaganza because, really, there are tables, coat racks and booths everywhere. Each one is filled with teeny, tiny clothing in shades of pink, blue, green, and yellow. And then there’s actually a whole gymnasium filled with “big ticket” items, everything from strollers to swing sets. People roam in any direction they please, and they scoot in to take a closer look at items that are right before your eyes. It’s a mom’s free-for-all.

Now, two years ago, when I was expecting the Bean, I never would have thought to attend one of these gatherings. They can be found every weekend in local schools and churches, but why would I attend a resale? I wanted new pink pajamas and ruffly dresses! I didn’t need used baby clothes! She had plenty in all sizes. Her closet was full!

Then. a year and a half later, I smartened up.

The Bean was growing and, although she is a petite little thing, she would need bigger clothes for yet another summer season. The tiny onesies and sleepers simply wouldn’t work. Bubby had come along, too. And no matter how much you adore the second child, they simply don’t end up with as many clothes as the first. It doesn’t help that he is well on his way to becoming a full-grown man. The boy can eat and it shows.

So I decided to check out a resale. The listing on the Internet said “No strollers allowed.” What was that all about? Wasn’t this a mom friendly event? Begrudgingly, I complied and left with kids with the Husband while my mother and I set out for what I was certain would be a waste of time. We didn’t even think to check our wallets to check our cash supply.

The sale began at 9:00 a.m. We arrived about twenty minutes later, and it had just started to rain. Cars were streaming into the lot and we quickly navigated our way through the puddles to get to the front door. One dollar per person later, we were inside.

“BIG TICKET ITEMS This Way!” It was the first sign we saw. So we headed down the tiny halls of a Lutheran school and were amazed to see a gymnasium full of baby necessities. Swings, strollers, bouncers, exersaucers, car seats, infant carriers, sand boxes, swing sets, vanities, and little couches peppered the floor space. We browsed a bit before realizing that there was a gigantic line forming in staggered fashion around the items. I had to know.

“Excuse me, what are you standing in line for?”

“To buy something. If you want to buy an item, you take the tag off it and stand in line.”

There must have been forty people in that line, each with their little tag in hand inching ever closer to the person ahead. That’s when we realized that everything we had been browsing was already in the process of being purchased. These people had laid claim to their buyings and were well on their way to completing the transaction, which undoubtedly meant that they were seasoned resalers and had been here very early.

We headed out to the main halls, only to be cut off by a man carrying a gigantic, primary colored swingset in pieces out the door. It must have been the find of the day. And he was the token man helping to carry out the heavy items. I don’t remember seeing a single other male in the whole place.

Each table in the hall was packed tightly together, full of clothes, toys, and books. Some were neatly displayed by gender and size. Others were packed together by outfit in large Ziplock bags. And still others were organized by name brand. Gymboree, BabyGap, Janie and Jack. Piles upon piles of clothes awaited.

I paused. How would we go through it all? Where do we start?

By process of elimination. I quickly passed over booths that were poorly organized or disheveled, and I headed to ones with both girl and boy clothing since I was indeed shopping for both kids. My mother and I split up and perused side-by-side booths, scurrying to find anything that still had tags on it. We were surprisingly successful.

It dawned on me, then, that I had no idea how much money was in my wallet. I counted. Thirty bucks. That was more than I typically had in cash. Mom had another twenty or so. We pooled our resources and, two hours later, walked out with bags and bags of clothes. Many were practically new, and a few actually were. The kids were those outfits frequently, and they get many compliments. I have to remember where I got them, and I think, “Ah, the resale!”

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I wished we had more cash on us that day. I could have gone through more booths, but we were ill-prepared and delightfully surprised to find so many great clothes. Once I started rifling through the endless piles, I was also happy that no strollers were allowed. Kids and strollers took up too much room, and this was serious business!

After attending this resale, I am a mom-reformed. I cannot wait until the fall sales begin after Labor Day, and I’ve already added several to the calendar. I plan to hit the ones with the “no stroller” rule since it gives me an hour’s respite from the daily grind and I can do some serious “shopping”. I enjoy the challenge of finding great outfits in new condition for a dollar or two. Speaking of dollars, I also will be heading to the bank to ensure I have enough cash, in singles and fives. And you can bet, my kids will be two of the best-dressed cuties you’ll see this fall!

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Everyone has a nickname, right? And I don’t mean shortening your first name from, let’s say, Benjamin to Ben. I mean those nicknames that somehow came to you as a little kid, toddling around, or even earlier as an infant. You know, the ones that you dare not mention to friends because they defy explanation.

When we found out we were expecting our daughter, she became The Bean. After she was born, it evolved into a variety of nicknames…Beanhead, Beanface, Beans, and of course, Beanie. She actually answers to Beanie. And I should not have been surprised when we were in the grocery store and I was verbally going through my shopping list in my head. “Corn, potatoes, beans….” Then a sudden squeal! It took me a minute to realize that my little Beanhead was pointing to herself. Poor thing thinks she is a can of beans!

Then our little guy came along. He needed a nickname. For awhile, it was Buddy. Then somehow that was changed to Bubba. And then, just as quickly, it morphed into Bubby. And that one has stuck.

Someday, I will have to explain to them how those nicknames came to fruition.

In doing so, I may tell them about my own childhood nicknames. There’s the one that I remember most and that is almost acceptable to share with friends. Since I’m feeling generous, I’ll share it here. UB. Yep, UB. I’m not really sure how it evolved, and I believe I did ask my parents before. I don’t think there was any miraculous story behind it. It just was.

Then there’s the other, less-shall we say-flattering nickname.

Ready for it?

Poopie. Or, more specifically, poophead. Now, although I would like to believe there was some great story behind this poignant nickname, I believe it speaks for itself.

And now I have shared it with you. So, it’s your turn. What was your childhood nickname? Spill it!

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So I’m joining the masses and have begun writing a blog. There’ll be countless topics, some of which will undoubtedly be about family and friends. And then there will be posts about nothing. One thing is certain, however. There will be cake!

When Costco opened near my house, I was geeked. I loved Costco. It had everything you could want, in massive quantities and at minimal prices. They even had non-fat frozen yogurt, chicken bakes, and the best darn cake money can buy for 16 bucks. Costco was my favorite store. Until, that is, it became everyone else’s favorite store too.

In the past year, it has become ridiculously busy. Now, I’m never one to shy away from busy stores and traffic jams (after all I am a “city” girl), but this is over the top. With two small kids in tow, I am used to parking far from other vehicles. You would think I would want to park close, but after seeing an old guy hit the gas instead of the brakes and hit five of the six cars in the lane at Meijer (mine was the sixth that somehow miraculously didn’t get hit), I don’t ever want to take the chance that someone will plow into me or the kids. After all, it takes me several minutes to load both children and the bag of diapers, bottles, bibs, and wipes into the car. Not to mention that I have to find a spot for all the purchases amidst the double stroller, shopping cart cover, and extra clothes that are stashed in the back of the SUV. I seriously need a minivan (but we’ll save that for another post.)

Anyway, as I am heading down a lane (away from the store to get further away), a car backs up fast. I have no choice but to slam on the brakes and hit the horn. She stopped. I still don’t know how she didn’t hit me. It must have been a mere inch or two between our two cars. Strike one. Costco parking lots are dangerous.

I get the kids inside and we do our shopping. I know what I need: diapers (2 boxes please!), formula, toilet paper, water, and pop. I head to the back of the store, but I can’t get anywhere. There are people everywhere. Stopped in the middle of the aisles, staring at signs, tasting food from the old woman who always yells out in her accent, “NO MSG!” I swear it’s the only thing she can say in English. But, I digress. But seriously, there are so many people here that I wonder how anyone can say the economy is struggling. People are spending fools! Strike two. Too many people standing still and in the way. And, for the record, my infant son Bubby (no, that’s not his name and yes, I feel compelled to say that given the wide selection of baby names I have seen lately) starts fussing right at this point, his cries no doubt the result of a gas bubble.

We finally get our items in the basket (a miracle in and of itself as Bubby’s carseat takes up the majority of the basket and Beanie, my barely-a-toddler daughter, sits up front). This is when I realize that I left the 40 lb monster stroller in the trunk and start thinking about where I’m going to put these huge purchases.

We check out and head to the concession area since I promised Beanie I would get some frozen yogurt and share it with her (a treat since she is teething something fierce). There’s a line, of course. Then I look at the nearby tables set up for people to eat. They are all taken. Seriously, the Costco concession stand is the new McDonald’s. Some of the patrons don’t even have purchases with them. I think they come just for the hot dogs and pizza. And free refills on pop.

I get the yogurt but by now Bubby is absolutely done with Costco, and so am I. We head to the door as Beanie is leaning forward trying to lick the yogurt and I’m trying to juggle that, the 80 lb cart I now have, and my stupid receipt so some sap at the door can check to make sure I didn’t steal that massive box of size 4 diapers.

We come to a halt as I see a huge line of people, waiting to have their receipts checked. We already paid, and normally this doesn’t bother me, but as I said Costco already had two strikes and this was about to end the inning for me. I wait and wait, and finally some teenage kid working the door takes my receipt and says, “How’s it going?” How’s it going? You tell me. My baby is screaming, my ice cream is melting, and I can barely push the cart full of items you are checking that I didn’t steal. But I didn’t say that.

“Fine,” I say. Why do people say fine when they don’t mean it? Anyway, I told him fine and waited for him to look over the items, draw a line through the receipt, and then, he turns it over and draws a smiley face. Is that really necessary? Why not draw a unicorn? A sandy beach? Why draw anything? There is a huge line of people waiting, all of whom are probably annoyed that my baby is screaming to get the heck out of there. Strike three. I’m out.

I’m sure I’ll go back. It’s like cars and gas. You need both and hate what they cost you.