Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Deals and Steals

(Warning: this post will probably only excite people who enjoy reading stories about good deals on purchases! And it only comes with one photo of my daughter. Who put me in charge of writing this blog, anyway?)

In an effort to be a more conscious and careful consumer lately, I (Amber) have been resisting the urge to buy something the moment I decide that I need it. This prevents me from making stupid purchasing decisions by giving me plenty of time to compare products, read reviews, and shop around for the best prices. Last week both our coffee grinder and my hair dryer broke and it would be fairly easy to run to target and pick up a new one of each of these for under $20. But I'd rather shop around and get something of quality that will last, so that I don't find myself back in this same situation in 6 months. 
We've been meaning to upgrade to a really nice coffee grinder anyway, so this gives us an excuse! Instead of immediately buying these things, I've added them to an ongoing list I have. That way, if I'm out and about and come across a good deal, I know exactly what I'm looking for and can accept or reject the deal accordingly. 

I read somewhere once that the happy adrenaline rush most people get after shopping causes a natural "high." But these good feelings tend to wear off quickly, causing people to buy new things in order to feel good again. However, the longer someone waits and saves and plans to purchase something before they buy it, the more satisfaction and longer-lasting happy feelings they receive from it.

It can be pretty difficult to wait when it comes to baby stuff, sometimes. It's just all soooooo cuuuuuuute! Yet I've forced myself to make lists for Eisley too. Because the one time I made an impulse purchase (a baby Einstein sound-making aquarium sleep-aid thing I bought at target on a whim when Eisley was having a difficult period falling asleep) I majorly regretted it. The thing ate batteries, stopped working properly within a month, and Eisley somehow managed to detach it from her crib. I got online and read reviews AFTER the fact and sure enough, everyone else was having similar problems. Not to mention, Eisley got over her sleep issues on her own without the help of that toy. I could have saved myself a lot of money and time by just walking away from the store, considering the purchase for a few days, reading reviews, and THEN deciding whether or not to purchase it.

For the most part, waiting has majorly paid off. For instance, I've known for awhile that I wanted to eventually get Eisley a little wooden play kitchen. I read lots of reviews and found the perfect one. It had the right features, came with play food, was the perfect size for a toddler and for our apartment, and I was tempted to buy it immediately. But it was $120. So I decided to wait. 

Two months later it went on sale. $50 off! Since it had been two months and the reviews were still good and I still wanted to get it for Eisley, I bought it! For $50 less than I would have paid initially. It's supposed to arrive at our front door today :-) I definitely feel satisfied for having waited to purchase.


Isn't it cuuuuuuuuuute? 

What's trickier than waiting to buy something I really want is practicing restraint when it comes to stuff that I really don't need that is MAJORLY on sale. 

In Milwaukee there is a bi-annual consignment sale that allows people to buy and sell their baby, kids, and maternity clothes, toys, and equipment. The stuff that is sold fills an entire warehouse at the State Fair grounds and everything is 10-95% off retail value! Last year when I went, I was pregnant and could not resist all the cheap baby clothes and shoes! Good deals were everywhere! I ended up buying more than I really needed because I went without a plan in mind.

This year, I went armed with my lists. On Eisley's immediate list was a winter snow suit, which I had considered buying a month ago, but decided to wait to see if I found any used ones in nice condition. So when I got to the consignment sale, I made a bee-line for the winter coat racks. I sifted through the coats in her size until I found a deal I couldn't pass up:

It wasn't just a winter coat. It was a water-proof ski jacket with a hood and an insulated interior layer that could be zipped out of the coat and worn as another coat. It came with snow pants with a similar warm and fuzzy layer inside. It came with mittens. And they didn't have thumbs, which is a genius move in my opinion because I cannot imagine wrestling my daughter's hands into something with thumbs. The mittens were long. They went all the way up to the elbow so that they're unlikely to fall off. They were also waterproof with a warm fuzzy interior layer. Finally, the coat ALSO came with a scarf and a hat. The entire ensemble was from Children's Place. The only thing that showed even slight wear or tear was the reflective strip across the front of the coat. The hat, gloves, and scarf were brand new: they still had their tags. 

The entire ensemble was $15. Seeing as a coat from children's place ALONE typically costs $30-$50, this was a GREAT deal. I added a pair of (also children's place) boots for $4 and Eisley is set for the winter for only $19. 

I'm so glad I waited on that coat-purchasing decision!

I then went around the sale to see if I could find anything else on my lists. Oooooh, there was a radio flyer wagon! I had one on my tentative list-for-the-future and thought if the price was right...

But it wasn't. The wagon was in like-new condition and the seller priced it accordingly. It wasn't much cheaper than a new one. So I walked on.

Then I came across the bike aisle. I knew I wanted to get Eisley a little toddler bike for next summer. It was on my list. Something simple, without pedals, that she could sit on and self-propel forward. 

And there in front of me was exactly what I was looking for! A little Radio Flyer scoot-bike. For just a few dollars! When it would normally cost around $30-$40!

Needless to say, I bought it. 

I then by-passed all the clothes, toys, and activity centers and hi-tailed it out of there before the low prices lured me into making any rash impulse purchases. 

Since Eisley's clearly a little small for the scooter-bike yet (right after I took this picture she started crying because she couldn't figure out how to get down from it), we're going to wrap it up and give it to her for Christmas or her birthday. I doubt she'll remember she's seen it already. In fact, she'll likely be more interested in playing with the wrapping paper ;-) 

Baby in headlights

I went through a lot of my childhood toys recently, and before I got rid of some of them, I tested Eisley's reaction to them. She didn't seem particularly impressed by this doll. She just looked at me like "why the heck is SHE in my high chair?

My almost-toddler

Eisley may not be walking yet, but she's definitely on her feet a lot. Recently she's taken to trying to climb anything and everything. Last week I was going through a bunch of board games deciding what to consign and Eisley found the pile irresistible. As I watched her attempt to scale the pile, I couldn't help but think how toddler-like she's already becoming. 

Stepping up on the games like it's no big deal

Nonchalantly reaching down for a dropped toy.

Bridging the gap. Even Indie questions the outcome of her limited abilities at this point.

Bringing up a knee in an attempt to climb.

Multi-tasking with a toy and a found object while balancing on her toes.

It was at this point that I decided the pile lacked stability and she was about to trip over that plastic thing she'd just dropped and clonk sideways onto her head. So mission "scale the mountain of board games" was aborted. I have no doubts that without my intervention she would have pressed on fearlessly, until the inevitable point at which she would have either found herself stuck on top of that pile of board games with no way down or else sprawled out on the floor, having fallen and landed directly on her head. Sometimes moms just sense these things.

Point of Reference: 8 months

3 Weeks

3 Months

4 Months

5 months

6 months

7 months!

8 months!

Eisley is 8 months old today!

Snapping a photo of her in the corner of her crib is becoming increasingly difficult. Because the front of the crib gets in the way, it's hard to both fit all of her and the bears in the frame AND get her to look at the camera. What was an easy setup for her as a tiny baby is now awkward due to her height, the lowered mattress, and her squirminess level. We might have to find a new location to shoot with the bears soon!

Monday, September 27, 2010


Eisley's top teeth have finally grown in to the point where we catch glimpses of them sometimes even when she isn't smiling all big like in the photo above. We're wondering if the gap will stick around or disappear once other teeth come in and push those top two closer together. Either way, for now it's cute.

Her top teeth have given her the ability to make new sounds, and every once in awhile, usually first thing in the morning, she will just sit there and go: "Ssssssssssss, vvvvvvvvvv, ttttttttttttt, ffffffffffffffff" and will often imitate these sounds if we make them first. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baby's a growin'

Even though it's supposed to happen, it never fails to surprise and amuse me when I discover my daughter has once again GROWN. 

I swear that girl GROWS in her sleep. 
She wakes up from naps just looking and feeling BIGGER somehow. 

When babies are this little, one season can make a HUGE difference.

We moved into our current apartment at the beginning of May, just as days were growing warmer. 
We snapped a photo of Eisley the first day it was warm enough to dress her in a summery romper. It was our way of marking the beginning of a season. 

She wasn't crawling then, or climbing stairs, or standing up. In fact, she wasn't even sitting upright on her own. The most she could do was roll over. One way. From front to back. Look at those spindly little legs! They hardly have any CHUNK on them! A day or so after this photo was taken, she spontaneously rolled from back to front in her crib, and she hasn't quit moving since.

And then there's this photo, posted here just a few days ago as a farewell to rompers. A season and then some has passed between these photos. A span of almost 4 months. And already she has long outgrown that first romper. She's crawling all over the place now, climbing stairs, and pulling herself to standing on just about everything (whether it's sturdy or not). She even lets go sometimes, and stands in one spot without holding onto anything. And look at how much chunkier those thighs are!

My little baby is growing up much too quickly. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Puttin' her to work.

Eisley helped her mama fold the laundry today.

And by "fold the laundry" I mean she sat in the middle of it and looked very cute. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fifteen Minutes in the Life of Eisley


The other day, Eisley and her mom built a fort.

Eisley played inside her fort...

outside her fort...

and everywhere in between. 

Indie wanted to come inside.

But Eisley said, "no dogs allowed!"

She made sure Indie knew whose fort it was.

But as soon as Eisley left

Indie checked it out anyway.

Eisley realized her sign was ineffective at keeping the dog away.

So she got to work.

She was pleased with the improvements she had made. 

Much better. ;-)


As the weather grows colder, our summer days filled with cute baby rompers are coming to a close. One warm day last week, Eisley wore this cute blue giraffe romper, maybe for the last time. 


Mike was extremely excited about another Goodwill find last weekend:

A little packers' dress!

Last Sunday, the Packers' played their first game of the season. Which naturally meant Mike brought Eisley down dressed like this. And demanded that Amber take pictures of the two of them matching. He was also very proud of himself for thinking to pair the outfit with the cow socks.

The two of them went off to watch the game at a friends' house while Amber stayed home and got some stuff done.

Eisley was obviously thrilled to be watching her first ever football game.

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