Archive for July, 2010

Just my luck!

So, remember how I told you that I had been looking for months for a double jogging stroller and then we scored a sweet deal on one last week?  Well, as you know I went up to my parents’ lake house for a few days this week.  It’s in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere.  If you blink when driving through the town center, you’ll probably miss it.  There’s an antique store, a pizza place, a bank and a library.  Oh, and a place called the Community Clothing Center which is sort of like a Salvation Army store or thrift store.

Before heading to the house, we always stop at the grocery store to get what we’ll need while we’re up there.  The closest store is about 20 minutes away so it’s just easier to get everything before hand.  Anyway, as we’re driving from the grocery store to the house, we pass through the tiny town center.  There’s never anything exciting to see or do down there but I always look around as we’re going through.  As we pass the Community Clothing Center my mom says to me (did I mention that she was with us?), “Hey, there’s a double jogging stroller just like the one you just got.”  I looked over and saw it and she was right.  It was just like the one I had got, except that it was blue.  I just shrugged and said, “Figures, since I just bought one.”

I kept on driving but then my mom and I decided that we should at least go and check it out.  So I turned the car around and headed back.  I pulled up in front of the CCC and had my mom hop out and go inquire about the stroller.  She goes in and comes back a few minutes later and knocks on the window.  I say,”How much?”  She just laughs and says, “They don’t charge for things, you just make a donation.”  Ummm, ok.  At that point she hops back in the car and I get out to go check out the stroller.  It’s legitimately the same stroller I just bought, an InStep Safari TT Double Jogger.  It has all the parts and is in fairly good shape.  It has some stains but nothing that can’t be cleaned.

We decide that, even though I just bought one, we should take it.  She can either keep it at her house for my girls and my  nieces or leave it up at the lake house and we can use it when we walk over to the beach with the kids.  Either way, all we have to do is make a donation and the stroller is ours.  We’re trying to think of what to give for a donation and we’re rummaging through our purses.  Collectively we came up with $15 cash.  It’s all we had.  My mom goes back in, gives the woman working inside the money and tells her that we’re going to take the stroller.  As she does this, I am waiting outside by the car.  An elderly man is sitting in one of the chairs outside the store.  He’s mumblimg, “Where’s my nurse?  She’s over an hour late.  I might just croak right here waiting for her.”  I’m not sure if he’s talking to me so I don’t answer.  Then another man approaches the store, looks over at my car and says to me, “Niiiice car!”  At this point my mom is (thankfully) come out of the store.

I start folding up the stroller and open the tailgate to my car.  So this stroller is NOT small.  It folds in half but that doesn’t mean much.  Oh and my car is already pretty full of our bags of clothes, our food and miscellaneous stuff for the kids.  I have no idea how we’re going to fit the stroller in the back of the car but somehow we manage.

So now, in a matter of 5 days, I have no one, but two double jogging strollers.  It’s just my luck!

The Relax Inn

My parents own a little slice of heaven in the middle of nowhere.  It looks like this:

On Tuesday I packed up the car and took my girls to spend a few days here.  It may not look like much but it’s such a break from the ordinary chaos of life.  It’s a place where no one cares if you’re showered or properly dressed because no one really sees you anyway.  It’s a place where  you eat yummy food that’s not so good for you.  It’s a place where the phone rings maybe once a day and there’s no internet connection.  The closest store is twenty minutes away and excitement is seeing the legendary beaver or snapping turtle swimming by in the lake.

It’s been called many things: The Camp, The Cottage, The Lake House, The Relax Inn.  But it doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s just awesome.  It’s decorated with lots of little trinkets both old and new.  And inside the cabinet doors you can find little news paper clippings and such with instructions for wound care and “recipes” for things like paint remover and drain de-clogger. We all sleep in one room that has 5 beds and a crib.  And the kids bathe in the kitchen sink because there’s no tub.   It’s not big, it’s not fancy, but it’s one of the greatest places I know.

My girls love it up there.  They get special treats and we take a wagon ride over to the other side of the lake where there’s a little beach.  If you ever want to feel good about yourself, just go there.  It’s amazing to see what some of the locals wear for swimming attire and how they just have no shame at all.  It’s so peaceful and the view is amazing.

It’s a little place to go and get away from it all.  And sometimes that’s all you need to feel refreshed (even if you were up all night with a feverish teething toddler!)

Hitting the trail.

On Friday Scott and I were out doing some shopping.  We stopped in to a sporting goods store so he could look at some golf equipment and home gym stuff.  We had both of the girls with us which always makes shopping for anything more difficult.  As Scott was browsing the weights and pull-up bars, my eye was caught by a stroller.  For a few months now I’ve been looking for a double jogging stroller.  Our new neighborhood is perfect for walks and it’s a great way for me to get some exercise in.  Well I have previously attempted these walks with our tandem Graco stroller and man, it was a workout!  The stroller itself weights nearly 40 pounds.  Nora weights about 23 pounds and Brinley weights about 33 pounds.  So I was pushing nearly 100 pounds around my hilly neighborhood.  But I digress..

Anyway, I had been scouring craigslist and local tag sales for a jogging stroller, but just couldn’t seem to find one that was in pretty good shape for pretty good money.  So, I peered over to the double jogging stroller sitting near the bike display in the sporting goods store.  I could see the tag hanging from the handle but couldn’t quite make out the price.  All I could see was the last part of the price, $79.97.  I knew there had to be a number in front of the 79 but I couldn’t make out what it was from where I was standing.  So, I grabbed Nora and left Brinely with Scott to go and scope it out.  I walked over and read the tag:  InStep Safari TT Double Jogging Stroller with front swivel wheel, Price $79.97, You save $179.00.

At this point, Scott was by my side asking me if that could really be the price of the stroller.  I thought to myself, there is no way!  I kept thinking back to the insane deal that I thought I was going to get on a Britax Marathon car seat about a year or so ago on Target.com.  The car seat was listed for like $40 and it’s typically nearly a $300 car seat.  Of course I added it to my cart and thought I had scored such a deal.  A few days later I received an email from Target saying that it was a pricing mistake on their part but they could not honor the price.  I received a $25 gift card for my disappointment.  Again, I digress…

So now a sales person walks over to us asking if we need any help and we ask him if that is really the price for the stroller.  He says yes and it’s because they’re getting rid of them to make room for the new models.  He checks to see if they have any left in boxes but we find out that the display model is the last one.  I strap both girls into the stroller afraid to leave it where it is because someone else might snatch it up.  We decide that we’re going to buy it.  Scott continues shopping for his golf stuff and I take the girls to play with the balls.  But they’re starting to get antsy because it’s just about dinner time.  We head over to Scott and I tell him that I’m going to pay for the stroller and leave with the girls to get them dinner (we had separate cars).  When I got up to the register I was still worried that the price would be wrong, but lo and behold it wasn’t and I scored a $280 stroller for $79.97!!

Fast-forward to this morning…  The weather is beautiful.  The sun is shining but the humidity of the past, I don’t know, two weeks is gone!  It’s about 70 degrees and breezy.  Perfect for a nice walk.  One of the many awesome things about our town is something called the Rail Trail.  It’s a former rail road route that passes through 8 connecting towns.  When it’s complete it will be about 25 miles long.  It’s completely paved and lined with fencing.  It’s open for non-motorized use including jogging, walking, biking, rollerblading and skiing.  So this morning, I decided to grab the girls and go check it out.  We drove about 2 miles into town (I would have walked it but the street to get there is pretty busy and has no sidewalks).  I strapped the girls into our new stroller and started a route on the iMapMyWalk iPhone app.

It felt great to be out in the fresh air taking advantage of such a great feature.  Having the new stroller really allowed me to move faster but with more ease.  The girls were well behaved for the most part.  I worried a little that with them side-by-side they’d annoy each other.  They were perfect for the first 3 miles.  They just sat there and took in the scenes and ate their snack.  At about mile 3, Nora started nudging Brinley and Brinley started nudging back.  We still had a mile to go before we were back to the car.  So I did what any mom would do… I started singing!  Old McDonald, Itsy Bitsy Spider and Nora’s favorite (thanks to Mimi) How Much is that Doggy in the Window!  It took their minds off of bugging each other and they started singing along.  Passers by were looking at me a little funny but I didn’t care.  We were having so much fun and I got a great, brisk 4 mile walk in before 10:30am.

I’m going to try to make this a regular occurrence.  It felt great and now that I have the right equipment there’s no excuse not to!

Kids do the strangest things.

It’s no doubt that kids can be strange.  They tend to do things that grown people would never do.    They attempt feats that no sane adult would try.  I’ve witnessed both of my children perform things that just boggle my mind.

Nora is quite the stunt woman.  She thinks that she can defy odds and walk on water.  She’ll be sitting on the couch and stand up and think that she can take a step and just be on the floor again.  It doesn’t seem to click in her small mind that the couch is 2 feet off of the ground.  She tries to climb everything and can’t seem to grasp that certain objects weren’t meant to be stood on.  This results in quite a number of boo boos.  She has mastered putting her hand on her head and announcing to us “boo boo”.

However, what really drives me crazy lately is her eating behavior.  Now maybe her taste buds aren’t fully developed yet or something but the manner in which she consumes food often grosses me out.  Case in point:  Last night for dinner we had tacos and Mexican rice.  She loves this meal.  I piled her tray with seasoned beef, shreaded cheese, rice, olives and pieces of taco shell.  She shoveled the food in her mouth so fast I doubt she could even taste it (which may have something to do with the following)!  She finised her food before anyone else was done.  At that point she was twisting and turning in her high chair and exclaiming “uck, uck” (stuck).  I kept telling her, “No, you’re not stuck.  You’re sitting in your chair while we finish eating.”  Realizing that she was just going to keep trying to get out of her chair, I decided to give her something to keep her quiet.  Enter popsicle!

I opened up a green apple flavored mini pop and handed it to her.  She devoured it in about 2 minutes.  Not quite enough time for Scott and I to finish our food.  I assumed that she’d go back to trying to get out of her seat and yelling “uck, uck” but instead she did something that sort of grosses me out.  She picked up some small pieces of beef and rice off of her try and ate them.  Then she asked for more.  So I gave it to her.  It sort of bothered me that she had just finished eating a cold, sweet, popsicle and was now putting pieces of beef and rice in her mouth.  That is something that I’m pretty sure a grown person would never do.  This is also not the first time she’s done this.  She’ll finish her food and have “dessert” and go right back to eating whatever the meal was.  Maybe I’m the strange one, but I can’t stomach eating spaghetti and meatballs then having some ice cream and going back to eating the meatballs.  GROSS!

Really, Burger King? Really?

I’m not Team Edward OR Team Jacob.  In fact, I don’t even know which one is which.  I’ve never read any of the Twilight books or seen the movies.   And I don’t plan on it.  Ever.  But all of that is really beside the point that I’m about the make here.

This past weekend we were on a road trip and stopped at Burger King for a quick, unhealthy lunch.  Of course the entire restaurant (if you can even call it that) was plastered with Twilight and Eclipse posters and paraphernalia.  I understand that big chain places like BK are going to market hot movies and do promotions based on them.  It’s always been that way.  It’s a money maker for both parties.  I have no problem with that.  What I do have a problem with is that Burger King continued the Eclipse marketing in the form of their kid’s meals.  WTF!

To me, kid’s meals are just that, meals for kids.  And when I say kids I’m implying someone under the age of 12, most likely even younger.  Most teenagers I know can and do consume much larger quantities of food than are given in a kid’s meal at Burger King.  So, if kid’s meals are geared toward kids under 12 then why would BK put an Eclipse “prize” in the kid’s meal?  The movie is rated PG-13 due to some violence and scenes of sexuality (according to IMDB.com) so it seems very counter intuitive to me for BK to do this.  I know all they’re doing is seeing dollar signs but still.  It’s not like there aren’t any other big blockbuster movies that they could use in their marketing.  How about Toy Story 3?  Of course, I’m not a marketing expert or anything and I’m sure one has to offer the other the deal.  I’m sure they don’t just get to choose what they want to use for prizes, but I simply can’t understand this.

After bringing this topic up with some of my family and friends I have heard that some Burger Kings offer an alternate “toddler prize” for the kid’s meals upon request.  However, I was unaware and the cashier who took my order at BK clearly saw that I had a 3 and 1 year old in tow.  Obviously they had no idea what Eclipse was.  I was never offered a toddler prize and I didn’t see any signs anywhere that they were even available.

In reality I know that BK and [whoever produced this movie] do not care about whether or not my child actually likes the prize.  I know they just care about the money, but really Burger King?  Really? (a la Seth Meyers on SNL)

Image borrowed from www.bellasdiary.com

The “prize” we received was the mini tote bag.  Seriously?  It’s a little piece of fabric with a handle on it.  It’s not even big enough to hold a pack of gum.  Oh and I love how the poster says keepsakes for girls and guys.  It’s clearly not targeted toward kids, otherwise it would have said girls and boys.  Ok, rant over.

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