Sunday, August 9, 2015

Things Mundane and Sparkly

(1) I'm organizing pictures and found this one from a few weeks ago. James lays down for a nap, is immediately covered in children. This is life with three kids.

It's awesome.

(2) Are you using Ebates? You should be. This is in no way a paid review (though that link does have a referral code in it), I just didn't discover this until a few months ago and now I've cashed multiple rebates checks and my joy at free money is nearly eclipsed by sadness at thinking of all the free money I've left behind through years and YEARS of online shopping.

I used to think they were a credit card or something I had to link to my financial information, but no, you just sign up for an account (address and email only) and then when you're shopping online, you go on their website, search for the store you're going to buy stuff from, and click the store's website within Ebates to open it up in a new browser window. Check and out and pay as normal through the store and a 1-6% rebate on your purchase will appear in your Ebates account. Every 3 month you get a check in the mail. Mine have been for $15-30 so far, in part because at least 50% of the time I forget to use the Ebates link, but I'm getting better. And even $15 is awesome for free money- it's a guilt free lunch out!

I like to have a million browser windows open and always spend a day or two fiddling with an online shopping cart before checking out, so I just do that as normal and then when I'm ready to pay, save my cart, close my window, click on Ebates, open the store up again, and check out. Two extra clicks and I got a 6% rebate on my Sephora purchase yesterday and 3% on Gymboree. I'm a fan.

(3) In support of my Ebates account and because earning money for your family is important, I let myself buy two things from the Nordstrom anniversary sale. These booties, which I adore and will look fab with skinny jeans and pretty much any color top and fill a hole in my wardrobe for grey shoes.

And this tunic-y top. Also a color I didn't previously own. Red heads can wear read, right? My coloring is kind of the opposite of the model's.

I also bought Landon a shirt with a tiger on it. Do you know how hard it is to find animal shirts for an 8-year-old boy? No cartoons, no sharks (not that he doesn't like sharks, "they're an important part of the ocean's ecosystem, mom", but that's all I can usually find), and no words. Just animals. It's like I'm on a perpetual scavenger hunt.

(4) Cora is a hoot. Also a tyrant. She spends at least 50% of her time walking around the house pointing at everyone and everything and tell us "No!". Usually with a wind-up and then a triumphant finish, like "NnnnnooooOOOOO!" Then she nods her head and double fists a grilled cheese sandwich.

She gives the best hugs and sometimes she's so sweet and still and rests her little cheek on your leg or shoulder and sighs and you want to squeeze her but you're afraid she might remember that she actually meant to be yelling at you right now. She does a lot of yelling. And crying, particularly at me, which I think is some kind of backhanded toddler compliment. She is banned from the grocery store and bathtubs. She is hilarious and chatty and loves to dance.

Her arms are always full while she walks through the house- this morning's treasures included a musical owl, two bracelets, a miniature Frozen book about Sven, and a tiny plastic phone. The necessities.

She is the most toddler-y of all our toddlers. Times 100. She is still everyone's favorite.

(5) Claire got her ears pierced yesterday. We were at the mall looking for school shoes and she asked, "mommy can I get my ears pierced now?" and though we were walking out I said "Yes, let's do it!", found a directory to verify a Claire's was in the building and headed off in pursuit. She started asking about a year ago and I'd promised her she could do it for her 5th birthday and the start of Kindergarten since that's when I had mine done. Her birthday came and went while I looked for the best place to go (I'd heard tattoo parlors were the best and most regulated, but there aren't that many in Fort Worth and none would return my calls), so finally, with summer running out and the two of us alone on a rare solo shopping trip, I decided we should go for it.

And I think the lack of anticipation and wind-up was perfect. She picked out the most expensive pair of studs, of course, but the little pink rhinestone daisies were so perfect for her, I didn't mind. She held my hand and didn't flinch or make a noise when the two employees punched the earrings through, her eyes just got big and then after a few seconds, she whispered, "are my ears sparkly now?".

Yes they are! I think they look adorable and she is VERY proud, both of her sparkles and the fact that she was "SO BRAVE." After her haircut today she is now 110% ready for Kindergarten to start in 2 weeks.

(6) As I am woefully wont to do, I decided we should clean and organize everything in our house at 4 p.m. on an otherwise lovely Sunday afternoon. James had just returned from his workout and managing his outdoor pool in 106 degree weather. The kids were being pleasant and quiet and entertaining themselves without any parental involvement, so I thought, what could be better than dumping out every toy we own into the middle of the play room and forcing everyone to clean with me? NOTHING, NOTHING IS MORE FUN.

And as is woefully wont to happen, at about 6 p.m. I realized this was a catastrophically bad idea, no one wanted to hang out with me, and the finish line was hours away and there was no going back.

Then I made things worse and decided the kids' room was too integrated into the contents of the play room to avoid, so immediately following dinner (a dinner James made thank God; I had reached a point where I decided that starving everyone was obviously the best way to motivate them. Yelling was going to come next. I am so thankful he loves me through my need to reorganize.) I crawled under each kids' bed, pulled out everything, and threw that stuff in the piles.

But then, at 9 p.m. -- boom. You can't really even appreciate it without knowing how bad it was before and how much stuff was rescued from other (wrong!) rooms and bins and put back where it belongs. I have two big bags of trash and four big bags of stuff to give away and I feel like I can breathe again. And I got the play kitchen out of my living room and have some furniture to sell.

And to think James thought it would be fun to go get ice cream after dinner for our family bonding event of the day. This is so much better.


  1. I had a toy freak out this weekend too! (But with less pretty end results)
    Have you tried etsy for animal shirts? I'm thinking there must be some awesome, unique screen printing out there.

  2. Funny coincidence -- my daughter suddenly gathered up her courage last week and wanted to get her ears pierced! So off to Claire's we went on Saturday morning. And she opted for the BLUE daisy earrings, not pink. I have the same new earrings plus beaming smile as you :-)

    1. Crazy! Claire debated the blue earrings (b/c of Frozen) but we decided that pink really was her favorite color (and even though my fave is blue, I must admit, hot pink is just Claire's color in my head). I hope your daughter's ears are feeling good and she's enjoying the sparkles!!

  3. That should read "same new earrings plus beaming smile PHOTO as you" !

  4. I also reorganized all my kids' toys and rooms this weekend. I chose Saturday night about 1 hour before bedtime. My poor husband (an airline pilot who had just arrived home after 9 days of flying and getting up at 3:45am) had some difficulty in the joy of the moment. However, I persevered and it all was finished and bedtime was only about 30 minutes late.

    1. Our husbands are so lucky to have us doing all this organizing for them aren't they? James saw me dumping things out, gave a sigh, and said, "let me know if you need me to move something." (He would have volunteered to help, but we have learned in the past that we have VERY different organizational methods. Mostly because mine actually involves organizing. So he just keeps the kids fed and out of my way.)

  5. ebates is almost too good to be true, which is why I was very skeptical at first. Hundreds of dollars of ebates checks later, I'm a huge fan. Glad you're spreading the word :)

    1. YES! I thought the same, but I haven't found any downside so far. Other than perhaps the fact that I'm shopping online more ;).

  6. Do you know about Honey Bees Tees?
    They have great quality shirts with lots of animals available! I love the simplicity - so much better than most boy clothes available in stores.

    1. I did not! Those are so great!! Thank you for sharing- I'm seeing some long sleeve tees in Landon's future this winter.

  7. I LOVE Ebates! I very useful tip: you can get a plugin for your browser, so that when you are on a site that participates, a pop up comes up and you can just click that to activate Ebates. No more going to their site and searching for your store!