Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Clara Elaine

Wow, so Clara turned 1 year old today (July 13, 2011)!

The day:

  • Clara and Daddy spent the morning together while Ashton and Sadie were at VBS.

  • We went out for lunch at Chick-fil-a where she ravaged her chicken, fruit cup, and peach milkshake (loved).

  • After naps we went to a park (where she likes to do slides),

  • fed (i.e. watched the big kids feed) ducks at the pond,

  • and then went to a new restaurant we didn't like (but were willing to try since kids eat free).

  • Once we got home, we sang Happy Birthday and fed Clara a Hot Fudge Sundae cupcake from SugarRush. She ate the WHOLE THING and loved every second of it. :-)
Now, the real reason for the post is for me to record Clara's birth story! I can't believe I haven't sat down to record it yet! Unfortunately, I'm no longer able to remember certain details (like how far dilated I was and when), but alas, my memory 1 year later is still better than no written memory, right?

Clara was due July 4, 2010 (Sadie's 3rd birthday!). Aaron was working in Roeland Park, we were living in Gardner, and were planning to deliver at the Topeka birth center. My parents arrived in Gardner from NC not long before, maybe July 1 or 2, so we were glad that I hadn't gone into labor early like I had with Sadie.

Days went by with no signs of going into labor. I felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to not interfere with God's timing of Clara's arrival, so we didn't do anything to medically induce her. In fact, I was discussing with the midwives my desire to still deliver at the (Topeka) birth center even if Clara went over 42 weeks.

The morning of July 12th was a teary morning, telling my parents goodbye...without them meeting their newest granddaughter and without my midwife mom attending Clara's birth.

That evening, July 12th, I went in to the birth center for a nonstress test, and while there Norla did something (something about if my body was ready to go into labor, this would get it started, and if it wasn't, the cramps would die off) that caused many great cramps the rest of the evening. She didn't really tell me about it or ask me if I wanted it done -- I think she decided to do it because I had told her I didn't want to use Cytotec, etc. to start labor.

Anyway, Christina and Jeremy watched the kids during the appointment and while Aaron and I went out for dinner at Famous Dave's BBQ. While there, the cramps were an issue, disrupting dinner. Afterward, we met up at Barnes & Noble, where still - the cramps were like contractions. We went home to Gardner that night.

During the early morning hours of Tuesday July 13th, I remember "getting up" (and I use the term lightly -- the "sleep" was not quality) to use the restroom and wondering if I was in labor. After all, I thought the induced cramps were supposed to die off in 4-5 hours. I called my mom, and she basically said to get more sleep if I could. I may have slept until about 7am, when I finally called the birth center answering service because I was no longer comfortable waiting until normal business hours to call. The midwife, Norla, called me back and said that she was already at the birth center for another patient, so I could come in whenever I wanted to be checked.

Aaron and I got up and got ready, woke the kids up and got them ready, and then headed for Topeka. Aaron's mom met us at the birth center to pick up Ashton and Sadie. I was checked by Norla (and was maybe 2-3 cm. dilated), and then felt comfortable leaving to eat breakfast and wait until things progressed. First, we went to the Copper Oven to get my favorite cinnamon rolls (yum, a real treat)! I could hardly manage sitting still on my bottom during the contractions, so we next went looking for a place to walk. I wanted to walk outdoors (au naturel), preferably in a remote location, so we went to the trail at 37th & Fairlawn, but once Aaron discovered the trail wasn't paved (heaven forbid!), he wasn't on board. :-)

We finally figured the cemetery (at 17th & Fairlawn) that we used to walk through when we lived down the street was a good choice. We'd walked for maybe 2 minutes when we realized how badly we both needed to use the restroom. We took a chance and went to Deana Marsh's house (also just down the street). Obviously we wanted to do more than just use her restroom -- we also wanted to visit, so we did that for probably about an hour. However, all the sitting was slowing the contractions down considerably! So we excused ourselves and went back to the cemetery. We walked for a while. The contractions were uncomfortable, especially in the heat.

Aaron and I were both over the heat, so I broke down and let us go to West Ridge Mall where we could get drinks and walk more (always the practical one...). I tried to be inconspicuous as I randomly stopped walking or would lean over the rails during contractions. But honestly, it was driving me batty! I do believe the contractions were more intense and growing more common, so that probably didn't help either. :-) We couldn't have been there long before I had to get out!

I felt like I needed to rest. Lay down and rest. I considered going to Grammy O's to rest, but didn't want the question in the back of my mind, of if it was time to go to the birth center, to keep nagging me so we decided to go to the birth center. Once we arrived at 1:10pm I was admitted and Emily checked me this time. I feel like I was only 5cm dilated. I didn't care too much. I just wanted to rest. I did so for maybe an hour or so.

Then midwife Emily and nurse Jen came in our room and suggested I not rest any more since it was causing the contractions to slow down quite a bit. They suggested we go get some food, go get some ice cream, etc. I wasn't comfortable with leaving the birth center and repeating the show that I'd put on in public not long before, so I sent Aaron for the food (McDonalds for me, Long John Silvers for him). Meanwhile, since the appointments for the day were over, I walked around the building, looking at the pictures on the walls of moms and babies.

I don't think I'd walked for long when I remember leaning over during a contraction, feeling like Clara had dropped (or something like that!). I went back downstairs to our room, called Aaron and asked him to come back quick. (He'd just finished getting my food and finished getting his food.) Meanwhile, I remember going out to the front desk and asking if there was a midwife free who could be with me. Jen came in and I explained to her that I felt like I could have this baby if I took my underwear off and worked towards it! She said, "go for it!" I voiced concern, wondering if Emily was busy in the other room...if there were enough midwives...etc. I think she said something like I was the one closest to delivering, so not to worry.

I honestly don't remember much else, other than not understanding why it was taking longer for Clara to be born than it did Sadie. I was on my hands and knees since that's what worked so well for Sadie's delivery. They suggested I try other positions, but it didn't help much...and I wanted to go back to what I knew had once worked good. Oh yeah! -- At one point they suggested I push with the contractions and I remember it kind of being an "ah-ha!" moment -- like, "oh yeah, that might help!" (I remember very little (seriously, hardly any) pushing with Sadie, so it had never crossed my mind to push!) Still, it took a while and I remember crying out loud to God. My records say my water spontaneously broke at 5:00pm when I was completely dilated, and Clara was born at 5:19pm. :-) All 8lb 6oz (the largest baby) and 21in of her! Praise God!

Clara nursed right away, Aaron did not cut the umbilical cord, and all was well. :-)

Around 8:00pm I showered while Aaron gave Clara a bath. Christina & Adriana came to visit on their way home, and as we finishing paperwork and were on our way out. We left the birth center around 9:30pm, and got more McD's on the way back to Aaron's parents' house. The big kids were sleeping but Jack & Mary got to meet Clara. We all slept at Jack & Mary's that night.

The next morning, the kids met and held Clara. Before heading home, we went in to Aaron's old Walgreens (at 10th & Gage) and stopped at Grandpa & Grammy O.'s house to show off Clara.

We were so happy for the happy healthy addition to our family!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Nuevo Vallarta

**NOTE**: I started this post about, mmm, 7 months ago, and refused to let myself post anything else until this one was done -- you know, as a motivator to finish. Well, I couldn't tell you where my notes are now, of the last 2 days of our vacation. Perhaps someday I will find them. Plus, I am ready to "post" on!

Overall, the week of April 19 -26, 2009 in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico was a good one - an experience I had only dreamed of. I am SOOO thankful to my grandparents for sacrificially giving us their timeshare week! This vacation absolutely would not have been possible if it weren't for them. :)

Sunday morning Grandpa and Grammy O. picked up Grammy R., Aaron, and I from Mom & Dad's house to take us to the airport. I think we left at 5:00am. Because it was an early hour and the kids were still asleep at Mom & Dad's, I was fortunate to not have to deal with telling the kids goodbye again! Whew, that's the way to do it. ;) Grammy R. was headed to Portland by way of Dallas, Aaron and I to Dallas then Puerto Vallarta. Our plane was supposed to leave at 8:00am, Grammy R.'s at 1:00pm. We got dropped off at the airport and got in our Continental Airlines line only to find out that the flight had been canceled due to bad weather wherever the plane was stranded. They put us on an American Airlines flight leaving around 10:30am, so we spent the extra time visiting with Grammy R. and eating breakfast in a Starbucks in the airport. Here we are at Starbucks, feeling empty-handed withhout our kids, yet excited for our adventure!
My Papa had warned us about all the timeshare salespeople who swarm the Puerto Vallarta airport hoping to convince us to come to a timeshare "presentation," often using free breakfasts, discounted excursions, etc. as a gift for attending the "presentation." (I had read online from previous visitors that not only were these presentations high-pressure, but that people often felt like they couldn't leave if they didn't buy!) In adddition, Papa had said that the resort had arranged for private transportation for us specifically using a reputable transportation company, "Miller Transportation Co." He said to only trust them, and that we could trust them.

So after we got through customs we found a man with Miller Transportation and he took us to a lady for a short while (until he returned) whom I thought must be a representative of our resort. She pulled out a very nice guide book with a great map and started circling for us where our resort was on the map, where the Wal-Mart was, where the bus stops were, etc. Then she started asking if there were any excursions we were interested in doing, and she would circle where those were and how much to expect to pay (so we didn't get swindled). At the end she threw in an offer to cut us a package deal to do the previously mentioned excursions for a discounted price AND invited us to a free breakfast the next morning "this week, at this resort over here." As soon as she said "free breakfast" at a resort different than ours, red flags went up in my head. Finally after we told her no 3 or 4 times, Miller Transportation Co. man conveniently re-appears and eventually we get in a minivan with some other Americans headed to a sister resort next door to ours. Whew! Up to this point - between understanding people's limited English, listening to people try to speak English through a thick Spanish accent, and trying not to be taken advantage of - this vacation was hard work!
After we got to our resort, we walked into this amazing entryway with a 40 foot (aprox.) ceiling,
and as we left it, we followed a luscious landscaped path
and eventually came upon the first desk. Behind the desk there was an American woman with blond hair who spoke English!! We were so excited, relieved, and feeling more at home. ;) She told us how our resort's (Mayan Palace) "nicer", more expensive sister-hotel next door (Grand Mayan) had some open rooms if we wanted to "upgrade" to one of them. In addition, breakfast the following morning would be served over a presentation of the 3 resorts Grupo Mayan owns, all right there next to each other, PLUS all the excursions were a percentage of the normal selling prices. Once again, I was leery of the breakfast presentation, but I was trusting of the white woman offering us a nicer room that would otherwise go unused! She kept looking at us/me as if I was crazy to not jump all over her offer. Seriously, she kept making facial expressions of shock and confusion as to why I wouldn't want to oblige. She showed us the floor plans of the rooms in the two different hotels and asked if we wanted to see the room we would be staying in if we stayed in the same hotel we had been planning to stay in. We said, "sure!"

So a man took us to a first-floor, back side, non-ocean-view room (which actually had a view of the exterior of the previously mentioned 40 foot ceiling entryway, i.e. not much of a view).
After we looked at the room

we stood alone outside

and I used my cell phone to call Papa and ask what he thought. Without any hesitation, he said to not do the upgrade. That was all I needed to hear. We walked back into the (very nice, open-air, luscious landscaped and furnished resort) lobby
and from that angle we saw a real check-in counter that we headed straight toward, walking right past the sales counter we'd first encountered! Aghhhh!

I know I've spent an excessive amount of time and detail relating our very first experiences upon arriving in Mexico, but they were quite stressful and they set the tone for the rest of our week! We felt like we couldn't trust anybody.

After we checked in and got our bags semi-put away, we went and ate dinner at one of the 5 restaurants on our hotel grounds. In fact, we chose a buffet (Cafe del Lago), we were so hungry! The sun setted and it grew dark outside, but the location and view was spectacular and was starting to feel like it was worth all the trouble!
Monday, we slept in and ordered room service for brunch. (A new experience for us, everything we purchased on the Grupo Mayan grounds (meals, water bottles, etc.) was assigned to our room number and didn't get paid for until we checked out...very convenient!) We had heard about and seen pictures of El Malecon, the mile-long oceanfront boardwalk that runs along the main downtown street, and planned to spend the afternoon there, figuring we would pick groceries up at the Wal-Mart on the way home. Our consierge tried to teach us how to use the public bus systems. He said we needed to get off of the first bus at Wal-Mart and look for a different bus to take us even further to El Malecon. However, the bus system was so difficult for us to navigate (mostly because of language barriers), that we couldn't get any further than Wal-Mart! Lucky for us, there was an air-conditioned American-like shopping mall right next to the Wal-Mart that we decided to walk around in before buying groceries! Inside of the mall was a movie theatre (we were pleasantly suprised to learn that most all of the movies (that aren't animated) are spoken in English and only use Spanish subtitles...we could deal with that!) where we watched Duplicity. Also inside the mall was a Chili's restaurant where we had dinner, overlooking a harbor.

I think we were looking for a little "normalcy" after being through so much frustration! We eventually went to a busy, un-air-conditioned, croweded with locals Wal-Mart, and it didn't even carry half of the foods it carries in the U.S.! I thought the brands would be the same, but that wasn't necessarily true either. It was dark by the time we were done shopping and were standing at the bus stop again. We looked for the bus that our concierge said to look for and when it stopped we got on it and Aaron said the name of our hotel, Mayan Palace, to the driver to confirm that we were on the right bus. He vehemently shook his head and told us, "no." We tried this a couple more times until we were thoroughly stumped. Fortunately, a local walked up to the crowded bus stop and asked us where we were headed because he had seen us there for quite a while and we hadn't taken any of the buses that came by! He informed us that the other bus stop on the other corner of Wal-Mart was on a different route and it was the one we needed to get back to our resort. Thank goodness this kind young man took the time to help us!

Tuesday morning we got a call from the kids at 9:30am that woke us up. After we got off the phone with the kids, Aaron asked me if there was a penalty for going home early! I laughed and cried, because that verbalized how we both felt up to that point, having had such difficult days vacationing! However, this day was going to be different because we weren't going to go anywhere - we spent the afternoon at the pool and on the beach!

It was so beautiful to see the beach and the mountains in one view.

Aaron played sand volleyball while I read.

Shortly after I noticed I was getting sunburned (after maybe 2 hours of being outside), we went inside, cleaned up, and relaxed until dinner time. Still feeling like we'd rather stay on the hotel grounds than try to figure out how to get anywhere in the city, we chose to eat at a fancy Italian restaurant, called Tramonto, in the Grand Mayan. It was delicious (and expensive). Later, Aaron bought and smoked a Cuban cigar...I guess it's something you can't do every day in the United States.
At 8:30pm that day, we caught the final mini-train ride of the night, that covers the grounds of the two resorts, the Grand Mayan and the Mayan Palace. (You can also use it to get from one place to the other if you don't want to walk, but we always walked.) It was mostly cheesy, but still a beautiful change of scenery from Kansas has to offer. :)

Wednesday morning I was in such intense pain from the sunburn I got the day before. It hurt and itched so badly. That morning all I could do was order french toast from room service and watch TV. ;) It hurt when I moved and when I didn't move. (I had a hard time deciding whether to include this picture of not! ;) )

As you can imagine, Aaron was growing bored from being in all morning. And we were both realizing that I would not be able to play at the pool or beach any more because of my sunburn. Therefore, we quit debating which excursions to go on (if any) and we went to the hotel Internet cafe to book some. Otherwise, our week would soon be over and we would have nothing to "show for it" (other than a wretched sunburn)! And boy am I glad we did!

We spent the rest of the day being lazy, eating lunch in our room, relaxing under "our" hut (as I coined it, since rarely anyone else joined us under the shady jewel) - me reading and Aaron playing card games on his phone,
enjoying dinner at another ocean-side restaurant on the hotel grounds - the Havana Moon,
strolling around the Grand Mayan,

grabbing a coffe drink from the rather lame Balance coffee shop inside, and finally retiring for the night in our lovely room. :) Thursday morning we walked to our Dolphin Signature Swim tour put on by Vallarta Adventures (a company I highly recommend for their professionalism and enthusiasm). For 60 minutes our group of 8 people swam and played in the water with 2 dolphins. I was suprised that the water was saltwater, because the area looked like and felt like a fresh water swimming pool! Our trainer encouraged us to reach out and feel the dolphins as they swam around us (which they were obviously trained to do),
taught us the hand signals to make the dolphins sing, dance/spin, etc,
let us reward the dolphins with a fish to eat,
let us each hug the two dolphins, get a kiss from the dolphins, and eventually ride on a dolphin around the "pool" area!
At the end of the hour, the dolphins put on a show for us similar to one you might see at Sea World.

We ate lunch at a restaurant right next to the dolphin swim area, at a place called Ocho Tostadas. We were suprised that the authentic Mexican restaurants didn't bring chips and salsa to the tables, but because this one did bring us chips, we asked if they had any sort of salsa they could also bring us. The chef chopped up some fresh pico de gallo which we were served. I'd never had such a tasty pico de gallo and was pleasantly surprised by it (and by the lack of "salsa" in Mexico)!

We took a 3 hour nap that afternoon and decided to try getting out again by using a taxi. We kept seeing a shopping mall and Starbucks each time we got close to the street our resort was on, so a bell boy called us a taxi and we ate spent the evening eating Domino's pizza from the food court inside the mall, walking around the souvenier shops, and grabbing some Starbucks for dessert! The Starbucks was long overdue and so yummy and familiar!!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Brotherly Love

This afternoon, when I got off work, I went to my Mom & Dad's house where my mom had been watching the kids all day. They were already outside, and after greeting me, they started to meander towards the back yard. Ashton resolved Sadie's melt-down when she couldn't figure out how to get down the retaining wall - he showed her how to sit down on her bottom and scoot her way down - so helpful. Then my mom and I started to follow them when Ashton said, "Mom, you and Nana stay in the front yard and Sadie and I will stay in the back yard." I told him that he would have to keep a close eye on Sadie and be responsible for taking care of her. He reassured me that this was what he wanted. I ended up stepping in when Sadie went to follow her brother up into the treehouse, because the ladder used to climb up it isn't exactly meant for a 1 (or almost-2) year old. I can't tell you how many times, okay about 10!, Ashton kept telling me to go back with Nana and that he would watch Sadie and that he needed her to play with him. It was so precious. I have this mental picture of them on the trampoline too, Sadie tackling Ashton, and Ashton graciously taking it and laughing all the while. She's good for Ashton, because he usually doesn't get to rough-house until Dad gets home from work. Plus, I just plain appreciated them laughing about it and not turning the situation into a fight! :)

Then tonight, as I was tucking Ashton in to bed, I told him how happy it makes me to see him being such a good brother, taking care of his sister, and having fun playing with her. He instantly started crying, saying "I'm going to miss my sister when I grow up." They were real tears that he used his blanket to wipe away. :( He even had to repeat himself because I couldn't understand what he was saying through the tears! As a mother, this made my eyes water up too. But I was optomistic for him and I told him that he won't ever have to leave her and that as a family we will always stick together.

After going through the bedtime routine (singing Jesus Loves Me, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Happy Birthday, ABC... and then praying) I got up to leave his bedroom and he said, "When I am 51 will you still live with me?" Of course, I told him Yes, for as long as he wants me to live with him, I will. :)

I can understand his sensitivity to separation, after all what 4 year-old wants to think about being separated from his mom, dad, and sister?? And some nights he'll talk about his 3-year old friend whose Dad is already in heaven. And to top it all off, he's trying to get a grasp on eternity in heaven (aren't we all?!), how he'll get to heaven (he wants to fly in Mom's arms), and what we'll do for forever! He's such a deep thinker. In fact, tonight he asked me if God is a body or a spirit!

I just love these kids. :) Here is a picture of Ashton holding Sadie like he "used to do when she was a baby - with a pillow on his lap, and Sadie laying on the pillow." Oh, and he's reading a story to her this way. ;)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

We're Leaving Soon

On Sunday April 19, 2009 we get on a plane headed to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. My grandparents have a timeshare week that they are very graciously giving us. I am excited because I dreamed of going to such a place for our honeymoon. While San Antonio, TX was a fine actual destination, this 2nd honeymoon will be even more adventurous and exotic! I am blessed. We shall return April 26.

Here are the logistics: My family and Aaron's family will each keep the kids half of the time. The kids will sleep at home in their own beds while under Jack & Mary's care, and the kids will sleep in "their" beds at Grandpa & Nana's house while there. As you can imagine, the 21-month old doesn't need "nursey," but because she is accustomed to it, I have one bottle of breast milk for her, albeit a small one (4-5 oz.), probably to be used when she wakes up in the middle of the night. I plan to pump while we are gone so that she can continue nursing when we return home, if she so desires. The plane tickets have been purchased. Aaron's passport has arrived. (I already have one.)

And now that the details are taken care of, there is time and room for several emotions to take root and quickly spread. Every time one of the kids does something cute, Aaron and I take mental note and sometimes even look at each other and say, "..and we're going to leave them?!" I mean honestly, Ashton and Sadie are like my best buds because I spend the most time with them. I will miss them a lot.

Which leads me to another emotion -- what will Aaron and I do with the time to ourselves? I mean, sure, at first it won't be a problem, but what about Day 3 or Day 4? Will we look at each other with nothing to say? Will we find stuff to do apart from our kids? I'm almost afraid that we won't know each other. Wow, that was weird and hard to write. I suppose that means this time away is in great order, for the benefit of our marriage and of our kids.

I wonder if every parent in our shoes would have thoughts about death and not returning. Or am I being given signs that it will happen?! Okay, I know that sounded ridiculous and now I feel I must explain myself. 1) My grandma has voiced her concern (more than once) from the day she found out we were going to Mexico, because from what she hears on the news, Mexico is not a safe place to be. 2) Aaron and I were looking at excursions we can go on while in Mexico and while one in particular must be safe enough (or else it wouldn't be offered), I couldn't help but think that I wouldn't want to do it out of fear that I might not return to my children! 3) We updated our wills because we hadn't since Sadie was born. There are a lot emotions while thinking about not being here to raise our kids, and then deciding who should raise them. 4) Several times while typing this blog, I've used strange pronouns and tenses of verbs that make it sounds like something bad might happen, and then I've quickly rewritten them.

(Okay, I think I am over-analyzing Number 4. It's hard to switch back and forth between writing about being here vs. being there, and about now (before we leave) vs. then (when we return).)

So yes, that is the plan. Everything has been perfectly orchestrated. And there is a time for everything. I am at peace that God has good in store. And I look forward to seeing what the week holds in store. I wonder what the post will read that I write when we return... :)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I Want My Mommy...

Ashton has a usual routine of asking that Mommy tuck him in to bed, and tonight Aaron told Ashton that he was going to tuck Ashton in to bed! As usual, Ashton, in his dismay, whimpered and whined over and over again, "No, I want my Mommy to tuck me in."

I caved.

So while I was tucking Ashton in to bed, I asked him, "why do you so badly want mommy to always tuck you in instead of Daddy?" I wanted a serious answer. (Yes, I was trying to boost my self esteem! :) Plus, it would be incentive to keep being the one to always tuck Ashton in to bed each night.) I don't know if his answer was serious or if it was one of his off-the-cuff excuses -- "You just smell different ..... and I don't like the smell .... that Daddy's .... body .... makes."


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Stranger Things Have Happened...

...but this is this most recent mystery: Sadie has started adding "-ia" [pronouned eeh-uh] to the end of her nouns, especially people's names. It started yesterday when she kept calling me "Mom-ia." I was about to go bonkers by the end of the day! I don't know why it bothered me so, but it did. :) And Daddy or Da-da has been replaced by "Dad-ia." I guess Ash-ia is too hard to say so Sadie calls Ashton "Idea." When we correct her, she just says, "no, Idea," reinforcing her original pronunciation. If I didn't know better, I would be afraid that Sadie was regressing in her speech! Here she used to speek good, but now this! I am trying to not let it get to me, and I don't correct her very often because I don't want this to become a control issue / attention-getter, so hopefully this silly talk will end soon. ;)

Sadie also has a thing for pointing out all other babies that she sees in public (nevermind some of them are as old as her, maybe even older). Last night Aaron took the kids to play at The Toy Store while I grocery shopped, and when we all got home he told me that Sadie saw a 4 or 5 year-old girl in the store and pointed at her and said, "bab-ia"!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Consignment Sale

So this last Wednesday evening Angie and I went to Independence MO to the Just Between Friends consignment sale. It is all children's clothing, maternity clothes, and other baby gear (similar to Mommy and Me, Animal Crackers, etc.), for sale for a few days, twice a year (this time they were selling spring/summer clothes and next time it will be fall/winter stuff). I wanted to go the last time there was a sale but it didn't work into my schedule, so I was excited to finally be able to go.

Since I'm pretty well stocked up on toys, books, cribs, high chairs, etc, and since I'm not pregnant, I was mostly in the market for children's' clothes! Before I went, I got all the kids future clothes out of storage to see what I already had, and what they still needed. So I went with a list! Oh, and we went the night before the sale was open to the public (it's really a sneak preview for pregnant / first-time moms) because I won a pass from a BeCentsable giveaway!

I must admit, I was surprised at the size of the event -- I thought it was going to be a huge area (like the Expocentre), but it was really the size of about 1/2 the Expocentre. Anyway...technicalities! My only other observation was that the clothes weren't as high-quality as I thought they were going to be. It looked like some mothers had owned the clothes and reused them on all 4 (for example) of their children, and then decided to still sell them at the consignment sale! Needless to say, some of the clothes were out of style and others were just kind of plain. I guess since we were going to a sneak preview, I thought there would be a bunch of good stuff, you know?! If I didn't know better, I would have thought we were there on the last day or so!

Anyway, you wouldn't know I was somewhat disappointed by the fact I had a $235 bill, would you?! No, I don't think I picked up crumby stuff. ;) But I don't think there was much left after I was done either! And I stuck to my list. :) In total, I got 54 pieces of clothing...that's an average of $4.35/piece. While these weren't garage sale prices (obviously), compared to paying full price, I still feel like I got a good deal. PLUS I really like the idea of reusing clothes instead of buying new. In fact, I'm not sure which makes me more excited -- being "green" or saving money! As usual, it was easier to buy clothes for the girl than it was for the boy... Plus, I bought clothes for Sadie in 2 sizes (18-24 months and 2T) and just needed one size for Ashton (4T). So while Ashton only needs 4T clothes to get him through this summer, Sadie will need 24 months and then 2T as well. (And since she'll quit growing as fast, the 2T clothes will again fit her for a while next summer. Yay!)

I bought Sadie 4 dresses, a jean skirt with a matching top, 1 pair of jeans, 3 other pants, 1 swimming suit, 1 button-up sweater, 1 zip-up jacket, 10 shorts/capris, and 16 spring/summer tops. I bought Ashton a pair of dress shoes, swimming trunks, a pair of pajamas, a KU mesh tank top with matching shorts, 3 pairs of pants, 3 pairs of shorts, and 4 shirts.

My analysis: My eyes did bug out when the cashier read "$235 dollars please". I wasn't planning to spend that much! I still am not sure if I would have spent that much over the next few months (you know, in like several individual shopping trips) if I hadn't gone. But I stuck to my list so I feel justified....who knows. Garage sales have been slim pickin' for me the last two years, so I wanted to give this a try. Besides, the 6 hours of girl-time, without kids, SHOPPING! was worth at least that much! ;)