When we moved into our new place together, Seth’s and my biggest debate was about his books. He had inherited Mamu’s (a.k.a. grandma’s) personal collection. Since she was a heavy smoker, they are covered in thick cigarette soot. Seth prizes each one. He also added substantially to this collection during college and law school. Those books look like a thrilling read, let me tell you. Who wants to read about nuclear physics and tort law?! Yeah. Besides, it’s not just that he wanted to keep them; he insisted on being “surrounded by my books,” as if their presence alone proffered knowledge and good company. If he had his way, they would line the walls of our home like floral wallpaper.
I didn’t quite get where his obsession for not just books, but having books at an arms reach, came from until I visited his parent’s home for the first time. These Sprouls (and Ernsts, because Mamu was an Ernst after all) love them some books. They even read the boring ones cover to cover that most of us just bought for reference before the Internet was invented. Seth is the only person I know who read the encyclopedia as a child for fun. Oh wait, so did my mom. I married my mother! I digress…
However, if there is anything to make you question the validity of holding onto books, it’s a big move. After 40 years, my in-laws did just that: They left their red house in the woods of Bridge for a new home in the woods of Bandon (They like them some woods, too). After weeks of packing up 40 years of belongings and memories, my mother-in-law said she just broke down and started taking piles to the trash bin. Books included.
Luckily, my nephew saw a yearbook and salvaged it from the rubble. It was from Seth’s senior year of high school.
Here is my hubby getting medaled? (I see no crown) with the beautiful Swedish exchange student.
“BMOC?” I asked out loud.
“BMOC. Big Man On Campus,” my nephew informed me.
The guy who read the encyclopedia for fun ended up being the #1 BMOC. I seriously wondered if the yearbook editor was just looking for a clever caption. Awe, just kidding, honey! You’re so cool in that amazing polyester shirt!
Like I wrote yesterday, diaper bags are akin to bridesmaid dresses:
You can go for one that won’t break the bank. It may be cute and look great in photos; however, it will not be a dress you’d love to wear again. Or, you can go for broke. You’ll feel more elegant and actually get compliments on what a great bridesmaid dress you are wearing; but, it will be called what it is: A bridesmaid dress. There’s just no hiding it and, after the champagne and dancing, you’ll tuck it away in the back of your closet to collect dust like an old AYSO trophy.
It’s all the worse for a diaper bag because its purpose is much less glamorous than ushering the bride down the aisle. Instead, you’ll probably spill the baby’s milk in it, throw in clothes the kid barfed all over (or worse), and tuck in a dirty diaper if you are stuck in a tough spot with no trash can nearby. Yet, isn’t that all the more reason to have a glamorous-looking bag? One that you’ll love to use over and over again? Yes, I say, most definitely yes!
After much obsessing and research, these are my reviews of cute styles:
Petunia Pickle Bottom
PPB’s are super popular and have several clever patterns to choose from, however, most are backpacks. Having just finished grad school, I don’t want to wear a backpack. Practical, yes. The are even rather cute. I just don’t waaaaannnaaaa!
PPB does have other styles of which my favorite is the Touring Tote ($145). It feels like it could withstand being thrown into the ocean and, who knows, that might just happen since we live right along the coast. Plus, isn’t this pattern cute? It’s called “Siesta in Sevilla,” which I love because anyone who has been to Sevilla knows they will never ever give up their siesta no matter how the world around them changes!
The Deal on Petunia Pickle Bottom:
Sing up at www.zulily.com today to get your PPB for about a 40% discount! If you invite friends, you get another $15 off on your purchase. (Thanks, Gillian, for the heads up on this deal!).
timi and leslie
I thought I had found the bag when I came across the timi and leslie collections. Their canvas collection is very similar to PPB, but they also have several styles in their convertible collection that are tres chic. Then I saw them at the mall and realized that they are absolutely HUGE! Geez, are we packing for an outing or Armageddon?
The Charlie measures 14.75″H x 17″x4.74″D and 8.5 handle drop. ($150)
The Hannah is also very large and measures 14″H x 16″W x 6″D and 11″ handle drop. ($155). It’s pretty cute with all those rings and doesn’t feel as big as the Charlie, but I wonder how big it will feel after you stuff it full of baby gear.
I would honestly purchase either one if they were about 2 -3 inches smaller all the way around.
My sister swears by these. No, she doesn’t have any kids; however, she nannied all through college and still does some babysitting on the side because she looooves babies. No, you can’t have her number! She’s all mine post 01-2012! Anyway, she’s tried out everyone’s gear and votes for a Skip Hop.
I like the Versa ($70). It looks more “diaper baggy” in person, but the price is pretty.
I also like the Studio ($90).
Gorgeous and elegant, behold the Maria Chocolate in “buttery” Italian Leather. For $600 you, too, can know what it feels like to carry around milk you’ve pumped out of your boobs a la cow and crap-filled diapers in the ultimate style. It’s enough to forget you have to wear leak pads in your bra and give validation to that 4th degree tear or C-section. Wait! Whaaaat! Your child is supposed to be your validation. Oh, yeah! Go splash your face with ice water and get a hold of yourself woman!
I mean, really! You could get the same style of bag in a totally hip pattern and color. For example, the Maria Tangerine is one of their waxed canvas bags with Italian Ruat Leather and a mere $400. Phew!
The Deal on Mia Bossi: 20% off September sale on all bags!
Mama et Bebe
If this messenger bag doesn’t say, “I’m an adorable mom with an even more adorable baby,” I don’t know what does! It’s the “I just embrace this whole mommy thing” kind of bag that’s cute, useful, and only $116. I dare you to try to tell me you don’t kind of want one.
Um, have I mentioned my obsession with all things patent leather? Why, yes, I have! So, of course my current crush is this bag from Coach.
I just can’t stop looking at the Alex Stitched Patent Leather Baby Bag. It’s on the smaller side of diaper bags and looks the most like a purse. I haven’t seen it yet in person, so I hope it’s not like that online date I went on where the guy ended up being 2 inches shorter than me. I’m 5’3″, so ’twas very disappointing. He also had some mommy issues, but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, my point is that you don’t know what it’s like until you “meet” it in person. Unfortunately, they aren’t exactly in high demand – shocker! So, I’ll have to see if they can order in one to the store just to look check out.
Oh, the price? Uh, yeah, about that. It’s no more than what I paid for my most expensive bridesmaid dress this past summer and that’s all I’m going to say about that! If I end up getting it, I’ll take a photo with one of the brides getting married down at the La Jolla Cove and call it as valid as the silk dress chilling out in the back of my closet. She is probably lonely and would like a used diaper bag to keep her company. I may even wear her again just because she matches this diaper bag so well. See, it’s a win-win!
I’m at 22 weeks today which means that Baby Babe and I are just over halfway there! Hooray! Seth and I got engaged after 4 months and married 5 months after that, so 9 months seems to be my thing! I’ve really popped in the last week and I know it’s not just in my head because signs are everywhere.
Seth looked at me the other day and said, “You look pregnant, hon!” I wanted to say, “LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO ME!,” but just smiled nicely.
I can tell I have lots of oxytocin running through my veins because I am nice when people are actually very annoying. Like when they declare that I look pregnant.
I know where all the public bathrooms are no matter where I go.
People now pat my belly and I don’t swipe their hand away. It’s like I’m wearing a sign that says, “rub my belly for good luck,” and I actually believe it.
After refusing to read pregnancy or baby books because they either told me something I already know (Yeah, no kidding I need to blow my nose all the time now. Gross) or don’t want to know (The chances of x, y, z bad things happening are what! Forget college, I should have procreated when I was 21), I actually read a whole chapter in a Dr. Oz book and highlighted my favorite sections of Baby Bargains.
I know enough to actually have a conversation with the salesman at a baby store, instead of refusing to make eye-contact.
I have become a little more than completely obsessed with the perfect diaper bag. Ugh! It reminds me of bridesmaid dress shopping. The cheap ones are nice enough and will surely look good in pictures; but, they are not particularly memorable. The expensive designer bags are more elegant; but, at the end of the day, there is no hiding what they truly are and they will end up collecting dust at the back of my closet like old AYSO trophies. Help me!
Drivers actually stop their cars at the crosswalk for me. In La Jolla. This is a BIG DEAL! I mean, usually the mercedes or mini van just zooms by, ignoring mere pedestrians and even smirking at the idea that they would actually stop. But now at least 80% of people stop, and, of those, 30% smile. I wave and…you guessed it…smile nicely. And then I stick out my belly just a little bit farther so that they feel validated in their niceness for stopping for the pregnant lady.
Pregnancy “horse” pills go down smooth as vodka.
I have forgotten what vodka tastes like.
I lose my keys, sunglasses, and the book I was reading all the time. Also, I can’t remember words desperately needed to finish sentences. I hear this only gets worse. Awesome.
I had to tuck away my Lululemon workout clothes because putting on your yoga pants should not feel like you are squeezing into pantyhose.
I know where the maternity section in Old Navy is. In the basement, way back in the corner.
I bought a pair of maternity pants at Old Navy. I wish I had bought one in every color because they are the best pants ever!
I felt the baby kick! Yup, three little bam, bam, bams yesterday morning and more this morning! Loved it!
I was writing a post last night about baby stuff while watching stories about 9/11. It seemed so inconsequential all of a sudden. All the materialistic decisions that go into preparing for a baby reveal themselves superficial when you are watching the twin towers fall over and over again, and you realize that it’s just not steel, glass, and office paraphernalia turning to ash – it’s human bodies.
All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
And then I stumbled upon some photos I had taken several months ago.
Meet Brooke Sierra:
She’s my sister’s god-daughter and baby sister to my godson. Her mom had brought her over so that I could take some photos of her in her christening gown. In the Catholic faith, to which Brooke belongs, baptism unites one with Christ. As she grows and develops her faith in Christ, she will receive grace. Through this grace, she will find hope that, despite the evil that exists in this world, God will provide for His people. It’s the kind of hope I want my own child to have because without grace and hope little else matters when tragedy strikes.
You can stick it up on the fridge with an ABC magnet, pin it to your office board at work, or tape it to the hallway mirror. However, sometimes your child creates a piece of art that you know you want to keep forever and share with others. In that case, why not treat it like, well, art?
My niece is, in my totally biased opinion, an artist extraordinaire. She won a first-place prize for her painting of sunflowers at the Santa Barbara Fair. I absolutely loved it and wanted it for me, all mine to hang on my wall. Unfortunately, so did her mom, dad, and grandparents.
The solution was rather easy: scan, print and frame the painting. Here is how you can do all that and end up with a quality piece of artwork to adorn your walls at home or work.
1. SCAN THE PIECE OF ARTWORK
The solution for a piece of artwork that is 8.5″ by 11″ is pretty simple if you have a scanner at home. However, Kay’s painting was much larger than this, so we needed to use an outside service. In this case, her dad took it to Samy’s Camera. For $40 they took several photos of the painting that they then pieced together. They provided both the jpg and tiff files to download from their server. This was the result:
Samy’s Camera has several locations, including Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Culver City, and Santa Ana.
If you are live in the greater San Diego area, I’d suggest using Giant Photo Service.
2. PRINT ON HIGH QUALITY PHOTO PAPER OR CANVAS
The same place that scans your photo may be able to print it on high quality photo paper or canvas. However, my absolutely favorite printing service is Mpix. Their colors are outstanding and their prices can’t be beat. They have frequent 10%-25% discounts. In fact, the first time I used their services, I Googled for a discount code and found one here that gave 10% off on first-time orders. That was just enough to cover shipping :)
The way the cropping worked out, a 16″x20″ print turned out to be the best fit. The color print was only $15.99; but, I splurged and printed Kay’s painting on canvas for an additional $37.25. Within a week, it was delivered all packaged up safely in a big box.
* You can use either a jpg or tiff file with Mpix.
3. FRAME IT UP!
Most of the time, any standard frame that compliments the painting will do. Since I had ordered an odd dimension, my options were rather limited. I decided to splurge and had it custom framed at Aaron Brothers.
(Sorry, I could just not straighten out my photo worth my life! I blame the power outage yesterday, even thought it really has nothing to do with my photo-taking skills. ;)
As you can see, there are really two frames – orange and white.
Fortunately, Aaron Brothers was having their Buy One, Get One For 1 Penny sale and it was actually a great deal at $500. Kidding! It was only $300. I find it helps to ease sticker shock if you tell your husband how much more it could have been. Totally worked. Okay, kind of worked.
A FEW NOTES:
Make sure your kid signs the front of the painting or drawing. I realized all too late that, like most art done at school, Kay’s name and classroom number were on the back. It would be kind of neat to have her 7-year-old signature on the bottom corner of the print
If you are going to print the original piece of artwork, have your kid start out with a paper size that is conventional. That way you can have lots of options when it comes to buying frames instead of purchasing a custom frame. If you enlarge the art, be aware that choosing a somewhat random size may necessitate a custom frame.
Think about printing their work on cards or a calendar. Mpix has several card and calendar services. If your parents and in-laws are anything like mine, they love getting something made by their grandkids.
Take a photo of your child with their framed piece of artwork. It’s a fun and sentimental keepsake. They grow up so darn fast and all!