Sunday, March 30, 2008

My first home-haircut since 1987!

I was reading Daniel and Amanda Burts' blog about a week ago and he was describing how entertaining it was when his wife cut his hair. (This is the same couple who were on Oprah about a month ago talking about Freeganism.) I couldn't imagine myself cutting Jordan's hair, but I agreed it would be funny if nothing else. So I brought it up in the car one day. "Jordan," I said, "I was reading a blog that suggested cutting your hair myself would be a good way to save money. So I'll do it for ya later, okay?" I didn't expect him to say yes. He said "No really, you can cut it, and even if it turns out wrong I can just buzz it!"

The haircut was our entertainment this evening. It took me a solid hour, but I think I did okay for a first try!
My last haircut was in my bedroom floor when I was three years old. It was my own hair and it looked pretty ugly. I had just watched The Parent Trap, which ought to be rated PG-13. My mom came in and cried, "Jenny, what have you done?!?" and I said, "But Mama, I just wanted to look like Sharon."

I'm not planning to turn Jordan loose on my hair yet.

Friday, March 28, 2008

"Cheap" is not a compliment

I am having a sad day. This morning Vicky told me my favorite locally owned maternity clothing boutique is going out of business. This is the place I visited when my belly was gigantic and the ladies were so nice and helped me find clothes that fit. They were classy and polite and told me to take my time. They did not ask if I was having twins and didn't roll their eyes when I took armload after armload of clothes into the dressing room to try on.

Then today at work a new dad came in and picked up an adorable baby outfit. It was a dress with bloomers and a hat. He seemed to like it but then he saw the price tag. It cost $35.99. "Excuse me," he said. "Is this price tag right? Thirty-five dollars?" I didn't know what to say. "Yes. It's right." The company who made the outfit is small and they supply us with high-quality preemie clothing to meet the needs of even the tiniest babies. The clothes are made in the United States, and I feel confident that the people who make them are paid a fair wage. I cannot say the same for clothes you might find at... say... WAL-MART.

You can probably see now where this is going. There are many reasons not to shop at places like Wal-Mart and Target, but this one hits home for me. Last Saturday while shopping on the square in the town where we live, I went into one of my favorite shops and noticed a sign in the window. It urged passersby to support our local businesses before they disappear. Can you imagine how horrible that would be? People fall in love with our town's homey atmosphere and charm. You can go shopping and find handmade items, and also get to know the shop owners. It scares me that visitors are thisclose to coming here and finding a run-down square with boarded up shops with "for rent" signs in the windows. Wal-Mart may be convenient and cheap but do you really want to make it your ONLY choice? I certainly don't.

Back to the baby outfit. I know many of you might think $35 is a lot to spend on an outfit for a child. Just imagine this: You are sewing an outfit for a baby. You grab a large piece of paper and draw out a pattern for a hat, bloomers, and a dress. Fabric must be chosen, so you go to the fabric store and pick out a couple of yards (let's say you pay $10 for the fabric and notions). Then you go home, cut the fabric using a rotary cutter you bought for crafting, and then pin the pieces together. You lay them up on your $200 sewing machine and stitch everything together, and then do some of the sewing by hand as necessary. Three hours have gone by since you started, and it's time to get some card stock and put a price tag on your creation. What's the price tag going to say? Remember--you have sunk at least $12 into this already for materials and wear and tear on your equipment. If you sell the outfit for $35 that would mean you'd be paying yourself $7.67 an hour. That's not much for all your hard work--and you haven't even paid to market your product or set up shop yet! How are you going to feel when you are sitting at a craft fair with your handmade creations and someone flips the price tag over and says "GAH! That's highway robbery!"

WHY are people like this? I believe they have become spoiled by shopping at places like Wal-Mart and Target. You may be able to buy a similar-looking outfit at Wal-Mart for $5.95, but it's not cheap! You conveniently never see the adolescent girl in another country who slaved over that piece of clothing so you could save a few bucks, while she is paid so little money that if you saw it on the street you might not bother to pick it up. It was expensive to someone, even if it wasn't you. We are going to see, unfortunately, more and more local businesses shut their doors forever because of this avarice of getting a good deal.

I am guilty of this too. I am so ashamed of shopping at Wal-Mart the way I have been and it's not going to happen anymore. My goal is to only go to Wal-Mart when I need a specific item I cannot find anywhere else, and buy only that item. I want to cut back on my Target shopping too--we're taking this one step at a time. It's the right thing to do, and the Christian thing, I believe, to support local businesses and buy items we know people were paid a fair wage for making. Shop locally, buy secondhand, buy online! When you find yourself at Wal-Mart unavoidably, I challenge you to get what's on your list and GET OUT. You may be getting a "good deal" today, but we are all about to pay for it tenfold in the months and years to come.

P.S. I learned a lot and was inspired by this article (and this one too) from Wisebread. I encourage you to read them and set goals for yourself based on what you learn.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Rest of Suzi's Easter (in mostly pictures)

"You want some, Papa? It's good."

Whoa Nelly! Those are real eggs!

Look what the Bunny brought me!

I don't know how long they think I'm going to leave these shoes tied.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Baby's First Easter

Before you get confused at the way Suzi's looks have changed--these top two pictures are MY first Easter in 1985! I wanted to post a picture of her daddy at his first Easter, but we couldn't find one in time. He was cute though.

Here's Suzi after church Easter Sunday:

One thing stayed the same from my pictures to hers: the basket! I didn't want to buy Suzi a cheap plastic basket for Easter. I wanted her to have a strong basket which would not splinter and would be just the right size. And I had one--my Aunt Jeanie painted it for my first Easter. It just needed a facelift. I borrowed some white paint and brushes from my mom, touched him up, and now he's ready to go for another little girl! I was happy to see something old turned new for Easter.

Suzi went to the egg hunt at church Saturday. She was a little confused; she thought, what's the beauty of finding eggs if you can't stop to chew on them and knock them together? She didn't like sitting in the grass either. (This doesn't surprise me since she's certainly never seen any grass in our yard! She probably didn't know what it was!) Nana, Papa, Grandma, Grandpa, Daddy and I all enjoyed watching her anyway. Then we walked downtown for lunch, and there was even a parade which lasted about two minutes--the perfect length for Suzi! She met the Easter Bunny. After all that excitement she settled down for a long nap in the sunshine while she rode back to the church.

"Grass isn't scary, grass is our friend!" (Jordan and his mom, Deidre)

It was my favorite Easter ever. I have more pictures of her in her Easter dress and looking at what the Easter Bunny brought her, but I'll add them later in a separate post.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Upstate moms take note!

Here's what happened at the Upstate Kids Consignment Sale. This was the first time we had anything to sell since Suzi is only 9 months old.

1) We decluttered! Our house is less crowded without Suzi's rainforest swing, jumperoo, two bouncy seats, infant car seat, and a huge pile of clothes and assorted baby items. It is so cleansing to get rid of things you don't use!

2) We stocked up! Suzi is ready for spring and summer with all the clothes she could possibly need. We also got her an adorable blue dolphin swing for the backyard, some toys, and books. The half-price sale was my favorite! I got 25 items that day, and most of them were like-new clothing. It cost me $37.45. A great deal.

3) We had fun! You know how some guys like to go hunting? For me, I get what I'd imagine is a similar rush from shopping good sales. I volunteer at this sale every season for the privilege of getting in early. Then I run and grab what I want! You should've seen me when I was seven months pregnant bounding across the gym to claim Suzi's crib! It's so exciting. (I'm sure I'm not the only woman like this... Right???) Volunteering is fun too and you'll be working with other moms so you'll have lots to talk about.

4) We made money! Here's a little math problem for you. We spent $172.27 buying Suzi's new clothes, toys, and accessories. (And, I'm not gonna lie, a few things for ourselves. Jordan got a talking Yoda doll which now keeps him company at work.) We got a check for $211.45 plus $5.00 extra for referring another seller. We decluttered, got everything we needed and more, had fun, and made $44.18 doing it!

The fall sale will be in a few months, so start getting your stuff ready to sell! There are other consignment sales, but Upstate Kids is the most meticulously planned and organized one out there. Better organization = more money and great deals for you! Do me a favor and tell them Jenny Harmon sent you. If you have nothing to sell, just come and shop. You'll love it!

Dear Shorty,

Today you turn eleven years old. You chose me when I was almost thirteen and Mama and I were adopting a puppy for my birthday. You got so excited you peed all over the man's arm and we knew that meant something, remember? I almost lost you the day you chewed into an electrical cord, but Mama performed CPR and saved you. It was the greatest miracle I'd ever seen.

You have always been fiercely loyal to me. I remember one night I was mad at my boyfriend and before he came over I said, "Shorty, when ___ gets here, bite him for me, will you?" And doggone it, you did. You even protested my leaving for college by peeing all over the house while I was gone. All these years you have guarded the house dutifully from cable men and squirrels.

You helped me screen potential boyfriends. There were some guys you didn't like (who turned out to be jerks) but then there was Jordan. The first night you met him you curled up in his lap and went to sleep, as if to say this one's a keeper! Before long it seemed like you were his dog too, and a couple of years later we got married.

I know you deserved a much better mother than me, but I was still learning and you taught me a lot about parenting. Your little quirks and faults taught me patience and I think I'm a better mother to Suzi now because of you.

It's amazing how God put so much meaning into one little dachshund. I want to tell you this, but you wouldn't understand. All you know is whether or not someone loves you enough to spend fifteen minutes kicking a ball for you to fetch. I hope you got the message.

Happy Birthday!
I love you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Grandma's Rolls: 1---Mama's Potatoes: 0

Today I thought I'd give the potatoes and carrots one more shot. I took some out of the freezer at lunchtime and thawed it out for Suzi. I made sure there were no carrot chunks by putting it through the grinder and then added chicken broth and a tiny bit of salt. Well, Suzi ate it but she was crying and blowing snot bubbles the whole time. Mama's Potato Surprise is just a loser; what can I say? I told her she didn't have to finish it and gave her one of Grandma's rolls instead. That cheered her up.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Good landscaping makes good neighbors

I've been so busy lately I haven't been able to post! Last week I was getting our items ready to sell at the Upstate Kids consignment sale, and Jordan's parents came Friday night to stay for the weekend. Jordan and his dad, Steven, spent the weekend putting up our fence. They did a beautiful job (Steven is a professional landscaper). Neighbors passing by complimented us on it--a nice change from the nastygrams we were getting when it was only partly up! We also have two maple trees which will grow fast and the leaves will turn orange in the fall. We are going to have sod soon and flowers! No more red mud.

I went to the sale last night and did $100 worth of damage. We got a fold-up stroller for when I'm trying on clothes or something and can't have Suzi in a carrier. We also got her a backyard swing, some board books, spring/summer clothes, and a few little toys. I'm hoping some of our items will sell! There were over 20,000 items total. If your kids (of any age) need anything, you should go shopping. The public sale starts this Thursday from 9 am - 7 pm but first-time moms can register and get in tonight at 8:00.

While I was waiting to get into the sale I met a lady who had a great use for old t-shirts. She cuts them into strips, sews the strips into a long rope, then crochets them into rugs. It's especially good for shirts in bright colors, and they work up fast with a big hook. She said they also make good pads to lay under pizza stones so they don't scratch your countertops. And I thought old t-shirts were only good for wiping babies' butts!

Suzi has been cruising along the furniture and loves to eat Cheerios. (See video.) We spread a bunch out on the coffee table and when she's eaten them all she holds her little hands out as if to say where'd they all go? In this video she isn't cruising yet, but now she is. It was taken a week or so ago. Yay for Cheerios! They are cheaper than Puffs.

One more thing... Here's a picture of Suzi before the Weathers family reunion on March 2nd. We had her dressed up in blue for a change! Now my blog is all caught up.