Sunday, October 30, 2011

REI Garage Sale

We love REI around here. Yes, it's pricey, but if you use coupons you can get killer deals, and if you buy full-price and are a member, you get a rebate at the end of the year of about 10%. Not to mention, nothing can beat their return policy! You can return anything, anytime, for any reason. You buy a pair of boots, wear them for five years, and decide they didn't last long enough? You can return it. Buy a tent, use it a season and the poles break (like ours did this year... unfortunately it was from Target)? Return it. You are paying slightly higher prices, but for such an amazing warranty it is worth it in our opinion.

Which brings us to: the REI Garage Sale. I went yesterday with my friend Austin sans husband and child, and we got some pretty amazing stuff for insane prices.

Exhibit A:

REI Siesta 35 Double Sleeping Bag

$66. It had been used ONCE. And whoever bought it decided it wasn't warm enough and returned it. We even went on a spontaneous camping trip with our new-ish Hobitat 4 tent last night. The sleeping bag was very, very warm. Not quite big enough for the three of us, so I ended up sleeping on my own in our single sleeping bag. The tent was huge, so much bigger than we were expecting, but really comfortable compared to our old Coleman tent. We paid about $130 for it a few months ago during a sale. With four of us who will be camping next year, we not needed a new tent out of necessity since our old one broke, but also for more space. It's harder to put up and requires two people, but there are few larger tents that are easy to put up.

Exhibit B:

Sorel Winter Boots

$6. No joke, they were that much. They are used, the bottoms are a little worn out, but still have a ton of life left.

Exhibit C, D, and E:

Five Fingers

All of these were in great condition, mine had been worn once! I paid about $20-25 for each pair. I thought they would be $50, so I originally only bought Tim one pair. But because we had been there so long (Austin and I were there for three hours), they had dropped all of the shoes by 50%. So, they were half-price. Awesome. I'm only bummed that I didn't buy the Dansko clogs I had grabbed earlier. I didn't want to spend $50 on them, but would have gladly paid $25. Oh well. Tim wears his Vibrams pretty much exclusively now for running, which he does every day. I'm going to wear mine for hiking and aerobics and just walking around outside with Theodore. I usually wear Tom's or my Simple shoes for walking and playing outside, but they are getting worn out really fast, so I'll save those for fancier occasions like work and church.

Exhibit F:

Deuter Kid Comfort II

We have been looking for a more comfortable pack for hiking with. Theodore loves being in Casey's backpack when we borrow it because it is a lot more comfortable than our Kelty one, and we wanted something that wouldn't hurt Tim's back. It holds a lot, is lightweight, incredibly adjustable, and we paid about $100 for it. Not bad...

I also bought Tim some warm long underwear for camping and running but I didn't feel the need to put those on here (they were only $4, ps). Austin got some pretty amazing stuff too, like a gorgeous down sleeping bag, more Five Fingers, a wet suit (for surfing in Seattle), and a sleeping pad. She also tried out her new gear with us last night (except the wet suit). She was extremely happy about her purchases as well. I really was looking for a nice warm coat for the winter (they didn't have much in terms of coats), but with the purchases at the garage sale we received a $20 coupon to REI, so I'll use that at the outlet to get a good price on a nice soft shell or down jacket. I was hesitant to go the Garage Sale because the last one was way overcrowded and we didn't find much, but was so happy I went to this one. We used the money from the sales of our bed and couch to fund our purchases. I would say it was a good decision :) Especially now that Tim has a new job... more on that later...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Disturbing Parenting

At the library the other day, there was a dad who had brought his daughter to story time (we also brought Theo and took some good pictures which will go up on his blog). The girl did not want to go to story time and just wanted to play on the toy computers there for the kids instead. The dad, who apparently thought it was vital that his daughter go to story time, threatened her with really horrific acts of violence if she didn't go back. No joke, no sarcasm. It was super disturbing. I wont quote him, but it was graphic and bloody. Listening to it made me and everyone else around uncomfortable, although it didn't seem to phase the girl.

What do you do in those situations? Cait wanted to go to a librarian, but by the time she found an  opportunity, the guy was gone. I wanted to confront him, but I'm always hesitant with confrontation and I wasn't sure it would do any good, probably just make him madder. Has anyone been in a similar situation and what did/would you do?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Yes, yes, we still exist

Life continues to be oh-so-blissful.... most of the time. Except when I have minor breakdowns of swearing in the morning when it's 7 am, I'm leaving for work, and I spill a large container of mashed turnips and peas on the kitchen floor. That sucked.

But.... I love fall. Love it. The anticipation. The holidays. The crunchy leaves, the cooling weather, the gorgeous hiking. It's been a good fall. I love busting out the large pot and cooking up batch after batch of veggie soup, bean soup, chicken noodle soup, lentil soup, creamy soups, while a fresh loaf of bread is rising in the oven. Mmmmm. I love the sweet potatoes and the turnips and the butternut squash and the apples.

I love knowing that each passing season brings us just a little closer to our next lifetime love. The more Theodore grows and learns and becomes independent, the more my maternal longing for a snuggly and sweet-smelling newborn increases.

Speaking of a fetus, this one is feisty. I'm convinced it is a girl, so until proven otherwise, she is a she. And she is awesome. She definitely has made her presence known for a while now. I felt movement at 15 weeks.... which is like two whole months earlier than with Theodore. I wasn't convinced at first because it just seemed way too soon, but alas. Move she has. Tim even felt a few good jabs this morning during a documentary on Islam that we watched in Theodore's bed while waiting for him to wake up in ours (we still are playing musical beds around here, you never know where you will end up! make life exciting). I'm kind of ashamed that I have not documented this little fetus like I did with the last, but I figure it is the sad, true story of subsequent children. There is just little time.  In fact, just as I typed that, Theodore came up to me wanting help on his iPad game I thought would entertain for the ten minutes I needed to write this post. Ahhhh, distraction.

As for my own personal exciting life, I took the GRE on Wednesday, did incredibly well, and am now looking forward to finishing up my personal statements and submitting my applications. All that's left as letters of recommendation, which I have already asked my three dear professors for, and my work there is done. Deadlines are in December, and I should know by March-ish where we'll be heading next year. And I'm so ready for moving on to our next great adventure.

Future climber

At the park

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dear Atticus,

You are becoming so quirky and ridiculous it would be a shame to not document. Every day, you crack us up with your shenanigans, and while you may not be the most well-behaved child, you are certainly one of the most endearing.

At two years old, your favorite meal is stroganoff. You devour the mushrooms and beef chunks. The first time I fed it to you I was floored.

Your favorite foods are probably peaches or scrambled eggs. You also devour those.

You love letters, especially signing them. You've got a good handle on signing R and A, and you can identify M, R, O, P, T, S, A, B, C, Z... and maybe some others. You are really good at making the sounds for M, R, O, and S whenever you see them. You may not say many words yet and the pediatrician may think you're autistic, but we're ok with that because we know how secretly brilliant you are. You get super excited whenever Rachel from Signing Time comes on and signs letters. We play it over and over again and you sign right along.

You also love playing with other kids--your best friends are Alice and Annabelle--and you are (and have always been) crazy about going to nursery. We think you are very securely attached, and we like that. You love being watched by other people, and while we know you (kind of) miss us, you rarely show it. It makes for easy date nights for mom and dad (though we rarely take them). You still get upset though when mom or dad goes to work or school.... you like having the whole family together.

You still can be a rotten sleeper, and don't fall asleep on your own. Most nights we don't mind reading and cuddling with you until you fall asleep on your mattress on the floor. But other nights... we wish you would just lay down and not take an hour to fall asleep when we are tired. We have found that if you are well-fed than you tend to sleep at least 8 hours straight, which is pretty awesome in our book.

You hate getting dressed or taking off your clothes. Sometimes you love baths, sometimes you think if you get in you might DIEEEEEEEE. You love climbing, especially rock-climbing in the canyon. I wonder how small they make rock-climbing harnesses and helmets...

You think babies are perhaps the most awesome invention ever. You are fascinated by them and always go crazy signing "baby, baby, baby" whenever we see them at the park or church. Hopefully this will continue in the near future.

You are still nursing a few times a week. We've cut down quite a bit now that mom is achy and pregnant, but you like it so much you ask for it every so often and I oblige you. I think the end is near though, which breaks mom's heart.

We think you're great, in more ways than one.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why I cancelled my Kindle Fire order

I was super excited for the Kindle Fire. I love my Kindle, probably too much, and I also love our Ipad, though not as much. The combination of the two seemed like a great idea. Here's what changed my mind:

No way to link a keyboard. I like to be able to treat our ipad like a laptop sometimes by connecting the wireless keyboard and doing some good typing. It doesn't seem like there will be any way to do this on the Kindle Fire.

No microphone, so I couldn't use it to record things instead of typing them. It also doesn't replace a digital recorder for classes like I hoped it would.

Hand in hand with that: No camera, so no way to skype while I am in DC (more on that in another post).

I know that these features are all taken out to get the price to $199. But I realized that without these features, I wouldn't use my Kindle Fire for hardly anything. The screen is a little too small to make it a good replacement for home mobile browsing and no 3g doesn't make it a great mobile solution either. My regular kindle has a very slow but functional wifi web browser that I can use in emergencies. I wouldn't read books on it, because the e-ink kindle is so much nicer than a screen to read on when I am on the go. I have an ipod for music and audiobooks. So really, the only thing I would use the fire for would be occasional web browsing and watching movies and tv shows that I go to the trouble of transferring or streaming, and again, I would rather do that on the bigger Ipad screen. Watching movies on the go isn't something I really want to do anyway, it seems too plugged in if you know what I mean.


This post from mnmlist pretty much sums it up. I don't need it, so why buy it. The Kindle has simplified and enhanced my life in a meaningful way, I just don't see the Fire doing the same. Sometime, I need to write a post about our meager attempts at Minimalism and how much more I'd like to do of less.

And finally, Financial:

We are poor college students. We don't have $199 to toss around. We did buy a nice mac and an Ipad, but that was after a lot of thought and looking at other options. This just didn't make the cut as useful enough for the cost.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Theo pictures

Up on the other blog. It's very early, but Theo wants to be up. So I will blog.

Summer endings

Some recent photos of Atticus as we try to get caught up.

Theo cloth diapers

Classic life

Theo used his new ipad app to surround himself with friends

And to put a banana, an upside-down yellow hat and Curious George on his face

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Recent Pictures

I haven't blogger here nor there for a while, but here are some recent pictures: they might do with some explanation, but just consider these catchups and maybe I'll do better next time.

A more meaningful fast

In the LDS church, we are asked to fast once a month, meaning we abstain from food and water for 2 meals and give the money that we saved on not eating to the church to then give to the needy. Read more about this here. I just wanted to share something that has made my fast more meaningful. I don't at all advocate this as necessary or even beneficial to all, but just to suggest it as something that has been meaningful to me. I also don't want to suggest that I've moved past "regular" fasting. I still struggle with regular fasting, a lot. But here is something that has helped me to add meaning my fast and focus on the real reasons for it.

The last four or five times I've fasted I've tried to fast from more general consumption. I'm not consuming food or water, so I thought I'd avoid other forms of consumption too, and try to have it as a day where I focus on creating. What that has meant in practice is mainly avoiding consuming media, although I also have avoided shopping or other forms of entertainment while I'm fasting. I'm a big media guy. I don't watch too many movies, but I do read a lot of books, news and listen to music and audiobooks frequently. Giving those up, while it should easy, has proven very difficult, but rewarding.

I think the main benefits are that I have a quiet space in my life and my mind to contemplate where I am at and what I am fasting for. I think creation is such an important part of life that I often miss out on by consuming too much. Creation, for me, takes a wide variety of forms. Writing this blogpost is creation, while reading other blogposts would be consumption. Cleaning the house on Saturday night (or sometimes on Sunday, when there is a need) creates a more peaceful and mindful atmosphere in the home. Spending time with my family creates bonds that will last. All these things and others are what I like to focus on while I'm fasting from consuming.

Some caveats: I do read scriptures and other church materials while I'm fasting, but I try to focus on what I am supposed to become from reading, rather than just the stimulating and enjoyable act of consumption reading that I do otherwise.

So, what do our readers do to enhance their fasts (if you fast) or how have you found room in your life for creation? Leave a comment, if you please.