Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mark's Double Digit Day

As frightening as it may be for his parents, Mark has turned 10. He has grown into quite a young man. This year was a little bit of a deviation from normal birthday celebrations as we were in the Outer Banks on his actual birthing day, so he got to open his presents 5 days early so that I would have an excuse to not let him bring legos on vacation. So he opened gifts at home and we celebrated the actual day with cake and ice cream at the beach. We are pretty lucky to have him in our family. When he wants to he can be a superbly helpful and sweet boy. So without any further ado, here in living color is our very own Double Digit Preteen.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Birthday Princess

My oh my has the time flown! It feels like only yesterday we brought this little angel home from the hospital and here we are celebrating her 1st birthday. We tried to keep the number of gifts low since kids this age are usually happier with the cardboard box containing the gift. . .
. . . and well, she clearly thought the paper was for licking.
Now I get the satisfaction of her chewing on the toys and not the wrapping paper:)
No, she wasn't overwhelmed by the, ah, "help" her siblings provided.
Though she was a little unsure of what the large and dark thing was we gave her to eat, it didn't take long . . .
She really enjoys the feel and taste of different textures.
One of her gifts was a toy that I always thought was tons of fun for kids. Don't tell her but they now only manufacture bumbleballs to market for pets. So yes, I bought my infant a dog toy, but she really, really likes it!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Spider-Froggy-Scooty Crawl

Eliza has always been very happy to just sit back, relax and watch everything going on around her. Eventually though, she decided that the whole moving thing looked fun. Personally I think she has a fear of falling on her face, but whatever the reason here in all its glory is Eliza's very unusual crawl.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Conclusion of Shopper Mom's Adventures

The idealistic promise of 1 day shipping, was almost more than Shopper Mom could bear. It seemed too good to be true! Could it be? Could the infamously elusive box make it here with only one day of processing and one day of shipping? As Shopper Mom checked email and the Walmartwebsite religiously her hope waned. It continued to predict a delivery date farther into the future than she could believe. Would there be no end to this madness? Little Blue Eyes began to feel the loneliness of not sharing a room, while Skinny Princess longed for her own flower covered walls.

It was a long and lonely day of waiting on the edge between hope and despair. Shopper Mom feared that the promises of the desk employee at Walmart would prove faulty. Then out of the swirling dark, a ray of light appeared. Her near constant email checking finally bore fruit. Indeed the processing time was over at last! The website registered the beloved box as having been shipped! With trembling fingers full of anticipation Shopper Mom clicked the link to Track this Order. As the Hallelujah Chorus filled her mind, she read the beautiful words, Shipped FedexPriority Overnight. Ahhh, the peaceful relief filled her soul with the affirmation that the box wasguaranteed to be on her doorstep by 4:30pm the next day. Hope gleamed brightly in her eyes as she informed dear sweet Skinny Princess that tomorrow night she would have her bed. SP replied with "Beeeeedddd!" The joy was evident in her beaming smile.

The last email/computer check for the night revealed that the box was in fact in transit from Kankakee, IL. With peaceful thoughts of bed assembly Shopper Mom drifted softly to sleep. The next morning the package tracking continued. From Illinois, our box stopped in Indiana before heading out to Richmond. By 9 am it was on a truck and out for delivery! With feelings of certainty Shopper Mom and the Team ran their morning errands, even though the chances of the box arriving before 4:30 were slim. Then to everyone's surprise a few minutes before 12, there was a knock at the door. Sure enough the box had arrived at long last.

After a few quick preparations, Shopper Mom and the Team opened all three boxes to reveal beautiful white bunk bed parts. Each was in perfect order with no scratches or other imperfections. Everyone pulled together to help. Shopper Mom, Skinny Princess, Electro Boy, Creator Kid and the Yellow Comic each carefully moved numerous wooden boards upstairs. The different pieces were sorted into SP's bed and LBE's future bed. Little Blue Eyes' bed was put into storage and between Shopper Mom and Skinny Princess the new bed was assembled in about an hour. A second hour saw the completion of the room with toys and books finding their proper places. The joy was full for all as the room was completed. It had been long, long journey with many hopeless moments, but in the end they had overcome the Incompetence Drone once and for all! Emerging victorious, Shopper Mom, Cool Dad and the whole Team felt the joy of a purchase finally completed.

Little Blue Eyes demonstrating her super cuteness standing in her bed skills.

The much anticipated new bed.

Buster Brown expressing the joy of his new digs.

Skinny Princess overjoyed to be in her new bed, in her old room, and happy as can be.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Adventures of Shopper Mom, part 2

We find our heroine where we last left her, disappointed and downtrodden in the Customer Service area of the local Walmart.

"I'm sorry Ma'am, but the box just isn't here, It's probably on the truck and will get here tomorrow. You should call after 1pm, to see if it's here." They broke the news as gently as they could. She felt optimistic, and lovingly escorted the two boxes she did have home to the cozy garage to await the arrival of their final component. It was during the storing and examining of the two boxes that Shopper Mom realized that the one that was missing was the box that had arrived first, all by itself, a full 7 days ago. That being the case, surely it wasn't on the truck, but somewhere in the store. She detected the odious scent of the evil Incompetence Drone. But it was late and since nothing more could be done, she went to bed.

The next morning Shopper Mom and the Team were heading home from battling the Evil Mouth People, when they decided that stopping by Walmart was a good idea. Surely the missing box was in the store since it had arrived over a week ago. They marched in there sure of their common sense logic. The Walmart employees looked high and low, and Shopper Mom resisted the urge to insist on looking herself, or telling them to try looking with their eyes open. After all the missing box had dimensions of 7x10x80. How do you lose a 7 foot box?

To no avail, they once again left empty handed with the promise that someone who was more likely to know where the box ended up would call that evening. They went on about their day. After a few hours, Shopper Mom realized that in her haste to remove the Team from the store, she had given them her name and number without the area code. Feeling sure that they would not be able to contact her she called them. There was a great deal of angst as she tried to explain the situation to someone new and panic overtook her when the lady on the phone offered to refund a portion of her payment and then Shopper Mom could reorder that part. She quickly explained that as the box was part of a set of bunk beds, she would not be able to reorder the missing part on her own and the lady understood. Shopper Mom was assured that the someone who knew more would in fact call, just later in the day. With exasperation and chagrin she hung up the phone and tried to concentrate on other things. As the evening drew near, Shopper Mom's agitation began to increase due to the fact that she had not received a call from said Walmart employee. Then shortly before her patience ran out, the phone rang! Walmart, at last! Her joy was soon shattered as the voice on the other end of the line informed her that regardless of their best efforts of searching high and low, the box was nowhere to be found. Frustration now took over as the man on the phone offered to refund the price of the box, just as the lady had earlier in the day. Shopper Mom quickly explained why that was a most backwards idea and he offered that she could call and talk to a manager the next day. Feeling defeated she acquiesced and retired for the evening.

With much anticipation and high strung nerves Shopper Mom dialed the phone. Asking to speak to a manager, she went on to explain once again the pickle that she was in through no fault of her own. He told her he would personally track it down and call her back within the hour. A spark of hope flared up as she sullenly agreed. In the interim she and the Team began their day, and tried desperately to focus on the task at hand. A mere 30 minutes later the call came. The box had been found! The joy was exceeding and the gratitude profuse. In a moment of haste Shopper Mom placed LBE in the pack and play with strict instructions for Buster Brown and the Yellow Comic to get dressed, whilst Electro Boy, Skinny Princess and Creator Kid strip beds and fold laundry until she returned from the desperate mission. She flew through the roads to the store. Once inside the Elderly Greeter Man told her that no one would be back to the Customer Service area for at least 15 minutes. This would not do! She hunted for a manager, someone with authority exceeding that of the EGM. The manager was found and the box was placed on the cart and happily wheeled out to the car. She drove home hurriedly full of anticipation for bed assembly upon her arrival. Once safely in the garage, she carefully removed the box from the car and set it on the garage floor. Immediately she realized there was a problem. Shopper Mom had made a terrible mistake. The box rattled with the sound of metal striking metal. O Horror, she thought, but my beloved bunk beds are made of wood. Sure enough upon further examination she discovered that this box was NOT her box.

Unbelievable! Insurmountable! Outrageous!

This box was a brass bed frame for one Kim Palmer. What were the chances that two people had issues with site to store bed orders at the same time. No really, what are the chances? It's got to be like one in a thousand or something!

Feeling crushed she entered the house. Action was needed, but food was needed first. Little Blue Eyes needed a bottle and Shopper Mom in her haste had neglected to feed herself this morning as well. Sustenance was inhaled and plans were laid. She and the Team would storm the store and sort this out once and for all. No more phone calls, no more pointless trips, this would be resolved today! They piled into the Shopper Mobile, and were on their way. Upon arrival, they managed to enter the store with minimal damage to property or life. (You try maneuvering a 7 foot box on the back of a cart through doors that are only 4 feet wide while keeping track of 6 Team members.) The one salvation for Shopper Mom was the employee working at the desk who had previously been a party to this particular issue, so thankfully less explaining was needed. Managers were called, discussion was had. The desk employee called the website people and after 40 minutes of discussion and Shopper Mom reminding the Team to stop running around the Customer Service area, a solution seemed on the horizon.

A new box, the right box, would be sent. But when? and How long would it take? The questions burned on her lips while the desk employee skittered back and forth between the computer and the phone. Absentmindedly, Shopper Mom noted how terribly inefficient it was to have the phone and the computer twelve feet apart. Nonetheless success was imminent. Shopper Mom learned that in order to right this great wrong, the missing box would need to be entered into the computer as received and found wanting or broken. It could then be returned and a replacement box would be shipped as swiftly as Walmartly possible. When she received the information that the computer system would need about 2 hours to process and recognize the return, she opted to remove the Team from the pandemonium that was nearing.

Once safely retired to the secret lair, they waited with baited breath for the phone call that all was well and would bring the joyous news of the box's departure. Shopper Mom picked up on the second ring and followed the instructions to electronically sign an affidavit acknowledging the return of the nonexistent box in order to move forward with the release of a new box. Emails were sent, and speedy delivery was promised. In the meantime, Shopper Mom and the Team scurried off to Skinny Princess's piano lessons and a very brief trip to the park, per the request of Creator Kid for great waiting skills during the morning's excursion. All that was left to do was wait and check email, then check the website and wait some more.

Though victory seems near, Who can tell? Will the bed arrive? More Importantly, will it arrive soon? and Will Skinny Princess ever feel the joy of sleeping in a real bed again?

This and more on the next adventure of Shopper Mom!

The Adventures of Shopper Mom

This is the story of Shopper Mom and her courageous team of Shoppers in Training: Electro Boy, Skinny Princess, Creator Kid, The Yellow Comic, Buster Brown, and Little Blue Eyes.

Together they strive for sanity and simplicity in the dangerous realm of Purchasing.

One day Shopper Mom noticed that Buster Brown was having a difficult day. Hmm, she thought, perhaps he's not getting enough sleep. This continued for several days and when checked in on at night BB was never to be found in his bed. His first choice of accommodations was usually snuggling into the extra large sleeping area designated for EB(Electro Boy), though he did on occasion bunk with SP(Skinny Princess), and with Shopper Mom and Cool Dad. He even resorted to collapsing for the night on the floor. After some deep and introspective conversation, Shopper Mom and Cool Dad deduced that BB needed a bigger and better bed.

The Search Was On!

They looked high and low on every website that Shopper Mom could think of, while still keeping the price in the ballpark of "not crazy'. Finally she narrowed it down to four options, which she naturally entered into a spreadsheet for pro/con and cost comparison viewing. Once again she met for deep discussion with Cool Dad and the Bunk Bed Solution was chosen. A new set of white bunk beds would be bought for the current and future use of SP, and LBE(Little Blue Eyes). The chosen set was purchased on using the ever savvy site to store option.

A few days passed.

As the bunk beds which were shipped in three separate boxes began their journey to the destination store, Shopper Mom felt certain enough to purchase the next piece of the Solution, a mattress for BB. The chosen item was checked out online with Sam's Club's very nifty buy online and pick up in store option. Since Cool Dad was away on Top Secret and therefore uberimportant studying time, Shopper Mom was obliged to bring the entire team for the retrieval of the mattress. Despite the hardship of a 40 min drive with a mattress over their heads, Electro Boy, Creator Kid and The Yellow Comic survived the lack of breathable air, while Buster Brown, Skinny Princess and Little Blue Eyes handled plastic flapping in their faces so that BB could have a new bed to sleep in. The boys room was rearranged and cleaned and in no time at all BB had a big boy bed which was very comfortable.

All was almost well in the Shopper household except for . . . the new bunk bed set. Despite Shopper Mom's certain feelings all did not go as expected. Six days after ordering 1 of 3 boxes arrived at the destination. With all good intentions of saving gas and time, Shopper Mom let it sit and wait until the other two boxes arrived. Days passed. Email was checked, repeatedly. Again and again she checked thinking surely by now they will have arrived. After all how does a one hour drive take 2 days? How many coffee and donut stops do these guys need anyway? While her agitation ratcheted up a notch at a time, SP passed the nights on her lonely mattress on the floor of the boys room. In the beginning it was exciting and fun, but after a time the fun began to fade.

Eventually, (okay about7 days later) the much anticipated boxes arrived at their destination and cried for retrieval. Being always ready to roll Shopper Mom strapped up and headed out into the dark at 9pm on a Monday evening. She maneuvered deftly over the twisting and turning roads, always on the lookout for the occasionally suicidal deer who try their best to impede any trip at all. Before long she found herself safely at her destination. She proudly presented her paper to claim the much planned for boxes. They were here, the store guys assured her, they just must have been put in the back. No problem! she exclaims, I need to buy some diapers, I'll meet you back here in 5. Diapers were bought and a few other odds and ends(this is Shopper Mom you know), and she returned to find not three but two boxes waiting for her. As her spirits sank, she worried, disappointed but unaware of the nightmare before her.

What will happen to Shopper Mom? Will she find the third box? Will Skinny Princess be doomed to sleep on the floor forever? Or will Buster Brown be forced to bedless again?

Tune in next time for the exciting conclusion, same Shopper Mom, same Shopper Blog!