Sunny got a gift card for her birthday, and since she loves all things High School Musical, mostly because her sister does, she picked out Troy and Gabriella dolls. And these things haunt me. Well, Troy does. He's scary.
Gabriella, she's okay, her boobs aren't even too big:
Her main drawback is that she came with a necklace and a bunch of teeny tiny bracelets that are, of course, removable, and therefore lose-able, which Sunny does several times a day. I've even fished one out of the vacuum cleaner. Then there's the shoes, one of which was lost outside in the grass within three hours of her coming home, never to be found.
But Troy? He's hideous. Observe:
That hasn't stopped Sunny from playing with them, stripping them, of course, but it sure has given me nightmares.
DC Metro Moms Blog is participating in a Topic Day with all its sister blogs. Hop on over and check out some great posts about education, be it public, private, or homeschool. Also, watch this space tomorrow - you never know what you might find.
Two to three times a year we gather up the little fishies and take an excursion to go shoe shopping at the outlet stores about ten minutes from my in-law's house. It's a good excuse to visit them and actually get something productive done in the process. There is a Stride Rite store in the outlets, and while it is not a full-service store they have all the tools necessary to make it so, and since my first "real" job was in a Stride Rite (oh, the stories) I go in like I own the place and fit my kids in good quality shoes for a fraction of the cost. It's funny, because pretty much every single time we go up there for shoes BigDaddyFish says "Tell me again why we are driving 40 miles for shoes?" and then we get up there, get our shoes, and the cashier says "That will be $130" for five pairs of shoes and he says, "Oh, yeah, that's why."
At any rate, we did that this past weekend, and here are Nemo's new shoes:
And Little Man's:
And finally, in all their "Mommy, I want RED shoes" glory, are Sunny's:
In case you are wondering how I added up four kids and got five pairs of shoes, Sunny got an extra pair of white leather velcro shoes for when the red ones just aren't appropriate or Mom and Dad get tired of tying them, whichever applies. But so far I can't get her to wear them.
I'm sure somewhere my mother is laughing that Sunny picked shoes that she was forced to wear as a little girl fifty-some-odd years ago.
Okay, so I'm not a cheapskate, but I hate having to buy my kids new clothes - they're just going to grow out of them. Unfortunately, there's only so many handmedowns that we can accomodate, and we have 9 huge rubbermaid containers waiting for smaller kids to occupy the clothing. But we do have oldests of each sex, so we have issues here. Occasionally we'll get some handmedowns from generous neighbors or friends, but for the most part our kids are the same age/size as the oldest siblings in our friends' families. So, over the course of the last two weeks I've been sorting through Trout's and Little Man's stuff to see what they needed. I made lists. I checked them. I decided the bare minimum we could get by with. And I waited.
Maryland is having a tax free period right now. And I had a 20% off Carter's coupon.
My in-laws live quite near to the outlets in Hagerstown, Maryland, where they have a stride rite outlet. Twice a year or so we go traipsing up there to buy shoes for the kids, but only when they all need them, and more than one pair. Every time we go up there, BigDaddyFish says "Tell me again why we are spending so much gas to go to Hagerstown for shoes?" Well....
An average of $20 LESS per PAIR of shoes for the same shoes as in the mall is the answer.
So, we trek up there today. Due to the tax amnesty, the place is mobbed. But I can deal, I guess, because I'm short and have a lot of practice winding in and out of people. Trout needs buckle shoes (we used to call them school shoes when I was a kid), Little Man and Sunny need sneaks. I used to work in a Stride Rite store for my first real job, a long long time ago, but still remember how to wield the scales. I measure up Little Man and Sunny, and then BDF and my FIL and I each take a kid. The numbers:
2 pairs of buckle shoes for Trout (okay, so Daddy's a softee, she only needed one but we liked one and she liked another, and the prices were right so he let her get both)
1 pair of sneakers and 1 pair of buckle shoes for Sunny - she'd gone up a full SIZE AND A HALF (no wonder she took the damn things off all the time)
1 pair of sneakers for Little Man
Now, before I give you the grand total, I have to remind you that we live in one of the more expensive and status conscious places in the country. I am not wealthy nor status conscious in the slightest, but I DO want quality construction that's going to last, so we've learned from experience that Payless doesn't really work for us - the kids trash them before they outgrow them (they grow really slowly, except Sunny). A lot of times things are just more expensive here than other places for the same damn items, solely because the market will support it. Anyway, 5 pairs of Stride Rite shoes during tax amnesty time equals:
Yeah. Way back before kids when I still wore a size 4 1/2, I used to spend that much on ONE pair of shoes because Nordstrom was the only place that had adult shoes that small. Victory Number 1.
Next, I had a fairly extensive list of clothing that they needed, and I intended to get as much as possible at Carter's. I won't bore you with the sordid details of Little Man's total meltdown in the store, but I will give you the numbers:
3 pairs of pajamas
2 pairs of sweatpants
2 pairs of jeans
1 button down shirt
4 regular long-sleeved shirts to wear with pants, play/school shirts
1 pack of 3 side-snap t-shirts for the baby (why are these things so damned hard to find anymore??)
1 puffy vest thing for Little Man (BigDaddyFish's idea - it matches Little Man's shoes)
1 "play" dress for Trout (she loves dresses, and wants to wear them all the time, for play time, and most of her stuff is too fancy and I try to keep it nice for church/special occasions and won't let her wear them)
Again, the grand total here, I think, is astounding.
I don't think I've EVER bought that much stuff for that little outside of a thrift store. I've never had this positive an outlook after back to school shopping ever. It makes all the damn fees the schools make us send in, plus the supply lists (tissues and soap and napkins and paper plates among them) a little easier to take. Now, due to the meltdown, Little Man still needs a couple pairs of sweats, and I think a fall jacket, but I can come by those pretty easily at Target or Walmart or even a consignment shop, so I consider myself pretty much done.
If I keep this up, I might be able to earn myself a Longaberger basket at Christmas.