Thursday, October 19, 2006

My yearly addiction has begun

Today I have come to the conclusion that I have a serious addiction. One that is somewhat costly, time consuming and gives me an instant thrill. Its called "Christmas Shopping".

I'm not talking about going out on November 24th and shopping till I drop. No, my problem is much worse. You see, sometime in mid September, I begin to feel this urge to search the clearance toy aisles at my favorite stores. I grab last minute deals and store them away for "future use". I get online and begin to research prices and ideas for the great gifts I might find for unsuspecting family members. Finally, I break down and open up my Christmas Shopping chart on my computer and begin to fill in those ideas, clothing sizes as well as delete or add gift-es to my list. It becomes my obsession soon after to find the perfect present and price so that I can put the satisfying "check mark" on my list. So far, I have every neice and nephew bought for but one, including the children I babysit.

Thats how sick I am.

Amazingly enough, my dear husband feeds into my addiction by admiring the "deals" I got on each item. Give me $20 and I can discover tremendous finds. Most of this stems from our lack of extra money for so many years. I had to find things as cheap as possible without looking cheap. The internet created a new world of discovery for me and with so many sites giving free shipping this time of year, it makes one less store I must search through. A lot of book clubs and cd clubs will offer tremendous prices if you purchase one item at full price so I will stock up on those type of things. Another great way I have saved money is to create gifts on my own. This year, I found a great deal on beanie babies and bought a bunch of them. Then I went to the store and found little baskets (on sale), some remnants of fleece for blankets (also marked down) and with some paint, scissors and a little time, I have a sweet gift for the little girls in our family. I also enjoy making personal gifts from our kids for the grandparents.

Though my addiction may seem more like a huntress stalking her prey, after Christmas it seems I settle back into my normal shopping patterns.

That is...

Until the January clearance come out in my size!!!!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Adventures in babysitting

Out of my own will, I took on a very important but very exhausting job of caring for toddlers in my home. I have two very cute 2 yr olds on different days of the week and both are like night and day. The first little girl I met at our church when her mom overheard me talk about babysitting. She was looking for a new sitter and we worked out a schedule that seemed to be ideal for both of us. She encouraged me to take her daughter on "adventures" and so we have fun visiting the pet store, playing at the mall and going to our weekly toddler story times at the library. She is very shy, but when she decides to talk, you are blown away! She can speak in complete sentences. She sings beautiful songs that she can recall from memory and will also tell you the names of all the Thomas trains. She loves to cuddle and watch cartoons as well as play with dolls and trains. She won't eat much, but loves French fries! I enjoy spending time with her.

Then there is two year old number 2. I have been sitting for her since she was 5 months old. I love her to death but she can take every ounce of energy from me in an hour! The other day, while I was in the bathroom for a few minutes, I came out to find her cleaning house with FLEA SPRAY! Somehow she had located it on the dryer, managed to get it down and proceeded to wet down everything in her path. There were two huge spots on the couch, drippings all over the TV, a large mess on the plastic toy bin and lots of spray all over her arms. I had to rush her into the bathroom and scrub her down and then go around and wipe up the mess. That was just the start! She went into every bedroom and shut the door. Sometimes she was in there pulling out toys and other times it was to trap our puppy, Zoey who would bark obsessively while she giggled. Poor little Zoey got kicked, hair pulled, toys taken away and held up by her neck. If the computer was on, this mischievous little girl would climb up on the chair and press all the buttons. Oh, if she had a banana I knew I would find the remains of it smashed on toys, the couch and probably Zoey as well! Thankfully this little ball of energy is only with me one day a week!

Though at times I wish I was doing a volunteer job at the school or working in a quiet bookstore, I feel very grateful that I am able to love on these little ones while their mommies are at work. I've worked in daycare and I know that they would never get this kind of quality time with an adult in any of them. I hope I can keep up the energy and enthusiasm to make these days for each of them a special memory.

I know they are creating them for me!