Thursday, September 25, 2008

Selling baby stuff

Heather and I recognized early before having Anna that baby stuff has a demand during resale. When we had a neighborhood garage sale one year, we had several people just simply ask if we had baby stuff and those people quickly moved on once they found we did not. Raleigh even has a gigantic consignment sale twice a year just for kid's stuff called Kid's Exchange.

One of the amazing things is how much good hand me down stuff people pass down from one another considering this resale value. At the same time, if you don't have anyone to immediately something down to, I guess you either end up keeping it for a second kid or selling it. Some people keep it for no real good reason, but logically keeping it only for a second kid makes the most sense. Today, Heather put up one of our first resellable items on Craig's list. With kids only 18 months apart, we didn't have long til we started reusing things.

The first thing that was outgrown is the single jogging stroller. After Madelyn was born, we quickly became a five stroller family. 2 jogging strollers (one single, one dual), 2 umbrella strollers (one single, one dual), and a travel system stroller. The double jogger is all that gets used, so for the past 5 months the single stroller has been taking up space and gathering dust. So, Heather put it up on Craigslist today. I am impressed that we (specifically she) got it out and ready to sell so quick.

Next, Madelyn is close to outgrowing the bouncer and swing. After that, we have an exersaucer that is a hand-me-down that we will need to return and a jumperoo that will be able to be passed down and sold. Its nice that since we don't plan to have a third, we feel like we can part with all of these treasures. Its also nice that if there isn't a good place to hand them off to, we can easily sell them at a garage sale or at the Kid's Exchange.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Heat in September? No way

Here it is, September 20th, and we have the heat on in Raleigh NC. Now, normally we never would have turned it on so early but today we had some exceptional circumstances. It was in the low 50s outside and a high of 71, so the house was a nice mid to upper 60s. However, Heather and I are both sick with something nasty which causes us to be cold plus we can't stay huddled under blankets when we have a 23 and 5 month old. Thats why the heat was turned on this morning, so that Heather and I could be comfortable in our sweatshirts and jeans without a blanket.

So, this fever is a lot like one Anna had on our car ride back earlier this week from Pittsburgh. For Anna and I, it manifested itself as a slightly upset stomach and a fever. For Heather, she ate the wrong thing which made an upset stomach go sour. Anyway, our weekend plans now are to try to survive while the kids still have plenty of energy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

product recalls

So, I subscribe to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's email list for product recalls. I never cared much before Heather was pregnant with Anna and I thought I should monitor it. Typically, that means 1 email each week with anywhere from 1-5 products in each email. Today, we got the second recall for a Simplicity branded bed, which is the brand Anna used. The first was a bassinet last week and second was this Simplicity drop side crib. Here is an article on it from Reuters. The bassinet led to the death of two infants and the crib has led to 9 injuries, no deaths.

To me this is very scary since we own a Simplicity Ellis Crib for Anna. We like this crib and have recommended it to friends...but this is the type of thing that makes you want to never recommend a product. What if I has recommended the bassinet to a friend whose child was killed or the crib to a friend who got injured? Not only that, but I think its a reminder that our kids, especially at these very young ages, are so very fragile. We don't think normally we could die while sleeping because our bed kills us.

Anyway, I highly recommend subscribing to the consumer recall email list...I doubt it will cause any pain or discomfort.

Blog profiles

So, I updated my blog profile to not list this blog any more. It seems sort of silly since anyone could find this pretty easy using Google, but I am using my blogger ID to blog for work on another blog and would prefer that people are not directed this way when thinking it is another related blog.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Road Trip

This past weekend our family had planned to head to Columbia, Maryland to visit my dad at his house. However, our family suffered a loss last week when my 37 year old cousin (Mom's brother's son) passed away so our plans were changed and we needed to go to Pittsburgh. Heather and I thought breaking up the trip by going to Columbia for one day would work well and it did. It was about a 5.5 hour drive included a 1 hour stop in Richmond for lunch at Chick-fil-a, playing, and hitting Ukrops. As soon as we got there, Anna saw the horses across my dad's driveway at his neighbors. So, we went over and saw them:
Petting the horse at Opa's house
Petting the horse at Opa's house
We also played indoors quite a bit:
Anna and Opa had matching fun toys
Opa, Anna, and Maddie
And checked out my dad's backyard wilderness:
Opa and Anna walking in his back yard

We then headed to Pittsburgh on Saturday around noon. This took about 4.5 hours with a 20 minute break in Somerset, PA. In Pittsburgh, we stayed at the Residence Inn in Cranberry which was very near to where I grew up and within a mile of where I lived my one year out of college living in Pittsburgh. We ate at a couple old favorites within walking distance of the hotel, Quaker Steak and Lube as well as Primanti Brothers. Here is my yummy Primanti Brother Sandwich, ham, bacon, egg and cheese. Of course, Primanti's puts fries and slaw on each sandwich as well:
Primanti's sandwich

We spent 2 nights in Pittsburgh with my mom, sister and her family. My niece Tori (6.5 years old) and Anna (2 years old) bonded and Anna would cry when Tori left every time...nearly inseparable. Here are some pictures of them together:
Anna with her cousin Tori
Anna and Tori
Anna and Tori coloring
Tori and Anna with their cups Opa gave them

In the end, we got some family photos together as well. Here is one of Heather, Madelyn, myself, Anna, Kristal, Tori, and Chris,
Heather, Madelyn, Erik, Anna, Kristal, Tori, and Chris

And here is one of Oma with her three granddaughters:
Oma and her girls

Monday we did the 8 hour drive home with 3 stops (accumulating another hour) making the trip 9 hrs. We did it partially while the kids were awake and some asleep. On the trip home, Anna started having a fever and was whiney most of the time. We are not really ready to try an 8 hour trip anytime soon again, but the 4-5 worked well. Here is a map of the route we took:

View Larger Map

All said and done, we spend about 18 hours on the road in 92 hours (Friday - Monday) and hit 5 states.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

In a new place but want to take a run? Map it out first

I was in Phoenix this week (again) and awake at 3:30 AM Phoenix time. Not wanting to just sit around for 3 hours, I decided I wanted to take a run. Not knowing the area...I wasn't sure where to go for a good loop near the hotel. So, I pulled up Gmaps Pedometer, looked up the hotels address, and double clicked a route until I had the distance I was looking for. Here is the relatively small 2 mile route I made all mainly through a residential neighborhood behind the hotel. It was a nice run, but I needed something to tell me what would be well lit. Unfortunately, the route selected has almost no street lamps and I was running in the dark. It would be nice to find a "safer" route...not sure there is an easy way to do that.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Photo Booth

Anna loves taking pictures these days. A little while ago she figured out we could take pictures with our laptops, being a Mac family (yes, even my work laptop is a Mac at IBM) now, using a program called Photo Booth. Here are some snapshots we took Sunday while playing with Photo Booth.

Playing with Photo Booth

Playing with Photo Booth

Playing with Photo Booth

Playing with Photo Booth

Monday, September 08, 2008

Brady goes down -- Fantasy Football

As expected, my fantasy football team lost its quarterback. After two straight years of McNabb getting injured I drafted a QB late and ended up sticking with a healthy Garard who I picked up through free agency. This year, against my better judgement I drafted Tom Brady because he was the best available pick...and look what happens. I figured at the time that if a QB had to get hurt as is the curse of Erik's fantasy team, it may as well be from a team I dislike. :-) I did however pick Favre as a backup in the draft...let's hope he doesn't get hurt also.

Picking Tom Brady almost caused me to lose a friend but I explained to her that Brady would get hurt. Check this out..on September 1st I told her Brady would go down and Favre would arise as my backup...I guess I may have lost a Fantasy Football season, but hopefully I kept a friend ;-)

High School Reunions

Heather and I went to her 10 year high school reunion on Saturday. It reminded me that I wasn't able to go to mine since it was over Thanksgiving. I appreciated that hers was on a non-holiday weekend, allowing those whose families were no longer in the area and those who were in the area to come.

Anyway, Heather enjoyed her reunion. I sat back and people watched most of the night which is something I had not done in a long time. It was interesting to see how the people still grouped so easily into those friend groups that they had one been in. On total, very few people talked to me but what I heard most often was how great Heather looked. She tried to say it was "great for having had a kid four months ago" but in reality the comments were how she looked as thin and attractive she looked not to mention the fact that she just had a kid. Here we are all dressed up for Heather's reunion before leaving our house:

Heading to Heather's high school reunion

Before the reunion we ate at the excellent restaurant Parizade. Coincidentally, it is owned by the class president's father which gave me fuel for one of the three short lived conversations I had. :-) The food was great at Parizade and I would recommend it.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Chinese food

Last night we had Chinese food for the first time in a while. For the first time, we decided we would order something for Anna off the menu. They had a chicken fingers that were like the sauceless sweet and sour fried chicken pieces. Dinner went well, Anna even tried and liked the wonton soup. Madelyn didn't cry but needed held most of the time. It was nice to get out to a sit down sort of restaurant.

When I was done with my food, Anna wanted my chop sticks. After I minute of trying to figure them out, she stabbed a piece of food without our prompting and starting eating the stabbed food. We have a cute picture on Heather's phone of it but my cheapness (PictureMail costs $5/month and you can't do it ala carte) combined with Heather's phone having no microSD slot means we won't get the picture off her phone. :-(

The good news is we had plenty of leftovers for lunch today from the meal last night, so I handed Anna my chopsticks once I was done and Heather grabbed the camera. Anna did it again, first she tried to figure out how to use the chopsticks:
Using chopsticks

Then she just stabbed the pear slice she was trying to get:
Stab it and eat it

Daddy's girls

I had some fun floor time with my girls this morning right after are some pictures Heather snapped.
All the Girls Love their Daddy
Morning Storytime at Home
Morning Storytime at Home

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin's speech

In case you missed VP candidate Sarah Palin's speech last night, you can listen or read it here without any bias, commentary, etc.

Here is an interesting part I saw about her opinion of Barack Obama:

I've noticed a pattern with our opponent.

Maybe you have, too.

We've all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers.

And there is much to like and admire about our opponent.

But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state Senate.

This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word "victory" except when he's talking about his own campaign. But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed ... when the roar of the crowd fades away ... when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot — what exactly is our opponent's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger ... take more of your money ... give you more orders from Washington ... and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world. America needs more energy ... our opponent is against producing it.

Victory in Iraq is finally in sight ... he wants to forfeit.

Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay ... he wants to meet them without preconditions.

Al-Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ... he's worried that someone won't read them their rights? Government is too big ... he wants to grow it.

Congress spends too much ... he promises more.

Taxes are too high ... he wants to raise them. His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan, and let me be specific.

The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes ... raise payroll taxes ... raise investment income taxes ... raise the death tax ... raise business taxes ... and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

She is growing up...

As my wife blogged about today Madelyn is growing up and rolled over today for the first time. Here is my favorite picture cause it shows that self confidence she has :-)
So happy

Monday, September 01, 2008

Family Photos

Happy Labor Day! I hope you all have a relaxing day with your family or friends. We had a fun night yesterday having our friends Derick and Emily over for dinner, dessert, and to have some fun. Derick grabbed our camera and took some great family shots of us. Here is my favorite:
Family PIctures

And some outtakes:
Family PIctures

Family PIctures