Costco: what we buy

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As I think I've mentioned here before, some of my favorite blog posts are the ones where you get to peek in on the minutia of other people's lives. Show me the inside of your purse, your medicine cabinet, your fridge...I'll eat that up. And I know I'm not the only one who enjoys that, so I try to give as well as I get and put those types of posts up here at WINOW now and again. My favorite, obviously, are posts that show what I shop for. What I can't figure out is how it has taken me this long to do one about Costco.

Costco seems to me to be a controversial subject among a lot of the people I know. Some people (Mark's parents come to mind) LOVE Costco. Others think it's a scam of some sort, or that you just end up spending more money than you would otherwise. I think it's probably some of both. It's a place you need to shop at carefully to maximize savings (just like anywhere else). I can't say that I actually do that. There are definitely some staple items we buy at Costco that are cheaper there than they would be elsewhere, but there are also things we buy there out of convenience. That said, I think our membership ends up being worthwhile, and I generally am very impressed with the quality of the products we get.

The trip I am showing you here is fairly typical, in that it's a mix of things we always get and things that caught my eye (I am a terrible impulse shopper, a habit of which I have been trying to break myself for years). I'll indicate what is what when I run down the prices.

Here's the haul:

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What are you seeing here?

-Sweet Potato Terra Chips, $3.59
These are a sometimes buy--I love them, but my store doesn't always have them. At $3.59 for the big sized bag, they're definitely cheaper than they'd be elsewhere. I think the small bag costs about that at Target, and more than that at our natural grocery store.

-Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Tortilla Chips, 2 bags, $5.99 each with a $2 each instant rebate
These are absolutely one of our Costco staples, and if they ever stop carrying them, I'll cry. They're my favorite. The cost of $3.99 for a big bag is great, too, as a small bag is that much or close to it regularly, and that's if I can find thes--my Target doesn't carry them.

-Pacific Foods Organic Free Range Low Sodium Chicken Broth, six pack, $11.59
Another staple--Mark likes to make his own chicken stock, but it gets used fast when he does, so we always have these on hand. At $11.59 for six cartons, the price works out to about $1.93/carton. That's about the same as the Wegman's price ($1.99 each), but I don't always get to Wegman's, Target doesn't carry this kind, and it definitely costs more than that at the natural grocery store.

-Kirkland Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese, 40 oz, $7.49
This is something I haven't bought before, but I've been going through 8 oz bags of Mexican blend shredded cheese like a mad woman, as I have to feed my nacho addiction. $7.49 for 40 oz works out to about $.19/oz, which would make an 8 oz bag $1.52. I can't remember the last time I saw one for that little, they're usually 2/$5 on sale. That makes this a good buy. It's a lot of shredded cheese, but it's freezable, so that's all good.

-Nutella 2-pack 26.5 oz jars, $9.89
I have probably waxed nostalgic here before about my absolute love of Nutella. At Big Lots, the 13 oz jars are $3.25--$.25/oz. These jars are 26.5 oz each, or about $.19/oz. Plus, I don't run out as fast.

-Jif Creamy Peanut Butter, 2-pack 48 oz jars, $11.79
Another staple, though this one is all Mark. I honestly have no idea if this is a good price or not, because we've been getting PB at Costco forever. It works out to about $.12/oz, though, which seems like a pretty reasonable price.

-Brita Filters, 10 pack, $41.99 with $8 instant rebate
I haven't bought these at Costco before either, so I don't know how good a price this is. However, I suspect $3.39/filter is pretty good.

-Sabra Pine Nut Hummus, 32 oz, $5.99
We buy this a lot, either at Costco or elsewhere. I know some people think it's crap, and some have political issues with it, but for mass produced hummus, I really like it. From what I've seen, $5.99 for 32 oz is a great price. The little 10 oz size is $3.69 at Wegman's.

-Proscuitto, 12 oz, $12.89
So obviously a bit more than $1/oz is a great price for proscuitto. This stuff isn't great proscuitto, but it's certainly edible. We buy this pretty often. Mark prefers getting fancier stuff, but I think this is a good compromise between quality and price.

-Kirkland Marcona Almonds, 17.63 oz, $7.99
We haven't tried these before, but at $.45/oz for Marcona Almonds, I figured they were worth a shot. I suspect, like the prosciutto, they'll be a more affordable compromise on the really fancy (and really expensive) kind.

-Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix, six count, $9.99
These are another long-time Costco staple for us. I'm a pretty good baker, and my homemade brownies are not as good as the ones these mixes make. Six mixes for $9.99 puts them at $1.67 each, and I am quite sure I can't get them singly for that. In fact, I don't ever recall seeing them under $2 each, even on sale.

-San Pelligrino, 12 750ml bottles, $12.89
These are a one-time buy, because my not-FIL drinks this stuff like...well, water...and they're visiting soon. I have no idea how much it generally costs, but a bit over a buck a bottle seems reasonable.

-Old Dominion Root Beer, 24 12-oz bottles, $13.99
Another of our staples. Bottled root beer is the only soda Mark likes, and this is the best local stuff we've found. I'm not even sure I can get it by the case anywhere else, but I'm sure it costs more than $3.50/six pack, which is what this works out to.

-Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, 5 pack, $7.89
Crescent rolls are another thing I am going through at an alarming rate recently. I discovered that (duh!) I could stuff them with things (like Nutella!) before baking them, and now I can't stay away from them. The Costco pack works out to $1.58 for each tube, which is less than the $1.99/each sale price I've been paying at Target.

-Carter's Baby Halloween Costume, $12.99
Obviously a first time buy! The same costume is on sale right now on Carters' website for $10.99, so I guess I overpaid slightly for this impulse buy.

-Kerrygold Irish Butter, 3 8-oz bars, $6.85
I haven't bought this at Costco before, but saw it today and thought of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and grabbed it. It worked out to $.29/oz, which seems like an OK price.

-St. Louis Pork Ribs, $2.79/lb
We always get these lately. The quality is really good, and though the package is huge, it can easily be split up and frozen. They're conventional, but I have a hell of a time finding sustainably farmed pork anywhere anyway, and sometimes you gotta compromise.

-The Original 2-Bite Cinnamon Rolls, 31.5 oz, $6.99
No excuse for this--total impulse buy. This is what happens when you shop when you're hungry. But it's not like they won't get eaten.

-Superior Cake Products Brownie Bites, 48 oz, $6.89
See above. I always talk myself out of buying these. Today I gave in.

-Applewood Smoked Bacon, 4 lbs, $14.89
Bacon is a staple food at my house, and it's getting expensive. We prefer the applewood smoked kind. I have no idea if this Costco version will be any good. However, it's $3.72/lb. The Trader Joes' version is $3.99/12 oz, or $5.32/lb. Wegman's is $5.99/12 oz, or $8/lb. So this seems worth trying.

-Organic Chicken Thighs, $3.49/lb
These are another staple. Chicken thighs are better than breasts, in my opinion, and these feature heavily in my occasional cooking. They're mass market organic, but they are organic, so I guess that's something?

-Mini Tri-Colored Bell Peppers, 2 lbs, $4.49
These are another thing we've been getting at Costco for years. They're conventional, but they're really good, and you can't beat $2.25/lb for colored bell peppers.

-Artisan Lettuce, 3 heads, $3.59
This is a fairly new addition to our Costco shopping list, but I've been really happy with the quality and how well the lettuce lasts when it's packaged this way. $1.20/head seems like a good price, too.

And that brings me to the end of my receipt.

So hit me with your comments! What should I be shopping for a better deal on? What great Costco things am I missing out on? Do you shop at Costco? What are your staples?


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Thoughts of the inadvertent SAHM

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The other day, Rita Arens wrote a fantastic post over at her blog, Surrender, Dorothy, about her husband's unemployment. Go read it, then come back here, OK?

Wasn't that good? It made me think that maybe I should try to get a few of my feelings about my current unemployed status out there in bloggy format, too.

I got laid off. While on maternity leave. I'm not going to go into details, because going into professional details here would be dumb, but suffice it to say that yes, in this instance it was legal. What happened had absolutely nothing to do with me personally--it was a corporate rules issue that came from far above any of the team I worked with--but that didn't make it not sting, or make it not feel like I had been betrayed while I was vulnerable. I had fully intended to return to my position when Buzzy was eight weeks old, and, instead, I found out when he was three weeks old that I didn't have a job to which I could return.

Now he's almost sixteen weeks, and I still don't. I'm looking--sending the three queries or applications a week mandated by unemployment insurance and then some--but, so far, nothing has panned out. I haven't even had a real interview, though I have had a few phone interviews. Most of what I've applied for is stuff I haven't been all that excited about, but a few things sounded like great matches for my skill set, at which I would be really good, and none of them have called me back.

I am, oddly, not that upset about it. I'm sure long-time readers will recall that the last time I was unemployed, it made me a little bit nuts. Circumstances were better then, too, as far as not having just birthed a dependent. But this time, I feel very calm about it most of the time. I feel sure I'll find something else in good time, and in the meantime, I'm really enjoying the time this allows me to spend with Buzzy, which I would not have otherwise had. Yes, it's a strain financially, but when I add the amount of unemployment insurance I'm getting to the amount we're not paying in daycare, it's not that big a strain. It wouldn't add up long-term, of course (for one thing, UI is only for six months), but for now, it's working OK.

I am, however, bothered by not being more bothered. I don't think I realized, until I wasn't working, just how much of my self-definition is tied up in being employed. Not in what I do specifically, but in myself as a wage earner, as someone who gets up and goes to work every day. Even though I am in many ways busier and more engaged now, as the primary caregiver for an infant, than I have been in many (if not all) of my paid jobs, I still feel lazy. I feel like a leech on my partner, and on society. I feel guilty for not working. And even though I know I didn't do it "on purpose," I feel like I somehow chose not to work and that I am letting myself and perhaps all of womankind down by being, however unwillingly, a stay-at-home-mom.

I didn't expect to be in this position, obviously, but even if I had imagined it, this is not how I would have expected it to feel. I enjoy being home with my baby much more than I would have thought possible (though I suspect this would not hold true long term). I'm not bored. Though I look forward to going back to work, and especially to being an earner once again, I am not nearly so anxious as I expected I would be to slip into a non-mommy primary identity for 40 hours a week. While staying home for these first few months has not made me wish I could stay home long-term, it hasn't made me yearn to go back to work as soon as possible, either. I have been, and at this point remain, surprisingly content both with being home with Buzzy and with the idea that soon (hopefully!) I'll be leaving him in professional care and returning to work.

It has been helpful, in some way, not to have the responsibilities of a job complicating things as I've made the shift to this new identity as someone's mother. On the other hand, though, I worry that this ease comes at the price of sublimating my previous identities, including the wage earning identity that turns out to have been so important, to my new role. Obviously, all of the issues surrounding parenthood, and especially motherhood, and work are extremely complex and very controversial. I can't quite yet tease out how my perspective has been altered by this experience, but I sense that it has.

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In October, I received three different subscription boxes meant for babies/parents of babies. Since the models of these three programs are so similar, they seemed to me to be screaming to be compared. And I'm just the blogger to do it!

Stork Stack

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Stork Stack's October theme was "Imaginative Play." The stack included:
-Box Play for Kids Caterpillar sticker, est. value $5
-My First Green Toys Twist Teether, est. value $10.50
-Blueberry Pecan Kind Plus Bar & Madagascar Vanilla Almond Kind Nuts & Spices Bar, est. value $1.50 each
-Tinie Dinies Topsey Squeaker, est. value $12
-The Harmonica Pocket Apple apple CD, est. value $8.99

Total est. value: $39.49, or 141% of cost

This month's Stork Stack box was the last of my three-month subscription, and I won't be renewing. Though Stork Stack's are meant to be tailored to the age of your baby, only two of the included items (the teether and the dinosaur) are things my baby is going to be able to play with anytime in the near future. The caterpillar box sticker is cool, but meant for a much older child, as is the CD, and the Kind bars are just an odd addition all around (and why two of them?). At the same time, the caterpillar sticker is the only part of the stack that seems to me to be in keeping with the "imaginative play" theme. For the price tag of $28/month, I just expect a bit more than this box delivers.

Teetheme

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Teethme's September theme (the box came at the end of the month, so I am putting it in with October's other boxes) was "Teethers on the GO!" The products were:
-Itzy Ritzy Snack Happened Reusable Snack Bag, est. value $9.99
-WarmZe Small Starter Kit & Large Starter Kit, est. value $16.95 each
-MAM Learn to Brush Set, est. value $5
-pbnj baby Paci Wipes, est. value $4.95
-$5 gift card to Plum District; and $10 gift code to ecomom

Total est. value (w/o gift cards/codes): $53.84, or 224% of cost

Teetheme is currently out of commission, which I learned before I even opened this box. I have no idea whether they'll be back or not. If they are, I may give them another try. I liked how the products in this box were in keeping with the theme and were useful things, and I especially enjoyed the Itzy Ritzy bag. However, I thought it was really strange that I got both the large and the small sized WarmZe kits, and I wonder if that was just done because there weren't enough age-appropriate items and the box value would have felt too low without the extra one? I thought the box could have used a toy or something interactive to round it out instead.

Citrus Lane

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The theme for the Citrus Lane box was "Fall Fun." It included:
-full-sized tube of BabyGanics Healin' Groovy balm, est. value $7.99
-Little Taggies by Taggies mini blanket, est. value $9.
-Munchkin Soft Shaker, est. value $6.49
-Little Spider from Chronicle Books, est. value $6.95
-DHC Deep Cleansing Oil Mini, est. value $4.99

Total est. value: $35.42, or 142% of cost

I thought this was a great box. Every item in it was/will be useful, and while nothing was over-the-top fantastic, none of it was junk, either. The theme was only loosely followed (not sure how the taggie blanket or the munchkin rattle are fall-centric), but I appreciated that everything was age appropriate to my 3-month old baby--Citrus Lane claims to tailor their boxes to "age and stage," and that was definitely true for this one. I also liked the little "mom treat" of the DHC oil, which I'm interested in trying out. Citrus Lane subscriptions are $25/month, so the value was decent, if not fantastic. I'd get this one again.

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Window shopping: Target

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Back in June when I wrote my "Window Shopping: World Market" post, I intended for it to be the beginning of a series of posts about stores I dig. Then, end stage pregnancy and new parenthood swallowed me whole. Now that I am peeking out from under my pile of laundry and pacifiers and diapers, I'm picking the series back up again, and what better way than with one of my favorite stores, Target!

I realize my love of Target is a yuppy cliche, and I'm OK with that. I just dig the hell out of the Target aesthetic. While I don't think Target is really all that for bottom basement prices, I think a lot of the stuff there has style. Walking the aisles is fun. So, my sidekick and I took a stroll through a couple of our local stores recently and snapped pictures of a few things that caught our eyes (well, my eyes--he mainly napped).

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Mara-Mi Notecards, 20 count, $7.99

I'm a stationary sucker in general, and I liked nearly all of the Mara-Mi stuff they had at my local Targets, but these bird-themed greeting and thank you cards were my favorite (I know, "put a bird on it!"--such a Portlander). Mara-Mi isn't a brand I was previously familiar with, but their website tells me they're a Minnesota company, new to Target as of last spring.

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Kid Made Modern Colored Pencils, $5.99 and $7.99

Kid Made Modern is a line I've been noticing and appreciating at Target for a while now. The company was started by Todd Oldham as a response to art programs being cut in schools and focuses on "celebrating creativity and fun through information and inspiration." What that means, as far as the art supplies available at Target, is that the line is heavy on creative project kits and well-packaged simple supplies. There are tons of cool things available (and if I ever find the Charley Harper Paint-by-Number set in a store, you can bet it is coming home with me), but my eye was most drawn to the simple tubes of colored pencils, available in mini sizes for $5.99 or regular size for $7.99. Colored pencils are so versatile, and you can't beat this packaging.

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Up & Up Office Supplies, various prices

One thing I appreciate about Target is that their house brands, including Up & Up, are often just as stylish as the outside labels they bring in. The color-coded office supplies in the Up & Up line are my favorite--bright colors, great patterns, and everything coordinates. It makes me want to have a nice, clean, colorful desk. As you can see, they're all on sale right now, too, though I don't remember it being a particularly good sale.

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B. Toys Bristle Block Stackadoos, $19.39 ($17.49 online)

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B. Toys Pop-Arty! Funky Pop Art Beads, $21.39 ($17.49 online)

Toys is a new section for me to be interested in, but when I walked down those aisles, the B. Toys caught my eye right away, mostly because B. Toys uses a color palette that is not generally found in toys, especially toys for small kids. They're also really careful about their packaging, both for visual and environmental reasons. These bristled stacking blocks and pop beads seem like they'd be great fun for open-ended play, and some of their larger toys, like the Zany Zoo Wooden Activity Cube, looked great as well.

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Threshold Embroidery Linen Arrow Decorative Pillow, $24.99

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Threshold Bulldog Bookend Set, $19.99, currently on clearance for $13.99

Threshold is Target's newest in-house housewares collection, and from what I am seeing of it, I like it. The pieces tend towards the classic and understated, and there's not a lot of color, but there is a serious touch of whimsey--like the amazing bulldog bookends that I really, really want to buy. As is often the case with these sorts of collections, I prefer the detail/accessory pieces to the large textiles, but it's all pretty nice.

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The Curiosity Shoppe at TargetĀ® Gift Box Set, on clearance for $7

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The Curiosity Shoppe at TargetĀ® Ceramic Measuring Cups - Set of 4, clearance for $10.50 online, $7.50 in store

The Shops at Target thing has drawn a lot of criticism, including criticism from me. However, I think this last go-round is better, and I'm a particular fan of the offerings from The Curiosity Shoppe. There is a lot of cute stuff in the collection, and it's all on clearance right now. Two of my favorites are the gift boxes and measuring cups (I am such a huge sucker for measuring cups). I didn't see any at my local stores, but I really like the tea towels, as well.

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Lunchskins2 Reusable Sandwich and Snack Baggies, $9.99

I love the bold graphic prints on these sets of reusable snack and sandwich bags! They're made by Lunchskins by 3greenmoms. The original Lunchskins are USA-made, but I haven't been able to figure out if the less expensive Lunchskins2 that Target carries are also USA products or not.

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Merona Felt Cloche Hats, $16.99

Merona is one of Target's oldest house lines, and I think sometimes it gets a bad rap. Sure, some of the clothes and accessories can lean towards the stodgy, but some, like these colorful felt cloche hats, are right on the mark. There were several colors available, all with slightly different finishings, and I liked all of them. I was also impressed that at $16.99, they were 100% wool felt!

To close, I have to call out Target's clearance. Sometimes, I am irritated by it, as 15%-30% off doesn't really mean "clearance" in my mind. It's always worth checking out, though! On my latest trip, I ran across two end caps full of picture frames marked 30% off--in reality, they were all 60-75% off! I got a ton of nice, wood frames, some as large as 11X14, some with mats, some from the Thomas O'Brien Vintage Modern collection, for $3-$5 each. You have to look at each store, though, as only one of the three local Targets I frequent had this deal on. At the other stores, the same frames were only 20% off. The same goes for watching the online versus in-store prices--things are quite often priced differently online and at the brick and mortar store, and the lower price seems to be just about equally likely to be found in one place as another. If there is a method to this madness, I certainly like to know it. Anybody?

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Baby clothes, bargain through boutique

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So one thing about having a little kid is that you are never not clothes shopping, at least as far as I can tell. Buzzy changes sizes approximately every three weeks, so we need a constant influx of clothes. We've been very lucky so far to have met almost all of our clothing needs with hand-me-downs, but we may soon be coming to the end of that (that's what happens when your kid is off-the-charts large). Obviously, my first choice is to thrift all of his clothes, but I know we'll be buying some new stuff as well, and even thrifted, I do look at brands. And, over the course of just three months, I've developed some definite brand preferences. Since these preferences run the gamut from bargain to boutique, I thought I'd share them with you.

Bargain

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Small Wonders Infant Boy's Hat, T-Shirt, and Pants--Tractor, $16.99
I mentioned this in a previous post, but for good, cheap baby clothes, I don't think you can beat K-Mart (note that this does NOT hold true for their bigger kids clothes, which look, at least from what I can tell, to be horrendous). Specifically, there are two lines, Small Wonders and Miniville, that we've had great success with. Our K-Mart clothes have so far all been hand-me-downs, so they've been through a set of twins before Buzzy, and everything has held up spectacularly well. At full price, the outfits, like the one above, aren't THAT cheap, but sales come often and clearance stuff gets very cheap. Basics are also really inexpensive, with good quality onesies costing only a few dollars and really cute sweatshirts and pants available for $5-$7.

Another spectacular bargain is one I have to thank my friend Jenny for turning me onto--YogaColors. YogaColors is the same stuff as American Apparel (the tag even says American Apparel), at a fraction of the price. I've mentioned our love for American Apparel's baby karate pants before--YogaColors has the exact same thing, in all the same colors, for $5-$6/pair. They also have American Apparel's baby lap tees for $5.

Mid-range

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Carter's Puppy Love 3-Piece Cardigan Set, $15

Carter's, I think, is the standard by which all other baby clothes should be measured. They're a classic for a reason. Reasonably priced (and with wonderful sales), good quality, and such cute stuff. I love how many of their little boys' lines are animal-themed, and I love that they are lines, with lots of mix-and-match stuff. We got a very generous big box of the Puppy Love line, shown above, as a gift and I have used the heck out of it--everything in it goes with everything else, and it makes it so easy--especially when traveling. My only complaint about Carter's is their silly reliance on shirts that say things like "Mommy's All-Star" or "Daddy's Best Bud"--we avoid those. Another great thing about Carter's is availability--besides Carter's stores and Carter's outlet stores, their stuff is also found in all of my local discount stores (TJ Maxx, Marshall's, Burlington), and, I recently found out, at Fred Meyer in the PNW. There is also the less expensive Carter's line at Target, though I am less of a fan of that one.

Higher End

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Tea Collection Baby Boy's Infant Hockey Bot Five Piece Set, $128

There are a lot of higher end baby brands, and a lot of them have really great stuff--for a really high price. I can't imagine paying full price for any of it, honestly. However, there are definitely brands that I look for at thrift stores, on Zulilly, etc. Tea Collection is probably the foremost among these. I love the aesthetic of the collection--lots of retro feeling stuff, patterns, fun graphics. The pants are a bit small-waisted, but I think Buzzy is already thinning out through the middle, so I don't think that is going to be a problem. Tea Collection also has really beautiful boxed layette stuff--great for gifts.

Another higher end line I love is BabySoy, specifically the fantastic animal-themed Janey Baby line. Again, great for gifts, and they're my go-to for friends with new babies.

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Zutano Baby-Boys Infant Foxtrot Hoodie Screen Long Sleeve Tee And Pant Set, $81.50

Finally, I have to mention Zutano. I love Zutano. Bright colors, cute patterns, soft cotton--just about perfect. The sizing is whacked out, though--the lower end of the range is really small, and then it starts running large.

Who have I missed? I'm thus far underwhelmed by Gymboree, Children's Place, and Target's baby clothes. Any other great brands I should check out?

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Letter to Buzzy #4: How's my driving?

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Dear Buzzy,

We have got to decide on a new blog name for you. Buzzy just doesn't work at all with who you are shaping up to be. Maybe I should use one of our real life nicknames. Do you prefer Porkins, Squish, or Big Chief Little Weasel? Your Grandma Penny calls you Puppy; I suppose we could use that.

You're three months old, so I'm finally getting around to writing your two-month letter. Looks like this may be a project on which I am perpetually behind. Since your third month is almost up, I can barely remember what I wanted to write that was second-month specific. Let's see...

Your second month was August, and it was pretty warm. You spent most of it with me, at home, in just a onesie and a diaper. We watched a LOT of TV--House, The Tudors, The United States of Tara, Weeds, and Rescue Me. We went for walks with Daddy and Ata. One day, we got caught out in a downpour and were all soaked by the time we got home, which you seemed to enjoy. We realized, sometime this month, what a big little boy we had, and the doctor confirmed this at your two-month visit, when you weighed in at 15 lbs. 3 oz. and were 25" long--both in or above the 95th percentile for size.

We got a baby swing during your second month, and you took to it right away. Many days, you napped for hours in it, which made being home with you all day and attempting to look for a job quite a bit easier for me. You also just got to be more fun to hang out with--more smiling, grunting, flailing, and sleeping, not quite so much eating and pooping. We settled into a routine, and I started feeling a little bit less like a mommy imposter and more like I might, someday, figure out what I'm doing.

Towards the end of your second month, I started taking you places. Mostly, we went shopping--we didn't buy much, beyond groceries and stuff, but we went to lots of stores. At first, I put your car seat directly into the shopping cart, and then we got a stroller caddy for the car seat--much easier! You were really good in stores right from the beginning, often sleeping through whole shopping trips and almost never crying.

These early shopping trips were probably a bigger learning experience for me than for you. Not only did I have to learn how to manage you outside our safe house (not as hard as I'd expected), I also had to come to terms with being a mom in public. This feels a whole lot like wearing one of those signs that trucks sometimes have on their back ends--"How's my driving? Call..." Everybody has opinions and judgments for parents, especially moms, especially new moms, and even when people aren't judging, it feels like they are. It's really hard not to feel like you are doing everything wrong. I'd glance around nervously if you made the slightest peep, afraid you were disturbing somebody and they were going to yell at me, or at least glare. Were they clucking at your pacifier? At me using a stroller rather than a sling? At your clothes? Luckily, this stage didn't last too long, and after a half dozen trips I stopped worrying quite so much. I don't think I started actually being comfortable until Month 3 (which I will try very, very hard to write about sooner rather than later), but by the end of the month I was closer.

I think it was sometime during the second month that I started to realize that you are an exceptionally mellow and "easy" baby. You eat well, you sleep well, and you very rarely cry for no reason. You don't even fuss much. I was warned of a bad spell at the 8-10 week mark, but you didn't have one. Sure, you have an occasional more trying day (or night), but in general you're an absolute joy to have around. I really, really like being your mom.

Love,

Mama

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December 2012

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