Things I like –

This face.

This face and that jacket.

Those eyes, that can’t decide what colour they want to be so they’re everything at once.

This headband (on both me and Devin).

These glasses.

Time on the lawn.

This watch.

This book because…

… it looks like this inside. Also because it cost less than $1.

Being able to live in a house that has a backyard like this.

This flower.

Being alone together at playgrounds.

$0.50 op shop pillowcase. (I’m, perhaps over-confidently, hoping to make it a t-shirt.)

$2.50 H&M baby girl top, also from op shop. (Noteworthy because there are no H&M stores in Australia.) (Shush, I might have a baby girl one day.)

$2.50 op shop Pyrex bowl. I also saw an incredible vintage vanity (with mirror intact) for $40, and a vintage sideboard/display cabinet for $20. If I had a trailer and a spare $60 on me at the time… *sigh*

This picture. Taz is almost 16 years old and she’s really showing it. We don’t have a whole lot of time left with her…

Clouds that look like this.

And this.

Awesome x cheap =

There are five op shops in this city (that I’m aware of, but I’m pretty sure that’s it). Four of them are practically next door to each other, the other one is slightly further away. I go every couple of weeks or so. Sometimes I’m looking for specific things, sometimes I want to scour every shelf and rack for anything.

My thrift stores (or op shops) very rarely have anything that is appealing to me, even when I squint my eyes and tilt my head. I found a small hand-knitted dog once, for 50 cents – that’s become one of my favourites in Devin’s little collection of stuffed toys. I bought a book that was fairly recently published (Starter For Ten) for 50 cents, too – it would’ve cost at least $20 in a book store. (It was ok, but not worth the shelf space for me – it ended up back in the donation pile a year later.) Years ago I found a totally ‘me’ skirt with the tags still on – originally $70, I bought it for $7. I also hit a bit of a bonus earlier this year with a bunch of mismatched floral plates for 20 cents each.
But let me say again, I go somewhat regularly, and those are my best finds over several years.

Today, though, I found this –

That’s some kind of crazy, wooden, revolving multiplication table, the likes of which I had never seen before!

My first thought when I glanced at it was that it was something to do with Bingo or Keno or what-have-you. Then I ran my hand over it and realised what it actually was. Then, incredibly, I almost didn’t pick it up. I thought, ‘oh, it’s times tables’, and moved my gaze on to the next item on the shelf. Then I thought, ‘Hang on – it’s times tables. That’s way better than a poster on the back of the toilet door!’
Jene and I are both words-y people, we’re not great with maths, so really – any help we can get, right?
It didn’t have a price sticker on it, but this was at Vinnies – it wasn’t like it was going to pulverise my wallet. When the lady was looking at it and considering how much to charge, I almost said, “Five dollars?” I would’ve paid more than that, but shh.
Before I could say anything, she declared the total for my purchases to be three dollars. Three. That was including a silly McDonald’s toy that Devin wouldn’t part with (that seems to happen a lot at Vinnies), and this book from 1964 –

I actually feel a little bit guilty, it was that unbelievably cheap. Gosh.

And speaking of thrifting –

Our across-the-road neighbours left this out for collection during the kerbside clean up, so I collected it. It needs a good sanding and better paint job, and it’s obviously missing some (structurally unimportant) parts, but otherwise it’s in good condition – Devin’s been using it to sit at the table on the deck and draw.

AND, at Target last week I was searching for a blouse to wear to my friend’s hens night – I found two tops for $35 each, deliberated for a few minutes before deciding on one, and at the register? It came up as $7.88. There was no obvious sale on, especially not for that much of a discount.
Now if only this good streak could extend itself to those two big optometrist bills…

Highs and lows

Up until recently, we’d been getting by with a handed-down high chair. It did the job ok, but it was broken on one side, and was far too big for Devin – the tray was too high and he always loosened the harness to the point of redundancy.

We found a high chair we wanted to buy months ago, but by the time we had the money to get it, they’d sold out. Everywhere. And I was pissed, because it was a high chair. That’s all it was. Just a plain old high chair.

I didn’t need it to have multiple height settings and multiple seat back positions.
I didn’t need (or want) it to have toys.
I didn’t need it to be brightly coloured, or have pictures all over, or be in the latest fashionable colour scheme.
I didn’t need it to have mounds of cushioning. Or in fact, any cushioning.
And I didn’t want to pay an exorbitant amount of money for something my messy kid was going to use for another year, maybe.

My choices were severely limited. Funny how the simplest designs are the ones that cost $400.

But then the Zuzu Luna came along, for $55, and stole my heart.

Look at it.
It’s simple. It’s a seat. It’s elevated. It has a tray. It has a harness.

That is all I goddamn wanted. It’s all Devin needs. Padding? He wears terry cloth nappies; his butt is the padding.
We would’ve bought the Ikea Antilop if we lived anywhere near a store, but we don’t.

Finally, last week, when we’d had just about enough of the old high chair, the Zuzu Luna was back in stock.
We bought it, we took it home, we put it together in two minutes, and I am still stealing little appreciative glances at it.
Added bonus – you can easily halve the height of the legs and remove the tray and footrest to make it a regular seat for toddlers.

It might seem like such a simple thing, but these little triumphs feel so good.

There’s a lot of crap to sort through in parenting, and that includes the choices you have with products. I am constantly bewildered by the vast amounts of unnecessary/ugly/overpriced things that are available for babies and children, and by the lack of simple, tasteful, affordable and useful items.
It’s nice when you come through something, however trivial, feeling accomplished rather than frustrated and defeated.

(Devin had a little something to add here – wwwwQQQQQQQQQQQQQQqqqqqqqqqqqqqssSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSWWWWWWWWW2 – which I think we can all agree adds tremendously to the discussion.)

All over a high chair. I know!

Green legs and fan.

Today,  Devin got some new pyjamas. Nothing special, but he seems to like the terry towelling fabric, which he hasn’t worn since he was very new.

First he admired his terry-clothed legs…

Then he admired the fan…

Then back to really examine those legs…

Then he started planning his move to grab the camera…

And then he got cranky and the jammie admiring session was over.

I also found two picture books that, admittedly, I mainly bought because I liked the illustrations. The Night Eater and Tree-Ring Circus. You might notice that on Amazon, they are thirteen and eleven US dollars respectively. I got them for eight and five Australian dollars, from a discount book store. Woo. (We once found a brand new, new release Jamie Oliver book there for ten bucks, as opposed to $40 at the Big W in the same shopping mall.)

The little master is asleep now, so he can look at his new books – from a safe distance – tomorrow. Hopefully they won’t incite a response similar to the last picture.