If you know, you know.
As in … you may be panicked Santa isn’t going to be able to find one…or, er, have the elves make one for your little cherub…before he leaves for his world-wide journey on December 24.
Hatchimals, people. They’re THE toy this Christmas. Apparently these things are gonna be like Cabbage Patch Kids circa 1983. Maybe they already are judging by this ominous warning on the company’s website?! (Click it to make it larger, if needed.)
I had seen Hatchimals in a Target weekly ad in early October and thought, “WTF is a Hatchimal?”. (Yes, Mom, the “F” in that stands for “fudge”… Mmmhmm…) (Ok, I’m not kidding anyone here. You know me better than that by now. :)) After hitting Google for some quick info, I realized Grace would be all about Hatchimals. She loves stuffed animals and loves taking care of things. So a robotic furry toy that hatched with her help and needed her care for a bit after shedding shell? She’d be all in. Advertising on all the kids’ stations must have also happened at that point, or very soon thereafter: sure enough, within days, Grace was asking if I had heard of Hatchimals, told me all about them and said she’s putting one at the top of her Christmas wish list.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I was in Target doing some Halloween shopping. I saw an end cap FULL of Hatchimals, and thought to myself, “Oh, there are those things Grace likes.” I briefly considered whipping out my Santa hat and grabbing two but my rational inner voice shouted what I now see is very misguided advice like: “It’s fiscally responsible to buy only what you need right now.” and “It’s not even Halloween, you have plenty of time before Christmas. There are tons of them – you’ll be able to get one later!”. So, while my smug inner voice gloated, I walked right on past that end cap FULL of Hatchimals. Santa probably cried himself to sleep that night as he thought of how foolish I was. At least I had the pride of only buying what I went in for…you know, like the ginormous sacks of Twix and Hershey’s bars for trick-or-treaters ;). The fact that I only bought what was on my list is a ridiculous part of the story in and of itself. Who sticks to the list on Target runs? Not me. Not ever. I soon realized my inner voice was actually channeling the Grinch and trying to ruin Christmas. (Ok. That may be slightly dramatic.)
By the week leading into Halloween, Hatchimals were on sale at seemingly all retailers for $10 off the regular price. I think that same week Target was also offering an additional 20% off all kids toys online (or something equally as enticing in an attempt to get wallets to open sooner than Black Friday). I thought this was my chance to grab one. Meaning I thought this was my chance to start my Christmas shopping early. With all of the savings stacking up, I giddily went online and clicked through to put one in my cart.
Those of you that know Hatchimals…well, you know what happened next.
Yup. Not available online.
I next chose the option to search local stores.
Nope. Not available within 100 miles.
For kicks and giggles, I searched zip codes of friends and family back east.
Two weeks prior, I hadn’t even heard of these things. Now? Impossible to find, and I had a Santa Mission on my hands. I hadn’t even handed out my Halloween candy, and I was now thinking about a Christmas gift I might not be able to find. What the hell happened?! How did I get here? Oh yea, my practical inner voice Grinch. My heart sank further when I saw they were on eBay and other reseller sites for over $200 already. Yea, no. I did find one at yoyo.com for $80. Still no – they were on sale for less than $50, and were first retailing around $60. I mean, Santa loves Grace and all, but hells no no no! He’s not overpaying for something just because it’s at the top of the wish list. Especially because I felt pretty confident I’d be able to get any Hatchimal I pleased quite easily and on sale for her birthday in April…way after the Christmas rush. LOL.
So, unwillingly and seemingly over night, I’d become a Hatchimals stalker. I am not proud of this. Frankly, I was annoyed at myself for worrying about this. Yet, here I was, checking every website daily, Google searches on how to find a Hatchimal, etc. etc. Like all full-time working women with a husband, some kids and a dog, I’m usually pretty bored , so I am glad I added Hatchimal stalking to my list – hahaha! My morning ritual became: wake up, lie in bed and read / answer work emails, lie in bed and search multiple retails sites for Hatchimal stock status, head down stairs and start the day. Usually without any Hatchimal success.
This past Thursday, however, was a little different. I decided to get right out of bed instead of lying there reading emails and stalking Hatchimals. For my Facebook friends, you’ll also remember this as the day that I woke up and spent 20 minutes making my kids’ school lunches on a day they had off – hahaha! So after brewing coffee and making unneeded lunches, I settled into my armchair at 6:00 a.m. to read some emails and stalk Hatchimals.
It was then that I noticed Target switched their availability information to ‘In Stores Only’. Yea, this is how frequently I’ve been checking – I noticed this tiny detail. (Don’t be jealous of my coolness! Ugh.) I clicked through – and my local store said they had LIMITED STOCK available (in aisle E3).
Dork alert: I was literally giddy with excitement. This was the universe making up for my wasted lunch-making time, right?!
I checked what time the store opened (7 a.m.) and quickly calculated that if I left at 6:45 a.m., I could be there for store opening AND be back in plenty of time for Kenny to leave for work. Oh, and plenty of time for me to go to work, too. (Haha!)
I shared my plan with Kenny who looked at me like I’d lost my mind. In fairness, I pretty much had. Hahaha. But I had such a good shot at getting one – I had to try! I mean, who else was up this early planning this shit out?!
I peeled into Target (ok, I was going the normal speed limit, but “peeled in” adds some oomph, doesn’t it?) and was walking through the front doors at 7:03 a.m. (Yea, it was pretty much still dark out, but I took solace that I followed another woman in.)
DORKIER ALERT! My adrenaline was high, and my mind was in overdrive, “Wait. Why is that woman here? Who comes to Target this early? Yea… That’s right – other Hatchimals shoppers.” This conspiracy theory I was forming? That was nothing compared to what I did next. Feel free to unfriend me. I deserve it. One of my friends told me last week menopause could actually be starting even though I am only on the cusp of 41, so imma’ blame this whole Hatchimals shit show on that. Before you ban me from your life, though, keep reading. The next part is truly delicious.
Dudes. I LEGIT tried to beat her back to the toy section. Don’t worry. I didn’t run. (I mean, this wasn’t Black Friday!) But I did zig zag through some aisles so I could walk more quickly than was normal for a 7 a.m. random Thursday morning Target shopper. I beat her to the toy aisles – aisle E3 to be exact and started searching the shelves. BUT, this wasn’t her first rodeo. She went to the electronics counter. Say whaaaat? They don’t stock these things on the shelves? Holy hell. She was next level.
She scored a Hatchimal.
From my stalker perch in aisle E3 where target.com said I might find one, I overheard the guy behind the Electronics counter radio to the front that he had only TWO left.
DORKIEST ALERT! I went trotting – yes TROTTING – over to the electronics counter while waving my hand in the air and saying – very loudly – “Oooooo! Save one for me! I want one, please! Me! Me! I’ll take one! Woo hoooooo!”. And, yes, “woo hoo” really happened. Over a Christmas TOY. BEFORE THANKSGIVING. The electronics counter gent? Cracked up. Probably because there was NO ONE ELSE around. Like I didn’t need to go all Price is Right contestant running down the aisle while Rod Roddy announced I could win a …brand new Hatchimal!
I was handed a Hatchimal when I got to the counter. I spied the last remaining one and traded out for that one because it was the specific kind and color Grace wanted. I asked if I could buy both (figuring a friend or two might also be on the hunt and I could help them out) and was shot down. So dumb. But I guess when there’s a black market for toys …you have to put a limit!
I was grinning ear-to-ear on my trek to the checkout lane. Biggest part of Grace’s Christmas? Done! Woo!
On my way out, the store manager pointed to my Hatchimal-filled bag and said, “Looks like someone’s having a great morning!” HAHAHAHA! That actually made me feel slightly – SLIGHTLY – less crazy. She knew. She appreciated the difficulty in tracking these things down.
I was back in the car and heading home by 7:13 a.m. (As you see in the header picture above!) The whole ordeal lasted 10 minutes – hahaha!
If there’s one thing I learned, a Black Friday morning shopper I am not. The whole experience of racing out of the house to get a deal / product was new for me. Can’t say it was my favorite (as in, I’ll be on my couch Black Friday morning with a hot cup of coffee! haha.)
Anyway, in the event that your little one(s) is having pre-Thanksgiving dreams of sugar plums and Santa and Hatchimals, I’ve outlined some tips based on how I happened upon mine at Target…in case it helps!
- Target has changed their availability to In Stores Only.
- Check Target.com frequently – like daily! I had success by checking target.com first thing in the morning.
- ‘LIMITED AVAILABILITY’ seems to mean that they have them in stock, but they’ll sell out right away. If you see this – head right to the store!
- Don’t assume they’ll be on the toy shelves like normal toys – that’s too logical. Ask at the Electronics counter.
How about you? Do you like Black Friday shopping? Do you have Hatchimals on your list?
Words are hard to find today, aren’t they?
Maybe not … if you’re looking for continued divisiveness. Seems prevalent on the media – social or otherwise.
I haven’t said much during this election process.
Well, I don’t like to get caught up in the discourse. I was raised in a time and community where speaking about politics, money and religion weren’t common. Traditional? Maybe. But I have seen discussions on many of these things ruin good relationships. I like diversity of all kinds. I also like my people and would rather not sever them unnecessarily over opposing views. It’s a little tricky sometimes because I am quite opinionated (those of you that know me well …well, you know!).
Also, generally, Kenny and I are more laid back – more of a “do the right thing” and “be good people” philosophy rather than an organized politics and religion kind of thing. I’m more comfortable observing and learning when it comes to both things. Although I will say I did ponder going to Mass this morning. And very well may at some point this week. Not sure why. I think I just need to feel something…focus on something bigger than me.
While I ponder about bigger things, it occurred to me that I wanted to thank my parents. They raised me in such a way that left me proud of my choices yesterday. So, Mom and Dad, thank you for strong foundations… and more.
Thank you for always supporting me in my open mindedness. I went through a number of phases through the years. Vegetarian, grunge and a hippie / grunge (Jerry meets Kurt) combo (it was as hot as it sounds – lol!) come to mind. Thanks for allowing me to explore – I can’t say it was fully free from your judgment (hahaha), but thank you for not shutting it down. Your tolerance of me being me taught me to afford the same for others. Your tolerance was the wind in my sails and gave me a voice. My own open-minded voice. It allowed me to stand up for myself and what I wanted.
Thank you for generally teaching me to see people as people. Not a color. Not a race. Not a religion. Not a sexual preference. Not a gender. Just a human – each one with the same potential for good and (hopefully not) evil as the next.
Thank you for teaching me everyone is different and that that’s OK. Preferable even.
Thank you for teaching me that everyone has been down / is going down a different path that shapes who they are. And that path isn’t always the same as my own. You taught me how to be considerate and thoughtful. And how to approach people with kindness and grace. And I try. Sometimes I have to try hard, but I always try.
Thank you for teaching me that things won’t always go my way. Resiliency is important.
Thanks for teaching me to seek to understand things I don’t. This started (and still continues) with math (haha!), and gave birth to my inner journalist. I always seek to understand as much as I can before making a move. Sometimes this is paralyzing, but I have few regrets. Very few.
Thanks for telling me it’s ok to cry and feel while I look for silver linings… for ways I can help…for ways I can change a situation…and to decide how I want to react. I don’t always find the silver linings, but I do always figure out a way to drive change.
Thank you for teaching me to think things through. And to work through my typical hot-headed first reaction to quickly approach things rationally and logically. Even when they aren’t. (And they aren’t.)
All of this leads me to the present.
Yesterday, I made a choice.
A choice I am proud of. It was the best one.
And, today, I don’t see myself reflected in the outcome.
Because of you, I know that this is OK. Or will be OK…at some point. I know I can’t win ’em all. Even when I lose the ones I shouldn’t. I have some shoulders to cry on. I have a village to prop me up and ensure my values live on. Flourish even. I know don’t have to agree with everyone, but I do have to be respectful. Most importantly, however, I know I have to figure out how I can affect change and make a difference.
So, I’m setting my sights on 2020. I’m leaving ‘how?’ behind, and focusing on ‘what’s next?’. I’m going to continue to love my country. And I am going to use every one of my strengths to ensure its bright future.
Friends, join me.
Let’s be the change.
Let’s be the good.
This time last year, I sat in my chair and worried about Gavin and Grace, both of whom were nervous for their first day of school.
This year, I sit in my chair, and smile to myself because both Gavin and Grace are super excited for school to start. Like literally could not wait.
I am so glad. Gladder than I’ve ever been since moving here. I feel truly happy today – and there’s no underlying nervous edge like I’ve had on this day each year prior.
Why? I’m gonna say … Community. It’s happening. It’s here. We have one.
Woo hoo – Finally!
I know that sounds strange given that we’re fast approaching our five year anniversary in Portland. Let me go all broken record here for a minute – there’s something hard about integrating your young family into a new community. When you’re 3000 miles away from where you lived the first half of your life – so far away from the familiarity of your familial infrastructure and lifelong friends – you feel strange and out of place for a long time. Of course, when you combine our work and work travel schedules with kids activities and sports, it’s not really conducive to a big social life for any of us, which compounds the issue. Hahaha! The good news here? I’ve now realized that becoming part of a community is a series of baby steps, and, after the past few days, I feel like we may have finally arrived.
We’re fresh off a long, lazy weekend (which included a few days off for me). I had planned to squeeze in some last summer flings – you know, all the things we didn’t get to do this summer because we worked, and the kids were in camps. Instead, I hit pause. And realized that I had TIME. Such a rare, fleeting gift these days, right? Why am I trying to mess it up with a schedule of things? Particularly on our last weekend before soccer kicks off in full force next weekend? #crazy.
So, I unplanned. And we did not much of anything. And I have to say it was my favorite weekend in a long time.
Friends were all back from their summer adventures, and our neighborhood and community were bustling with school preparation (for the parents) and the last lazy days of hanging out (for the kids). The kids met their teachers, and they now know enough kids that each have friends in their classes – solidifying their excitement for the upcoming year. We hosted a kids movie night, then a movie afternoon. The kids played outside endlessly. They each read a book (admittedly, their only one all summer! Had to sneak one in to dampen my “worst mom at school” fears! Oy!) I had the greatest girls night – a simple night comprised of a happy hour and a movie…followed by a few hours of hanging out chatting and laughing…so much laughing. Grace toured the Audubon Society of Portland with some friends while Gavin played soccer at the park with his boys, and I hung out with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Even Bob got in on the action and hung out with some dog friends. The kids had friends over to play. They went to friends’ houses to play. We cooked dinners together. They made their first batch of brownies all by themselves. They packed their own school bags and picked out their lunches. They giggled as they incessantly and excitedly talked a mile a minute about going back to school. (even Gav!). We had so much fun.
This was living.
I look at this weekend and think – yep, we’ve got a great community. I’m happy to be a part of it. And even happier that Gavin and Grace are. And happier still that, as they get older, they are truly becoming part of the community. They are Portlanders. Ones who are enjoying the people and experiences around them. Ones who are spreading their wings and ramping up for take off.
How do I know? This: Last night, the usual hug and linger with their head buried in the nook between my head and my shoulder didn’t happen. You know the one where you can see bravery unfold before your eyes as you listen closely to hear their inner voices screaming “keep it together, man!” We’ve graduated to full-on tight squeezes as they grin and say, “See you tomorrow, Mom. First day of school!” before they excitedly scramble up the steps. Bittersweet: We’ve got a few years left on the runway before they take off. But I am happy to see their growing independence…and confidence.
Welcome, 2016-17 school year. Let’s do this!
P.S. How ’bout them lunches? I wanted photo evidence that I tried to rock their lunches one day this year. We all know that shit won’t last… let’s go back and take a look at exhibit A.
Since it’s #nationaldogday, I thought it was fitting to share the story of how Grace and I took Bob for a walk last weekend.
It was setting up to be a warm day, so, in an attempt to beat the heat, we headed out early.
Judging by preparations alone, this walk was gonna be epic. I mean, there was a lot of prep involved:
- Grace brushed her hair (willingly and without me asking her!) AND brought her sunglasses with her.
- I tried on two pairs of shorts and some workout capris to make sure I looked semi-decent for a walk around the neighborhood. Hey, there are some fancy places around here! I don’t want my workout garb to single-handedly bring down their housing values. And, let’s be honest, I am already walking a thin line with my typical skinny jeans and black tee uniform. I also brought my sunglasses and a bottle of icy cold water that we call could share. (And yea, you read that right. I tried on clothes for a mild workout. I have issues.)
- Bob? He brought himself.
But he seemingly forgot to put on his walkin’ pants.
Apparently, Bob’s a lap around the block kinda dog. That’s his typical route. But given the amount of prep Grace and I put into this walk, and the fact that, well, he’s a dog, and a playful young Golden at that, he should have realized we were going big: we were walking the route to the school trail and back. Granted, we were going to loop through the next neighborhood over, but still. It’s not that far.
Unless you’re Bob.
We got about 1/2 through the loop, and, well, he pooped out.
Literally laid on a freshly watered lawn and would. not. move.
I gave him water. He drank it.
I let him rest. Then tried to cajole him to move on. He was having none of it.
As you can tell by the cover pic, Grace couldn’t believe it.
I swear that sucker was laughing at me as he cooled his undercarriage on the freshly watered grass.
I gave him more water. He drank it. This time, he jumped up and started moving.
Until we got to the next freshly watered lawn. He sniffed it, nuzzled it to make sure it was good and wet, and laid back down. This time in the shade. Grace decided to join him.
Is he smart? Stubborn? A little OCD because we didn’t go the normal route? Who knows. Probably a combo.
I let him stay there for 10 minutes or so…basically long enough that it was clear this dog was not walking no mo’.
As I stood in front of these sprawling single homes the next neighborhood over, watching my dog and my daughter hanging in the shade on a stranger’s lawn, I started cracking up as I realized what I was going to have to do.
“Hi – Bob won’t move off a lawn. Can you come pick us up?”
Him – “Seriously?”
Me – “Yep. Literally stood up and changed lawns…and now won’t get up. Again.”
Him – “I swear he just does this to push your buttons.”
Me – “Probably. Can you get us? We’re by the trail to school. New business for you – uber for lazy dogs.”
Him – “Sure. Be right there.”
This explains a lot, really. I try to exercise. Try to instill healthy habits in my daughter. (Ok, semi-healthy. Let’s not forget that I tried on outfits to exercise for Christ’s sake.) Try to do right by my dog.
And I end up calling the freaking dog an uber for all intents and purposes, and hop in the front seat.
As for Bob?
He couldn’t have been happier. Kenny put him in the car, and when we got home, he bounded into the house, drank some water, hopped onto his bed and hung out in the air conditioning.
(For those who might be concerned – he was / is 100% fine…stubborn, but fine.)
Ah, summer. The time of year when you spend tons and tons of time with your kids and get to know them on a whole ‘nother level. Again. Even with our work schedules staying the same and the Gs heading to camp every day, we spend a lot of time together hanging out at night (read: no homework and later bedtimes!).
This summer, it’s apparent that Gavin’s started his journey towards tweenhood. He’s testing the boundaries of his personality and his behavior, and, subsequently, our patience … more so than ever before. To the point where I am consistently having flashbacks to my father’s snaps (or, as we came to know them: “shit-fits” – the should-be-patented Den Flannery parenting trump card of yelling / purple face / tiny pursed lips / potential cursing my mother would warn us not to invoke). Three things I remember from that period of my own life: my brothers and I didn’t know everything, didn’t need to have a comment for everything, and needed to get our heads out of our respective asses. It’s all becoming quite clear now. Where is that Elton John when you need him to lead an online sing-a-long of Circle of Life?
Anyway, back to Gavin’s tweenhood journey…
Thankfully, it seems Gavin’s not fully crossed the bridge…yet: Last night, he snuggled up with me on our chair-and-a-half and encircled my neck with his arm. I smiled at him and, with the benefit of hindsight, stupidly said, “You know, at some point, it will be the last time you do this.”
But he’s definitely in the middle, if not more towards the end: He smiled back and said, “And that point is now! This was the last snuggle!” and hopped off the chair. Hahahaha! That impish little bugger.
I love how perceptive he is at reading situations and inserting jokes / humor. Well, I hope it was a joke, anyway. 😉 Here’s to the dawn of tweenhood. Cheers.