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September 2011

On socks and shoes and little boys

Thank you to Crocs for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about Crocs’ new Back to School line. They've got 13 new styles for boys and girls (K-8) that are approved and ready to be worn at school.  I think I salivated a little when I found out about them, but more on that later.  I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.


I used to have knee-jerk anxiety when it came to back-to-school shopping (and I still do a little).  Since Chance has sensory processing disorder (SPD), and many kids with sensory issues are particular about clothes, I was worried about having a school uniform.  I worried that everything would be so uncomfortable it would affect how he functioned in school.  Well, with kindergarten now behind us and except for a couple of specific things, it turned out alright.  But last year, amid learning numbers and routines and the introduction of young minds to the school environment, I also learned a couple of new things about school uniforms...

1.  White shirts look SO CUTE the first day of school. The other 179 days, not so much. However, the layering of stains can be quite intriguing.

2. It is really, really difficult to patch the knees of pants that have the leg-width equivalent of toothpicks.  I am already sewing challenged, I don't need this grief.

3. White socks will become dingy socks. Not just dingy, though. There'll also be this dark grey circular stain right on the top of the sock, in between the top of the shoe and the hem of the pants.  It's like the boys decided it would be fun to drag the tops of their feet through mud every day. I don't even know how you bend to achieve that but the socks don't lie.

So this year I changed my whole back-to-school shopping strategy. Chance has the option of wearing either white or dark green shirts as part of his uniform, along with navy blue pants. This year I was going for dark green polos, pants with reinforced knees, and navy socks.  Of course, everyone else who had kids older than kindergarten had the same idea.  You know how the local department stores will stock school clothes in the colors of the neighborhood schools?  Oh my god, it was a fricking mob run on those green shirts!  Like they were the Christmas It toy!  But I got 'em. I am nothing if not a persistent shopper. The sad thing is I actually started my shopping a little early this year and the clothes were already going fast!  The pants (also running low) were solved by snagging one pair at the store, making sure they fit, then ordering the rest online. Sweet.

My one hiccup was the one I didn't expect.  I could not for the life of me find navy blue socks for boys!  It was ridiculous!  All the usual department stores only carried white or black. I mean, in what world would a little boy need to wear black socks that often?  Because we all know it's SO STYLING to wear black socks with sandals or jeans!  Maybe they had some grey socks, or the occasional red railroad track socks.  What?  I ordered some blue socks from a uniform website and they ended up being too big.

Here's the thing, we have been lucky that Chance's sensitivities to clothing have been minor.  I still look for softer clothing, tagless shirts, etc, because who doesn't want to be comfortable?  He'd love to wear fleece or sweatpants all year long, but he's OK with softer jeans or twill pants (like his uniform), especially if he's worn them in a bit.  BUT!  If his socks don't fit right, like they slip around because they're a little too big or they bunch up anyplace, he won't wear them.  It's a sensory thing that drives him nuts and I really can't blame him for that. 

I finally found some navy socks by going to one of those children's stores in the mall that carry socks in every color imaginable. I was a little worried that I'd have to buy girls' socks but I figure if they didn't have fluted edges and I didn't tell him they were girls' that it'd be OK.  (Yeah, I'm that mom.)  But luckily they had standard gender-neutral blue socks.

That brings us to shoes.  Chance likes shoes.  (He's so my kid.)  He'll pick out the colors and patterns that he likes and he always wants more than one pair so he has options to change them with his outfits.  Then he tells us proudly how "stylish" he looks.  We had actually done our shoe shopping pretty early in the summer because his shoes from last year were completely trashed and barely fit.  But Chance loves Crocs and that's pretty much all he wears all summer.  He especially likes to wear two different color Crocs, like one red and one blue.  That's part of his styling look, you know.  Anyway, school started and he had problems transitioning to his school shoes.  He kept clumping around and tripping and I thought he was being silly and kept telling him to "stop walking like that" before it occurred to me that it was the shoes.  By this time, I had already heard and gotten excited about the new Crocs line.  If your kid likes something that much and it's functional it's hard not to want it for them.  Previous to this Keen and I had discussed trying to find him a pair of Crocs that looked more like regular shoes but they hadn't come out with anything that was quite right yet.  Then, given his difficulty with the other shoes, it all turned out to be a happy coincidence when the school line popped up. So I made some calls and found the nearest Crocs store that had the back to school line.  

Chance's new Crocs

That kiosk also happened to be right outside Build-A-Bear. (Sucker mom!)

He loved them immediately (can't you tell?) and insisted on wearing them out of the store.  (Then proceeding to the dirtiest spot he could find before he would let me take a picture.)  What's cool about them is that they are so light he's not clumping around or tripping anymore.  In fact, as soon as he put them on he ran circles around the mall.  And he says they feel like Crocs on the inside but they still work well with socks.  What's an extra bonus for us is that with his SPD he's already trying to deal with too much stimuli and sometimes dyspraxia (clumsiness) kicks in.  This was exacerbated by the heavier shoes and I was just momentarily too dingy to clue in.  With lighter shoes it's just takes away one more potential distraction or difficulty he has to deal with at school and I'm really happy about that.  I thought the styles were pretty darn cute, too.  Here's his shoe...


Thanks to Crocs for letting me blather on about school shopping. I hope all of your school shopping went smoothly and everyone found socks. :)

Crocs sent over this cute video with an easter egg when you spot this little guy.   ---> Crocs Easter Egg Photo Hint

They are also holding a giveaway for a free family trip to San Diego, no purchase necessary!  So if you haven't gotten your vacay on this might be a fun option.  Enjoy!       - wg



Lowe's Winner!

I know I should come up with a better post title than that but... oh deal with it. 

Thank you to everyone who left a comment about your DIY projects!  Or those who just want jam. And thank you for the nice comments of my video performance.  Stop, you're making me blush.  And you know you're already getting jam so really, stop.  But seriously, I'm inspired.  Now that the kid is back in school I'm trying to get to all the home improvement projects that were scheduled for this summer and that I never... got... to.  ahem

Anywho!  After careful scrunity, deliberation, and writing all your names on slips of paper, sticking them in a coffee mug, and swirling them around the winning entry is...


Congratulations!  I'll be emailing you shortly.  If in any event zMary is unable to fulfill her duties as DIY queen, a new slip will be drawn from the magical mug of fate.  It's good for hot chocolate, too.

Mmmm, magical fate chocolate.              - wg

Lowe's Giveaway for you DIYers!

As I said previously, I got to participate in the Lowe's DIY challenge at BlogHer this year and because of that I have a $25 gift card to give away!  And anyone who's read me for awhile may have noticed... I never do giveaways.  (It's because of my jaded marketing background.)  You gotta be pretty special to get this kind of treatment and, frankly, the team at the Lowe's booth were so cool and nice I had to give them (and you guys) some love back.  I'm also all for supporting more creativity in this world, you know?  So without further ado...  

If you would like a chance to win a $25 Lowe's gift card, leave a comment on this post by Wednesday and I will do a random drawing!

You can visit Lowe's Creative Ideas on Facebook or their homepage.  They're actually doing a nice little video demo on canning right now.  Speaking of which, this summer's random jam pic is...

Bing cherries!

Blogher 032

I'm so predictable. At least I haven't put up a picture of my tomatoes yet. And yes, pitting cherries is just as messy as it looks there; especially when the pitter keeps breaking.  Those aren't all bing cherry jam, btw, the jars in the back are strawberry-blueberry.  I mention that solely for the people who are expecting jam as Christmas gifts.  I mean, I wouldn't want anyone accusing me of jam deception, because I will never hear the end of it!

So are you jamming, crafting, or otherwise DIYing? Tell me about it and you may win... blah blah blah... gift card!

(See how I mentioned the giveaway three times? Like an ad that mentions a phone number three times?  Classic marketing. Thank you. Thank you very much.)

I've also included the video of our little contest, even though I am totally not comfortable in front of a camera and my hair was doing something crazy that day.  I mean, really hair?                - wg

Just when you were all sick of hearing about it...

Here's my BlogHer '11 wrap-up post! It's been crazy around here since I got back. There's been work and school started this week and we all got colds on top of that. The first week of school! Yay. 

So a few highlights and notable moments from BlogHer... First and foremost I had a wonderful road trip with my best friend, even though we both came back really tired. I think the point was to have a vacation, wasn't it?  Anywho, we had fun, took way too much time on the road but listened to some good tunes, had long talks, and when we ran out of things to talk about we took naps!  What could be better?  Oh, and we managed to snag more than one complimentary backrubs at BlogHer. Yeah-yuh!

I got to meet my fellow Culture Brat writer, Seth!  Just in case you didn't know, he is super cool. You should go tell him I said so.  I also got to catch up with some of my favorite old school bloggers, Katie, Ben, Kristen and Liz, Matthew, Jason, Sarah, Catherine, Jenny and I know I am forgetting people which kills me because you guys are great.  These are folks who started blogging about the same time I did, when it was a much smaller world, and it was really, really nice seeing people again.  It's a funny thing about the web, there's a tendency to start off close, then drift apart, and then circle back around again, just like so many other things in life.  I did miss a few people, both those who didn't come (Lori and Jodi - miss you!) and others I just didn't run into, like Jenny who is such a sweetheart I look forward to seeing her every year.  I also met some wonderful new people. I'm still going through cards, but you all can ping me anytime.  As usual, I forgot to take many pictures but I felt like I got to really connect with people so totally worth the lack of evidence.

I also won a couple of things at BlogHer!  I KNOW!  I participated in Lowe's DIY challenge and our team won second place!  I actually have a $25 gift certificate to give away so check back for that in a day or two.  I also won two bottles of margaritas from Bankrupting America!  Woohoo!  The ladies of my neighborhood thank you.  See, I knew being married to a CPA would come in handy someday. You know, besides just having someone to do my taxes. ;)

So that's pretty much it. I didn't go to all the sessions, I arrived late to almost every meal, and I fell asleep once or twice and accidentally missed keynotes. I had a really great dinner at Cafe Chloe, enjoyed beautiful weather, and got to talk to some very cool folks.  For me, that's a pretty awesome trip.

Love and hugs,

the weirdgirl


I have a whole roadtrip / BlogHer wrap up post waiting to be written and linked and all that shit. But school starts on MONDAY (yeah, that early!) and this week I've been ugh tired. Also? Ugh busy. And "Ugh, it's the end of summer!" It's been a lot of ughs.

In the meantime, my little guy hit another first, which he is very excited about. This is one of those a lot of his friends have already had. His first loose tooth! With the new tooth already breaking through behind it.



Road Trip with Chemo

Today I hit the road to San Diego with my best friend.  We've known each other since we were 15, but we've never done a chick road trip. (Not counting high school where too many of us, hyped on too much sugar, were crammed into minivans for weekend camping field trips. How our counselor managed not to kill every single one of us, I'll never know.)  I almost skipped BlogHer this year; thought about just blowing off the whole thing and staying home. But when it came down to it I had everything reserved and ready to go and I asked her if she'd like to get the hell out of dodge.  It's been kind of a rough year all around, you know?  She said yes, and I've been giddy over the girl bonding time since then.  I've had several knots of anxiety - over a couple of things - sitting in my gut of late and hopefully this is the beginning of their unraveling.  Or maybe just a slight easing.  One of those knots is reserved solely for my best friend.  I wanted to name that particular knot "Hank", but I figure it's only fair if my friend gets a say in the naming.  She's been diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder and has just started chemo.  Seems like a pretty good time for an adventure, doesn't it?  And we'll have plenty of time to name our anxiety knots in the car, pick up Brad Pitt, yell out Towanda, and do all that typical chick bonding shit.

Oh, but just in case you see either one of us running around crazy in the desert, apparently high on peyote or other assorted drugs... that's medical peyote, thank you very much.             - wg