Dad and Daughter Day!

Since I had Monday off, Lynne decided to work some hours at the store. She was supposed to work on Saturday, but when I got stranded in NYC, that really didn't work anymore. That means I get to play with Eliza today, which has so far consisted of two feedings, lots of holding, a nap, reading her a superman comic book, and playing with her on her rainforest playmat activity center. Also, she throughouly enjoyed watching Purdue win the 1998 Alamo Bowl, which I had DVRed on Big Ten Network. Seriously, she was laying on the couch with me this morning, and for the first time I noticed her watching the TV. What a Boilermaker fan!! Hopefully we'll go for a walk this afternoon.

A Visit From CJ!

My extra-day-delay in NYC almost got in the way of the opportunity to see CJ, who I have been friends with since we were about 7 years old. CJ was coming down from the Chicago suburbs to Indy to visit us and his sister, Jenny, and fortunately we were able to spend some quality time with them on Sunday, despite not being around on Saturday. We went to brunch and had a lot of fun playing with his kids (Chase - 4 1/2 and Patrick - 1 1/2). We were picking up some good parenting tips from CJ's wife Amy, too!

Can you believe these two guys both are dads?!

The kids: Chase, Patrick, and Eliza. Patrick really liked rocking Eliza in her car seat.

Patrick was a big fan of Otis, chasing him all over the house. Chase definitely wasn't, but by the end of the day, he wasn't as afraid. Apparently Patrick is fearless and prone to adventures such as throwing things in the toilet, eating out of the trash, and when he falls down, he just dusts himself off and does it all over again.

The Fritz family! (I know, not the best picture, but it's the only one I had on my camera!)

Having friends over is a good excuse for us to get a family picture, too! Otis wasn't too interested though.

Trip to New York

I finally made it home from New York on Saturday evening, rolling in a little after 9pm. While the trip was very worthwhile and a lot of fun, it sure would have been nice to have an extra day at home. To pass the time on Saturday, I slept in, had a nice thai lunch, and hung out for a few hours in Central Park. It was a beautiful sunny day in NYC, which made the extended stay much more palatable, and there may be nothing finer in NYC than sitting in the shade in the park on a hot day, listening to various musical acts and watching people pass by.

At the staff conference, I had a fantastic time interacting with my colleagues from NYC and around the country. Here's a pic of my goal-surpassing Central-South team. A big theme of our regional team portion of the conference was celebrating surpassing our goals from the most recent fiscal year, both personally and as a team.

The first two days of the conference were spent with our entire national team. About 38 staff work in our NYC office and another 12 work in various offices across the country (including me!). The two day all-staff conference was a great chance to forge new friendships, learn more about our organization as a whole, brainstorm exciting new things for the coming year, and get fired up for some ambitious goals. The final two days of the conference was devoted to our regional teams (Central-South, East, and West teams) along with our Teacher Engagement team and Business Development duo. It's always great to learn from the insights of my amazingly talented and intelligent colleagues from around the country! Here's a picture of our regional teams, and as you may notice, I'm in the back and the only Y chromosome present. What are the odds?

The conference gives a lot of opportunity to hang out with our staff, and on Tuesday night, we had an international-themed dinner at the company's office. It was so much fun, and also surprisingly included some gifts from the organization for Eliza! My coworkers are incredibly thoughtful. The gave her a gift basket with tons of pink stuff (frame, bag, m&m's for me, blanket), a bib that says "I love my daddy," and three fantastic bunny-themed books, including The Velvetine Rabbit! Very fun! Exciting news, our founder and CEO's wife had their second baby this last Friday, so it was a double-baby celebration at DonorsChoose.org!

You may notice the two onesies in the picture above, and a better pic is below. These were presents I brought Eliza (and sort of Lynne, too) from NYC. First, there is a a onesie from the NBC store at Rockefeller Center branded with a Dunder Mifflin logo on the butt from TV's The Office. The front says "That's What She Said," which is a great recurring line from the show, and thoroughly enjoyed by myself, my friends, and more recently, Lynne. We had seen this last year when we were both in NYC, but since we weren't pregnant yet, we didn't purchase it. Also, it seemed more appropriate for a boy, but give the second chance to buy it, I couldn't resist. I'll make sure Eliza wears it around my ATO brothers for extra laughs. The other onesie was a big deal for me to purchase, despite being cheap. Growing up outside Chicago, I love (most) everything about the city, including its sports teams. Therefore, I also despised New York and its teams (Knicks especially). This led to a general resentment of NYC in general. After finally getting to explore the city for the fourth time, all thanks to my job with DonorsChoose.org, I must officially admit that I really like it there. Of course, to visit, definitely not to live. And as Lynne is quite a fan of the city, I knew she would appreciate Eliza having an "I Heart NYC" onesie. At this time last year, I was still unwilling to cave and get one, but I'm officially a convert, although I still can't stand NY sports teams :).

I said this a few times to my coworkers on the trip (OK, probably way more than a few times), but while I missed Lynne, I can at least talk to her while I'm away. I have never missed someone so much as I missed Eliza for those 5 days. I'm already wrapped around her little finger.


Stranded in NYC

After a great 4-day DonorsChoose.org conference in New York City, my flight was cancelled due to bad weather (after 4+ hours sitting on the runway), stranding me in the city for an extra night. While most people wouldn't mind that, I miss Eliza and Lynne far too much. Fortunately, I was able to have fun thanks to some co-workers, but hopefully the weather this evening will let me leave! More stories from the trip to come...


Tiki Torches

An addendum to our garage sale post, on Friday we also picked up 4 of these black metal tiki torches for only $1.50 each (they retail at Lowe's for $11). I had to spray paint them black, since they had definitely seen some use (and rust), but definitely a deal not to miss. Also, I hate those luau/tropical thatch-like tiki torches (I hate them in the Midwest, but they are fine in the tropics), so it was nice to find some that were metal.
Other than this, the Friday sales were pretty lame this week, but Saturday was great (see earlier post)!

Garage Sales - Week 3

OK, so week 3 of serious garage sale shopping is in the books. Some of you may think we have an addiction, or at least a bit of a problem, but the plan is to stock up so that we have whatever we may need (and can get cheap) before next summer's garage sales. And, if the deal is too good to pass up, we'll even buy some things a few years ahead.

We had extra fun on Saturday, as our first stop was a big sale at Second Presbyterian Church on Meridian. They had tons of stuff (we spent well over an hour there), and Kirk ran into some moms who had donated through DonorsChoose.org (he was wearing a DonorsChoose.org t-shirt that they noticed). It made for some great conversation and friendly shopping (and some deals!).

Now for this week's loot!

Not as much clothing this week, but what we did get was really great! The haul includes a pair of brand new shoes that retailed for $30 (we spent $7 which was a big stretch for us, but Lynne thought it was worth it). The outfits include 5 really cute good quality dresses with pants/bottoms (I love the yellow one with the turtles from Gap), 1 hat, 2 tops, 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of tights, and Eliza's first swimsuit (the purple-stripey thing). Combined that was about $16. Again, that's more than we spent the previous weeks on clothes, but part of the cost was a donation to the church hosting the sale, and the clothes are really top notch. Also an important note, these outfits range from 3 months to 12/18 months, so we really are planning ahead!

One of the purchases we were most excited about, this great easel for when Eliza is bigger and can draw and paint. It's in great shape and cost only $10!

This table and chairs matches the easel and fit our plan for our basement. When we finish most of the basement next spring/summer, the plan is to use a significant amount of the space as a play area for Eliza. Lynne had always envisioned a table and chairs, and these, with the matching easel and some pieces we already own, will work really well! These only cost $10 total, too! We bought them from a woman who runs an at home daycare, and she was really nice to talk to.

This were some fun little add-ons at the church sale: a plastic doll house (better to transport than the gigantic wooden dollhouse Lynne's grandpa made for her) with all its pieces, and, up on the chair, a shape puzzle ball and a soft fabric tea set. $4 for everything in the photo.

We had been looking for a portable high chair seat for a while, but had a very difficult time finding one that was clean, in good shape, and un-stained on the straps. This was at the church sale for $3, and we got the pink Bumbo and tray for only $4! That is a crazy price! We've seen Bumbos for sale at garage sales for $20. Now, some of you may have read in the past that we already had a Bumbo and a tray, so why another one? My mom is a big fan of these, so one will live at their house, for sure (or maybe we can sell it for more than we paid? :) just kidding).

OK, this was a random find, but we both loved it so we couldn't pass it up. For $4 we got this gigantic caterpillar rocking "horse" for Eliza to enjoy. It is in terrific shape (looks like at was never used, and smells fine), and buying it allowed us to barter down some clothes at this particular garage sale, too.

Kirk is a big fan of Lego's and wants Eliza to enjoy them, so he's always got his eyes peeled for cheap Duplo's and such. We already had some, so now we got some Duplo's and this Mega Block safari set for $2. The old couple selling it (grandparents, clearly), looked at me like I was crazy when I offered them only $2 for the box full. I told them I wouldn't go any higher, and I eventually left with the loot. :)

Lynne saw these and loved them, but didn't say anything. Then Kirk saw them, thought Lynne would love them, and made sure to point them out. $2 later we left with these cute ice cream lights: perfect for an Eliza birthday party in the future?!

We are always looking for good children's books, and we found this lot for $1 total. That's right, all this for a buck, pretty crazy. We want some good multi-cultural books too (other nationalities are a plus, but basically, things without all the characters being white-skinned), and we found a few in this lot, and love "The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything," "Peter Rabbit," a PBS book that goes through emotions and facial expressions, and a book from the old Robin Hood Disney movie (Kirk's favorite old Disney cartoon).

After all that, everyone needed a nap!

Eliza and Her Play Mat

I know, I know, we need to post more pics of Eliza. I have tons of video I have to go through an edit, too (uploading 9 minutes of high def. Eliza staring at the camera just isn't going to cut it on blogspot).

Eliza is now enjoying her rainforest play mat which has tons of things that move, make noise, and light up.

What's that crazy monkey doing hanging there?

Hey, what's that over there? It spins and makes noise! (She's also crumpling a fake leaf with her hand that makes a cool sound)

Wow, look at those flashing lights! OK, now I'm getting tired...

Good night. Zzzzzzz


it was a good day

i got to play with my girlfriend yesterday! it was so much fun!

Garage Sales - Friday is Fantastic

This Friday Kirk had the day off of work, so there were some big garage sales down the street and we decided to go shopping on Friday instead of our usual Saturday morning adventure. We ended up spending 5 hours (!) going to a bunch of sales in our area (we didn't even make it up to Carmel) and learned that Friday is definitely the day to get children's items, since moms pick them all over on Friday and little is left on Saturday. Eliza did great for most of the trek, and we got her loads of goodies pictured below (and some for mom and dad, too!).

Now that Eliza has her own room and closet, Lynne needed more space for her clothes, especially the seasonal ones she wasn't going to wear any time soon. She was excited we found this wardrobe to put in the basement, and Kirk was excited that we bartered it down to $3! (and it was just down the street so he could carry it home).

Here is the major haul! We spent $28 on tons of clothes for Eliza, all in really great shape and good quality (we probably looked through about 100 times this amount today, no joke). The items include 2 sleepers, 4 dresses, 17 pants, 1 sweater, 1 jumper, 9 tops, 1 pair of shoes, 4 pairs of socks. We're stocking up for the first 12 months too, since there aren't garage sales to scour in the winter months.

Our friend Hayden had a set of these, and she loved them, and they are fun and educational (and make a great mat on a wood floor, like we have all over the house). All the letters and numbers, for only $3!

Two little purchases Kirk found at sales that didn't really have things for kids. A little piano and an awesome "Baby's First Bible" with great illustrations and lessons. These were basically free.

Kirk found three cans of brand new tennis balls (a rarity to find unopened balls at a garage sale!) and books by an amazing entrepreneur he likes (Guy Kawasaki) and chef Tom Colicchio (head judge on Top Chef) before he was uber-famous. $1 each

What a great day!


The Weekend

This weekend was fun, but it definitely wore us out! On Saturday, Kirk helped our friend Josh move, which included moving a 1967 Dodge Charger, it's engine, and other misc. parts, but it was lots of fun. Lynne went garage sale shopping with Eliza, and then Kirk joined in on the fun when he got home. Check out our awesome finds below, including some really nice clothes, great big plastic toys, duplos, books, and a $60 toddler-sized bundle-me for $5! All soooo cheap!

Saturday was Lynne's birthday, so in the evening, we went to a fantastic Japanese joint in Indy, Sakura, for the best sushi in town. Eliza did great too, and after a meal of tempura, miso soup, nigiri, maki, and green tea ice cream, we were stuffed!

On Sunday, Kirk volunteered with the toddlers at church, which is so fun, but really tiring at 9am. Then, Kirk's parents came down for a visit to see Eliza and tell us all about their two week Mediterranean cruise. Sounded amazing, and Sorrento, Rome, and Monaco are definitely on our to-do list. They also spoiled us with some amazing vacation treasures, including spices from Turke, delicious limoncello from a farm in Sorrento, a hand-crafted Pinocchio toy for Eliza, and a Tour de France onesie for her too! Thanks mom and dad!!

After all that, we needed a nap! :)


Family Photo

We haven't taken a family picture since the hospital so our friends Alex and Sonja were kind enough to help us out. This week Eliza weighs 10lb 1.5oz!