How To Get To Sesame Street ...Without Spending a Fortune

When I told my mother I was contemplating taking Faith to Sesame Street Live, she laughed a knowing laugh. When I asked her what that was all about, she just said, "You'll see."

I have very fond memories of SS Live, so I had no idea what she was talking about. After some further questioning (I am a former reporter mind you) she told me that all the kids really want is the cotton candy and Sesame Street swag once they get there. I quickly informed her that though her granddaughter is very smart, she can't quite string a sentence together to make demands like that so maybe taking her at age 1.5 is for the best. Turns out I'm right. Point moi. (I think this makes it like Mom: 7,422; Nicole: 4. We are now thinking about moving to Sesame Street. Here's how I made it affordable.

1) My sister-in-law, Nicki, got discounted tickets through her work. It was only $2 off a $19 ticket, but that's four dollars we could be spending at the Faith's piggy bank. Total for tickets: $34. And they were the best seats in the house in my opinion. See for yourself.

Just off the floor, up a couple risers, with room to put our kitchen sink.Thanks, Nicki!

It was difficult for my 22 pound baby to hold this sucker down.
Awesome photo taken by my life-saver, Nicki Davis :)
2) I didn't pay to park. Was it fun lugging Faith 1/3 of a mile? Not really. Were my arms burning by the time we got there? Yes really. But I'm cheap and it was a good workout. Sorry there's no picture. My hands were full.

3) I brought snacks and water. Unlike most events that put your purse through the ringer before you enter, Sesame Street security is quite generous. Faith had plenty of Goldfish, puffs and a banana to munch on, so we didn't end up spending a dime at the concession stand.

I'm sorry, but she's so freaking cute it's scary sometimes.
4) I brought no cash. This wasn't planned, I just never have any on me. I hope all the potential pick pockets who read this blog will leave me alone now. In all seriousness, it stopped my cotton candy impulse and most definitely stopped me from buying a $10 balloon. Let me repeat: a $10 BALLOON!

5) Nicki, aka Cameryn's mom, brought Cam's Elmo doll. I thought about bringing Faith's, but figured we might lose it. Thankfully, Elmo and Cookie tagged along with Cam and she was willing to share. That's what cousins, and sisters-in-law, are for. This saved me from having to buy an overpriced stuff animal/light up toy. Man, I'm starting to sound like a mean mom.

Grand total spent: $34, plus lunch afterwards, which was well-deserved.
The Sesame Street look on Faith's face when the characters came out and she said "BiBaCuukieAbbyOscurELMO," : Beyond priceless!

Cousin time with Cam: even better.

Future BFFs.

One of my many pet peeves

Speaking of Christmas.... (I promise this will be my last holiday-related post.) I need to get something off my chest. (Yeah I know, I can't afford to lose much more there, so I'll be brief).

I HATE Photoshopped Christmas cards. Not the ones where you Photoshop someone in who wasn't, that doesn't bother me. It's the ones in which "oh, we couldn't get everyone to smile at once, so we just took a bunch of pictures and ta-da, look how happy we are." That is not real life. Real-life is trying to take your Christmas photo right before your 18-month-old's dinnertime, right after your dog gets home from dental surgery, while your husband is missing out on football games and daylight is fading in your living room. Did I mention the mother/wife figure in this story wants to do four outfit changes because she thinks "it'd be fun"? (I know, I'm sick in the head).

Put on those things together and this is what you get.

test shot

Howie: "Is this seriously happening right now?"

forgot to suck it in

blurry and why is Faith's diaper showing?

Faith: "I do not want to be here right now."

One of Rob's only real smiles. This was early in the process.

Too dark. Faith looks like she's in one of those depressing 1800s photos.

Howie: "No really, why are we doing this now?"

Why yes, that is actually one of my argyle shirts Faith is wearing. So much for this theme.

Howie: "Damnit, do you want my sweater on or off?"


Seriously, why is this so damn hard.

Rob and I are getting further apart. How poetic.

This was a front runner for a while.

Is that a hint of a smile, Faith?

No, we're not done yet.

Rob's pissed the doorbell rang.

Are we giving up?

This one's actually good. Quit while you're ahead.

You just HAD to blink, Rob. Take one for the team next time.

Rob's smile is getting faker.

Another potential keeper. NO really, quit while you're ahead.

Me: Take the damn picture.
Faith: How's this, Mom?
Rob: I'm wearing a freaking Santa hat...get this overwith.
Howie: Why today of all days?

I'm happy, really.

The only photo we ended up using on our Christmas card. Oh well, there's always next year.

If you need to laugh at another family, here's one of my favorites and their Christmas card outtakes.

What We Gave, What We Got

Every year at Christmastime, I try to think what I got for of from everyone for Jesus' birthday last year. 

Every year, I can't remember. This year, I'm using this blog to document most of what we gave and what we got. 

It's not a complete story. It would take librarians to catalog all the presents Faith opened. These are just some of the highlights, in no particular order.

Fake teaset from Grandma Jan so that she doesn't break the one she got from Grandma Jocelyn. Funny story: Rob set this all up. While he was doing so, Faith lost interest. I tried to take a picture of him sitting by himself, but apparently, he has a reputation to uphold. Pictured puzzle is one of many gifts from her aunties.
Very adorable animal towels from Grandma Jocelyn. This is the duck. There's also a monkey owl, cat and my favorite - a shark.

See what I mean about the librarians. Faith riding her new toy from her aunties. Miscellaneous gifts pictured.

Got milk?
This is a "What we Gave" - My sisters both pinned different quotes on Pinterest. I used my very limited Photoshop powers, made it into a jpeg image and then uploaded it to a personalized canvas website. Badabing, badaboom.
Ramey with her canvas. I am probably most proud of these presents.
How to make my husband happy. Chapters 1-3. Cyclone stuff. Cubs stuff. Starbucks. And a random dog looking for crumbs.
Cyclone PJs from Grandma Alice and the jammies we gave Kylee. Cousin time together: priceless.

My Hallmark series ornament from Rob's mom. She gets me one every year and I just love it! I'm an ornament freak.
Faith playing with her Elmo guitar from Papa Lance. She can't wait to try out her inflatable pool he got her this summer. Good thing Rob is full of hot air ;)

Cleaning cart from mom and dad. She's so good she can sweep with her eyes closed.
Why yes, I will use Sesame Street characters to manipulate my daughter into going potty. Wish me luck.
Basket found on clearance after Halloween...full of Elmo videos.

My mom got Faith some puffs. She went arm-flapping crazy over them.Sorry, Grandma, savings bonds just aren't that exciting to an 18-month-old. :)
Faith liked her sippy cup from Grandma J so much, she drank like a camel and promptly threw up. Outfit from Aunt Bobbi.
Playdough from aunties. I totally hogged this present.

Stepstool from Grandma Mc. Faith loves to stare at herself in the mirror and scream.
Cam went to give Faith a kiss for Christmas. She was excited to say the least.

Hmm, how's this going to go?

I think she enjoyed it. She likes her Leapfrog toy too, but this was way more entertaining.
Another "what we gave" photo. All different sports balls for my six nieces and nephews. It was a hit.
My mom also got these cute hats and slippers for the girls. I got some similar ones for the neighbor kids.
Very proud of my dad for picking out Faithy's Christmas dress next year. So Pretty. He also got her this awesome honey badger (complete with a red mouth full of teeth) pillow pet. I'll leave it to your imagination to picture what it looks like.
Grandma Cindy got the whole fam a portable DVD player. We don't have a picture of Faith watching it since we don't usually play paparazzi in the car, so here is the "Sesame Street" face she gets when watching it. Post on SS Live coming soon to a blog near you.
We got Grandma Cindy and sis Ashlie gift certificates to get a pedicure together. It's something my mom and I like to do for a girls' day now and again and I thought they might too. Mom got me the same thing for Christmas but put the giftcard with a pair of flip flops (or thongs as she calls them).
We got my Dad a jacket from "that other University in the state of Iowa that shall not be named on this here blog." A picture would really be crossing the line. We got my stepmom a themed series of presents. A pair of gloves to "warm her hands," a bottle of wine to "warm her body," and a framed pic of Faith to "warm her heart." Did we take a picture? Of course not. #forgetful

We got Granny Janny and Papa Stevie tickets to see Blue Man Group. Excited to see what they think of them. Here are Rob and I in Vegas circa 2006.
We also received an abundance of Target giftcards, cashola and crockpots :) There were lots more framed pictures of our daughter and ornaments exchanged, but this has gone on lone enough. Here is what Rob and I got each other.
I LOVE my new Kindle and the case from mi madre. No, it's not a Fire. No, it's not a touch. And I like that. Thanks to my sisters, I don't have to give up "dead tree books" cold turkey. I'm going to wean myself off with Ellen's new book and Tina Fey's "Bossypants."
I wish I could have purchased Craig Ferguson from "Late Night with Craig Ferguson," but I did the next best thing. Got Rob tickets to see him at the Orpheum on Jan. 25. (I like him, but Rob giggles at him every night, so that's why this is his present, though I hope he takes me).  I figured it was meant to be that it fell on a Wednesday, Rob's only night off from basketball. Unlike you, in March, my madness will end.
Best the very best gift of all, that we received, was the birth of two little nuggets name Lauren and Landon Lang. Crap, Ericka, I just realized I didn't get you a baby for Christmas. Maybe next year....oh, calm down Mom...and you too, Rob! I'm kidding.