Have you walked into a Toys R Us lately? I mean, I don't even know where the heck to start or, more importantly, when the heck to stop.
One of my biggest fears is that if I spend all of my beer money on buying Ellie a bunch of expensive toys she's not ever going to learn how to appreciate anything and grow up to suck and I won't have any money left for beer to help me deal with it.
But one of my other biggest fears is that there are all these awesome toys out there that I should buy to help her learn and if I don't buy them then all of the other kids in her school will be way smarter and she'll never get into college because I only gave her an oven mitt and tire tread I found on the side of the road to play with and she'll end up living in my basement forever and drink all of my beer.
And with Christmas right around the corner I'm basically just starting to freak out about having enough beer.
So thank God that someone found my blog and was fooled into thinking that I was a legitimate blogger and invited me to join actual legitimate bloggers Lisa, Danielle, Stefany, Danyelle and Robyn at Toys-R-Us to check out the latest and greatest this holiday season.
Our tour guide was Chris Byrne, AKA The Toy Guy from Time To Play Magazine, who knows more about toys than any one person should. But, for all his knowledge and experience, has a really realistic POV. An oven mitt and a tire tread? Hey, whatever encourages their creativity!
I hate standing next to people skinnier than I am because it forces me to use my Amish Photoshop Eraser Button to white out my fat. And, on a side note, there was another blogger there who had an awesome nose ring! So THERE, nay sayers!
Before I get into the toy review I'm going to mention that this experience made me realize just how behind the times I am. It's like my technological savvy was frozen in time by volcanic ash the minute I left my job like an unsuspecting little village in Pompeii. As each of the other bloggers whipped out their Flip cameras and iPhones I quietly tucked away the pen and paper I had previously congratulated myself on remembering to grab in a mad dash out the door and pulled out my Blackberry, pretending like I knew what I was doing.
A Blackberry, mind you, that has been dropped so many times that the roller ball is holding on with nothing but sheer will.
A Blackberry that only holds 6 pictures so I had to delete Lila's first smile and Ellie's first steps to make room for two pictures that I had to get on the first try. Because if I try to look at the picture I just took my whole phone freezes up and I have to take the battery out and re-boot which takes 15 years.
Anyhoo, enough about me sucking. Just wanted to make sure you appreciate these two pictures because someday I'll have to explain to Ellie why I didn't love her enough to take pictures of her first steps.
The first thing I'm going to say before I start talking about Scrabble Flash is that you better have some time on your hands before you start. This thing is straight addicting. I busted it out yesterday and have barely put it down. After a couple of hours Nick got in on the action and we've been challenging each other to games for almost 36 hours straight. There are five tiles with five letters and you make as many words as you can in a set amount of time. Great for kids learning how to spell, or women who want to show up their husbands with their expansive vocabulary.
Ok, next up is the Sing A Ma Jigs. I brought these home and immediately hid them in the basement because I knew Ellie would love them. Last night after she went to bed Nick brought them back up to show our friends because he thought they were so cool. They're little bear looking things who harmonize with each other and sing through their cute little mouths. We forgot to take them back down to the basement and this morning Ellie made a bee line straight for them and literally hasn't put them down since. She also said "blue" and "pink" for the first time. So we just pretended like it was Christmas morning and let her go to town.
Next is the Liv Dolls. One of my big fears with a lot of the dolls out there is that they all look like hookers. Which is sort of the opposite direction I'm hoping for my children. These dolls are cool because they don't look like hookers and you can swap the hair with other dolls and keep them fresh. There are also a lot of cool interactive features on their website.
And, on the subject of dolls, an exclusive to Toys R Us this year is Disney Princess and Me. Definitely not a hooker, and definitely on the upper end of the price spectrum. I'm sure Ellie will be selling her soul for this one in a couple of years.
The Chill Treats Dessert Maker was Nick's personal favorite because can you think of a healthier way to manipulate your kids than by letting them think they're playing while they're actually making you a tasty treat? It's a little old for Ellie right now but we can't wait to test it out. In addition to having an ice cream maker in the comfort of your own home, I also like that it encourages kids to get creative in the kitchen. Something I'm still learning as well.
Growing up with two sisters and having two daughters I don't know a lot about the boy stuff but there were several toys that the bloggers with boys got excited about. Stinky The Garbage Truck not only does everything a normal garbage truck does but he also farts. Which is apparently hilarious. We also saw a creative game to let boys get out some aggression without using toy guns (everyone in Sedalia is reading that and scratching their heads as to why in the world you wouldn't want your boy to learn how to shoot early) called Denkosekka - a yo-yo like magnet game that works on coordination.
And, finally, the toy everyone was talking about, and if you made it all the way through the longest post in the history of the world your reward is a chance to win one. Bigfoot the Monster. This thing is pretty cool. He talks, he slams, he walks and he tells you he's angry. And as Chris said, what better way to celebrate a peaceful Christmas morning than with a remote controlled hairy beast screaming "ANGRY!"? So why not celebrate YOUR Christmas (or whatever you celebrate or don't celebrate) morning with your own angry hairy beast?
Here's what you have to do to enter:
1. Follow me on Twitter. My handle is @The_sKIDmark
2. Tweet the following: @The_sKIDmark Enter for a chance to win a big hairy beast to make your holidays ANGRY! Visit http://bit.ly/awY3WB for more information
3. I'm not shipping this big ole thing so if you win we'll have to meet at a mutually agreed upon location to claim your prize. I'm in St. Louis so if you live far away and don't want to drive from far away then don't enter.
And that's it! You'll be entered for a chance to win your own big hairy beast - an $89.99 value. I will randomly select a winner on Friday, November 19.
My skin is crawling right now because my 10 years at an advertising agency taught me that I really need to hire a lawyer to make up some contest rules and stuff. But let's just all be friends and don't sue me if you don't win, ok?
Because I don't have any money and the joke will really be on you.