Daddy Duty

Sleep, Eat, Diaper Change. Repeat.

4 Teeth Meetings

JJ just turned 8 months on the 3rd and I’m equally amazed I have an 8 month old and that I’m a parent at all. I’ll admit there’s been a time or two where I’ve prepared to walk into a store/restaurant only to be reminded that I forgot to get JJ out of the car. Whoops! I have lived more of my life without him than with him, right? I promise it only happens when I’m either really hungry or there’s a huge sale going on. Smile

Let’s start with an update:

  • NEW SKILLS: Shaking and banging toys together, turning side-to-side, lifting himself up in the bathtub, standing as long as he’s holding onto something/somebody, going from sitting to crawling;
  • FAVORITE ACTIVITIES: The above; Sucking on his hands; Jumping; Eating his Donuts Rings and putting his arms through them; Singing with Mommy; Reading with Grandma;Flying with Daddy; Video chatting; Cell phones; Laughing; Trying to Eat and Taste EVERYTHING
  • DIAPER SIZE: still wearing 3’s, but we added in the swimming diaper a couple of months ago. For those without babies, a swimming diaper is supposed to keep everything in the diaper even in the pool and costs about 5X a regular diaper. Not that it’s been tested, but I do wonder how well they work in a real “situation.” I’m tempted to strap 4 regular diapers to him and would bet we’d have equal if not better “protection.”
  • CLOTHES SIZE: 6-12 months depending on brand. With the increased movement, he’s lost weight, but is getting taller.  There was a time when his thighs wouldn’t fit in his Bumbo chair, but they’ve slimmed down and fit in again!
  • WORDS: Ma ma, Da da, Sssssuh.  He goes between all of these. Sometimes he’ll switch words throughout the day and other days he’ll only say 1 and keep repeating it over and over.
  • DROOL: None
  • DANGERS: Falling and knocking things over. We’re in the process of baby-proofing the house as walking is right around the corner.
  • SICKNESS/RASHES/ETC: None
  • SLEEP: When he first started teething, it was getting rough (~month ago). We were continually waking up to rub gel on his gums as he was obviously in pain. Within the past week, we’ve re-established his sleeping schedule and he’s getting upwards of 12 hours with a feeding break in between along with a long and short nap. Plenty of time for his little brain to rest.
  • FOOD: Claire is still pumping and will probably continue until at least 1 year old. We’ve added in mushed up fruits, oatmeal cereal, rice cereal, and applesauce into his diet.

If you haven’t met JJ or haven’t seen him in a while, he’d like to see you. He loves seeing people and is still very comfortable around “strangers.” As an aside, 2012 is appearing to be a really neat year for reunions.  I’ve seen more than 2 handfuls of my high school friends from Texas, college friends, and other friends I’ve met over the years.  We’ve been in touch in some form or fashion (usually Facebook/Text), however, this year, they’re all visiting Vegas! It’s been great!

One of our close friends just gave birth to a 7 pounder and I couldn’t believe how small she was. My “oldtimer” mind is at a loss when trying to remember JJ that small. I see the difference in pictures, but seeing him everyday makes it hard to tell the difference in person. When we went to visit her, her 9 month old niece was there and JJ was just fascinated with her. They both had 4 teeth and it was so cute watching them interact together. Below is a picture of the friend who just gave birth. We saw her the day before she delivered! I’d love to post a pic of the 9 month old, but that photo isn’t on my computer yet.

2012-07-21 13.10.20

NERD RANT, Feel free to skip this section if you’re not interested in technology. So, I love a service called dropbox. I use it to sync my files across computers (home laptop/desktop/work computer/phone). The latest feature I’ve fallen in love with is where it automatically uploads every photo I take on my phone to my computer wirelessly over the air.  I don’t need a cable, I can’t forget, and it’s easy, automatic and free. I can then get on a computer and see all of my phone photos to either organize, edit, upload ,etc. The reason I bring it up is that on my Android phone, it’s as easy as I just described.  I take the photo, it uploads, I find it in a folder on my computer.  However, on my IPhone, the App just sucks.  It only uploads in batches and seems to take forever. Hence, when I’m trying to post a pic I took yesterday, it hasn’t uploaded yet so I can’t share it with you.  Sure, I could go find a cable and upload it, but I’m lazy.  Android totally wins on this one.

OK, back to JJ. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess he’s left handed.  I’m not sure yet, but I see him reach with his left a lot so that’s my first guess, but only time will tell. 

My new after work activity is to take JJ swimming. He’s always liked being in the water (bath time) and swimming has been a real joy for both of us to play, exercise, and have fun. With any luck, we have a future Swimming Gold Medalist in the house.

In the mean time, Claire and I just medaled in the shopping Olympics. As I mentioned 2 weeks ago, Claire and I have been waiting to go to the As They Grow Flash Consignment sale held this weekend. The short of it is we spent $350. We heard the high was $1,400.We went the 2nd of 5 days and then followed up on the 5th day as many of the items were further marked an additional half off.

Consigning is a great way to make some $ from your unwanted stuff without going the Craigslist/EBay route. However, I really think the key to the success of this event is the short time line creating urgency for buyers and sellers alike.  Literally 10’s of 1000’s of items change hands in a weekend with 3 pre-sale days.  As JJ gets older, I look forward to selling this stuff and letting a younger tike enjoy it at a heavily discounted price.

As we already have a lot of clothes and hardware (strollers/crib/bouncers/etc), our main focus was really the toys. He now has all manner of toys that blink, make noise, hop, jump and skip around to his amusement.  I’d say the retail value of what we bought is probably 2 to 4X what we paid so it was a great event even if we did spend more than we thought we would. Isn’t that how it always is?

Time for some pictures:

2012-08-05 14.13.542012-08-04 14.54.262012-08-04 14.36.532012-08-04 13.40.422012-08-04 12.52.332012-08-04 12.51.542012-08-04 12.51.102012-08-03 17.08.282012-08-01 17.16.522012-07-26 19.26.562012-07-24 11.28.132012-07-24 11.27.482012-07-22 12.35.522012-07-21 22.48.202012-07-21 17.56.172012-07-21 17.54.412012-07-21 17.36.26IMG_0476IMG_0474IMG_0473IMG_04672012-07-15 12.54.342012-07-13 11.29.492012-07-13 11.28.452012-07-13 11.28.24-1jj duck face at wynn

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Scrapbook Complete

I saw the greatest thing at Staples the other day, a pre-done scrapbook.  All you have to do is add your own pictures, but the pages are decorated with the embellishments and what not. I’m so envious of my artsy friends who have beautiful scrapbooks.

Despite my best efforts, my skills simply don’t produce the same results which further fails to inspire more attempts. Most people have never seen a single scrapbook of mine as I’m too embarrassed to showcase my masterpieces. However, thanks to a product like this, I can scrapbook with the best of them now!

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On Being Small

I was giving JJ a bath the other night and couldn’t get over how incredibly happy he was to play in the water. I think he’d stay in his tub all day splishing and splashing if I let him. It’s truly remarkable when compared to the speed showers that adults do (1) to conserve water and (2) to get to the next thing on their to-do list. He could care less about taxes, a mortgage, insurance, blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer etc. He is so care-free and I love and appreciate it.

Then, when I took him out, I was reminded that despite all of his growth, I could technically wipe his whole body down with an absorbent face towel, not hand towel, face towel. Also, being small, his closet always looks empty despite his numerous outfits. I’d guess he has 50 outfits hanging in various sizes, but they hardly take up any room since they’re all so small. Furthermore, I can’t tell you how much baby lotion and shampoo I’ve mistakenly wasted when I squeeze out the adult sized squirts out of habit.

Another facet of being small is that you have an excuse for everything and people even find a lot of  your otherwise repulsive behavior enjoyable. His burps, farts, staring, at times rude interruptions, and sleep episodes mid-conversation are cute. Ahhh, the life of an infant.

It’s so cliche, but there are days Claire and I never want him to get any bigger. He’s at an age now where he’s curious and smiles, but lacks the mobility, skills, and energy to cause any damage.  It’s a ton of fun playing with him in spurts until he tuckers out and rests giving you a break. As we’ve seen with friends’ children and obviously anticipated, we have a wild ride ahead of us. From walking to running to jumping to driving, oh my, driving-tear, tear, it’s going to be a wild ride for sure.  Yet, such is life. As a parent, we obviously look forward to being with him for his first steps all the way to his globe-trekking, but there is something so beautiful at this age that I just wanted to notate it.

Today, JJ can officially roll and scoot himself around. We used to be able to put him on our bed and let him play by himself with minimal supervision. With his increased muscle strength and mobility, he can now move to the point where he’ll fall off the bed without supervision. This means that we won’t be getting any rest anytime soon. 🙂 We’ll be okay as long as he keeps smiling at us!

One more thing, regarding JJ’s smile, he loves to study other babies. So, if you have a baby, let’s hang out.  If you don’t have a baby, we can still hang out, but JJ may not be as interested in you. We fear he may be looking for a girlfriend! Also, have you heard of baby sign language? My good friend just told me about it. Basically, babies can sign before they can speak, so if you teach them to sign, they can “tell” you when they’re hungry etc. I don’t know much about it, but I can’t wait to learn.

Ok, one more last thing.  It’s teacher appreciation week. As my mom’s a retired teacher, I have a lot of respect respect for all teachers in whatever form they come in. It’s hard work and they deserve to be appreciated so do something nice for the teachers in your life. In case you didn’t know, money can buy happiness.  The twist is that you will be happiest when you use your money for other people according to this TED Talk. I completely agree!

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How does it feel to be a Parent?

NOTE: If you remember nothing else from this post, just keep this top part in mind. Claire and I are happy parents.  We are very happy to have JJ and consider it a very (bitter) sweet experience.  Like all things, it has its highs and its lows, but we’re adjusting well to our new roles and are happy to have JJ in our lives. Really!

Lately, when I’m asked how parenting is going, I have a few general responses depending on the day:

  1. Tired. Tired. Tired. Why’d we do this? What’s sleep? We should have waited.
  2. Great. Fantastic. Amazing. It’s just wonderful. It’s so fun!
  3. A combo of the above two with “I have a new found respect for all of the parents in the world” added in.

I’m torn at times as to how to answer as I feel that people really don’t always want or tell the truth. My most truthful response is: “Parenting is really hard. When he smiles at us and learns a new skill or grows, it’s the most fun in the world. Literally nothing in the world could take our attention away from him and there’s nothing that we wouldn’t do for him. Yet, when he cries wails, hits us (intentionally or not, we’re still not sure), or excretes on us, parenting isn’t so fun. It’s just not.  It’s also challenging, hard, and turns your world upside down. Oh, and did I forget to mention that babies are expensive?”

For some people, if I mention the slightest issue, say “JJ slept 1 minute less than normal,” they jump to say it’s because _____________. For good measure, they’ll also probably say that their little Johnny never did that. I’ve learned to stick to response 2 with this group.

For others, if we mention a problem or a tough time, they assume we have post partem depression and want to call the number on us. They can’t fathom that we didn’t enjoy that we got spat up on and are late to everything. With them, it’s best to stick with response 2 also.

We also have friends who are considering having children or are already expecting and we’re torn between encouraging them and warning them simultaneously. I know the truth scares some of these people, but it’s also good for them to learn from our experiences so we’re torn.

So, why is parenting so hard?

  • Especially as a new parent, you think and re-think things so as not to make a “bad” choice.
  • You constantly think about the repercussions of every action you make as it will impact your child one way or another.
  • Babies don’t come with a manual.
  • Babies don’t care about your work, deadlines, schedule, appointments, or anything. Just plan on being late to everything.
  • Techniques that may have worked for _____ in the past, may not work now. Babies are constantly changing, growing, and learning.
  • You’re forced to think more while simultaneously being more sleep deprived.
  • You’re simply having to juggle more.
  • You lose your freedom as babies are dependent on you for everything.

Loving and caring for JJ while balancing our normal lives literally wears my wife and me out on a daily basis. I have seen many an acquaintance breeze through parenthood with the help of an ipad, cartoons, rice cereal, a pacifier, and a rocker while they played Playstation. I’ve also seen that their children are cross-eyed, have indigestion, are dirty, and have missed nearly every milestone on the growth chart.

My wife and I made a conscious decision to bring JJ into this world and we are conscientiously and methodically doing our best to bring up an upstanding citizen full of hope, pride, love, and joy that we can all be proud of. His future successes will not be a fluke as they will be the culmination of a village’s love, sacrifice, and care!

As for those considering having a child, take a step back for a second and think long and hard about your decision. Just for kicks, do all of these things and ensure you won’t miss them when you have a kid:

  • Go see a movie
  • Eat at a fancy restaurant (The Wynn forbids children under 5 from eating at any of its fine dining)
  • Take a quick weekend getaway using only a carry on
  • Drive a convertible/coupe
  • Sleep in
  • Be on time
  • Watch something scary on tv.
  • Drink coffee/caffeine/alcohol (frowned upon for breastfeeders)
  • Eat spicy/gas-producing foods (frowned upon for breastfeeders)
  • Stay out late (past 7/8 PM), actually just go out

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s what’s on the top of my mind. Having a kid doesn’t completely end your life, but it takes a lot more coordination to get out and do anything with or without your child once you have one.

In this age of pedophiles, thieves, and who knows what, it’s not as easy to simply entrust your most precious flesh and blood into the care of someone else. It can obviously be done, but you have to be careful. It certainly doesn’t help that Claire and I are CSI and Criminial Minds fans. When you’re childless, you’re free to do as you please when you please.

Oh, and for the women planning on getting pregnant, remember that during the 9 months of pregnancy, you shouldn’t eat raw food, lunch meats, caffeine (high amounts), most seafood, and you can’t drink alcohol either. Also, don’ forget about the joys of weight gain, cramps in unexpected places, general discomfort, the actual delivery process etc. Pretty picture, eh?

Having said all of this, having your child smile at you makes it all worth it. You certainly don’t forget the sacrifice, but it sure numbs the pain as you smile back at him and know that there isn’t a thing you wouldn’t do for him and that all you want in the world is for him to have a happy and healthy life.

P.S. I fear the day that we will fight. I fear the day that I’ll need to reprimand him. I also fear the day he’ll say something like “I wish I was never born,” “______ is a better father than you, ” etc. With anyone else, I can imagine unleashing a war like no other. However, I already anticipate biting the bullet for the love of my child. Welcome to parenting!

 

 

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JJ Update

  • He’s awake and ready to go at 7 AM
  • Size 3-6 months clothes
  • He smiles a lot now and laughs periodically
  • He can semi-roll depending on the starting position
  • He’ll sit in the glider, but he doesn’t look like he’s enjoying it.
  • He’ll grab books, rings, and toys, but isn’t fully interacting with them yet so they don’t hold his attention too long.
  • His neck is strong and stable and he loves to look at himself in the mirror.
  • His latest joy is looking at pictures of himself on 2 photo frames set side to side. It’s funny because he’ll go from screen to screen as he waits for the other screen to advance.
  • He shrieks.
  • When lying down, he likes to grab his feet.
  • He’s like a rubberband-extremely flexible.
  • As he’ s still exclusively breastfed, his poop doesn’t stink. TMI?
  • About 8 diapers a day
  • Size 2 diapers

 

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When are you having a second one?

Calm down, there’s no announcement in this post.  I’m just putting it out there since we’re getting asked this a bunch.

Speaking of which, I don’t mind you asking in general. It’s a simple enough question. My typical response is usually light-hearted and will come to the tune of “It’s up to my wife,” “We’ve got our hands full at the moment with JJ,” “We’re not sure,” or “Tomorrow.”

However, sometimes, some pushy people are just plain pushy and aggressive about it like we need to have one now because they said so. With these people, in the far, far back of my head, I’m thinking:

  • “Are you looking to help pay for tuition?”
  • You’re not even married yet/Your child’s not married yet/You don’t even have 1 kid yet/Your child doesn’t even have 1 kid yet and you’re pushing me?

Where to begin? Before we ever had JJ, we had discussed and assumed we would have a couple of children. From my simple perspective, two kids is best somewhat solely based on my own experience. One child seems lonely. Three children results in 2 ganging up on 1 and four just seemed like too many. Heck, when you have to have a special car to transport your family, there are too many. That’s not to say that having more kids wouldn’t be without its joys, however, it’s tough. Just take a look at the Duggar’s grocery stats from TLC’s “19K ids and counting.” They spend $3K/month on groceries alone. Yikes!

Expanding on my own experience, my sister is a mere 11 months younger than me and we’re like 2 peas in a pod.  There’s something to be said for how my parents had the two of us one after the other and basically got the diaper/feeding stage/potty training over with at the same time. Part of me simply wants to replicate this out of sheer convenience. I can’t imagine having JJ potty trained and sleeping through the night later on only to become a zombie all over again with a newborn.

However, there’s another side of me that wants to simply grow into my current role with JJ and put a gap before the next child. This will also give us a chance to rest up and prepare for a second as well as some additional time to sock away the additional funds required.

Did I forget to mention that I’d still obviously need my wife’s consent. Carrying another kid for 9 months and then the great process of labor and delivery-I still don’t know how women do it. Superheroes I tell ya!

For now, let’s leave it at we’re thinking about it and are simply enjoying our time with JJ for the time being.

DISCLAIMER: all of the people I talk about generally here are not part of my family. Apparently, I created quite a stir with my pet peeves post as different family members started pointing out other family members doing those behaviors. Haha! This is not meant towards close friends and family. I’m happy to joke, be frank, and openly discuss and kid around with those close to me. However, the people I’m talking about aren’t close to me, nor are they computer literate and will never find this blog.

P.S. As JJ isn’t sleeping through the night yet, it’s starting to get annoying hearing people ask if he is. That’s probably the one question I can’t stand because it reminds me of how sleepless I am and makes me feel like a parental failure with a bad kid despite my best efforts. When he’s sleeping through the night, everyone will know it. We’ll all be happier. I guarantee it! FYI, If you do ask, I won’t get mad. I’ll answer truthfully and then put my head down in shame. J/K It’s ok.  I’m not that sensitive.
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Honey, Jason, etc

In naming my son after myself, I knew there would be times that we would both answer when someone said our name.  It comes with the territory. However, it’s been real strange hearing my wife say “Honey, Sweetheart, Jason, etc,” answering her and then realizing she’s talking to my son.  I may need a new name for myself after all…

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Want to drink more water?

image

Have a baby and buy one of these. Ok, so you don’t need a baby, but it helped me.

I drink a ton (of tea) nowadays. There’s not much else to do rocking a baby to sleep at 3 am. I suppose I’m also up more hours now allowing for more hydration periods.

Nonetheless, this is a pic of my Martin Yan water boiler that delicers hot water 24–7, 3 liters at a time. We empty about a pot amd a half a day. Another thing thats helped is I’ve started buying more expensive tea. My favorite now is Ten Ren’s King’s tea. It comes in a gold can, is way more expensive than Lipton, but is oh so tasty. Feel free to ask for a cup qhwn you come over!

I also having. A special cup now with a built in strainer that keeps the leaves separated from where you drink. I originally purchased several in China when I first found them only to find out that they were available at my local Chinese store.

JJ update: he’s so long/tall now. I need to meaaure him, however he spans the entire width of my body and then some now requiring two arms at rocking time, whereas he used to fit in a one forearm football hold easily before.

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One Expensive Valentine’s Day (almost)

I almost charged $100,000 today at Nordstrom.com. I haven’t won the lottery and this is far from my typical spending, however, had the deal worked as I had planned, I would have ponied up without a heartbeat. Since it didn’t work out, I’m writing this post to give you a peek into some of the crazy thinking that goes on inside my head and to prepare you to take advantage of the next deal that comes around. I apologize in advance as this will get pretty long, but I promise the information and thought process is worth its weight in Gold, with a capital G!  _________________________________________________________________________________

NOTE: As this is one of my longer posts, I think it’d be fair to provide a brief synopsis of this post so you don’t waste your time if you’re not interested. This is a post about my latest hobby: airline miles. If you’ve talked to me recently, I’m sure I’ve talked your ear off about this deal or that deal. I know some of you are interested in it and some are not.  I’m not here to convince you either way, but I am expressing my view on them and how and what I do with them.   I’m passionate about them and I know I go on and on in person, so let me apologize officially.  I apologize in advance for all of my miles talk in the past, present and future. If I’m talking your ear off in person and you’re not interested, please stop me. I’m a big boy and won’t get my feelings hurt. It’s just I truly love airline miles.Smile   _________________________________________________________________________________

This all came about because Nordstrom was trying to drum up business with its online shopping partner British Airways (BA) for Valentine’s Day.  To do this, they were offering triple BA miles on the normal offer of 12 BA miles per dollar spent at Nordstrom.com, so 36 miles per dollar spent between 26 January and 14 February 2012. On a VERY conservative valuation of $.01/point, you were basically receiving a minimum of a 36% rebate on all of your purchases.

There are few times when a big retailer with quality merchandise offers at least 36% off of everything, including handbags and cosmetics that NEVER go on sale. As the deal stood, it would have been worthwhile to buy whatever you needed and maybe a few items you wanted if you liked to travel.  Wedding/birthday/anniversary/shower gifts etc were all going through my head as well as necessities and a few splurges.

To give you an idea of how to do this deal, you need to know a couple of numbers to make an example. A. 4,500 BA miles will get you a one way on a short-haul flight (think LAS-LAX or DFW-IAH) and B. you are receiving 36 miles per dollar spent.  Therefore, for every $125 you spend, you get a 1 way short haul ticket. For example, you could’ve bought 3 pairs of Tom’s at $44/paid and received enough miles for this one way ticket. Without the promotion, you would just pay $132 + tax for the 3 pairs of shoes and all you would have are shoes. However, this way, you get the same shoes and a free ticket.

One item my wife and I were considering was the Bugaboo Bee stroller for $699.00. Obviously, it’s a lot for a stroller, but it NEVER goes on sale and with the 25,164 ($699*36miles/$) miles thrown in, enough for a round-trip from Los Angeles to Hawaii, the numbers were starting to make sense.

Many in the miles community bought a couple of hundred dollars of necessities and the more well-heeled may have spent thousands and were happy with this miles rebate at face value. Others saw this opportunity and purchased items speculatively to sell the items on Ebay/Craigslist at a discount to keep the miles.

However, in thinking about this promotion, I wanted to MAXIMIZE THE OPPORTUNITY! Here’s how:

Step 1. Buy $100,000 worth of stuff, anything, from Nordstrom.com (jewelry and handbags appealed to me as they were expensive, small and lightweight.)

Step 2. Return the items for merchandise credit/gift card. NOTE: I’m not returning them for credit back to my credit card as the miles would have been taken back.

Step 3. I would then sell the gift cards to ABC GiftCards, CardPool, or  Plastic Jungle for 87% of face value. (P.S. If you ever need to buy/sell a gift card, check Gift Card Granny to see the best rates on multiple sites)

Step 4. Pay back my credit card using the proceeds I have received from selling the gift cards and begin planning my travels.

For going through the trouble, here’s the math and what I’d receive:

Math

Basically $14,053 for 3,600,000 British Airways miles and 108,000 American Express Membership Rewards points (I would’ve used my AMEX Platinum as it doesn’t have a pre-set spending limit. They’re very useful in situations like this!  Get yours here!

So, what’s 3,600,000 BA miles good for?

17 First class tickets on Cathay Pacific from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, retail $340,000

OR

36 Business class tickets JFK to Buenos Aires on American airlines, retail $180,000

OR

144 Economy tickets on American from Los Angeles to Honolulu, retail $72,000

OR

Any combination of the above or pretty much anywhere in the world thanks to British Airways OneWorld partner airlines. The gist is, 3.6 million miles can allow you and your family to travel almost anywhere in the world in the utmost comfort for a smidgeon of the retail cost.

In the end, the promotion was pulled early, although it was supposed to go on through Valentine’s Day. It’s likely that the 36 BA miles per $ was simply too rich resulting in an overwhelmed and over-budgeted marketing department. I got a small order of necessities through in time, however I didn’t get a chance to hit the home run on this one and ensure years of first class travel for my family.

Key Takeaways:

  • Promotions come and go. Even though this one ended, there will be something similar in the future with another store or product. In the past I’ve bought ridiculous amounts of pudding, cheese, shipping labels, etc that offered miles more value than the product’s internal value.
  • By being creative, anyone can travel at prices they can afford. Most people instinctively book tickets online or with a travel agent hoping to get the lowest price available. Miles and points are the key to the absolute lowest (and sometimes free) tickets.
  • You have to be prepared to pull the trigger and go All In for maximum results
  • Think Big.
  • Be financially responsible and only spend what you can afford. $14,000 is as much $ to me as it is to anyone, but it’s a value play. If you have more or less to spend, stick to your budget whatever it is. As you learn the finer nuances of the miles “game,” you’ll learn how you can sell the 3,600,000 miles and could have actually made money doing this in case you didn’t want to travel. Again, being conservative, by going through the “hassle” of the numbers above, I could’ve easily brokered the miles for a $30,000+ profit (3,600,000 miles*1.3 cents/mile= $46,800 – $14,053 cost of miles= $32,747 profit for a couple of hours of “work”)

Although I didn’t do a big points haul on this particular deal, it’s worth noting that I actively seek out these types of opportunities and am happy to share them and help you with them as they arise. I will try to verify them to some degree first so as not to send you into uncharted territory. In case you didn’t know, I love to travel.  Luxury travel is even better. By taking advantages of deals like this, my family and I are able to travel anywhere at anytime for fractions of retail. It’s been nothing but good for us and I hope it helps you too! I truly look forward to showing JJ the world and seeing his eyes light up and smile as he continues to experience everything the world has to offer! For the record, JJ has already been to China, Korea, and Mexico while in the womb!

That said, let me know if you are interested in posts like this.  I’ll take a look at the traffic and make a guess, but in the future, I think I’ll be adding some family travel posts (Packing with a baby, inflight tips, baby mileage accounts/deals) Any questions, ask away…

POTENTIAL QUESTIONS:

How would you have paid the $100,000 credit card bill?

I’m not sure what amount I really would have done with this promotion. I’m using $100,000 as a nice round example for illustrative purposes. That said, in this example, I’d only be out $14,053 for cycling the money this way because I would’ve paid the credit card company

What are the miles really worth?

It really depends on what they are used for. If I were offered the opportunity to buy BA miles outright, I’d be willing to pay somewhere around 1.3 cents/mile. However, I’d do that on the assumption that I would obviously redeem for more than this. Taking Los Angeles to Hong Kong round-trip for examples in First Class, the ticket retails for $20,000 or you could use 210,000 miles. If you used miles, they’d be worth over 9.5 cents a piece.  On a cheaper flight, say Los Angeles to Las Vegas or Houston to Dallas round-trip, tickets are regularly around $200 or you could use 9,000 BA miles, effectively valuing the miles  at just over 2.2 cents a piece. The value is very relative, but in both examples much more than the 1.3 cents I proposed buying them at.

Isn’t it hard to book award tickets (availability, taxes, etc)?

It’s obviously easier to buy tickets.  However, with a little planning and patience, I can always get where I need to go.  There are tricks of the trade and even software (Expert Flyer/KVS Tool) that help search availability.  It’s a bit of a learning curve to really learn how to book award tickets, so in case you don’t want to learn, there are award ticket booking Wizards/Gods, who only book tickets with miles for a living.  As a miles guy, I enjoy that this myth exists in society as it means less competition for the seats and points deals. I’m sharing my tricks with you because I like you! Smile

Is this scamming Nordstrom?

Remember, Nordstrom received $100,000 from me. Even though I converted the money into a gift card/merchandise credit at the store and will sell it, Nordstrom still received my initial $100,000. The only thing Nordstrom loses is where to book the sale in its accounting when the sale is actually made by my gift card buyer. They will have a liability on their books to honor the gift card until it’s been used, but they have received the money for it up front. In theory, they’re even able to make money on the float.

My family’s on a budget and we can’t spend $100,000 on miles.  What’s the point of this post?

One of my favorite bloggers, MommyPoints, explains how to do this promotion in some detail here when you’re on a budget or looking for travel with a family slant.  The gist is to simply buy the necessities.  Even $100 in this promotion was worthwhile.

If you’re a Wal-Mart shopper that will shop nowhere other than Wal-Mart, then almost none of the promotions I talk about will work for you.  As MommyPoints pens, “you can find items cheaper at Wal-Mart or Target, but if you were going to buy things in this price range anyway, now is a good time to do it. If you only want to buy items at Target prices, then just skip this deal. I love Target, but I like buying some higher quality items to mix in as well. It’s all personal preference.”

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When I’m not changing diapers

When I’m not on Daddy Duty, working, eating, working out, or sleeping, I’m hooked on my latest hobby: airline miles. Ask my wife. She thought it was the weirdest thing ever until we started taking business/first class to China. Suddenly, after the first flight, she now helps me with our points/miles hauls.

Growing up, my sister and I felt privileged being able to criss-cross the US in coach as kids. I’d sit in a domestic first class seat every once in a blue moon if I got upgraded, but that was it. It was hard to justify paying more to sit on the same plane to arrive at the same place my parents and I reasoned.

Eating in the Clubhouse

London Clubhouse Lodge

London Heathrow Clubhouse

This all changed a few tears ago after the company I was working for at the time paid for my first business class trip to London in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class. It was a $10,000 ticket and I was floored by the free pajamas, amenity kit, personalized service, tasty food, airport limo service, and hair cut/massage/lounge experience on arrival.  It’s truly an experience!

After that flight, I knew this was the only way to fly, especially internationally. Unfortunately, after I switched companies, I no longer travelled as much and needed to pay for trips again. Any middle to upper middle class person would feel these prices to be prohibitively expensive for a flight (First class from the US to Hong Kong is about $20,000), so I knew there had to be a better way and that’s when I discovered the world of flyertalk and blogs like View From the Wing, Frugal Travel Guy, and One Mile at a Time. By reading these blogs, I learned how to accumulate millions of miles without actually flying. Some ways I’ve earned miles: flying, shopping, credit card sign-ups, giving my email, getting a free Lasik consultation, sweepstakes, etc

I started digesting the knowledge by reading, asking questions, and learning the in’s and out’s of earning and more importantly burning miles. You hear all the time about how someone saved their miles for 10 years and wanted to take a trip to X only to find out there was no availability or a fuel surcharge and taxes etc.  I’m personally glad this mentality is out there as the longer people shy away from points programs and redemptions, the more availability and opportunity myself and others like me will have.

Today, I’m still a novice at best, but this hobby has fortunately allowed my wife and me to have taken some incredible flights (think 1st class on Singapore, Asiana, Thai, the new United, etc) to amazing places (Seoul, Hawaii, Madrid, Dubai, etc) at prices we all can afford.

I bring this up today because I’ve been banking miles in anticipation of JJ’s birth. I look forward to taking him around the world with us and his grandparents from an early age.  If we had to buy the tickets, we probably wouldn’t go to many places due to the high costs associated with travel. However, miles have opened up the globe to us. We could literally go anywhere in the utmost comfort tomorrow.

I thought of the idea for this post because I just helped one of my wife’s best friends book tickets to come to the US for the first time from the UK. They originally contacted a travel agent and were put off by the prohibitively high fares and travel taxes (the UK is the highest I’ve seen). They planned to be in the states for a while to take in both Coasts and see the major sites.  Long story short, I  was able to use the power of miles to include both coasts in one reservation for an absurdly low amount of points as a mileage award. They’re getting about 70% off the retail of the tickets had they booked directly with the airline.

I’m often asked, what’s the catch?  There isn’t one.  This isn’t a pyramid travel agent scheme or coupon codes on an airline web site.  It’s as simple as earning miles as cheaply as possible (sometimes free) to use them on the most expensive/useful/desirable air tickets/hotel rooms/cruises available. In case you’re interested in learning more about it, let me know as I’d be happy to help.  Many have taken me under their wing as I learned this game and I’m happy to pay the knowledge forward! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post about my plan to make today My Most Expensive Valentine’s Day ever!

P.S. Here’s a peek at the 10 Best First Class Cabins available!

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