Welcome to Buffalo, Alexandra!

This week we welcomed Alexandra Joy Fashana to the world and to her new home in North Buffalo.

In just a short 15 months, Karen and I have doubled the size of our family! What was 2 became 3 and then quickly 4. We are truly blessed to have a few happy, healthy, meatball kids.

Doing some quick math…I’ve calculated that my beautiful, amazing, strong, incredible wife was pregnant for 18 of the last 24 months. It was a breeze, and though I can’t speak for her, in looking back I’d say that time flew by.

I’m sure her sentiments wouldn’t be quite the same, and she’d say something more along the lines of “speak for yourself Charlie” and/or “give me a damn beer!”.

I’ll buy her a case – she’s more than earned it.

Taking the city perspective into consideration, I’m claiming we’ve done our part in contributing to the population growth in North Buffalo. I’m also predicting a nice ripple affect to be realized by all of our Hertel shops that will help us feed, clothe and entertain our kiddos. We may go broke, but we’ll feel good about it.

And following one of the worst winters in Buffalo history, something tells me that many families will be welcoming newborns into the world around the August – October timeframe. Snowvember babies are coming so for any of you with buns in the oven, best of luck!

Thanks for indulging me here, with this personal, somewhat off-mission Hello Hertel blog. I’m just too proud and too happy not to share.

Cheers and as always God Bless.



School 81: A Diamond in the Rough?

I gave birth to this kid four months ago.


Cute, right?

Well he wasn’t more than a day or two old, before Charlie and I started SERIOUSLY talking about where we would send him to school. Sure, we were getting a little ahead of ourselves given that he has to first master some basic life skills like eating and sleeping and cheering for the Bills before the bus pulls up and whisks him off to kindergarten. But still, now that we have a real-life tiny human in front of us, all of a sudden we feel like we have to start the conversation.

Many o’ times we’ve uttered the words “well there’s NO WAY we can send him to public schools, not in Buffalo”. The options were always Catholic schools, charter schools (whatever those are) or banking on the fact that we were raising the next Albert Einstein and we’d be enrolling him in the early achiever program at Harvard.

A pleasant Facebook conversation with a Hello Hertel reader I’ve never met now has me thinking otherwise.

This fellow North BuffaLOVER wrote me a quick note to say how much she enjoyed reading our blog. We exchanged a number of pleasantries and yada yada yada (thanks George Costanza for one of the greatest segues ever), turns out we have a mutual friend (classic Buffalo) AND turns out she’s a teacher at School 81 on Tacoma Ave.

I have driven by that school a million times and in the last four months have been wondering if that is one of the good ones you hear young parents living in the city talk about. According to her, it is. My eyes lit up.

She said the principal at 81 runs a “tight ship” and their students go on to Nichols and City Honors. She acknowledged that Buffalo Public Schools do have their challenges (putting it nicely) but said that walking into School 81 is unlike any other. Who is this Principal Tight Ship and what is he all about?

See this article from the Buffalo News on School 81’s Principal, Robert Clemens.

If you’re a young parent in North Buffalo, I truly hope you clicked that link. After reading that, I have a renewed sense of hope that a Buffalo public school, School 81 in our own backyard, could be a viable option for our child’s education someday.

A renewed sense of hope from a complete stranger, now Facebook friend, thanks to this very blog.

Now I just need Principal Clemens to stick around for another 13 years…ya know, in case that Harvard thing doesn’t work out.

Baby Clothes on the Cheap

It’s pretty obvious why moms out there shouldn’t be spending top dollar on togs for their tots.

It shouldn’t cost your first born to clothe your first born.

Sure that adorable pint-size North Face jacket is irresistibly cute but dropping a hundred bucks on something they’re going to wear for a few months is just plain dumb.  Yep, I said it.  Besides how quickly our kiddies grow, there’s really three simple reasons to buy baby clothes on the cheap:

  1. Pee
  2. Poop
  3. Spit Up

LogoI have yet to meet a kid that hasn’t destroyed 68% of his/her wardrobe from one of the above offenders.  When you’re tossing away that onesie, it’s a bit easier knowing you didn’t pay full price. Far from it actually if you shop at Peek-A-Boo Baby Boutique on Hertel Avenue.

Baby consignment shops like Peek-A-Boo are pure genius.  Gently-used clothes for newborns to toddlers being sold at a fraction of their original price.  How’s it work?  Moms bring in bags of clothes their kids have outgrown (sans the stains) and Peek-A-Boo turns around and sells them to frugal moms like me. In fact, I stopped in to their 50% off sale earlier this month and walked away with 13 items for only $27 (3 of them even had their original tags on them!).

Baby3 (2)

Follow along on their Facebook page and Peek-A-Boo’s owner, Stacey, will regularly post grab-bag deals and snapshots of what she has in stock.  Oh and it’s not just clothes, you can find shoes, toys, bouncers and other previously-loved nursery accessories at a killer discount.

I realize that only 6 weeks of motherhood doesn’t necessarily give me “mom cred” just yet but whether it’s 6 weeks or 60 years, mom always knows best.