My family is French and one of my relatives, a cousin of my mother's (well, her cousin Annie's husband but I don't even know how to break that down), Pierre, taught himself English. He's an exceptional linguist, and to help himself better understand metaphors, idioms, and other subtleties of the language, he'd listen to random tapes while driving around.
We visited Annie and Pierre on our European honeymoon. While driving around sightseeing, he played one tape for us, a tape about economics. The man was describing, if I recall correctly, the American economy (it was somewhat dated, even for 2007 when we were in France staying with them, so it does not describe today's current economic climate).
One of the phrases he used was "claustrophobia of abundance" and described it with an example: "you have so many sweaters they don't fit in the drawer, because you keep buying sweaters but lack the space for them." Yeah, I told you it wasn't about our current economy.
Anyways, now at last I understand what that feels like. Thanks to some generous family and Todd and I focusing a bit more on Alex than on each other, we now live in a claustrophobic environment. Observe:
There is hardly enough room for her to stand in there! And look, here's a toy I got her that wasn't even opened yet, at the time these pictures were taken. Oh, and see all those books? Half the time, the majority of them are strewn about her floor, or worse, throughout the house.
Shopping carts, airplanes, giraffes, elephants, dolls, kitchen supplies, and let's not forget, the toy chest in the corner there is also full of crap, I mean, full of her toys.
Needless to say, a lot of this shit found itself either crammed in the closet or on its way up to grandma and grandpa's storage garage. Next year I think I'm sticking to like, two big gifts and that's it. The year after THAT, I'm just going to burn down the goddamn house and we'll start over from scratch.