Back-to-School Shopping in Annapolis
My daughter is starting kindergarten this year and my eldest son is starting preschool, so this is our first real year doing back-to-school shopping! As a child, back-to-school shopping was one of my absolute favorite activities. There is a line in the movie “You’ve Got Mail” about loving the smell of “bouquets of sharpened pencils” that I totally relate to. So I admit, I expected this to be a pretty fun experience for all of us, especially given all the stores and kid-centered activities at the Westfield Annapolis Mall.
I did my homework, pun intended, before I set foot in stores with my two children. July is apparently a big month for online sales for fall clothes, backpacks, and the like. Saxon had 50% off of shoes. Nordstrom had their half-yearly sale on big-name brands. Pottery Barn Kids discounted their backpacks and lunch bags. I found that even L.L. Bean runs sales on their winter clothes. If you have enough foresight, you can really snag some deals. That being said, by the end of July I felt completely broke.
When August hit, it became crunch time for me. You may or may not know that I’m 35 weeks pregnant. I’m feeling very anxious about the baby and the school year, and I’d like to have everything neatly tied up by the end of this month (yeah, right!). So we made our shopping trip a priority. Every time we head to the mall, we start off at the play place. Maggie and Brendan love the “starfish playground” located outside of Pottery Barn. It’s kid corridor in that part of the mall: the ride-able choo-choo train whistles by every so often, the bright colors of stores like Hanna Andersson and Janie & Jack dazzle the eye, and even the food court is equipped with a fish tank. My son recently discovered than in the family restroom there is a “small potty” that is just his size and he literally has not stopped talking about it. It’s a great place for back-to-school shopping… it’s a great place in general, really. We zeroed in on Gymboree and I let each child select several outfits to supplement what I’d already purchased online.
Of course, back-to-school shopping is more than just clothes shopping. I went online to my daughter’s school website and printed off a supply list. After playing, shopping and eating, we headed to the Staples closest to the Westfield Annapolis Mall to get all she needed. Maggie absorbs everything around her, as I’m sure most five-year-olds do, so she wanted to buy “the gel pens that Aunt Chelle has” and some other specific brand of pen that she saw on a commercial. It was a bit of a challenge to get her to stick to the list at this juncture in the day; I should have known that we wouldn’t get through our entire list in one day. But when everything is so conveniently located in close proximity, it’s hard to justify more than one trip.
Next time you’re trying to find an indoor activity to beat the heat for a few hours with your kids, I highly recommend that you check out the Westfield Annapolis Mall… school shopping or not!
Photography courtesy of Darin Gilliam