Archive for the ‘The Rest’ Category

Lake of the Woods 2016

Monday, July 25th, 2016

I promise to have Linc birthday party pics up soon, but these are a) done and b) on a drive that hasn’t yet overheated so I still have access. Plus I like documenting our annual things the best, since I can go back and look at last year vs this year. (I took way more pictures last year, because I was way less hugely pregnant.)

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Gotta Catch ‘Em All

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

We’re playing Pokemon Go. I don’t actually want to hear about how it’s a secret plot from the CIA to data-mine us all or whatever. I don’t care. It’s been a super fun way for our family to spend time, outside, together, getting lots of fresh air and exercise. It’s gotten my tired, pregnant butt off the couch every day since I downloaded it. The kids are all exhausted at the end of the day from the walking. And believe it or not, looking at REAL animals or boats or flowers is still really fun, in between catching Clefairies (Caroline’s favorite) and trash birds (stupid Pidgies are everywhere).

And if you want to visit Mystic in the summer, may I recommend the Monday night after-hours at the aquarium? The outdoor section isn’t all open (no penguins) but it was SO fun to visit when the place was empty, plus the octopus, whales and frogs were all extra active and fun to watch.

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A Fourth Pregnancy Update

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

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Here’s the thing about having a fourth baby – you don’t really have time for a fourth baby until the baby actually shows up and you HAVE to give them your attention. That’s why I am currently  31 31+ 32 weeks pregnant and haven’t written a single pregnancy update so far. I have no weekly bump shots, no cute comparisons to fruit sizes, no lists of symptoms or weird body changes. All changes have already been made, at least one whole baby ago. My body can do all sorts of horrifying things and my reaction is “meh, I’ve seen worse”.

It has gotten very hot recently, and I am reminded why summer pregnancies are the worst. I am feeling extra large and swollen and sweaty all the time, even when I am doing my best to drink water and keep my feet up and not move more than necessary between the hours of 11 am and 4 pm. Several of those hours also happen to be Linc’s current nap hours, so there is a lot of afternoon screen time happening in our house. I keep trying to feel guilty about it – because I’m supposed to feel guilty about letting the kids watch iPad instead of having an #unpluggedchildhood, right? – but can’t work up the energy. Maybe after a quick nap.

I had such good intentions when it came to really enjoying and basking in this last pregnancy. I was going to think about things like “This is the last time I’ll feel relief at 24 weeks” and “This is the last time we’ll get to pick a baby name”. Instead, I keep forgetting how pregnant I am and please let’s NOT talk about the complete lack of name decisions being made. I think a big part of it is that when I was pregnant with Lincoln they were concerned with my amniotic fluid levels, so I had a LOT of appointments. There were bi-weekly non-stress tests and weekly ultrasounds, all of which Evan and Caroline attended with me, plus regular check-ups and blood work. In contrast, this baby had one extra ultrasound early on and we’ve reached the point where I have the standard weight-belly size-any questions? appointments every 2 weeks, but no NSTs, no extra testing, no dragging my kids to the hospital all the time. This baby is unwatched and unmonitored and completely average.

That doesn’t mean he isn’t trying to to make himself known. My current daily heartburn levels are somewhere between “being stabbed with hot knives” and “oh my God I must have esophageal cancer this cannot be normal”. I still have daily morning sickness and sometimes evening sickness. I have to pee constantly. Like right now. Even though I just went 10 minutes ago. And all night. It’s exhausting. He also kicks and rolls more than any previous baby, sometimes moving so much I gasp and clutch my belly and feel like he’s about to just pop right out, Alien-style. I would much rather he make his exit the normal way, so hopefully he figures that DOWN is a better direction for the poking in the next few weeks.

I have plans to force my family to help me take maternity photos again, like I did last time. Since this is my last pregnancy, I’m going to be as completely cliche as possible – long dress, flower crown, standing in a river looking pensive about the miracle that is motherhood – and not feel the least bit self conscious about it. Plus any excuse to stand in a river sounds really good right now, since it’s 93 degrees outside and we don’t have air conditioning. For now I’m going to finally hit publish on this, put a cold washcloth on my head and take a nap.

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Where I Buy My Kid Clothes (Especially for Caroline)

Friday, June 17th, 2016

This is one of those posts that is ONLY interesting to other people who are currently living fairly similar lives to mine (smallish children who both have and do not have opinions on their clothes but have to wear something because constant nudity is not an option). Or possibly it’s good for aunts/uncles/grandparents/relatives/close-but-childless-friends-who-are-often-stumped-looking-for-gifts, since cute, good quality kid clothes are almost always welcome.

But I feel like I get a lot of compliments on what my children wear, both in real life and online, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to share my shopping habits. This was supposed to be a pretty short, easy post to write and instead, I’ve spent almost 3 weeks on it. And I don’t actually get THAT many compliments, besides from my friends who probably already know where I got stuff. I’m sort of regretting how much effort I’ve put into this, actually. Think of all the naps I could have taken instead. But since I’m done now, and I love how adorable my children are, I present to you an extensive list of our favorite places to shop.

Sort of a disclaimer non-disclaimer: I don’t have secret affiliate relationships with and am not sponsored by these companies so this post is just me talking about stuff I genuinely like. I’ll mention any referral links if/when I use them.

STORES:

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Some of Caroline’s many Hanna dresses

Hanna Andersson: Probably my very most favorite of all the places to get kid clothes. The have Swedish roots and a very clean, classic aesthetic that means I never hate what my kids pick out even if they dress themselves. The pajamas really are the cutest and most comfortable we own and the kids always grab them first if they’re available. Sizes go from tiny baby up through kids size 16-18, which should fit Evan until he’s at least in middle school. Things we especially love: dresses, hats, pajamas, underpants. They run sales fairly often and I don’t allow myself to buy things at full price, but if you consider how well the clothes hold up (for your own multiple children or for selling/consigning later) they are a good deal. If you’ve never ordered from Hanna before and you use this link, you get 20% off your purchase and I get a 20% off coupon for myself which I will probably use to order yet another set of matching pajamas for my numerous children.

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Starting at top left: dress, shirt, sweater, fleece jacket, dress, fleece jacket, dress, snowsuit and sweater are all Hanna. 

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I have an actual addiction to Hanna Jams.

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Mini Boden for Evan and Caroline

Mini Boden: If Boden hadn’t sent me clothes (for the bigs and for tiny baby Linc), I don’t think I ever would have actually ordered from the site. Their stuff is not inexpensive. I often throw the catalog away as soon as I get it because I don’t trust myself not to spend too much. But seriously, this is a brand that understands how to design and make cute, fun, quality kid clothes. They have a current print in their girl’s section called Florasaurus that has awesome dinosaurs on it and Caroline gets compliments everywhere. Their boy t-shirts are fun without having cartoon characters printed on them, and their baby clothes are SO soft. Mini Boden sizes start at newborn, go up to 12 years old and their tween/teen line goes up to 16 years old. Things we especially love: matching brother shirts, baby rompers, anything with stars on it.

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Starting at top left: snowsuit, matching shirts, snowsuit, Caroline’s dress, Linc’s whole outfit, Caroline’s dress, Linc’s shirt & Evan’s shirt, Linc’s shirt, snowsuit, Caroline’s dress, Linc’s whole outfit, matching brother shirts AND Caroline’s romper are all Mini Boden

Polarn O. Pyret: Another Swedish company who makes classic, stripey children’s clothes. I ordered from them during their $5/$10/$15 sale and could not believe how much I loved the thickness and quality of their regular cotton. I’ve been throwing them in the dryer for more than 6 months now and they still look new. I especially love their socks for Lincoln – they stay on and they don’t get holes, which seems to be too much to ask for most boys’ socks. I really wish I had a baby girl to buy their baby girl outfits for, but I’ll just have to settle for gender neutral newborn stuff. Their sizes go up to 12 years old but I think their styles skew a little young. Things we especially love: SOCKS. Totally worth signing up for email to get socks on sale.

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One of Caroline’s favorite dresses is Polarn.

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Some of our Tea in current sizes – there’s tons more in sizes no one is currently wearing

Tea Collection: Tea is hit or miss for me, or more specifically for Caroline, but when I was looking through her closet I realized we own a LOT of it. I’ve bought SO many cute dresses on sale that she has decided are not her style. They base each season’s new clothes on a location/country and when I love the collections I LOOOOOVE them. When they aren’t my favorite I’m not even tempted. I never have quality complaints though, and their cotton is super soft, especially on boy clothes. Their color schemes are not what you usually expect in kid clothes, which can be really refreshing if you’re tired of primary colors and cartoon characters. Their sizes go from newborn to 12 years old and the dresses fit Caroline for at least 3 seasons because they make great tunics. Things we especially love: dresses, boys t-shirt designs.

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Horse dress, Evan’s shirt, flower dress are Tea

SITES:

Facebook Resale Pages: If you’re currently thinking I must spend thousands of dollars on kid clothes if I’m shopping mostly on those three sites, you’d be right. But I only buy directly from those brands a few times a year. I buy far, far more second-hand from resale groups. My favorite is the Mini Boden & Hanna Andersson BST page, but there are lots of them for lots of brands, like Crewcuts and Tea Collection. That’s the beauty of these brands – they last a super long time, through multiple children, and even if YOU buy something full price you can resell it later. So far I’ve had nothing but good experiences with the moms on those boards and I’ve bought everything from bathing suits to shoes for all 3 kids. On the MB/Hanna site people can list other high end or boutique brands on Fridays, so it’s a good day to browse. Be warned though, it can be super addicting, especially since everyone uses Paypal and Paypal can feel like pretend money instead of actual money. This is in bold because it is where I buy probably 75% of our current wardrobe. All the girl’s Tea, three of the Hanna pieces and about half the Mini Boden in the pictures was bought resale.

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Party dresses all from Zulily

Zulily: I have a love/hate relationship with Zulily. I’ve bought some GREAT stuff from them, including a handful of Jelly The Pug dresses, some of Caroline’s favorite shoes and many nice Christmas presents. On the other hand, their shipping can be so expensive it cancels out the savings and it’s sooooo slooooooow. I’ve installed/deleted the app from my phone dozens of times, because I find myself shopping aimlessly and buying things I don’t LOVE love just because they’re available. Sometimes my world’s collide and Hanna Andersson has stuff on Zulily, which can be a great deal if you log in early enough and grab the good items before they’re gone. If you use my links to Zulily, open a new account and actually buy something, I earn a $15 credit. I think I’ve earned 3 total in 5+ years of using them, so I won’t hold my breath.

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All three of Caroline’s dresses are from Zulily

ThredUp: ThredUp is a resale site for kids and women (including maternity!) so I’ve spent a ton of time browsing around their app while rocking a baby to sleep or waiting for the bus. Everything is used but what I’ve ordered has been in great-to-brand-new condition. The good thing about ThredUp is they don’t seem to value brands like Hanna or Boden as much as people on the Facebook sites do, so you can get them for a few dollars less. The BAD part about that is I wouldn’t send those higher-end brands to them to consign. I sent a huge bag of stuff we didn’t need or want hoping to earn some credit but only got $13. That’s less than half than what I would get if I consigned them locally – but it was less than half as much work, too. Even if selling is disappointing, the app is still a good place to find deals – they often have sales, run coupon codes and if you sign up with a referral link you get a free $10 credit to spend (I also get a credit if you spend your’s). I’ve had good luck with all three sizes – big boy stuff, medium girl stuff, and baby stuff. I got an email this morning that you can get 40% off your first order using the code: SUMMER.

BOUTIQUE/SMALL BRANDS:

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Some of our cutest boutique clothes

Rainbow Waters: Lindsay is the talented mama behind this adorable brand on Etsy. These are fun clothes, in crazy patterns and bright colors rather than mature, muted styles but if kids can’t dress like that sometimes then who can?? Obviously everyone needs a dress with dinosaurs and unicorns in outer space on it. Besides fun stuff like rainbows and stars, she often stocks Star Wars prints for both boys AND girls, which I appreciate as a mom with a daughter who loves Star Wars just as much as her brother does. She also does matching sibling pieces (in case you couldn’t tell, I’m a fan of matching).

The Measure: This brand is super popular amongst photographers because it looks beautiful in pictures. It’s also fun, original, eclectic, comfortable and some of Caroline’s favorite stuff. I bought a baby-sized version of that pink stripey dress for my best friend’s daughter to take matching pretend-cousin pictures in Charleston and it was so cute I can barely stand it. She just started making grown-up sized versions of one of her dresses, which would be amazing in a boho/sunset/wildflower family photo session. There’s also a resale B/S/T page on Facebook for The Measure so even if you don’t get more than 2 seasons out of the dresses you can resell (also helpful if you’re looking for a sibling match).

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Lilla Barn: I discovered Lilla on Instagram, although I cannot remember how exactly. They’re a combination of two of my favorite things: a Swedish aesthetic and a small, handmade business. You can order from their website, but I definitely recommend following on social media as well for sales and discount codes. They do a lot of gender neutral stuff for babies, which I love, as well as beautiful girl’s clothes. Caroline is about to outgrow them (sizes go from newborn up to age 6) but luckily Linc and Baby 4 will get plenty of use out of their clothes.

KPea: Cute fabrics, super good quality sewing and there’s very little chance another kid shows up at a party in the same dress (the social horror!!) means Caroline loves KPea. I mostly stalk them on Instagram for new patterns and sales. They do an “outfit of the week” with a nice discount that put prices for a hand-made dress on par with a new dress from Baby Gap or Gymboree. They also do mommy & me matching, so if you’re especially adorable and want something fun for the beach or a holiday or a party you could absolutely find a set.

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From top left: dress Lillabarn, dress Lillabarn, dress The Measure, shirt The Measure, dress KPea, dress Rainbow Waters

Almost all of these pictures came from my 365 (last year) or 366 (this year) projects, because these really are the clothes my children wear and play and live in. Some of them are now terribly stained and faded and we only pass them on as hand-me-downs to friends we know will wear them for playing in the mud. Some of them I’ve treated much better (see also: my obsession with laundry) and I’ll be able to sell or consign so I’ll get quite a bit of my money back – which will probably go towards more kids clothes.

There are lots of other places I shop (Target, duh) and I’m not at all  a snob about brands if the clothes are cute and last longer than one wash. These are just the brands that we consistently love the best. Feel free to leave me links or suggestions to other shops (especially boutiques or resale sites!) I might love!

 

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Last Day of School 2016

Friday, June 10th, 2016

By the end of today, we’ll officially have a first grader AND a second grader in the house. How does this even happen?? It’s really inappropriate. It’s a good thing Linc will never grow up and leave me. Right? RIGHT?????

Both kids are ending the year on really great notes, even though there were some hard days and Evan struggled a little with his social skills and his reading. I’m still really, really happy with our magnet school and the opportunities it gives them to enjoy art, music and STEM activities as part of their curriculum every single week.

Because I am a true End Of The Year Mom, we almost missed the bus this morning because I was taking photos on the sidewalk instead of standing at our stop. I also forgot to feed them breakfast, but let’s be honest – I almost ALWAYS forget to feed them breakfast. School provides free breakfast to everyone and probably does a better job than I would anyway. They’re also getting last-day-of-school school lunch today, which I assume is “eat all the leftover ice cream from the freezers”, but is better than what I had to pack (nothing).

CAN YOU TELL HOW READY WE ARE FOR SUMMER??

(First day of school post for comparisons here)

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