Boy Clothes

I love dressing my little boys and I get compliments on their clothes fairly often so I thought I’d share where I get most of their stuff. Boys are harder to shop for because there is so much less to chose from but that just makes the challenge more rewarding.  All of my kid’s clothes are either extremely cheap (under $10)or a tad pricey (over $30), very little in between because I don’t like to settle. I made two lists, the inexpensive and the not.

Favorite bargain brands:

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My favorite budget brands:

Carhartt: The cutest hats and coats. Carhartt is quality, timeless, functional and well priced.

Sunglasses: I buy them cheap whenever I come across them, Old Navy, Target, wherever. I don’t buy the silly looking plastic ones because they look too kiddy but a cute pair of $5 glasses make a 3-year-old look surprisingly sharp.

Zara: LOVE Zara for kids. They have great prices, cute clothes and free shipping. I refer to Zara as the Euro gap. There is also great resale in their clothes. Downloading their app can be straight dangerous.

Carters: I only buy solid color basics from Carters but they are fantastic in sizing and wear. It’s a given that I have the solid layette set in heavy rotation. The best thing about Carters is that nothing is ever full price, there’s always some % off.

Nordstrom (Rack): The brand pictured is Peek, which I adore for my boys, usually purchased at the Rack but great deals and sales can be found in Nordstrom as well.

Gap: First point is that you will find no better denim for little boys. The quality and the fit are perfect and little boys are hard on their jeans. Second point is if you think gap is pricey then you’re doing it wrong. Gap has amazing sales, especially on their clearance items, last week I bought chinos for Harper for $4, that’s cheaper than Target with a much better quality.

Target: Ah the Mecca. Target is great, Target clearance is better. If something is super cute, great, but if it’s cute and 50% off, greater. The new line Cat and Jack is cute, sometimes, but I’ll warn you it pills easily and the fit is just a little off.

 

Favorite luxury brands:

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Fin and Vince: Cute clothes with sweet little sayings usually. I love buying t-shirts (not white ones) that layer and go well with different items. Also t-shirts are wearable much longer than sized often and if there’s any leak or blowout you usually don’t have to change the shirt, just the pants, making shirts even better than layettes.

Rylee and Cru: Very cute boy clothes often with a more unique cuts and prints. Great wash and wear quality. They definitely fit longer babies better.

Mabo: Made in the US, this is one of my favorite brands. I adore their stuff for tiny babes and the simplicity of their design as kids grow older. Beautiful natural fabrics and designs that are both old-fashioned and modern.

Freshly Picked: Not going to lie, I feel like moccs are on their way out. While the style isn’t the latest, the design and functionality are on point. I splurged on my first pair with Willem and loved them as they really let him learn to walk with their soft soles, kept his feet warm through wind, snow and freezing temps and they stayed on his feet! They also held up really well as he walked on concrete, the leather is very soft but thick. Iver has kicked his off a couple times but they stay better than any other sock or shoe out there. Worth the money to buy at least one pair while baby is learning to walk. These also have a great resale and come in a verity of colors both solids and prints.

Mini Rodini: Love their clothes but they are sometimes a little too loud for me. Most of their prints are animal based so we’ve only splurged on the pajamas and hats.

Childhoods: Cutest little sweats/play clothes ever. Soft and more wearable with every wash.

Bobo Choses: The most expensive but the nicest clothes my kids have ever had. They are made for my kids because the sleeves are long, the bodies are long and the cotton is incredible. I especially love finding some of their vintage items, they wear well and really hold their value.

 

Of course I buy a lot of these past season, on sale or even second-hand. The great thing about buying some of these brands is supporting smaller businesses (including boutiques) putting your kids in softer, less treated clothing and if by some miracle your kid doesn’t ruin it you can often find buyers on Facebook for your used kids clothes, even at a profit to you.

The last tip I can offer is stay clear of any characters or prints. Sure my kids have some paw patrol shirts but only 1 or 2 at a time in the size they are in but over all prints are too busy. Also I encourage them to pick out their own clothes, no use spending money on things they don’t want to wear.

First of the Month List

pexels-photo-295826.jpegLife Pro Tip: make yourself a first of the month list.

I’m not sure how I didn’t think of this concept before my mom shared it with me last year. Having a small checklist of things to look at/check into and clean due all on the same day has helped me remember these easily ignored and forgotten chores.

Here’s the basic concept: make a list of important chores to do that you either don’t like to do often or often forget to do.

You don’t have to use my list, it’s just an example of the things I try to do on/around the first of the month. Also it doesn’t have to be the first, sometimes if I know I’m going to be busy I do it in the days before, if I don’t feel like it I do it during the week later, the first of the month is really just a term I use in order to remember the general time frame of the last time I did it. Here is my list, it’s not long, I don’t like to overwhelm myself.

  • change the air filter, I do buy 60-90 day filters but doing this on the 1st even helps keep track of how old it is.
  • clean dryer lint trap-not the one in the dryer, or even the one on the inside tube (if you life in a cold weather climate you know), I’m talking about the one that’s outside the house, the one that’s easy to forget exists until your clothes are suddenly not getting as dry.
  • scrub floors-My floors get cleaned more then once a month but once a month I get down on my hands and knees and scrub, I also move ALL the furniture and clean underneath (why does no one tell me they spilled a juice box behind/under the couch!)
  • clean front door and back door- both mine are glass, sometimes this happens more often.
  • wash/clean rugs- I hate this chore but love the results
  • journal updates on my kids- which I should do more often

I’d love to hear if you have any other ideas on what to add to my first (week) of the month list. And if you need some motivation:::

Book 1 of 2017

No, I’m not reading 2017 books but this is the first one I’ve finished of the new year. When it comes to books I like to judge by the cover (no joke last trip I bought all books with black/white covers) and I make decisions fast. I don’t go read reviews and it’s often hard for me to fully read and understand the synopsis on the back. I’m a tad reckless with reading.

VSCO Cam-1.jpgThis book was a little out of my norm. It’s an entertaining read but it was much spookier then I expected! Based on a folk story dealing with bringing back the dead as well as an old local legend. A full on ghost story without feeling too cliche. Interesting enough with intertwined voices, it was extremely easy to get sucked in making it a very quick read. If it sounds like something you’d like, it’s all yours! (the cover is curled and I don’t want it back)

 

 

The Holiday Express

I’m a borderline crazy Christmas person. Having kids creates a new level of magic in that you are responsible for creating it and in return receive the pleasure of watching it all unfold.

This year we finally made it onto the historic 1880 Train‘s Holiday Express. The ride was out of Hill City, about halfway to Keystone you arrive at “The North Pole” and pick up Santa. On the way there they pass out delicious hot chocolate and sugar cookies. I was shocked at how good they were. After Santa boards the train he comes around and talks to each child while handing out silver sleigh bells. The cost isn’t cheap but for under $100 for our family it was a special and you can’t put a price on memories.

Notes/Tips:

  • You can bring food/drinks onto the train, we went on the 4:15 so I knew my boys would need more then a sugar cookie so I brought snacks in containers.
  • The trains are mildly heated, meaning on a cold night you’ll be comfortable but with your coat left on. Remember you don’t get on the train without waiting in line outside and it’s in Hill City which is probably a few degrees cooler than Rapid.
  • The speaker system on the train is awful and with so many kids you are unlikely to hear what they are saying, therefor you’ll want to read (or watch) The Polar Express before your ride.
  • While it’s a great ride for all ages, our 3 year old loved it the most so I’d say if you only plan on going once, wait for that 3-4 age range. Our 5 year old, who loves trains, had fun but was a little unimpressed afterwards.
  • If your family has a busy schedule or you feel particular about the times book your tickets early, as in November or the first week of December.
  • Take the train during the summer as well, it’s a great experience.IMG_0341.JPG.jpegimg_0334-jpgimg_0086
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Parenting and Presidents

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To all my friends using their children as tools of guilt and shame the outcome of this election: stop. Stop the “how will I explain this man to my kids.” Your kids are hardly influenced by what our president elect says but they do hear what you say, what the television is saying and they are listening to those evening conversations between adults. We set the tone for how our children interpret the world and the adult issues happening now.

I am a child of 1986 (barely a millennial) and I don’t remember either the Reagan or Bush presidencies however I do remember President Clinton. I remember him lying to us on TV and admitting that he lied. I remember learning about the Lewinski dress, not fully understanding the meaning behind a stain or what exactly happened besides the fact that he lied to everyone and we couldn’t stop talking or thinking about it. I remember the news, the scandal then the middle east and I remember learning about impeachment before it was taught in social studies.

The news is still good, because despite his remarks and mistakes I know that what he did was wrong both in action and intention and I am not a worse person for having him as a president. I have no strong feelings towards him at all.

Our president should not be the ideal that we hold ourselves to. The president isn’t even a daily discussion in our house but Jesus is. Jesus is the standard we hold ourselves and our children to, He is what we strive to model our actions and thoughts to and when my children face difficulties in life I want them to look to Jesus not “What would POTUS do?”
Presidents come and go they are mere men that will make multitudes of mistakes just like the rest of us. If the president becomes an idol over Jesus, no matter how great he or she may be, then something is wrong.

I’ve been absorbing myself in the Netflix series The Crown. In The Crown, Queen Elizabeth contemplates her role in governing and returns to the standard set in the British constitution: that there is the dignified and the efficient. The efficient is there to govern the people but the dignified is what the people uphold themselves to, an ideal. Our government, the elected body is there to be the efficient, let them pass laws and govern our country as we see fit and it is up to us to be the dignified, let us be the ones to uphold our moral code and show our kids what it takes to be a decent human being.

 

What Village

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Lately I’ve been dealing with real “why can’t I have that” jealousy. Not over materialistic items much to my surprise (I grew out of *most* of that years ago) but jealous of time and circumstance. And there is nothing I can do to change it or go about getting it.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “it takes a village” when if comes to raising children. What happens if you don’t have a village though? What if it’s just you and your husband treading water, syncing schedules and adapting as life comes at you with little outside help or influence?

Here’s what I’m talking about: Young families with close help. Families with young children that have aunts/uncles/grandparents close by and willing to help. We have a handful of friends that get days/a night/a weekend kid free while we pay babysitters for even 3 hours to ourselves.

{To be fair I do have help and I do have family help, just not close by and not the kind that says “oh let us take the boys for you guys.” Also to be fair I would never expect them to do that- this isn’t about them this is about my jealousy haha. me.me.me.}

Since the night we became parents 5 1/2 years ago Chad and I have spent 1 night kid free. That night wasn’t even up to us exactly, it was not a date night or a vacation, it was for a marriage retreat and some wonderful friends offered to keep our then 2 crazy boys.

Let that in. 5 years, 8 months and 15 days with only 1 night without kids. It wasn’t even 24 hours alone.

And this is our life situation. This is how our life turned out, we chose (kinda) to be parents, we chose to have a second baby and when we were planning our vacation from the first two the third baby decided to get in the way. I have literally not missed a single day of my kids life.

So what’s my point?

For those that do have the parents that say they will watch your kids Tuesday mornings so you can schedule a dental appointment without holding a 6 month old in your lap, or they will take your kids for the nigh/weekend/week/month so you can have a date night or quiet house: do not take them for granted. Treat them nicely, be grateful, even if they let your kid eat an entire loaf of bread and don’t poop for a week.

And as for me, I struggle with the jealousy but not the situation. I am beyond grateful that I have a husband that I can still rely on when the kids become too much. Even if we don’t get serious alone time I am not alone. I’m thankful for my kids and that I do get to spend so much time with them. I’m thankful for my independence that I can be a successful mother and wife and not wanting to rely on others. I am thankful for those that do help, family, friends and babysitters. I’m thankful for the finances to be able to pay a babysitter! And I’m thankful for a husband I actually want to spend time with and enjoy talking to.

Sometimes I even enjoy taking them all to the store at once, they are annoying but cute.

To our mothers, who are both coming over tomorrow (I’ll buy more wine but the floors might not get scrubbed): I wouldn’t change you. Thanks for all the help that you do offer, we appreciate it every minute. This wasn’t about you at all, I promise.

To my sons and their future spouses: I fear I may be the overbearing/smothering type when you have children. Please forgive me. Also if you have more than 3 kids you might be on your own.

Baby stuff

This little 6 month old baby used the couch and pulled up to standing tonight, he did it to get to me and squealed so loudly! I scooped him up right away, it’s too soon for standing.