Back in the Game with Kindred Bravely

I think I’m finally back in the game! 

Bean is 5 weeks old and life is finally starting to fall into place. J is back to work (and frequent travel, boo hiss!), the kids are doing lessons again, and we are eating real food and the house only looks a normal amount of chaos. And I’m slowly preparing to run this marathon in less than two months (say what!?).

Okay, and I’m lost in a sea of laundry, but I’m only a human. 

Bean and I have over come our breastfeeding hurdles; which I knew to expect when she was still in the womb because I’ve dealt with them with each kiddo, getting more and more knowledgeable with each; those darn dairy-sensitive, tongue and lip-tied little darlings of mine. 


One of my absolute favorite products has been my Kindred Bravely attire. I can wear the cute French Terry Nursing Top around the house, and out about. I’ve gotten numerous comments on it by other nursing mommas when I’ve worn it out, and seriously, in this Hawaiian heat, it’s on my list to stock up on more because having lightweight, easy-to-nurse-in tops is a must. 

And, because there is always an “and” right? I can run around in it without a bra (it has a shelved bra built-in), and despite being quite a chesty lady, I don’t feel self conscious at all because it keeps everything contained and supported beautifully!

When I do need to wear a bra under my clothing though, I’m really loving my Marvella Maternity and Nursing Underwire Free T-Shirt Bra. The underwire free is obviously a huge deal – no clogged ducts! Plus, it’s nice to have a sized bra outside of “small, medium, large.” Don’t get me wrong, those stretchy bras that fit a plethora of sizes definitely have their place inthe breastfeeding world (I own several!), but there is just something that makes you feel a little more human on those rough days, knowing you’re wearing the closest thing to a “real” bra as you’re going to while breastfeeding. Only, it’s better than a non-nursing bra because it’s crazy comfortable to boot! 

I didn’t have the pleasure of trying them, but a little birdie (a.k.a my pregnant older sister) also told me that the Kindred Bravely maternity underwear are worth every cent and then some. So those are definitely going on my list of must-haves for the next one. Er, if there is a next one. 

But I have to say the most luxurious product I’ve worn thus far from Kindred Bravely are their pajama! Yall, I currently live in Hawaii. With no air conditoner. I basically lived in my bikini those last few weeks of pregnancy, but there were times I needed to wear more, ha. The Amelia Nursing & Materniry Pajamas are so divine.  They’re light weight and out-of-this-world soft. I didn’t feel hot and gross in them, despite the muggy heat. They covered my huge pregnant body well, and also fit my post partum body comfortably. No need for a size change to get me through the next year (or more…) of night nursing Bean. 


And one little tidbit that makes these pajamas extra special; I was wearing them in one of the very last breastfeeding photos that was taken of Sweet M before he quite unexpectedly decided to wean cold turkey when Bean was born (I have so many feels about that).


As life starts to find its flow now with our newest little addition, I’m so glad that I’ve got great apparel to keep me comfy and feel a little more human as I brave the world as a busy momma of four, who rarely gets to just sit and be unless it’s breastfeeding this sweet babe.

***I received products from Kindred Bravely in exchange for this blog post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are mine and I only advertise for companies that I genuinely love. 

Snug-a-licious is as Cozy as it Sounds 

We are all about the soft, comfortable, luxury apparel around here. That is no secret. 

My kiddos are the type who never wear pajamas two nights in a row. It’d be an atrocity, for sure! They like things clean and swanky and luxurious on their bodies. Who can blame them!? 


One of our absolute favorite clothing materials is bamboo. It’s eco-friendly and to-die-for soft. A win-win!


We recently got our hands on some Snug-a-licious pajamas and all three kids were eager to wriggle into them. I wish I could say they were equally eager to go bed, but….that’d be a lie, ha!


They loved how snug fitting they were – my kiddos don’t like anything baggy, sleepwear or otherwise. And how soft they were, of course!


And although we are in sunny Oahu, they were just the right level of warmth for our cool and breezy evenings, especially for Sweet M who declines any blanket being on his person at the moment. 

Miss H loved the soft pink and white of her pj’s. Just the colors for a sweet princess. 

And Mr. B loved his sneaker design, because obviously his pajamas promote just how fast our little runner is! 


My personal favorite, as someone who left her heart in England 10 years ago, was Sweet M’s adorable Union Jack pajamas. I mean, how could anyone not love those?


We also got a cozy little onesie for our snug-a-licious Jelly Bean who, no, doesn’t seem to intend on making an appearance any time soon. No surprise there. Photos of that to come, once our little bean is earthside.

These awesome pajamas have been washed and worn more than my pregnant brain can currently count, and they’re still soft and brand new looking; just as high quality apparel should be! 

And although they don’t miraculously make my babes joyful for bedtime, they do make them get changed quickly, so I count that as a huge momma win! 

***Full disclosure: I was given Snug-a-licious apparel for my children in exchange for this review. But all thought and opinions are mine.

3-2-1 Framboise 

There has definitely been a learning curve to island living. It’s been a fun adventure thus far, though. 

When we first moved to the island with eight outfits for each kid because everything else was being shipped over, I never dreamed that during that time my oldest and my youngest would go through mega growth spurts and require whole new wardrobes. 

Let’s just say, shopping on an island is tricky. At least when you’re hugely pregnant and have three kids. Or if you just want to avoid traffic, and lots and lots of tourists. And my kids will tell you, they don’t like tourists, ha ha.

When I lived in England the year before J and I got married, one of my favorite pastimes was simply browsing the stores looking at baby clothes. I was baby hungry already then. So I guess it’s not a surprise thay here we are, ten years later, due with our fourth child.

I love how appealing the apparel in Europe was for children. It was all so classic and dainty, and stylish and chic. Without being over-the-top. I even purchased a handful of outfits for my niece while living there. If I’d have known I’d be on the baby wagon shortly thereafter, I’d have  probably stocked up for myself too, ha ha.

But one thing all that baby clothes perusing did for us was make us thoroughly appreciate high-quality, nice clothing for our children. So J never once said a word about spending a pretty penny on nice, coordinating, high-quality apparel for our kiddos, because not only are they adorable on, but being such great quality means that they last essentially forever. They can handle the rough and tumble of unhindered kid play, and come out on the other end still looking practically new!


I knew I needed to find something on the island that could last through my toddler, but unfortunately the only store I was making it to was a much-loved big box store where moms are known to waste too much time and spend too much money. And it was still a lofty 40 minute drive depending on traffic. And with a screeching toddler, and a cute baby pressing on my bladder nonstop, not to mention two delightful but very loud older kids, that does not sound like a fun event. 

I already knew I was going to have to turn online to find clothing for Miss H. She’s a high-class kind of girl, and prefers dresses. And not just any dresses, but typically nice, expensive dresses. 

But the idea of shopping online for Sweet M was a little more disheartening because, well, time. Who has time to shop online all day? Who has time to piece together outfits that coordinate with one another? Who has time to go from one website to another trying to figure out what it is they need exactly? 

When you have someone this cute wanting to play with you, who wants to be on the computer?

That’s when I came across 3-2-1 Framboise. A monthly box subscription of European infant apparel. Um, yes, please!

 The sign up process was easy peasy, and most importantly – fast! It was only a few quick minutes and took very little time from those cute and crazy kiddos of mine. I answered a few quick questions: age, size, style-preference, and climate, and voila! It was that easy. A box of two adorable European brand outfits were on their way to use for Sweet M, and I didn’t have to waste any time shopping myself. What an absolute blessing for any momma, because we all know that whether you’ve got 1 little one or 12, whether you work outside of the home or inside, we are all super busy and can use the gift of time-saving any where we can.

And who doesn’t want to save time shopping and still get ridiculously adorable, high-quality clothing for their babes?

An added perk to 3-2-1 Framboise is that by subscribing to a monthly box, you’ll have clothing coming your way as baby grows; so no moments of frantically wondering how it’s possible that your darling literally grew an inch over night and now you’ve got nothing for her to wear. 

3-2-1 Framboise carries apparel for babes in size 3-18 months. But European sizes run awfully generous, so you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck in these darling outfits! 

You also get information about the clothing 3-2-1 Framboise is sending you. Information about the company the clothing is from, any little tidbits that may be helpful concerning the apparel such as adjustable waist, etc. Plus it all arrives at your doorstep in the cutest box and packaging!

Contemplating his next move.
This adorable organic outfit is sized 18 months. Sweet M is 32″+ and over 25lbs. And he’s still got room to grow. Plus check out those cute buttoned cuffs on those pants. He will get a lot of wear out of those! 
Also, can I just swoon over my baby for a moment and how awesome he looks in that sweet salmon-colored trim? 

Did anyone notice there is a bird (owl) on my bird-loving toddler’s shirt? I think it’s safe to say this will be a favorite for a loooong time! 


I also want to point out that these suave, light-weight organic pants have a drawstring. And not one of those “for looks” drawstring; it’s a genuine, bona fide, working drawstring. Which is fantastic. At home Sweet M is mostly diaper-free, and he’s got a tiny, bitty waist like all my kiddos, so most pants fall right off. But when we are out and about he’s still in a diaper, and since we use cloth that means a big ol’ bum, in which case sometimes pants are just way too small to fit properly. But these pants work for any situation! 


The other outfit we received was this class-act: dapper enough for mass and low-key enough for play (I mean, Mr. B wears button ups by choice as casual-wear, so it’s no surprise his little brother is following suit with his debonair style).

Those cute pin-striped shorts also have an adjustable waist with buttons and elastic inside, so they’re super versatile for diaper or none, or skinny dude or chunkalicious one (can we gush over chunky baby thighs for a minute?). 

 

He’s so suave and he knows it. And I feel good about dressing him in the fantastic clothing 3-2-1 Framboise chose for him! 

When you subscribe to your monthly box (which you can skip a month or cancel whenever you want, and it’s super simple!), you get to choose whether you want 1 or 2 outfits. I really loved this, because unlike some monthly subscriptions that send you several outfits, if you’re more minimal like me, you don’t feel instantly overwhelmed by clothing. Or if you still super love shopping and getting mail, this leaves room in your baby’s wardrobe for you to still go buy some fun pieces! It’s a win-win situation! 

And just in case you wondered, the clothing is 100% comfortable and baby-approved. Sweet M passed out for his nap on the floor, “reading” a book, and wearing his adorable, stylish, and comfy shirt from 3-2-1 Framboise. 

 

***Full Disclosure: I recieved a box from 3-2-1 Framboise in exchange for this review, but all thoughts and opinions are mine. 

Shopping With Kidizen

Oh man, I am so behind on everything in life right now. Especially blogging. Preparing for a tran-Pacific move has been more exhausting and time consuming than I ever could have imagined. Throw in three kids and a pregnancy, and…

Wait. Have I officially said we are moving yet?

Well, drum roll, please….our familia is relocating to the sunny island of Oahu for a year. Yep, we are Hawaii bound!

It wasn’t really part of our plan, but we are really good at being flexible (okay, J and the kids are, I’m just kind of roped into it), so it seems we’ll be off in no time.

But until then, let me tell you about my newest favorite app! Yes, I said app. This techno-impaired girl has finally downloaded an actual app onto her phone other than instagram.

Somehow.

My three little people are all pretty fashion savvy. Lordy knows they didn’t get it from their momma, but it’s so fun to watch them blossom into their own little people with distinct personalities and likes.

Even Sweet M is starting to bring me particular clothes to wear, and will demand I help him take things off if it isn’t just so. Of course, when he insists I take his pants off in the middle of Target I typically smile and pretend I have no idea what he wants as I shove a bag of crackers at him to distract him.

Miss H is so girly it slays me. In a good way. I don’t hate pink and princess and frills, so I’ve totally embraced her fancy desires. I mean, she likes to play in the mud and do math for fun, so whatever floats her boat is cool with me.

I love that the Kidizen app allows me to find her beautiful, high-quality, name brand and boutique-style dresses at prices that won’t break the bank. Because in our house, all clothes are play clothes. And sometimes you just have to look fancy while playing hard. I get it.

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I had my eye on this Persnickety dress for quite a while but couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger. So when I found it on Kidizen for $27 I snagged it without thinking twice!
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Who is this big, beautiful girl; and where did my baby H go!?
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She and Mr. B have claimed this hat of J’s and one of them tends to be wearing it at all times. She’s the perfect mix of brains and beauty.

Mr. B tends to like button up shirts. He’s all about “spiffy” clothes. He also is really into spies. And apparently spies wear “spiffy” clothes; although he’s been choosing button ups on his own for most of his life.

And let’s be honest. There is nothing cuter than a little boy who willingly wears preppy clothes.

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This is his Power Ranger pose. It was the best I could get from him right now, ha. But this whole Gap outfit came from Kidizen for a mere $15!
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That killer bruise on his chin came from a fall over the weekend when he fell into a bench at the Farmer’s Market. Honestly, I’m just glad we didn’t have to go for round 4 of stitches…

And let’s not forget Sweet M. He tends to gravitate toward blue clothes for some reason. I totally cannot make this up. If he brings me clothes to wear, it’s pretty much always blue. So when I spotted this adorable Janie and Jack t-shirt and these Mayoral shorts on Kidizen, I knew they needed to be his!

Also, can we pause for a moment and talk about this kid’s torso. Seriously. Those shorts are an 18 month size and he’s got room to grow in them. That t-shirt? It’s a 2t. I thought for sure it’d be huge on him, but no…he’s a giant!

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You see those crazy eyes of his? He gets those from his Momma; his good looks come from his Papa. But he’s going to be sporting some ridiculously hilarious and adorable glasses soon! And of course, they’re blue.
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He’s usually a very willing model, but there were some amazingly huge lawn mowers going on at the same time. And that was just way too intriguing than cooperating for Momma. And because he’s so dang cute, he can get away with it!

Seriously, I’m loving this app and the variety of clothing. Not only do they have infant and children’s clothing, they also have maternity clothing and children’s accessories.

I am willing to pay for high-quality clothing because they last unlike anything else. But I definitely prefer buying things second hand because it is better for both Mother Earth and my pocket book.

I’ve also snagged quite a few things for the soon-to-be babe, and I can’t wait to put those items into use. Squee! Tiny baby clothes.

Also, Kidizen’s customer service is stellar. I had a small issue where a seller hadn’t mailed out my item after two weeks, nor did she respond to my message, and Kidizen very promptly refunded my money back to me.

Y’all, if you’re not all ready utilizing the Kidizen app, get on it asap! You won’t regret it! Plus, you can sell your own gently used kid’s clothing on Kidizen, too. It’s a win-win all around.

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They’re my favorites!

 

 

 

 

***Full disclosure: I was compensated by Kidizen in exchange for this blog post, but all thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Feeling Energized in Pink Blush + Giveaway!

It’s hard sometimes to feel great during pregnancy.

No one warns you about the exhaustion. Oh my goodness, the exhaustion!

Sure, everyone tells you that you’ll be exhausted once that sweet babe is here, but before then? Nope. No one prepares you for how tiring growing a human is.

With my first babe, I remember thinking it had to be in my head. How could I not even look pregnant and still feel like I could fall asleep the second I sat down (and I did! Often!)?

Now that we are on to baby number four (what!?), I’m more prepared for that deep-in-your-bones-exhaustion-from-growing-a-human. Plus, you know, I’m raising three other kidlets, one of which still doesn’t sleep through the night and uses me as an all day buffet. But good golly, he’s cute!

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I mean look at that little face!

Throughout my pregnancies I’ve learned that it is imperative for me to get dressed and feel good about myself each day to help with the exhaustion. It’s crazy what a shower and wearing something other than a pair of pajamas can do for you.

So on the days I’m feeling super depleted and like I will never get my act together, I force myself to look presentable, so I can 180 my day and be the momma my kids need. They don’t seem to care that I’m growing a human and didn’t sleep more than 2 consecutive hours last night. They still want to play at the playground and have books read to them. Oh, and the big one – eat! Can you believe these kids want three balanced meals, plus snacks, every day? Geez Louise.

I like to be comfortable though. That’s essential in my daily life because – three kids. I need to be able to run and play and get down on their level. You’ll likely never see me in a pair of high heels or with a face full of make up because that’s not comfortable for me (my own momma can run in heels! I don’t know how she does it). But I like cute dresses and tunics with leggings that I can wear with sandals and look put together but still super comfortable.

And Pink Blush has a vast array of maternity clothes that allow me just this! I own several articles of clothing from them: maternity clothes, nursing clothes, and just normal wear, as well. I love that they offer amazing options for any stage in life you are at. And every single piece is ridiculously comfortable while also being cute and making me look like I have my life together (I don’t).

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Grow, baby, grow!

I super love dresses. There was a time in my life when it was pretty much all I wore. And I’m getting back to that because it’s what I feel most comfortable in (though I’ll never abandon my leggings. I’ll be 80 and still wearing them, ha!). I’ve made an effort to fill my maternity wardrobe with maternity dresses this go-round, since it’s mostly summer clothing I will need (and between me and you, we are relocating somewhere hot soon!).

So wherever you are at in your life: pregnant, post partum, or no where ready to have some littles (and that’s okay!), hop on over to Pink Blush and check out their awesome and super comfortable apparel that is sure to help you feel beautiful no matter how tired you may be feeling from work, school, or kiddos!

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Pink Blush is giving away a $75 gift card to one lucky reader! In order to enter you must comment below with your favorite pick-me-up when you’re feeling depleted and share this post on your Facebook or Twitter! For extra entries “like” my facebook page (leave your FB name below if different) and follow me on instagram (and let me know your insta handle)! A winner will be announced on April 1st. (If you have won a Pink Blush gift card elsewhere in the past 6 months, you are ineligible to enter this time; sorry!)

 

 

***Full disclosure: I was given a dress from Pink Blush in exchange for this blog review, but all thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

Buttons Cloth Diapers: It’s What We are Loving on Sweet M

In the great purging and packing venture (I know, I know! You’re probably wondering what is up – and once I can officially let you in on it, I will!) I’ve been vigiliant in figuring out what we truly need and what we can let go.

One thing we for sure need is our cloth diapers. Because, folks, at the end of summer we are going to have two sweet babes in diapers, and we’d be broke as a joke trying to keep them in sposies full time. Plus, the landfill. Eep!

With Miss H and Mr. B we got really lucky when we bought cloth diapers. I knew absolutely nada and what we went with for them worked like a gem and that was that. I hadn’t even planned to cloth diaper if I’m being completely truthful, but Miss H had such sensitive skin that we could only use super spendy non-bleach, eco-friendly diapers. And I knew that I wanted more than one bambino and the cost of these pricey diapers were not financially sustainable.

This turned out to be a blessing in disguise for us, because it made me research cloth diapers and make the leap, which is both better for our environment and my pocketbook, and we never looked back!

We started over mostly from square one with Sweet M though since I didn’t keep most of our cloth diapers for all those years. And it’s been a legit struggle trying to find trim, super absorbent, non-Velcro, non-microfiber diapers. It’s been a tall order to fill, I know.

But we finally figured out what will keep this squirmy boy comfortable and fit under his clothes appropriately.

Finally.

Buttons cloth diapers.

Oh, and did I mention I have to literally run after him in order to actually put a diaper on him? So I cannot have pieces that don’t either slide into a pocket or, like the Buttons diapers, snap into the cover because that would never stay in place while trying to fasten it on him on the move!

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Buttons cloth diapers have been a true gem find.

The covers have two layers of thick PUL  and double gussets to prevent leakage around the legs. We have their brand new Super Diaper Cover that has two rows of waist snaps to keep it comfortably fastened. The Super Diaper Cover fits kiddos roughly 12-40lbs, so not ideal for newborns; but that’s okay because they offer newborn covers, too, for sweet peanuts ranging 7-12lbs. Plus, they also have their one size covers for 9-35lb babes. And all these covers come in the sweetest patterns and colors, complete with a cute embroidered button on the bum!

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See those helpful double leg gussets!

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They fit so nice and snug and he has tons of room to keep on growing!

And have I mentioned the luscious snap-in inserts?

They offer hemp, bamboo/cotton, and microfiber inserts. Really, it just comes down to preference. Hemp, bamboo, and cotton are my fabrics of choice, so those are what we naturally went with, but really they are all great. The inserts are sized based on weight of baby, which allows for a trimmer fit, but equally absorbent diaper. I love how soft these fabrics are, and the inserts are so absorbent that he can nap through them with no issues. I actually think he may be able to wear one overnight without the overnight booster (he has recently mostly nightweaned – more on that another day-, if he were still nursing all night he’d definitely need a booster!) and it be plenty absorbent; I just haven’t tried this yet because truthfully, I was so excited to get these on his bum I didn’t do a full prep, just a partial (and they still work amazing, so that tells you how great they are!).

I won’t lie, when I received my inserts in the mail, my first though upon looking at them were “Oh my goodness, these are huge!” Well, they shrank with prep and it turns out my 24lb 13 month old actually isn’t a tiny newborn as I keep imagining in my head. Who knew!? They fit him perfectly.

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There are so many cloth diaper options out there, and I know it is so hard to know where to even start. But I feel very comfortable recommending Buttons diapers to all the mommas and papas out there. They are so easy to use, fast drying since they are not an all in one diaper (which have their perks for some, but notoriously take forever to dry), and are easy for even the most novice of cloth diaper user to figure out!

Plus, Sweet M clearly loves them because when I reach into our diaper drawer to get him a fresh diaper, he always grabs a Buttons hemp insert for me and thrust it in my face to use, ha. He knows what he likes on that cute little bum of his!

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***Full Disclosure: I was given a set of Buttons diapers in exchange for this review, but all thoughts and opinions are truthful and fully mine.

 

The Baby Cubby: Your One Stop Shop

I recently discovered this absolute gem called The Baby Cubby.

It is literally your one stop shop for all your baby and toddler needs. They’ve done the research to bring you the best and finest items, so you don’t have to wade through other stores, online or otherwise, trying to figure out what’s best.

The Baby Cubby isn’t your typical retail store just out to sell you stuff. They want to know you and help you find whatever it is you need for your little one. Have questions? They’ll answer. And promptly! They want to be an easy and convenient go-to resource for you. Their team is made up with real parents, just like you, who knows what it’s like to be on the home front, a bit overwhelmed, wading through information and reviews, still unsure at times, finding your place in parenthood. They know this is the most exciting, and at times most terrifying, role you’ll ever have, and they want to be a part of it!

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I think he approves!

The Baby Cubby price matches everything, which was a huge appeal to me, and offers free nationwide shipping (on orders over $49): no pesky membership needed for that perk!

I love that they carry some of my very favorite clothing brands: Kickee Pants and Tea! They’ve got amazing accessories and lotions; car seats and strollers (no need to spend hours researching the safest and most loved – they’ve all ready done that research for you!). Babe need some new shoes? They’ve got your hook up with some of the very best brands! Plus, great quality toys galore! And all the nursery gear you could every hope for.

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Sweet M was done playing baby model. But I’m in love with these tiny cute pants. And extra excited that I have pants just like the ones on the left – complete with the elastic waistband and everything!

And if that weren’t enough, they also have a cubby community page where they discuss some of those more challenging aspects of parenthood that we all deal with. And they’re very active on social media, if that’s more your thing.

Sweet M is growing like a fiend, so I snagged him some super cute Tea pants, plus a pair of shorts for our trip to Florida next month. (Okay, so I likely bought all “girl” bottoms, I don’t know. My boys all seem to wear “girl” pants and no one cares, ha.)

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This boy is scrumptious!

I also love that they carry clothing even in my big girl’s sizes!

I’m definitely looking forward to utilizing this great resource more in the future, and I know you will love it, too!

 

 

*** Full Disclosure: The Baby Cubby gave me a $50 gift card in exchange for this review, but all thoughts and opinions are accurate and fully mine.

Christmas Shoes


The week of Thanksgiving break we ventured up to Indianapolis for the day. At some point in our day, I’m not entirely sure when, but we lost one of Sweet M’s shoes. The mate to a $30 pair of baby shoes, because he’s on the cusp of walking and shoes are the one thing we will always splurge on because feet are just so, so important.

I was super annoyed with myself, but I didn’t beat myself up either. Although I’d prefer not to throw $30 away, I knew we wouldn’t go without a meal to buy him another pair of shoes.

Flash forward to this morning. The kids were playing sweetly downstairs while J and I were in our room. B comes banging on the door. “Someone’s at the front door! There is a man at the front door. We don’t know him. Come answer the door!”

“It’s fine,” I said. “Just don’t answer the door.”

“No! You have to come now!”

Reluctantly, I came downstairs to the front door where an older gentleman, clearly homeless, stood on the other side. I quickly opened the door to him.

“Do you have a blanket I can have?” he asked.

“Of course.”

Now here is the first thing that I am not proud of.

I grabbed a minky blanket off of our couch and brought it to him. Minky is soft and warm. We have a few on our couch. But I gave him my least favorite one. In that split second I chose to give him the blanket that, albeit as soft and warm as the others, I found to be less desirable than the others. And I’m really ashamed of myself for that. Because he deserved the very best. He is a human too. I didn’t treat him like he is as worthy and valuable as the rest of us.

I gave him the blanket and he thanked me considerably. I noticed his shoeless feet.

It’s cold here. Wet. No one should be without shoes in this weather.

“What size shoes do you wear?” I asked him before he could escape off my porch.

“10.” He answered.

I shook my head. “We don’t have anything that big. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay,” he replied. “The blanket is more than enough.”

And this is the second thing I’m ashamed of. He walked away into to the cold while I shut my door and embraced the warmth of my home, not thinking to offer him anything more.

I went back upstairs, but I couldn’t stop thinking about those bare feet, clad in nothing but dirty white ankle socks.

As I got dressed, I told J I should have given him food. Why didn’t I offer him food? Another blanket? Gloves? Why didn’t I tell him to wait, I’d run to the store and buy him a pair of shoes for God sakes, no one should be barefoot.

I went into the kitchen and packed up all the easy non-perishable foods I could find: granola bars and lara bars. Slims jims. Some apples and bananas and a re-usable water bottle. I tossed in a sweatshirt, some socks and gloves, and J’s waterproof jacket. And I loaded everyone up in the car in search of that shoeless man.

I wish this story had a happy ending. That we found him and gave him the bag and discovered he is warm and well.

But it doesn’t.

We drove for 2 hours to all the well-known spots that many of our homeless persons visit. And then we drove to many other places where J could think someone might hide for warmth.

But we didn’t find him.

The song “Christmas Shoes” came on the radio at the same time a lump was filling my throat, and nearly pushed me over the edge.

I thought of this man. Probably older than my dad. One cloudy, bad eye. No shoes. Desperate enough to knock on my door for a blanket because he was cold.

He was someone’s baby.

There was a mother that once held him against her chest as their heartbeats synchronized and his breath fell even against her and he breathed his milk-breath onto her. A mother that stroked his soft head and kissed his baby feet and delighted in all that her dear child would be.

And her baby knocked on my door, barefoot, and I didn’t have the forethought to offer him food.

I’m not proud of myself.

But the kids and I are going to use this as a learning experience. What else can we do with it? And focus on how we can help right now with our local homeless center that provides food and clothing and necessities to our homeless friends here in town.

For the next two weeks we will be collecting the following necessities:

•Toothbrushes & Toothpaste*
•Shampoo & Conditioner*
•Deodorant, Razors, & Shaving Cream*
•Feminine Hygiene Products
•Diapers, Baby Wipes (alcohol free), Formula & Baby Food
•Laundry Detergent
•Socks (especially wool or nylon)
•Winter Hats , Gloves, Coats & Jackets
•Sweatshirts & Sweaters
•Sweatpants, Jeans & Belts
•Rain Ponchos & Umbrellas
•Thermal Underwear
•Sneakers & Boots
•Towels & Wash Cloths
•Backpacks, Carry Bags & Rolling Suitcases
•Sleeping Bags, Tents & Tarps
•Toilet Paper & Paper Towels
•Blankets
•Plastic Grocery Bags
•Over-the-Counter Medications (pain relief, cold & flu, allergy, heartburn)
•Pasta
•Cereal
•Coffee & Tea
•Canned Food – Institutional Size
•Condiments
•Stamps

If you have any of the items listed above that you’d like to donate, I would be more than happy to pick those items up from you if you are local. If you’re not local but would like to donate, you can go here to make a monetary donation directly to the Shalom Center.
My 9-month-old has warm, comfortable, nice shoes on his feet when we leave this house, and he’s not even walking himself to and from the car yet. There is a man out there with no shoes. That is not okay. Not even a little bit.
So this Yuletide, the kids are going to work hard to get Christmas shoes to as many people as we can. And we’d love your help, too!

Sharing Small

I’ve been meaning to share this awesome subscription box with y’all for a bit now.

My kiddos love mail. And what is better than not only receiving monthly mail, but receiving mail that is useful and is helping someone out, too?

With the state of the world at the moment, doing some good and helping others is definitely needed.

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Sharing Small is a great small company operated out of Toronto, Canada. Each month a package arrives that is created to inspire conversation with your children about compassion, empathy, charity, and community. A different theme is introduced each month, which is created on a pair of fun socks and a sticker, and a fun cartoon postcard is also included that has a message that correlates to the theme and gets kids and parents talking.

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But it gets better! For every pair of socks that is sold, they donate a pair to a family shelter in Toronto!

My kids absolutely loved receiving their Sharing Small packages, and were excited to put on the fun colored, cartoon socks and read their post cards.

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You really cannot find a more fun and interactive subscription box out there that is teaching kids compassion, while also doing some real good within their local community. This is where it is at: this is the generation of children who will learn the values of community and charity from a young age and truly change the world, one pair of socks at a time. I just know it.

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Matching Brothers: Little Cub Sew

I didn’t realize how badly I wanted to see Mr. B in the role of big brother until he was one. Or how much I wanted to see him not just as a big brother, but as a big brother to a little brother.

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For 4.5 years Mr. B was the baby. Oh, and he’s a great baby boy. I’m still utter mush when he crawls into my lap and just lays there and hugs me. He is irreplaceable and will always have a special place in my heart.

He has blossomed in the role of big brother. He has utterly flourished. I worried a bit, I won’t lie.

Being the baby for 4.5 years can change a man.

But that boy loves his baby brother like no other. And I love seeing them together.

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Mr. B loves to match Sweet M, and I definitely encourage that. I know it won’t last forever, so I’ve got to get my fill of cuteness while I can.

I found Little Cub Sew on etsy and was absolutely won over by the adorable hoodies and leggings!

They are all homemade with great, quality, comfortable, stretchy fabric. Both of my boys loved their outfits! And Mr. B was thrilled to match his little brother.

Sweet M is on the go these days (and cutting his two front top teeth – getting him to crack a smile is challenging right now!), but his adorable leggings and hoodie stood up to his mobility. He was able to move with leisure, completely unhindered. I grimaced when we went outside, afraid he’d ruin his adorable new outfit, but he crawled all over our unkempt lawn and not a single snag or blemish to his outfit to speak of! I was thrilled.

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And Mr. B loooved the hoodie and pocket to his top. He thinks all hats and hoodies make him unrecognizable, and he’s working on his spy skills for the FBI some day (eventually he’ll realize they’re two different entities unless he is really wanting undercover work, but a boy has to have dreams, y’all!). Plus pockets. Pockets make everything awesome.

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So if you’re looking for some great quality, comfortable, and adorable outfits for your tykes, be sure to check out Little Cub Sew on etsy. And if she doesn’t have exactly what you’re wanting, send Katie a message so she can make you a fantastic custom set. You won’t regret it!