August 16, 2016
This post is sponsored by Gymboree, although all opinions are my own. I appreciate your support of brands which help keep this site up and running. Visit Gymboree’s back to school shop. Despite our best efforts to slow things down, life has continued to move at fiercely fast pace in 2016. So much has happened this year, including losing our beloved pup of 15 years, Madeline, aka Maddie, the day after Syd’s birthday in May. She was our first baby, joining our family long before we even thought of having kids, and she was a loyal, loving and gentle dog, really the best dog we could ever have hoped for.
The kids took it harder than we had expected them to, but also rebounded with amazing ease and deep understanding. As parents we may often feel stuck in the trenches raising these kids who many times seem to not “get it”, choosing not to listen, pick up after themselves or use their manners with any level of consistency. But what gets us through those moments of frustration are when we see our work making its way in them, even faintly or briefly. After Maddie passed, they cried and retold memories, but they were also understanding that it was just part of life, and respectful in not asking for a new pup the very next day. In fact, it was finally me who brought up getting a new pet, even before they did. Something inside of me wasn’t quite sure if we were ready for another dog, but last month I mentioned that maybe it was time we thought about adding a kitten to our family. And so it was, about 3 weeks ago, we took a trip to our local SPCA, where we were introduced to Leia.
A sleepy little 2 month old, she caught our eye with her orange and tan patches of fur, and sweet pink nose. We met her first, then met another sweet 3 month old kitten with solid gray fur, but in the end it was Leia who stole our hearts. We brought her home that very day, after coincidentally meeting the mother and daughter who had been fostering her at home for the past two months, even before she was brought to the shelter for adoption. Seasoned foster parents, they declared her the best kitten they had ever fostered, and missed her so much they had come into the shelter just to visit her. What’s that they say about fate?
She’s been home for 3 or 4 weeks now, I can’t remember exactly which, and we are all completely obsessed with her. She has taken over my Instagram, already acquiring her own hashtag, and I just want to snuggle and hold her all day. The kids do too, and while she’s certainly feisty, she seems to tolerate the nuisance ridiculously well.
I myself have never been much of a “cat person” having never owned a kitten or cat until I acquired one through marriage 😉 While that cat may have lived with us, I didn’t really consider him “my” cat or even “our” cat, and sensing my misgivings, he was often aloof and cranky with me. But this kitten? Holy smokes I am IN LOVE, obsessed, head over heels googoo gaga for her! She is so sweet and playful and I LOVE watching her run around the house playing. I often stop Art and say “look at her do this or look at her do that” and he just thinks it’s funny how smitten I am.
Of course the kid are in love as well, and so far they’ve barely fought over her, as I feared they would, and they haven’t pressured me to adopt another dog yet, as I also feared they would. We have plenty of love to give to another pet eventually, but for right now we all seem pretty content to dote on and love this sweet kitten. We are also very lucky that none of us have any allergies to cats 🙂
So while A LOT has happened the past few months, adopting and welcoming this new creature into our home has definitely been the highlight.
Other than that, Syd is already 2 weeks into the school year, having started 4th grade the first week of August. He was bummed to be starting a whole month ahead of Taylor, but after the first day he was pretty excited to be back in the swing of things and he likes his teacher a lot and has a good group of friends in there. Since Taylor has finished elementary school and will begin middle school in a few weeks, this is the first year the two older kids are on the different schedule. If you recall, our elementary school runs on a year-round schedule compared to the rest of the district running on a traditional schedule. I was really worried how it was all going to play out, but so far it’s been fine and uneventful, thank goodness.
The week Syd went back to school, I also called up Hayden’s preschool and asked if they had anymore room for another kiddo in the last month of their summer school program. Luckily they did have a couple of spots open, so Hayden also started back just two mornings a week, which gives me a small window to spend some alone time with Taylor before she begins middle school, as well as get some work done. It’s been good for him and I, as he loves school and being constantly occupied, and I love just a couple of hours free of the constant interrogations that only a 3 and 4 year old know how to give so well. He is the sweetest kid, but man he doesn’t stop talking. Or moving. Ever. Ha! 😉
So I’ve already got 2 kiddos well into the back to school groove, and another 1 to go. But all 3 are pretty well set with school clothes and shoes and are going back in style, thanks in part to Gymboree and their Partner Up Shop. Easy mix and match, colorful and stylish clothing and accessory essentials that make it easy to get dressed every day, and even easier to get all the shopping taken care of in just one trip.
I partnered with Gymboree to try out a few things, although I already knew we would love everything. I’ve shopped at Gymboree for all three of these kids for 11+ years now. In fact every single outfit Taylor and Syd were professionally photographed in for their first few years if life were from Gymboree. I could never resist their prints, colors and Gym Bucks 😉 The quality is beyond reproach as well, and I always know that clothes from Gymboree will last long past their ability to even wear them. I have also always loved their sizing, knowing that for instance a size 8 will fit my 8 year old for a good year or more. For years I have purchased the kid’s matching holiday PJ sets from Gymboree, and many years the kids can wear the sets for 2 years in a row!
Shop here for the latest Gymboree back to school styles, and see links below for details on the kid’s outfits.