Introducing Leia & Gymboree Giveaway

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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.  final-8901 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.
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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?  final-8881 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.
final-8890 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.

final-8906 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 🙂

final-8919 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.

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final-8938 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! 😉

final-8962 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.

final-8971 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.

final-8980 On Syd & Hayden: The Jogger Pants in Heather Grey, Colorblock Tee & Dinosaur Tee, Hi-Top sneakers

On Taylor: Gem Sweatshirt, Best Friend pant in Plaid & White Bow Clip

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Andrea Howe

Andrea is the founder of For The Love Of, a lifestyle blog dedicated to approachable, modern living. She writes about style, her love of DIY, and living a healthier life through wholesome, nutritious cooking. She is also a regular contributor at Babble. Get in touch: Facebook, Twitter You can find Andrea on Instagram @andreavhowe and @gwynethmademedoit

  • Heather O. says:

    Love those pics of your kiddos with the new kitten! That 5th photo is just so sweet!

  • Kristian says:

    I know this sounds silly but I didn’t even know that Gymboree sold kids clothes! I thought it was just an indoor play place!

  • Heather Silva says:

    Love your new kitty. I’ve been an obsessed Gymboree fan/shopper for 18 years now. Their clothes are super cute, always on trend and hold up very well.

  • Love the new kitty. Seems full of energy compared to my 14 year old cat! When it comes to the new school year I most look forward to seeing how much my kids learn and grow! This year we started Kindergarten!

  • Heather Walker says:

    I love shopping Gymboree! I have outfits that all 3 girls have worn and I still passed down to someone else — great quality!!

  • Madeline says:

    Your kids are all so adorable! Glad you found a new family member!

  • Becky says:

    I know this is a post about Gymboree, but where is your couch from? I recognize the rug, but that couch is great! Can you share?

  • Amanda says:

    Cute kitty and cute kiddos!

  • Markisha Herring says:

    I look forward to meeting a new bunch of kids and watching them learn and grow.

  • Cynthia Gaarder says:

    watching my kids grow each year is my favorite thing about new school yeara

  • Rebecca says:

    I love the return to consistency and routine. We homeschool and I actually had my kids start much earlier this year in part for that reason.

  • Laura I. says:

    We just moved to a new state over the summer so I’m looking forward to school to begin so my girls can meet some new friends. The transition has been hard on them.

  • Awh, she’s a cutie! I love Gymboree – it’s lasted both of my girls and both of my nieces. Can’t beat the quality. School for us starts on Monday – it’s bittersweet, but I’m looking forward to having a solid routine again, and having just my work to focus on, not trying to keep the girls happy and entertained at the same time!

  • Jacqui Hakes says:

    Fall reminds me of new beginnings. It is a time for new routines. Our daughter is only two, but I look forward to the excitement that will come when she begins school.

  • Joan says:

    I’m not a cat person (because of allergies!), but Leia is such a beautiful one! I love how smitten your littles are over her! The new school year is always exciting because it’s a new beginning and endless possibilities!

  • Tiffany says:

    I didn’t know Gymboree sold clothes in larger sizes. This makes me so excited. My mom and I just reminisced about how much we loved Gymboree clothing and wished the girls could still wear it. Do they only sell sizes 6-10 online or can you get it at store too?

  • Nicole McCabe says:

    With a 2-year-old in the house, we’re not on the school year schedule yet! But I do have a love of school supplies, so its fun seeing all the goodies out in the stores… even if I do just get things for work!

  • Sarah says:

    My son is only 6 months old so the only back to school change for him is a new teacher at day care. I am excited to get to know her better!

  • Julie says:

    I think school supplies may be my favorite part of back to school, even if they aren’t for me!

  • Laura m says:

    I’m looking forward to getting into a routine and meeting new people!

  • Dandi D says:

    I love getting back into a routine again and enjoying the cool fall weather.

  • Samantha Haringa says:

    I am looking forward to having more of a set schedule. While I love summer and all the fun by mid-August I feel like we are all craving structure again. I homeschool our children and started a couple weeks ago to slowly ease us into the year and we are loving it! I think it’s so great you’re able to get some alone time with Taylor before school starts for her.

  • Eva says:

    My daughter isn’t school aged yet but my favorite part is back to school shopping. To this day, I can’t resist a box of fresh new Crayolas!

  • Laurajj says:

    Oh I am looking forward to getting back into a routine! We have been so far off it this summer…I feel so tired. I am so excited for him to see his friends again….and continue learning to read.

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  • Renae says:

    Oh my goodness the energy captured in these pictures is priceless! I love the style of clothing found at Gymboree. I have looked at their clothes and gathered great ideas for different outfits for my kids. But I love everything that I’ve found over at dkwittle ones . Their clothes are so comfortable for my kids, and I love the unique style you find there. I highly recommend!

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