Still going through photos from our trip. It was probably the best trip we’ve ever taken as a family. I was telling someone today that Hayden has a calming factor on all of us. When packing for the trip I focused on a couple of casual outfits, but I also took it as an opportunity to dress up a bit more than the usual Monday-Friday mom fare. Turned out it was a good choice and I felt both appropriately vacation casual and pulled together for strolls through the town and lunch and dinner out.
I’ll be back tomorrow to share more about our trip, the place we stayed, and just how we managed to do a bit of wine tasting with 3 kids.
I’ll be back to regular 52 Weeks To Create posting next week, since we were on vacation I don’t have anything new to post in that area. For today though, since I was announcing the Tea Giveaway (yay Ginger!) I thought it was only fitting to talk a bit about kid’s style, and how we as parents can help our children find their own unique sense of personal style. For many of us, our memories of getting dressed as kids involve fights with moms about scratchy tights or cumbersome suits. I personally can recall with pinpoint accuracy being sent to school in Kindergarten with a pair of jeans underneath a very pretty cream colored dress my father deemed too short (it came to my knees). He was worried that on the monkey bars a boy might see my underwear, so the jeans went on, and the tears came down. Even at 5 I knew that jeans and dresses did not go together. So I wanted to discuss how I’ve tried to make getting dressed an enjoyable experience with my kids, to be used as an exercise in letting go of control, and empowering them a bit more.
By age 2 both of my kids had very strong opinions about their clothes in fact. They are both highly sensitive, especially to touch. For the longest time Taylor refused to wear tights, and socks had to be seamless and long enough to cuff two times perfectly. I had a girl so I started her shoe collection early, buying her all the cute cheap pairs at Target that I came across, and the ones that went on sale at Baby Gap. I learned pretty quickly that I was wasting my money because if they rubbed her the wrong way ever so slightly, she refused to wear them. I started channeling money spent on multiple cheap pairs into a couple of pairs of the nicest shoes we could afford for her, like Stride Rite and Ecco.
Syd’s sensory issues with clothes were more about coverage. Sleeves had to be long, even in summer, and he preferred collarless shirts. If we “forced” him to wear a collar for nicer occasions, it had to be buttoned all the way to the top. He doesn’t like change, so he wears one pair of shoes at a time, and up until just a couple of months ago, refused to wear sandals or flip flops. Every time we left to go somewhere for a “quick” errand, we spent 15 minutes waiting for Syd to put on his socks and shoes, by himself. How nice it is that he will finally wear flip flops some days.
Despite my frustrations and feelings about their outfit choices and qualms about every thing fitting and feeling just so, I, for the most part let them work out their issues and make their own choices. Why? Because I wanted them to feel confident and comfortable in making decisions about the way they present themselves to the world every day, and I wanted that to start from a young age. Some of you may be wondering why I think it’s important for kids to even worry about style at such a young age, and I will say that from the beginning it wasn’t about style at all, but more about empowerment and feeling good about themselves, whether their choices were deemed “stylish”. Of course feelings of confidence and security center around multiple other factors, and we make sure to work from the inside out. But eventually the tides will turn and that outer shell will start to have much more significance in their lives, whether we like it or not. I figure if they can feel comfortable in their skin, and the clothes they cover their skin with, at an early age, they’ll be much less likely to fall prey to the trends and whims of their friends, and worry less about peer pressure and what others think of them. As a tween I remember feeling like my life was literally going to end if I didn’t own a pair of Guess jeans. I want to teach them that personal style isn’t about a label or a fad, but about what you feel good in.
The conversations about their clothing choices rarely, if ever, center around what is “stylish” or “cute”, but more about what they feel good in, and if they like the way they feel in them. I try my best, and for the most part, do okay, of not sticking in my opinions, but do find that lately Taylor has been asking more and more what I think about certain choices she makes. I never pass judgement and tell them their outfit choices are silly or look bad, and if I think something is inappropriate I direct them to make a different choice, but only if I deem it to not be age appropriate do I actually make them change. Since we don’t really buy clothes that aren’t age appropriate, that is really never an issue.
So what are some things I try to focus on in our conversations about clothes?
I start by modeling behavior that I hope they grow up and want to replicate. Things like taking care in my appearance, but not obsessing over it. I talk about how I love getting dressed up for special occasions like a birthday dinner, or even just out to lunch as a family. Taking the time to comb my hair put on a bit of makeup is important too. Even though our church is quite casual and most anything goes, I make it a point that we all get dressed up for service. I think it’s important for them to see that I don’t feel spending an hour to get ready just to go run errands is a necessity either though. I feel good enough about myself that I’ll show up in public without makeup. I know some women may not agree with that, but I think being realistic and setting certain priorities for time management is important for me at this stage in our lives.
I let them make their own choices in clothing purchases and very rarely bring clothes home for them that I bought on my own. This limits the amount of money I spend on clothes by not bringing a new outfit home each time I’m at Target, and empowers them to make their own choices and learn to live with them. I tell them if they chose it they wear it.
Almost anything goes. As long as it’s age appropriate and fits within budget, they are allowed to wear what they want. I try to keep them looking like kids, which means lots of dresses and nothing over the top for Taylor, and shirts that reflect who Syd is at this age, and what his interests are, which means lots of Star Wars shirts.
We also discuss money, and cost value. We try to buy the best that we can afford and just buy less of it, and limit frivolous purchases here and there, usually preferring to buy in bigger chunks a couple of times a year. I explain to them the importance of taking care of their clothes so they last longer, and also only putting something in the laundry basket if it is truly dirty, telling them that less washing means less wear and tear. We wear pajamas for at least 3 nights before washing them. They each help with the laundry too so they can see first hand what it takes to get a stain out, and how hard it is to spray every item of clothing, then wash and fold it.
I don’t have the most stylish kids around, and honestly that’s the least of my worries. I would say though, that I have confident kids that feel good about themselves, overall. Their clothing choices is just a small piece of the pie, especially at this age. But someday when they find appearances are an important part of life and how others perceive you, I hope they find themselves comfortable in presenting themselves to the world, no matter what they’re wearing.
So what is your take on clothes and kids at this age? Do you not worry about it, or do you have certain rules and guidelines of what they can wear?
A couple of friends asked how I got Art to wear a bow tie. The key? Ask very nicely For Syd? Lots of threats and intimidation. Ha! But really, we said it wasn’t an option for church and right afterwards we allowed him to take it off.
Easter this year was very special. We had a new member of the family to celebrate with and he seems to make just about everything more amazing. I sometimes still can’t believe what a blessing he has been to our family. You often think of babies complicating things, especially when brought into a family so far beyond the baby stage. But he truly makes everything better. It was a wonderful day, which could have only been made better if my whole family was around, but sadly my brother and sister were both with their in laws this year. We did something different this year and went to brunch at one of our favorite restaurants Park Ave, after church, and they had bunnies in their garden area for the kids to hold. Followed by dinner and an egg hunt at my in laws, and it was pretty much a beautifully simple and happy day. One of the happiest Easters I can remember.
Thank you for all your support and comments and taking the time to just stop by and read. I’m thankful for my family, a Savior that loves me so much He sacrificed His only son for me, and I’m thankful for this space here which allows me to connect with so many amazing and wonderful woman. My kids continue to be on Spring break this week so I’ll be taking it a bit easy here, but will be around on Facebook and of course Instagram. I’ll probably do some Pinning from my phone too
Have a wonderful week.
Ever since Taylor was born I have been a fan of Tea Collection clothing for little ones. I remember shopping for her as a new mom almost 8 years ago at the only store that carries Tea Collection locally. I would stop in once a month and pick up an item here and there and even though the prices were a bit higher than your average baby clothes, the quality warranted the cost and her clothes would last longer than she would fit into them. I continued the tradition when Syd was born, and loved their take on traditional baby boy clothes, with interesting kimono wrap styles, lots of bold yet age appropriate prints and patterns, and oh the softness.
Tea Collection asked me to pack a (virtual) suitcase filled some of my favorite items for Spring Break. I figured it would be good practice for outfit styling being that we will in fact soon be going away to Los Olivos for a few days. I chose 7 items for each child based off my strategy to always try and stick with 7 clothing items (excluding pj’s) per child when packing for a trip. We never seem to go on vacation for longer than 3-4 days so 7 clothing items seems to be the magic number that gets us through the trip and keeps us packing light. Any more than that and it just ends up being extra baggage we have to carry, pack and unpack. Here’s what we would be packing for each of our kiddos on our trip to the Central Coast of California.Ubuntu Striped Romper 2-3. Kimono Baby Outfit 4-5. Reed Frog Baby Outfit 6. Soweto Kimono Romper 7. Vilakazi Stipe Footie
So there you have it! That was fun. What are some essentials you pack for trips with the kids, and how much do you usually let them bring along? We allow them their small suitcase with clothes, pj’s and shoes, and then there backpack is fair game. Whatever amount of toys they can fit in it and still carry and close, they’re allowed to bring is our rule.
Would you like to pack yourself up a real suitcase of Tea Collection items for your little one? Enter below for a chance to win a $75 shop credit to Tea Collection! And there’s a second opportunity to win another $75 shop credit on Instagram! Follow me over there @fourflights to enter!
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I don’t want to be dramatic, which automatically implies that I am going to be dramatic I realize, but I can say with all honesty that this post brought up a lot of anxiety for me. Many people told me how brave I was when I told them I was trying on suits to show what a suit looks like on an “average” body type, that is, not on a swimsuit model. I honestly didn’t think it was a big deal. Looking in the mirror everyday, at 6 months postpartum, I felt (feel) good overall with my body. I think I’m exactly where I should be for this stage in my postpartum journey. But then I took the initial set of photos, indoors against a flat wall, with a tripod all on my own. And oh boy did I have a freak out session for about an hour. After my husband talked me down, he explained that I had set myself up in the worst possible situation so of course the photos looked bad. On top of that, cameras do not capture an accurate picture of what your eyes see since it shoots in 2D. While I still have a ways to go to get to my prepregnancy figure, the body I saw in those photos was not really an accurate portrayal of what my body looks like in full 4D.
So we reshot them last weekend, outdoors and in better lighting. I will admit though that I’m only going to show you the suits that I loved the most on, and I feel flattered me the most. I really saw no point in posting photos of myself that I didn’t feel good about just for a blog post. So while this post is not entirely inclusive of the good, the bad and the ugly, I hope you understand why I’m purposely including some photos. Shall we begin? Oh and a couple of things before we get started. I primarily chose one pieces because I’m not quite ready to get back in a bikini this season. I did try on some bikinis and a couple I liked that I’ll share, below, but I will not be showing any photos because I just don’t feel comfortable baring that much skin on here. Second, because my main problem area is my pooch, I concentrated on trying on suits that had a ruching detail along the tummy, which helps to hide a bit of the pooch versus a flat suit that usually accentuates the pooch. Oh! And I also stuck with wireless since I’m still nursing!Ruched Bandeau Tank in Vivid Jade from J.Crew. It comes with a detachable thin strap to convert it into a halter style. I loved this suit overall except the leg opening could have come up a bit higher. I thought the ruching in the mid section was not overly done but just enough to hide the problem area a bit and the top felt supportive and secure enough so I wouldn’t worry about it falling down. I would definitely consider keeping this suit.Merona from Target and is actually my husband’s favorite, and it’s in my top 2 as well. The problem I find with many of the more inexpensive suits is that the elastic on the leg openings is always way too tight and pinches in my flesh, creating this really unflattering divot in my skin. I hate that! This didn’t do that though, and the ruching was very slimming. The top could have been more supportive but I imagine with the halter strap attached it wouldn’t be a problem. I love the twisted knot detail on the bust too, very flattering.I would definitely keep this suit and think I will in fact!Jersey Lomellina Bandeau Tank in Dark Slate from J. Crew and it is beyond chic. It comes with a removable strap to convert it from a strapless into a halter suit and is just so dang pretty! But looking at these photos and I’m not sure it is the most flattering of suits, especially considering it is the most expensive. The tummy area bothers me and it seems like out of all the suits, it accentuates the pooch the most. Perhaps the sheen of the fabric? At any rate I love it and is superb comfort and quality so if you don’t have a 6 month baby belly you may consider it for yourself!The Midnight Paisley Ruched Femme Tank from J. Crew was lovely on and was quite flattering, but my main problem with it was the bust line was very small and kept riding up, so that the bottom of the cup seam kept landing on me mid-breast. The straps were a bit too thick for my liking, but if you’re more busty this may be advantageous. The print was served as a good “distracting” technique to the major midsection problem areas though.Merona and is worn back to a simple side tie string bikini bottom from Exhilaration. Merona for Target and would probably do even better with the detachable halter strap attached to pull the top up a bit. In the photo it is hanging a bit low but the strap would fix that. I tried on a few of these suits with the vintage-esque bottom that covers more of the hip area and I found this one to be the most flattering. It covered just enough but not too much if that makes sense.
So which one is your favorite? And are you still wearing a bikini or do you stick to one pieces now? This summer will be my first year wearing a one piece but I’m ready for it.
A couple of notes on what to watch out for and look for when shopping for a suit.
- Make sure the leg elastic is not too tight or else it will do that pinching thing I mentioned where it squeezes off part of your hip/thigh and makes your thigh look like a sausage. Or at least mine anyhow
- Bigger bottoms is not always better. I have found that the more I try to cover up my bottom half, the bigger it ends up looking. If I stick to higher cuts for one pieces and lower rises on bikinis, my hips and butt look smaller overall.
- If you’re buying a cup size bra or one with some sort of bust definition, make sure it is large enough to cover the whole breast and doesn’t ride up to split it in half, which was a common problem I had with a lot of the suits I’m not showing on.
- Patterns do indeed seem to slim a bit, but go for more large scale prints like the midnight paisley one above, and avoid graphic prints like strips and polka dots. I tried on both and they didn’t do anything for my figure except me feel too old for them.
- Don’t be afraid to go with a different neutral color other than black. I know black is supposed to be the most slimming, but jewel tones in greens, blues and deep pinks have the same effect.
Important Stuff! When Posing For Pictures:
Learn from me and follow these tips. I’m no expert at all(!), but these tricks below took my photos from horrific to not terrible..
- Try not to shoot your entire body. If you look at every single one of the pictures in my Swimsuit Pinterest board, the models are all shot from mid thigh up. I figured this out after I looked horrible the first time when I shot full body!
- Do not stand to the side with one leg in front of the other or bent in front of the other. Stand forward with legs slightly apart, and twisted slightly at the waist.
- Hands should drape over the side of your thigh and/or lightly touch your waist.
Tomorrow I’ll share the suits I HATED (or at least strongly disliked)! Make sure to come back so you know what to avoid
Cost is $40 and includes food, drink and materials, and a good time with awesome ladies too! This is not a blogger only event, and is open to anyone with a creative spirit that wants to connect with other local woman in a fun and relaxing environment. Please visit the Craft Cabinet website for more details of what we’re about and why we started this venture, and to buy tickets!
The brand is a spinoff (duh, goes without saying Andrea), and the prices seem to be much more budget friendly than their normal $500 dresses. There’s plenty I love but I’ll hold off on making any commitments until I can hopefully see some of the items in person and try them on. Those cotton type fabrics in bold graphics can sometimes be tough to pull off if you’re not rail thin.
In other news, I’ve decided to get a jump on one of my Life List items, to read the Bible, and have started to watch the History Channel’s documentary. I’m kidding! About counting watching the Bible as reading it, not kidding about actually watching it. So far it is amazing and we’re hooked. I am in fact starting a Beth Moore series though, to help with the Bible reading thing. I know people have very polarizing opinions of her, but I figure I’ll try it out, since I really need to start somewhere. I’m really feeling that in order to grow into the next step in my faith, I have to read and understand His word, and what better way to do that but to study it? Bible studies at this point in my life scare me so for now I’m staying away. I’m excited to get started on it though. It’s the Living Beyond Yourself:Exploring The Fruit Of The Spirit series. Anyone completed it?
I wrote lots of emails asking for stuff for Craft Cabinet this week. I feel like a salesperson again. Thank you for those that have already pitched in. We have lots more work to do still and Jules and I will continue to hustle through the weekend before we put tickets on sale next week (squeeeeallll!) Sorry I actually hate that squealing thing that some people do, just felt it was somewhat necessary here. The Craft Cabinet is very squeal worthy in my book.
Lastly, before I bore you all to death with this very random post, I did some writing for some other places, and here are my favorite pieces, because they involve Hayden, and motherhood, and losing valuable makeup products underneath my car at a stoplight. Go read them if you have a chance, if anything you’ll laugh at how much of a mess I am and feel better about yourself!
- 6 Months Already?!? Slow Down Already Time, You Bastard! (the bastard part was not in the Disney title, they would frown upon that)
- Lessons From Motherhood, or Why You Shouldn’t Try To Put Your Makeup On In the Car.
Have a great weekend everyone!! And don’t forget about the Hustling Giveaway!
Looking back through all these pictures makes me realize how much I miss being pregnant. I don’t take lightly the gift of being pregnant, and I learned to appreciate and respect it the older I got and the more women, family and friends I came to know who dealt with infertility and loss. This realization definitely made me enjoy my last pregnancy to the fullest, and I look back with great feelings of love and happiness. Having Hayden to hold and take care of every day is unreal and amazing, but looking at these photos, it’s clear to me how much he made me glow, swollen feet and all.floral h&m top + gap maternity jeans; james perse dress + jean jacket; asos maternity skirt + flowy top; american apparel blouse + old navy maxi dress; tucker for target dress; target skirt + tank; target maxi dress + jean jacket; asos maxi dress; old navy tank + maxi skirt. target striped maternity tee + gap maternity jeans; h&m maternity jeans + st. john knits bolero jacket + target maternity tank; isabella oliver maternity dress; forever 21 dress; h&m maternity jean shorts + target sweater; asos maternity dress.
You may have noticed that at least half the looks were not even maternity, and of the other half, only a small portion were maternity only outfits. The point being, with a little bit of creative shopping and styling you can stretch your current wardrobe and your dollar by sticking with as many non-maternity pieces as possible. Because maternity is considered specialty clothing, they tend to jack up the prices making you pay more overall. Look for elastic waists and loose dresses with empire waists. Layer long tanks under existing tops and tanks that may be too short otherwise. Plan out your season of dress accordingly and buy just 1-2 pairs of maternity denim. If you know that when you’re the biggest it will be the hottest, purchase a pair of denim shorts and perhaps a loose pair of denim boyfriend jeans as opposed to skinny jeans, which can feel restrictive when you’re feeling huge and hot. If you’re pregnant for the majority of Fall and Winter, then perhaps 2 pairs of skinny jeans will be all you’ll need so you can tuck into boots and such.
As far as jeans go, I have never found a pair that I absolutely loved. Although I did find the 2 pairs from H&M to be decent. I really did not like the Gap jeans and found their solid thick waistband to be uncomfortable and constantly slid down, so I always felt like I was hiking up my pants. My favorite purchase of the entire pregnancy was the tie dye dress from Forever 21 which was not even maternity. I’ve continued to wear it postpartum as well and will get a ton of use out of it this Spring and Summer.
Other than creative styling, my main bit of advice is to take a bit of extra time, if you have the energy, and put on makeup and wear color. Nothing will lift your spirits more if you’re feeling tired and down than to look in the mirror and see, along with your beautiful baby, a bright flash of color across your face.
Last week I was searching Etsy for pillow covers and I came across Michelle Dwight Designs‘ shop, where she designs and hand makes a very few choice select pillow covers with fun and unique designs and sayings. I came across this one and knew it had to be in my home.
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