I love supporting small businesses and over the years I've found some brands that carry really great clothing for kids that is unique and things our kids love to wear.
I really do love all of these brands and like supporting small businesses in general, but if I had to choose a favorite it would be Princess Awesome. Dresses. WITH POCKETS. That twirl like a dream. And with designs including dinosaurs, robots, ninjas and video game controllers, your kid is sure to find something that fits their interests! Princess Awesome recently came out with their Boy Wonder brand and although we don’t own anything from there yet, I am confident the items for boys are just as awesome :)
Growing up my mom didn’t really care for clothing with graphics on it and I seem to have inherited that same feeling! I love clean lines and clothes that can be paired with lots of other things. They have a ton of color options and even include stripes and polka dots. We used Primary clothes as the foundation of our kids’ Halloween costumes this year and they are still getting use out of them 9 months later!
**Use code PRIMARYREBECCAD108 for 25% off your first order through Primary's referral program!**
Lulu & Roo Clothing has adorable summer clothes but it is the hoodies and sweats that I am absolutely in LOVE with. They are soft, easy to wear and we always get compliments when the kids wear them. And with so many of the items being gender neutral, they are easy items to pass down to younger siblings.
Boys. Cardigans. There are few things that are cuter and Woodmouse & Thistle has got you COVERED. They are well made and come in a lot of colors. They also have the cutest dresses with sizes from infant to older girls and even a few matching mom dresses! We've used Woodmouse & Thistle for school picture day, family photos and just regular Tuesdays!
Growing up my summer job was at a YMCA camp. It was an incredible experience where I learned so much about leadership, teamwork and myself. One of the most valuable things I learned, that I didn’t realize was so valuable until very recently, was how to perform first aid and CPR on infants and young kids. Fortunately, I never needed to perform CPR at any point as a camp counselor. However, 14 years later, I was in a situation that made it vital for me to recall my past training.
A few weekends ago, my older three kids went to stay with their grandparents for a few days which left me with just my 2 year old and 9 month old. TWO KIDS. The house was so quiet and I hardly knew what to do with myself. Anyway, the morning before I was planning on taking the younger two to get the older three, I had run to the bathroom quick. I left the door open with the younger two girls playing in the living room and as I was finishing up, I heard a noise from my 9 month old that I had not heard before. I ran out to the living room and saw her sitting with her mouth open, struggling to make noise. I quickly ran my finger around her mouth but didn’t feel anything. Despite not feeling anything in her mouth, she was still clearly having a hard time so I remembered my training and laid her on my forearm, face towards the floor. After she was in position I took the base of my palm and performed four back blows and checked her mouth again. And there, on her tongue, was a blueberry her sister was given as a snack the day before that we somehow missed during clean up.
I have seldom felt the same level of panic as this exact moment (besides when my oldest walked away from me at the airport in Boston to throw her gum away without telling me) and I was extremely shook up for the rest of the day. What if I hadn’t heard her? What if I had been 5 seconds later? What if the first back blows didn’t work? But mostly, WHAT IF I HADN’T HAD THE TRAINING??? The thought brings back waves of anxiety and worry but I am so glad I had the information I needed to help my baby girl.
So the thing I’ve learned, or basically a PSA, you, and everyone watching your children should be familiar with infant and child first aid & CPR. You will never regret taking a few hours to learn this training!
The best places to find classes are through a local hospital, or the American Red Cross. The Red Cross even has an online course here! And if you only have a few minutes to watch a quick video, @shan.tripp has a "baby choke" highlight on Instagram as well as a ton of other helpful info from being a pediatric ER nurse!
When R was 2 we had him evaluated through our local AEA (area education agency) for some tendencies that have been linked to autism. After 6 months of services – by a phenomenal specialist! – she concluded that his behaviors were not autistic but showed he was needing more sensory stimulation.
Our specialist talked about two types of sensory processing issues: Sensory seeking - kids will try to get more proprioceptive input. They might give people tight hugs or crash into things to feel the physical contact and pressure. Sensory avoiding - kids will try to get away from those sensations. The other sense has to do with spatial orientation, or knowing where your body is “in space.” (from understood.gov).
From this we determined that R's tendencies align more with sensory seeking. And although he still displays some of these tendencies, here are some of the things that have worked for us to get him his needed physical contact:
1. Wrestling – throwing him on the couch, letting him climb on us or tickling are all things we still do when we see him needing a little extra stimulation.
2. Reading – we can usually tell when he is getting overwhelmed with his thoughts because he starts walking on his toes and moving his arms around. When that happens, one of the things I do is right away ask him to get a book. He loves picking them out and he plops down right next to me until the book is finished.
3. Coloring - R LOVES to color. Ever since he was 2 coloring has been one of his favorite things and he is DANG good at it. Give the kid a detailed coloring page and he is typically set for about 30 minutes!
4. Go to the bathroom – the same tendencies he displays when he needs more stimulation are the same ones for when he has to go to the bathroom. A simple reminder/me saying, “I’m not asking, I’m telling” when he resists, usually helps calm him down.
5. Gymnastics – we start all of the kids in gymnastics at the age of 2. We know they may not stay with it but in the year before they are old enough for organized sports, gymnastics is a fantastic way to make sure they are getting in enough exercise or physical stimulation needed. It is also really easy to practice the basic floor skills at home.
6. The power of siblings – playing with others helps clear his mind and always seems to relax him. If they find a good rhythm between them and start to imaginative play, it helps him relax and also expands his imagination which is great while his brain is developing!
It can be hard to seek help since it can feel like you are saying something is wrong with your child. Those feelings are completely understandable but finding help can provide a diagnosis or just reassurance that your concerns are being heard.
The thing I’ve learned: Don’t be afraid to talk to a doctor you trust about any concerns you have with your child’s development. Early intervention can be very beneficial!
I’ve had five kids and it seems that each time a new one is born I had this one LIFE CHANGING item that I didn’t know about with the previous kid.
During L’s 1st year, it was the bottle brush. Such a simple item and honestly, I can’t even remember what we used before we got the brush…but at $4, it is probably the best low price item we have
Then there was R’s 1st year. With L I always just used a regular pillow to nurse and I nursed her until she was 9 months old. With R I wanted to try a nursing pillow but didn’t love the ones I found in the store so I took to Pinterest to find a tutorial on how to make one. If you are the crafty type, I’d say definitely make one! It wasn’t too difficult and I was able to customize the fabric pattern and type to exactly what I wanted. If you aren’t crafty, the Boppy is a great investment. Not only can it be used while baby is nursing, but it is great for giving an older baby a place to lay while bottle feeding if/when you decide to bottle feed, and can be used for tummy time, too!
Next is E’s 1st year. Before this time, drying bottles was done by putting a folded paper towel on the counter and switching it out each time we had more bottles to dry. Somehow my mind never went to, maybe there’s a better way to do this…enter bottle drying grass. No more daily paper towels on the counter!
The second, and maybe the BEST item, is kitchen shears. Yep, the same ones that come in a standard knife block are seriously the best thing to use to cut up food when your baby is ready. Sandwiches, noodles, pizza, they work for it ALL! Get some. Get two pairs even. You will not regret it.
Before M, I always used the thermometer that came with those little baby first aid kits. They. Are. The. Worst. It never seemed to give an accurate read and then you’re supposed to add a degree if you aren’t doing a rectal temperature and it just made everything confusing. M has had a lot of ear infections which usually means lots of high temperatures so I ended up getting a temporal thermometer. You slide it across your kiddo’s forehead and the temp is displayed in seconds. So much more accurate and easy to use!
The second thing is the Rock n Play. I don’t think these were around when L was born – it’s incredible how many new products can come out within a few years – and it was awesome with M. It is perfect for mid-day naps, family time when the other kids were playing a little too rough to put her on the floor or while I was making dinner. And with the simpler models starting around $45, it is a great piece to register for or buy on your own! **In recent months the Rock n Play has been recalled. It is a product that was incredibly helpful with M & G but it may not be available any longer. Here is a link to a similar item that is flat like a bassinet but still rocks**
Although I had this product with M, G has needed it so much more. It is the FridaBaby Nose Frida. Seriously, this thing is a GAME CHANGER. They give you that small little turkey baster like thing at the hospital and it is crap. It does nothing to help clear a congested baby. One end of the Nose Frida goes gently against the baby’s nostril and the other side goes in your mouth. You suck on your end (with a filter in between) and the snot goes into the tube in the middle. It is amazing and surprisingly satisfying.
One of my LEAST favorite parenting duties is trimming a baby's fingernails. After the 1 year mark I don't mind it as much - honestly, I sometimes enjoy clipping my 2 year old's nails so at least for an hour there is not dirt under them - but under a year old and I cannot stand to do it.
When L was probably 4 months old, I went to clip her nails and clipped her skin on accident. It bled a little and I felt terrible but a quick snuggle soothed the pain and she seemed just fine. About 24 hours later I noticed the spot on her finger was a bit swollen and it looked like puss was starting to creep in so I panicked and took her to the Urgent Care center to see what was up.
Turns out, my little clip of her finger had caused it to get infected!!!! So of course, as a new mom, I was filled with guilt as they poked at it to drain the puss and then prescribed an antibiotic. How could I have been so careless? I must not have been paying enough attention when I was clipping her nails. I should have filed them instead - although filing down a weak/flimsy baby fingernail would be SUPER difficult and take forever. I'm a terrible mother.
I didn't have close friends with kids the same age as mine so I honestly believed all of those things written above. So, if you are like me and find yourself one of the first of your friends to have kids, know this: you will probably cut the skin of your baby's finger at some point. But the thing I've learned is we ALL do it. Maybe not every clip will cause an infection, but even if it does, you are not alone.
Also, after you clip your baby's skin and are feeling guilty (you shouldn't feel that way but I know you still will) you will never want to trim your baby's fingernails again. You will eventually get over that but in the meantime, use your own teeth to bite off a crazy long fingernail. You are much less likely to clip the skin and therefore it won't be as stressful.
In movies and TV shows, dads are often seen as incompetent. Only capable of handling responsibility at work. Incapable of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Unaware of how to change a baby's diaper. Why has this become how they are portrayed?
My husband was just as much a part of the baby making process as I was. He was there for conception, supported me throughout my pregnancy and has been a parent just as long as me.
So why do people think he is incapable of watching his own kids?? Or even worse, why do people ask if he is "babysitting" his kids? Seriously? A babysitter is who you call when both of you need to be somewhere or for date night. A parent is not a babysitter! And sometimes, the people that ask if he "will be okay" without me for a day or two, are people that are close to us. Um, you know he is a good dad. Why would you assume he can't take care of his kids without me?
Any time I need to be gone, whether it be for work or out with a friend, he stays home. No he doesn't need someone to come help him. No he is not going to lose his mind. Yes, he and the children will eat (even though I know the meals may not be quite as balanced as I typically prefer). He will get them to school on time. He will play with them instead of letting them watch TV all day. He loves them.
So don't ask him how he's going to survive without me.
I mean, if I'm being honest, of course I want them to have a few hiccups without me. It makes me feel good to be needed. I am usually the one home with the kids so I do tend to give him some tips for the day before I leave - leave at this time to get the kids to school on time, there is pizza in the freezer and cut up green peppers in the fridge, try to get the girls down for nap at this time so getting them up won't be as difficult when school pick up time rolls around.
But even without those tips, HE WOULD BE FINE. I'm still not the best at acknowledging there are different ways to accomplish the same task, but he knows the kids just as much as I do and I trust him to love them just as fiercely as I do, too.
I know I am incredibly blessed with a supportive husband who would do anything for me and my family. And I also know that there are dads out there who struggle and that's okay. Lets just not assume they can't handle anything without us.
Hi, I'm Rebecca
I’m a wife, mom to 5 kids, former choir teacher, Christian and advice giver? I can honestly say I never expected to be the one giving advice when I so frequently ask for it, but the advice I’ve received is so valuable and must be shared! Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far!