Monday, May 15, 2017

Summer Camp Kid's Essentials: Featuring a KEEN footwear Giveaway!

We LOVE Keens Kid's Footwear and jumped at the chance to share them with you! This is a sponsored post.

Growing up there were two distinct groups of kids in my neighborhood: those who stuck around all summer long, rolling through tick-infested fields, playing in the creek behind our house from sun up to sun down, occasionally driving our parents crazy with "what do we do now's" and those two or three kids who were an enigma, the ones we didn't see all summer long because for six to eight weeks their parents sent them off to summer camp. Sometimes one of us would get a letter from them regaling stories of campfires and kayak races but mostly we were reassured that they hadn't drowned or been eaten by a bear through the stories we'd hear from our mothers.

I always liked the idea of summer camp, mostly glorified by the books I'd read and the movies I'd seen on TV, all from the comfort of my plush, air-conditioned bedroom. How could one not want to pack up their belongings and spend hours on a stifling hot school bus, driving out to the middle of nowhere where endless activities, built-in best friends and even the occasional summer romance awaited them? While I was constantly intrigued by the notion, I wore (thick) glasses and suffered from (terrible) allergies. Sleeping in a cabin in the middle of the woods, not being able to breathe and learning to co-exist with insects as large as my inhaler never really struck my fancy so I satiated whatever romantic desire I had for sleep away camp by attending a handful of local day camps here and there. I was also a horrible swimmer, not learning to swim until I was 9, so naturally that had nothing to do with my unwillingness to go anywhere that involved copious amounts of "water fun."  

As a child, summer break meant freedom. Freedom from structured routines, competitive sports schedules and countless unstructured hours in the day. Time to unwind, to relax and above all else, to get outside and play. As a parent of 3 kids under the age of 7, however, summer looks much different to me. As the last day of school approaches, all I see ahead of me are days filled with a collective chorus of "what do we do noooooooow," and "I'm so boooooooored," and "why can we just watch TVVVVVVVVV?" 

In other words, all of these unstructured hours in the day have me wondering how I'll ever keep my kids engaged, stimulated and happy (more than they are bored, sad and beating the stuffing out of each other) for 12 long, hot weeks. 

The answer to that will be a handful of strategically placed summer day camps that will hopefully give all of us a reprieve from driving each other absolutely insane. Mostly it will give my kids the necessary break they will need from me, the over-engaged, over-stimulating parent who will only allow them technology on the evenings and weekends when they haven't already lost it for poor behavior and poking each other in the eyeballs and in the mean time will force them to use their imaginations to entertain themselves, hopefully outdoors, between the hours of breakfast and dinner, only breaking for lunch and the occasional sunscreen reapplication. 

As we prepare for a multitude of day camps this summer, I thought it helpful to share some of our favorite summer essentials for those days when our  little ones will be out adventuring, taking on the world and hopefully making a mess of someone else's space other than our own. (Can I get an "AMEN?")

1. Let's start with camp-appropriate appropriate footwear. Depending on the nature of the camp, kids may require a sturdy, comfortable shoe that can take them from the woods to the watering hole and all of the places in-between. For us, KEEN kid's footwear is our go-to summer adventure shoe. Easy to clean, breathable and with a closed-toe, these shoes let kids participate worry-free in adventures and activities. 

With two kids heading off to a Little Explorers Science and Nature Exploration Program this summer, we recently picked up the KEEN Rio sandal, known for its flexible fit and easy-to-clean material. The bungee-closure system not only keeps these sandals snug on their feet but it also makes it incredibly easy for them to slip on and off all by themselves. While they're off traipsing through riverbeds and gravel trails, I know their little feet will be well-protected for whatever adventure comes their way. 

Visit our friends The Chirping Moms for 10 fun reasons KEEN Kids are great for summer time! KEEN Kids styles are also great for travel. 

Check out Wanderlust CrewGlobal Munchkins and Sarah Tucker for why they choose the shoes for travel. 

KEEN Kids are awesome for summer camp. See why Hello Happiness & The Vanilla Tulip will be using them this summer. 

They're also perfect for toddlers, check out how The Girl in the Red Shoes and Toddler Approved are keeping toddlers busy and active in the KEEN Kids shoes. 

 The KEEN Moxie styles are fashionable and functional, check out how Seven Graces Blog is styling them this summer!

2. If you're little one will be spending any time outdoors, it's always important to invest in a piece or two of quality SPF clothing. In addition to slathering them up with the necessary sunscreen and bug spray, I always make sure to have two or three of these lightweight, comfortable, cool UPF 50+ shirts from Shedo Lane on hand. Available in short-sleeve and long-sleeve styles, they offer superior protection from the sun while at the park, camp, or the beach. 

3. Keeping your kids cool from the inside out, especially with proper hydration is key when they're off exploring the world around them. These stainless steel water bottles from Klean Kanteen hold 27oz of liquid and offer a really great soft, silicone spout for max comfort hydration. 

4. COOLA Mineral Sunscreen and the all-natural Bug Band round out our Kid's Must Have's for Camp list. COOLA is one of the safest, most-effective top-rated sunscreens on and while its consistency is pretty thick, it does wear well and without that white residue that so many other mineral sunscreens can leave behind. I always recommend this sunscreen because it's one of the few that doesn't irritate my kids' eyes when they're in and out of the water frequently!

We're happy to team up with a great group of bloggers to share KEEN styles for kids AND an awesome giveaway. FOUR lucky families will win KEEN shoes for their whole family, up to 4 pairs (Combination KEEN + KEEN Kids styles). 

Please enter using the Rafflecopter below. 

Don't forget to visit all of the participating blogs too! The Chirping Moms // Wanderlust Crew // Global Munchkins // Sarah Tucker // I Love You More Than Carrots // Hello Happiness // The Vanilla Tulip // Girl in the Red Shoes // Toddler Approved // Seven Graces  Giveaway: Enter using the form below!   

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Friday, May 5, 2017

"Better Liquor, Better Living Rooms"

I used to be envious of early-twenty-something me. 

It may have been a time of transition and uncertainty, as I sat perched on the precipice of true adulthood, but good lord things were so much tighter back then than they are now. Things stayed where they belonged, hangovers could last for days without consequence and my bedtime beauty regimen didn’t take thirty minutes each night and involve things that required batteries and could easily be mistaken for sex toys.

Early-twenty-something me didn’t care what others thought not because I was confident with who I was but because I truly went about my way in the world with an “I don’t give any f*cks” attitude. Friendships weren’t deep but they were aplenty and when we got together, it wasn’t for a Wednesday morning spin class but rather a Friday night bar crawl where we didn’t care how much we drank, who we drank it with or who paid for it.

I envied this carefree, sometimes careless free-spirit who could be selfish with her time, her money and, well, her beauty (as if it would always be “this easy.”) If you had asked me back then what my thirties would hold, I’m fairly confident I would’ve said something like “Oh, I’ll totally be married with beautiful, impeccably behaved children living in a beautiful home carefully curated by my interior designer. I’ll still wear bikinis on the beach because I’ll have a bangin’ body, nothing will have changed and everything will be expensive and extravagant.”

Oh to be so naive again.

Here I am, a little more than twelve years later sitting in a hair salon working very hard to keep a handle on my prison roots. I have three beautiful children and we live in a beautiful home (Ding! Ding! Ding!) but come over on a Tuesday morning and you’ll find that home littered with signs that there are children everywhere. My interior designer (ha, ha, ha) is named Pinterest and she shops mainly at TJMaxx, HomeGoods and Target on a major B-word (budget) because when you have kids as little as mine, you can't really  have nice things until they go off to college.

The vacuum is stranded in the middle of the first floor, its cord spanning three different rooms. Socks are strewn about as far as the eye can see and if you look hard enough, there’s dust balls in every. single. corner. The sink is full of dishes that I’d like to say were from the extravagant breakfast I cooked that morning but the truth is, they’ve been there since last night. My dog finally got a bath and haircut this week after several months of smelling like a NYC subway. 

I love my children as much as the next mom but I also enjoy when I send them off to school in the morning and pull away from the curb in car line two kids lighter. I always, always crawl into bed with each one of them after they’re asleep each night and breathe them in. I also post creepy sleeping pictures of them to Instagram because that shows everyone on the Internet just how much we really love them.

Do I still pine for the days when I was a carefree, sometimes careless early-twenty-something? Maybe. Maybe I’d go back for just a day- and spend most of that day naked because had I known what kids and aging and gravity do to your body in your thirties, I would’ve spent way more of my twenties naked. Just totally buck naked. I might’ve taken pictures, too, for posterity’s sake (or to give to my plastic surgeon down the road).

But the whole truth is that I don’t really miss my early-twenties at all.

I’m living the life I spent most of my twenties dreaming about and while it doesn’t look as neat and white and shiny as it did in my head, it’s even better than I could’ve imagined. I still give little to no f*ucks but not because I feel like I’m invincible but rather because I genuinely love myself as I am. Even if it means I splurge on beauty paste to brighten my under-eye bags and meet my girlfriends at spin class every Wednesday morning to sweat off the poor parenting decisions I made the day before.

Speaking of friends, I have some of the greatest women in my life surrounding me and they all came to me in my thirties. I thought I would never find my “tribe” or whatever the trendy word du jour is for those women who offer to take your kids when they see that look on your face, who love on your kids like they do their own, who commiserate with you and celebrate with you the trials and tribulations that motherhood is all about. The kinds of women that you see in movies and read about in books and blogs and witness in those tiny Instagram squares but I found them and they found me when I wasn’t looking. Together we love deeper, laugh harder and everything we do is because we firmly believe it will better ourselves, our family and those around us.

One of those girlfriends recently got me hooked on a TV series starring Hilary Duff called “Younger.” It’s the perfect blend of thoughtless comedy that goes great with logging treadmill miles or putting up your thirty-seventh load of laundry. There’s a scene where one of the main characters returns from a suburban stay-at-home mom’s book club where she was forced to go in a hasty attempt to rustle up some excitement surrounding an unpublished novel. Her twenty-something cohort asks her how it went, assuming it must’ve been so lame to hang out with a bunch of pinot-grigio-guzzling sex-starved housewives but much to her surprise, her friend retorts, “it was really great. Better liquor, better living rooms.”

In that moment, it hit me. Actually, it hit me at the same time a rogue NERF dart whizzed by my temple. That’s precisely what my thirties are all about-  better liquor and better living rooms. 

In stark contrast to my twenties, a decade (mostly) fueled by shitty wine, rail drinks and dive bars, my thirties have introduced me to wines that taste like feelings other than “I’m just-out-of-college-broke” and “my-boyfriend-dumped-me-to-find-himself.” When we have midday play dates we drink the thirty dollar bottle of champagne on a Tuesday because we can and because we want to, some of us still reaching for the cheap stuff not because we have to but because we don’t give a shit and we enjoy it. 

And we do so in a living room that looks less like a serial killer’s grandmother’s basement and more like the pages of the design magazines we flip through in car line. That’s, perhaps, the moral of my thirties. We don’t give a shit and we enjoy it.

My thirties have truly been a gift to me and even though my metabolism sucks and my girlfriends and I group text about things like “the best Spanx to make you look twenty again” and “why do my kids hate me” I wouldn’t trade these last several years of awkward adult self-discovery and self-awakening for any of the nonsense that I thought was important in my twenties.

What’s even better? I hear forty is the new twenty… 

Here’s to the future, my fellow mid-thirty-ians. We’ve still got it and so. much. more. than we know. 

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Dear Collins: Today You Are Three!

I've never been so acutely aware of the passing of time until I became a mother. It's more true than ever as our youngest "baby" turns three today and we gather to celebrate him for the party-est un-party I've ever thrown. I wasn't really planning on throwing him a party- I swear it. But then I thought to myself, "a play date would be a great excuse to get everyone together and drink mimosas," and before long I found myself in the party supply store buying balloons because when I had asked Collins what he wanted for his birthday, he quickly replied, "a party with my friends, big balloons and cake." 

Well then. Needless to say what the newly minted three-year-old third child wants, he gets.

Today we'll gather at our new home and we'll happily let twenty-something kids under the age of 9 run wild around the yard. With a tower of donuts laden with "prinkles" and frosting, we'll sing Happy Birthday to Collins and reminisce over this past year. In the midst of it all I'm sure I'll have several moments of "how did we get here?" and "where did my baby go?" but the truth is, I've never found as much joy in the chaos of watching my boys grow as I've had since welcoming Collins three years ago. 

Without further adieu, here's your birthday letter, Collins Mason! 

Dear Collins, 

Today you are three! I can't hardly believe it. You'd been walking around telling everyone that you're "forty-five" so I guess today is just another day to you but to me, your dad and your brothers, this day is one we've been talking about for weeks. As the third baby, you don't get a whole lot of dedicated "me" but today? Today is all about you. 

There's something extra special about third babies and even though I spend hours each day between drop-off's and pick-up's and errand-running and "gym school," telling you how much I love and how absolutely hilarious you are, it's true. There's just something so uniquely wonderful and comforting about you. When you were born you allowed me to let go of all the Perfect Mothering guilt that often comes along with having babies and you let me just e n j o y and take in everything about your infancy. With your oldest brother, that guilt was all-consuming. "Was I feeding him enough?" "Was I holding him enough?" "Was I just.... enough?" was all I could think about for weeks and months on end. 

When your second brother came along that guilt presented itself a little differently. It manifested itself in trying to convince me that I could never love another baby the way I could my first. In the days before he was born I lost sleep over the worry of how I'd be able to mother two boys under two, of how I'd be able to split my time equally between not only that first year but in the many years to follow. 

And then you were born and I worried about nothing. Fear wasn't a word in my vocabulary but rather there was just love. This instinctual love that comforted me and whispered, "mom, you are enough." You were and continue to be such a gift, Collins.

I couldn't wait to get you home and introduce you to your brothers. Actually, that's a tiny lie. The five days we spent together in the hospital were some of the best of my life because it was the only time in your little life when it was just the two of us, together. I knew as soon as I brought you home to face the beautiful chaos that is our family, I'd have to share you. That I'd have to share my time, my attention and my love and I wasn't ready to do that yet. I wanted to spoil you for as long as I could when it was still just us. I will forever remember those days as they were some of the best ones.

You were the greatest gift to our family, Collins and three years later you continue to be such a complete and utter joy. You have brought our family so much MORE of everything and if I had to think of a single word for your life it would be just that: MORE. 

Our days are full of so much more laughter and love because of you. We spend way more money on groceries since you came along (holy cow, can you eat!) and as you grew, a little more space didn't hurt either. But more than that, you arrived just in time to remind your brothers that they are not, in fact, the center of the universe. It's a great reminder that everyone needs now and again and you do the most perfect job of knocking them down from their high horses day in and day out. 

As the saying goes, "a cord of three strands is not easily broken" and the bond you have formed with your brothers is nothing short of incredible to witness. It's what your Daddy and I wished the most for you- that no matter where life takes you, that you'll always find comfort, encouragement and support in your brothers. The foundation the three of you seem to be solidifying is strong and there is truly no greater gift to witness as a parent. 

That said, you above anyone else know how to push each of your brothers' buttons and you cannot stand when they call you a baby and exclude you from playing certain games. You are utterly convinced that you are a big boy and will tell anyone who asks what your name is that it's "Big Boy." Just like that. I cannot tell you how many times we laugh and giggle in the aisles of libraries, grocery stores and shopping malls when someone asks you that question and you proudly answer and don't dare anyone try and correct you. "It's BIG BOY," you say with a huge exasperated sigh. 

I never want to forget how, each night when I'm laying in your bed rubbing your back that just before you turn away from me to sleep you say, "Goodnight Mama," and quickly whisper "Mom, you have to say 'Goodnight Big Boy." 

And I do. And I wonder how I ever got so damn lucky. (And how I managed to raise three less than stellar sleepers). 

You are such a ham, Collins and you know it. I see so much of Mackie in you- your mannerisms, your inflection, especially in your strong will and stubbornness. It appears as if you're both committed to giving me a run for my money and it makes me laugh and want to rip my hair out all in the same breath but I trust that this attitude will take you far in years to come. 

You do love me something fierce though, as evidenced by the fact that as I write this, you're sitting at my feet with Frozen on your Kindle and about 25 band-aids unwrapped and stuck to various surfaces of both your pajamas and my mudroom. You're the epitome of a velcro-toddler when we're home together and I only say all of this so that I don't soon forget how you once refused to allow me anywhere in the house without you. Even if I  have to run upstairs real quick for "just a minute" you insist on following me every step of the way. And trust me, it's a lot of steps and you're not very quick.  ;)

If I try hard enough when I stare at you, I can still see glimpses of my last little baby in those cheeks. In the way you refuse to go anywhere without me, in the way you refuse to be left behind, in the way you cannot fall asleep without the smallest part of you touching my skin.

As you grow out of the "baby stage" and into this full-blown Toddlerhood, I can see you struggling with the desire to be older than you are. To keep up with the big kids, to do everything they do including but not limited to play with the small LEGOS and go off to school. I'll never forget how hard you cried on the big boys' first day of school when we dropped them off in car line and you realized you didn't get to go with them. It broke my heart but at the same time, I wasn't close to ready to share you with the world. 

It was a hesitance I'll soon have to get over though, as you're signed up and ready as ever to start Pre-K 3 in the Fall. You'll be at school with your brothers and I know they'll take such good care of you there. It won't be for long and I'll surely miss the heck outta you but every day you ask if today's the day you get to walk through those doors with them and I can't help but laugh at how hard and fast you want to grow up. 

It's so tough being the littlest brother but sometimes it's also the best. We let you get away with far more than we ever let your brothers get away with at this age and maybe it's due in part to laziness but mostly it's because deep down, we all know you're ready to be a Big Boy. 

Collins, I cannot believe you are 3! You have the best laugh. Your favorite color is green. Yesterday you told me your favorite food is "breakfast" and that you're favorite thing to do each day is play. You love your brothers more than anything in the world, hopefully me and your Dad are a close second. You insist on doing everything yourself and get so sassy if I try one iota to help you out. You are strong-willed and stubborn, bossy and beautiful (as  beautiful as a boy can be) and smarter than any other 3 year old I know.

Raising you is a gift that I'm probably not the least bit worthy of but it's so, so fun. We are so blessed by you, Collins and we cannot wait to see what this next year has in store for you! 

Happy Birthday, Big Boy! We love you more than carrots! 

Mama, Daddy, Carterito, Mackie and Sheepie

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

This Is (Hilariously, Unapologetic-ally, Unfiltered) Us.

We were ready for Sunday service today with minutes to spare. It was the first Sunday in months that I attended Mass with the rest of my family. I have this thing about going to church and hating when I can't actually hear the homily, taking nothing away from the service but a barrage of thoughts about how my kids can't sit still, why can't more Catholic churches have adequate children's and family rooms and what kinds of tranquilizers must those other parents pour into their kids' Cheerios to get them to behave so well? (They probably don't even feed them Cheerios, they probably get a hot homemade breakfast 5 out of 7 days of the week). But that's neither here nor there.  

In between peeling Collins off of the kneeler and trying to keep Mac from incessantly whacking the gentleman in front of us in the back of his head with palm fronds (because, hello, Palm Sunday) I also thought a lot about myself, this new season of raising big-ish kids and how my life looks so incredibly different than it did just 18 months ago. 

Life is busy but it's the good kind of busy. Our days are filled with breakfast dates, school pick-ups, play groups, going to the gym and spending as much time out in the fresh air and sunshine as we can. Our winter wasn't even particularly harsh this year but now that the weather is more warm lately than it is cold, the sunshine pulls us outside for most of remaining afternoons and evenings after school pick-ups. It's truly glorious and makes me wonder why we live anywhere where the temperature dips below sixty-degrees for months on end.   

Sundays are no longer days of rest for us. There's church to attend, copious amounts of laundry to finish folding and putting up (which is what I usually do when the boys are at Mass in between catching up on my latest Netflix binge) and as of late, lacrosse practice and t-ball games to get to. Selfishly I thought we'd have another year before we gave up our weekends in favor of sports schedules but it's way too much fun sitting on the sidelines, cheering on our boys and watching them come into their gangly arms, knobby knees and feet two sizes too big for their bodies.

I can't believe I have these big-ish kids. It's as if I blinked and suddenly their nearing 7, 5 and 3 and I mean it in every cliche sense of the word. Collins, especially. Three. In less than two weeks- I just. can't. believe. it. 

But it's so much fun. It's confusing and overwhelming and I have no idea why age 6.5 is synonymous with Minecraft, eye rolls and big huge emotional sighing but man, if we don't laugh and have so much fun, every single day. 

We totally drive each other absolutely insane, every single day too. We fight and I yell and my husband yells back and at least one of the boys slams a door or two.  I have moments each day when selling my children to the circus sounds like a novel idea and thank God I have an enormous brand new pantry to hide in. 

Speaking of, I've been a terrible sharer in regards to the new house. Dare I say the novelty has nearly worn off and the walls are filled with hand prints and smudges and sometimes it feels like we've lived here far longer than the short four-ish months we've been here but I guess that's a good thing. We all feel really at home here and it's coming along. After sharing a little bit about the boys' closets on Instastories over the weekend, I got a bunch (okay, like maybe just nine) messages asking me how I manage to stay so organized which made me laugh because I'm not really that organized. It's just that we really have a lot of space here in the new house and when you get to start from scratch, it really helps keep the inner-Hoarder tendencies in check. If you really want to see/hear a bit more about organization in the new place, maybe one day I'll get to writing about it. 

When I sat down to write this post, in my head it was going to go in a much different direction than it did. I was going to show off this really adorable t-shirt that I got from Shop Tailgate and share a whole bullet-ed list of things that define us as a family but as I started writing it, it was really more about  me and no one wants to read a whole list about how i'll never make you "like to know it," how I'll never hire a photographer to follow me and the boys around for some perfectly styled blog photos or how it's probably time we invest in medical grade adhesive stock because my husband spent last night in urgent care with Carter when he tried to catch something with his face that one of his friends threw at him.

I mean, who cares, am I right?

But the truth is, This Is Us. Like, really really us. Ten pounds heavier than I'd like to be with two day old hair, a manicure that I literally stripped off in the garage right before these photos were taken (begrudgingly by my husband, no less) because it was so chipped and looked that bad. An almost-three-year-old in the same saggy diaper he was changed into at 7:30am, a middle little covered in dirt and our oldest sporting a neon band-aid ON HIS FACE the week before Easter. 

I have to laugh though. Last year Mac had a black eye for Easter, my hair was fifty shades of brassy and no one under five feet tall would tuck their godforsaken collared shirt in. And this year, why would it be any different? Why? We will never be one of those epic-ly styled picture-frame-perfect families- at least not for the next three to six years- but this is us and I love every minute of this confusing, loud, overwhelming, wonderful, crazy, testosterone-filled life. 

But seriously- if you have a minute check out Shop Tailgate. It's an online boutique filled with some really, really adorable stuff like this pineapple tee, this adorable boho tassel clutch, and this fantastic "who runs this mother" tee. I wear my "This Is Us" tee way more than I'll admit to and it's one of my favorite comfy t-shirts for throwing on and running all over town in. 

Heck yeah I received this t-shirt for free but no additional compensation was given and Channa, the owner of Shop Tailgate, didn't even ask me to write an entire post about this shirt. It's just that cool that I wanted to share it with the Internets. 


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Monday, March 13, 2017

Let Them Be Little | The Importance of Play

This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I was paid for this post and received the included Carter’s clothing as compensation.

"You can't shoot my army man! He's got a pair-of-chutes!"
- "Pew-Pew-Pew! I got him, Mac! He's down!"
"Oh no he's not! He drank magic juice! He's even stronger now!"
- (in runs the 2-year-old) "HERE COMES THE MONSTER!"
"Ahhhhh! Everybody scramble!"

I could listen to them for hours. Whether they're playing army guys, "family house" or building a fort from couch cushions after I told them for the hundredth time not to, the truth is that it's moments like these, moments when the halls of my house ring with laughter and three brothers can be found deeply invested in their imaginary games, that I dreamed of from the minute I knew each of their tiny souls existed. 

It wasn't too long ago that I myself could run faster than the wind, faster than the fastest cheetah and further than the ends of the world. Don't you, too, remember those days? I know it isn't easy and the memories a bit fuzzy but try hard enough and remember your earliest days. They weren't fancy, they were hardly busy and most of all, they were filled with dress-ups, carefree conversation and the freedom to play.

As for me and the rest of my family, there's no denying our lives are busy. Each day I'm caught in a current of  school schedules and work, sports practices and extra-curricular activities, insurmountable piles of laundry and household chore lists more than a mile long, all of these things begging simultaneously for my time and in doing so, affording me even less time to devote to my children and the importance of play. My children are nothing more than a product of this hurried environment and while lacking the control to do anything about it, they're often swept up in this "glorification of busy," forced to grow up and grow serious well before it's necessary. 

It wasn't until I was two kids deep into motherhood that I realized play was more than just fun and games. It was more than just something to take up time between other activities. Play is crucial to the development of healthy, well-rounded child and Carter's understands this. This Spring Carter's wants to celebrate play our children's magnificent imagination. With their bold, fun patterns, bright inspiring colors and comfortable, breathable fabrics that facilitate easy movement, Carter's is a brand that's made for wild imaginations and creative, carefree kids. 

Between 3/17 and 4/2, you can use promo code "KIDSALE10" 
for $10 off of a $40 purchase. 

As each of my boys grows nearer to full-day schooling, more and more I think about how their days of free play are numbered. While my oldest's kindergarten teacher truly understands and stresses the importance of play during early childhood, there's only so far she can stray from the mandatory curriculum she is to teach. These days Kindergarten looks nothing like it did when I was there- mornings filled with play-doh, sensory stimulation and simple letter recognition have been replaced with full-day hours, level II readers and true arithmetic

"Let them be little" is something I have to remind myself of daily. Not only is it a great reminder for me to let them play more, it's also a great reminder for me personally, to slow down and take more time each day to get down on their level, to engage with them and really listen to the stories they have to tell, no matter how long and silly they may be. To see the magic in the moment and appreciate the joy it brings them to act their ages, to not be so rushed to move onto the next thing, to grow up too soon. To let them make up the words on the pages and read me the story instead of the other way around.

In a world full of constant distractions and technology at our fingertips, it's easy to forget how important tried and true, get-outside-and-just-run play is. The sheer joy that I see spread across my boys' faces when they're running out back in our yard, excising not only their little bodies but also their giant imaginations- well, it's just priceless. To see them barefoot, wild and in their element, creating intricate scenarios of exploration and adventure, of superhero kings and cowboy brothers, unfettered, uninhibited and free- is truly a sight to behold.

2-piece Pajama Set / Similar Carter's Pajama Sets

If you're like me and could use the occasional reminder, please let our children be little. Let them choose the pants with dinosaurs on them or the shirt plastered with planes and let them act their age. Encourage them to laugh loudly, to run wildly and to play freely with abandon. It won't be long before they're grown, added responsibilities weighing down the immeasurable joy they once oozed so freely.

Let them be little and above all else, let them play.    

Dinosaur Button-Front Shirt and Pants / Helicopter Printed Button Down / Flat Front Shorts

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