q & a day

q&a For the next day or so, let’s have a Q & A. Feel free to ask me any question in the comments and I’ll respond back as a reply to your comment.

Let’s imagine we’re sitting together over a cup of something delicious watching our rambunctious children and having a real life conversation (except without the inevitable interruptions from said children). No topic is off limits and I’m a fairly open and honest girl … so … ask away!

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what she wears (dressing Audrey)

Since the day she was born, I have loved dressing my girl. I like classic styles, easy and comfortable with a little bit of color and pattern thrown in for fun. It’s how I dress myself and what I gravitate to when shopping for Audrey.

My baby is now four, and sometimes she has an opinion on what she’d like to wear, but mostly not. I know. It won’t last long. So for now, I’m running with it.

dressing-audrey

Her closet currently consists of lots of basics – tees, skirts, jeans, shorts and dresses – in mix and match colors/patterns. Stripes are a recurring theme (go figure) and I really like blue on her.

dressing-audrey

Here are a few things I consider while choosing clothes for my daughter:

1. She’s four. I like her to look like a little girl and tend towards classic styles. I’d love to dress her in sweet European designs with peter pan collars and cable knit sweaters (and sometimes I try), but her personality is bright and spunky and so dressing her in fun colors and prints makes sense.

2. We have a few splurge pieces in her wardrobe, but most are inexpensive, washable, and not too precious (see favorite sources below).

3. I’m learning to let her wear her special things on ordinary days. How many party dresses and fancy shoes has she worn once and then outgrown before having another special occasion to wear them to? Too many. So she might show up in her christmas dress to the park, but at least she’s wearing it.

4. As much as I appreciate a cutely dressed child, I don’t want it to be about the clothes. Clothes are fun and darling and make a girl feel pretty, but I really don’t want her to care too much about what she’s wearing. I haven’t totally figured out how to instill this – teaching her to care about how she presents herself, but not put too much emphasis on valuing appearances – a challenge for women of all ages.

5. Sometimes when she’s feeling particularly creative with her outfit (like the time she insisted on wearing a swimsuit over her jeans in the rain – see photo above), I can’t help but go with it. It’s sort of endearing to see a child in a too-small halloween costume in July or with mismatched socks and layered tutus.

I shop for most of Audrey’s clothes at these three stores: gap, target and old navy. I’ll fill in with pieces from j.crew factory, mini boden, and I like the tights from lands end. For special dresses and shoes, I adore Joyfolie. Almost all of my shopping (except for Target because I’m there every other day) happens online. The stores I frequent run online-only sales often, so wait a week or two, join their mailing list and you’ll save a bunch.

Here are some of my current favorites from my regular online stores:

favorites-from-gap-kids

Gap is always a go-to for Audrey and the boys. They sometimes have different items in the store than online, but I do okay just sticking with ordering. Audrey wears a 5t, so I can still shop in both toddler and girl sections. Right now everything at Gap is on sale for 30% off with code THANKS. Shop Gap here.

favorites-from-old-navy

Old Navy is hit and miss for me – sometimes they get a little crazy with their graphics and logos, so I tend to stick with basics or subtle patterns. They run sales all the time and I like getting a good deal. Their current promotion is 20-30% off with code AMPM. Shop Old Navy here.

favorites-from-target

I am at Target a ridiculous amount of times per week, so I’m always grabbing a shirt here and a sweater there when they are on sale.  Again, I go for basics and items that can be mixed and matched. Shop Target here.

favorites-from-boden

Mini Boden has the cutest, best-made clothes. They are more expensive than I typically go for, but everything I’ve ordered, I’ve loved. Check their site for deals (and the cutest graphics ever). Shop MiniBoden here.

favorites-jcrew

We have a jcrew factory store at our local outlet mall. Cute stuff, less expensive, not as good of quality as crewcuts but classic styles and fun accessories. They run promotions all the time, too, so check in often. Shop JCrew Factory here.

For special dresses and shoes, I just adore the cuteness at Joyfolie.

favorites-from-joyfolie

Everything is on sale TODAY for 40% off (!) with code BIG40. I’m thinking about that sweet triangle dress for Audrey’s christmas dress this year. Shop Joyfolie here.

So there you go … my favorite sources for dressing little ones. And now I want to order it all for my Audrey girl.

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speaking your child’s language

We just returned from a weekend away at our favorite beach house on Whidbey Island. I’ve written about this magical place several times before, and posted a million IG photos (#theboathouse). Our good friends are gracious hosts and their hospitality provides the most cherished and memorable adventures for our kids. It is for sure their most favorite place to be.

whidbey-morning

I love the boat house for many reasons, but lingering at the top is watching the boys be boys. They have complete freedom. They can roam the endless beach collecting shells and digging for sea creatures. They cut down branches and make paths through the woods and whittle sticks with their pocket knives. They shoot bb guns and practice with their bows & arrows. They kayak or paddle boat and swim in the freezing cold water.  They build forts and bon fires and swing on a hammock.

whittling-sticks

See what I mean? It’s a boy’s delight.

whidbey-teepee

Usually, after breakfast is over and with the kids happily occupied, I spend my days lounging on the deck or beach chatting with our friends, occasionally glancing through a magazine or reading a book. It’s a pretty dreamy day for me as well.

sitting-on-beach-

But every once in a while, I make an effort to play with the boys. Since Audrey is the littlest and basically my shadow, I find I get lots of time with her, but the boys don’t always get undivided mom-time doing what they love to do.

And the number one thing they love to do at the beach?

digging

Dig.

Dig deep holes. Build dams. Divert the stream.

With shovel in hand, these boys are happy for hours.

And so, on this particular day, I dug.

Dug deep holes. Built dams. Diverted the stream. Dug until I had blisters on my hands and had completed the best sand fort ever.

Midway through our digging, No.1 looked up at me and said, “mom, thanks for being this kind of mom.”

whidbey-digging

And that made missing out on deck-sitting time and those blisters on my hands totally worth it.

Sometimes speaking your child’s language looks like wielding a shovel with jeans rolled up and bare feet.

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