Hi there! I’m Kara.
Category Archives: kids
If you’re like me and refuse to subscribe to Amazon Prime, you’re probably closing in on the last few days of online shopping without paying like $300 for overnight shipping. So here’s a smattering of gifts for everyone left on your list.
Two: This little brass “hello” would be adorable on your front door. Or on my front door.
Three: It’s a scientific fact that everyone likes succulents. You barely have to water them! They are hip! People like plants! Buy ’em in bulk and find some cute little pots and pass them out to your coworkers. Or scatter them around your house.
Four: Give this to your free-spirit, crafty friend. Or yourself.
Five: I just bought something like this for B for Christmas. Trying to jumpstart her career as professional instagrammer.
Eight: I bought this for B mostly because I think they are cute and am prepared to fake-eat them.
Nine: These are good for any of your female friends. Or for me if I’m your female friend.
Ten: We had this calendar a couple years ago and it 1) is freakin’ huge and 2) looks badass.
DISCLAIMER: This post is very much not sponsored. I’m just that excited.
Uh, did you know that TJ Maxx has 1) online shopping and 2) free in store returns and 3) awesome toys? Me either, until today – and this might be a game changer. TJ Maxx has long been my go-to for holiday gifts because it’s a one-stop shop and because I always feel satisfied that I’m getting a good deal.
Their online toy section is pretty great – lots of high-end things that you would find at a boutique toy store and books for less than Amazon.
One: B loves the Biscuit books. I hate them so much but it doesn’t matter what I like, right?
Two: Sandra Boynton books are perennial faves at our house. This is less than $3. And it’s so cute.
Three: The Pout Pout Fish was on repeat at our house for a good four months. It is the reason B learned to make a kissy face.
Four: B is really into money right now. This would go perfectly with her cash register.
Five: My unproven theory is that if you introduce kids to more exotic play food, like this cute sushi set, the kids might be more adventurous when it comes to trying real sushi.
Five: I’ve had my eye on a balance bike for a while and this natural wood and pink scooter is so cute!
Six: This looks like it came out of the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog. So much more attractive in your house than something plastic.
Seven: B has the roller-pig version of this roller-panda, and loves it. Her Aunt Jen got it for her when she was an infant. We both thought was an appropriate infant gift at the time. It wasn’t, but it at least looked cute in the nursery for a couple years and now B rolls around on it all the time.
Eight: This dog book is a favorite in our house.
Nine: We have the Llama Llama book about staying at “Gram and Grandpa’s” house. B refers to the book as “Llama Llama Gramma.” In all honesty, these books are kind of masterfully done. I was an English major. I know these things.
Ten: I’m trying to figure out how to get rid of the two play kitchens we currently have and find space for one adorable play kitchen like this.
Guys, I’m writing this post mostly to brag that I’ve already ordered matching AND MONOGRAMMED Christmas jams for the girls. (Full disclosure: This has only happened because my sister-in-law is the one selling and monogramming. BUT STILL!)
I’m obsessed with the idea of matching holiday pajamas for all of us but since I don’t actually live in a catalog and I am married to an actual man and not a male mannequin, that’s not going to happen. (True story: When I broached the subject with my husband, he agreed. He probably wasn’t actually paying attention.)
But because I’m a nice lady, I’ve compiled some family jams for you and yours. These are all pretty affordable and would be an adorable Christmas Eve gift for your family. Extra points for monograms.
If you are super fancy and will only accept the gold standard of matching jammies, check out these Hanna Andersson jams. YOU CAN EVEN MATCH YOUR DOG.
My husband and I work for the same company in the same building. I know, I know, we’re adorable. And although we don’t actually work together, we often ride together which means we can both drop off the girls at daycare, making the morning 1000 times easier with a two-year-old and a four-month-old. But then sometimes he travels for work and I’m in charge of drop-off and mornings look like this:
7:20: Pull into daycare parking lot.
7:21: Gather E’s milk, B’s coat, E’s extra diapers and haul E in her carseat to the other side of the car.
7:22: Open B’s door. Put B’s shoes back on. Unbuckle B. Argue with B that she can’t take her tiny pumpkin into daycare. Get B out of car.
7:24: Start walking in. Realize B is not coming. Turn around to see B staring at the ground. “I get a rock, Mommy!”
7:28: Convince B to choose a rock.
7:29: Enter daycare. Sign in. B asks for a sticker. Tell B that stickers are only for when we leave. Narrowly avoid meltdown.
7:32: Put B’s jacket in her cubby. B points to stacked tables. “What’s that?” The tables. B points to the carpet. “What’s that?” The carpet. B finds a sign that fell on the ground. “UH OH!” B tries to reattach sign. Unsuccessful.
7:33: Check to see how many extra clothes B has. Crap! She has approximately 20 shirts and one too-small black skirt. Realize it will be 80 degrees today. Parenting win! Cross fingers for no accidents even though it’s only day 3 of potty training.
7:34: B spots potty. Immediately pulls down pants. Goes potty. While she’s distracted I throw away the rock.
7:38: B flushes. Washes hands. Rejects the soap I pumped. “I do it myself!” I wash rejected soap off my hands.
7:40: We cut through the music room to get to her morning drop-off classroom. “Piano!” We negotiate that she gets to press one key.
7:41: B stares at piano. Important choice.
7:42: B chooses a low note. E minor. Just kidding, I have no idea what note it was.
7:43: B spots water fountain and has to get a drink. Gulps.
7:45: B demands I take a drink, too. I take a quick sip, thinking about all the toddler germs on the water fountain.
7:47: B gives me a hug and runs into her room. I pick up E and haul her to the other end of the building.
7:48: I walk down the hall. Get E out of car seat. Put E’s milk in fridge. Hand E to teacher. Kiss E’s head.
One of our biggest baby purchases was probably the Baby Jogger City Select. It’s not cheap – we’ve bought a car for less than this stroller retails. But it does go on sale occasionally – like here! Here’s my review:
So far we’ve used it as a single stroller and a double stroller with the car seat attachment. It’s an all-terrain stroller but it’s not meant for jogging, so don’t be fooled by the brand name. It’s a great choice for parents who want a substantial stroller and are thinking of having another baby relatively soon, since it can be used as a single or double stroller. Also good for parents with two under three, like us.
It’s a big stroller, but it’s easy to navigate. It offers a huge storage basket, a large canopy and an adjustable handlebar to fit pushers of all heights comfortably.
It can be converted to an inline double stroller and offers tons of different seat configurations. And while it can sometimes seem kind of long, it is so much easier to navigate than a double wide side-by-side stroller. We’ve been using it with the carseat on top and B’s seat facing forward (second row, third column) but I’m excited to play with the different configurations once E is out of the car seat. Check ’em out below:
What’s not awesome? It’s heavy. Pushing this stroller up a hill is no small feat. The car seat also makes it feel top heavy, especially when I am trying to walk diagonally up a hill.
I would also prefer if it had a foot break rather than a hand brake, but I’ve mostly gotten over that.
Is it kind of a status symbol stroller? Sure. But it is also an investment that I will be able to use and then resell for a substantial amount on Craigslist.
When B was around six months old I read a scary article about the importance of protecting children’s online identity. The takeaway should have been to keep your kids off your social media accounts, but instead it encouraged me to to reserve a Gmail account and .com domain in her name. I felt pretty smug about my decision (and the yearly deduction from my bank account for the next 18 years) and was thrilled that she wouldn’t have the same fate as a college boyfriend who had the unfortunate luck to have the same name as a gay porn star. (It was the early days of Googling a date and I was bewildered to say the least.)
Then the emails started. I write letters to her on milestone days, send silly pictures I take with my phone, and forward screen shots of texts conversations I have about her with her dad. Sometimes emails are sent daily and sometimes they are months apart, but when something is particularly funny – or feels all too fleeting – I jot down a note and email it to her.
Her dad has been doing the same.
B is now two, and I haven’t gone through the email account yet. I don’t know if I will. I’m looking forward to handing it over to her and reading through the notes together – some are short and sweet, some long and sappy. If anything ever happens to me, she’ll have documentation of how much I love her, and what our lives were like when she was very little.
She’ll realize that parenting is something that is learned, and that her parents made mistakes. She’ll see pictures of us when we were young and she’ll laugh at our dated clothes. She’ll learn what life was like when it was just us and her, and what it was like when her sister made us a family of four.
People say that the years are short and the days are long with kids, and now I understand what they mean. It makes it a little easier to know that somewhere on the internet these days will last forever.
I never thought I would say this, but buying kids’ toys is hard. First, everything is SO BIG and takes up all the room in your house. And you never know what your kid is going to like from minute to minute. B loves these things, and they would make great gifts for a two-year-old.
One: B loves these blocks, and demands that we build “BIG TOWERS!” with her on the reg. Also, these are half off and are only like $11, so go ahead and buy them. (Did you know Neiman Marcus had toys? I didn’t.)
Two: My friend Jen is a genius when it comes to buying books for B. The Mo Willems books are always a hit, and other current favorites include “Please, Mr. Panda,” “Dragons Love Tacos” and “Archie,” which is a stupid but beautiful book about dogs sewing clothes for their pet dogs but there are NO WORDS so you have to narrate it yourself. (“And now all the dogs are happy because they all have clothes! And this guy is tired from sewing all the clothes!” All the characters in this book are dogs. Dogs are walking dogs. It doesn’t make any sense.)
Three: I grabbed this little cash register for B at Ikea the other day. While she was playing with it I realized she knows her numbers. Thanks for teaching her that, daycare!
Four: We were nervous about how B would handle meeting her little sister, so we had a gift “from the baby” ready for her at the hospital. It was a baby doll similar to this. She loves it.
Five: When B was about a year, I got obsessed with buying this wagon. I scored it for a steal on Craigslist, but it is worth buying new (on sale, of course). I will warn you that THIS IS THE HEAVIEST WAGON KNOWN TO MAN so it’s hard to load in the car, pull up hills, etc. But it’s still pretty awesome (and a good workout?) and of course B loves it.
Six: This Dyson is, without question, the most popular toy at our house. Boys love it! Girls love it! Big kids love it! My mom (bless her) got it for B last Christmas, and it has been popular ever since. And don’t be fooled by the advertisement of “real suction action” – it doesn’t suck, and that sucks.
Eight: We don’t have this tent because we’re not millionaires. We have the $20 tent from Ikea, which is just fine but looks like we have a circus in our family room. If you like to spend money on stupid stuff, Land of Nod has ridiculously cute tents and playhouses, like this one that looks like an old time-y gas station.
Nine: Everybody loves this trike. People stop us to ask where we got it. The parent handle helps kids who aren’t yet strong enough to pedal the whole time. We’ve been foregoing the stroller altogether and just using the Ergo for E and this trike for B when we go on family walks.
Ten: B’s babies go on many, many walks with this little stroller. They also occasionally chase the dog in it.
You guys, I have found the Holy Grail of smart shirts for girls. No longer must we sift through racks of tops that say things like “Daddy’s Princess” and “Diva in Training” and “Hooters.” No more! Here are tees that say things like “Happy Historian” and “Treaty of Paris” and “Easy as Pi!” Are these cheap? Not exactly – but some are on sale!
One: “Easy as Pi” (Back is filled with the numbers of Pi)
Two: “Love You to Infinity” (Back has infinity design and definition of infinity)
Three: “What is a Noun? Why It’s a Person, Place or Thing” (This one is on sale!)
Four: “Genius” (Also on sale!)
Six: “Happy Historian” (back says “Make History”)
Seven: “Executive, Legislative, Judicial Branch” (Back says Of the People/By the People/For the People”)
Eight: Treaty of Paris 1785 (Back says “The First 13 States Free, Sovereign and Independent”) (Also on sale!)
And then there is this tee, which is the best out of the bunch. The sleeve says EQUALITY! The back CONTAINS TEXT FROM THE AMENDMENT. I want to buy this shirt in every size.
Thank you, Nordstrom and Peek, for making dressing my daughters a little easier.
(Nordstrom did not compensate me for this post but I kind of want to hug them for carrying this awesome line.)
Among the many things I learned in college is the importance of designer jeans. In 2003, when I was but a mere freshman, I realized that all my collage compadres were wearing sweet 7 for all Mankind A-pocket jeans. I had to have them.
I booted up my trusty desktop computer, logged on to eBay, and two weeks later a package arrived from China. (Yeah, I know. Totally fake.)
I wore those low-rider bootcut jeans all over Memphis. To class. To parties. Hanging out in the dorm. To “the Rat,” which is what we lovingly called our cafeteria. Those jeans got more use than most of my textbooks.
The A-pockets of yore were long ago donated, but I still have a couple pairs of “Sevens” in my closet. (Sidenote: Are we wearing bootcut jeans again? Let’s discuss that later.) Now there’s also a pair in B’s closet. I grabbed this adorable set at Marshalls yesterday, but they’re also available for a steal here.
(Back to jeans: Obviously these are terrible on everybody. And we can all agree that these shouldn’t be a thing unless you’re at summer camp. But I think these are cute, right? I mean, skinny jeans are fine, but in the words of Jennifer Garner, “Can we all stop pretending that skinny jeans are flattering?” #teamjen)
Today was picture day at the girls’ daycare so I ran to Old Navy last week to get Blair an outfit and to spend my Super Cash. I like Old Navy for easy daycare clothes and sometimes for fun dress-up clothes. Their stuff is inexpensive and can be cute – and while it might not last forever, the kid will usually grow out of it before it wears out. Plus, their online shopping is simple and easy (and there’s usually a coupon code), their sizing is generally pretty consistent, and then you don’t have to pick through stuff in the store, which can get overwhelming.
That being said, I did grab this stuff in store.
The buffalo plaid dress is a great toddler dress – soft, comfortable, and still feminine without being too precious. I tend to dress B in things that I would wear (or things I would like to pull off but can’t) so I’m just sort of living vicariously through her short skirt/boots combo. We topped it off with a navy bow and pigtails, and hopped in the car.