Thursday, June 16, 2016

Favorites: books (June 2016)

We have an unbelievable number of books in our house. 

When moving across country last summer I would estimate that at least 1/3 of the packed boxes were books. Joel used to sort of roll his eyes at all the picture books and chapter books I had accumulated- at that point we didn't have kids, ha. Now we have two children and our book collection has grown even more since they came on the scene. 

I must say: there are a lot of really lame kids' books in print right now. Not all children's books are created equal- some are quite terrible. 

But, in case you are on the hunt for some good ones, or a few to add to your child's rotation-- here are our current favorites. 

1. Knuffle Bunny. And Waiting is Not Easy (Charlotte has this whole book memorized! She loves it!). And Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late. And The Pigeon Needs a Bath. Basically- all of Mo Willems' books.

2. The Llama Llama series. We have one in board book format, and I recently borrowed this one from our library. [Not sure why, but I wasn't utilizing the library for picture books, but then I started to get bored with our giant collection so I began checking out new books every few weeks. The library books are the ones Charlotte chooses at bedtime 9 times out of 10.]

3. The GoodNight series. We have them for Michigan and Rhode Island, where the grandparents live, and we bought the Philadelphia one last summer after we moved. 

4. No, David. 
5. Olivia. (By Ian Falconer)
6. This is Sadie. 
7. Not a Box. 
8. Owen (by Kevin Henkes)
9. The Belly Button Book (and a few others by Sandra Boynton) 

Asher's favorite: That's Not my Monkey (It breaks my freaking heart when we read this-- he stares intently as I read and turn each page. On the last page he gets this GIANT grin on his face and grabs the book to touch the monkey's fluffy tummy. Turns me to mush, I tell ya.) 

So, please share: what do your babies and toddlers like to read?! 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Chats with Charlotte 6

"Mom, stay here. I go get Asher." .... 
"Hi, bud. You woke up." 

Me: "Joel, come here for a minute. Look what Charlotte has."
Charlotte: "Joel!! Come here!!" 

"I put Bear bed." (Leans back against the wall, covers herself with blankets, lifts her shirt, and holds Bear to her chest while making sucking noises.) 

"Asher, do you see that? Look out your window, Asher. It's a crane!"

"I relaxing. I stretching."

"Put Blue Rabbit bed. Blue Rabbit little. She a baby."

Me: Charlotte, come inside. It's time to eat dinner. 
Charlotte: No, Mom. I lay in grass. Look at sky little while. 

"You okay, Mom? Can I help you?"

"Uh oh! Lily fell down. Can I help you, Lily?"

" I see squirrel. Just like my squirrel. Squirrels love me!" 

Me: Charlotte, do you want a cracker?
C: No, Mom. I still licking my lollipop.

"Hear Mr. Will's truck. Be loud. I be little I drive Mr. Will's truck. Go airport. Dad sit in back, you sit in back. I drive you." 

"I nursing Blue Rabbit. Then I put him bed." 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Something exciting: Wildly Co.

I have four favorite pieces of clothing in Charlotte's wardrobe.

One is a red shirt with a white mitten state outline, which she got this past Christmas, and which reminds her (and me) of her dad's background and family in Michigan. 

The other three are from Wildly Co. 

She has a purple swing top, a blue T that says "home is wherever I'm with you," and a pair of dark skinny jeans. She wears the shirts at least once a week... more frequently if I get the laundry done in a timely manner ;) The clothing has held up amazingly well, despite frequent wearing and washing/drying. There has been no fraying, fading, or stretching. The no fading part is especially impressive considering the deep, dark purple of her swing top (see below). 

Two other great things about these pieces are their softness, and the classic design. I LOVE solid colored clothing on kids, especially now that my toddler is starting to express some opinions about what she wears. When I look at the Wildly Co. Website, I'm struck by how easy it is to mix and match their items-- all the T shirts go with all the pants, and there are limitless combinations that can be made. 

In addition to the great look and quality of the clothing, I've recently become a bit more aware of how clothing is made. The great deals that I get on the clearance rack are probably costing some person (or family!) a lot. I don't pretend to be an expert on the subject, but the fashion industry isn't one that's very impressive in terms of being transparent or holding fair labor practices. Almost every single article of clothing my family owns is made overseas. I don't know anything about the people who make our clothes, and that reality is starting to bother me. (Embarrassing, I know. I should have paid attention long ago. This isn't something I'm proud of.) 

Wildly Co. is committed to making clothing here in the United States, and to being honest about how/where each part of the process takes place. (See more here) Additionally, they place value on paying their workers a fair wage. Yes, the Wildly Co. clothing costs more than some of the items I find on the clearance rack. But that's because it costs more to have high-quality pieces produced in the U.S., and to pay the people who make those pieces enough money to actually live. 

To look at it one way, my baby currently has four hoodies. Four hoodies! For a baby! And two of them I purchased myself! If each hoodie cost between 5 and 10 dollars (on sale!), that's more money spent than just purchasing one high-quality, ethically made hoodie from Wildly Co. #perspective 

I'm sharing about Wildly Co. here for multiple reasons. First, because I respect the company's mission and practices and I LOVE the style and quality of their clothing. Second, because just this week they launched their full summer line, including a collection of amazing capsule wardrobes for kids!! (I love capsule wardrobes!!) And third, because I recently signed up to be involved in their affiliate program, so it's part of my responsibility to spread the word about how great this company is. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Asher: eight months old

Growth/development: Asher still isn't quite crawling but he can scoot backward quickly and he loves to spin around in circles on his belly. He can go from sitting to laying on his tummy. He never stays on his back-- always immediately rolls to his belly. I remember Charlotte rolling every which way at eight months, but Asher is pretty content to hang out in one place.

He has his two bottom middle teeth now, and it seems as if a top tooth is on its way. Even with his Amber necklace, Asher has been drooling a bit this week. 

We don't have an official measurement for Asher, but he weighs about 21 pounds.

Schedule/sleep: This month Asher dropped his third nap, so we have had some hard days where he is miserably tired before bedtime. Some days he goes to bed at 6:15 pm because he's exhausted! Unfortunately, this is a vicious cycle because then he wakes up multiple times at night and then is ready for the day before 6 the next morning. 

Asher nurses 6-9 times a day, roughly every two-three hours during the daytime. He eats solids at dinner and sometimes for snacks. He's very interested in trying whatever anyone else is eating, but does NOT like to eat food when he is tired! He gets frustrated really easily and just drops it all on his tray-- poor babe! 

Asher loves: his momma, Charlotte, and his dad. He's started to show serious excitement when Joel comes home from work-- kicking, bouncing, waving his arms, and grinning the biggest grin. It's freaking adorable. 

Asher also loves being with other kids, drinking cold water from a glass, swinging C playing with non toys such as cloth, paper, whisks, running watches, toothpaste tubes, etc. He loves loves loves his stuffed monkeys and snuggles them so tightly when he goes to sleep. 

Asher doesn't like: waking up at night on his back, being left alone, being hungry or tired. 

Parenting: being Asher's mom is a total delight. Naturally, there are many challenges... The biggest being sleep deprivation. The second biggest being that he is the second child and so much of my time and energy are spent parenting Charlotte, too. I have had a lot of doubt lately about whether I'm doing a good job, or whether choices I make for him are the absolute best. 

This kid, though...? He is amazing! His sweet smiles and giggles make me think I could have a million more babies. 

We love you so much, eight month old boy!