FRYday : Emily

I’ve been thinking a lot about balance lately. Not the work/home life balance, Heavens no! That unicorn left the building long ago.I tend to imagine my boys’ lives as a scale. The two sided kind – I think they’re called The Scale of Justice – if we’re being official. I think of one side of the scale being filled with the influence of myself and my husband.

Tipping the Scales | FRYday

We fill up this side of the scale with our love and acceptance. We tell them how wonderful they are, how they are doing a great job, how much they’re improving at something, with our hugs and kisses, and back tickles and brushing their shaggy hair off their brow. We fill it with our family’s rules and standards, with our expectations for how we want them to act and treat others. I’ve seen firsthand that every moment of everyday is a potential lightbulb moment for them. You never know what they’ll hold onto, what they’ll soak up and incorporate into the mechanics of those ever-turning brains.

The other side of the scale is everyone else. Their friends, teachers, the television, even other family members. It’s not “us versus them” but I can’t control what gets dropped into that side of the scale and it overwhelms me sometimes. I, of course, keep a close eye on who they’re spending time with, but it doesn’t change the unknowns. Lately with my four year old Hayes, I’ve felt that scale shifting. Ever so slightly. I’ve seen him adopt words, and interests, and ideologies. I’ve seen someone who only cares about having fun, all the sudden obsess over who is winning and losing. Over how fast he can run, and what toys he has in his closet. Don’t get me wrong he has learned some incredible things that I feel really grateful for. Hearing him recite the Pledge of Allegiance “One Mation under God…” and singing silly songs. Telling me the moon goes around the Earth everyday. How lucky is he that he gets to learn things that I would never have thought to show him!

Even still, I feel anxious that what I say and think is losing a little bit of weight with him. I just want the voice in his head to always be me rooting for him, cheering him on and telling him it will all be alright. I want my boys to see themselves the way I see them! Just the other day I watched Hayes jump into his preschool carpool and I was overtaken by sadness. I could feel that scale tipping, and it was the most indescribable and foreign feeling I’ve had thus far as a mother. I don’t often fear things, I feel pretty safe in my world, but for that moment I was consumed with this urgent feeling to get him back home. The teachers must have thought I was crazy when I came to the door only 15 minutes into school asking if I could pull him out. I just needed him with me, is that the weirdest? Under my wing like some crazy mother hen, even just for a little while. Just to fill him up with all the good things I could think of, before sending him back out to the world. Motherhood is a freaking trip sometimes, man. We bring them into the world, they rely on us for virtually everything for a time, and then our success in this role is based on how well we can help them learn to find their own way. It’s the most heartbreaking yet necessary arrangement. So here’s to all of you mothers out there who can’t seem to let go just yet, I am feeling your pain this week, let’s go get some ice cream.

xo

Emily

glasses for kids [giveaway!]

Brought to you by Jonas Paul Eyewear.

Jonas Paul Eyewear

Jonas Paul Eyewear makes the most darling spectacles and shades for children and we’ll be giving away a frame of your choice to TWO winners! But first, we couldn’t share Jonas Paul’s story without sharing a little bit about the company’s namesake, little Jonas himself:

Story Behind Jonas Paul Eyewear from sprout: visual storytelling on Vimeo.

These specs are stylish and sturdy and the passion and heart behind the company, two parents, is what made us fall in love with these little frames.  Since our boys don’t wear glasses (yet!) we wanted to call on you readers that have traversed this experience before with your kids. Here’s what you all had to say:

Jonas Paul Eyewear

What were some clues that your child might need glasses?

Camille – “At the grocery store or Target I could not put Mason (16 months) down on the ground. He would scream and almost have a panic attack. He either had to be held or put straight into the cart. Come to find out, he couldn’t see and the shiny floors and the reflection of the lights scared him, he couldn’t tell if it was water or slippery… The most obvious sign came a little later when we noticed his eyes crossing.”

Paige – Ethan (9 years old) was sitting really close to the TV, asking what time it was from the back seat, and squinting his eyes.

Linda – Both my husband and I wear glasses so we were always on high alert, turns out ALL seven of our kids wear glasses! For us, just like the dentist, we take our kids to the eye doctor at age three. Most of our kids didn’t get glasses until age 5 or 6. Headaches are always a good sign of problems, so look out for that!

Julie - Our situation is unique because Amelia’s (age 4) vision was fine! But she had an eye muscle issue. Her eyes would turn outward when she was tired or trying to relax, causing her distress and aggravation especially watching TV or movies. It’s important for parents to know that passing a vision screen is not a guarantee that there are no issues. If you suspect anything is “off”, see a pediatric ophthalmologist!

Lauren – Jack (5 years old) was having trouble focusing at school, his handwriting was hard to read, and his eyes were always wandering.

Jonas Paul Eyewear

How did you prepare them for getting glasses?

Camille – Mason wore an eye patch to correct a lazy eye situation, we let him pick his stickers to decorate it and he felt special and unique. By the time he got glasses he was so excited he could finally see he never took them off!

Paige – We always presented it as a cool and positive thing. Letting him pick out his glasses, no matter what he chose helped get him excited. He was actually sad that it would take a week to get them in the mail. Now Ethan isn’t Ethan without his glasses, it’s become a part of him!

Linda – Since all their siblings had glasses the younger ones were usually jealous they didn’t get glasses too! I would always say “Don’t worry, your day will come!” ;) We had little reward systems in place so if they were caught without the glasses they put a quarter in the jar, and then when they had quarters they could buy an ice cream from the ice cream truck. Worked like a charm! Like the other mothers, I always let my kids choose their glasses!

Julie – I talked to her about glasses and how they will help her eye to “stay still”. It helped tremendously that I wear glasses. And now I refuse to wear contacts at any time, because I don’t want to send her the message that I look better without the glasses. I recommend parents in glasses to help their children through the change. My daughter is ok with her glasses because I am ok with mine.

Lauren – I pointed out all the cool people he loves that have glasses, grandpa, uncles, other friends. I brought his glasses to school the first time, brought them to him and asked the other kids in the class “Doesn’t he looks so cool?” Most agreed and now he loves them!

Jonas Paul Eyewear What do you wish you would’ve known before this experience?

Camille

  •  If your child is young take them to a specialist, get them on the right track right off the bat!
  • Be diligent about what the doctor tells you to do. If he says patch, PATCH! The discomfort is worth it in the end.
  • Buy the glasses you like, but then get their glasses professionally fitted and buy a warranty and even a back up pair. Getting scratched, dropped, lost, will all happen to your kid.

Julie – I would have gotten anti glare lenses for her. Also, back up pair! Also, LittleFourEyes.com! Amazing resource with a Facebook group of over 2,000 parents of children in glasses. The group is invaluable for anyone just starting on the glasses adventure.

Lauren – Take your prescriptions to Costco! The doctors office is so expensive.

Thank you to all of the mothers who participated in this post! How cute are their little bespectacled darlings?Moms Share Their Advice on Getting Kids Glasses

Ethan // Amelia // Jack // Mason

Now for the GIVEAWAY! Two winners will get to pick their favorite frames either in optical or sunglass form, and there are two ways to enter to win!

First, all you have to do is leave a comment letting us know why you’d like to win! We will pick the first winner from this post’s comments.

For a second chance to win, all you need to do is share this post on Facebook and we’ll pick a second winner from those who have shared the post.

Easy enough right? You have until Thursday April 24th to enter, and we’ll notify each winner then! Good luck!

All photos except directly above are by Jylare Smith Photography!

bunny sneakers DIY

Got an Easter hunt to get to this week? Here’s a super fast (removable!) DIY to bunn-ify a simple pair of sneakers. Here’s how you’ll do it:
Bunny Shoes DIY

Grab a scrap of white fabric. The duck cloth we used for the Miffy Tote works great and stands up all on it’s own! Cut it out into two tear drop shapes for the ears (we did 4 inch long and 2 inch wide). Then cut out a piece of gray felt about half the size, and the same shape, leaving a 1/2 inch white outline around the ear.

Then with a hot glue gun, glue the gray piece of felt to the white piece on both ears. Let it dry and then put a dot of glue on the bottom of both ears, inserting them into the shaft of the high-top – we used Chuck Taylor High Tops by Converse!

Then grab two gray felt balls (we used Maypole here), dab them with glue and stick onto the back strip of boning towards the bottom. Let it dry and you’re good to go!

Bunny Shoes DIY

Then it’s time to rock your bunny sneaks! Dash is wearing his sneakers with the ”Keep it Rad” tee and “Slick & Slide” pants via Geo Fox Apparel.

Bunny Shoes DIY

Want more shoe upgrades? We have a patriotic pair, some glitz and glamour for your boring ballet flats, and a graphic edge to some simple slip-ons. Find all our fashion DIYs right here.

The Perfect Easter Basket

Today we’ve got all the best tips and Easter basket basics from Kim at Kensington Way! How beautiful are all of these baskets? Who knew grass was key, and we absolutely love the ceramic crate idea! Welcome, Kim!

Easter Basket how-to“My favorite family traditions have always been centered around holidays. For Easter, I loved dyeing eggs with my family, wearing a new dress to church on Easter Sunday and running around the yard looking for candy-filled eggs. Now that I am a mom, I am excited to continue these types of traditions with my own kids. Our son Benjamin is only 15 months old, so he won’t get much out of an Easter basket this year, but since these fun baskets are one of my favorite Easter traditions, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite ideas and tips on how to assemble the perfect Easter basket.

Pick your container: While baskets are typically used, there are so many other great options to use as the container for your Easter treats. I love these ceramic cartons—they come in beautiful pastel colors and two different sizes so you can use the smaller size to do mini baskets, or use the larger one for a bigger basket. I also love small pails like this one—it’s another great option to make individual mini baskets instead of one big basket. Any type of bowl, basket, platter or box will work!

Easter Basket how-to

Create layers: The key to making an Easter basket look good and not just a mess of grass and candy is to create layers. Always start with a layer of “grass”—I prefer paper or straw grass, but plastic grass works well too. (You will need more grass than you think because everything else you put in the basket will weigh it down, so make sure you use a lot). Once you’ve put the grass in your container, add your larger items first: homemade sugar cookies, candy-filled eggs and small stuffed animals are bigger items I like to put in my Easter basket. Next, add your smaller items: jelly beans, chocolate eggs and bunnies and any other type of candy can be sprinkled throughout the rest of the basket. (You can see this past post on my blog for my homemade sugar cookie recipe—they are the best sugar cookies and are so easy to make!)

Easter Basket how-toEaster Basket how-to

Personalize your basket: Depending on who your basket it for, it’s fun to add a small personal gift or handwritten note. Small stuffed animals or dolls, mini trucks and bubbles are fun for babies and younger children. Nail polish, stationary, lip gloss, books and movies are some fun ideas for kids who are a little older.

I hope this gives you some fun ideas to create the perfect Easter basket for your family and friends! Happy Easter!”Easter Basket how-to WHERE TO SHOP:
Baskets and grass via Michael’s
Ceramic cartons via Anthropologie
Bunny via Nordstrom

Check out our Easter Archives right here.

Educational Games for Kids

We just finished a week long Spring break for our big boys at their schools, and we’ve gotten a taste of how wonderful Summer break will be! Maybe we’ve all wondered, how do we continue to stimulate our kids’ brains, ensure that they’re still learning and exploring and growing even though they’re not in a formal schooling setting? Some families have the whole Summer planned with in-home schooling, chores, and a set routine. While some that take a break from it all and play, play, play. And of course lots in between. Where do you lie on the spectrum? Whether you’re the former or the latter, here’s an awesome collection of educational games to help your toddlers and preschoolers have fun and learn at the same time!

learning games for kids

1. LEARN YOUR LETTERS : Learning Resources Alphabet Pops not only aid in learning letters, both upper and lowercase, but also color matching! Each popsicle snaps together and they are vibrant and sturdy. Definitely a favorite toy over here.

2. LEARN THE ELEMENTS : Uncle Goose’s Periodic Table Building Blocks for building towers, and as they grow, to help teach the elements, too! We could definitely use a refresher on this subject. Uncle Goose goods are made right here in the USA, which is always a welcome feature.
3. LEARN TO LACE & TIE : We’re all in the shoe tie teaching phase. It’s a tricky concept and really hard to visualize when the laces and your hands hide what’s happening underneath. Melissa & Doug’s Wood Lacing Sneaker is perfect because  lacing, and tying the bow from this perspective is so much easier to grasp!
4. LEARN TO TELL TIME : Not only is this Tell-Time Puzzle going to teach your kids about telling time the old fashion way, but it also has a built-in puzzle so even your youngest kiddos can enjoy it!
5. LEARN ABOUT CHEMISTRY : We love this primary Science Lab Set for easy kitchen chemistry experiments. There are so many different experiments you can show your kids using ingredients found in your cupboards. Check out our Pinterest board “Kitchen Science” for great ones we’ve spotted around the web!
6. LEARN HISTORY : You all know how much we love Uncle Goose blocks, but this President Block Set might take the cake. Each block is made with non-toxic ink, safe for that “everything must go in my mouth” stage, and includes each President’s picture, nickname, party affiliation, term and more! All ages can benefit from these blocks!
7. LEARN TO COUNT : Smart Resources is really killing it with all these educational toys! Count ‘em Up Popcorn is not only a teaching tool, but it’s pretty cute to look at, too!
8. LEARN BALANCING : We love this block set that shows when each piece has found it’s perfect balance when the liquid is horizontal. Find them here: Plan Toys Water Blocks!
9. MORE BALANCE : Link the monkeys into the tree, but they’ll all topple off if it’s unbalanced, so fun and darling to look at! Another gem from Plan Toys: Balancing Monkeys!
Find all our eductional-based posts right here. And a favorite series’ of ours Summertime School, that we’ll be bringing back this Summer again!