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Baby Chichi Boutique: Custom Monogrammed & Applique Clothing for Children ***Giveaway Now Closed***

Christmas pictures really snuck up on me this year.  We normally get them taken in mid-November, but we were so busy, it was nearly December before I even gave them a thought.  And even at that point, I had no idea where we were going to get them taken or what we were going to wear.  I normally like to have a formal picture of all of us and then a casual picture or two of the girls.  I really wanted something personalized for the casual pictures, so decided it was time to head over to visit my internet BFF, Etsy.  It wasn’t long before I found these adorable reindeer shirts and discovered Baby Chichi Boutique.Who could resist?  The decision was quickly made that I had to have two, one for each of the girls.  Then I found a “Baby’s 1st Christmas” onesie, that was too cute to pass up.  Wouldn’t you know, it found its way into my online cart by the time I checked out?  Funny how that happens.

I couldn’t believe how fast my shirts arrived.  When you order a custom item (better yet, 3 custom items), you understand that it could take weeks, so I was stunned when I received an email from Cynthia at Baby Chichi Boutique that my shirts were sent out 3 days after I ordered them.  They arrived at my house early the next week and I was so excited that I tore into the package like a kid on Christmas morning.

They were absolutely perfect.  The shirts and onesies Baby Chichi Boutique uses are thick and high quality, not to mention, very soft.  I was so happy that they were also true to size.  The appliques are not just attached to the onesie, they are embroidered.  I don’t have to worry about part of the reindeer coming off because of excessive use (and there is no doubt in my mind that these shirts will be used excessively during the holiday season).  The design was absolutely adorable too – I love that the little girl reindeer have bows!  I rarely dress my girls in matching outfits, but I will happily make an exception for these.

So then it was off for pictures…

So here’s the best part – Cynthia from Baby Chichi Boutique has offered a custom onesie or t-shirt to one lucky reader!  How exciting is that?  To make it even better, Cynthia has agreed to allow the lucky winner 6 months to pick their shirt or onesie!  Rumor has it that she has some pretty amazing new designs planned for Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s, and a ton of new Easter designs.  Maybe you want to plan ahead for next year?  She has tons of shirts for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas currently available.  Or, if you don’t want to plan for the next holiday, pick up a birthday shirt or choose any applique design and have it personalized on a shirt or onesie.  They cater to sizes newborn through 4t, so no matter what the occasion, Baby Chichi Boutique is there for you!

Here are just a few of their wonderful designs:

Thank you to everyone who entered this wonderful giveaway, and a very special thank you to Cynthia for agreeing to be the sponsor.  Unfortunately, there could be only one winner, and that winner is (insert drumroll here) Comment #14, Jennifer Best Clay!  The winner has been contacted and has 72 hours to respond.  Meanwhile, I high recommend that you Like Baby Chichi Boutique on Facebook – some of the new designs are just too cute for words!

**Disclosure – I was in no way compensated for this review.  I purchased my girls’ shirts with my own money.  All thoughts and opinions are mine.  I’m writing this review because I genuinely love the shirts I received.  Cynthia at Baby Chichi Boutique is offering a shirt as a give away because she is a wonderful Etsy seller and extremely easy to work with.  Even if you don’t want to enter this giveaway, I highly recommend you check out her store!

Word-ish Wednesday: Oh Christmas Tree!

All the decorations are officially up and the tree is completely decorated.  You know those people who have perfectly coordinated, professionally decorated trees?  We aren’t those people.  Our tree is filled with tons of sentimental ornaments, none of which match.   Since Greenleigh was uninterested in hearing about the significance of the ornaments, I figured I would take a minute and give you a tour of our tree.  These are just a few of my favorites.

First things, first.  These are the girls’ ornaments from this year – Elmo for Greenleigh and a Baby’s First Christmas for Hazeline.  They have their names and year written on them.  Greenleigh is in love with hers; Hazeline is mad I won’t let her use hers as a teether.We have ornaments for each of the “fur children” too.  The cat ornament is from 2002 when we adopted Sonoma; the dog ornament is from 2007 when we adopted Madison.Speaking of dogs, or rather Dawgs, we have tons of University of Georgia ornaments on the tree.  This is one of my favorites, I bought it for Erajh as a present while we were still dating.  Not sure of the year, but it had to be 2004 or earlier.On the same collegiate type note, this ornament was given to me by my mom in 2003 after I graduated from law school and passed the bar.  My mom always finds the best personalized ornaments!We also have a few ornaments from my childhood.  I love that ornaments that were on my tree as a kid are on my tree now.  I had a Snoopy stuffed animal in my bassinet before I was born (and still have him today), so we always had tons of Snoopy ornaments on the tree when I was a kid.This was an ornament I bought in 2006 when we were planning our wedding.  It’s a wedding dress and veil, it just didn’t photograph well.  I love this ornament and it does bring back a ton of memories from when I was wedding planning.  The tree wouldn’t be complete without this ornament.  Finally, my favorite ornament, purchased this year.Or, maybe I should say it was my favorite ornament until I uploaded the pictures to write this post and realized that they messed up the placement of the names.  My name should be on the reindeer on the right with the pink bow, but instead they put Greenleigh’s name there.  Oh well.  I still love it, and Greenleigh does make lots of the decisions around here anyway, so maybe she should be considered the female head of household.

P.S. – This is my 100th blog post!  How awesome is that?  Thanks for reading!

The Shopping Cart Conundrum

A few years ago (and long before Greenleigh was even a thought) I was at home during the day and turned on the Dr. Phil show.  Oh, how I love daytime television, even Dr. Phil.  This particular episode focused on a woman named Treffly Coyne, who had been arrested and charged for leaving her sleeping 2 year old in the car while she walked approximately 30 feet away to donate some money to a Salvation Army bell-ringer.  Coyne explained to the audience that when she put her daughter in the car that evening she was asleep, and she was still asleep when they reached the Wal-Mart where she was to donate the money.  It was sleeting outside, so she made the decision to leave her toddler in the car, and only take her older daughters with her.  She left the car running with the heat on, set the alarm, and walked over to the bell-ringer.  After donating the money, they began their walk back to the vehicle, but were stopped by a community safety officer.  Coyne was then arrested and charged with child endangerment and obstructing an officer, charges which carried a $2500 fine and up to a year in jail.  Public outrage ensued.  People dug in their heels on either side of the issue.  After months of debate, the charges were dropped.

During the course of the show, Dr. Phil took an audience poll to see whether they thought Coyne had done something wrong.  In a rough poll based on people raising their hands, it appeared that about half of the audience thought they should be prosecuted.  At the time, I didn’t really know where I stood.  On one hand she left her toddler in the car, unattended.  A myriad of bad things could have happened.  On the other hand, it was 30 feet (or less), during inclement weather, and the child was sleeping in a locked car with the alarm activated.  My mother left my sister and I in cars when we were little under less favorable conditions, and we turned out okay.  As the show progressed on, one of the audience members said something to the effect that she wouldn’t even leave her kids in the car when she walked down her short driveway to put something in the mailbox.

About a year ago I was out grocery shopping with Greenleigh all by myself.  I had unloaded the cart and gotten Greenleigh into her carseat.  I then looked at the empty cart and realized that I needed to return it to one of the cart corals or the store.  As someone who has had her car scratched by a loose shopping cart in a parking lot, I hate when they are left just anywhere.  So there it was – do I turn on the car, start the air, and walk over to return the cart by myself or take Greenleigh out of her seat, make her walk with me to the return area, and then buckle her in all over again?  I remembered the Dr. Phil episode.  I debated it in my head for what seemed like an eternity.  After all, I could keep my eye on her the entire time I walked the cart over and the air conditioning would be on…but what if [insert all sorts of bad things that could happen in the span of 60 seconds here]…  In the end, I decided to take Greenleigh out of the carseat then walk over and return the cart.

After that day, I learned to unload the groceries first, return the cart, then put Greenleigh in the carseat.   But even with the grocery store figured out, similar situations kept arising.  What about at the post office when I have to drop a letter in the box which is right next to the front door?  How about at the ATM when you have to exit your vehicle?  What about at daycare when the baby is sleeping in the backseat and they have Greenleigh ready and waiting for me at the front door?  What if I have the kids loaded up in the car to go to daycare but remember that I forgot something in the house?  Is it okay to go back and get it?  We live in a townhouse and have a community parking lot, does that change your answer?  These are all situations where I would have to exit the vehicle and walk 30 feet or less.  This all prompted me to ask, “How far is too far?  How far can you walk from your car with your kids inside?  At what point is it no longer okay?”

Occasionally I would ask other moms how they handled these types of situations and they acted like it was no big deal.  One mom told me that she regularly left her infant in the car (with the car running) when she walked into the school to get her older child.  That’s a little too far for my personal comfort zone, but perfectly within theirs. Other moms, like that Dr. Phil audience member, said that there was no comfortable distance.

So I want to know, how do you handle the shopping cart conundrum?  Do you leave your children in the car or take them everywhere with you?  How far is too far for you?

An Early Resolution or Two

Last week I saw this quote circulating on Facebook.

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.

— Steven Furtick

So true.

Yesterday was a difficult day.  It was one of those days where Greenleigh outright refused to listen or follow directions.  When I asked her to put on her shoes, she threw them across the room.  If I asked her not to touch something, she grabbed it and ran.  She jumped on her sister (who for some reason seems to loves this type of attention) after being told to be gentle more times than I can count.  No amount of warnings or timeouts would make her change her behavior.  By 7pm, my “scary mommy eyes” were out and I was yelling.  I’m not proud of it, but I had snapped.  I hate yelling, but lately it’s the only way Greenleigh will even semi-pay attention.  In essence, I was throwing my own little tantrum, which got us nowhere.

After I finally got the kids to bed and began to unwind, I thought about how I should have handled the day differently.  I was embarrassed at how my behind-the-scenes self had acted.  I began to think about my friends who appear to have so much patience with their kids and how they would have handled it, but I quickly realized that I was comparing myself to their highlight reel, and the more I thought about it, that isn’t fair to me no matter how badly I may have acted.  I was comparing my behavior to the times that I have actually seen them interact with their kids, which is far from the full picture.  In reality, who knows how their behind-the-scenes self would have handled it, I only know their highlight reel.  Or, at least, that’s what comes to mind when I think of them.

I feel that often I look for the fun and entertaining side in motherhood, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it becomes a problem when I skip writing about topics because I can’t find a funny or entertaining side.  It didn’t start out that way, but I feel like that’s what happened over the past couple months when I sit down to write a blog post.  The truth is, sometimes motherhood (or parenthood) just isn’t funny or entertaining.  Sometimes it’s just hard.  Yesterday was one of those hard days.  I don’t want this blog to be a sugar-coated version of motherhood, I want it to be real.  And the reality is, there will be times where you think you handled a situation poorly and will want a do-over, but all you can do is go to sleep that night and promise to make the next day better.

The antics yesterday would definitely not make my highlight reel, but I know that I have a highlight reel.  There are times when I have loads of patience, my toddler is well-behaved, and I look like I have it all together.  It has happened.  Maybe somewhere, at some point, someone has compared themselves to my highlight reel.  Little does that person know, my behind-the-scenes self has scary mommy eyes and yells to get the attention of her toddler.

So here come the resolutions –

  1. Stop focusing on everyone else’s highlight reel and focus on my own behind-the-scenes parenting self.  I really need to keep the scary mommy eyes and raised voice in check.  Avoiding everyone else’s highlight reel will be nearly impossible hard, but I need to make the attempt.
  2. Occasionally blog about the rough parts of motherhood, which means not skipping over a topic that isn’t funny or entertaining.  Perhaps I can use this blog as a way to find support and suggestions from time to time, similar to the support and suggestions I got in response to yesterday’s post about Greenleigh’s picky eating habits.  Thank you to everyone who chimed in on that one, by the way.

So there you go, from someone who likes to procrastinate – not one, but two New Years resolutions, 19 days early.

The Dinner Time Battle

This morning as I was asking Greenleigh what she wanted for breakfast, it occured to me that all she ate yesterday were graham crackers, birthday cake, Doritos, 2/3 of a banana, and Gerber Lil’ Crunchies that she stole from her sister.  In that order.  I mean, I realized that she had eaten those things throughout the day, I just didn’t realize that was the entirety of what she ate that day.  Big fat parenting fail on my part.  I was determined to make today better.

As we walked into the holiday brunch for my mom’s group, I made an off-hand remark about how bad my toddler’s diet was the day before to someone who was struggling to get her toddler to eat.  As I went through the list of things Greenleigh ate the day before, she mumbled something to the effect of, “Well at least the banana was good…”  In my effort to sympathize, I became the judged.  Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t be highlighting my parenting fails to my mommy group.  That was my error.  I politely excused myself from the conversation that I had somewhat created to go and say hello to some other moms.

After exchanging greetings with a few others, Greenleigh and I sat down at a table within earshot of the moms we met on our way in.  I soon heard one say, “You just can’t make food a battle, or it’s over.  If it’s a battle, you will never get them to eat.”  So easy to say, but how easy is it to implement?  After all, for the first time in a long time, we didn’t fight about food yesterday, but that didn’t go so well.  Obviously.

Maybe I should give myself a break, we went to a birthday party yesterday and that is why so much junk food was open and available to her.  Typically that isn’t the case.  Usually I like to make sure she has healthy options to choose from, but most of the time, she would rather go hungry than eat those healthy options.

Fact is, Greenleigh and I fight over food more often than I would like to admit.  During the week, I make her well-balanced meals.  I worry about her intake of carbs, protein, fruits, veggies, and so on.  I try to make her things that she loves, but after slaving over her well-balanced dinner, Greenleigh wants nothing to do with it.  It has gotten so bad, that Erajh has had to help and often he is the only one who can get her to eat.  I often throw my hands up in the air and just have to hope that she ate enough at school that day.  Frustrating doesn’t even begin to describe it.

I’ve found ways to sneak healthy things into her food (veggie chicken nuggets, for example), but that only works if she will actually eat.  I know that she isn’t going to starve herself, but I worry.

Has anyone been through something like this with your kids?  So if you have/had young kids, how do you get them to eat?  Better yet, how do you get them to eat healthy?  How do you make sure that food isn’t a battle?  Help a (frustrated) mom out!