Holidays · Parenthood

Dear Santa… 2018 Gift Guide!

Each year, I set the goal of preparing for the holidays early – planning our meal, mailing lists to Santa, organizing, and preparing for company and parties… and each year, the time seems to fly faster than the year before.  This year, our already-busy holiday season has somehow become even more of a whirlwind, thanks to both girls being in school and participating in activities and parties and event after event.

I actually have cut myself some slack in that I’ve decided that the holidays don’t have to be about rushing around and doing all the thingsbecause that ends up not being pleasant for anyone.  Instead, we are trying to pick and choose the things that make us happy – like decorating gingerbread houses at home, sending out Christmas cards, and doing Christmas crafts together.

In the midst of all of that, though, I wanted to share some of the girls’ wish list with you in the spirit of helping out any fellow last-minute Mamas looking for ideas.  Here are some of the things Lane and Lauren are hoping to find under the tree this year:

The Complete Book of Spanish, Grades 1 – 3

This may not appeal to every six-year-old, but Lane is fascinated by language, and is especially interested in Spanish.  So when I started thinking about gifts for her, I wanted to tap into that interest in a way that would be engaging and fun for her.  I know she will be pumped if she finds this book full of beginning Spanish learning activities under the tree on Christmas morning.

My First Fashion Designer

If Santa has been paying attention to Lauren this year, he knows that this no-cut, no-sew fashion design kit will delight her on Christmas morning!  Lauren actually requested a sewing machine, and while I’m sure Santa is impressed by her ambition, he probably will want to start her with something like this first.  This adorable set comes with everything you need to design hundreds of runway-ready looks, from fabric to buttons, and an easy-to-work-with dress form.  It also comes with a design booklet full of fashion inspiration – not that Lauren will need that.

Yamaha Half-Size Classical Guitar 

If you follow @laneandlauren on Instagram, you probably already know that Lane’s ultimate Christmas gift this year is an acoustic guitar.  A real guitar, not a toy one.  In fact, she wrote Santa a letter letting him know that all she wants is a guitar – and that she can’t think of anything else she needs (although she later told me she wouldn’t mind getting some clothes from Justice).  She’s really hoping that Santa will be able to find a good quality classical guitar that’s small enough for her to learn on without sacrificing the authenticity of a grown-up instrument.  This one from Yamaha seems to fit the bill perfectly, and the price isn’t extraordinary.

I can’t think of anything I’d rather have for my girl than something that will encourage her love of music.  She’ll be penning hit ballads before we know it.  #moveoverTaylorSwift

Glitter Ballet Flats | Gap


My little fashionista was NOT happy to have recently outgrown a bunch of pairs of her favorite shoes.  Lauren loves sparkle, so I’m sure she will be thrilled if she finds these adorable glittery gold ballet flats under the tree.  I may need to shoot Santa a text to let him know that they’re only $19 right now at the Gap!

Highlights Magazine

What kid doesn’t love mail?!  Highlights magazine, which now offers different publications created for different age groups, will be the gift that keeps on giving.  Full of age-appropriate, interesting, and engaging articles and activities, I know that both Lane and Lauren will be pumped to check out their very own Highlights magazine each month to discover articles and activities from a variety of topics – from science to cooking.

The Nutcracker

I’m huge on creating memorable experiences rather than giving toy after toy, and I’m hoping Santa feels the same!  Lane and Lauren are both dancers, and adore live theatre and performances, so I know they won’t be disappointed if Santa decides to leave a few tickets to the Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker in their stockings.  This ballet is gorgeous, timeless, and with the beautiful sets, colorful costumes, and magical snowfall, entertaining to even the youngest of ballerinas.  It’s fun to turn something like this into a special day, complete with fancy lunch and of course, fancy and festive attire.  This year’s Nutcracker runs through December 30.

Image result for boston ballet nutcracker

Project Mc2 Camryn’s Remote Control Hoverboard with Doll

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without at least a few toys!  Lane has been asking for a remote-control something forever, so I’m thinking that this Project Mc2 doll with remote control hover board might be right up her alley.  I love Project Mc2 toys because they combine imaginative play with STEAM concepts, exposing kids to science, technology, math, art, and engineering while having they are busy having fun.

There is another doll that I think Santa may leave for Lauren from this same collection that comes with a nail polish experiment.  Combining beauty and science?  I know Lauren will give that a huge thumbs up!

I know this gift guide is a little late, but I hope it inspires some of you hectic, last-minute Mamas this holiday!  You can also look back at our last year’s gift guide for other great ideas.  Happy Holidays!

Kindergarten · Lane · Parenthood · Summer

Goodbye kindergarten; hello summer! ☀️

Lane is fresh outta kindergarten, and as I reflect on the school year, I’m absolutely blown away by her growth in so many ways. She’s blossomed in ten short months, from outward things like her appearance – no more baby face 😢 – to inward things like confidence, integrity, and pride.

Kindergarten brought with it many things I hadn’t been prepared for. Lane is my first, and while she did two years of pre-school, it was only 3 half-days a week. I hadn’t fully processed the idea that she’d be immersed in a classroom environment day in and day out. That she would meet and make relationships with people I didn’t know. That she’d see, hear, and experience things that don’t quite align with the way we do things at home.

It was only a few weeks in that she came home after school one day, looked at me with her huge, innocent brown eyes and declared, “Mama. Joey said THIS *boldly holds up middle finger* is a bad word.” She must have misinterpreted the reason for my expression of disbelief, because she continued, “I KNOW! I told him that was the silliest thing I ever heard because THIS *finger again* isn’t even a word!”

Then, maybe a month later, she approached me with another doozy. With a genuinely confused, almost sad expression, she asked me, “Mama? Is it bad to be skinny?” My heart sank as she shared with me that another little girl had been staring at her and then commented that Lane was “so skinny.” We talked about how that remark made her feel, and I couldn’t believe we were already discussing body image. I asked Lane how she responded to the girl, and was surprised and proud when she told me she answered, “I’m not skinny. I’m fit.”  For the record, we don’t use words like “skinny,” “fat,” or even discuss other people’s (or our own!) body shapes in our house – in fact, Lane actually asked me what “fat” meant last summer at age 5.

Thrown into the mix, of course, were typical reports of kindergarten spats, bumps, bruises, and hurt feelings, coupled with my own heartbreak of not being able to fix everything for her. But overwhelmingly more frequent than all the drama were Lane’s stories of the fun she had each day, her amusing observations about the people and situations she encountered, how she adored her teacher, books she read, and fun games she played in her favorite subject, gym.

I loved hearing the knock-knock jokes her friends would tell her (well, the first time anyway), and watching her teach Lauren all the things she picked up, like how to dab and do the floss dance. 😂 But mostly, I’ve loved watching her evolve. She’s got her own, confident, IDGAF-what-you-think little style (oversized glasses with the lenses popped out and Jordans are her jam), and is very proud of her ability to read second grade books. She doesn’t follow the crowd, writes in a diary that she keeps locked (I honestly don’t know where the key is), and while she’s been craving alone time more and more, she still loves a good snuggle at bedtime.

She is pumped to become a first grader, but first, we’ve got a summer of memories to make. And we plan to enjoy every moment.