I’ve teamed up with my friends at Zappos.com to share the shoes that will make your child feel like a superhero.
Today, my oldest turned 5! There is something about the number 5 that just seems so old, doesn’t it? I know it’s so cliche, but it honestly feels like I gave birth, blinked and here we are, celebrating his 5 years on this planet. He really is such an amazing boy, teaches me so much about life, and makes me want to be a better person every single day. He is the kindest and most caring and empathetic boy in the entire world and truly has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met. I feel so proud and honored that he is a part of our family.
Since we are moving in less than a month (more on that later!), we ended up doing a small birthday party with family and a few close friends over the weekend and then celebrated with just us all day today ending the day at Corvette Diner (a place that leaves my ears ringing for hours afterwards, but makes dinnertime so much fun for the little ones).
For his birthday this year, all Holden wanted was a Batman outfit. I have never introduced him to any of the super heroes and since we don’t even own a TV, I’m not quite sure how he even discovered Batman – but he suddenly seems to be into ALL of the real boy stuff and well, Batman is at the top of his list right now.
I almost always shy away from dressing my boys in character t-shirts, shorts, and shoes, but I do think that every kid needs a costume or two in his closet for impromptu dress-up. I found a Batman costume at Costco and then when I saw these Stride Rite Leepz, I knew they would be the perfect way to complete Holden’s Batman ensemble.
We ordered them from Zappos and they arrived the very next day (at no additional cost!), which was amazing since Holden asked me every five minutes after I ordered them when they were going to arrive ha! I was a little nervous about ordering online and not getting the correct size, but you really can’t beat their 365 day return policy. Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry because they fit and haven’t left Holden’s feet since they showed up on our doorstep.
Holden has wanted light up shoes for the longest time and I’ve always convinced him out of them because I didn’t consider them “cool” or “in style” and when he was younger, he didn’t have the strongest opinions about what he wanted to wear, so it really wasn’t a big deal. But I have gotten to the point now that he’s older that all that matters to me is that he is confident and feels “cool” in what he wears (not what I think)…and you guys, you can tell that he feels like he is the coolest kid on the planet when he is walking around in these shoes. And you know what, I really love them too!
The Stride Rite Leepz light-up this neon green on the sides every time he walks or jumps or runs and people stop him everywhere we go to comment on them. I’m pretty sure (if you can’t tell from the photos ^^^) that Holden thinks that these shoes give him real-life super hero powers. At night, they look pretty incredible when he’s running around in the dark and all you see is a flash of green light. They aren’t gimmecky or cheesy, but are a really well-made shoe that will last until he grows out of them (despite the fact that he will probably wear them every single day until he can no longer fit his feet into them). So if you’re boy needs a pair of Batman shoes, or just a really cool pair of light-up shoes that you will both love, then these are the ones you need.
At 6 weeks old, Holden began having severe breath holding spells. A handful of these resulted in prolonged seizures because he held his breath too long and after that first time, I worried he would have a seizure with every single spell.
With breath holding spells, there is no real diagnosis. You basically rule out everything else with cardiology and neurology and then say if it’s not this or that, it must be breath holding. In the back of my mind, I always worried it was something more serious. Of course I spent so much time researching that I found some scary stuff when googling and some of those stories that I read I just couldn’t ever get out of my head. There are no experts on breath holding spells and most pediatricians aren’t particularly educated on them because children out grow them between 4 and 6 years of age and there are no true or prolonged real health risks. I found it hard to find and trust a pediatrician because I always felt like I knew so much more about what was going on with Holden than the Doctors themselves did.
Sometimes when I told people that he held his breath, they would laugh and say nonchalantly, oh ya I know so-and-so who did that and it was so funny because every time he/she would get upset, she would throw a temper tantrum and turn blue. This was not the same as Holden’s spells. His were severe. He would turn blue, his eyes widen in fear like a person drowning but in mid-air as he desperately gasped, he would claw and scratch my face as he tried to take a breath until his body would collapse and he would pass out. We would shake him and say Holden, wake up! and after a few seconds he would regain consciousness and then begin crying again.
I didn’t ever leave him, I put him to sleep every single night, I didn’t take my eyes off of him no matter where we were, I had to avoid anyone that has even the slightest cold (getting sick made his spells 100x worse), and it was that way until he outgrew them at 4 years old. If I left him, all I did was worry about him so I could never enjoy anything when I was apart with him. It was terrifying and overwhelming when we were going through it. It dictated my life.
And yet, although a very traumatic experience, it shaped and molded who I am as a mother. My child turned blue and stopped breathing ten times or more a day for four years and every time I would wonder if he would take that breath again. This has made me grateful for every single breath and every single moment I have with him (and Gray). It has given me patience during the tough times because instead of getting upset over the fact that he was crying in the middle of the night, I would think to myself, at least he is crying, and remind myself how grateful I was to have the ability to hold him while he was crying. It doesn’t matter what the experience is, I just feel happy that I get to be able to experience every little thing with my children, even the tears, the late nights and the early mornings. I definitely look at life differently because of it.
And it changed the way we parented, choosing to do things that worked for us and our family even if they were outside the norm. I opted for extended breastfeeding and we co-slept with Holden until he decided he wanted to sleep in his big boy bed, amongst a lot of other parenting choices that I might not have considered if it hadn’t been for our experience with breath holding.
We all have different experiences and backgrounds that make us who we are as mothers, determine the decisions we make, and change the way we see the world, but just because they are different from one mother to the next doesn’t mean they are wrong. You won’t hear me complaining about a rough day or that motherhood is difficult because my experience raising Holden has forced me to be overwhelming grateful for it all…every single piece of it. And that’s just me and my experience. Breastfed/bottle fed, co-sleep/crib, rock to sleep/cry it out, stay-at-home/working, etc.
We may all do things differently but we are all just trying to raise these tiny humans to be happy and healthy the best way we know how and we should celebrate motherhood no matter what it looks like.
Living by the beach, we live in beach attire and swimwear year-round. Living in Southern California, we are really lucky that the temperature is pretty temperate throughout the entire year (I don’t know if my kids will ever understand seasons ha!) and we are able to enjoy the sand, surf, and sea almost every single day of the year. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that I am constantly looking for new swimwear for the boys as they grow, that is not only cute and unique, but also protects their skin against the sun’s harsh rays.
Well Cotton On Kids just released their new swim collection for children and it is to die for!! They have board shorts, rash guards, sandals, and more, for your little ones and each piece is just so cute and unique.
It’s your lucky day because I’m partnering with the Cotton On Kids USA team to giveaway $100 store credit to Cotton On Kids Stores to one lucky winner!
Head over to Cotton On Kids, browse for a bit and then comment back which item you would choose if you won!!
The boys and I were asked by our friends Cassidy and Riley to share some Mom + Me Halloween costume ideas in collaboration with Pottery Barn Kids because really is there anything cuter than a coordinating family costume concept for Halloween?
I mean, as parents we obviously can’t participate in the trick-or-treating, so why not be one of the fun parents and dress up with your little one. After four years of coordinating costumes (super heroes, pumpkins, Curious George characters, Mickey Mouse and friends), I would consider us to be almost pros at family-coordinating Halloween costumes by now, but I think this year might just take the cake since it’s not only a kid concept, but something adults can totally get as well.
Mother of Dragons and Dragon Entourage…
So in all honesty, when Cassidy told me what she wanted me to be, my first thought was “oh cute” a mom and baby dragons. My mind did not immediately go to the Emmy-winning television show Game of Thrones (gasp! I know…let’s blame it on the sleepless nights or mommy brain or something like that). And then, I realized that I was Khaleesi with my own little entourage of dragons and I decided it was the coolest “mommy” costume for the moment because it’s relevant for the adults, but a concept kids love as well for an entirely different reason.
If you can’t tell from the images, Holden LOVES his dragon costume. Since this photoshoot Holden has basically lived in it, wearing it the grocery store, the playground, museums…everywhere….despite the heat wave we have been experiencing in Southern California. He even won a costume contest with it! And it’s not even Halloween yet.
For some time, I have been wanting to share more products with you that I love that are either working for me as a mama to two boys or have worked for both of my boys because I find that some of the best information I have received is from other mothers with experience. So this is the start to our series, Bel & Beau Loves where I share some of my favorite mama, kid, and baby items that I think you should know about.
When your first child is almost four, it is easy to forget just how much stuff you have to carry with you at all times when you have a newborn baby. Before Grayson arrived, I was used to carrying around a million toy cars, animal figurines, a pencil case full of crayons and colored pencils, a notepad or activity book, sunscreen, and enough snacks for Holden to survive on for at least a couple of days (because if there is anything I have learned about toddlers, it is that constant snacking keeps them happy). Now my purse was pretty jam-packed on a daily basis with Holden’s necessities, but when Gray started joining us on our everyday outings, my bag was overflowing and I felt like I looked like a mess of a mama when lugging a bag that had baby and kid items constantly falling out the sides. And let’s not even begin to ask what happened when I actually needed to find something (just imagine an embarrassed mother dumping the entire contents of her bag out onto the shop floor while trying to find her wallet to pay for something).
When Petunia Pickle Bottom reached out to me and asked if I would like to try out one of their Downtown Totes, I desperately said yes in hopes of finding a solution to my problem…and I did! The Downtown Tote fits everything I need for both my boys and myself without looking and feeling like I’m lugging a suitcase around with me. It has plenty of pockets on the inside as well as one zippered pouch on the outside (for things you need easy access to like wallet, phone, pacifiers) so that you don’t have to spend ten minutes searching inside what seems like a black hole. It also has a zippered closure on the top so that (even if you aren’t) you appear organized to the outside world. The tote comes in a variety of fun colors and designs because of of course as mothers we all want something stylish on our arms that doesn’t necessarily look like a diaper bag. And my other favorite thing about this diaper bag is that the outside fabric is waterproof. We spend most of our days at the beach or at the pool, and so this bag of mine has already spent ample time in the sand or sitting in a puddle of water poolside and it still looks brand new.
I have honestly used this bag everyday since I got it and I don’t have enough good things to say about it. So if you are looking for a solution for your diaper bag problems, look no further than the Downtown Tote.