The Love Well Handmade Fox Bandana Bib

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I pretty much had a baby just so I could name him Fox and dress him in 100% organic cotton Love Well Handmade leggings. But these days just changing his diaper is like trying to change a diaper on a crocodile (he rolls with strength I did not know babies possessed) – so getting him into really cute leggings is nearly impossible. That’s when I pitched a bandana bib to my friends Jonathan and Candice – the masterminds behind Love Well Handmade. The idea is that it would be easy to snap on, catch all the excessive drool that comes with growing teeth, and would give my baby some instant style without a lot of effort. Love Well told me they would create it if I designed it – the only requirement was that I had to use the geometric Love Well Handmade signature heart in the design (challenge accepted!). And of course, the design was inspired by my little Foxy muse. This bandana bib is reversible – check out the fun flip-side here.

You can buy a Love Well Handmade Fox bandana bib for your little cutie too! My portion of the proceeds are going straight to the ASPCA to help save endangered animals worldwide, and another 5% will go toward providing clean water to kids and families in the Jalapa Valley of Nicaragua through the efforts of Second Mile Water.

WANT ONE? 
I’m giving away one of these bandana bibs! All you have to do is:
1. Repost either of the images from this blog post to Instagram and do the following:
2. Hashtag #lovewellstyle
3. Mention @lovewellhandmade and @andkathleen
4. Tag a friend that might like one too (who knows! maybe we’ll send them one too!)

We’ll pick a winner at random on Friday, November 28th.

P.S. This post is NOT sponsored or affiliated in any way. I just love collaborating and creating with my friends.

P.P.S. This bandana bib will be carried locally in Oklahoma City at Collected Thread, Stash in Norman, and Shop Good – they should be in stores by Thanksgiving. Please support handmade and local this holiday season!

What I Want

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I’ve always been good at wanting things.

• Talent • Beauty • Recognition • Fortune • Tradition • Ritual • Muscle • Flexibility • Adventure • Travel • Leisure • Tight Jeans • Boyfriend Jeans • A new car • New teeth • A baby • Some sleep • Dark chocolate • Red wine • The ocean • The mountains • Hot sun • Cool air • Pink skies • A cozy bed • Wicker furniture • Gold jewelry • Platinum hair • Red lips • Vintage rugs • Oversized sweaters • A good show to watch • A good book to read •

The list could go on. But at the end of the day what I really crave is experience – to live the kind of life that makes for good stories – the little details and the magical memories.

And sometimes that story simply boils down to some good food, good conversation, and big love.

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Images by Choate House for Vidya Seasonal Kitchen | Fall – check out more images and the video + Fall recipe here. Claire is really great at making good food and good conversation, and she’s taught me so much about Ayurvedic nutrition and self-care, yogic philosophy, and seasonal alignment. Claire is currently available for one-on-one coaching if you’re interested in learning more about those things too – learn more at Vidya Cleanse.

Is This Hard?

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Last night around 9:15PM Fox was lying in child’s pose on our big king size bed – he was in the middle of a coughing fit and even though he was still half asleep I picked him up. I cradled him and petted his head. I offered him a boob and he threw up a tummy full of snot on the both of us – for the third time this week. I reassured him that everything was okay and changed him out of his pajamas as he hysterically cried – which is typically the only time I get to see how his teeth are coming in. Last night I noticed the top right one just about to break through the surface to join his top left. Growing teeth isn’t a good time.

Five minutes later I’m in the shower – which is where I go to escape these days. Hot water and white noise usually loud enough to tune out my day. But last night it wasn’t enough to drown out the sound of my hysterical baby who refused to be comforted by his dad. As I get out of the shower I’m surprised to find that Fox isn’t in bed, or in Jeremy’s arms, but crawling towards the bathroom crying, with his whole body, something that resembles “mama”. I scoop him up, wearing nothing but a towel, and remind him with a soft “shhhh-shhh” that everything is okay – he seems to believe me.

By 9:45 Fox I’ve coaxed and nursed Fox to sleep, on a towel – just incase, with his arm wrapped around mine. I’m reading Amy Poehler’s new book Yes, Please and Jeremy is laying next to me reading Game of Thrones. But I’m doing that thing where I read the same sentence over and over without comprehension because I’m in my own head. I set down my Kindle to ask Jeremy if the words playing on repeat in my head all day long are true:

Is this hard? Being a parent?

Jeremy sets his phone down and carefully considers the question. “No. It’s not hard.”

“Then what is it?”

“It just… is.”

It just is. Jeremy went on to make me feel better by describing celebrating Christmas thirty years from now. We’ll be living in a house straight from a John Hughes movie – perfect for celebrating the holidays in. Fox will be in town with his really great partner-in-crime and I’ll be sharing stories by the fire, with a mug of coffee (or glass of wine), about how I grew a wildly successful business when he was just a little baby. A little baby who refused to sleep longer than two hours at a time. I got lost in Jeremy’s fantasy as he described it to me – it turns out his daydream is what I needed to escape and tune out the day.

Jeremy is right. It isn’t hard. I mean, sometimes it feels really hard. Like this week – juggling house guests, comforting a sick teething baby who won’t sleep, coordinating doctor’s appointments in between a schedule packed with client meetings, managing a team and deadlines and my own damn drive to write more, work out more, be more … all on very little sleep and with the thought that this is the rest of my life … it’s hard. And it is hard. But sometimes it is bliss. Sometimes it is funny. Sometimes it is sweet. Sometimes it is no big deal and sometimes it is mind blowing. Sometimes it is love bigger than anything I’ve ever known. But I think if I can stop trying to categorize the experience I’m having I can see Jeremy is right – I can see that it just is.

Fall Back

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My shoulders are still sun-kissed from a summer that just kept hanging around a little past its welcome. But Fall is here. Leaves have started turning, a few falling. Fall is here because we had to put an extra blanket on the bed and the heat has started kicking in to warm the house, rather than cool it, to 68º degrees. The sun has started rising a little further to the south and seems to hang a little lower on the horizon which gives the air a golden quality. The fact that I’ve even noticed the position of the sun in the sky makes me feel decidedly adult – oh, and the little baby I’ve not only managed to keep alive but has started clinging to my legs as I put on my makeup in the morning. And with that, I finally get why daylight savings ending is more of a curse than a blessing when you have a baby, because it turns out babies don’t know how to read clocks so they wake up whenever it feels right. So for us that means this morning we were awoken by a squealing baby at 5:19AM rather than 6:19AM. Fall is here – and so we’ll bust out the sweaters, we’ll begin baking apples, and roasting winter squash. Let’s fall back.

Disney World

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Fox and I, just the two of us, were on a bus going from The Port Orleans French Quarter Disney Resort to Epcot, where we would meet up with Jeremy and my 10 year old nephew Charlie who had just spent 45 minutes in line at The Seven Dwarves Mine Train in Magical Kingdom while I was back at the hotel napping with Fox after a full day at Animal Kingdom. (If that sounds like a lot to pack into one sentence it is… and only a glimpse of how much action we were packing into our week at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.) Fox was strapped to me in his Ergo carrier and we were sitting next to a little boy with red hair and a freckled face named Kyle (his Scottish accent made it sound more like “Kah-ell”) – I learned he was eight years old and that this was his 4th time to visit Disney World. I had actually seen Kyle out by the pool earlier that day – dancing with much enthusiasm and without any self-consciousness to The Macarena, The YMCA, and a few other great classics that come with coordinated dance moves. I thought “I need to be more like that kid.” Kyle was sweet – Fox would grab his hand and chew on his fingers – and he let him. Apparently Kyle has a one year old nephew and is used to it. I also learned that Kyle rode the Tower of Terror when he was four years old but just really started riding roller coasters this year.

This freckled little redhead from the other side of the pond had been to Disney World four times in just eight short years. With that, I started counting my own Disney trips:

Summer 1989 – My first time to Walt Disney World. My family made the 20+ hour pilgrimage in our family station wagon without air conditioning. I had just turned seven years old, I wore my hair in an un-ironic side pony, and pretty much cried the whole time because I was hot, tired, and my little flamingo legs just couldn’t seem keep up.

Summer 1991 – My second time to road trip to Disney World with my family. I think most of my formative Disney memories come from this trip. I remember being obsessed with the lizards hanging outside of Thunder Mountain (real! wild! lizards! just out in the open!), riding Space Mountain and becoming hooked on roller coasters, and decompressing in the Carousel of Progress – still very much a favorite. I remember drifting off in my moms arms in the air conditioned Tiki Room while boring-ass animatronic birds serenaded me to slumber. I ate my weight in Churros and rocked a sailor cap with my name embroidered next to Mickey mouse on it.

Summer 2002 – I actually forgot about this Disney trip until writing this. When I was around 20 years old my ex-husband and I drove out to San Diego – he promised it was the coolest place in the world – and LA. All I remember about this trip was getting a burrito at a taco stand, spending hours in a huge record store, and visiting Disneyland. While at Disneyland I was embarrassed because my husband kept cussing around small children and going out of his way to find a designated smoking area every thirty minutes. While I’m sure we had a good time, the rest is pretty much blocked from my memory.

Fall 2008 – I was now divorced from my ex-husband who liked to smoke and cuss around small children in the happiest place on Earth and had been seeing Jeremy for right at a year. We went to Disneyworld with my whole family – including my brother who flew down from NYC with his first burlesque-dancing girlfriend who introduced me to things like raw food, fixed gear bicycles, and the power of Arnica for soothing bruises and sore muscles. We shared a room with them and I remember she lined the air conditioner with no less than 100 bottles of vitamins. We made fun of the dorky couples wearing bride and groom mouse ears and pretended like we were in an almost famous band when the ride operators would ask us who we were. Barack Obama won the election on this trip (we had sent in absentee ballots) and just a couple days later, after asking permission of my parents and them warning him that I was a handful, Jeremy proposed to me under the fireworks at the Magical Kingdom castle. I said yes. My brother and his girlfriend bought us bride and groom mouse ears that we wound up wearing the rest of the trip.

On this trip I reminisced over the lizards outside Thunder Mountain. I saw Mickey and his friends. I enjoyed the irony in the Carousel of Progress now that we had surpassed the “future” of interactive kitchens and virtual reality. But I also saw the crowds. Fighting families and crying children. The endless sea of strollers left me questioning why anyone would bring a child who couldn’t even walk, let alone create concrete memories, to Disney World. I could see the bolts holding the rides together. In some ways it felt as if the magic had turned into a machine.

Fall 2014 – Just six years later we’re back at Disney World with my whole family and this time with my nine month old baby. I explain to my friends who think I’m going to Disney World for Fox’s sake that he’s just along for the ride – and that really, most rides he’ll be hanging out with my 68 year old dad under a shady tree near the gift shop. But I was surprised at how many rides Fox could go on – and over the course of the week I realized how many memories, even if it’s on a cellular level, Fox was making.

THE HIGHLIGHTS:
• My dad wears coveralls, which are trendy amongst old men who like to fish in East Texas, but leave him feeling like an outcast at places like Disney World. So I convinced my whole family to surprise my dad by wearing red coveralls (I’ll post this photo to my Instagram just as soon as I find my phone – which I’m always misplacing).
• It turns out the singing birds in the Tiki Room aren’t actually that boring. Holding my sleepy baby in The Tiki Room was one of my favorite moments.
• Riding Expedition Everest five times in a row with Jeremy
• The very best moment happened as we were leaving Animal Kingdom and we spotted Thumper and his lady friend doing a meet and greet. There was no line and it was clear they were wrapping up – we almost didn’t stop but decided Fox might like it. Well, it turned into a bit of a bunny, bunny, Fox three-way and probably the best moment of Fox’s life so far.
• Watching a mini-film about Walt Disney with my dad and Fox. As a creative entrepreneur it inspired me to create something that will evolve and grow even after I’m gone.

So there were crowds and seas of strollers, yes. And it was hot. And we pretty much lived on jalapeno cheese pretzels – which in theory sounds awesome but in practicality left me feeling more and more sluggish by the day. I could see fighting families and lethargic “cast members” as Disney likes to call its staff. I could see the machine but more than ever I could see the magic.