Six Steps to Savor Summer

Posted on July 29, 2016 by

“Hallelujah!”

Around 3 am last night, I was awoken by someone screaming for joy.

“What is going on?!” I said to the Corn King.

“Listen!” he urged as he pointed to the window.

I was so confused, still half asleep. But then I heard the thunder, and large rain drops hitting our roof.

I understood.

“Hallelujah, honey.” I said, as I went back to sleep.

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This is what summer is like, being married to the Corn King. If you didn’t know, we’re in a drought here on the East Coast—the crops are very thirsty, and it takes a lot of water to maintain 500+ acres. Our team is trying to find enough water to sustain the demand. We usually irrigate from the local ponds and creeks, but they’re drying up. It’s really stressful for farmers, on top of the usual 14-hour days.

So how do we get relief?

Well, how does anyone ease the stress of uncontrollable matters? Afterall, we can’t dictate mother nature.

We remember that our life is a privilege. So much is uncertain, as negative news blasts us each day. We take what we’re given, and enjoy the warmth without letting the hardships of work get in the way.

Most importantly, we hug our children tight, and realize, only this matters.

Summer months are busy for everyone, and stressful for some. But you only get one of these seasons each year. My kids do best when they are outside, running free. And they’re able to savor the summer in this season’s breathable, light pieces. A1 is going through the phase where she wants to wear the same outfit everyday. :) We’re happy to report, the grey and white nano dress holds up really well, sustaining ice cream stains, and in our case, dirt.

This is the time of year my family lives for. Here’s what we are doing to channel our inner sun god/goddess:

  1. Swim

What better way to cool off, than jumping in the pool? This year, A1 started taking swim lessons and I’m so proud of her.

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We’re also having fun lounging poolside.

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  1.     Take a road trip

The kids and I like taking long weekends to visit my parents. There’s no better time to take a mini road trip than when the sun’s shining.

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When we get there, it’s like a mini vacation for them—exploring all the local kid attractions that we don’t have at home.

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  1.     Support your local farms

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There’s something magical when you can see where your food comes from. This is an important lesson I want to show my kids, as I never had the opportunity to learn about the process of how food got to my table.

Visit a local farm, participate in a you-pick, join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture share program), or even plant your own garden. Teaching children the roots that feed us gives them a foundation for life, and a healthy relationship with food.

This month, A2 is helping harvest our personal garden…
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….while watching his hero, the Corn King work on the “bigger garden.”

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This light and fun Andy & Evan shirt is a cool summer piece that can be dressed up or down. The glasses are the perfect touch for A2 to “inspect” his Dada’s pepper plants.

  1.     Make a camp fire

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What’s a summer night without a bonfire? We love sitting outside watching the sun set along the fields. It’s so relaxing for me to get lost watching the fire, while hearing my kiddos giggle over roasted marshmallows. This Deux par Deux shirt is getting it’s last squeeze of summer. I love the coloring on the collar and shoulder details, giving an edge to a white polo.

  1.     Slide!

Don’t underestimate the power of a playground. Our community has so many fun structures for kids. There’s nothing quite like the smile on my children’s faces when they are coming down that slide.

Here’s A1 sliding down in her tutu and Nano dress!

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  1.     Walk

Whether you’re in the city, a neighborhood, or out in the country, walks are the best way to connect with your kids. Take advantage of the sunshine, and enjoy your surroundings, while getting some exercise. My babes love our walks, especially when they get to run along the farm roads.

Here’s the Nano dress again. I love that it’s suitable for playtime while still looking stylish.

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Enjoy the last month of summer, you sun babes. And when it rains, don’t fret. Because somewhere on the East Coast, there’s a farmer celebrating with a rain dance.

Don’t sweat the small stuff, mamas. Remember, only this matters.

Hallelujah.

 

What are your six steps to savoring summer? We’d love to hear from you, and see how we’ve styled your kids this season. Share with us at info@runchkins.com


Family Photos

Posted on June 10, 2016 by

I’m a millennial, and I love photos.

Zula Sonner Photography

My friend in Los Angeles is surrounded by “model-moms” (as she calls them)—because they really are models! We are perplexed by their photos of 8-week post baby, concave bellies. And wow, they look good.

Then there are those of us “non-model-moms:” Mere mortals who’s bodies have transformed, self-conscious about the bags under our eyes, and can’t find the time to keep up with our split ends. These types of feelings, according to writer and mother, Allison Tate, are very relatable to many women, and described in her Huffington Post piece, “The Mom Stays in the Picture.” A lot of mommy’s are absent in the photo because they don’t want evidence of their “mom-bods” or over-tired faces.

I can relate, as my girlfriend and I joke about our “melted candle” figures, and how no amount of make-up can make up for lost nights of sleep.

Others, like my own mom and mother-in-law, may not have the same lamenting feelings; however, they missed opportunities to be included in photos because they were always the one behind the camera.

I can also relate, as it is second nature for me to grab my phone and paparazzi my kids. After all, I am a millennial, and documenting our lives is what we do best.

But no matter if you’re a millennial, a mom, or a millennial-mom, there’s that constant desire to capture life’s moments that pass ever so quickly. And it’s time that you, Mama, get in that photo too. Just like model-mom.

So listen to Tate, who writes: “Our sons need to see how young and beautiful and human their mamas were. Our daughters need to see us vulnerable and open and just being ourselves — women, mamas, people living lives…”

…Which is why I find myself booking annual sessions with our photographer.

Zula is someone I look up to as a business owner, friend, mother, and of course, a talented woman who photographs my children in their most natural state.

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This is a true gift, because sometimes my kids are…strong-willed:

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So let’s get real about family photos. They are an awesome commemorative piece, but the road to getting the end product can be challenging if you kids are less than compromising. After multiple sessions with Zula, the Corn King and I have a few tricks up our sleeves:

  1. Choose one or two pieces as your muse.
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Dress by Penny Candy.

Think of these as the “star” of your photo, and coordinate everyone else’s outfits in softer, complimentary tones. I absolutely love the outfits provided by Runchkins. The Penny Candy Pinkies Up dress was my inspiration, as the waterfall of flowers added the perfect dimension for our photos in the Japanese gardens. I love the satin bow on the back, giving it a special touch, when she twirled like a princess.

A2’s Deux Par Deux shirt had just enough detail to dress up his outfit, complementing the beautiful dress, while also standing out on it’s own.

 

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Shirt by Deux Par Deux.

 

2. Get ready early.

Adults should get ready first. But leave your outfits to be put on last. Corn King likes to put on a t-shirt and bring his actual top to the photo shoot (putting it on at the very last minute). This is a great idea for mom’s and dad’s, as it decreases the chances of stains from children spitting up on you, throwing snacks at you, or having to chase them on farm (dirt) roads. Sigh.

Getting ready for pictures

Finally, get the kids dressed after the adults are all set. Sometimes, this means doing finishing touches in your trunk right before you meet your photographer. (Bibs are also a great idea to put on kids before the shoot, to decrease chances of stains, and of course, drool).

3. Everything is a reward.

We have many non-traditional photographs with A1:
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Getting them to smile can be difficult. And if you’re dealing with multiple kids, one may decide to crack a smile, while the other decides he/she doesn’t want to. So bring a few pieces of candy, or one of their favorite toys. It’s a great reward for cooperating. For us, the “reward” usually ends up in the photo, but these non-traditional photos become amazing memories that end up framed at my house.

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A1 dropping flowers–her reward–in the field. A candid moment that is now framed.


4. Let it go.

I put in a lot of effort, so I often find myself getting worked up when A2 stains his white shirt with my makeup brush, or when A1 sticks out her tongue instead of smiling.

But don’t sweat the small stuff. At the end of the day, those candid pictures where everyone is REAL, end up being my favorites. And for those stains, that’s what photoshop is for 😉 All the more reason why my final tip is so important.

5. Trust your photographer.

Hire someone who has experience photographing children and families, and let them guide you. Zula often tells us to just let the kids go. Sometimes that means A2 is running away, or A1 is the only one not looking at the camera. But a good photographer can grab these moments and make the memory come to life.
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Now, Moms, go get in that picture! And let Runchkins get your childrens’ outfits squared way so you can have a little more time prepping for yourself. It’s one less worry for you.

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The kids are trying to escape, but Zula was able to capture this moment and make it fun memory.

 

If you like what you see…

Sign Up for Your Box

*And don’t forget to participate in our give-away: A Penny Candy Peach Colored Up Dress or the Deux Par Deux Polo. If Runchkins doesn’t have your child’s size, you’ll receive a store credit for the same amount. Here’s what to do:

  1. Like Runchkins on Facebook
  2. Share this post & Comment with a picture from your family photo shoot.
  3. Created a style profile on Runchkins.

 


Be Present

Posted on May 6, 2016 by

Be Present AlarmTime magazine reports that the average person looks at their phone 46 times a day. According to Digital Trends, that’s equivalent to a third of your day on your phone, or 4.7 hours.*

That’s a lot, and it’s hard to believe.

Whether you’re a stay-at-home or working parent, you are busy. And let’s be honest, you’re working either way. I’ve been in both positions and neither is easy—the to-do lists are endless, and keeping up with schedules, grocery lists, and laundry requires a lot of strategic thinking. You’re the CFO, COO and probably the CEO of the household, along with your job or other responsibilities.

I know you mama’s get me: I toggle between work, family, and “me time.” (The latter was not possible until recently). My mind doesn’t rest because I’m always thinking, “what’s next?”

It’s difficult to be “here and now.”

So in January, I vowed to be more present. Each day an alarm goes off in my phone (add another 10 seconds to the total time spent on my phone).

It’s a message to remind myself to keep work at work, and not let any mama-drama get in the way of what’s most important: these guys.

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In yoga, they ask us to stay rooted in the now, and at the end of class, we let go of anything that’s keeping us from being our highest and very best self. Also known as Shavasana, laying on our mats gives us a chance to relax. Even the deepest muscles can let go, if only for a few minutes. The thought seems simple, but quieting the mind is more challenging than any pose. I continue, trying to root myself in the present, and take that into my every day practice—of being a parent.

Here’s what helps me:

1. Ditch the phone, iPad, and laptop.

image-5Don’t look at it unless it’s absolutely necessary. The texts can wait, your emails should not be life or death, and your social media will always be there.

I know it’s not always possible, depending on your job and responsibilities, but the Corn King and I make an effort to stay “unplugged” certain times of the day.

image copyI have to relay this message to A1 & A2 as well, who are addicted to YouTube Kids.

A few months ago we implemented a no phone or iPad rule at the dinner island. Instead, we use that time to talk about our “favorite part of the day.” Before you roll your eyes, let me paint a real picture: We’re busy, so we don’t always eat together. And when we do, our “family dinner” usually lasts about 15 minutes- maybe 20-before one of the A’s want to jump ship. We’re working on it 😉

2. Stop feeling guilty.

I struggle with this one. The mom guilt never ends and the second guessing is a voice that haunts me. Austin’s Mom Blog did a great job describing this, and I know we all go through it. But guess what, YOU’RE DOING GREAT, MAMA (and Dad’s too)! Trust your gut, because you know what’s best for your child, and yourself.

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3. Rely on your partner.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a partner, let them help you.

Sheryl Sandberg speaks to working mama’s in Lean In (read it, if you haven’t), when she asks women to stop being “maternal gatekeepers” and insist: 1) their partners do more parenting and housework, and 2) we stop trying to control the way it’s done.

More importantly, she addresses that myth of “doing it all.” Every relationship is different, but I believe that parenting takes a village.

Let me be transparent: I wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the support of our nanny (a woman who loves our children as her own), Grandma (who spends time with them on Thursdays), and the Corn King:

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I so appreciate his commitment to fatherhood, and his understanding of partnership in raising our kids, and keeping this house moving.

 

4. Let yourself be helped.

After you stop trying to do it all, and get over the mom guilt, allow yourself some perks. My friend, who I equate to super-mom, was debating on letting the teenage boys next door help with some yard work. “Is it lazy of me?” she wondered.

NO, hire them! It’s saving time that can be used to be present with your kids, or yourself.

Services like Runchkins helps me gain back time by providing perfectly paired outfits for my kids. They make sure the A’s are always comfortable, and in style.

This month, A2 wore this awesome deux par deux shirt multiple times:

Blowing bubbles at his friend’s house.

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At Auntie Beth’s birthday brunch, paired with a denim vest.

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And of course, looking fly on the farm 😉

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So give yourself a break, and treat your kids, and yourself.

 

For the record, I downloaded the Moments app to keep track of my daily phone usage. On an average Sunday last month, I picked up my phone 42 times, and spent over 3 hours on it!

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So, I’m going to sign off now…and be present.

 

 

 

 

 

*Time, 2015, http://time.com/4147614/smartphone-usage-us-2015/

and Digital Trends, 2015, http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/informate-report-social-media-smartphone-use/


Your Guide to Packing for Kids (In Style).

Posted on March 25, 2016 by

Hand-picked clothes make the packing process easier.

The struggle is real.

Taiwan with SophiePacking for kids is a time-consuming, perplexing activity. I get it.

My kids have been flying across the country since they were in the womb. When A1 was 10 months old, I was pregnant with A2, and we flew 13 hours to Taiwan—with Sophie the Giraffe.


Introduction

Posted on March 25, 2016 by

Hi, I’m Cat.

Cat on a swing

Welcome to Runchkins! My name is Cat, and I’m so excited to share my experiences with this community. I’m a digital content specialist and writer who’s lived everywhere. But today, I reside on a produce farm in a small town outside Upstate New York.


Moving from Los Angeles to the country was a huge shock. I might’ve cried a few times when my suede pumps got stained with mud.