Thinking, Playing, Reading

Oranges and lemons
One of my favorite places to shop for my little ones was always Gymboree-good sales, good quality, nice bright colorful cute clothes.  I walked in the other day to the "new" Gymboree and walked out with a bee in my bonnet.  Gone are the matching coordinating bright age-appropriate outfits, and in is the edgy city-living teenager-ish sharp look-for children.  Gosh darn it all, maybe I'm just old-fashioned.  And maybe it was just the store near me, and online might be better, and I say I will send an email, but I know I never will.  Bring back the sweetness!!!

Mom's version:

If you are a Prime member, there is a deal for a bunch of magazines---4 months for .99 cents.  You have to remember, once ordered (give it 24 hours) to go into your Subscription tab and undo the auto-renewal.  I ordered Better Homes, Coastal Living, Taste of Home, and Country Living, just so I get a little surprise in my mailbox for the next four months.

I've been catching up on yard work-I have years to make up for, and it's been fun to do it without juggling child care at the same time-as much as the weather allows, I am working on a section at a time.

I don't want to think about using this for leaves yet, but I bought this leaf blower for Father's Day really for me, and I love it.  We have awful awful luck with outdoor gas powered tools (and they are smelly!), so I bought an electric one.  It is super super powerful-if you don't believe me read the comments.  I've used it on my porch and patio and in my garage and I've been tempted to use it on my kitchen floor on occasion. :)

I was copying my older kids when I bought this card holder for my phone-seems like I have had diapers, pacifiers, Cheerios, books, toy cars, etc in my purse forever-never thought I'd get to this point!  It comes in lots of fun colors.


I can't resist anything vintage and these big board books are beautifully illustrated in an old-fashioned simple way, with classic stories.  (Janey and I love The Three Bears.)

A warning about the really strong language in the book but it was well written and a very eye-opening intimate honest story of what it looks like to grow up in extremely tough drug-ridden circumstances in the inner city.  Heartbreaking but she is a resilient, smart and resourceful woman who somehow, against all odds, makes her life better and manages to pull others up with her.  I'll never forget this book.  


  1. It's Bern awhile since I went to Gymboree and I felt the same as you - no more sweet floral prints or the cute boys clothes with bulldozers and such. Even Carter's had some obnoxious colors when I last bought gifts there. Sigh.

    I tried Rabbit but I stopped - I realize she was doing the best for her kids but I had a hard time getting past the drug dealing. I realize there were circumstances that drove her to that path but I just couldn't push through it but wondering if I should try again if it improves. I am reading What Made Maddy Run and it is breaking my heart in pieces.

    1. What Made Maddy Run is an absolute heartbreaker. I thought she clearly cried out to those around her but for some reason her voice wasn't heard.
      (Kathy Tonagel)

  2. It's BEEN awhile not Bern!! Oh and I forgot to mention I was on vacation with the kids a few weeks ago and we were looking for the classic Monopoly game with no luck but I came across Colorforms - the same ones I had as a kid! Good old fashioned fun...

  3. I was at a darling toy shop in the mountains and they had a display of those Laughing Elephant books. I had to be pried away by my husband. I want them all! I think I will be giving them as gifts come Christmas for my niece and nephew.

  4. I would suggest trying Lands End. They still have floral dresses, Mary Janes, and knee socks. I was also lucky to find some very cute vintage Polly Flinders dresses (with the signature smocking on top) at a local thrift shop. But I know what you mean about the girls' styles they're selling at most stores.

  5. We must have the exact same reading taste - I've read at least 4 books you've recommended and loved them all! Just finished Educated, and it blew me away.

  6. Thanks for these book recommendations. Would love to have a list of all of them! I love non-fiction also. Have been moved by so many.

  7. I share your love of Gymboree and it was a very sad day when my daughter outgrew that store. Just some insight that Gymboree (or their parent company?) just went through a massive overhaul and downsizing like most retail stores are facing these days. They shut down about 90% of the retail stores and "reorganized" their business model. Sadly, this must be a product of that. I will miss going there and picking out holiday outfits for my kids so much, that time has passed.

  8. Matilda Jane? Mom of boys here but those clothes are so cute on little girls.

  9. I just finished Rabbit, and it was hard to think how many people’s lives were destroyed by the drugs....I thought this was so sad and almost unbelievable because where I grew up , such things were never heard of. No one is teaching these children right from wrong. :( It starts with the family, and there’s a huge family crisis in the families in the inner cities.

    I also read What Made Maddy Run, and I’m very disturbed by it- having just dropped off two children at college a couple weeks ago. So disheartening, but also very eye opening, especially regarding what to look for regarding depression.

  10. I feel the same way about Gymboree! They use to have such cute clothes for my daughters, but their new trendy styles are just awful. I use to love the cute girly girl styles! Check out Oshkosh'b'Gosh-they still have really cute nice girls clothing-now up to size 14.

  11. (this is from Kathy Tonagel)
    I have read many of your recommended books and have loved them! Keep the suggestions coming. I just finished Rabbit; as you said, the language is a little hard to listen to but the story is amazing and I'm glad I read it. Along the same lines, I would recommend Walk to Beautiful by country singer Jimmy Wayne. He too has an amazing story of growing up in chaos, violence, homelessness but through the love of a few people in his life, has a redemption story. He supports foster children now. Hope you can read it! And PS, I listened to his songs when I was done with the book and they tell his childhood story in a beautiful way.