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Keeping it simple: Happy Birthday, Buster!


Having a baby is the best. I like it so much that I can’t believe everyone doesn’t have a billion babies. They’re so great!

But babies come with a lot of stuff. Piles of stuff from loving friends and family and even acquaintances who have huge hearts and want to help you celebrate the fact that you grew a life within your body like a god (seriously, ladies, WE ARE INCREDIBLE).

The stuff piles up quickly, and the next thing you know, you’ve got piles of outgrown onesies on your kitchen counter and your previously minimalist living room is littered with baby toys just big enough to trip over. And given that my son’s favorite Christmas present was quite literally an empty box (thanks, Home Depot!), it’s more stuff than you probably need.

There’s no better parent than someone who doesn’t yet have children. It’s easy to say how you’ll parent before you have kids, but nearly a year in, I know I was right about one of my pre-baby notions: less is more.

We’ve moved three times in the past three years, which has given us plenty of opportunities to pare down our belongings, and that means our son’s belongings, too. He doesn’t need a room filled with toys as much as he needs our time and attention (and an empty box. Can’t live without that empty box).

My sister in law refers to her kids’ need for stuff as their “wanter,” an urge that can be controlled with a little perspective. Our culture teaches kids to want, want, want all kinds of things, but as a family, we want to focus on a life that’s filled more with experiences than objects.

In just a few weeks, our human is going to be a year old! And to celebrate, we’ll eat cake and he’ll eat a banana and we’ll take a page from Bleubird with his gifts:

Something he wants: A BOB rain cover for the stroller, so he can come on more runs with Mother and Father. Is this more of something I want? Yes. I’m not perfect, people.

Something he needs: Earth’s Best formula. Hey, meeting his essential needs is truly a gift.

Something to wear: New jammer jams. Because when you sleep like 50% of your life, you better be looking fly.

Something to read: A book of simple Chinese phrases because I am insane and clearly, a kid who has yet to master even one word of English will love a book of Chinese!

For friends and family who want to celebrate that Buster was born, we’re asking just for handwritten cards. I’m a digital lady, but I’ve kept nearly every piece of correspondence I’ve received in my life. I want our guy to have a worn out box of cards and letters  that he can go through in 30 years, because nothing in this world can beat the gift of love.



The Post-Holiday Piles: How to Move Things Out as More Stuff Comes In


Photo Credit: Nora McInerny

The holidays are over, presents are unwrapped and our kids’ closets and toy boxes are fuller than ever. If your home is anything like mine, you’ve run out room and the kidstuff is overflowing into the living room, dining room, and other places you’ve tried to keep more presentable (you know, the few rooms in the house that you actually allow guests into). I even have bins of clothes that my son’s outgrown in my bedroom. Ugh. Not the look I was going for.

It’s time that I reclaim my home! So, here’s my plan. I’m organizing things into the following three piles.

1. Resell.
In our family, we go for quality over quantity, so this pile is the good stuff where I know I can get a return, whether it’s an item that he outgrew before he could wear it out or a well-intentioned gift that doesn’t suit his style and still has the tags. When less it more, I know I can get higher end brands for my son because this is the stuff that will sell when he’s done with it. It’s the smart way to go. Trust me. Shameless plug if you’ve got a little gentleman: I’m @dotshop on Kidizen.

2. Hand down.
These are basic essentials that every kid needs a lot of, but don’t sell very well. When he was little, this was mostly onesies and sleepers. Now that he’s older, I hand down basic tees and pants that might have a little wear in the knees but still have life in them. I also hand down winter gear such as boots, gloves, skates, etc. This stuff is expensive but not always the cutest stuff that others want to buy.

3. Hand out.
Very few things get thrown away in my house, unless they’ve been torn to shreds (which my son has been known to do). When friends pass on the items from pile #2, they go to our local thrift shops. I often shop at thrift stores, so I feel it’s important to put things back into circulation by making donations as well. It’s all a part of the wonderful cycle of kidstuff!  

Now that my son is older, I like to get him involved in process. It’s a good “teaching moment” — I feel it’s important for him to understand that as things move into our home, we also need to move things out. It’s sometimes hard for him to let go of certain things, and his tendency (as is his moms!) is to fall into the habit of amassing more and more things.

He’s slowly learning that it feels good to pass things on so that they can start a new life in someone else’s home.

Happy 2014, Kidizens!

- Dori