Hanna Looks

Back-To-School with bluegraygal

We first met Kelly Page after she shared a raving review of Hanna on her blog, bluegraygal. Kelly Page is a mom of three kids, has an eye for elegant living and a gift of storytelling that makes us tear up just a bit! This year, all the kids left the house for back-to-school for the first time, here’s her story.

It’s early 2010. Our daughter is two years old. My husband is in the midst of building a company from scratch. For those who are entrepreneurs you can understand the enormity of stress that simple sentence describes. In addition, we’ve recently miscarried a child.

All three of us are in the doctor’s office for an ultrasound, because we are pregnant again. The nurse gets quiet, which makes me nervous. I ask if everything is alright and she said, “Yes, but I think there are two in there.”

“Two what?!” I fire back.

“Well, there’s one heartbeat….and there’s the other.” My husband’s face gets red. Mine goes pale. My daughter is confused (she’s not alone in this).

Getting ready for  back-to-school !

Getting ready for back-to-school!

Twins. What? We didn’t do in-vitro, we don’t have a family history of twins, how could we have twins? Surely this nurse needed glasses!

But she was right. Identical twin boys would be joining our family that fall. While full of joy (mixed with total panic), the stress that was already all consuming in our life went through the roof as my husband and I set out to deliver and welcome healthy twins, and become a family of five. The real adventure had just begun.

When our beautiful boys entered the world our daughter had just turned three. They were healthy. They were perfect. We were tired. They were hungry. They are always hungry. Again, we were tired.

Being a parent brings a whole host of emotions; joy followed by terror; exhilaration followed by anxiety; joyful hope followed by worry if you can handle the entire job of parenthood. My husband and I looked at ourselves nearly every day going, “You OK? Do you got this? Do I got this?” Only parents understand this constant drive to do the best job you can, yet question whether you’re making the right choices at nearly every turn!

Our boys grew and grew fast. They have always eaten like high school football players! Both were happy, each unique in their own way and both positively loved the other one and their sister. We have children who respect each other and love each other immensely. My husband and I are proud of that.

I remember so clearly when they were just newborns, we went out to dinner. It was one of those nights I just couldn’t bring myself to cook. I was so tired! As we were walking in to the restaurant carrying two car seats, and holding the hand of a three-year-old a woman stopped me. She was teary. “I just sent my identical twins to college this week. Just you wait. In one single day you will say goodbye to both your babies at the same time.”

I smiled and then in my exhaustive fragile state looked at my husband and started to cry! I think her sentiment was to treasure the time. I don’t believe she was coming from a malicious place. But I remember turning to my husband and saying “She’s right! They are going to leave us at the same time! In one day they’ll be gone!” He held my hand, made me eat a hamburger and told me “baby, I love you, but right now the kids are starving and I’m exhausted and college seems like four lifetimes from now. You need to get it together and I need to set these heavy car seats down.” This shook me from my blubbering, hormonal state! Thanks, hubs.

This fall our beloved boys start Kindergarten and our daughter third grade. All three will walk onto a school bus at the same time, going to the same school, and I will walk back into an empty house.

Will the quiet be nice? Yes. Will I feel comfortable in it? Probably not. For nine years my house has been filled with noise from morning to night. I will very likely pace and clean and pace and clean out of nerves. And cry. I’ll cry from the happiness I know they’ll be having at school, cry worrying whether Matthew forgot where his classroom is, cry thinking of Andrew waving to me from the bus and cry watching their big sister proudly teach them the ropes.

I will cry remembering them in baby clothes with drool and wobbly necks we needed to support. I will look at the family room they took their first steps. I will walk into their closet and see where they now get dressed all by themselves. And I’ll peak into my daughter’s room and see the giant books she’s now capable of reading to herself instead of needing me to read a bedtime story. I will weep with sentimental thoughts and I will weep with pride.

My husband and I have done all we can to get them ready. Are we ready? I don’t know. The pull of a parent’s heartstrings is so strong when the crossroads of meeting a goal are met. The goal is always to raise independent, strong people who can survive happily in the world without us. Yet when it’s time for them to survive without us, even if for only part of a day, a part of your heart beats so loudly you can’t hear and the tears sting your eyes.

Parenting is one part holding on, one part letting go. Come August we will hold their little hands to walk them to the bus stop, watch them with their backpacks that will be larger than them get on a bus, and I’ll sit at the bus stop an hour before they get off wiping the tears away to greet them with a smile, a giant hug, and sit in the kitchen to hear every story they want to tell me. 

Kindergarten. We’ve made it. They’ve made it. Now pass the tissues…

Now that I’ve made myself cry my eyes out, I need to pull it together to share that I’ve partnered with Hanna Andersson for Back to School. We are a perfect match. I’ve believed in their quality since my daughter was born. Their pajamas have kept my babies warm at night and their clothes for playing and exploring life for almost nine years. 

This year I asked my boys what they wanted their very first backpack to look like for Back to School. “Camo!” they both screamed in unison (identical twins think and talk alike!). I was so lucky to see that Camo backpacks were available at Hanna. I knew I could trust their quality so imagine the happy dance I did seeing Hanna Camo backpacks! Relief! But the camo doesn’t stop there (oh no, they need to be “completely invisible, Mom!”).

Hanna has matching camo lunch bag and pants. They can now start off the first day of Kindergarten going back to school in camouflage. This makes them ultra-excited. When I showed them their new back to school outfits and backpacks they immediately threw them on their bodies and walked taller. They felt amazing. And I felt amazing knowing they were happy and the quality would last them the whole year.

So with a tear and a smile my husband and I will send our boys to school fully camouflaged in the good hands of the amazing school staff and the quality of Hanna clothes. I already can’t wait to greet them off the bus. 

Hanna Andersson - bluegraygal - getting ready for back to school

Story by Kelly Page, bluegraygal.

Visit Kelly on instagramfacebook and youtube

Share your back-to-school stories with us using #ilovemyhannas, we'd love to see your back-to-school faves!

SHOP BACK-TO-SCHOOL > 

What is your best day? with Becky Kimball

"Sitting there with my husband, our new baby boy and the sweet spirit of my daughter was the best day, the best moment of my life." 

Today we welcome Becky Kimball to the Hanna blog! A grateful soul, a talented eye and an inspiring mother. Becky runs a series on her blog called "Best Day Series." She asks her fellow mom friends: what is your best day? What comes from it is truly inspiring. So, we wanted to ask her, Becky herself what her best day is...

Mothers Day - Hanna Andersson & Becky Kimball

"As I've had the opportunity to ask many women what their answer is to 'what was your best day?', I've had time to reflect on what was my best day. Yes, the typical cliche answers come to mind, but it wasn't until I really sat down to write my own response that I realized that my best day was the day my son was born. He is my second born child. He is 10. He was born just a short 18 months after my first child, my daughter, was born. Her name is Rylee Ann.

Becky Kimball Photographer

She was born with a congenital heart defect and we actually found out at her 20 week ultrasound apt that she would need some surgeries to repair that little heart of hers. At just 6 days old, she had an open heart surgery. I remember waiting in the waiting room and the nurse would call to give us updates. After the surgery, the surgeon came out and spoke to me. Others from our extended family were there listening, but he wanted to make sure that he could talk to "Mom" and it was just him and I. The surgery was successful and basically they re-plumbed her little heart (as the Doctor said). She would need at least 2 more surgeries in the future. She came home when she was 3.5 weeks old.

Becky Kimball Photographer - Mother's

We loved that little girl, and we loved her hard. She was everything to us. Eventually the oxygen and the feeding tube came off and she lived a normal life. No one would have ever noticed that she had fought for her life those first few weeks. We were able to travel with her and raise her. It wasn't until she was 5 months and 7 days old that her life here on earth was completed. She was sent back to Heaven to be with our Heavenly Father. My darkest days followed her death. I was numb. I knew that I would see her again, but it never takes away the pain that I was feeling.

Hanna Andersson - Mother's Day with Becky Kimball

So, why is my son's day of birth my best day? I'll explain. I could only imagine that he and Rylee were just together as I was preparing to bring him into this world. As I held him, I cried. The tears were from the knowledge that he came fresh from Heaven, from his older sister. I have never felt so close to God in that moment.

Sitting there with my husband, our new baby boy and the sweet spirit of my daughter was the best day, the best moment of my life. " 

Thank you so much Becky for bringing so much inspiration and positivity to everyone you interact with! 

To find Becky visit her website BeckyKimball.net here and her Instagram @_beckykimball too!

What they're wearing: Becky: Without even trying dress / Sloan: Swedest Slipover Dress, Swedish Clogs / Max: Mariner Hoodie, Climber Cargos

 

 

Spring Is Here! w/ Jen Pinkston + Friends

Welcoming in guest blogger, stylist and mother, Jen Pinkston behind the blog The Effortless Chic! It's a Spring time DIY and party all around, keep reading to find how how to have THIS exciting of an Easter party with your friends! Thanks Jen! 

I have always loved hosting the holidays, but, as Parker gets older, I'm finding myself looking forward to them even more!  My memories of Easter in Austin are all very fond-- egg hunting on my aunt's lawn with all of my cousins, a honey baked ham that seemed to never end, and plenty of chocolate for even the biggest sweet tooth!  Growing up, though, I couldn't wait to graduate to the adult table.  My entertaining goal in life is to make the kids table so much fun that the grown ups find themselves looking over with envy!  Not only are the fun and games entertaining for kids, but it buys the adults a little more time to enjoy the meal and good conversation while letting the kids be kids-- everybody wins!  Letting kids be kids is exactly why I love Hanna Andersson's clothing for Parker.  It's bright and fun and incredibly well made.  When I was growing up, Easter was all about a new frilly dress and white Easter sandals.  For this year's Easter party, though, I decided to let the kids choose their looks-- something comfortable that they would love and wear well beyond one egg-travagant Sunday!  Pops of color, pattern play, and fun layers galore!  (Not to mention shoes that I wish they made in my size!) 

Water Color + Egg Decorating Spring DIY

What You'll Need:

  • canvas drop cloth for table cloth
  • flat sheet for photo backdrop
  • 5 x 7 card stock (as many pieces as you have kids)
  • paint brushes (at least as many as you have kids)
  • washable paint in individual sizes
  • 3 glass jars for jelly beans and flowers
  • plastic easter eggs-- can be used for fruit, snacks, or paint!
  • an empty egg carton or cartons to hold plastic egg halves
  • wildflowers-- the brighter and wilder, the better!

Personally, I love making finger foods for kids.  Less silverware to wash and more free hands for painting their place cards!  I made the mini croque monseiurs by using mini baguettes from Trader Joe's, honey baked ham slices, and mozzerella cheese.  I brushed both sides of the bread slices with rosemary olive oil and topped each with a sprinkling of pink himalayan sea salt.  It's Easter in sandwich form!  

When it comes to choosing kids clothes, I love pieces that can mix and match with ease.  Just about every pair of leggings and pants could have been swapped with each of the different dresses and tops.  Same went for the shoes!  The girls were trading pairs until they each found their favorite!  My only regret is that the railroad jacket doesn't come in my size!  The floral lining is everything!

Our prop stylist, Corrie, who has three daughters remarked that the Hanna Andersson clothes were often the only ones she could pass down as hand me downs because they were always still in such great condition.  It's true!  Parker has pajamas that she has been wearing for over a year and they still look brand new!  Hannas always stand the test of time, dirt, paint splatter and multiple washes-- which are inevitable since they're usually Parker's favorites!  Here's how we created the tablescape: (The good news is you probably already have a lot of these things at home!)

And Easter mess that couldn't be more fun!

What are your plans for the holiday?  I hope you'll share your own epic Easter kids tables and tag us in them!

On Macy: fun footless capri tightsit's a playdress it's a daydressgerda glitter sneakersbow headband On Kyleena: fun footless capri tightsruffle love dressswedish sandal clogsbunny bow scrunchie On Truly: ribbed cropped pantswedest slipover toppaulina espadrille On Eden: so soft chambray pantspopover and play top in chambray. On Maxwell: Wind at Your Back AnorakAll Play Sweatshirt, Win Win ChambrayNils Chukkas. Tristan: Flip FlopsSupersoft Polo.

Photography by Mary Costa / Creative Direction by Jen Pinkston / Set Design by Erin Miller Williams / Prop Styling by Corrie Sullivan / Wardrobe Styling by Kat Garner