Tag Archives: kids clothes

Life lessons learned from Halloween

1 Nov

I just uploaded some pictures of my kids from Halloween onto my personal Facebook page. As I looked at the pictures, I was feeling so proud of the girls, I just had to share.

Here is the one particular picture I uploaded that got me thinking…

This year's costumes: a dancer, a doctor and a Face Book

The reason this picture got me thinking is this:  it may sound terrible, but we won’t go out and buy Halloween costumes. We outright refuse. Our reason is that our kids all take dance and have for ten years, eight years and five years, respectively. That means we have A TON of costumes in our basement, very beautiful but very expensive costumes. We average about six costumes per dance year, one year I think we had eight or nine. We also have costumes from dress-up clothes (we have several of the princess costumes) and costumes that people have handed down to us (and no we don’t have a costume bin, if you read my prior post about our bins!) Basically our basement could be a costume shop itself. So a few years ago, we decided that we would no longer spend money in the fall on costumes. They had to be whatever they could be with whatever we already had down there. One year my oldest daughter, Caroline, made her jazz costume into a poodle skirt. Last year, Elizabeth was a ballerina in a gorgeous dress combined with the bright blue Airbender mask and matching blue swords, an interesting combination, but she liked it, while Alex was something different every Halloween party or event we went to. Each time, she’d just pick something off the hook down there and put it on.

Halloween 2010 an Airbender Ballerina, a witch and a blue jay

This year, Caroline decided she didn’t want to wear something we had, and in all fairness to her, a lot of what we have down there no longer fits her since it was already hers in the past. She’d already done the witch costume a couple of times, and nothing from dance this year appealed to her. But, she didn’t ask for something new. She didn’t even tell us she wasn’t wearing something we had. She went on- line, Googled “Homemade Halloween Costumes,” saw the Face Book costume on a website that came up, and she was off and running. Between her and Don, they got the materials they needed and he helped her make the costume. I loved it!

She wore the costume to the “Lock In” at dance earlier this month and she was absolutely beaming when she came home with “Most Creative” out of all the costumes there. I was nervous that she might not want to wear her costume, being that it was homemade, (and I have to admit that although we stay strong on this, I was in fact, feeling guilty) but she brought it and won. I was so proud of her!

Times are hard and we tell our kids all the time that they will be older and remember these days when people were losing their houses and their jobs, when restaurants and stores were closing and empty, and I know that some day they will be telling their kids, “My parents wouldn’t buy us costumes for Halloween,” but hopefully when they do, there will be some good memories and life lessons learned, attached to that sentence.

Trick or Treat!

My love-hate relationship with The Bins

29 Oct

The Bins

Today’s the day. I knew it was coming as the season began to change this month. Three weeks ago, it was Columbus Day Weekend and it was almost 90 degrees; my kids were in bathing suits. Two nights ago I was putting away laundry and there were still shorts and t shirts in the piles of clothes I was putting away. But, I knew it was coming.

One of my aunts calls the fall and the spring “The Black Holes of Fashion” because you never know how to dress. It might be chilly in the morning and hot by afternoon or cold at night and warm all day. It’s a constant game of layering outfits when I get my kids dressed each day or even myself: short sleeves and sweatshirts or long sleeves and leggings but no jacket.

Usually I look for a long weekend to do my bins, to switch my closets over, but judging from last night’s weather forecast for this weekend prior to Halloween, I told my husband, “It’s time,” and up into the attic he went last night so that when I arrived home there were stacks of bins halfway to the ceiling, full of clothing.

I am grateful that we have three girls and lots of girl cousins because get lots of hand-me-downs and we hand everything down after we’re done, to pay it forward. I can’t even imagine having to buy all new clothes for a boy and a girl for example, every single year, as my mom must have had to do. When you have “one of each” you can’t hand anything down from one to the other. But, having three girls and so many hand-me-downs to store, presents an issue: where do you store all those clothes for years and years, and how?

Originally when we had one daughter and no idea who was going to be born next, we saved everything and we had one stack of bins in our garage. I stored them labeled with a Sharpie marker by size and by season since here in New England we are lucky enough to have all four seasons. I narrow it down to Winter and Summer, lumping spring and fall in there as well. As we had more and more daughters however, and acquired more and more clothes (the outfits seem to multiply like the proverbial rabbits) we had to come up with a better way to store it.

Our solution was to have someone come in and access our attic for us. We were unable to do a pull-down stairway method, so every spring and fall my husband brings in a ladder from outside, sets it up in our bedroom and up he goes to take down the bins. Then I sort through all of the clothes, sending off anything that we’ve grown out of for good to the next lucky girls, and then sending him back up into the attic with the bins re-labeled for next year’s season. It’s a whole weekend process at least.

Currently we have ten bins and three bags of assorted clothing ready to be sorted this weekend. It’s a grueling process, but I will say this: I have an odd attachment to their clothes. I get very sentimental as I put them away each year and I get a slight thrill each fall and spring as I take the clothes out of the bins. I find myself saying, “Oh I loved this outfit on your sister!” as I pass it down to the next daughter. I love to hear them be excited when a certain outfit is now theirs, something that they always admired on their older sister. Or, as I pass down the special occasion dresses, I remember the photos they took or an event they attended in a particular dress, and I do get somewhat misty-eyed, I must admit. In fact, when it came time to give away my baby clothes for good (only saving the dearest and most special pieces) I photographed every single one. I have a folder with 42 pictures of baby clothing in it on my Kodak Easyshare site.

So as much as I am dreading my task this weekend, I am thankful to have the abundance of clothing to pass down to my girls, thankful I only have my oldest daughter to outfit each season, and I am looking forward to seeing what clothing is going into the drawers this year that we’ll be oohing and aahhing over this time around.