Mommy Review Monday: Pottery Barn Fairfax Pre-K Toddler Backpack

For the girls’ birthday last year MaMa got the littles backpacks since they’d been trying to steal the bigs’ bags and backpacks for a few months.  After all, what toddler doesn’t like bags???

These Fairfax Pre-K backpacks have been FANTASTIC.  They are the perfect size for the littles and they LOVE to carry them around.  Without further ado, here’s my review (because I know you always want my opinion):

Pottery Barn Fairfax Pre-K Toddler Backpack Front

Pottery Barn Fairfax Pre-K Toddler Backpack with Names

Pottery Barn Fairfax Pre-K Toddler Backpack Straps and padding

Pottery Barn Fairfax Pre-K Toddler Backpack Padding

Pottery Barn Fairfax Pre-K Toddler Backpack Pockets

Pottery Barn Fairfax Pre-K Toddler Backpack Pockets

What I like about them:

  • They have their names on them (see above).  Some people don’t like to have kids’ names on their backpacks and things for safety reasons and, as much as it may seem like I don’t care about my kids, I’m not worried about this for my toddlers.  They’re not going to go with a stranger just because someone knows their name…. The older kids might, but not toddlers who cower behind us even when we see a family member we’ve not seen in a few weeks.  Plus, we find thta people appreciate their labeled backpacks even more when your littles are twins since, despite ours being opposites in almost every way possible, they still get mixed up.
  • Ours are color coded- Kate is pink and Clara is purple (just like the most of their color coded stuff from our Phibian shoes to stuffed animals and doll clothes).
  • The stripes are nice vs. another pattern because there’s no battle over whether Clara has a unicorn and Kate has a rainbow…or whatever their flavor of the moment is.  Plus, stripes are classic.  I feel like this is a huge benefit over the super-cute but not so classic choices in the Mackenzie lineup, also from Pottery Barn.
  • They’ve held up great- despite being thrown down, stepped on, over-loaded, spilled on, and dragged around quite frequently.  And they still look good- even if they could use a good scrubbing.  Judge me if you like but I’m lucky if my kids are all clean, let alone their backpacks spotless.  The straps are very important because cheaper bags will wear out faster, especially with a lot of wear, on and off, that toddlers will inevitably do.
  • They’re the perfect size for toddlers- our girls just turned two when they got theirs and I’m guessing we won’t need to upgrade for a long time.  Ours are constantly holding a half-pack of wipes, 3-4 pull-ups or diapers, a change of clothes, a toy, a squeezy, and a granola bar with a sippy cup in the side pocket.  These have virtually eliminated the need for us to carry a diaper bag with two times everything.

Fairfax Dimensions

  • They’re water-resistant (and juice and milk).  This is also super-important since spills abound in our household (and in my car).
  • They have adjustable straps, which is great as they grow.
  • They have a front pocket for small things (our girls like to put flash cards, dinos, and/or little ponies in them).  These have a place for crayons, which would require us to keep up with them and you must know that doesn’t happen around here by now.
  • They have well-padded shoulder straps and back padding- cheaper toddler backpacks often skimp on this feature.  See above picture.  This only matters if you plan on your little one carrying these for more than a few minutes.  Ours have carried theirs for up to an hour at a time and I attribute that to them being comfortable.  The more they carry, the less you have to.
  • You can get other items that match- lunchboxes and water bottle for those of you who are matchy-matchy like I tend to be.  Our littles weren’t in need of a lunch box but when we’re ready to move up to the next size, we may get matching lunch-boxes but probably not water bottles since those seem to disappear from their special pockets. I sure don’t want a fancy, personalized water bottle to be left somewhere other than the handy pocket they’re perfectly sized for.
  • They have reflective piping on them.  You can sort of tell from the first photo above.  As a safety-nerd, I love this for those moments when one or two of my munchkins escapes into the dark….not that we ever have to deal with that…..
  • They’re very reasonably priced- especially right now as they gear up for back-to-school.  $19 for the backpack and $9.50 for the personalization.  While that may seem like a lot to some for a toddler’s backpack, consider how much they’ll carry them if you use them instead of a diaper bag like we do with ours.  Unless something changes, we figure they’ll use these until they go to Kindergarten, which is at least another two years.  That comes out to be less than a penny a day….

Fairfax Backpack checkout

What I would improve (but not deal-breakers):

  • They could use a slightly larger side pocket.  It’s rather tight getting a sippy cup in there, mostly in terms of it being “tall enough”.  In other words- it always looks like at any moment the sippy cup or water bottle may squeeze out.  You can see this from the picture above.  (Side note- the Mackenzie version looks like it might be slightly bigger.  If your little one has that version- see below- please comment and share)  In looking at the description, I don’t think the Fairfax is designed to hold a water bottle or sippy cup.  However, it works- just not as well as one would hope.
  • I wish it was machine washable.  I’m willing to guess that it might hold up to the washer but we’ve not parted with ours long enough to try (although you can clearly see they could use it).  If you’ve tried washing yours, please, please share your experience.  Again, this is wishful thinking as most backpacks are probably not going to claim to be washable- although I washed my good ol’ Jansport growing up multiple times before finally getting rid of it.  See my review of the Jansport backpacks, which my bigs will be carrying again this school year and I will soon be throwing in the wash.
  • I wish they’d put exterior connectors/metal loops onto the outside (like the small Fairfax backpacks have) or the actual straps that the Mackenzie version has.  We could use these to potentially on an extra baby doll or maybe a small blanket, although they’re actually designed to connect to their lunch box.  You could also use these with a carabiner to attach to your backpack or luggage fairly easily.

Overall, I just can’t say enough good things about these backpacks.  They really are a perfect gift for a toddler or pre-k student- one they’ll love AND their parents’ will love too since it won’t be another toy that takes up real estate.  So, thanks Mama!

Or if you’re getting ready to send your little one(s) to pre-k or you’re just flat tired of carrying all of their stuff for them, this is a great option, as are all of the Pottery Barn backpacks.  Plus, at the time of this post, they’re all on sale thanks to back-to-school season (even though its still July)…

Happy Mommy Review Monday!

Oh, and FYI- no one paid me or asked me to write this or gave me anything to try… although Pottery Barn, if you’re reading this, I’d be happy to take a few samples for my litter of littles.  Bahaha!

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Adventures with Four: Roadtrip to See Grandad at the Blowin’ O

My Grandad (my dad’s dad) is my last living grandparent. He’s had a couple of strokes in the last year or so and has had a rough time in general since my Granny has passed. It’s to be expected when you’ve lived a good, long life and lost your wife of 65 years.

Currently, he’s been living with my Aunt Karen and Uncle Lee Roy. Right before we left for our cruise, he had to have emergency surgery for a hernia that they were afraid might be doing damage to his intestines. This is probably more detail than any of you want or need to know but the reason I say all of this is that, with all of the health issues he’s had, we are so very lucky to still have him around. He’s a trooper.

Today we loaded up the four kiddos and headed to Hamilton, actually Aleman if you want to be specific, to go see him at the Blowin’ O, Aunt Karen and Lee Roy’s farm. We took fried chicken and my mom and dad met us there with the sides and some freshly baked bread.

We had a great lunch and got to visit for a good while. Grandad enjoyed getting to watch the kids playing. They’re really into pretend and played Mommy and Baby, tucking each other in, as well as taking turns being doggies. He even got to experience a twin fight, complete with biting and hitting.

We got a few hugs in, took a few pictures (which didn’t turn out all that great but they’re special to me), and said our goodbyes until our next trip. As negative as it may seem to say this, you never know when your last visit will be with any of your loved ones. Because of this, we really try to cherish our time together and make the most of every minute we’re given.

We’re so fortunate to have such a great family, both immediate and extended. I’m thankful for them all. I so appreciate the care that my Aunt Karen and Uncle Lee Roy provide to Grandad every day and for welcoming us all into your house to see him.

Photo Friday: Family Cruise Vacation 2018 Highlights

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This gallery contains 13 photos.

As I write this today, I’m recovering (and doing loads and loads of laundry) from our family vacation.  It was fantastic and exhausting.  We started out last Friday roadtripping down to Galveston with the littles (stay tuned for a post … Continue reading

Photo Friday: Independence Day 2018

We celebrated Independence Day this year with a shrimp boil at Aunt Haley’s House with the Graves family, minus Will and Anna, who were at Joe Daddy’s house for the holiday.

Aunt Haley had a sprinkler going, fully loaded bubble guns, and poppers (since we’re in a burn ban, plus two year olds and real fireworks aren’t always the greatest combo).

The girls sported their red, white, and blue outfits. Frugality tip: wait until a few days before the holiday and resale stores usually run great sales. We got these shirts for $1 each. New stores often do the same thing. My friend, Paige, scored adorable ones for $3.99 from either Gymboree or the Children’s Place (I can’t remember). Plus, unlike some of the other holidays, these are easier to wear throughout the year.

I love buying clothes from the resale store. It’s almost always in great shape and it makes me feel very “green.” You know, like I’m saving the world, one preowned outfit at a time?!? The downside to buying clothes at a resale shop is if you want your multiples or even singles to match, it’s not always easy. Every once in a while I’ll find two of something in the right sizes and I snatch them up. Even though I’m a “matchy-matchy mom,” I’m ok with them just coordinating to save a few bucks. Oh, the sacrifices I make to save money…

Or, if you really want to save money, just put your kid in clothes they already have. That works pretty well too and is obviously a lot easier!

Enough of the frugality tips…..

As you’ll see below, we had a fantastic, fun time on the 4th. So fun, in fact, we didn’t even stay awake long enough that evening to see any fireworks. Yet, even without the fireworks, it was still a wonderful day. I hope everyone had a great holiday as well!

Happy (Second) Birthday/Halloween!!!

Halloween is a big holiday in our household- it’s Clara and Kate’s birthday.  Today they turn two.  I sound like a broken record every single birthday for the kids but, man, how time flies!

It seems like just yesterday that this was happening!

Or this:

And now, here we are:  Two Two-Year-Olds.  Double, Double Trouble.

Maybe there’s a reason we chose dragons (or maybe I really just wanted to buy the “Mother of Dragons” shirt). I guess you’ll never know.

They’re a blast.  Every day we are watching them learn something new.  And almost always something different.

Kate prefers savory stuff (hence the sausage roll for birthday breakfast- she wasn’t happy about having her photo taken this morning)…

While Clara is all over anything slightly sweet.

Happy Birthday Little Pumpkins/Dragons.  We love you!!! 

And Happy Halloween to all of you fine folks from Cleopatra, Scary Jester, and Dragon A and Dragon B!

Patriotic Babies

These girls just turned 8 months a few days ago and, for our obligatory monthly photo, it seemed appropriate for them to sport their red, white and blue in honor of 4th of July. 


MaMa gave the girls these adorable patriotic outfits complete with matching Harlem Globetrotter headbands that she made. 

She even made a bow for Clara’s helmet since she was still wearing it the first few times we got to wear these outfits. 


Isn’t she crafty?!? We got so many compliments each time they wore them. 

Happy Independence Day everyone!

Twin Ponderings: To Match or Not To Match

One of the many twin questions I get asked is if I dress them alike. 

The answer: Yes, most of the time they start that way although someone may have a blowout or spit out their carrots, resulting in a wardrobe change. 

Here’s my reasoning, as if I really need justification of how I dress my littles:

I’m a matchy-matchy person. I come by it honestly.

Every special event or holiday my mom dressed my siblings and me in either matching or coordinating outfits.  Every. Single. Time. We even went on one trip to Disney World where the entire family matched/coordinated every day. People stopped and took pictures of us. Embarrassing at the time. Hilarious now. I hated it. I swore I’d never make my children endure this. 

 

see…even into adulthood the matching continues

 
Then I had children. I couldn’t resist buying Will and Anna coordinating outfits. They looked so stinking cute. And so it began. 

Then came the next round. I can’t resist dressing Clara and Kate in adorable matching outfits. It’s fun. And if I don’t match them I feel the compulsion to at least coordinate them and that takes more effort. 

   
 Plus, people love buying cute girls clothes for us- times two in our case. As long as that happens and they’ll let me, they’ll be matching. 

You may ask about my sworn oath not to make my future children match. Eh….I have no shame going back on my promise from childhood. You live and learn. And in this family, you also match