A Secret, Clothing Inequities, and Tiger Pants

What I am about to say– it’s a secret that’s going to shock you and me both:

I love being a mom.

Can you believe it? Me either. It’s shocking, to say the least. It actually freaks me out to admit that. Me. Loving motherhood. Who is this lady?

However there are two things that plague me, both both of equal importance:

  1. Having to go back to work at the end of August. The thought of anyone other than me spending the majority of time with this little monkey slays me in my quickening heart. I understand why some mothers cry upon returning to work. I may already be crying just thinking about it.

    This look says: "Please, Mama, don't go back to work!"

    This look says: “Please, Mama, don’t go back to work!”

  2. How to clothe LL in the void of cute, reasonably priced boy clothing. Adorable clothes for  girls abound, yet the boy’s world of clothing? Embroidered footballs, “Mommy’s cutest slugger” and more stripes than an ambush of tigers. I am fully aware that this is a First World, middle-class problem, and that I should be grateful that I have a plethora of generous hand me-downs, some money to spend on clothes that never leave the house and the time to “shop” to make my babe look more adorable than anyone else’s babe. (Wait–it’s not a competition?!) I find the void of boys’ clothing so odd, given the number of new testes that seem to pop out on a daily basis. (Remember my conspiracy theory here?) What can I say? I am vain for my 12-week old child. Obscene, I know.

Even Emily Henderson and I (yes, we’re totally BFFs) had a conversation about this issue:

Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 11.05.58 AM

Enter El Sage Designs. The company is run by the talented Phoebe Carpenter Eells, mama to two young boys. Girlfriend knows the dearth of cute (environmentally and kid-safe clothes, might I add) boys’ wear, and several years ago, she left her teaching job to leap into her design work full-time. She designs, hand-carves and prints the clothing in her home studio, in the yellow house across the street from mine. She is one of those people who took the brave jump from a permanent, stable job to peruse her passion and be with her kids as they grow. She is inspiring, to say the least. Plus, she makes my kid look so South Park hipster. (That’s South Park San Diego, not South Park Trey Parker.)

Kid's been wearing El Sage since birth.

Kid’s been wearing artisan clothing since birth.

It’s like he just needs a fixie, handle bar mustache and a cup of black coffee to go with his skinny jeans. Okay, maybe in a few years–a mom can have goals for her kid, right?

This video from her site is the real deal: she works while her boys play in cardboard boxes, with scraps of fabric or doodle alongside her, all in her downstairs studio. Seriously–to work from home, investing in the creative side of me, to be there for LL–that sounds amazing. Plus, Phoebe and her family are the kind of people who bring over an entire taco bar just after you’ve had a baby. They deliver cookies and beer to our house on a regular basis. The boys (5 and 3) knocked on our door with May Day flowers. They are the kind of people you want to take over your corner of the world.

In gratitude for grabbing their mail last week, she gave LL this onesie. Sigh. I mean, I get some mail, LL gets amazing clothes. It’s SO.DAMN.CUTE. He’s so damn cute. It’s like when he wears adorable clothing, my desire to eat him alive beginning with his toes amplifies significantly.


He wore this to the barn, of course.

And better yet, her prints for adults are just as drool-worthy. I bought my niece this sweater and have yet to give it to her because I’m to busy wearing it.

Wearing it everywhere--even to the gym! I turn up and my friend is wearing her El Sage too. I'm telling you, it's a thing!

Wearing it everywhere–even to the gym! I turn up and my friend is wearing her El Sage too. I’m telling you, it’s a thing!


Up here in Skagit Valley, I see people wearing her stuff all the time. She’s becoming a thing. A hot commodity. I love that when I see her vibrant designs around town, I know that person has literally put food on my neighbor’s table. They’ve supported local art, a fierce, creative Mama, and my neighbor.  If you have a gift to give, a boy to clothe or bones burning a hole in your pocket for yourself, you should check out Phoebe’s work. I’m lusting after this guy and I’m secretly hoping she’ll print her “Believe in Mountains” on trucker hats. If you’re local, you can find her at the Anacortes and Everette farmer’s markets; if you’re not, her kiddos LOVE prepping PO boxes.

And if she makes it work…well then, there’s hope that I might one day too.

Also, here are some other places where I’ve found the clothes LL likes. (Let’s be honest, it’s his style I’m catering to, not mine. 😉  Most of these I bought on Zulily, because they are WAY over my budget at full price.

Leighton Alexander Harem pants–Seriously, those grey and gold tiger pants. I want them in my size.

Loralin Designs–Colorful, classic. And that kangaroo softie? Love.

Kikkee Pants

Sckoon Organics


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