Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Alternatives to Flip-Flops

images via top row/bottom left/bottom right

Let's just say that I have been riding the "I just had a baby" train for much too long, and it's time I get my behind off that train. I've decided that I am going to start making myself look a little more put together when I leave the house. I got a new haircut, which is actually a style I sported many years ago when I was 25, and when I look in the mirror now I feel 25, so that helps. Next step is to stop slipping into my flip-flops, even if I'm just running to the supermarket.

Here in San Diego, we wear flip-flops everywhere, not just at the beach. Whether they're the cheap rubber kind from a big box store or pricier Reef EVA-soled sandals from the surf shop, flip-flops always scream casual footwear. While I would like to feel casual, I don't want to look casual all the time. Does that make sense? I want a sandal that feels like I am slipping on my Reefs but looks a little more grown up. I think I've found some lovely alternatives.

First, we have the t-strap sandals and the ribbon sandals, both by Sseko. The ribbon sandal is fun because you can arrange the ribbons in a variety of ways, many of them slip-on style, which is great for wearing on the go. The t-strap sandal is a classic, but has interchangeable details that make this one pair of sandals feel like you have several pairs. Plus, they are made by women in Uganda working to pay for their college educations. 

Next is The Bleacher by Eliza B. Yes, it's a thong sandal, but not a flip-flop, in my book. The straps and soles are leather, and it just looks more elegant, I think. From what I can tell on their online shop, you customize the sandal by choosing the color of the leather straps and toe fabric from dozens of colors. Made in USA.

Finally, there's the the Avarca sandal. This is actually the sandal I went with, and I chose a nude color by Jeffrey Campbell (on sale in store at Nordstrom -- yipee!). The sandal shown above is by Binicoco, and oh my goodness, do they ever have some lovely colors and prints. They are handmade in Spain. Another great company that makes avarcas is PONS, which I mentioned in this post on Spanish shoes a while back.

What's your take on the flip-flop? Do you wear flip-flops anywhere and everywhere or only poolside or at the beach?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hunter as a Pirate

Maybe I got my wires crossed, but I was sure J's mama said children were encouraged to dress up as pirates for J's pirate-themed first birthday party. It was probably wishful thinking. Hunter was the only child dressed up. Oh well, I am sure by now you have noticed that the Freerksens like to dress in costume.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Gift Ideas for Day of the Child

images via jewelry/moccs/bike

Did you know that April 30 is Day of the Child in Mexico? In fact, many countries around the world celebrate Children's Day at some point in the year. At the school where I used to teach, they celebrate April 30 because many of the students and families in that community come from Mexican backgrounds. It's a day to honor children and celebrate how special it is to be a child.

Now, maybe the cynics are saying, isn't every day the day of the child? I get that, but hear me out. I don't celebrate my child every single day. Do I show him love every day? Yes. Has my life changed since having a child? It's changed dramatically, but I wouldn't say that my life is ALL about him. (Mostly about Hunter, but not ALL.) I am not a mom who makes every day a Pinterest-inspired day of magical awesomeness because I think it's just as important to have ordinary days as it is to have special days. Sure, I went all out for Hunter's birthday party (which he'll never remember, but whatevs). We tried to make Christmas morning special by having a tree and some presents. When it comes to everyday stuff, however, we're pretty low-key. He doesn't really get toys outside of holidays (and if he got a new toy last week it's because I got it out of the closet from his birthday stash). I don't make kid-friendly food. (If he doesn't like what we eat, I offer him fruit or yogurt to get something in that skinny body.) I don't do preschool activities or crafts with him, yet. Sometimes we go to the park or the library. Sometimes we don't even leave the house. Most of the time we are in our pajamas or running errands. Hunter keeps pretty busy playing by himself and occasionally brings me a book to read to him. 

Well, I am all for celebrating Day of the Child because I think it's nice to have one day that's all about the beauty of childhood. Families around the world celebrate the day in a variety of ways, gifts or no gifts. I think the best gift we can give our children is our time, so this can be a day I devote to spending quality time with Hunter, especially since most days I spend more time doing things around the house than actually playing with Hunter. In my book, Children's Day should feel like a special day, one that my child remembers when he grows up (maybe not now, but you get the idea). This year, I'll prepare his favorite foods, squeeze in a trip to the park (because it falls on a Wednesday this year and there's that real life part of the day from 9-5), and work on some kind of toddler-friendly craft.

It can also be a day to get one really extra-special gift. Those with budget concerns may lament that just a week and a half before, we will have given the little ones Easter baskets filled with goodies, but a beautiful picture book can be just as special as a gift you splurged on. Here are some ideas for all kinds of budgets. You can never go wrong with something... 

PRACTICAL: Maybe your child needs a new pair of shoes or some clothing essentials. Splurge on some Freshly Picked moccasins or wrap up a package of new underpants with your little one's favorite characters (like these Star Wars organic unders from Hanna Andersson).

OUTDOORSY: If your little one complains about being cooped up in the house, give a gift that encourages being outdoors. Splurge on a LIKEaBIKE or encourage family gardening time with a Grow Your Own Pumpkin kit.

HEIRLOOM: I still remember the day my parents (probably mostly because of my dad's urging) got me my first ring, yellow gold with a little heart. It's a piece of jewelry I treasure and would love to pass down to a future daughter (or niece). Splurge on a keepsake ID bracelet (like this one with a heart from JULIAN & Co., also check out this classic one Hunter has) or a first ring (like the tiny stacking ring from JULIAN & Co.) or create a unique photo book or a handmade blanket.

Do you celebrate Children's Day? If so, what special things do you have planned this year?

*This post was lovingly written in partnership with our sponsor, JULIAN & Co.*

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Down Among the Reeds and Rushes

Today, Hunter and I made the trek up to Oceanside to visit the Buena Vista Audubon Society Nature Center. I must say, this boy is most definitely a bird-watcher. Inside the center, he got to see mounted pelicans, hawks, and owls. Outside, on the short nature trail, we saw a butterfly and a dragonfly, but no birds, though we could hear them, for sure. Such a lovely spring day, though here it already feels like summer!