Babiekins Magazine

Social Enterprises, Homeschooling, and more in the Latest Print Issue of Babiekins Magazine

Babiekins Magazine - Trendsetting Kids Fashion Magazine for Children and Parents - Summer Print Issue 6

Over this summer, I had the privilege and honor to be a part of two more cover stories in the latest print issue of Babiekins Magazine! (Is that cover pure happiness, or what?) I want to give a big shout out to my incredible team — Kelly Roper Photography, Elizabeth Pettey Photography, Priscila Barros, Leslie Schor Creative, and Liz Jacob of Yellow Finch, all of whom worked tirelessly (and sleeplessly!) to make this issue a reality. You ladies rock!

The first story I wrote for this issue is all about the founder of Isabel Garretón, Inc., an incredible trail-blazing immigrant woman who was producing socially conscious garments long before eco-fashion was a business trend. I really enjoyed talking to her about cultural identity, what it means to really “feel American”, and the complicated issues which accompany managing a social enterprise.

I also was able to share my thoughts on homeschooling as a part of the big Creative Education special feature in this issue. As you know from reading my blog, I don’t think homeschooling is the only option, nor should it always be approached as a lifelong option.  For us, it’s the path we’ve chosen for the time being, almost entirely because, despite studies like this, Florida state law is an absolute stickler about the cut-off ages for entry to kindergarten — or any other grade.

So, we’re homeschooling, although I don’t always approach it from a traditional homeschooling mindset.  In this Schoolkins article, I talk about this eclectic perspective, my own positive experience being homeschooled as a child, and how I think it’s important to look outside the homeschool circle and plug into the community at large. I also share my somewhat controversial thoughts on the harm of downplaying academics.

I hope you’ll be able to pick up a copy in your local bookstore; otherwise, you can always order a copy directly from Babiekins as well.

Rug c/o Rugs USA, one of the sponsors of an upcoming education-themed #schoolkins interior design editorial, premiering soon on Babiekins Magazine

Homeschooling, Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: Homeschooling Kindergarten

Velveteen_May_Aveline_ALE_2

It’s grown on me, this place, this place of swamps and heavy air and tangled underbrush rustling with the sound of lizards, great and small. Oh, the monsoons and the swirling hurricanes on either side of this peninsula don’t do anything for me. And with all the orange-beaked egrets in the world are nothing to the beauty that is the thirsty earth, the hills of golden grasses, and the twisted, reaching oaks of Sacramento Valley. There’s thick damp mist, here, that rests solidly and perpetually across the marsh; but there is nothing in the low clouds that can compare to the distinctive September aroma of scorched earth and wildfire, and nothing in the flatlands that compare to the piles upon piles of tall clouds stacking up against the Sierra ridge, across the horizon. One man’s hazard is another man’s beauty. Tectonic plates shift and the earth shakes on one edge of the world, and the low water tables rises and the earth sinks on the other edge of the world. There is no place safe.

But it’s grown on me, this place.

This place with all its oddities and all its weird news headlines and its slow, endless stares.

Billy Collins knew about the stares. They’re ubiquitous here. Even the animals look, slowly, here in the place where there is “no more snow…no hexagrams of frost…no black sweater”, only “those birds with long white necks”, who “swivel their heads / to look at me as I walk past / as if they all knew my password /and the name of the city where I was born.”[1]

Velveteen_May_Aveline_ALE_4

But, I’m carving out my place here. This little one is carving out her place here. This little one who’s been raised here — this little one who thinks 72 degrees is winter, this little flatlander who thinks overpasses are such freakishly huge mountains, they necessitate shrieking each time we drive across — she’s been helping me see my place here.

Maybe I’ve shrieked a little, too, as I’ve metaphorically driven over high areas that seemed scary to me, areas where it was hard to keep my focus on the middle of the road and not at the unknown dropping off at either side. Just over a year ago, we suddenly started school because my three-year-old wouldn’t stop begging for “more worksheets, p’ease!” and I had no idea where it was gonna go. I wasn’t planning on a particular homeschool path, really. I just waded in to the waters, wishing they were clear, wishing I could see the bottom, wanting to turn back and sit with my feet dug into the shore, but knowing my little one was literally begging for “more school, p’ease”.

But now, a year later, we’re all in.

This little one just finished a full year of once-a-week Chinese language school (and Chinese folk dance). And she’s almost done with her first semester of Yamaha piano and voice. She finished the stack of preschool books ages ago, learned to read Chinese first, then she learned to read English. Now, the crazy kid is half-way through Kindergarten math, and just finished Kindergarten Science. She cried during Spring Break (“No school?!”) and cried when she found out summer meant no school. 

But in Florida, she’s not legally old enough for Kindergarten.

I did hours of research, and toured the private Christian school near us anyway, to see what pre-kindergarten would offer. I wanted it to work; the teachers and administration tactfully told me it probably wouldn’t.

So, friends, we’re all in. We’re all in, despite all the experts saying it’s too early for formal academics.

We’ve grown into homeschooling, just like we’ve grown into seeing the beauty in the rain-soaked jungle around us. <3

Velveteen_May_Aveline_ALE_5

Aveline is wearing the Ale Dress in Earth Poplin from Velveteen

Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: Patriotic Eagle Hawk-Birds who Invisibly yet Condescendingly Guard the Gate

Orlando, Florida, the South, Trader Joe's and Hipsters

Aveline is in swim class now. This means, for 30 minutes every other day, I sit on a plastic chair pool-side,  and sweat buckets of water. It still a mystery to me how a human body physically can produce beads of sweat when the air around said body is already 100% saturated with water. Given the excessive humidity, it’s something of a physiological miracle. I’m not to dangle any appendages in the pool, because I’m not a resident of Exclusive Subdivision, and therefore unclean. So, I sit, sweat, and squint in the sun’s general direction, trying to suppress my motherly instincts and my own fear of treading water while Aveline sinks like a rock and the teacher (bless her heart) patiently shows her again how to do All the Things You’re Supposed to do to Avoid Looking Like a Penguin Attempting to Dog Paddle.

I live in the same zip code as Exclusive Subdivision. Well, it’s not actually called Exclusive Subdivision. People around here call it Patriotic Eagle Hawk-Birds who Invisibly yet Condescendingly Guard the Gate. It’s about 2 blocks from Lakes of the Large Stoic Aquatic Bird, next to Excellence in Everything School, which is just across the boulevard from where I live, Grassy Plains of the Imaginary National Monument (press two for English).

Neighborhoods here are funny. Even at the public parks, the official man on the golf cart can kick you out if you don’t live nearby. No, wait. That statement might be confused with something that actually makes a modicum of sense. The official man on the golf cart can kick you out if you’re not carrying a paper card, issued by the community office, which duplicates the address already printed on your driver’s license. These fanc-eh paper cards have a clip-art image of a crested tropical bird, and are only available at the town hall and the grocery store, next to the cigarettes and the whooping cough vaccines.

This spring, when I tried to sign Aveline up for Pee-Wee-Super-Tiny-Bordering-on-Ridiculous Soccer  (the soccer balls used vary between the size of large spring peas and large tomatoes), the soccer organization told me they weren’t permitted to run a soccer team in my neighborhood. The neighborhood association was concerned, they said. Kids without clip-art cards might try to join.

I’ve managed to live here for a few years now without getting a biodegradable ID card, but I do kind of have to duck and run whenever the official man on the golf cart starts trawdling* in my direction. [*not actually a word.]

The ironic thing is, this community isn’t actually high-brow. (I say this with a smidge of authority, since I’ve lived in approximately 4,028 different neighborhoods in my three decades on earth.) In fact, the newspapers here have been buzzing about the latest terror sweeping the streets: Trader Joe’s is coming to town. Being a Californian and interested in such things, I tried reading the news stories about the impending Grand Opening this month. I only got as far as (and I quote), “it’s a hellscape of scarf-wrapped hipsters.”

Apparently nothing strikes fear into the hearts of Patriotic Eagle Hawk-Birds who Invisibly yet Condescendingly Guard the Gate residents like chocolate-covered almonds and seaweed snacks.

Well, I know what I’m noshing on during Aveline’s next swim class.

I’ll leave the scarf at home, though.

Life in Photos, Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: Inside Outside

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Inside Outside, a post on the Oaxacaborn blog

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Inside Outside, a post on the Oaxacaborn blog

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Inside Outside, a post on the Oaxacaborn blog

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Inside Outside, a post on the Oaxacaborn blog

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Inside Outside, a post on the Oaxacaborn blog

Spring here doesn’t approach slowly with neon green buds or opening blossoms. There is no fading ice, no crocuses or daffodils. Spring here is akin to a lobster in a pot of water, temperature unconsciously leaping upward, a baptism by immersion of drenched air and torrential rain until the whole wet world is submerged.

There is one month left between us and hurricane season, between us and and daily electrical storms. One month left until the six-month stretch of tropical storms begin and the canned goods stack up  under the countertop and the gallons of water in the closet are restocked and clocks are reset by the rhythm of cyclical thunder and the afternoons are spent inside.

Inside, outside, inside, outside, inside.

One month left until the sidewalks are rivers and the windows are our constant view to the outside deluge.

I want to see beauty in it this year. I want to see beauty in the spongey grass and the low skies and the waterlogged earth and the thick roadside ponds and the one single shade of green coating it all.  I want to see it for what it is, rather than what it is not. It is not the thin high skies specked with pollen and pine resin and wildfire, it’s not the sun-baked clay earth that shatters into a million immobile pieces every summer, it’s not twisted oak silhouettes or mountain ridges. The sunsets are pastel, not copper, but we are the same people here as we are anywhere.

This is a journey of becoming, after all, and a journey is not where you put on the skids and claw and pound your tent stakes in deeper and rage against the rain. Sojourning means you tend to your fires and your campsite wherever you are, keeping the light alive from dawn to dusk, no matter if you’ll pull up stakes tonight or in three months or in a year. You pull your loves in closer, you keep your eyes to the light, and in the darkness you see the One who pulls the tides and pushes the moon and punctured heaven to give you stars has not failed you yet.

And so you tarry, and so you sojourn, and so you live.

Life in Photos

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Lavender Sky

LIFE IN PHOTOS on the OAXACABORN blog :: Lavender Sky

LIFE IN PHOTOS on the OAXACABORN blog :: Lavender Sky

LIFE IN PHOTOS on the OAXACABORN blog :: Lavender Sky

LIFE IN PHOTOS on the OAXACABORN blog :: Lavender Sky

LIFE IN PHOTOS on the OAXACABORN blog :: Lavender Sky

LIFE IN PHOTOS on the OAXACABORN blog :: Lavender Sky

LIFE IN PHOTOS on the OAXACABORN blog :: Lavender Sky

LIFE IN PHOTOS on the OAXACABORN blog :: Lavender Sky

“Underneath this billboard with my thumb up sticking in the air,
take me to New York, New York or California I don’t care…
…feels like this county line only ties me down…
feels like this interstate just circles back around.”

-Jill Phillips

“Look up, look up it’s like the sky is falling
down on us, on us.
Wake up, wake up it’s just this dream I have,
it’s made for us, for us.

Well, I can’t be anything I’m not;
you get what you see.
But I’m gonna give you everything I got —
I’m not living in the in-between,
I’m not living in the in-between.”

-Bebo Norman

Monday's Pretty Things

MONDAY’S PRETTY THINGS :: Fall, Family, & a Little Bit of Yellow & Blue

This week marks the start of fall here in the Northern Hemisphere, and while Florida’s proximity to the Tropic of Cancer makes the change of seasons less pronounced, the weather is dipping ever so slightly in the autumnal direction. It’s a welcome, if nearly imperceptible change; merely a bit less of an “I’ve instantly been poached” sensation when one steps out of doors.

And while my presence has been scarce here on the blog, it’s been for the best reason possible — family is in town! My heart is beyond happy watching this little face chatter away with “gamma” and “gampa”.

September 2013 - 3 - Milkmaid Braids on a Toddler

September 2013 - 2 - Milkmaid Braids on a Toddler

This seasonal shift always makes me think of yellows and blues, despite these hues often being seen as spring colors. But why should they be confined to just one end of the year? Autumn is full of ever deepening blue skies and — in some parts of the world at least — rich golden leaves.

And so here, on a very non-Monday, is a tiny round-up of pretty things.

The Adventurer Mug - an Anchor Mug - from ModCloth
The Adventurer, a nautical/anchor mug via ModCloth

Plywood Triangles Bunting Banner via AGAINST THE WOODGRAIN on Scout Mob
Plywood triangle banner via Against the Woodgrain on Scout Mob

Sandalwood and Musk soap from Mozi AU's Big Bear Collection
Sandalwood & Musk soap from Mozi‘s Big Bear Collection

Golden State California letterpress print via the Etsy shop 1canoe2
California letterpress print via 1canoe2 on Etsy

Enamelware plates from Best Made Co
Enamelware plates from Best Made Co.

CC1 Square Blouse via Yarnmade Sweden's Cactico line
CC1 Square Blouse via Yarnmade Sweden‘s Cactico line

(Want to see even more pretty things?)

Little Style, Poetry & Words

LITTLE STYLE :: I Toss My Butterfly Net Across Her Laughter, To Remember This Moment (brought to you by Fabkids.com)

Aveline for FabKids.com children's clothes on Oaxacaborn.com - A monthly outfit sent corresponding to your style profile -Children's fashion style blogger

Aveline for FabKids.com children's clothes on Oaxacaborn.com - A monthly outfit sent corresponding to your style profile -Children's fashion style blogger

Aveline for FabKids.com children's clothes on Oaxacaborn.com - A monthly outfit sent corresponding to your style profile -Children's fashion style blogger

Aveline for FabKids.com children's clothes on Oaxacaborn.com - A monthly outfit sent corresponding to your style profile -Children's fashion style blogger

Aveline for FabKids.com children's clothes on Oaxacaborn.com - A monthly outfit sent corresponding to your style profile -Children's fashion style blogger

Aveline for FabKids.com children's clothes on Oaxacaborn.com - A monthly outfit sent corresponding to your style profile -Children's fashion style blogger

I get a little grumpy when it feels like the world is spinning without me, and it seems that way every time the seasons change. Northern California had its first rain on Labor Day, and the red clay drank up the water thirstily, the dust sliding from the waxy Live Oak leaves and running in rivulets into the cracked earth. I know the scent that thirsty ground gives up, and I know the coolness that falls in those drops.

Soon in the Midwest, the mercury will dip and everyone will pull open the bottom dresser drawer, reaching to the back into the sea of only-just-abandoned knit socks. The apples have already started to fall, red and green and sweet-smelling, tumbling from the crooked branches into the leaves and grass. I know the way an orchard apple tastes, seated on the crumbled stone remains of a farm someone once loved and lost.

And I know the faces belonging to all the laughter that rings from the Sierra Nevada in the West across to the northern end of the Mississippi, and I know the threads of family that tie us all together.

And sometimes it seems that everyone, everywhere, just keeps on spinning, dipping from summer into fall and through the winter and back up into spring, while Florida trudges steadily through the humid fog, and I with it. I lose track of whether it’s March or whether it’s September. I lose track of the hemisphere. In the constant green, the constant jungle, the constant rain, the passage of time seems as fluid as the tropical rains that turn sidewalks to streams.

But there is always somewhere I see time. I see it daily, in her rapidly growing face, I see her changing quickly, changing out of my reach and control, changing like the waves that never stay the same shape or height — unless I seize the scene, grasp it breathlessly with the grip of lens, and press it into a stolen moment, flat on the page.

This is what I do with my Aveline Alenka, my little ocean of joy. I toss my butterfly net across her laughter, I blink and remember her golden face for a moment, tucking it away into photographs.

And these photographs sail from the headwaters of the Everglades up to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and across to the Golden State, and they sail into the hearts of waiting family, who see and feel and hear the passage of time through these colors infused with life.

We see the passage of time together, and we are connected. We are connected like the rain that falls across the Sacramento Valley, like the snow that tumbles down the Minnesota pines, like the steam that rises up off the Everglades. We are connected, for we are family, and no side effect of meteorology or geography can ever change that.

Disclosure of Material Relationship: I received a sample Fabkids.com box in exchange for my participation and promotion. All the photographs, opinions, and experiences shared here are in my own words and are my own honest evaluation. Please be assured, I only accept sponsorship opportunities for brands I personally use would recommend to close friends and family, and I will always disclose any such relationships.

Fabkids.com is a subscription service based on your style preferences, allowing you to receive a personalized 3-piece box of children’s clothing and accessories each month. Unlike other subscription box services, Fabkids.com lets you know what that month’s shipment will be ahead of time, so you’ll always love what shows up on your doorstep. Find out more about the styles, outfits and options available — for both boys and girls! — at Fabkids.com.

Little Style

LITTLE STYLE :: JCP Kids Collection #FirstDayLook

Thanks to each of you who commented telling me which JCP Kids Collection #FirstDayLook you loved most!  The Instagram crowd especially got into it, and I have to say, I didn’t expect such a runaway. Almost all of you voted for floral denim. Facebook voters did, too. Crazy, right?

So what did I choose? Well, Aveline definitely went home with “farkley” sparkle shoes and an awesome motorcycle jacket  — you thought I was going to say floral denim, didn’t you? Patience, patience! Aveline is thrilled to have a jacket that almost matches her motorcycle-driving papa’s. (The shoes and coat don’t make an appearance in today’s photos, though, ’cause the temperature was over 90° with a heat index of 100°.)

But here’s what we did wear today!

1 - JCPenney Blogger and Kids' Style - Oaxacaborn's FirstDayLook

6 - JCPenney Blogger and Kids' Style - Oaxacaborn's FirstDayLook

3 - JCPenney Blogger and Kids' Style - Oaxacaborn's FirstDayLook

5 - JCPenney Blogger and Kids' Style - Oaxacaborn's FirstDayLook

8 - JCPenney Blogger and Kids' Style - Oaxacaborn's FirstDayLook

9 - JCPenney Blogger and Kids' Style - Oaxacaborn's FirstDayLook

7 - JCPenney Blogger and Kids' Style - Oaxacaborn's FirstDayLook

21 - JCPenney Blogger and Kids' Style - Oaxacaborn's FirstDayLook

14 - JCPenney Blogger and Kids' Style - Oaxacaborn's FirstDayLook

19 - JCPenney Blogger and Kids' Style - Oaxacaborn's FirstDayLook

12 - JCPenney Blogger and Kids' Style - Oaxacaborn's FirstDayLook 16 - JCPenney Blogger and Kids' Style - Oaxacaborn's FirstDayLook 22 - JCPenney Blogger and Kids' Style - Oaxacaborn's FirstDayLook 24 - JCPenney Blogger and Kids' Style - Oaxacaborn's FirstDayLook 25 - JCPenney Blogger and Kids' Style - Oaxacaborn's FirstDayLook

On Aveline:
Arizona Grey Striped Dress
Ransom Girl™ Solid One-Button Cardigan
Total Girl Mint Faux-Leather L-O-V-E Bracelet (not on website)

Joe Fresh™ Floral-Print Skinny Jeans
Pinky 3/4-Sleeve Chiffon Blouse
Total Girl Black Faux-Leather S-M-I-L-E Bracelet (not on website)

On Gina:
Girlyfied® Striped Dropwaist Dress
Vanilla Star® Denim Cut-offs with Crochet, similar to these

Disclosure of Material Relationship: I received compensation in exchange for my participation in the JCP Kids Collection partnership, and the #FirstDayLook and #MakeItYours campaigns. All the photographs, opinions, and experiences shared here are in my own words and are my own honest evaluation. Please be assured, I only accept sponsorship opportunities for brands I personally use would recommend to close friends and family, and I will always disclose any such relationships.