Thursday, June 30, 2011


My dad... before he was a dad. '66
So my Mother's Day post was something that I wasn't sure I should share... after I posted it, I almost hoped no one would read it but the response from friends and others who'd been in similar situations combined with a giant weight off my chest tells me that it was good decision.
So while I'm at it I may as well tell the other half of the story.
My father is still alive, last I heard. I've barely spoken to him in well over a year, I haven't spoken to him intentionally in over 10, and I'm really not sure I plan to.
I know this seems like a harsh statement, I assure you it is well deserved.
For anyone who thinks you only have one family and I shouldn't shut him out, well, I've heard it before from people who have a knack for debate and they weren't able to sway me, so I doubt you will either. You are welcome to your opinion and I am welcome to mine... but I will attempt to explain. (I'll warn you now, this is very long.)

Growing up with my mom and dad was great. I mean that. My dad worked all day (across the street) and I stayed home with my mother. We lived in a hot third floor apartment with no yard so in the summer we were at the beach after he got out of work almost every weekday and all day most weekends. We went to the closest amusement park a few times a year and the zoo or the circus at least once. I was always allowed to have friends over and encouraged to make new ones but some of my best memories are just of me and my mom, getting ice cream, walking to the park or coloring together. I was an only child until I was 8. I had no idea that I was the only reason my parents were together. I didn't know it was strange that my mom and dad didn't share a bed. The 'daddy snores' excuse seemed well enough for me and most of my friend's parents were divorced so I was already in the minority just by them being together. Maybe it was just because I didn't see him all the time, but I was a Daddy's girl for sure.

We were poor, but I never went without. Wearing the same fancy dress twice didn't bother me because I didn't know there was anything strange about that.
Ignorance really is bliss.
Here's the first time...
Look familiar?

Flash forward to right before my brother was born...
Now, I can't say for certain that the fighting started at this point. It's possible it was going on all along and I just wasn't aware, or maybe they got less adept at hiding it. Maybe the stress of our expanding family triggered something. Maybe I just didn't understand what was happening until this point. All I know is it seems like the moment I got my 'big girl room' (I had shared with my mother up until then) and we started getting ready for my brother, everything started changing. My dad's mother 'Nana' appeared out of nowhere. I found out much later that they had fought before I was born and my father hadn't been speaking to her the whole time, but then it was just new family and more presents!
I LOVE presents. Must. Tell. Everyone.
My brother was born and took my old crib in my mother's bedroom, I got less attention but was also given more freedom. I wasn't home as much but when I was it seemed like my parents were living two different lives, I rarely saw them speak, the hugs and kisses they used to sneak in when I 'wasn't looking' disappeared. We still went to the beach, but my mom sat in the sand with us while my dad stayed at the picnic tables drinking. Stops to the liquor store were now mandatory before (and sometimes after) every outing. Like I said, maybe I just noticed it more or understood it better, maybe it was coincidence... either way, it was the beginning of a long and painful downward spiral.
My life didn't change significantly until my little sister came along. We moved to a new house because our little two bedroom apartment could no longer contain us. It was exciting and scary all at the same time. The new house was a duplex (two floors!) and much bigger than I had ever been in. We had a yard! I had my own big room that my mom decorated. I had a giant four poster bed. We had a shower instead of just a bathtub! Things should have been great.
But my dad had to get a second job driving taxis. Now we barely saw him, and when we did he was snoring on the couch or irritable. We tried to have family dinners together but he started missing them often to work. Now there was beer in the fridge at all times, and rarely was my dad's hand empty of one. I was 11 years old, convinced our new house was haunted and, never able to sleep right, I started listening to my parents fight every night... when my father bothered to come home that is.
Our landlord lived next door with her family, my mom caught on that there was something wrong in that house (I found out just a few years ago that there were domestic violence issues amongst many other things) and I wasn't allowed to play with their 3 kids who were all around my age. We stayed in the house or were ushered off to the park more often than not. We only went out to play in the yard when they weren't home...
My mother blamed my dad for putting us in an unsafe place.
My dad blamed my mom for his having to work all the time to afford it.
This Guy....
Turned into This Guy.
We went to the beach less and less, I withdrew into my own little world and tried to pretend it would all be okay. I hardly saw my dad anymore because it seemed like he had to work all the time.
Then my mother got sick.
My dad lost his day job.
Weekends became trips to the hospital.
Weekdays became getting my brother and sister ready for school and taking care of them after.
When she came home after a few months and a temporary fix, things never got better. She had to move her bedroom downstairs because the trip up and down to the second floor was too difficult. I still had to watch the kids.
My dad was now a silent ghost, slipping into the house occasionally to sleep or shower. Sometimes in the middle of the night so we'd never see him. Once in awhile we'd catch him for just a few minutes during the day. Hardly ever speaking, always drinking. I saw him driving around town in his cab, sometimes there were women in the front seat with him. I never told my mother because even though I wasn't really sure what it meant, I knew she'd be hurt. We almost never saw him sleeping on the couch at night anymore or waking up with us in the morning, he was always 'working'.
The minute he thought my mother had gotten a little better, he was in the weeds.
We went on welfare, we moved to the projects. I was so angry with her for letting him hurt us that I left too shortly after. About a year later, my mother and I developed a relationship again. We started meeting up at the park with the kids, I'd go over for dinner sometimes. She met my boyfriend. Things were getting a little better. 'Dad' was rarely mentioned and I could tell he was a sore subject for her. There was no child support coming in (at the time) and she was living off meager disability checks. Her quality of life was still on the decline, she was now in a wheelchair whenever we'd go out because she was still so weak and would get too tired if she had to walk more than a few steps. Eventually she got very sick again and I moved back home. We started bonding in earnest, she told me how she grew up in the orphanage, how she had never been drunk. We celebrated New Years with cocktails, she told me how she met my dad, how she sometimes wished she had chosen better. We were friends. She was finally becoming a person to me and not just my mom...
She never got better.
I had never been to a funeral before. But there I was with my brother and sister... three kids with a mother gone and just some fading memories of a father. I looked into that cold satin lined box to look at an unrecognizable version of the woman who had once been my mom, made up like a  life sized doll. My dad showed up (more than 20 minutes late) and interrupted the service, he was drunk and screaming and almost knocked the casket over. It was by far the worst thing we could've ever witnessed and it has been burned into my memory forever.
So, did he come back to take care of us after?
I saw him once, two weeks after my birthday because I had to take a cab home from work. He asked if we could stop at a drug store on the way. He picked out a birthday card for me and signed it at the counter.
Then he realized he had no money.
So I had to pay for it.
He left me alone in that shitty little apartment in the projects. Trying to work at a supermarket and get my brother and sister off to school every day, trying to make those disability checks last. Doing laundry and cooking dinner. I was 18 and I was essentially a mother. Not only that, I was a grieving mother to two grieving children. My sister was sad all the time but was too young to understand. My brother understood and was so angry all the time that I couldn't bear it. Needless to say, this arrangement didn't last long. I had to admit that I was in over my head. The kids went to foster care and I was on my own with 30 days to find somewhere to go. During that time my sister ran away and found her way back to me so many times that I was eventually told we couldn't see one another any more until she had 'adjusted' or she was 18. My brother wanted nothing to do with me, thinking I had just given up on them because I was selfish. My dad was nowhere to be found.
Eventually I got on my own two feet again but it was a long and rocky journey and I made quite a few bad decisions on the way. Somehow I survived and when my dad drank himself out of his job and became homeless, he came looking for me. He camped out on the front steps of my house, asking for money. Asking his 21 year old daughter for a couch to sleep on. I moved to Boston and a few other places and when I came back I saw him at a bus station and he yelled at me that I was his daughter and he had the right to see me, he asked me for money again. I avoided him and had occasional sightings for a few years, he was always drunk. I found out he was living at a homeless shelter. I worked very hard to let it go and move on with my life and I was pretty successful.
About two years ago he found me at a bar I was working at. He had been banned from this bar but they allowed him back because he was my family and the owner was convinced I needed to repair our relationship because my dad was 'trying'. He looked like shit, something was wrong with his eyes, they were yellow from all the drinking and smoking, but it wasn't just that. He was gone. The dad I knew at age eight was no longer there. I didn't know him and I couldn't understand a word he said and, big surprise, I never saw him sober. The only thing he was 'trying' to do was get drunk for free and embarrass me. When I left shortly before I got pregnant, I thought I would never see him again.
Well, he's found my address but I think he's lost his mind. About a month ago (right before father's day... coincidence?) he started sending me holiday cards, but for the wrong holiday. First was a blank Christmas card with a note that said 'Just checking that this is your address, no biggie' and the most recent was a Thanksgiving card from a local food bank, also blank, with a SASE.
He doesn't know about Aurora. He doesn't really know anything about me.
A strange side effect of starting my own family was the desire to have mine back. I had been back in touch with my little sister and I wanted to start building our relationship(my brother is a different, long story). I got in touch with a few relatives whom I had cut out of my life for not helping us when my mother died and I let go of all that resentment. I had this pressing need to forgive everyone who had wronged me in the past and to give up on old grudges. I made peace with quite a few people in the days leading up to Aura's birth and a couple more afterwards. I've spoken to just about every 'bad boyfriend' I ever had.
The only loose end was and is him.
I'm not sure it can ever be tied...


Guest post from: Kent Lara

What is it about being in this big, empty house that creeps me out so much? I have this sinking feeling that the place is haunted which sounds crazy, I know, but things just move around when they’re not supposed to and sometimes I just feel like there’s someone watching me. Have any of you guys ever experienced anything with the paranormal? When my husband started working so many nights I went to found a home alarm that could protect me from all the earthly invaders, but now that I’m home alone I realize it’s not what’s outside the house, it’s inside that scares me so much. My husband thinks I’m just being paranoid but I swear there’s something in here with me! I guess all I can hope is that it’s a friendly ghost and they’re just trying to hang out and that it doesn’t want to hurt me at all. No more Ghost Adventures right before bed for this girl…that was the worst decision ever!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My sponsor & ad dilemma...

I've been approached about sponsors and ad space as well as an offer to host a guest blogger in exchange for a pay per click on links she would use in the post. Sounds good right?
Well the issue is, when I started this blog the idea of using it to make income was the furthest thing from my mind. I signed up for the AdSense account assuming it would maybe add up to maybe a pack of diapers a year (I'll be lucky if it even comes close!) but the thought of actually making money to live off never even occurred to me. First of all, I didn't really know it was possible since I'd never really had the opportunity with other sites I was on. Secondly, it seemed a strange thing to me... that people were getting paid to influence others on their personal blogs. Now that it has become an immediate possibility I'm torn.
I joined networks and made friends and followers with the intent of sharing my opinions and writing about my life as a single mama trying to work from home and raise my little girl. I didn't intend to ever use those connections and the traffic to my blog that resulted for any monetary gain and doing so makes me a little uncomfortable.
On the other hand, I only make so much from my freelance writing jobs. I host an event at my local bar once a month but it isn't enough to cover the bills. I'm trying to start my own business and I plan to start painting a series of nursery pictures to sell. I'm determined to do every single thing I can (within reason) to make working from home actually work. I don't want us to struggle. So... every little bit helps right?

So... mama's who accept sponsors:
How do you pick among them?
Do you often find yourselves promoting things that you would never actually use?
Is the extra income worth it?

via Cafe Press (and no, I didn't get paid for it haha)
I think I'm going to try this on a super small scale and see how it works. So... bear with me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A little about me...

I started this blog originally without intending to make it public. I had done blogging as a teenager and into my early twenties via LiveJournal and for a brief stint on MySpace... while they were both public forums my audience was limited to friends and friends once-removed for the most part. Blogging has gotten so much bigger since then and this community is huge and more than a little intimidating. One of the things about going live with this blog that worried me was the truly public format. I'm usually a relatively private person. I have opinions about everything and I voice them often but the majority of personal subjects tend to stay close to home.
Until now.
Even if I were to attempt to limit the scope of this blog, no doubt it would develop a life of it's own just like the others before it. I looked back at the posts I wrote when I figured very few people would be allowed to read it and realized that I didn't want to edit them just because I had committed to multiplying that number indefinitely. So to limit posts after that didn't really make sense either. This blog has been public for about a month now and I've already gotten more support and a bigger following than I expected. I'm completely happy with my decision to open up and share our lives with you and I look forward to the friendships that have yet to be formed. So for everyone who doesn't know me in real life, here are a few things about me:
-I'm 31 but I still feel 25. I've felt 25 since I was 15.
-I live with my beautiful baby girl, who was the inspiration for this whole project, and my best friend in a city I love more than anywhere else I have ever been (and I've been all over the country.)
-No, Aurora's 'father' is not in the picture. Mutual decision? Sort of. More about that in future posts I'm sure.
-I am determined to do the best I can at everything I attempt. I want to do everything better than the majority of people who have done it before me. If I am going to do something I am unfamiliar with, I research and ask questions and use my instincts and common sense to be sure I do it right. Parenting is my latest challenge and I am approaching it no differently...
-I love reading, writing and anything and everything creative and artistic.
-I am always honest and often super opinionated. This has gotten me into a few less-than-civil 'conversations'. If I have an opinion about something it is virtually impossible to make me back down. That being said, I will always admit when I am wrong. Having opinions and being pigheaded are two very separate things.
-I'm not one of those people who says 'I want my kid to have everything I didn't'. It's not true. I want her to have everything I DID. I have nothing but fond memories of my childhood (it was the decade between ten and twenty that got a little dicey). I always felt loved and cared for and I can only hope that one day my little girl will be able to say the same.
-I love food and anything relating to it. I used to work in restaurants but the kitchen atmosphere was a real soul crusher and kept me from enjoying cooking in my personal life. So I quit. Now I'm back to cooking, baking, scouring farmer's markets, writing and adapting recipes, trying every new thing I can find... One of my main goals in parenting is being sure that Aura develops a healthy relationship with food. Does this mean food posts in the future? Probably!
-When I was growing up my mother was always home with me. We did everything together. It was a luxury that most kids don't have these days and I'm committed to making sure that Aurora does. There may be a few days here and there when she'll have to be watched while I work, but I don't want that to be the norm for her. Truth be told, I'm still not sure how I'm going to accomplish this, but I'm willing to do the work and fight for it.
-Music is terribly important to me. 'Some people believe in god, I believe in music. While other's pray, I turn up the radio.' I'm surprised and a little bummed about the source of that quote (a 30 Seconds to Mars video?!!?) but I couldn't have said it better myself.
-I love being outside and just the smell of the ocean makes all of my hair stand on end... in the best way possible. Nothing feels more perfect to me than the sun on my shoulders and the wind in my hair, except maybe my little bean's breath on my cheek. Combine all three and I have no need for heaven, I am already there...

So that's it. Me in a nutshell. I look forward to getting to know all of you as well!

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, June 20, 2011

Our Weekend: Parties and Pride!!

This weekend was a pretty eventful one! Friday we went to a BBQ. Aurora got to see her friend Declan who is less than a month older than her. They were wearing coordinated outfits! (Accidentally, I swear.) She wore an orange top with an orange plaid skirt and he was in blue with matching plaid shorts! I love when she gets a chance to be around other babies who are  in the same place developmentally as she is...
Aura hanging out with her friend Declan again!
Saturday was our 'family outing' at Providence's Gay PRIDE festival (we may have given off the wrong impression being two ladies walking around with a baby carriage, but I'm fine with that!) Aurora was the life of the party as always!
Here are some pictures:
All dressed up and ready to go mingle!
She wore those sunglasses for 5 seconds before eating them.
Taking a break from the noise and the sun @The Wild Colonial in Providence
Yesterday we had Father's Day brunch with my roomie/bestie's family and then off to another BBQ!!
@ Julian's in Providence... Sitting in a big girl chair and eating at the table! 
Checking out the grass at our friend Nikki's house that evening...
Ok. This one is from today, but how cute is she in that carriage?!!
So that was our weekend in a nutshell. So busy and tiring, but well worth it! We had a ton of fun!!
And on the crawling front, we're pretty much there....

...only, backwards...

We're starting swim classes next week!! So excited, I can't wait! 
Hope everyone else had a great weekend!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Why baby-led weaning wasn't (entirely) for me...

So here's one of the posts that I told (warned) everyone about. Call it a test of sorts. This post contains my opinions only. Not an argument for or against any particular parenting choice (or also religion in this case... yeah, I went there). I'm not inviting, nor do I care to hear any negative or drama causing comments. If you are offended by this or any post or feel your opinions are superior to mine, feel free to contact me directly about it. I don't care to hash things out publicly over the internet. So far I have faith that most of my followers are supportive and open minded people, I hope that I am right.

Ok... now that that is out of the way, let's get on with it. Happy thoughts everyone!

I don't subscribe entirely to any one style of parenting, much like I can't commit to any particular religion. I tend to pick the bits I like and agree with the most from each and leave the rest... It's not that I don't believe or identify with any of them (religion or parenting style).
As a matter of fact in my pursuit of self education in both I've come across things that are insightful and exciting... I've been inspired!
I think:
Wow, this makes so much sense!
I get it, I GET it, I get it!!! Yes!!
and then...
That is too much.
Aaaaaand, I'm done.
I feel parenting styles, like religions, all share these amazing ideas and then there this one or two things specific to each that are totally overboard. Again, in my opinion.
Take Catholicism... love everyone (good), do unto others as you would have done unto you (good), our church is the only church (Wait...) original sin i.e. spend your life repenting for what happened before you existed (What??)
Buddhism... love everyone (good), do unto others as you would have done unto you (good), renounce conventional living and all earthy pleasures and possessions (Wait...) meditate until you become god (What??)

I'm sure you can already see where this is going... you may even have parenting philosophies in mind where you've said the same thing. I'm not going to talk about them now, though I probably will eventually.

What I'm talking about right now is Baby Led Weaning. This is one of those instances where at first I was like, whoa... what a great idea! Then I started to really think about it and it didn't entirely sit well with me. In terms of Aura and I specifically. I totally agree with developing hand-eye coordination and chewing and also exploring through touch, taste and smell. I liked the idea of baby being able to explore food at their own pace. But instinctively (there's that all important word again) I knew that there were a few things that wouldn't mesh for us. So, like most things so far, we're almost on board... but there are a few modifications to make it work for us.
First of all, on the pro side, Aurora doesn't eat store bought baby food. There were one or two instances at first when she did and the results made me even more determined that it won't happen again. As a matter of fact, I am so against commercial (particularly jarred) baby food that it may be the one and only parenting choice I'd actually be willing to debate. Bake a sweet potato, mash it and put it in a bowl next to a jar of sweet potato baby food, now pick which one you want to eat... end of debate. But see, even here I'm willing to give a little (and I mean a real little) WIC currently will only provide jarred baby food for babies 6 months to a year and stops giving fruit and veggie checks. I personally donate the food to a food kitchen because I don't want it and I have access to farmer's markets and inexpensive local food sources and time to make my own. Do I expect everyone to have that luxury... honestly, no, of course not. But I do frown upon WIC for not giving moms the option. Yet another story for another time. I digress.
I don't buy commercial food for Aura but I do feed her purees. The main reason being, quite simply that I believe babies should be exposed to as many different foods as possible (within reason of course) early in life.  Food is a very big part of my life. I've worked in restaurants and I cook almost every day. I love trying new foods and recipes. I want my daughter to feel the same and to develop a healthy relationship with food. Purees are the best and easiest ways for her to experience new flavors and tastes. I have introduced her to finger foods already but there is a limit to how many things Aurora can feed herself. At the moment she can just about handle those Happy Baby cereal puffs and she's had bits of banana, cut up cooked carrots and avocado.
Aura LOVES avocados!

However, she's already eaten about twenty different types of pureed food so far (and she loves oatmeal!) which I feed her with a spoon. Her purees are much thicker than the stuff they sell for babies her age, but she does not mind at all. She 'chews' them up just fine. But like I said, I do feed her myself along with giving her finger foods. For one, it's less messy and she seems much more satisfied at the end of a feeding. For two, I think it will help her develop a better idea that mealtimes are for eating not playing and last but not least, this way I don't need to cook
Green Beans!
everything to death so that it's soft enough for her to pick up and eat but not choke on. Not to mention the fact that she's more content trying (and often failing) to get those pesky nibbles in her mouth if she has something to actually eat while she's trying.
If you think she'd be better off only feeding herself... well, tell her that when she's frustrated and kicking her feet and banging her hands because she wants the food in her mouth NOW. She's a hungry girl and she likes eating. I'm more than willing to help, even if it means I'm doing it 'wrong'.
One of my 'issues' with full on BLW is that I feel there's this aspect of 'Here kid, if you want to eat you have to figure out how to do it all by yourself.' As a mother I feel it's my job to feed her first and foremost. I completely agree that it is helpful to start early with self feeding so that she'll be able to do these things on her own soon. I just don't feel that six months is the time to start cutting them loose and backing away. Also, I want her to stay excited about food and really want to eat solids, not just play and explore and get them in her mouth occasionally until she figures it out. Again, just my opinion... 
I had originally started whole tirade just to introduce a new section which I originally posted on the blog for my local baby food biz called What Aurora's been eating! I think I'm going to start posting it on this blog instead and linking back in reverse. The other blog is being pretty neglected lately and I feel like it's a better fit here anyway. Apparently I got carried away.
And, on that note, I think this has gone on long enough... sometimes I go off on tangents. I apologize.
Sleepy delirium is kicking in. Good night all.
Positive comments only please.
Thanks! <3

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New to First Comes Baby?

A few quick things... first of all, nice to meet you!! This is my first sincere attempt at blogging in about 8 years or so. I used to be quite the LiveJournal addict and had a pretty solid following and made some great friends. I'm so glad I have all of those memories in print and some of those friendships are still going strong to this day. It's strange to look back at your life or your writing in particular and see how far you've evolved as a person. Some of the things that meant the world to me then are just foggy memories today and events that seemed devastating to the 18yr old me would just roll off 31yr old me's shoulders. I thought briefly about paying to change the name of my old blog (name change was definitely a MUST!) and just picking up where I left off but I guess life ran away with me and I've definitely outgrown it. So on to this new chapter (and blog) of my life and new friendships that will hopefully be going strong years from now.
I actually started this blog about a year ago when I discovered I was pregnant with my perfect little peanut but insecurity about this huge blogger community kept me from going live with it until a couple months ago. But I'm so glad I did!
It seems that my commitment to diving headfirst into this mommyblogging community has started to pay off! In just the last three days I not only went from a meager 5 followers to more than 20 but I'm also in the top 50 over at TopBabyBlogs! This has already led me to a small ongoing freelance gig that I can add to my growing list of stay at home work that I can do to support me and the bean. I really couldn't be happier about the support I've gotten so far, not to mention the amazing comments! I mean, I know my kid is cute... but it's always good to hear that other people agree!
Anyway, thanks for following and helping me feel comfortable with this new endeavor!! I look forward to reading your blogs and getting to know each of you!

**UPDATE- I've decided to set this up as a welcome page of sorts for people who are new to my blog.
So... welcome!
Here's a few links so you can catch up if you'd like!
About me.
About the name.
My views on 'The great mommy wars'.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Aura's latest firsts!

Prepare yourselves! The last two weeks have been full of giant leaps and firsts for my little bean. I tried to pare down the photos a bit but it was so hard to choose! Here's what we've seen and done this month so far:
We took our first trip to the Zoo!! 

Aurora liked the egret.

She also seemed to like penguins.

However, did not care for the flamingos.

Or the giraffes. 

She's learned to sit up big and tall!!!

We visited out local creature shop!

Big Nazo Studios. So creepy but in an awesome way!!

Slowly learning to feed herself...

But as you can see still making BIG messes!

We've graduated to a big girl carseat!!

And played in the big box it came in!

AAANNND... we've got belly clearance!! Crawling is next!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

DIY baby sandals by yours truly!!

We had plans to go to our neighborhood farmers market today but the weather in Providence has been wacky lately and the heavy thunderstorms left us housebound. Of course today Aurora decided to take the longest naps ever so I actually had time to do something not internet related! I stumbled upon a How To for fancy lady sandals using a pair of cheap flip flops and scraps of fabric. While I'm not sure I dig the style for grown ups it gave me a great idea! Old Navy has little baby flip flops like these:
My only issue with these is that I feel like the plastic bit that goes between the toes is a little too thick for such teensy tootsies and I already don't dig shoes on babies so feeling like they'd be uncomfortable to boot killed them for me. That being said, I thought they were so adorable that several times I considered going back on that decision. Once I saw this DIY flip flop trick I knew this would be the perfect use for it!
So I made this double handy by getting the flip flops on sale (not a huge deal since they're only $3.50 normal priced) and using an old onesie that Aura had outgrown. Genius, if I do say so myself. I can give a step by step but I think even minimally crafty people will get the basic idea, so I'll keep it simple. The first step was to cup off the plastic straps and pull them off along with the little plugs on the bottom that keep them in. Then you take four strips of fabric (I knew I'd need two longish and two shorter ones... but you can always adjust and trim later) for each sandal. Two get threaded through the middle hole and knotted underneath (the knot will tuck into the hole created by the original plastic stopper) Then the other ends and one end of the longer pieces  get threaded through each side and knotted. I put her foot in for this step so I could make sure the tops fit perfectly before tying the knot. So now they looked like this:
Makes sense so far right?
So after that all it took was a little trimming, a finish V cut to prevent fraying and a little bow added to the tops just because and those original cute but boring flip flops turned into these:

So there you have it, a cheap pair of flip flops, some scraps of cloth and about 20 minutes and you have awesome one of a kind sandals for your wee one! Best part is there's no sewing required unless you are super  picky about rough edges (I like them) or you are using a very delicate fabric that you need to layer. I left the straps in the back long enough to tie either behind or in front of the ankle but that's personal preference. I haven't gotten a picture of them on her yet but I'll attempt to rectify that soon as well as try to dig up the link for the adult version.
I've got to say, I'm feeling pretty proud of myself right about now...

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