Back to School – already?

by Lain Ehmann on August 23, 2011

We went out back-to-school shoe shopping last night. It’s one of my favorite traditions of this season for several reasons:

1. I love shoes! It seems like the choices for kids just get better and better as time goes by. Glitter, rhinestones, ribbons… anything goes.  A far cry from the brown saddle oxfords that were MY back to school shoes in kindergarten 100 years ago! (But I do remembering adoring those shoes… and I tried to talk my son into getting some this time around but he just rolled his eyes at me. Geez. Teenagers!)

2. The kids HAVE to go. It’s hard to get all three to go together on a single shopping trip. I can understand — Ben doesn’t want to hang out at Justice, and the girls are bored stiff in the young men’s department. I get it. But with shoes, I can’t buy things for them; they have to be there to try them on. It’s the perfect excuse for a family shopping trip.

3. It’s finite. There’s not much argument because it’s a closed-ended event. We go to one store (Johnston & Murphy for Ben; Nordstrom for the girls) and they have a set budget. They can buy pretty much whatever they want within that budget, but that’s it (it usually comes out to two pair each, but Ben’s shoes are so expensive he came home with only one). Then there’s no discussion about visiting another store, or dragging it on further. One and done.

4. It’s fun. Because we’re all together, I’m happy. Because we have a clear end point, Ben is happy. Because they get to make their own choices, the girls are happy. We’re all happy! And then dinner at the food court and c’est tout!

This year, I particularly loved Callie’s face when I told her yes, she could get the high-top blue sparkly sneakers:

I remember being that thrilled about certain things in life… a new backpack, an unexpected replacement lunchbox… we didn’t have a ton of spare money when I was growing up, so all these things meant a lot to me! I love seeing that same look of appreciation on my own kids’ faces, and I consciously seek out ways to bring it to light.

Those ways don’t have to be huge. It could be a fun lunch surprise on the first day of school (pirate cheese anyone?), a new notebook, or just a special ritual for that back to school morning. This year, with three kids in three different schools, arranging something for our family is going to be tough. But I’ll do my best!

I’m also going to head over to to check out some of the fun customizable back to school supplies, gear, and more. The lunchbox notes are always a big favorite of mine (I’ll show you how I created some simple photo ones later this week).

Even if school has already started this year for your kids, it’s not too late to do something special. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time — just a little bit of love. 🙂

P.S. This post was sponsored by TinyPrints.


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