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Tuesday Travels: Step into Spring

Welcome to Tuesday Travels, a weekly series at Traveling with Baby.  This weekly series will also features ideas for local day trips and  travel tips for families with kids-in-tow.  You’ll also find related product reviews and giveaways.  I enjoy hearing about your traveling adventures, too.

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Dapper

Snazzy

My incredibly handsome boy looks super sharp in his new Augustin shoes ($40) by See Kai Run.

The first Sunday he jazzed his toes with these ritzy See Kai Run shoes from their Spring ’10 collection, he dashed ahead of us in the parking lot…and, he scuffed his toe.

Isn’t that the nature of new children’s shoes.  They will get a nick or a streak within exactly five minutes of outdoor wear.

Okay, maybe that’s just me and my offspring.  I remember, as a child, wearing bright white shoes with bows on the front.  I pranced around in them and twirled in my spring dress.  Before church was over, I had at least three black scuff marks on them and the glaring eyes of my mother affixed firmly on my forehead.

It just runs in the family.  The tendency to scuff shoes…not the glaring eyes.  Really.

See Kai Run shoes and soles are super flexible and comfortable for small feet.  However, that soft and pliable leather also means they’re a little more susceptible to scrapes and scratches from the regular rough and tumble of little kids.

Honestly, I never noticed the lack of durability in See Kai Run until AFTER I posted a review of the Logan boots last summer.  Two weeks after that post published, I noticed the pretty gray toes of his boots were wearing thin to soft brown leather underneath.

See Kai Run children shoes show wear and tear faster than other toddler shoes on the market that were tested by my son. Must be due to the buttery soft sheepskin leather upper.  They’re soooo comfortable, but the drawback is that they’re a scuff-magnet.

Honestly, I’d rather have my son wear shoes that attract nicks and scuffs that also provide extreme comfort and flexibility and encourage proper gait patterns, than extra heavy shoes that cause him to walk around like he’s wearing buckets on his feet.

See Kai Run’s Augustin are hands-down my son’s favorite pair of shoes in his closet at present–a top pick among 5 brands and styles!

1) The best thing about See Kai Run? Their unparalleled design aesthetic in children’s shoes.  Gorgeous.  Stunning.

2) Second best thing is the comfortable, springy design.

In the future, I’d love to see the shoe designers find a more durable surface (brushed suede, perhaps), that takes the beatings of childhood with more grace than the smooth leather of the present line.  Other than that, don’t change a thing!

See Kai Run’s Ariana in orange

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED

*WIN IT*

I’m sooo excited about spring!  I want to help you put some spring into your toddler’s step.  Traveling with Baby is teaming up with See Kai Run to offer a reader a pair of the fresh shoes (retail value $40) from Smaller or See Kai Run. Yay Spring!  ‘Tis the luck o’ the Irish! Happy Easter!

YOUR TURN: I want to know what See Kai Run or Smaller style and size would you choose for your little one? Also, what do you love about spring?

Extra credit:

FOR A SECOND ENTRY: Blog about this giveaway, then leave a comment with a link to your post.

FOR A THIRD ENTRY: Follow @drdolly and @seekairun and tweet about this giveaway, then leave a second comment telling me that you did with a link to your tweet.

FOR A FOURTH ENTRY: Fan See Kai Run on Facebook for the latest glimpse into new styles and great savings!

FOR A FIFTH ENTRY: Fan Traveling with Baby on Facebook for latest recipes, giveaways, and more.

FOR A SIXTH ENTRY: Subscribe to Traveling with Baby by e-mail (upper right side-bar entry form).

Note: This giveaway closes at 11:59 PM on March 23rd. Winners will be selected via random.org shortly thereafter.

*I received a sample pair of shoes from See Kai Run for the purpose of this review.  Read my full disclosure policy.
*UPDATE: Congratulations to the winner, #9 Jessica!

See Kai Run Springs Forward

The first signs of spring are starting to emerge.  Budding blossoms on the trees, colorful daffodils beginning to surface, and birds singing sweetly in the morning.  Instead of the wintry snowy and icy mix, there is the refreshing and cleansing rain.  Warm weather intermittently surfaces to bring signs of hope that these cold spells will soon break.  I love spring!

Stylin’

See Kai Run and Smaller, my favorite baby and toddler shoe line, is also a fan of spring, and they’ve recently released 31 fresh new styles for the season.  To get your little one ready for the warm weather and outdoor playtime, check out their latest spring styles in baby and toddler shoes.

skr-cameron-sky1skr-jenae1

Winter Sale

See Kai Run (for ages 6 months to 3 years) and Smaller (ages 0 to 6 months) are currently having a winter sale.  Save up to 25% on selected styles of baby and toddler shoes.

smaller-finn

skr-grayson

Why I love See Kai Run

I recently ordered the fun and durable Grayson brown leather sandals for my son.  I love that the reinforced stitching adds a stylish and practical dimension to help the shoe last and last.   The toe protection in the front will help prevent those inevitable bumps  and toe stubs that a new walker will invariably encounter.  Yet, the aerated upper will keep his feet cool in the balmy Virginia summer months.  These toddler shoes will hold up well for my little guy and any successive little ones that end up with these cool shoes as hand-me-downs.  They’re easy to strap on and off with velcro.  Once he’s got more motor coordination, it’ll be helpful for my son to learn to take his shoes off and help to put them on.

My favorite feature is the sole.  It’s tough enough to protect my son’s feet when he walks on our gravel driveway, yet it’s flexible enough to help him learn to balance and roll his foot through the entire gait pattern of walking, instead of plodding and stomping along with inflexible rubber soles as he’s tried in other brands.  See Kai Run has the American Podiatric Medical Association’s seal of acceptance, but this Chiropractor Mom also gives this line 2 thumbs up for its innovative and stylish design for developing feet!skr-carter

smaller-kieran

See Kai Run Gives Back

I love supporting a mom-owned store that also gives back to others in need.  In their November/December 2008 “Share a Pair” matching event, See Kai Run donated over 9700 pairs of shoes to Soles4Souls.
*WIN IT*

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

As part of the festivities at the Ultimate Blog Party 2009, See Kai Run has teamed up with Traveling with Baby to give a pair of shoes (retail value $50) from the See Kai Run or Smaller line to one blessed winner.  You can earn up to six entries to win a pair!

Please follow directions.  Ineligible entries will be removed.

1. To enter, visit See Kai Run’s and Smaller’s new spring line of baby and toddler shoes.  Come back here and leave a comment about your fave style and size, and for whom you’d like to win a pair.

2. Earn a second entry by blogging about the giveaway and linking to Traveling with Baby using “See Kai Run Giveaway” as the title in your blog’s post.  Then, leave a comment with a link to your post.  Non-bloggers can participate by e-mailing a link to this contest to 5 friends, and carbon copy me (drgarnecki at gmail dot com).

3. Earn a third entry by subscribing to Traveling with Baby.  Leave a comment saying “subscribed” with the e-mail address you used.

4. Follow me on twitter (drdolly) and tweet about this contest.  Leave a comment saying you tweeted and follow me.

5. Earn a fourth entry by subscribing to See Kai Run’s e-mail list.  Leave a comment with the e-mail address you used.

6. Enter my other Ultimate Blog Party 2009 giveaway for Boon Bath Fun.  Leave a comment “entered Boon giveaway.”

Leave a valid e-mail address, so I can contact you to claim your prize, or it’ll go to another amazing person.  This contest is open to U.S. and Canada shipping addresses only.  Sorry to those of you who live across the pond.

This contest runs until 11:59PM (EST) on March 31, 2009.

One winner will be randomly selected (via random.org) and announced on this post and e-mailed sometime shortly after March 31st. If a winner doesn’t respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.

UPDATE

Winner has been drawn and e-mailed.

See Kai Run, Jump, and Splash – Giveaway

logoLet your toddler run in style!  Any company who shares a middle name with my son is tops in my book (they already have great taste!).  But, how about flexible rubber soft-soled shoes that are stylin’?

skr-dominicEven if your little one can’t literally walk on water, at least he can jump in puddles and still keep his feet dry.

Forget booties, See Kai Run new fall line offers boots with soul for non-stop tromping fun.  The side zipper allows easy on-off, and for only $2 add the lux option of faux fur for extra warmth in the winter. There’s the mean, black, biker-inspired Dominic boot, and the purple grape star and striped Riley for your little fashionista, or the burnt orange Steph boots for your little Texas Longhorn.  That’s just a sampling–there are many, many more!

Bowling shoes meet bright, fresh colorful fun in the Bent, Boden, and Larkin styles.skr-yuna

Mary Janes—yeah, baby.  Work it.  So many darling styles for your little princess and diva.  I love the flower detailing on the black and white Emilie, and, the strappy, fire engine-red Yuna.

My son tried the Dominic with the faux-fur lining.  PLUSH!  Super toasty toes for a rainy autumn and snowy 420x300_julie_sidewinter.  I love how it’s easy to put ’em on with the side zip and how the flexible rubber bottoms move with his feet from heel strike to toe-off in the gait pattern of walking…perfect for a young toddler still figuring out his way with balance.

When you purchase a pair of stylin’ See Kai Run shoes, you’re also sharing a pair of shoes with a child in need.  For every pair sold on seekairun.com in the months of November and December, See 420x300_paul_pairKai Run will donate a pair to a child in need through Soles4Souls and local organizations in the Seattle, Washington area. It’s the season of giving – give a pair and share a pair!

See Kai Run comes in sizes 3 through 9, but check out their Smaller line for  infants and Eleven line for bigger kiddos (ages 3 through 8).

**WIN IT**

To enter, visit See Kai Run’s NEW Fall Line, then come back here and leave a comment on which style and size you’d love to win and who you’re winning it for.  Be sure to leave your e-mail address so I can contact you, or another winner will be selected.

One winner will receive a pair of shoes from See Kai Run.  The winner can select any style, whether it’s the fall line or not.  Picking only one–that’s your toughest choice!

Only one entry per person.  Multiple entries will be removed.  The contest for See Kai Run shoes ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on November 13th.

The winners will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post shortly after November 13th. Provide your e-mail address, so I am able to contact you.  The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to another amazing participant.

–by Dr. Dolly

**UPDATE**

Congratulations to the winner! Heather Prenger who said, “I would love to try the Paul in size 4 for Jack! Lately he has been doing much better at keeping his shoes on! Good thing since winter is approaching!”

Buskins: Baby Shoes for On-the-Go!

I love soft-soled baby shoes.  I was stoked when I learned my fave baby socks company, Jazzy Toes, had purchased Buskins Australian-made soft-leather baby shoes.  I like these way better than other brands that incorporate elastic around the ankle because those always seemed to leave red marks after my son wore them for a long time.  Buskins fasten with velcro, so you have the option to make them as loose or as tight as you desire.

There are many cute styles to choose from and a variety of sizes.  The soft soles help with grip and proprioception (awareness of body position in space) as new walkers familiarize themselves with their first steps.

Buskins baby shoes are categorized into shoes, boots, and sandals.  So, you have options to protect baby’s feet year-round, regardless of the climate.

I tried out the navy leather hoppers on Calvin, and love them!  They are cut a bit narrow compared to other shoes.  But, the velcro fasteners make it so simple to size the appropriate width for growing feet.  Also, the Buskins site mentioned that the Sandoolz are also cut smaller, so pick the next larger size for your child.  I wish these buttery soft shoes came in my size because my closet would be chock-full of them!  So soft.  So stylish.  So awesome.

**WIN IT**

Buskins is offering 2 pairs of shoes for 2 Traveling with Baby winners!  One winner will receive a pair of Buskins PARTEES baby shoes for girls in either pink or white.  Another winner will receive a pair of Buskins HOPPER baby shoes for boys in tan suede.  Retail value $28 for each prize.

To enter, visit Buskins site and check out the amazing shoe selection for babies.  Then, leave a comment on this post on which product you’d like to win and for whom you’d like to win it!  Only one comment per person.  Multiple entries will be deleted.  The contest for Buskins ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on Saturday, August 23rd. The winner will be announced on Monday, August 25th.

The winner for each prize and 2 alternates will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post. If you provide your e-mail address, I will contact you. The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to the first alternate to contact me with a shipping address.

UPDATE

Congratulations to the winners!

BOYS’ BUSKINS:

The winner of the boys’ hoppers in tan suede is Leslie, on August 19th, 2008 at 11:50 am who said: “I like the Hopper shoes for boys in Tan/Navy!”

ALTERNATES:

Jamie, on August 20th, 2008 at 12:28 pm Said: “I love to win the hoppers for my baby boy. I went to their site. I think the Hopper Star in Navy are so cute!”

Stephanie V, on August 20th, 2008 at 1:42 pm Said: “The Hopper Suede shoes for my baby boy please!

GIRLS’ BUSKINS:

The winner of the girls’ hoppers in the winner’s choice of pink or white is Michelle, on August 20th, 2008 at 11:20 am who said: “I would like to win the Partees Pink Baby Shoes for our baby due in the new year.”

ALTERNATES:

Liz C, on August 23rd, 2008 at 7:41 pm Said: “I adore the Amanda in Pink, Lime Flower and Hot Pink Dot they are so cute. As to the giveaway I would be happy with the Hopper or the Partees since they would be a Present to one of my grandchildren”

Erin H., on August 19th, 2008 at 10:15 am Said: “I’d be so pleased to win the Partees Shoes in white for our little girl. Thanks for the contest!”

Lavish Baby’s Tootsies with ShooShoos

According to Guyton’s Medical Physiology, there are 5 Righting Reflexes of the body: 2 in the eyes and 3 in the body including the head, neck, and feet. The purpose of these Righting Reflexes is to keep the brain level. That’s why people sometimes lose their balance when they close their eyes. One’s awareness of the body’s position in space, or proprioception, is also significantly affected by the neuroreceptors on the soles of the feet.

When a baby first learns how to roll his body while turning his head to the side, he is engaging those righting reflexes. Again, those neural receptors are engaged in the feet when a baby is first learning to walk. That’s why it’s so important to let baby explore barefoot to better develop the proprioceptors and mechanoreceptors on the soles of the feet.

However, if baby has to wear shoes (baby’s not walking around at home), then it’s beneficial to wear soft-soled shoes to prevent ankle rolling and to encourage sensory development in the feet. Did you ever imagine walking and baby shoes could be so technical. I love neurology and I love babies . . . so, you get a little of both when you read Traveling with Baby. So, if you can have a soft-soled baby shoe that benefits baby AND one that includes fabulous taste in design, you win with both form and function. Not to fret, Shooshoos offers appeal in both categories.

Calvin received his first pair of all natural leather ShooShoos as a gift. I loved how easy it was to slip ’em on, yet how tough it was impossible for him to remove them even with adamant kicking. For that reason, his socks NEVER stayed on over the winter, and most baby booties were way too small for my little guy’s big feet. The ShooShoos were awesome . . . until he quickly grew out of them. That’s why I recently ordered another pair, this time in dark brown suede. They’re super soft and they look adorable on him.

ShooShoos are sized for 0 to 24 months in designs that are appealing to both boys and girls. The designs include sandals, sport laces, side laces, t-bar, and wraps in colors ranging from pink and fuschia to metallic gold and silver, brown, white, and blue. Some of my favorite designs include the airplane, dumpster, giraffe, puppy, train, and hibiscus.

Good for Baby

ShooShoos are paediatrician-endorsed, and now, chiropractor-endorsed for growing little feet so that they form naturally. These adorable shoes also won an iParenting Media Award.

Buy baby shoes and build a better community

ShooShoos began in 1996 in Cape Town, South Africa to uplift disadvantaged communities. Since then, it has grown into a worldwide brand with sales in over 20 countries. ShooShoos’ commitment is to provide footwear for parents’ most precious asset. All shoes are manufactured in Cape Town.

Shoe Features:

  • elasticized ankle–easy for an adult to put ’em on, yet nearly impossible for baby to remove them. Whew! At last!
  • 100% soft, supple, napa leather
  • non-toxic dyes–safe for baby, and easy on the eyes
  • non-slip soles as baby explores or cruises in those first tentative steps
  • no trip-hazard laces = safe baby
  • all cotton thread and lining

These shoes are safe:

All shoes conform to British and European safety standard (BS 5665 EN71 Part 3: Safety of Toys) and have no harmful effects.

This is reassuring information, especially since babies tend to use shoes as chew toys in addition to toe warmers.

Easy Maintenance:

You can clean them in the washing machine (cold water, gentle cycle), then let them air dry and finalize in the dryer. Easy cleaning means it’s more likely that you’ll use them on baby. I also found it easy to wipe them down with a moist washcloth.

Get ’em FAST!

The website states that all shoes are shipped within 48 hours. My contact at ShooShoos USA mentioned that they ship within 24 hours. If you need baby shoes quickly, they’ve got your baby’s feet covered!

Economical

These stylish shoes are similar to other brands available in the market, but ShooShoos prices are much easier on the wallet. Prices begin at $12.95 and range up to $19.95. For that price, I can afford more than one pair at a time!

WIN a pair of ShooShoos

We’re giving away a pair of ShooShoos (retail value $19.95). To enter, visit ShooShoos USA and check out their cool styles for infants and toddlers. Then, come back to this post and comment on the style and size you prefer.

This contest runs until midnight (EST) on June 1st.

One winner will be randomly selected (via random.org) and announced on this post and Prizey Winners on June 2nd. If the winner doesn’t respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.