Photo: courtesy of Polarn O. Pyret's twitter profile
Although I was not born in Sweden and have never been there and am only 1/8 Swedish, the culture of Sweden has permeated my family. Maybe it's because the other 7/8 is hard to identify. Maybe it's because I married someone who is also 1/8 Swedish...which then makes out kids also 1/8 Swedish. Maybe it's because my mother has taken on the big task of pulling together her family history over the last several years and her grandparents were the ones who picked up and moved to Minnesota from Sweden. My mom HAS been to Sweden, on a genealogy trip where she gathered records, took photos, made connections, and even spent time with some of our ancestors' family who still live in Sweden in a typical little red Swedish house. She writes letters back and forth with some of these family members and get them translated into Swedish. She longs to go back and to take us kids with her...to see the "home" country.
In any case, we are now a family of Swedes. We go to Santa Lucia in the winter (think candles on top of a blond girl's head) and to Midsummer in the summer (think may pole). We bake Swedish rolls. We drink glug and eat 7 kinds of cookies. We shop at IKEA...
A few weeks ago, we missed the Midsummer celebration that we usually go to at Sveadal, a Swedish community near Morgan Hill, because we were at Disneyland over the weekend of the summer solstice. So we had a small family makeup Midsummer at my parent's house the following weekend. A may pole was constructed using the outdoor umbrella and 7 kinds of flowers, a feast prepared (meatballs, sparkling cider, ginger cookies), dancing was performed by the girls around the may pole to Swedish music. I gave my mom a gift of a framed dala horse painting that she had done with Lily in their preschool class this year when we team-taught Swedish day. It was just a little taste of the tradition to keep it going for us. And for the kids. Because even though we are not 100% Swedish, I think it is important for kids to be connected to some kind of culture. And the Swedish culture is the closest fit for us. So we embrace it.
Right before Midsummer, I was contacted by Polarn O. Pyret, a Swedish maker of cute (SUPER cute!) baby and children's clothes and asked to review some of their clothes. I received them in the mail last week and they are so well made and colorful and versatile and fun. I love that they are unisex too - for boy/girl twins, like I have, this is really perfect. Lily put this outfit together (the skirt was a previously owned items of hers that she added for a bit of extra flair) and I just love it. Let me say that, having a redhead, I usually would not go for a yellow shirt. But the green is so popping in this shirt, that is just works. She loves the front of the froggy and the back of the froggy - so much that she pretended to be a froggy for...much of the day. Hop, hop, hop. The pants are so nice and comfy too - and they have a drawstring...that actually works. Go figure, that you would have a drawstring pant for a kid (who is ALWAYS growing), instead of something that looks like a drawstring, but is actually just for show.
Polarn O. Pyret has been hip in Europe for a while now, but they are just releasing their stuff in the U.S. (by the way, there are tons of sales going on now for end of summer). They were featured in Celebrity Baby Blog and you will probably start seeing their signature stripes popping up everywhere. I'm looking forward to that first store opening soon...maybe they will have a line of clothes for our Midsummer celebration for next year. I am always looking for things that are hip with a pinch of tradition thrown in - it helps to keep our connection to Sweden fresh and current.
Full disclosure: I received free samples of clothes from Polarn O. Pyret for this review.