Maria's beloved new mermaid swimsuit

The email arrived in all caps: "YOU NEED THIS FOR MARIA." 

And then, simply, this link.

My fashionable friend Mollie is always scouring the interwebs for the best of the best, and she is kind enough to include toddler apparel on my behalf. When I spotted the darling suit, I couldn't resist its charms. 

Maria was even more delighted. I don't think I'll be able to convince her to wear any other swimsuit now that she can be a mermaid in this one. (She actually pauses to explain to relatives that it's still her, even though she appears to be a mermaid.)

She proudly modeled the suit in our backyard. 

The vibrant colors shimmer in the sun. I appreciate how the top stays put -- no need for readjustments.

Although this is technically a two-piece, it's modest. The high-waisted bottoms have a vintage charm. They show off any little girl's adorable curves. 

Then Maria debuted her suit at the Harmon Park splash pad in West St. Paul. Kids and moms alike began complimenting the suit. She hasn't worn it once without eliciting comments. 

The swimsuit is designed by a talented mama of two, April Chilcoat, under her Sew Chill label. Her darling daughter, Genevieve, is her inspiration.  

And before I wrap this up, a quick word on splash pads for Twin Cities parents bracing for yet another heat weave this week and next week. 

If you missed it, be sure to check out Minnesota Parent's review of the area's top 14 splash pads. A number of readers left comments at the bottom suggesting their favorite splash pads, including one mom's mention of Harmon Park, West St. Paul's oldest park. 

The splash pad was part of a major remodel completed last August. It's fabulous! The area includes a host of water features, a large playground, a toddler playground, a swing set, shaded picnic tables and indoor restrooms.

After a while, Jane was thirsty. 

And did I mention it's free? Stay as long as you like, then go home and put everyone down for a nap (including yourself).

Next we're planning to check out the Bielenberg Splash Pad in Woodbury, which was included in the splash pads roundup. My sister is still raving about the playground there.

Keep cool, friends! Before long we'll be pulling out the sweaters and heading to the apple orchard. I promise to share our pictures!

Christina Ries is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and two young girls in Inver Grove Heights. Write her at