{DIY} Holiday Gift Tags

by Thao on 12.20.2014

diy gift tags for presents and free template printables

We don’t do Christmas cards for presents in my family. We typically write tags and for years, I would TRY to make them cute but as I’ve stopped handwriting anything, I also felt like they were blah.

So last year, I made these ‘TO’ gift tags with hemp cord to cute up the Christmas gifts a little and save the embarrassment of my handwriting.

diy gift tags for presents

I made tags with photos of who the gifts were from so in our house, the gifts are given FROM:

  • Me
  • Me and Donny
  • Donny
  • Kyler
  • The three of us

With that in mind, I made a template in Photoshop with a clipping mask and chose photos from that year of the FROM categories above. I used the free font, Billabong, for the text on the graphic. When you’re done making the .jpgs, paste the .jpgs into Word and printed:

diy gift tags for presents

Then cut and lace the gift tags with the hemp cord:

diy gift tags for presents

diy gift tags for presents

and voila!

diy gift tags for presents

Then, in the TO section, you obviously write who the gift is meant for. Easy peasy. If you want the Photoshop .psd layered file, download this file!

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Announcing Number 2’s Gender

by Thao on 12.01.2014

second baby holiday, christmas gender reveal announcement with stockings

That was our classy gender announcement, which we decided not to go with. If you think about how we announced getting knocked up and then how we revealed we were having #2, it just didn’t fit. I shared this with our Facebook friends only after the real announcement came out. Come back to see how we kept things on the same Maury level.


Well, we did it again! We’re pretty excited to announce that Kyler is going to be a big brother in April 2015.

funny pregnancy announcement for second baby with Maury and Britney Spears

We went back to Maury again, but enlisted the help of Ms. Britney Spears (she loaned me her red leather jumpsuit), to share that we did it again and we’re having another baby! OK, so we didn’t really, but we couldn’t do anything cutesy after the last announcement (another photoshopped Maury photo).

Number 2 is exciting. It’s already a different pregnancy than the first since I was on hyper-documentation with the first. I just hope this kid gets some photos too. I also didn’t find out at 5 weeks along like I did for Kyler. It would be nearly two months in that I felt the need to run to the grocery store for a pregnancy test.

We told our friends during Kyler’s big 2nd birthday Monkey bash. I was against the idea of throwing a big party to avoid stressing about décor and plans, but we wanted to get our closest people together to share the excitement. I am glad we did. It turned out to be a nice way to see everyone.

By the time this next kid comes, Donny will be finishing up his last month of school (hooray!). Yep. He will be an hour away while I’m due. We’ll figure this out :).


From Zero to Twelve Months

by Thao on 03.03.2014

Tomorrow, Kyler turns 17 months old, but I, as the “very on top of everything mom” that I am, just put together his first year collage yesterday.

monthly photo log of baby boy in his first year with the same onesie

Every month, I put him in a 12-month sized onesie and put him in his crib. This is not an original idea. I think I Googled it somewhere… before the days of Pinterest. (Actually, nowadays, if I see something shared virally on Pinterest, it’s pretty much a deterrent for me to consider DIYing that specific thing – everyone and their mom will assume I followed Pinterest instructions instead of *gasp* coming up with something on my own.)

The 4-month photo was amidst all of the health issues surfacing so there’s a little bit of heartbreak in looking at these. I can see which months he stopped growing, yet, get pretty happy about the smile he wore through most of it. We have a pretty tough kid.

Now, he’s chatty and continues to surprise us with his personality. Over the weekend, we caught some of his baby monologue and posted to share with his grandma.

I’m not sure what he’s trying to tell us, but it’s clear that he is going to be quite the entertainer one day.


Husband’s Best Apology

by Thao on 12.17.2013

Donny’s apology via email to me this morning.

What I Think I’m Doing…

best apology from husband - adorkableduo.com

…What You See

best apology from husband - adorkableduo.com

What you are doing…

best apology from husband - adorkableduo.com

…How I take it

best apology from husband - adorkableduo.com

So, here is my apology.

best apology from husband - adorkableduo.com

We’re approaching the big Christmas holiday break which means the husband is back home for three weeks. It’s his first big break since starting school in August. Our original plan was for him to commute back and forth, but it cut away his study time and he never really got home in time to see Kyler before bedtime anyway. He split the cost of an apartment with other MBA students and it was dirt cheap compared to the gas expense 4-5 days a week for the 1.5hr commute.

I won’t sugarcoat it; it has been a tough semester for all of us. As with any new endeavor, there is an expected period of adjustment. I also started a new job in June while and we didn’t figure out Kyler’s care plan until July. With so much responsibility outside of the home, there has been a big focus issue that drives miscommunications and often, a lot of frustration. While he is away at school, I work and am fully responsible for Kyler, his care plan, errands, and all the house needs. I’ll even clarify to say I do the bare minimum when it comes to the homestead just for the sake of my sanity, but it is quite the everyday-to-do’s that are generally time-bound based on the day care hours and work needs. In other words, it’s a frantic daily agenda. AND. our families are no where around to help. His parents are now Florida-birds and my mom works during the weekends. It gets lonely, but I have my time with my little man that makes it fulfilling!

Then, Donny comes home on the weekend, but Sundays are saved for studying and repacking and personal chores to get him through the next week. So really, he’s only available Saturday if we don’t have plans to catch up with friends or… run the errands I didn’t get to that week.

It is what I consider short term pain for a LOT of gain. He’s much happier and I suspect this will trickle to everything else. I just do what I have to and hopefully we’ll have some semblance of a normal life again when he’s done in a year-and-a-half. We have to both actively work through the challenges of the in-and-out schedules without built-in family help. Working through it sometimes means sending me apologetic .gif emails. Worked this time :).


My Baby is Better

by Thao on 08.30.2013

It’s been a long time since I have updated and it’s mainly due to the career change I made in late May. I decided to leave my post as an engineering leader in my organization to learn more about business as a whole in project management. So far – it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.

The only issue is I have far less time to nurture my creative outlets. In due time… I am hoping that as I learn more in my project, I can get back to writing, taking photos, and creating. The operative word here is ‘hope’.

What I didn’t expect was the incredibly steady and sweet influx of notes and comments I have received asking me about how Kyler had been doing. In short, he is doing EXTREMELY well! He still has eczema and we have identified more allergens in addition to milk: nuts, tree nuts, wheat, and sesame, but the eczema is controlled due to our dermatologist switch in June.

It does mean a steady use of stronger steroids to manage his flares, but I feel like he has been catching up developmentally ever since we saw the new doctor. The new routine involves wet wraps only 3 times a week with topical Triamcinolone. We treat hot spots and flares in between those wet wraps with 1% hydrocortisone ointment and generously apply Vanicream to him all day, every day.

Now at nearly 11 months, he is crawling (a monkey crawl), climbing up to his knees, clapping, and very playful. More importantly, he’s growing bigger and stronger every day. People who have not seen him in months notice how much more dense and sturdy he is now. Failure to Thrive – no more! It was formally un-diagnosed at his 9 month check-up. Since then — no more weight checks and new specialists to find and question.

We have even had to lower his crib, because he is strong enough to pull himself up. It felt like these milestones were far, far away many times before and now we’re so delighted to report that he is healthy and happy. I really can’t ask for a greater gift.


Hi Stranger, Watch My Kid

by Thao on 04.01.2013

After being in a state of blissful sleeplessness during maternity leave, we had Kyler in day care full time just two days shy of his 3-month birthday. Our day care has a camera. I have an awkward relationship with said camera.

Start internal dialog: Is that baby… Kyler? Wait? It’s supposed to be nap time. Why isn’t he sleeping?

Why is he crying? Don’t you see that he is crying? His mouth is wide open. Why aren’t you picking him up? The child is screaming, someone do something! Ut oh.. a mitt came off. He is going to come home with bloody scars. GRAB A MITTEN, LADY.

Do I call? Ugh… I don’t want to be the helicopter mom. They’re supposed to stick to his schedule. It’s OK to call and remind them. If I call, they’ll be so annoyed that I’m telling them how to do their job that they’ll hate Kyler and take it out on him. It’s OK, don’t call. OK, maybe call and add in something casual to distract from the fact that I’m really calling cause I watch the camera all damn day and know they aren’t doing it the way I would. Cool moms don’t call the day care. No, this is me falling into the ‘be a laid back anti-bridezilla bride’ trap. It’s OK to want to have your child cared for in a specific way, that’s why you a shitload of money for them to watch him.

Breathe… call and speak to the director. Wait, is that undermining the teachers? Maybe I should just wait and see. Or wait until I’m there to pick him up to mention something. Screw it, I’m calling. No, don’t.

I have also realized that the relationship with everything having to do with day care can also just be… awkward.

The Day Care receives a happy, playful baby… for about a month. Then, he becomes a high needs baby due to eczema exacerbated by all kinds of other issues. He’s unhappy, miserable, and itchy. He requires a lot of attention. So finally, the day care set up a ‘meeting’ to discuss how to help Kyler with his eczema and among a myriad of medical things, we told them to stick to THE SCHEDULE. The boy is predictable and sticking to THE schedule allows the care providers to anticipate why he’s uncomfortable. If he’s tired or hungry, he doesn’t just cry like other babies, he gets eczema flare-ups that domino into all kinds of unhappiness and skin weeping. It’s not pretty. Their ‘on demand’ childrearing does not help him. If he cries… you’re already too late. Don’t undermine me as the first-time parent who’s overly obsessive. I may be that, but the kid is happier if you do what we do.

Fast-forward a couple weeks to now. They have been sticking to the schedule and coincidentally, he’s happier, catching up on development, and FINALLY gaining weight. He was diagnosed Failure to Thrive previously. That’s good… it’s great, in fact. But I still have this awkward internal dialogue when I see that something else isn’t quite right. Do I call? Do I pretend it didn’t happen? Did I just cross the line into psycho-mom? Does it even matter if I did? I’m just freaking out for no reason. Probably.

Every time I bring something up, there’s this awkward conversation accompanied by some eye contact avoidance and my own internal dialogue that thinks that the teachers are thinking, "we know, we know, we only spend more time with him during the day/week than you do." But. Clearly, you didn’t know. Otherwise you’d listen to me when I say I know what the hell I am talking about!

THEN. THEN, you come in and tell them that they ruined your diapers and should consider reimbursing you for new ones since they told you that they know how to use them, but ended up applying the wrong creams and thereby causing them to repel pee and poop. How is that for awkward? Way awkward. That’s a whole ‘nother story.


Cool Nurseries Have These

by Thao on 03.28.2013

What do you put on your baby’s nursery shelves? Oh, you don’t have this Snoop Dogg CD thanks to your coworkers?

random items on baby nursery book shelves

No Bruce Lee DVD either?

random items on baby nursery book shelves

You’re clearly not cool.

This IS pretty sweet though. My friend, who currently lives in Switzerland, sent us this in the mail after a work trip to China. This was pre-baby when everyone referred to him as {Bruce}. I love it!

random items on baby nursery book shelves

That is all.


Mr. Tough Guy

by Thao on 03.25.2013

I’m getting sick of going to the Doctor. Not for me, for 5.5 month old Kyler.

tough baby boy on a path to diagnosis  tough baby boy on a path to diagnosis

My updates for the few people who actually read them have been irregular and brief as we have been in and out of healthcare offices for the past couple months… just trying to find the proper diagnosis and help for our little man. The instagram pictures above are from some of our office visits. I imagine that he thinks it’s more fun time with daddy. He was formally tested for allergies and confirmed positive for a cow’s milk allergy. This past week at the dermatologist, he was confirmed to have eczema that didn’t necessarily have a cause (i.e., not due to the allergy). Now, onto further testing.

I had to take him into the hospital outpatient lab this morning for blood work. The little man was poked three times to fill 4 separate vials of blood and he literally just sat on my lap like he was watching some March Madness with Donny. But if you come at him with the standard blue hospital nose aspirator, saline drops, or the NoseFrida, he will scream bloody murder and shoot pissed-off looks at you. If looks could kill…

At 5.5 months, he’s already been at 11+ unwell child visits that don’t have anything to do with a cold.

We have a sneaking suspicion and some parental intuition that he might have some gluten sensitivity, but since it has not yet been confirmed, I’m not changing my diet to ensure it does show up in the testing. I guess until the lab work comes back, we’re just sitting at the edge of our seats. We’ may be becoming mild hypochondriacs.

This has been a journey of humility and gratefulness. I’m not sure what lies at the end of the road, if there is an end. Or beginning. Or what the eff the middle would look like. But Kyler has already taught me more lessons in life than textbook, internet article, or person before me. He’s my rock.

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Baby’s First March Madness

by Thao on 03.19.2013

Donny’s favorite holiday is March Madness. Yes, holiday. Yes, the entire month.

Naturally, Kyler wanted to get involved, so he’s filling out his first bracket this year. He doesn’t want to use his words yet, so we had to help him help us fill out his bracket.

March Madness, baby bracket selection with MSU pick

It was probably one of those ‘I actually know how to do it, but don’t want to so I’m playing it up like I don’t so Mom and Dad will do it for me’ kinda things. Same with changing his diaper. I’m sure he knows how. At least it made for a good photo opportunity. Poor kid has to deal with photographer parents. I’m sure all parents are these days. Photographers, that is.

Obviously, Kyler chose MSU to beat Creighton somewhere in the Midwest bracket. I’m sure he isn’t biased because Donny bleeds Green and White.

ETA: Later, he grew tired of the pictures and wanted to make his selections on the iPad.

March Madness, baby bracket selection with MSU pick

March Madness, baby bracket selection with MSU pick

Clearly, he will rule the world one day.

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