Miserable Itchy Dances

by Thao on 02.06.2013

"This is one of the worst cases of eczema that I’ve seen in a baby…" is clearly what every parent wants to hear. I took Kyler to his 4-month checkup today and those were the words uttered from Doc’s mouth. Well, Crap.

Doc saw him a few weeks ago after we woke to find his face bloody. He had houdini’d out of his swaddle and attacked his face. That wakes you up pretty fast. At that point, Doc thought it was just bad eczema and dry skin with the wonderful Michigan winters. He wasn’t doing an itchy dance yet.

About a week later, he started doing this:

Yep. That’s my poor itchy boy suffering on his changing table. He does this every time his skin is free of clothing. It’s kinda cute, but heartbreaking. No lotions, creams, and ointments have been helping. We still have to keep mittens on him when he’s playing unless it’s 1:1 supervised. Sucks – I want him to feel and touch without thinking everything feels like cotton.

I am mentally preparing to be told that he’s going to have to switch to formula (Doc handed me samples of Nutramigen) because he’s allergic to everything. BUT I am extremely hopeful that I can just change my diet. I will do anything to alleviate his misery, even if it means giving up one of my favorite things about being a mom: providing him with the best nutrition… bonding… ugh. As a stubborn, Type A, and mildly OCD mama, having something else be the reason that I would have to stop nursing rather than it being a decision that I would make, is excruciating. I never had a set length of time that I wanted breastfeed, but I didn’t want it to stop yet.

Heaven forbid the allergist tells us he’s allergic to Rice… freakin’ Asian kid allergic to rice. There are many foods I could give up, even my fave food group: dairy, but I don’t know how I’ll survive without rice. We’re heading to the Hills for Chinese New Year this weekend. Can you imagine explaining that you can’t eat rice to your straight-from-the-motherland Asian parents?

Is it my fault?
Why didn’t I cut out foods a month ago?
Have I been a bad parent?
He wasn’t itchy until I went back to work… did I do something then?

There’s no use going through all of the questions racing through my mind. I feel like all good parents find blame in themselves when something is amiss. Unfortunately, this kid just got dealt with the itchy card and we just have to try our best to manage it. He’s generally a happy baby – VERY happy kid when he’s not trying to rub on something. In the scheme of things, it can be worse, which is why I feel guilty for getting frustrated at times. I just want him to feel comfortable.

My heart goes out to all of the parents of eczema babies and to the babies suffering. I’ve felt helpless and at fault often in dealing with this. I never realized how frustrating it could be until now. I am thankful that he is otherwise healthy, even showing up on the very low percentile for height (10%) and weight (3%). That’s a whole ‘nother worry post. He eats like a champ and Doc commented that he may be burning extra calories with all of this itchy wiggling. Hopefully, there’s nothing else going on that’s keeping him from getting more meaty. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow. Wish us luck.

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So you’ve successfully made the two short sides and now you need to make the actual box pleated long side skirts for your crib.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

Recall that theses are the tools for entire project:

  • fabric – I went with grey Riley Blake chevron (I had leftover after using some for this corkboard project)
  • muslin liner – enough to back all of the fabric pieces above
  • (8) 5"x1" sew-on velcro hook (goes on skirt)
  • (8) 2"x1" stick-on velcro loop (goes on crib mattress support springs)
  • tape measure
  • scissors
  • sewing machine
  • iron and ironing board
  • sewing pins

See Part 1 for making the two short sides. This tutorial completes the DIY by sharing how I made the two long sides.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

I cut the fabric and muslin down to size (69"x12" including extra for seam allowance). Starting with one of the long sides, I placed the right side of the fabric and muslin together and sewed around down the short vertical sections and the bottom, leaving at least a half inch seam allowance. This was no different from the short side skirts.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

As part of the prep work, I measured approximately where I would place velcro onto the metal crib frame. That gave me a reference as to where I was going to put the velcro onto the crib skirt. These measurements could be different for you so please check. Don’t adhere the velcro to the frame yet; it will be easier to locate based on the skirt later.

Cut three approximately 5" length sew-on velcro hook sections down for this next step.

Turn the panel inside out and pin on of the sew-on velcro sections down in the middle of the muslin side, approximately 5/8" down from the edge of the material – but ONLY pin it to the muslin, NOT through to the decorative fabric. Sew the Velcro to the muslin around its perimeter.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt


diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

Pin the other two velcro pieces at the edge where you measured the mating velcro loops to go on the crib frame. I put the velcro loop about 1" from each end of our crib frame, so I pinned the velcro on the muslin about 1" in from the ends of the crib skirt. Again, only pin to the muslin. Sew like before.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

Once all three pieces were secured, the skirt was turned inside out and I sewed the last side shut with approximately 1/2" seam allowance. Leave an opening so you can turn it rightside out. {HINT} Leave the opening towards the middle because you’ll sew the pleat here anyway.

Turn it rightside out and hand sew the opening shut. You can use your machine – this gets hidden underneath the mattress anyway. So now, you have a complete long panel with three velcro pieces sewn to the top edge.

Now, we can fold and secure the pleat. Below is a diagram of how the pleat was folded and then pinned. Join the blue dotted lines (blue dots on the side view) together at the top of the skirt for only about 3 inches (or to wherever you want the pleat to start).

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

I ironed the same lines onto the panel to help the pinning and sewing.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt


diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt


diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt


diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

Here’s what you essentially have after you sew those blue lines together.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt


diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

Secure where the seams meet to the red dotted line that was noted in the diagram above. Once pined in place, sew a line close to the top of the crib skirt to hold the pleat secure.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt


diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

The Velcro will be aligned in the middle.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt


diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt


diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

TA-DA, you have one side done.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

Repeat for the second long side.

Once you’re done with your short panels and your long panels, you’re ready to get to the cheater part and secure these to your crib frame! Look for Part 3 for the final installment of this tutorial.

Technorati: 6D7EGAJ9SSEK

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I started this whole crib bedding thing with the assumption that it would be the one thing I WOULDN’T DIY. I kept playing around with looks on Carousel Designs since they were they only retailer offering grey chevron bedding at the time…

crib bedding idea from carousel designs

…but my heart kept aching when I added up the costs. It’s expensive! The beauty about ‘clean and modern’ is that straight lines and simple pleats are no big deal. I sew. Why not make the bedding myself?

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

The following describes how to cheat and make a height adjustable crib skirt. I’ll add more information about the bumper later. I didn’t make the fitted mattress sheet, because they I was OK with plain grey ones I found at Babies ‘R Us.

This very easy box pleat skirt is actually four separate pieces.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

I started going into this with a full one-piece design that would have to be resewn to fit the height of the crib when it gets lowered as he gets older. BUT, it was more work than I wanted to invest. I wanted it to be adjustable, but easy to do so without the requirement of busting out the sewing machine later.

This tutorial will be written in parts because 1) I’m lazy and 2) It would be a suuuuuper long post if I didn’t. Let’s focus on the easy, short sides.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

Tools for entire project:

  • fabric – I went with grey Riley Blake chevron (I had leftover after using some for this corkboard project)
  • muslin liner – enough to back all of the fabric pieces above
  • (8) 5"x1" sew-on velcro hook (goes on skirt)
  • (8) 2"x1" stick-on velcro loop (goes on crib mattress support springs)
  • tape measure
  • scissors
  • sewing machine
  • iron and ironing board
  • sewing pins

Even though this tutorial specifically focuses on the short sides, it makes much more sense to buy all your fabric at once so here’s how I measured for it.

Standard cribs are sized 52" x 26". I chose a decorative chevron fabric to go around the perimeter of the crib and used white muslin as a backer on the inside. I made our crib skirt with a pleat on the 52" lengths of the crib so for those long sides, I added another 16" of fabric (68" total in length). Our crib frame was positioned at the highest available setting and that’s how the maximum height of the cib skirt was measured. Mine was 10". From here, the crib skirt essentially needs to be ‘shortened’ as you drop your mattress. For a typical 43"/44" bolt width of fabric, I purchased 2 yards of the chevron fabric to cut these sections out of it. You need the same amount of muslin to back the pieces.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

Note: If you want the pattern to match up all the way around the crib, you might need to do some more careful planning as the yardage I’m showing accounts for optimal fabric area usage, not pattern-matching. I did not bother with this since the bars on the crib generally hide the pattern. It may be different for your crib so think about it.

The crib we purchased allowed an adjustment of about 5 inches from the tallest position to the lowest position. This 5" measurement will be what I cut the sew-on velcro hook side length to.

The width of the two short side panels, when complete, must be 26"x10". For seam allowance, I cut mine 29"x12". Cut the fabric and muslin down to size.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt


diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

Place the right sides of the fabric together and then pin around 3 sides of the perimeter (down the short vertical sections and the bottom)

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

Sew, leaving your desired seam allowance. Remove the pins and turn it inside out to iron if your fabric allows it. The width of your panel should be 26".

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

As part of the prep work, I measured approximately where I would place velcro onto the metal crib frame. That gave me a reference as to where I was going to put the velcro onto the crib skirt. These measurements could be different for you so please check. Don’t adhere the velcro to the frame yet; it will be easier to locate based on the skirt later.

Cut two approximately 5" sew-on velcro hook sections down for this next step.

Pin the two velcro pieces at the edge where you measured the mating velcro loops to go on the crib frame. I put the velcro loop about 4.5" from each end of our crib frame, so I pinned the velcro on the muslin only about 4.5" in from the ends of the crib skirt. Again, only pin to the muslin. (See where I positioned the Velcro relative to the fabric tape measure).

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

Then, sew around the perimeter of the two velcro pieces through the muslin only.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

Once all two pieces of Velcro were secured, the skirt was turned inside out, and I sewed the last side shut with approximately 1/2" seam allowance. Leave an opening to turn it rightside out.

Turn it rightside out again and hand sew the opening shut with ladder stitch. You can use your machine; I just like to hide stitching.

diy easy to adjust modern pleat crib skirt

Repeat and make the second short side crib skirt panel.

Now check back for the instructions on how to make the long side panels and where the actual cheating comes into play.

Edit: Here are the instructions for the long panels.

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Superman on Superbowl Sunday

by Thao on 02.03.2013

Happy Superbowl Sunday!

I have no vested interest in the Superbowl this year. I don’t follow those teams. While my facebook news feed has been littered with Superbowl mania, this is what I posted just a little bit ago.

husband and father of the year proclamation

There is NO exaggeration there. Donny literally does all of the chores and manages to do them stealthily so that I don’t realize that they’re already done until I grab a fresh towel or clean bottle from the cupboard. And he didn’t do it as a pass to get out of the house for the big game. He does this regularly. And he’s not even going out for the game this year. Sometimes, I think he has an unhealthy addiction to cleaning, but I’m not going to be the one to recommend Cleaners Anonymous.

I’m a lucky lady. I know this. As I’ve learned over the course of nearly 4 months, it’s easy to forget that because I assume that he knows it without me reminding him that I know it. We get so used to things as they are and now that I have forgetful ‘mom’ brain as all my new-mom colleagues have sighed in agreement, it’s even more easy to walk by the roses. It’s easy to think, we got married, made those vows, who needs to repeat them? But. We do. We’re human. We need the reminders.

Thus, the facebook status. And this post. I’m shouting it to the world and maybe in the future, I can send myself regular reminders to reread this note of gratitude and sincere appreciation for how he spoils me. He’s more involved than most fathers and is going to be a great role model for our little man.

He isn’t perfect and he can’t totally relate to what I am going through as a new first-time mother, but he tries. His grand gestures aren’t necessarily worthy of passages in fairy tale novels that I used to read watch when I was a little girl. Maybe for today’s modern world? I get the flowers, candy, surprise presents, when even though sometimes, I just want to feel not-crazy when I’m sharing a feeling. Sometimes he gets it, sometimes he doesn’t, but it’s fun figuring it out with him.

And I love him.

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I’ve been randomly looking back at old baby pictures. It’s already been 4 months since little man entered the world.

And I get sad. The first picture of him at home from the hospital was with not his dad nor with me. Actually, I wasn’t in any photos with him when I first got home. He was hogged by others. I take pictures of many people with their new babies all the time. I am proud of the pictures I create and send for these new families to remember this fragment of time. So, at first I thought – "sucks always being the photographer".

newborn baby boy photography


newborn baby boy photography


newborn baby boy photography

…then I realized, it was my crazy Asian family.

When we went to the hospital, we asked that they not tell anyone, who may call looking for us, that we were there. We wanted the delivery of our first son to be something special between us. And it was. There were ups, there were downs, but it’s something that can’t be taken away from us.

Our friends who recently had their first babies before us, told us about how their family came and helped them with chores, etc. so that they could spend that time with their little one. As fast as these babies grow, I thought it was the sweetest thing anyone could do. My girlfriend spoke of how her mom stayed and cleaned, cooked meals, and took care of the day-to-day stuff while they learned how to care for the newborn.

That’s a nice thought. But I guess that does not apply to first generation American-born Asians like us though, because my husband was expected to run around town picking up food and grocery items while the family hogged our first baby citing that they won’t get to see him much as the reason. Nope, first-born American-Asian kids still have to respectfully take care of their parents’ needs. These new grandparents need coddle time and need the new dad to take care of everyone. I was lectured for holding Kyler, but it was OK for them to hold him.

newborn baby boy photography


newborn baby boy photography

Three week old baby boy, Kyler

I didn’t get to hold my baby much while the family was in town. And to date, it still makes me sad that his earliest days were captured with everyone else. It got to the point that when my mom decided to come back a week later, that I bawled, freaked out, and ask that she give us more notice and that she respect our desire to want to be with him alone. I think it sucks for them, too, that we’re so damned independent.

Thankfully, when everyone was gone, my wonderful husband, Donny, was able to take a few great photos of me and our first son when he was shy of a week old.

mom and newborn baby photography


mom and newborn baby photography


mom and newborn baby photography


mom and newborn baby photography


mom and newborn baby photography

To that, I advise all new American-Asian parents to hold ground and hold your babies tight. The old school Asian parent customs will get in the way, but don’t let it. The time really does fly and the next thing you know, he’s four months old, bigger, and looks totally different. Enjoy that time when you go from DINKs, dual income no kids, to a family unit of three. I wish I was more adamant about spoiling MY newborn.

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Modern Ninja Baby Shower {Part 2}

by Thao on 02.01.2013

I’m still trying to think of warm summers again with the whole bipolar weather of Michigan underway. I posted images from the first modern, ninja themed shower recently, but I was lucky to have two friend-thrown baby showers.

big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower

The second shower was just as crafty and lovely, thrown by two amazing couples (it was also a his and hers shower). One our shower hosts, Sarah, also posts her crafts at Handmade Happiness. Here I am with the hostesses…

big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower

The ladies, Sarah and Jen, made a wonderful food spread of various salads and a sandwich platter.

big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower

Everything was chevron and super cute. Sarah made the banners, onesies, and burp cloths. Jen crafted those cute bingo cards!

big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower

There was a craft session for the girls to make pages of Kyler’s Alphabet book, which was a great idea. We even had some fun participation from the guys.

big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower

Even Scruffy got into Gift Bingo.

big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower

Game winners took home these beautiful mason jars of cookie mix!

big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower, mason jar of cookie mix

After the gifts were opened, the guys headed to the basement to play poker with a Cloth Diaper buy-in, which is a great way to start the stash.

big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower

We have some pretty great friends.

big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower


big city ninja themed co-ed baby shower

Check out Handmade Happiness for more crafty ideas and recipes from Sarah!

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Cloth Diapering is Hard

by Thao on 01.31.2013

…at least for the daycare sometimes.

cloth diapering is so hard... how not to snap a cloth diaper

Every once in awhile a teacher subs in the infant room and has to educate herself (quickly as we have a screamer when it comes to the changing table) on cloth diapering because she hasn’t had to in her normal room, or whatever other reason there may be.

It’s easy to be scared into thinking that the diaper is on too tight – I’ve been there. But that was like the poster child image for how not to snap a cloth diaper. It’s interesting how in the same daycare, same room even, that the continuity of care is not as continuous as you’d assume… just as I learned from being an ‘unwell’ patient for the first time too. Just because you tell one teacher something, doesn’t mean they all automatically know. That’s obvious, but you just don’t think about it that way.

Anyway, as any Type A parent would do, I’ll be bringing in a diagram and pre-snapped diapers as an example for tomorrow.



ETA: I did bring in a note that is now posted by the changing table. They gladly appreciated it. At least that’s what they told me. I’m sure I’m the crazy parent they talk about when I leave with the boy. Here’s the excerpt on diapering:

cloth diapering is hard - send a quick diagram to daycare

I said excerpt because there is more on the page. I know that I am extremely Type A. I have come to terms with it a long time ago.

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Modern Ninja Baby Shower {Part 1}

by Thao on 01.30.2013

This one is long overdue. It’s cold in Michigan and I wanted to post about something sweet and warm… like my first baby shower back in July last summer.

We definitely did not have a ‘typical’ nursery theme or shower theme. Most of the time, the thought of swords, weapons, and violence come to mind when you hear the word ‘NINJA’, but when I laid eyes on the ninjas from Ninjatown, I knew that Kyler’s shower and nursery theme was going to be Big City Ninja.

I had two very lovely showers thrown by some wonderfully crafty women. They were each given the same design elements: ninjas, chevron, and our nursery colors (turquoise, grey, black, and white). My first shower was thrown by one of my best gals, Megan.

big city ninja themed baby shower

So, how does a Ninja-themed baby shower maintain cuteness?

big city ninja themed baby shower


big city ninja themed baby shower


big city ninja themed baby shower


big city ninja themed baby shower


big city ninja themed baby shower


big city ninja themed baby shower


big city ninja themed baby shower


big city ninja themed baby shower


big city ninja themed baby shower

Megan made those adorable ninja-faced cookies. Those other cute cookies with ninjas holding onto the bottles were ordered from Sugar and Stitches. Not only were they cute, they were all so tasty. I highly recommend ordering special event cookies from Nicole @ Sugar and Stitches. I ended up ordering cookie favors from her for my sister’s shower later and they were just as creative as mine.

big city ninja themed baby shower

Megan also ordered these delicious cupcakes from our friend, Carly, who sells local in the West Michigan area. If you’re a West Michigan local and are looking for cupcakes or cakes for your party, email me and I will forward you her contact information! I went with ‘pumpkin spice with cream cheese icing’ and ‘vanilla with peanut butter icing’. They did not disappoint. What’s even cuter is that Megan presented them in the shape of a ninja!

big city ninja themed baby shower

The guys broke away from the ladies to play some corn hole.

big city ninja themed baby shower

I wasn’t the only mom-to-be at the shower.

big city ninja themed baby shower

See? Ninjas can be friendly and cute.

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I had made these favors for our gender reveal party with a craving I had early in the pregnancy: lemonheads. They helped with any slight nausea I had… plus Donny loves sour food so he dipped into those too. These were easy to make!

diy baby food jar favors for parties, events, showers - adorkableduo.com

Tools:

  • baby food jars – I bought mine from Ebay washed and ready
  • fabric
  • ribbon
  • scissors
  • ‘thank you’ image or note printed on paper
  • hole punch
  • candy of choice – I used lemonheads
  • printer
  • rubber bands

When I received the Ebay baby food jars, I put them in the dishwasher once more just to make sure any gunk that was on them was removed.

The theme of our party was ‘mustaches’ and ‘lipstick’ as the "rites of passage" for a boy or girl, respectively. So, I designed lips and mustaches in photoshop and printed them with the phrase "thank you" underneath at home with our printer. No fancy paper, since I wanted the icons to pop, but go for it if you like!

The images were then cut down to size using scrapbook scissors and then hole punched in the corner.

Each baby food jar was filled with lemonheads and closed shut with their lids.

diy baby food jar favors for parties, events, showers - adorkableduo.com

The fabric was cut down into squares (approximately 5"), then wrapped on top of the lids, and secured with the rubberband. The rubberband helps you hold and pull the fabric tight so that you can tie the ribbon around the jar neck without needing a third hand. I don’t know many people with third hands.

diy baby food jar favors for parties, events, showers - adorkableduo.com

The ‘thank you’ slip was tied into the ribbon. The rubberband was removed and then the bow was completed.

diy baby food jar favors for parties, events, showers - adorkableduo.com

Here’s how they looked!

diy baby food jar favors for parties, events, showers - adorkableduo.com


diy baby food jar favors for parties, events, showers - adorkableduo.com


diy baby food jar favors for parties, events, showers - adorkableduo.com

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I’m Watching You

by Thao on 01.24.2013

My day care has a camera. I peek at it every now and then. And by ‘peek at it’, I actually leave the window open on my screen.

I know. It’s I’m crazy.

BUT, because of this opportunity for me to be voyeuristic, I get to see him doing stuff like this:

mommy voyeur watching baby at day care

Yep. Those are socks on his hands up by his head. The kid is a napping rockstar (when he isn’t itchy).

Though it’s mainly a good thing, I can’t help but get upset at times when I peek and see that he’s been attacking his head for a good 3 minutes before someone gets to him. I realize that watching four babies at once is near impossible, at least in my mind, but I hate picking him up to see him in spitup-soaked onesies and new battle wounds.

I’m sure over time, I’ll get used to it. I chose to be a working mom and I chose to leave him in the care of these other women whom I don’t personally know. It’s definitely an internal dialogue of ‘what’s best’ versus ‘what’s practical’.

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