Baby’s Got An Itch

by Thao on 01.22.2013

baby eczema wound on face

My poor baby has been suffering with eczema on his sweet, pinchable face. It has been interrupting his sleep. It wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t use his ninja-moves to bust out of his swaddle every few hours to scratch his face. Two nights ago, I came into the nursery to reswaddle him only to see his face covered entirely in blood. Apparently, he got pissed at himself and lost the battle. That was one of the worst possible ways to wake up.

Things that suck about Baby Eczema:

  1. money getting sucked up in ointments, lotions, creams, mittens, etc. I’m pretty sure I can open my own drugstore now. Only – it would only have shelves stocked for eczema-care. We literally have tried all kinds of topical substances to manage the itch. California Diaper Rash cream on his face actually helped reduce the rash when he had flare-ups. Aveeno baby eczema cream? Too light in consistency and didn’t seem to help us. Aquaphor doused on his face and head every hour has been the best bet, but I feel more like a slave to his spa treatments than when I was nursing every two hours. It’s worth it though to see that gummy smile of his. The area that seems most difficult to manage is the back of his head. If you lather up the creams, ointments, and oils, he just rubs them right off on the mattress or whatever else he’s lying on.

  2. what sleep? As introduced in this post, I am getting up to constantly reswaddle him. I must just SUCK at swaddling because he breaks free ALL. THE. TIME. He typically sleeps through the night and has been since he was two months old. But when you have an itch that you need to scratch, you wake up screaming at mom and dad. And you know that taking care of a baby half-groggy is less than ideal. Sometimes, I feel like a zombie and don’t even realize what I am doing. Next thing I know, I’m hunched over on the crib railing, drooling into it with him as I’m holding his arms down.

  3. ointment on everything… ointment on my arm… ointment on my shirts… ointment on his crib sheet. You get the picture. I am bathed in ointment.

  4. …oh and mittens that stay on? Forget it. We use socks that get pulled up past his elbows… at least until he stretches them out. Sometimes, we have to distract him and velcro those Lamaze wrist rattles around the mitts to help keep them on – but it sometimes feels like baby jail. I just ordered these scratchsleeves, so I’m hoping for a piece of mind at night. I could just as easily make something, but let’s be real – what working mom can find that sort of time. Apparently, the UK has many more options for babies suffering from scratching, because I can’t find products like those in the US. Here’s another UK brand with eczema-geared clothing.

  5. It turns an otherwise sweet, happy boy like Kyler into an attention-monger whose fussy, exhausted, annoyed, and cranky. We used to be able to leave him alone on his playmat and he would literally self-entertain with whatever was around him. Couple the eczema with this 4-month mental leap that he’s going through and I feel like I’m taking care of a one week old newborn again. That miniature human has no idea that he’s not supposed to scratch that itch and I swear I’m jumping at him like a monster in some haunted house every time I see that sock fly off his hand.

/End rant. I hope he’s one of those kids who is lucky enough to out grow this thing, because it sucks and I have the most empathy for anyone who has it.

{ 2 comments }

{DIY} Modern Chevron Closet Dividers

by Thao on 01.11.2013

They sell nice plastic closet dividers in baby stores for nursery closets, but I thought it would be more fun and less expensive to make my own. With the availability of 4×6 photo paper or even cardstock, this was a quick, easy project.

diy chevron, modern closet dividers for nursery

Tools:

  • 4×6 photoshop template or art/design by whatever you choose
  • photo paper or cardstock that will be cut to size
  • scissors
  • corner round punch

I made a simple, chevron design in photoshop and switched out numbers for the ‘month’ sized clothing: NB, 3, 6, 9, etc. Each file was resaved as a new .jpg.

I printed them out on pre-cut 4×6 photo paper and then cut out the circles, and punched the corners to get the final product. If you want them stiffer, just print on cardstock or heavier weight paper. Another option is to glue them to cardboard.

Want these turquoise and chevron dividers? Download the .jpgs here.

diy chevron, modern 4x6 photo closet dividers for nursery in turquoise

It was easy so I made these pink ones to share. I hope you enjoy! Download the .jpgs here.

diy chevron, modern 4x6 photo closet dividers for nursery in pink

Know how to manipulate .psd photoshop files? Well, then, here are my raw .psds for your creative pleasure.

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{DIY} Toy Storage & Seating

by Thao on 01.09.2013

diy toy storage bench for nursery

For our toy storage bench that complimented the ninja window panels, we worked together to hack two Ikea Expedit shelves.

diy toy storage bench for nursery

I saw a variation of this online somewhere… no, not on Pinterest – I think it was google. The difference was it didn’t have legs…

Tools:

  • (2) Ikea Expedit 5×1 shelves
  • (2) 1/2" or 3/4" thick MDF boards sized to 15 3/4" x 72 7/8"
  • fabric
  • (2) 2" thick high density foam – I bought mine from JoAnn
  • turkey carver
  • staple gun
  • drywall screws
  • Ikea cabinet legs – we bought the 4" Capita legs
  • 10 bins that fit within a 13" x 13" x 14 5/8" cube

Since I was doing this well into the third trimester, Donny helped with many aspects. First, he put together the shelves per their instructions.

Then, he screwed the legs onto their bottoms. The legs are nice in that the shelves can sit directly against the wall. They help the shelf avoid the bottom wall molding. Our floors were also really uneven so these adjustable legs helped keep the irregularities in the floor unnoticed.

diy toy storage bench for nursery

I sized the chevron fabric that I had from the gender reveal party, leaving a generous amount all the way around because I knew I wanted to line up the patterns from one bench to the next. The two pieces of fabric ended up being around 82" x 25" each.

While I was working on cutting and ironing the fabric, Donny cut the MDF to size and then using the cut MDF, he cut down the high density foam with the turkey carver. {TIP} Sandwiching the foam between the two pieces of MDF made it easier to hold the foam still and get a nice clean cut. You’ll want a clean cut as any hacks into the foam will show through your fabric.

diy toy storage bench for nursery


diy toy storage bench for nursery

Lay the fabric with its right side faced down on the ground.

Then, take the cut foam and lay it on top of the fabric. This is where I matched up the pattern from one fabric piece and foam to the other. When it was finally perfect, I called in the husband and had him lay the MDF boards on top.

diy toy storage bench for nursery

Then, I busted out the staple gun and got to work around the perimeter. Start on the side you’ll face to the front and then pull the fabric nice and taut as you staple the remaining sides. I was also careful not to pull too tight because I wanted the crisp clean edges. {NOTE} If you want to preserve the clean edges, be aware that as people sit on the bench, you’ll have extra fabric to move around, i.e. wrinkles that you’ll have to smooth out. If you don’t care to have clean lines, then pull that fabric tight and the foam will get rounded under the fabric and stapling. I did mark the boards so that I didn’t forget which side was the front and which board went on which bench. This was a certain way to continue ensuring that the pattern matched.

diy toy storage bench for nursery

Then, he helped me flip the tops over and placed them on the benches.

diy toy storage bench for nursery

At this point, he took over and screwed the drywall screws up from the underside of the bench through the MDF in the middle of each cubby. The middle location for the screws allowed us to avoid the staples on the perimeter and the hassle of any caught fabric while he drove through the wood.

diy toy storage bench for nursery

Add the baskets or bins and stuff them with baby boy (or girl)’s precious things. I was able to hide so much stuff in these – ten bins overall.

diy toy storage bench for nursery

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{Review} Shame On You, MyPublisher

by Thao on 01.07.2013

I used MyPublisher several years ago when I made my wedding albums. I liked the books when I received them, but had many issues in actually getting those books. I didn’t mention it because I figured it was a fluke, but now, I’m beginning to think they have poor service and quality. For those wedding albums, they mixed up the covers for one thing. I had to reorder new books which was free to replace, thankfully. They also, at the time, really stood by the satisfaction guarantee. I originally ordered the books without layflat pages and when I received the books, found it difficult to actually open and go through them as is. They offered to make brand new books with actual lay-flat pages at no charge to me because of their satisfaction guaranteed promise. I loved that.

Fast forward to now after I used them for some rushed Christmas gifts. We just had our baby boy and for Christmas, I wanted to order the grandparents ‘MyPublisher mini books’ so that could show him to their friends. They were previously carrying around a full-sized album. I designed them (different for each person) and ordered them on rush to get them in time for opening presents. Out of the five that I ordered, two came in completely not right and to top it off, customer service has not responded to me about it.

First, their ordering system sucks. You can’t put multiple books on a single order. You have to order them separately and therefore pay for shipping individually.

As for the physical products, the first book came in crooked. Look at the top of the book. Most books are rectangles. Unless they are selling trapezoid-shaped books and I didn’t realize it, then they just suck at rush orders.

Poor quality MyPublisher mini book and customer service review

The second book came in crooked (same trapezoid shape) AND on top of the $5 express shipping I paid, the post office charged me an additional $1.30 to receive the book.

Poor quality MyPublisher mini book and customer service review

Poor quality MyPublisher mini book and customer service review

Both times, I contacted them and while they offered a code to get the first mini book replaced, however, they have yet to respond about the underpaid postage that I got dinged with and have not offered to replace or resolve the poor quality crooked mini book. Their automated response system states that they respond to customer service inquiries within 48 business hours.

I first contacted them about the second book on December 19, 2012.
It is now January 7, 2013. Nice.

I have a $100 gift card to use there for a future product and I wish I could trade it in for one to Adoramapix.

MyPublisher sucks and their satisfaction guarantee holds no weight.

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{DIY} Week to Week Maternity Album

by Thao on 01.06.2013

I am so excited about this project.

custom diy weekly maternity album

What good blogger doesn’t like to have more documentation? I have always been a fan of custom published books, like the one I did for our wedding, so a first pregnancy almost begs for it.

Throughout the pregnancy, I noted sensory stuff I was experiencing each week …what was I craving, how was I feeling, where was he kicking?! Instead of keeping everything in an obscure file on a thumbdrive, I made a completely custom maternity album that I designed in Photoshop and published/printed at Adoramapix.com.

I chose to go with the 8" by 8" format. Scrapbook size seemed too big for a journal, so I channeled the idea of children’s board books (small and almost square), and after researching what was available in custom book sizing, I chose the 8". At the time I started this, there were few companies with this format AND even fewer that had lay-flat pages that allowed fully customized spreads. I wanted each week to span across a 2-page spread so I choose Adoramapix.com. (Note that adoramapix did not ask me to review any of this.)

Some simple layout templates were designed in Photoshop with the intent that I could just choose one each week, modify the text, and then just add pictures as clipping masks, and save. It worked out very well! I chose a picture or two for each week that best summed up my little journal entries. To make the colors appealing, I often used the dropper tool to pick a color straight from the photo in order to fill the background behind the text.

There were, of course, a few weeks where I would make two or so layouts because I couldn’t pick THE perfect photo. Some weeks, I fell behind depending on what I was doing so it was easy to jot down the notes first and then go back and design the pages. It took me about a month and a half after he was born to finally put the order in the system since I wanted pictures from his birth to be included at the end. AND it takes me so long to actually do this.

I just received the album and I absolutely love it. The quality is excellent and every page turned out the way I had envisioned. I started with WEEK 5, when I found out I was pregnant, all the way through week 40. There were two extra spread pages at the end where I wrote his "Birth Story", which went into a little more detail than the weekly entries, and a full imaged-layout of his first hospital photos. I realized going through the pregnancy that I never even asked my mom how she had me. I wanted to remember this always so it was written to the boy from me like the rest of the book was so the birth story was special to me.

custom diy weekly maternity album


custom diy weekly maternity album


custom diy weekly maternity album


custom diy weekly maternity album


custom diy weekly maternity album


custom diy weekly maternity album


custom diy weekly maternity album


custom diy weekly maternity album


custom diy weekly maternity album

Here are all of the pages.

custom diy weekly maternity album


custom diy weekly maternity album


custom diy weekly maternity album


custom diy weekly maternity album

I am definitely going to use Adoramapix.com for my next album. They had the best quality and customer service when compared to MyPublisher.

{ 1 comment }

Hello, Burberry Diaper Bag

by Thao on 12.27.2012

If there is anything my man knows, he knows that I love purses… and bags of any kind. Small ones. Big ones. Weekend ones. Ones that are only big enough to fit a lip gloss. Bags that go into bags…

He doesn’t ‘get it’, but at least he leaves well enough alone that I use most of our 20ft hallway closet for the storage and organization of my bags.

It didn’t surprise him, or me, that when I found out I was pregnant, the first thing I did was look at diaper bags.

I bought this Coach Addison Signature Baby Bag right away. After Kyler came, it was what I was carrying around. It was nice, but the satchel style didn’t meet my need to open the bag wide to see everything inside. Everything was cramped, especially when I use it as a diaper bag AND my purse.

Coach Addison Signature Baby Bag

So, I ventured away from common purse brand names in favor of baby brand names, cause if anyone was to know about babies and what their mommas need, it would be them. Enter JJ Cole’s satchel bag in stone arbor.

JJ Cole Diaper Bag Satchel in Stone Arbor

Maybe I should have gone with the JJ Cole Caprice bag instead, because the Satchel had about the same small space constraints as the Coach bag I purchased first. The top zipper joins two flaps of fabrics that encase the top, making the opening small. I didn’t get to play with the bag in person before it was purchased and that wasn’t the best idea. It fit a lot inside, but if I can’t see it all, it wasn’t meant for me.

Lesson learned: satchels do not fit my diaper bag style.

Enter Christmas, which I hope you all had a wonderful one. Donny knew I had been researching high and low for a new diaper bag, but I had no idea he was paying that much attention. I shared this sweet Burberry black and white checkered diaper bag tote with him a long time ago for the sole sake of sharing a style he might like. He ended up surprising me with it for Christmas as a ‘thank you’ for taking care of the boy.

Burberry Tote Diaper Bag

It has quickly become my everyday bag – baby and personal everything. I will still find reasons to use my other bags, but when I am out with the boy, you better believe this is what I am carrying. It’s roomy, fits all my personal junk that I think I need to have with me everywhere, and it has all of the right hiding places for baby’s needs. I love the simple, classic check design in black and white – goes with everything practically.

I now use the JJ Cole satchel as Kyler’s daycare bag that I haul with him every day. It fits the 8 cloth diapers, 4 bottles, two extra outfits, and wet bag that I cart with him daily. I’m not afraid to leave it in the hands of his teachers and I still get to sport my Burberry with me.

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2012 Christmas Ornament & Card

by Thao on 12.09.2012

Every year, either I, he, or we go out and pick a new Hallmark Ornament to adorn our fake Christmas tree. The goal is to find one that summarizes or epitomizes what happened in the past year. See last year’s.

This year was easy. We welcomed Kyler to become a family of three.

Hallmark holiday ornament for new family of three with cute penguins

I hope your Christmases are great so far! Kyler is obviously too young to really appreciate the fact that he’s getting spoiled by his family, but taking these holiday photos of him for our Christmas card made it fun (most of the time) for me.

Holiday photo shoot and session with almost three month baby boy by the Christmas tree


Holiday photo shoot and session with almost three month baby boy by the Christmas tree


Holiday photo shoot and session with almost three month baby boy by the Christmas tree


Holiday photo shoot and session with almost three month baby boy by the Christmas tree


Holiday photo shoot and session with almost three month baby boy by the Christmas tree


Holiday photo shoot and session with almost three month baby boy by the Christmas tree

Anything with me in it was a taken with the tripod, which essentially means it took 50 shots to get a ‘good’ one. The pictures turned out great, but I won’t even try to fool you. He hated the Santa Hat and got tired of tummy time… and looking at the bottom of the tree… and being held. I am thankful for continuos shooting mode.

Holiday photo shoot and session with almost three month baby boy by the Christmas tree


Holiday photo shoot and session with almost three month baby boy by the Christmas tree


Holiday photo shoot and session with almost three month baby boy by the Christmas tree


Holiday photo shoot and session with almost three month baby boy by the Christmas tree

Obviously, as good parents, the crying photo made it to the 2012 Christmas card. We left room on the back for personalized notes.

DIY Christmas Card, Holiday with family in chevron, red, and green


DIY Christmas Card, Holiday with family in chevron, red, and green

We’re fans of personal notes. It takes time, but there’s something nice about receiving a note that you know someone took time out to write. I guess we’re old school sometimes. Happy holidays, Blogosphere!

See them all on flickr.

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Prepartum Hospital Stay

by Thao on 12.02.2012

Still on maternity leave and there a few things I’ve learned in conversing with other new moms. Apparently, my experiences were similar, but none of us knew about it until we got there. SO, for all you expectant ladies… here are some things to keep in mind before you deliver or things hospitals should start thinking about to not have people leave with a bad taste for healthcare.

  1. Nurses are humans with personalities that don’t always jive with yours. During the first ‘shift’ while I was in the hospital postpartum, the nurse watching me was supersweet and very attentive. She helped me with all kinds of things and with my complication, it seemed like I needed extra help. Bless these women… seriously. Then, the next morning with the shift change, I met the next nurse who anything but super. Or sweet. She was almost cold (callous) and didn’t quite understand why I was asking for what I was asking for. But I didn’t want to proclaim that my lady parts were in a lot of pain even though I’m sure that’s typical, you know, after giving birth. More on this later. It was off-putting and with the postpartum emotions you have running through you, very difficult to comprehend. I imagined all nurses to be sweet little ladies who oozed with nurturing voodoo, but nope. They’re not all cut from the same cloth and when you think about it… no one in the same profession is. I’m not like the rest of my male engineering counterparts, nor am I like the other female engineers.

  2. Nurses are humans with opinions that don’t always jive with yours AND don’t often match each others’.I, along with my new mom friends, were often confused by the conflicting opinions of one nurse during a shift to the other. I chose to breastfeed our baby and in the beginning, it really sucks because you don’t make milk and the babe is learning how to latch. It costs many tears and patience. So while you’re lying in the hospital bed struggling to cope with your crying newborn who is not latching, one nurse will admire you for supplementing a few mL of formula and then the next nurse will make you feel like THE WORST MOTHER EVER, because ‘how dare you intoxicate him with milk that did not come from his mother!’ I was so confused and all of their opinions made sticking to my decisions more difficult. After all, these nurses know far more than I about childcare. I had been a mother for less than 24 hrs. It would help if hospitals either took the position for their staff to ask the opinion/decision of the mother first and supported it (unless she wanted to smoke crack) or had their staff aligned with a certain position. I didn’t need to be happy during one nurse shift and then cry during the next.

  3. Don’t be so tough with the pain. Labor hurts. Recovering from labor hurts even more. Quit trying to be the ‘tough’ woman who doesn’t need that painkiller or help walking to the bathroom. I found that most women had the same mentality I did, where they downplayed their pain levels. After all, women in far less glamourous positions have given birth to babies in the wild somewhere without so much as a… bed… or 10 clinicians in a room monitoring every health stat. It’s OK to say that you’re hurting. No one will think less of you for requiring some relief. If it means that you’ll be able to focus more on that beautiful baby, then call for the Ibuprophen. Just don’t get addicted or anything like that. That’s no good.

  4. They don’t tell you everything. Right after delivering, they took Kyler away from me for a few hours. I thought this was normal procedure until we grew impatient and asked them where our kid was. They had taken him to the nursery to monitor him and administer antibotics because he was born with a fever. Well, gee, thanks for the information! Later, one of the nurses nonchalantly told us that he failed his first hearing test while wheeling him out to take the second test. Excuse me??? He can’t hear? OMG! *Insert additional new parent freaking out here*. Later, we found out that it was normal to have to take two hearing tests. Thanks for saving me the grief. As I’ve shared with my new mom friends, they all unfortunately had the same experiences. The hospital staff just don’t tell you everything. While I can see the benefit of not having the parents prematurely freak out – it would be nice if the expectation were set. "We don’t want you to freak out about your new baby having issues so we’re going to not disclose where we’re taking him or why he’s got this giant needle sticking out of him right away."

  5. Shift changes = discontinuity of care. You mean, I don’t have the same nurse with me for the full time I’m in the hospital?! WAAHHH. Nurses are people with lives and schedules, but it’s easy to forget. Unfortunately, this means that while in the hospital, you see MANY clinicians and you end up having to retell your story and state of BEING a kajillion times. By the end, it was like a well-rehearsed speech. "Hi, I’m Thao. Nice to meet you Lady-whose-name-I-will-try-really-hard-to-remember-but-in-fact-won’t. That kid is breastfed. I need help managing this pain. I don’t mind you coming into my room whenever. And so forth." I had the assumption that they would all know my story and I wouldn’t have to retell anything. We were with a hospital practicing EMR too and it still doesn’t make the whole thing seamless. Just shows you that the transfer of information can suffer. As long as you’re prepared for it, it won’t be a big deal. I was rather ill-prepared and had way more romantic notions of care in the hospital.

I guess as a healthy person who doesn’t end up in the hospital ever, it’s not like the movies or like the dozen hospital dramas on TV, at least in my experience and the experiences of my friends. Hopefully, you can reset your expectations to align with what really goes down – a whole lot of confusion for first-time parents.

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Baby Wearing

by Thao on 11.29.2012

My sister bought me a Moby Wrap as one of my shower gifts. I busted it out of its packaging today and decided to wear Kyler around – maybe I can get a little more done around the house today.

baby wearing with the moby wrap

It was a little awkward at some points, like feeding yourself. Do you cover his face to shield it from crumbs? I had to reach out in front (reminiscent of being mega pregnant) and airplane-spoon my rice into my mouth. Awkward. I guess it could be practice for later. Only… feeding the kid, not myself.

I enjoyed having him close to me though and he always loves tummy-to-tummy time. He seemed to like it! Though, these days, happily pooping and happily playing all generate the same expressions.

baby wearing with the moby wrap

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Hello, Kyler

by Thao on 10.22.2012

My last post was on October 4th… but it wasn’t because that was actually a scheduled post. There was no way on the 4th, that I posted a DIY because I was actually in the hospital giving birth to our healthy 8lb, 20in baby boy, Kyler as 11:30am!

5 minutes postpartum - arrival of baby boy

My water broke late on the 3rd. Twelve hours of labor and 2 partially working epidurals later, he arrived. Donny (a la {DonThao Photography}), took awesome photos during the experience… the hospital clinicians seemed horrified when he was in my space with the cameras (video and photo), but I was thrilled to have those moments captured. We are mild historians and when I say mild, I mean obsessive.

The past two and a half weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. We’ve had family and friends over to wish us well. I had an ER trip for a postpartum complication, which was not the most pleasant thing to go through with a 10 day old at home. I survived. Now, I’m enjoying a couple minutes to myself while Donny returns home from his first day back to work and the boy is napping. Note that we didn’t name him {Bruce} (his code name). The name Kyler was the first name we agreed on for a boy.

This was the picture we sent out to announce his arrival and his name. I made those stickers and had them stashed in the hospital bag.

arrival of baby boy

And here are a few more of his first minutes out of the womb. Check out {DonThao Photography} for more.

arrival of baby boy named kyler
arrival of baby boy named kyler
arrival of baby boy named kyler

Yeah, I’m pretty in love.

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