Friday, July 3, 2015

Suck Pads

I can't believe my maternity leave is coming to an end so quickly. I feel like I haven't been able to do all the things I wanted to do, crafting wise. I wanted to get caught up on my Project Life but I'm still about 2 years behind on that so that'll be my next big project to tackle. In the meantime, I carved out some time to do quick simple projects that are more "pressing" because they are items I could use right away. The first item in order was suck pads for my carrier. Charlotte is either rubbing her face against the sides to scratch her eczema or she's sucking on it so making these was priority. +Cynthia Chau sent me a tutorial for these suck pads that you can find here. I had leftover minky fabric from my quilt so I opted to use that for one side and plain cotton for the other. As much as I love minky, it's so brutal to sew and I hate. It. So. Much. It stretches, bunches, and is just overall really brutal to work with. I think next time I'm going to leave it uncut, sew what I need to sew on it, then trim off the excess minky. Maybe that's what one is supposed to do...? Who knows. Excuse the dark photos. I was too excited to finish them and show them off in the middle of the night. 






Creamy Asian Dressing

We've been eating a lot of salads lately so changing up the salad dressing is a must! Today we tried a creamy asian dressing and it was a nice change from our normal vinaigrettes. I didn't follow the measurements exactly and I used almond butter. Still turned out great. The recipe can be found here

Monday, March 30, 2015

Traveling With a Baby

We were lucky enough to travel to Hawaii a few weeks ago and it was our first trip with baby. I am so happy that Jamie and I took a couple big trips before baby because traveling with an infant is so different. It was a very long trip getting to Maui but I'm glad we had the support and help of my in-laws along the way. First mistake we made was booking a 7:00 AM flight. Every time we book flights, I say to myself I'll never book another 7:00 AM flight and yet I do it time and time again. With a baby though, definitely not doing it again. It was extremely challenging for us to plan Charlotte's feeds for 14-16 hours and carry all that gear with us. We had 2 big backpacks just full of feeding equipment such as bottles, formula, thickener, pump parts, ice pack etc. The first night I had a mini meltdown, saying to Jamie, "This is SO hard and I just want to be home right now." We settled in nicely after getting some decent rest though. I'm glad we chose a destination that was nice and chill because you really can't go go go with a baby. We opted to bring our own car seat but decided against the base because it was just that much more to lug. Lesson learned. Although it was easy getting the car seat strapped in with the seat belt, it definitely was less convenient so we will bring it on our next trip. We also decided to go stroller-less. I used a ring sling in the airport on the way there and then used our Emeibaby carrier for the rest of the trip. It was definitely very convenient using the carrier although I did have to remove her when going through security because the rings set off the alarms. I thought I was going to use my woven wrap a lot but I didn't bring it out once just because the carrier was that much more convenient. I only missed the stroller once and that was when we landed and had our first Costco trip. Having the use of a kitchen was also another lifesaver. We were able to wash all of Charlotte's bottles, my pump parts etc. Charlotte is fussing so I'll cut this short. All in all, even though we did not accomplish much in Maui, it was fabulous to get away and I can't wait to show do it again! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cloth Diapering Journey Thus Far

I originally wanted to share my cloth diapering journey in some regular posts but with the lack of time now, here's the Cole's Notes (do they even still make them?) version. Even though our peanut is 6 months old (!) already, we have only been able to cloth diaper her little booty for approximately 3 months. She had this unrelenting diaper rash that is still not fully healed yet so we were in disposables for 3 months, trying cream after cream. Everything I read and everyone I spoke with, highly advised against making a huge purchase of one brand of diapers before testing one out first on baby's bum. Being the true Asian that I am, a sale got the best of me and we splurged on about 12 pairs of Applecheeks diaper covers and 30 bamboo inserts. That set us back over $500 right off the bat and I just hoped that they would work out for us because there seemed to be so much Applecheeks love in the cloth diapering world. Well they sure did not disappoint. I absolutely loved cloth diapering from day 1, although I did not love the gDiapers that we borrowed from a family member. Regardless, it got us through the first couple of weeks when Charlotte was itty bitty. Now I realized as I was typing, this is not looking very Cole's Notes like so I'll just share a few things that I want to share. 

1. Disposable liners can probably convert a lot of non-cloth diapering folks to switch over because it makes handling poop so easy. Just pull off the Bounce fabric softener like sheet out of the diaper, chuck that out and you're good to go! The Applecheeks liners cost about $0.08/liner but we cut them in half. If you're uber Asian green, you can hand wash the liners that have only been peed on, hang dry them and reuse them. I misread and thought I could throw them in the washer and reuse them. That does not work. 

2. I don't think Charlotte's rash was ever ammonia burn but it sure got me reading into all the issues that cloth diapers can have if the wash routine isn't getting them clean enough. Ammonia burn, mineral build up, barn yard stink, the list is huge! Now add on all the diaper creams on the market that are not cloth diaper safe and the things you have to do to your diapers to get the creams out, it'll make your head spin.

3. I like the idea of a one size diaper but I really do prefer the trimmer fit of the Applecheeks' sized diapers vs. one sized diapers like AMP. AMP snaps also drive me a little crazy and I hate them! 

4. We had an old top loader that I made Jamie sell and we purchased a nice HE front loader. Only after, did I find out that old school top loaders supposedly work better for cloth diapers. I don't regret it though because we redid our laundry room. The new washer and dryer look fabulous and we all know a fabulous looking laundry room, like all the ones you see on Pinterest or Houzz, make doing laundry seem less like a chore. Jamie put up some hanging racks we purchased at Ikea and I found a cute little metal tin at Winners that says "Laundry Detergent" on the front. You might not believe me but I can honestly say, the new laundry room makes me actually enjoy laundry. What I even enjoy more is stuffing inserts into diaper covers. It's amazing the number of moms that find stuffing diapers relaxing.

5. So has cloth diapering saved us any money so far? Absolutely NOT! As so many cloth diapering memes say, I just want to BUY ALL THE DIAPERS!!! There are so many cute prints that I have to constantly resist the urge to make purchase after purchase of these dang cute diapers. We didn't decide to cloth diaper to save money, but rather to try and decrease our contribution to the landfill. After using disposables for almost 3 months, I'm so happy to be back in cloth because I felt awful every time we had a full bag of dirty diapers to throw away. I feel like we went through them extraordinarily fast because of Charlotte's rash so that didn't help matters. What I am hoping for though, is if I do stop buying more diapers, everything should last us at least another child so we might break even in 5-7 years. 

6. If nothing else, just the sheer cuteness of cloth diapers might just lure you in! 

  

Friday, February 6, 2015

The View From the Top

I'm about 2 years behind on my Project Life albums when I finally decided to skip ahead and work on 2014. I'm not making a lot of headway since I'm only working on it 1-2 hours a week, but as +Cynthia Chau pointed out, that's more than when I didn't have a baby. We did a hike at Diamond Head and the view up there was so spectacular. I tried to capture it the best I could and here's my pieced together attempt. It's choppy but still breathtaking. Besides the view, the second most memorable part of the hike was when we were half way up, in the blazing sun, 20 weeks pregnant, I ask for water, and we have none. Not one drop. We forgot to pack it even though we did a mental checklist of everything we needed. Needless to say, pregnant mental checklists are not dependable. It's a good thing we packed a small container of mixed berries so that gave us a bit of sustenance. I was so excited to gulp down some water when we made it back to the car, but we didn't even have nasty hot car water to drink!!! Epic fail. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Random Update

My BFF asked for a blog post and it's been a while so I'm taking a bit of time to do a quick update for my dear buddy and fellow readers in the blogosphere. Before Christmas, I got really into crocheting and found that the Michael's crappy hooks just weren't cutting it so Jamie and I put in a big order on KnitPicks and I made a sweet hook holder for all my new toys using this pattern. 
We also made Charlotte's first Christmas ornaments using a simple salt dough recipe. It took a lot of tries to get her little hand and foot to cooperate. I'm glad that salt dough is very forgiving and easy to work with. I think they turned out adorable and I can't wait to hang them on our tree next year! 
I did my very first DIY RLR diaper insert strip because Charlotte got this terrible rash from having diarrhea and I thought it wouldn't hurt to strip the diapers just in case there was some ammonia build up. I absolutely love cloth diapering and have been very sad that I haven't been able to for the last 3 months because Charlotte's poor rash just isn't healing and I'm using all these non-cloth diaper safe products to try and protect her skin. She's got extremely sensitive and finicky skin so hopefully we can make our way back to cloth soon. 
We also picked up a bunch of picture frames from Ikea when they had a sale. I was envisioning this wall for quite some time and Ikea just happened to have frames on sale and a display conveniently put up that I fell in love with so we just stole the whole idea. Jamie didn't really have a choice but to put it up because we had no room to store the frames since we were hosting Christmas dinner for 20 people. Unfortunately, the frames are still sitting empty. Yet another project to tackle. 
With the amount of hoarding I do with crafting goods, I knew I wanted to make some tag blankets with the vast, VAST amount of ribbon I own. I managed to sneak away one Monday night to a friend's house and hunkered down for 2 hours. I think I used about 0.02% of my ribbon. 
We've been doing a lot more cooking since I started maternity leave. A new salad dressing that I've been obsessed with is this lemon garlic concoction. I don't remember where I found the recipe, but those who know me know that I'm not good with measurements so I'll just list off the ingredients. 

Kick Butt Lemon Dressing 
- olive oil
- lemon juice from 1/2 to 1 lemon
- salt and pepper
- mashed garlic
- oregano 
- a tiny bit of sugar if you want

It's seriously so yummy that it got Jamie actually enjoying salad! One thing to note though, the garlic is what makes the dressing so one must be okay with stinky raw garlic breath. Below are just some random shots. I attempted to make this White chicken Chili and although it didn't turn out like the recipe, it was still delicious. 
A few girlfriends and I are trying to get back into shape post baby so I've been doing baby barre class where you strap baby to you while doing ballet moves and strollercize (which is essentially working out while baby stays in the stroller). I've also managed to get in a couple walks with the warm weather we were having. Whatever little time that Charlotte is napping and I have my hands free, I'm trying to catch up on my Project Life. I'm only about 2 years behind now. Jamie is de-cluttering the basement and finally recycling all his university textbooks. Makes me sad knowing we both spent thousands and thousands of dollars on those damn things that we can't even use as firewood. They are literally worthless paperweights that are taking up valuable storage space, but yet I cringe at the thought of dumping them. How Asian of me. 
To end off this random update, say hi to the puppies! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Grateful

I cannot believe our wee little baby is almost 5 months old. I found some time today to edit some photos and it brought me right back to the NICU. It amazes me how resilient babies are, and people in general. I am so grateful for our health care system, that I did not have to worry about how I was going to pay for the care my baby was receiving, and that I get to spend an entire year with my sweet girl. What an incredible life I have and I am thankful for every minute of it. Sure we do not drive fancy cars, or have many expensive things, but with our health, a loving family, amazing friends, a roof over our heads on this cold, cold day, and full bellies, I am fulfilled.