100 Happy Days – Day 33: Pink Snowsuit

This morning after taking E to the bus with me, AB thought she’d visit our neighbour’s driveway. She even ventured all the way to his front steps. I asked if she was going to come inside with me or go live with Steve.

She said nonchalantly, “Yep. I’m gonna go live with Steve.”

After a few minutes, she changed her mind, claiming “Steve is a monster.” (Monsters are on her mind a lot right now, though seemingly not in a very scary way.) I assured her that Steve is actually a nice guy, but she opted to have breakfast with me anyway.


I love her in this poofy powder-pink snowsuit. She also has a brown coat with leopard-spotted lining, which I have to admit is edgier… but gosh. I like the pink in spite of myself.



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100 Happy Days – Day 3: Cuties in Costumes

Hoping my technical difficulties might take a coffee break, I’m attempting to backpublish a post from… several days ago. (I wouldn’t want you to think that Jian Ghomeshi had completely quashed the possibility of happy days.)

Here’s some happy from Day 3, even though they’re pics from October 31st. Because they can make me smile any day of the year. (Even though excited kids standing still enough for a clear photo on Halloween simply did not occur.) Plus, costumes are fun EVERY DAY.

AB the giraffe and “Baby” G the dragon (he’s not a baby any more – he’s a big brother!).
dragon, giraffe, pirate costumes
And E as a pirate!
jack o lantern
Jack-o-lantern designed by E, executed by Daddy.

And if you think that wee giraffe looks just like another wee giraffe you might have seen a few years ago… you’re right.



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Baby AB’s Fashion Blog – Issue #19: Tennis Style

So. Biggest hiatus ever in the history of this blog. Jeepers.

Suffice it to say I’ve been itching to write  – oh, so many posts in my head – but was away for a whole week at leadership camp (MOTL) and returned home just in time for my firstborn’s fifth birthday (as yet herein uncommemorated! What?? MOTL) to throw myself into the maelstrom of yearbook and report cards.

So yeah. I’m breaking the silence with a frouffy post about my daughter in tennis dresses.

(It’s also slightly possible that I’m procrastinating because my reports aren’t done but my brain is friday-fried. Perhaps.)

Best part: it’s Then and Now.

First, classic tennis whites for a child too small to walk, cute pastel stripes because who doesn’t love stripes?

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OMG she was so little and fuzzy-headed.

Then we have the outfit she wore on her big brother’s birthday, approximately a year later, in honour of his love for Angry Birds. This little number was handed down to us by a thoughtful friend who knew about AB’s nickname and knew she must have this.

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Still kinda fuzzy-headed. 🙂

I imagine you don’t see a lot of pink-with-sparkly-buttons-and-plaid-trim on the courts, but I’m sure my kid could pull it off. She may be even be a fashion leviathan someday.


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DIY Tie-Dye Jamboree! Shirts, shoes, and a jillion tiny socks.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been attracted to things that are tie-dyed. I love the fluid shapes and patterns and the vibrant colours. Fortunately for me, tie-dyed clothing is one of the 80s trends I like that came back! (Along with some that make me wince a little, such as crimped hair.)

I have also always wanted a pair of Converse high-tops, ever since Grade 9 when I spent many hours drawing a beat-up black Chuck featured in my culminating still-life in art class. (We got our still-life materials from a closet in the art room that was full of interesting crap.) At age 14, I did not feel I could pull off the necessary coolness/attitude for high-tops. Now that I’m an adult, I know what’s important, which is: I don’t care if I pull them off.

I ended up putting those two ideas together after getting all excited about design-your-own shoes on the Converse website and then having my dreams crushed because Converse.com DOES NOT SHIP TO CANADA and furthermore DOES NOT ACCEPT PAYMENT FROM ANY CANADIAN INSTITUTION INCLUDING PAYPAL ACCOUNTS FROM CANADA. (Not that I’m bitter.)

The solution? Dye my own. (IN YO FACE, Converse.com!)

I went out and procured two “One-Step Tie-Dye” kits by Tulip. I had to get two, because I wanted all the pretty colours, please.

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If you’ll notice, one kit says it will dye up to 20 projects, and the other up to 30 projects… and the dye apparently starts to lose potency after 45 minutes. Ergo, by my calculations, that meant: dye a whole truckload of stuff!! Or as much stuff as I could reasonably afford.

tie-dye preparation
E was raring to go. What better activity for a balmy Victoria Day weekend?
tulip one-step tie-dye bottles
Dye bottles from the kits form a nice rainbow.
tulip one-step tie-dye bottles 2
Then you fill ’em up and shake ’em. E was good at the shaking part.
dye your own converse
There are my Converse, actually off-white, carefully taped up with painter’s tape because the Interwebs were inconclusive as to the stainability of rubber soles.
dye your own canvas shoes
It was surprisingly hard to find these little canvas shoes for E – I eventually did at Old Navy. The adult ones came from Ardene.
tie-dye toddler socks
I told you – a jillion socks. (If you count them, I think you’ll find it’s exactly one jillion.)

Here are a few things I learned from the DIY Tie-Dye Extravaganza chez Dilovely:

  • Paper towels: YES.
  • Plasticized tablecloth: YES YES YES. (Dye washes right off with water.)
  • Plastic gloves from the kit: nice idea but they SUCK. Rip at the slightest provocation.
  • Reading the whole instruction booklet first: a good idea. It’s full of solid advice.
  • I would add to the advice: if you don’t want to have droplets of the wrong colour in random places, put your fingertip over the tip of the bottle when positioning it.
  • Also, if you want lots of control over what the dye does, use a sponge to apply dye instead of tipping it straight from the bottle.
  • We tried three of the different techniques for shirts described in the instructions: bullseye, spiral, and “scrunching”.
  • They all work! Make sure you use lots of dye to penetrate the folds.
  • If your helper is a small child, make sure he has had a full snack before you start.
  • If your small-child helper is a mini-perfectionist, working with liquid dye might produce tears and/or screaming.
  • If the end result is cool enough, your small-child helper will forget all about the tragic parts of the adventure.
  • The rinsing part takes forever – but you can make it more efficient by squeezing in a top-down direction.
  • As to the staining of rubber soles: tiny spots that got in around the tape washed right off the Converse and the adult shoes, so my precautions were probably unnecessary. The only soles that seemed to stain were the kid shoes. I’m hoping it’ll come off with baking soda and a toothbrush.
  • We kept the bottles, and there’s a refill dye packet for every colour… so I may be ready to try this again in a year or so.
tie-dye kids socks
It’s like a party in your socks and all the colours are invited!!
kids tye-die socks
He’s very invested in his stripes.
tie-dye canvas shoes
You have to bag everything for 6-8 hours to let the dye set. We ended up leaving them overnight.
After the rinsing, our clothesline looked like this…
… and my hands looked like this.
hand dyed converse
Supa-cute! The middle ones were bottle-dyed, the Converse were sponge-dyed, and E’s little shoes were a combination of both techniques (with only a small calamitous meltdown in the middle).
hand dyed chucks
YEAH baby.
tie dye kids clothes
Tie-dyed children! xoxoxox

Don’t you want to go try it yourself? 🙂

P.S.: If you’re a shoe-lover and a Canuck, I can recommend ShoeMe.ca. My Converse came from there, hassle-free, free shipping and returns on everything – but they ONLY SHIP WITHIN CANADA. Just so you know. The company tells me you can get $50 off $100 with your first order – just for being MY friend!! – by using this link. http://shoemeca.refr.cc/4822RKB



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Toddler Tracks: Baby AB and the Amazing Technicolour Accessories (Fashion Blog #18)

It’s weird think back to AB’s infancy, when she WOULD NOT STAND FOR HATS. Any hat we wrangled onto her would be off in seconds.

Now, it’s the opposite. Anything that could possibly be construed as a hat will be worn; if it doesn’t work as a hat, it goes around the neck. And then there’s the obsession with boots.

Mommy’s Buff is a hat AND a scarf. Bonus.
She’s delighted to accessorize! But ummm… yeah, that’s my underwear around her neck. Underwear is a favourite, actually. She’s been known to raid the laundry basket before you can even start folding. Mismatched mittens just complete the look.
And that’s E’s underwear (Monsters, Inc.). Worn beret-style, with attitude.
Easter bunny ears, worn upside-down, make a political statement (I’m sure).
Two little feet, one big boot.
E’s pajama shorts. They make a nice scarf-hat. (See?? RAIDING THE LAUNDRY.)
Wearing Daddy’s Jayne hat (from Ma Cobb’s Hat Shoppe). Pretty shiny, no?
Headband = neckwarmer. Adult Blundstones = comfy toddler fashion option. Even if you can’t lift your feet in them.
Stylistic conventions be damned. It’s a forehead flap (and string). Perfect for doing housework.
Purloined E’s Diego hat.
E’s sweater-vest + BabyLegs. (Also: no pants of any sort.)
She learned how to take off her own shirt a month or two ago. We were impressed.
Pilfered Baby G’s hat, since it went so nice with her bib. (And nothing else.)
The smallest sunglasses we could find still fall off her face… but she loves them anyway.



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Freezing and Thawing and Partying

It’s been a memorable holiday season. Christmas that was both black(out) and crazily white… So much awesome family… Yummy food and festive music… Gratuitous cuteness….

The true meaning of Christmas: Cousin R and Baby AB chillin’ with random things in their mouths.
E with brand-new cousin M.
My Aunt’s legendary Figgy Pudding on Christmas Eve.
Artsy Christmas tree pic taken by E.
Baby AB snuggling.
Self-selected holiday fashion.
Self-selected (except for the sleeper) holiday fashion.
I’m sure y’all heard about (/participated in) that crazy ice storm. My poor parents were without power for 4 days, so Christmas morning ended up at our house! But the TREES. The SPARKLINESS. On Christmas Eve, E looked out the window and started exclaiming about all the new “pretty lights” on ALL the trees; it was the sunset hitting the ice. Amazing.
I just know there are majorly profound lessons to be taken from the cedars and birches that just bend like this, then (mostly) recover when the ice melts.
Presents! Here was a fave: mini paleontological dig in plaster for a triceratops tooth.
So, Mrs. Claus was in Chapters a few weeks before Christmas and found this: a BOY FAIRY. She thought of E, who had recently been watching Tinkerbell and who still wants to wear his fairy wings even though the elastic is stretched all to heck. She took the plunge.
Then she also got this lovely-and-not-too-frou-frou girl fairy.
Then she got a daemon for each fairy (baby wolf, baby tiger) and got a bit crafty with a pretty gift box and tag she’d received from a fellow blogger, and made a fairy house. (The door’s in the top because FAIRIES. They fly in.) (And yes. Mrs. Claus has a blog. Pretty sure she’s on Pinterest too.) In case you’re wondering, E did not flip out over the fairies as Mini-Di would have at his age, but he has been enjoying his fairy folk, on-and-off. He was stoked when he realized that his popsicle-stick craft from school makes a perfect deck for them.
automoblox minis
But this present was the real winner. Automoblox Minis. He had one already from his Great-Aunt Suze, so Mommy and Daddy added these – and you can mix and match all their parts, once you have more than one. Seriously, they’re so fun.
Pillow forts. Baby AB is a fort-wrecker, and also hilarious.
New Year’s Eve fireworks in the park! E’s first “up-close” fireworks. Damn cold but awesome all the same.
New Year’s Day open house at Grammie and Papa’s. All partied out.

 Now here we are. Gearing up to go back to school and normal life tomorrow, while also battening down for another storm. Bracing for back-to-school germs, now that both kids are finally almost done coughing and E is getting over his second bilateral ear infection since JK started. Feeling a bit of the blues, but also glad to be getting back to a routine.

And today, my Hubbibi spent the day cleaning house (while I got the kids out of there) so we could all feel fresh and ready for NEW YEARNESS. (Thanks, honey. What a difference.)

Here we go!



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Baby AB’s Fashion Blog – Issue #17: Cozy

It’s getting cold these days, and it smells like winter out there. Here are some warm and snuggly fashions… from the last time it was cold (so, like, half a lifetime ago for the model in question).

baby in snowsuit
Li’l bear snowsuit – on loan from our friends since E was a baby.
E baby snowsuit
See? That’s (not-so-big) big brother, same snowsuit. (Sometimes even I can’t believe how much they look alike.)

homemade baby sweater
Auntie Em knitted this gorgeous sweater for Baby AB; Baby’s clearly thrilled to wear it.
I want one in my size.
Even better avec chapeau.
We call this one “Baby-Wan Kenobi.” Jedis know: rainbow socks are good luck.
Don’t worry about tangles. She’s got the force.
And she’s using it on you RIGHT NOW.



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Baby AB’s Fashion Blog – Issue # 16: Party Dress

We’ve had some festive times lately, and I do tend to milk those, fashion-wise, when it comes to Baby AB.

The wedding in Cape Cod was obviously an important opportunity to wear this pink gingham with satin roses. The dress being sleeveless – and Cape Cod being quite windy – we added the sweater (beautifully hand-knitted, but it’s a hand-me-down so I have no idea who made it), and the striped BabyLegs. And the sandals fit better than the first time they were featured. I think she pulls it off.

Blue Steel face. Plus a fried plantain hors-d’oeuvre.
With Uncle Ben. 🙂

Then there was the first birthday! Which of course was celebrated multiple times. This navy sailor dress was for the combination birthday-Auntie-Em’s-housewarming.

Not so happy when she wore it earlier in the summer… but she got over it.
Paired with argyle BabyLegs and white Robeez.

Then, of course, there was Thanksgiving! Little schoolgirl dress (the pleats at the back are adorable but the photo doesn’t do them justice), more BabyLegs, and that cutie hat with crocheted flower. (Also a hand-me-down.)

No, she isn’t walking yet, but she does look pretty nonchalant with one hand on the table.

E was also quite stylin’ that day. Can’t get enough of sweater vests on boys.

What a dashing young man.




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Baby AB’s Fashion Blog – Issue #15: “Summer” Theatrics

Last week, the weather showed us how flexible it can be in September. On Tuesday it was 34C (93F), feeling like 42C (108F) with the humidity. (Inside my school, ’twas even hotter.) So although school has started, we were reminded that IT IS STILL SUMMER, Y’ALL.

Then a few days later, it got down to almost freezing at night. What the what?

Let’s look at some differing ensembles worn by Baby AB this past spring and summer, in honour of the dazzling temperature acrobatics.

Here’s a skimpyish one, from May. I call it “Butter Me Up.”

She has substantially more hair than this right now.
Please note front pocket, babyish embroidery, and green bloomers peeking out.

And ZING, here’s a cozy one. I call it, “Hug This Bear.”

She only put up with that hat for a minute or two, but it was worth it.
Li’l bears and dots and bows. SNUGGLE.

Back to skimpy! “Sweet Pea”, because obviously.

This is her sweetest pea face.
LOVE this onesie.

And toasty again! I call this one “Cordurosy”, because the jacket is fine-wale corduroy and so is the trim on the jeans.

Heart buttons with flappy buttonholes, for Pete’s sake.

And finally, here’s a hybrid. Let’s call it “Too Cute To Be Named.”

I remember wearing strappy one-piece shorts-jumpers like this in the 80s, as a big kid. I’m pretty sure they’re back. Either way, baby pulls it off (so to speak).



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Baby AB’s Fashion Blog – Issue #14: Salmon and Carmine

When we were kids, we had one jillion pencil crayons, courtesy of my dad. Mostly Laurentians and Prismacolors. They were kept in three old sorbet containers, one for warm colours, one for cool colours, and one for neutrals. We spent a lot of time colouring, and knew well the nuances of Deep Yellow versus Lemon Yellow, Dark Brown versus Photo Brown, etc.

One of my favourite colours was Carmine Red. The pencil itself had a rich, waxy consistency on the paper, and was a stunner when you used it wisely.

The pants and trim of this lovely set, which I call “Paislicious”, are Carmine Red. It’s a nice change from straight-up pink. Super-sassy gift from a family friend. (I’ve also always had a soft spot for paisleys. The majority of my dad’s neckties are paisley – though not carmine – and he used to go to work in them looking very elegant indeed.)

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The softer sister of Carmine is Salmon. I don’t recall a coloured pencil named Salmon, but I’m sure I would have overused it if we’d had one. And the delicate details of this knit one-piece are so gorgeous I almost can’t stand it. (See it paired with long sleeves here.)

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And the shoes, the shoes. (Hand-me-downs, in perfect condition). Ach. SO GREAT.

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