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┬á – 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. ­čÖé

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?
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Dye bottles from the kits form a nice rainbow.
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Then you fill ’em up and shake ’em. E was good at the shaking part.
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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.
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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!!
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He’s very invested in his stripes.
tie-dye canvas shoes
RIGHT??
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You have to bag everything for 6-8 hours to let the dye set. We ended up leaving them overnight.
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After the rinsing, our clothesline looked like this…
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… and my hands looked like this.
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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).
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YEAH baby.
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Tie-dyed children! xoxoxox

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

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.┬áhttp://shoemeca.refr.cc/4822RKB

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Dilovely’s Extra Oscars 2014

I look forward to our friend Karissa’s Oscar party every year. Good friends, yummy food, fun trivia, and unfiltered commentary. Plus swag bags. And this year, I was kidless, which is an automatic PARTAY and de-stressing moment. (No offense to my wonderful kids.)

I didn’t know if I was just my mindset that evening, but I found the proceedings in L.A. to be kind of lacklustre. I thought maybe I’m just getting jaded, but then my sister Em was feeling the same thing at a different Oscar party across town, so it wasn’t just me.

Perhaps it was the accumulation of awkward moments. Not just John Travolta introducing Idina Menzel with an unheard-of name, or Kim Novak appearing as the poster woman for the Not-Allowed-To-Age-In-Hollywood syndrome. There was also Jim Carrey pulling the rubberface (I love Jim Carrey, and I’ve loved his hilariousness over the years, but this throwback felt forced and out-of-place); Bette Midler singing “Wind Beneath My Wings” after the memorial slide show (again, I love her and that song, but the timing made it feel surplus); and Pink singing “Over the Rainbow” whilst sporting d├ęcollet├ę that completely distracted from the point of the song (AND breathing in the middle of a word at least three times, which drives me bananas).

Plus, the recited descriptions of the Best Picture nominees reminded me of high school book reports. I think montages are a much better way to titillate the audience.

Wow, I sound like a grump. I swear I wasn’t grumpy that night – I was totally stoked to be there.

I have to admit that this year, I only saw two of the Oscar-nominated movies. Well – three, if you count The Great Gatsby, which was nominated for Costumes and Production Design. (Didn’t that used to be Art Direction?) I haven’t even seen Frozen yet. Having taken in only Captain Phillips and The Wolf of Wall Street, I didn’t have much of a feeling for the odds in any category… but I am looking forward to seeing a bunch more nominees – someday. They all sound pretty awesome.

So! How ’bout those Extra Oscars?

Best Dressed: Sandra Bullock. Gah, SO GORGEOUS.

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Next Best Dressed: Kerry Washington (go maternity stylists!) and Jennifer Garner (as a belly dancer, I have a total soft spot for sparkly fringe).

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Worst Dressed: Whoopi Goldberg. Hated the dress but enjoyed seeing her up there – and the witchy feet were cute.

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Best Musical Performance: Pharrell Williams and manic backup dancers with “Happy” – he even got some keen nominees in the front row dancing with him (although nothing beats the original video).

Best Joke (by host Ellen Degeneres, to Jennifer Lawrence): “If you win tonight, I think we should just bring you the Oscar.” (Made more funny by Jennifer’s excellent sense of humour about her own tripping incident last year.)

Best Presenter Gag: Jamie Foxx doing a Chariots of Fire impression (vocal theme song and slo-mo run) against Jessica Biel’s teleprompts.

Best Acceptance Speech: Lupita Nyong’o for Best Supporting Actress. So sincere, so humble, so filled with the weight of history and the role she played. And she might also just win Best Smile Ever.

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Runner-Up: Jared Leto for Best Supporting Actor – for thanking his Mama properly, and daring to mention Venezuela and the Ukraine at a time when most mention only those in the celebratory bubble.

Best Host: Ellen Degeneres. Yes, she was the only host, but honestly, I just love her. She teases without being mean, she jokes without making you cringe, and she just seems to want folks to relax and have fun, as if they were in their living rooms with their yoga pants on (like we were). She will go down in history for those three large pizzas and the Selfie that Broke Twitter.

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And on the personal side…

Best Snack Name: “Spinach and ‘I will (arti) choke if Leo gets an Oscar tonight’ Dip.”

Yummiest Snack: WHO CAN DECIDE? (I made cheese wontons – The Wontons of Wall Street. Recipe to follow.)

Best Surprise: As is tradition, pregnancy was announced… by not one, but TWO of our friends! GO OSCAR. I don’t know how you do it.

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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….

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The true meaning of Christmas: Cousin R and Baby AB chillin’ with random things in their mouths.
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E with brand-new cousin M.
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My Aunt’s legendary Figgy Pudding on Christmas Eve.
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Artsy Christmas tree pic taken by E.
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Baby AB snuggling.
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Self-selected holiday fashion.
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Self-selected (except for the sleeper) holiday fashion.
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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.
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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.
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Presents! Here was a fave: mini paleontological dig in plaster for a triceratops tooth.
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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.
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Then she also got this lovely-and-not-too-frou-frou girl fairy.
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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.
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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.
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Pillow forts. Baby AB is a fort-wrecker, and also hilarious.
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Treats!
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New Year’s Eve fireworks in the park! E’s first “up-close” fireworks. Damn cold but awesome all the same.
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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).

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Li’l bear snowsuit – on loan from our friends since E was a baby.
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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.
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I want one in my size.
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Even better avec chapeau.
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We call this one “Baby-Wan Kenobi.” Jedis know: rainbow socks are good luck.
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Don’t worry about tangles. She’s got the force.
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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.

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

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.

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Not so happy when she wore it earlier in the summer… but she got over it.
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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.)

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

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

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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.”

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

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

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

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

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This is her sweetest pea face.
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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.

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WHO MAKES THESE? SERIOUSLY?
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Heart buttons with flappy buttonholes, for Pete’s sake.

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

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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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Baby AB’s Fashion Blog – Issue #13: Hello Kitty

Stuff people want to put on baby girl clothes, as we’ve seen: ruffles, pinkness, flowers, bows.

Also: KITTIES.

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Kitty pockets.
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Gratuitous cuteness.
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Kitty sleeper.
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The toes have to be kitties.
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As does the bum, naturally.

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Baby AB’s Fashion Blog – Issue #12: She’s Got Good Jeans

Jeans on a baby are undeniably cute. Any time you see a baby in “grown-up” clothes, it just tickles the medial ventral pre-frontal cortex, amiright?

Unfortunately, they’re not very practical – hard to get on the baby, and hard for her to sit properly with them on. Especially because she’s cloth-diapered and therefore has bubble-butt. Jeans are especially not designed for her.

So we’ve tried them a couple times, and always end up leaving them off after the next diaper change – but it’s okay, because that’s enough time to take a photo and immortalize them.

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Tiny purple Henley-style shirt that makes me think of apr├Ęs-ski, worn with jeans, naturally.
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Adorable velvet-ribbon flowers, with embroidered leaves.
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COME ON. SO CUTE.
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Hello again, ruffles. These jeans actually snap up the legs and crotch, making for easier access… but once they’re done up, they’re still fairly unforgiving. Not as stretchy as jeans made for adult women with bubble-butt (such as Dilovely). What did we DO before stretch denim??
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Of course, this shirt looks way cooler paired with jeans. It’s all about LOVE, but slightly punky-style, like a biker baby.
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Rocker-rose tattoo – I mean, appliqu├ę.
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She’s ultra-cool. You can tell by her loungy booster-seat posture.

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