Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Since finishing the t-shirts for my nieces and nephews, I've been making pillowcases. One standard sized pillow case.

And a bunch of travel sized pillowcases are in the works. Each of my girls has a travel pillow, but this was the first one for Darth Baby.

I finished off the middle one in this picture (which the nerdlet quickly claimed as hers) and should finish off the two others tonight or tomorrow.

The measurements for the standard pillowcase:
27" x 45" for the main piece
3-6" x 45" for the flange
12" x 45" for the end fabric (this is completely folded over so the end length is less than 6")
*you can go as low as 40" for the width of each, but no lower, and I'd suggest at least 42"

For the travel pillowcases:
14" x 28" for the main piece
3" x 28" for the flange, if using one
14" x 28" for the end fabric

Want a pillowcase, but don't want to make one yourself? Christie has added two pillowcases (made by Lori, a mom to a teenage with Ds) to her fundraising giveaway and each entry is $1.00. You can see the two pillowcase here and here. Of course, there are still other choices on the fundraiser other than the pillowcases, or you can just donate. There are only five days left though.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bear Cub Explosion

Things my sweet bear cub has done over the past few days:

Added about 10 new signs to her vocabulary, including spider, flower, airplane, shoe, walk, bird, and a few others that I can't remember right now.

Took 3 quick independent steps when she was too tired to remember that she doesn't walk.

Caught a ball.

Started following a few requests (like come here, get in the chair, move over, and wait).

Drinking from the straw cup!!!

She seems to be going through a huge developmental burst and I'm so proud I could burst.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Bear Cub Sucks

So there is a seemingly insignificant, little milestone that most people, even those with Down syndrome, take for granted, and that is using a straw. When I had the bear cub, I read everything I could on Ds, and I read that children with Ds shouldn't use traditional sippy cups because it wasn't ideal for tongue and mouth strength. The suggestion is typically to encourage your child to use a straw cup or drink from an open cup. Most parents choose a straw cup for obvious reasons and the average age to get this seems to be about 8 months. I was surprised when I found this out because the nerdlet didn't seem to get using the straw until she was 14 or 15 months, well after using an open cup.

I started trying the bear cub on the straw at about 6 months. I have tried every day for her to use it since and it has even been on her therapy goals the last three times (and the goals are redone every six months). I tried everything that was suggested to me. I tried every straw cup out there and every time Q or I had a drink with a straw we would let her try it out. I tried juice boxes and Caprisuns and filling a straw will partial liquid to give to her. I did all the mouth awareness exercises suggested by the two speech therapists and pretty much any other weird suggestion I was given. I tried some sort of straw every single day for over 1 1/2 years.

The bear cub hasn't really lagged behind on most milestones. She used her first sign at around six months and had about twenty signs at eighteen months. She was rolling over both ways at six months. She started crawling at 10 months. The first milestone she missed was walking and it didn't seem to bother me. I knew and know that she will get there when she is ready. For some reason, she had a block in regards to using the straw, and it was getting me to me...big time.

Anyway, during the middle of my nephew's graduation, I offered her the Rubbermaid reusable juice box and she sucked from it. This was one of the first cups that I tried with her and the one that I used most often. It is like the pre-filled juice boxes in that you can squeeze it slightly and a little will come up the top. Anyway, when she started sucking and drinking, I completely lost it. I started bawling and couldn't stop. It is amazing how important this tiny little thing had come to me.

The graduation was Friday night and I decided that I was going to stop the bottles cold turkey, but when I got up Saturday, Q had already given the bear cub a morning bottle. I wanted that one, at least, to be the last one. She fussed and complained and refused to put the straw cup in her mouth, much less drink. She continued with this the whole day. The next day, she seemed to follow the same path. I would force the straw into her mouth and squeeze a little every half hour or so. Before lunch, yesterday, she finally gave in and started drinking full amounts. Q did not approve. He feels that the goal was to learn to use the straw and didn't see why I was pushing getting her off the bottle so much when she clearly was/is very attached to it and miserable being forced to use the cup. I know that I see children with only 46 chromosomes using bottles at 2 and 3 all the time, so was I wrong to push the transition so quickly after she learned to use a straw?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Disney Embroidery Revisted

I know that all my 9 readers are waiting in anticipation to see what I did with the upside down embroidery. My first thought and one suggested often was to use the embroidery as a patch and sew it to another shirt, but my neither of my SILs are the type to want to use something imperfect and since the particular embroidery takes 1 1/2 hours to embroider, I didn't want it to not be worn. My next thought was to turn it into a pillowcase for one of the girl's travel pillows, but then I would likely end up making two more so that they would all have one. I finally decided to tailor the shirt to fit the nerdlet and fashion it a little. First I cut the top of the front of the shirt to fit the nerdlet and have a slight yoke.

Then I cut off the embroidery from the top so that I could turn it around.

Then I gathered the top to fit the yoke and sewed the bottom back on. Then I cut the back to fit the nerdlet there and sewed the front to back.

The nerdlet was unwilling to pose for pictures, but she let me put it on her to check the fit and it's just about right, especially for play or sleep, if I can ever get her to not want to wear a dress.

Just to prove that I can actually place them correctly here are the embroidered tops for my niece and nephew that will be finished after I check the sizing, since both are quite thin.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Disney Embroidery

All of Q's relatives are going to Disney World soon. I decided to make embroidered Disney t-shirts for my youngest nephew and niece. Notice anything wrong with this pic?

Apparently, I am not only directionally challenged by not knowing my right from left close to the close of my fourth decade, and by getting lost going just about anywhere, but also when it comes to up and down. Ah well, time to go buy another t-shirt.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Veggie Box

I got my fruit and vegetables!

My box was slightly different than was posted yesterday. Instead of herb and shallots, I got fennel. Here are the individual pictures of everything and weight. For reference, that is a large bowl about 10 inches across the top.

This is a LOT of Kale. About two bunches of what you would buy in the grocery store. Also, I tried to buy Kale this week and the three closest grocery stores did not have any in stock.


Pretty standard looking salad mix. It does not look like it has any arugula in it, which is good, because neither Q nor I cares for arugula.

Red beets. I've never made beets before. I don't know whether I'll make the beet brownie recipe from Greenling or try something else.

1/2 pound green beans.

Beautiful looking summer squash. These are much nicer than anything I have ever seen in any grocery store. I'm thinking I make make a soup. Squash and zucchini used to be the only food that the nerdlet wouldn't touch, but she has fairly recently nixed that by eating fried zucchini from Olive Garden, so I may batter and pan fry some.

Two heirloom tomatoes. Not as aesthetically appealing maybe as I would pick out, but as good as most tomatoes from the garden.

Sweet potatoes. These have such a unique feel to them that I wonder about how long sweet potatoes take to get to the grocery store. This is perfect because I'm going to introduce sweet potato to Darth Baby this week. I'll wrap them in foil and cook them in the crock pot along with some other foods for her. One crock pot half full makes for a lot of baby food.

Good looking, but small mango. I'm pretty sure this is one of the varieties that my mom is allergic to.

Overall, I'm rather pleased, but I won't order the local box again. I compared what I received to their page of selling them individually here and I would have gotten more by picking the items out individually. Also, I was afraid that I would get arugula or something that Q would outright refuse to eat and this way I avoid that possibility. The cost from their page to the local HEB (usually cheaper than Target or Walmart or Costco, which are my other grocery store choices in the area) varies a bit. Some of it is cheaper, some of it is spot on, and some is quite a bit more expensive, but and it is a bit BUT the quality of what I received is excellent, so I will definitely be ordering from them in the future. I just won't be choosing the local box.

For anyone wanting to try it themselves, they can use this coupon to save on their order KIMHUG241. There is a minimum purchase of $25. I think it is definitely worth it to not take my kids to the grocery store and especially considering the quality of what I received. Just make sure there is lots of room in your refrigerator.

Alexander again

Christie is doing another fantastic fundraiser for Alexander's adoption. For those just tuning in, Alexander is a child with Down syndrome that has been transferred from an orphanage to a mental institution for adults. The adoption is so very close to being fully funded and this should certainly get them to their goal. Each entry per item is $1.00 and there are a lot of very nice items, including a Kindle, a diamond and sapphire pendant, and gift cards. There are more than that, click the link to check it out and help save a life. As always, you can donate without entering the drawings.

Interested in having your own bundle of joy with an extra super special chromosome and weren't blessed by having a biological one of your own? Check out Reece's Rainbow. I cannot adequately express how wonderful it is to have a child with Down syndrome in your life and what a blessing it is for the rest of the family and siblings. I've listed some of the many benefits of having a child with Down syndrome in a previous post so I won't go into them again, but I think that everyone should have one, and like a lot of families that already have one, I would love to have another in the future.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fruits and Veggies

There is a company called Greenling in Austin that delivers fresh fruit and vegetables to your door. In most cases, these are organic and local. They also deliver chemical free meats and eggs and other locally made items like snacks and baby food. They deliver once a week and route it to use the least consumption of gas and have calculated that they use 86% less fuel than customers would driving to and from the grocery store.

I've been really jealous of this since I found out about it, which was after I moved to San Antonio. I recently discovered that they now deliver to my zip code. They have an item called a local box which they select the best value of the freshest in season items from local farms which is what I ordered for the week. I only ordered it for this week, but it is possible that I may set it up as an automatic weekly order. My delivery is tomorrow and I'm inordinately excited about it. I actually dreamed about it last night.

This is what is supposed to be in my box tomorrow:
Fiesta Beets - Tecolote
Herb - Pure Luck
Green Beans - Acadian Family Farm
Summer Squash- Texas Natural
Shallots - Green Gate Farms
Salad Mix - My Father's Farm
Heirloom Tomato - Bluebonnet Hydroponic
Sweet Potatoes - Homestead Farms
Kale - Texas Natural
Mango - G&S Groves
Also, they include recipes for each item in the box.

It is a good thing that Tuesday is a busy day for me or I'd likely be sitting at the window watching for the truck all day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Linguistical Exercise

I've watched this exercise a number of times in the past week on various blogs and I have really enjoyed them so I decided to participate.

The list of words is:
Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Spitting Image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

The extra words:
About, Aluminium, Apricot, Schedule, News

And the questions are:
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly, carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

The extra question:
What is a torrential rain that causes ditches to overflow creating flash floods on streets and roadways? (These are really common in San Antonio.)

I'd love to see yours, too, if you do one, please let me know and leave a link. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Signe!

I have mentioned Alexander's adoption on here before. Today, a wonderful friend in the Down syndrome community Signe is having a birthday and she is donating 21 cents for every birthday wish left between Midnight May 10th and 11:30 p.m. today to Alexander's adoption fund!

You are never going to see one of those posts that says 'if everyone I know donates $5 then such and such would get this amount of money'. I don't believe in that sort of sentiment, but Signe is so generously inviting you to spend her money, so please wish her a happy birthday.

I already wished her a Happy Birthday on her wall, but I would love to wish her a giant 'Happy Birthday' again. I hope this birthday and the year following is extra special to her and her family. She certainly deserves it.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Signe!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bohemian Dress part 4

Here is the dress I was copying.

And the dress (minus hemming the bottom and the sleeves).
It's a really good match and if it was made in a rayon with a good drape and with the right belt. The bias tape is also double layers because I was too lazy to remove the first layer on a play dress for the nerdlet. Also, I had to make the neckline larger than the ideal because the nerdlet's head circumference is larger than her waist and chest. I think it highly likely that no one else will have this issue.

The rest of this post will be the details on the construction.
First sew the front to the back, right sides together.

Make the bias tape and attach it. If you choose to do the facing instead of bias tape, attach the interfacing to the facing pieces. Sew the facing to the right side of the top. Press the seam and understitch the facing.

I tried to use the bias tape foot, but it didn't work out.

So then I sewed on some flannel bias tape over the other, instead of removing the mess, which made my seam much bulkier than a single layer of rayon binding. If you need instructions on how to make bias tape, I can do a separate post on how I do that (which is a tad different than other methods).

Line up the top skirt layer with the top of the dress.

Draw seam lines for the sleeves that start at the edge of the skirt layer (in a disappearing marker or chalk line, not the permanent marker I used so that you could see it). I would come up about 1 1/2 inches (at least 5/8", but more is likely better on an adult dress). Then sew along that line.

Right sides together, sew the top skirt layer to the top using 5/8" seam.

Sew another line 1/4" from the edge. Leave an opening to insert the elastic.

Next, sew the bottom to skirt layers into tubes. Then at the top edge of each of the tubes, sew using a very long stitch two rows for gathering, one at a scant 5/8" and the other 1/8 inch closer to the edge.

Gather to fit the skirt layer above it and sew right sides together. For this I marked sections at 1/8 around on both parts and matched the marks.

Measure the length of 1/4" elastic that you need around for comfort. To insert the elastic easily, I like to attach a safety pin. Sew the elastic together and sew the seam shut.

The almost finished dress. To finish it, I would serge all the seams and possibly reinforce the sleeve seam with grosgrain ribbon and hem the sleeves and bottom. For the nerdlet, I intend to chop the sleeves because she is expressing dislike of the long sleeves already.

Let me know if anything was unclear or needs further details or any opinions you wish to share.


Q took me to South Padre Island for Mother's Day. It was our first vacation as a couple (if you don't count the two weekend 14 hour each way drives to Illinois for his family reunions, once while I was pregnant with the nerdlet and once while I was barely pregnant with the bear cub). We had planned to take all the girls, but my mom generously offered to watch them and our dogs for the weekend. One of the many great things about my mom is that she doesn't ever make us feel like we are burdening her by watching her grandkids and the animals. We don't even have to ask, she volunteers. We decided to take the nerdlet after all because we didn't want her to miss seeing the beach. I wanted to take all three, but I decided to be selfish and have a vacation without diapers (mostly because I didn't know how easy it would be to change them on the beach).

Here is a shot of the nerdlet's first glimpse of the beach.

We showed up late Friday (it's a little over five hours to get there) and the nerdlet wasn't willing to get closer than 100 feet without being carried. She did, however, have great fun playing in the heated pool and by heated, I mean it was at least 90 degrees.

We got up early on Saturday and Q and the nerdlet made sandcastles from 7:30 to about 10:30 in the morning.

Then we went to Bobz World, which we had seen driving down. The nerdlet apparently was expecting to see dinosaurs and sea monsters when going to the beach and kept asking when she was going to see them so we had to take her (though the sea monsters never happened, she was so disappointed). The inside was a big souvenir shop.

We saw this sign and joked that they must be advertising the island prostitute. It turned out it was just a fashion shop.

Then we went back to the hotel and all took a nap. When the nerdlet woke up, she started crying that she missed the bear cub. We decided that we would leave that evening instead of Sunday. Before leaving though we made another trip to the beach and another trip to the pool.

A lot of people comment on the nerdlet's curls, but nothing beats the amount of curl after salt water. My hair has never been this curly.

Q and I actually felt pretty bad that the bear cub didn't get to experience the beach and we plan on going again fairly soon and taking all the girls (and maybe the puppies) next time.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bohemian Dress part 3

I cut out the fabric last night, and I realized that I had made a couple of mistakes on my first two posts that I have since corrected. This is the first post, and here is the second.

To cut out the top front piece easily, I simply cut out the length of the bottom of the piece by the height of the piece as a rectangle and then I cut the missing triangle out. For all the pieces, I used my rotary cutter and mat.

After you cut the pieces, line up the top front pieces overlapping by the seam allowance for the skirt (so that the bottom overlaps 5/8"). Then cut out a neckline in the back that you would be comfortable with. You can line up a woven blouse for comparison, trace it off from a pattern, or just make a guess (which I had to do because the nerdlet was asleep and all her clothes are in a room the girls share).

If you are doing facing instead of binding on the neck opening, I would take about six inches around the opening and copy that off. Cut the pieces out of fabric and interfacing. Here is a picture of what I mean.

Now, all that is left is the actual sewing and some elastic insertion.