July 24, 2014

creative {dance} camp

After taking Ryann to the creative camp at my childhood dance studio last year (ah! she looks so little!), she seriously talked about it on and off for the entire year.  "When do I get to go to camp at Grammy's dance again?  When can I do dance in Topeka again?  I like the dance where we eat snack and make crafts!"  Of course to that last one, she always said the snack and the craft were her favorite parts.  But hey, she was still dancing!

Anyway, I was happy to enroll her in a session of the camp this year.  The theme of the week was Broadway, with the days including Hairspray, High School Musical, Grease and The Wizard of Oz.  Ry absolutely had a blast.  The teachers do a great job with the kids and Ry just loved going.  And I loved dressing her up everyday.  And getting to watch her dance, of course.  But getting her all dolled up makes me happy :o).

Her outfits for the week:

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And the videos:


The Grease dance seriously killed me.  Her little face, and that wiggle intro?  Dead.  Just plain dead.  So much sass in her little body.  Keep on dancing pretty girl.  It is so much fun to watch!

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July 19, 2014

the fourth {of july}

The Fourth of July used to be one of my absolute favorite holidays.  Family would come up, we'd spend all day in the pool, eat lots of good food, enjoy the fireworks and blowing stuff up.  The usual.  These days?  Well, it isn't quite the same.  But we still had a pretty good time.  :o)

I started the day off with a 6 mile run around the lake.  My cousin's son also ran, but seeing as he can run a 5:30 mile, I can't exactly say we ran together.  Ha.  But as I mentioned in an earlier post, the run actually went really well, and I went faster than I anticipated.  Part of it was that I'm terrible at pacing, and I wasn't checking my tracker.  When I looked at it shortly after a mile I was under nine minutes.  Whoops!  I didn't think I'd maintain that pace for the whole thing, but I surprised myself and finished in 51:44.  Hayden rocked it and finished in something like 40 minutes?  I don't know, speedy fast in my eyes.

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After the run we sent my dad to Wal-Mart to buy a wagon for the lake parade.  We were going to bring the girls' bikes with but forgot.  Another option was to have Ryann drive the Barbie car, but, well, her driving skills could still use some work ;o).  So yes, Wal-Mart trip.  Thanks Dad!  Once it was back and put together my mom and my cousin decorated it.  Then we were off to the parade.

We had to sit for a bit before it started, and the girls were getting hot, tired and antsy.  Add that to being too close together and they were fighting before it started.  Once we got moving and they had candy to throw it was better, and Ryann claims she had fun.  So there's that.  But by the time we were done and got Elsie home she was a hot mess and in need of a nap.  We ate lunch first and when I laid her down she was out in no time.
 
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The rest of the day was spent by the pool, eating and watching fireworks.  Not too shabby at all.
 
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This year Ryann actually braved going out on the boat with us to watch the lake fireworks show.  Last year she was too scared but this year she was determined.  Unfortunately she was so incredibly tired when they finally started that she kept begging to just go back.  She fell asleep on the boat while the fireworks were going off.  Good try sweet girl, maybe they'll be more fun next year?
 
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Our patriotic swimsuits were from Old Navy.  Elsie's red checked dress is from Wren & James.

July 18, 2014

patriotic playdate

The week of July 4th the girls and I hosted a little patriotic themed play date.  I threw up some sparkly red and blue banners (and a star garland from this etsy shop that I forgot to take a picture of!), used a star cookie cutter to make the food a little more festive, and gathered up star glasses and red and blue necklaces to round out the fun.  It was super easy (though cutting everything in to stars did take a bit of time), and I think everyone had fun.

Orginally the plan was to play outside and run through the sprinklers, but a storm went through that morning, leaving the yard and patio furniture a little soggy and the air a bit chilled.  So all the kiddos and their mamas filled my family room instead.  It was probably the most kids I've had in my house at one time, and I kind of loved it.  All these moms are great and I have a soft spot in my heart for each one of their children.  We've built up a good little group of friends here.

The girls getting decked out before everyone arrived:

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headband from bub + bug

Party snippets:

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And all the kiddos:

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With Christopher in his last year at his hospital, and a contract for a job waiting to be signed, the countdown is on until we move out of Kansas City.  And looking back at this pictures makes me so sad to be going.  We're moving back home, so both our parents will be close by, and that is great.  But I am going to miss all of our friends so much.  Yes, the drive is just over an hour, nothing terrible, and we can definitely come back and visit.  But it won't be the same.

All you girls, I'm seriously going to miss you and your kids.  Promise you'll come visit us too?  Lets make the most of this year, mmmmkay?

July 14, 2014

I thought I could fight it.

That evil beast sugar?  I totally thought I could fight it.  And yet, here I sit DYING to stuff my face with ice cream and chocolate and cookie butter and all sorts of terrible (but oh so good) things.

Sometimes I feel so embarrassed that food and eating is such a huge thing in my life.  Something that is constantly in the back of the mind.  It is ridiculous.  Why can't I be one of those crazy people who doesn't have a sweet tooth?  Who doesn't ever feel the need to snack?  This is that time where a Whole30 advocate would say something to the affect of just do another round, you can get a handle on your cravings and issues.  And maybe that is true.  But I am just so tired of thinking about food.

If I haven't set it up well enough for you yet, I didn't last more than five days eating strictly compliant foods.  Basically I went Monday through Friday last week eating compliant, except for a sip of Ryann's Juice Stop because she really wanted me to try it and what is one sip of a smoothie going to do to me?  Saturday we went out to breakfast and I did really good, I ordered an omelet with no cheese and didn't touch the delicious looking pancakes on the table.  There was some deli turkey in  my omelet that I can almost guarantee wasn't compliant, but I just didn't care.  And I added some honey to our chicken marinade because the recipe called for it, and I didn't feel like leaving it out.

Yesterday?  Well, yesterday Chris took Ryann on a little lunch date to Cheesecake Factory (she loves the bread and chocolate milk, she could care less about anything else), and brought home carrot cake and cheese cake.  I decided I wasn't going to pass it up and shared some with him after the girls went to bed.  Because I've only got one life to live and I might as well enjoy the cheesecake.  But now I'm back to GIVE ME FREAKING DESSERT NOW OR I'LL CUT YOU.  Seriously, one dessert and now I'm a lunatic.

Obviously looking back at all that my eating habits really aren't all that bad.  All of my actual meals have been compliant, that doesn't bother me one bit.  Sure some nights I just want to order a pizza, but because I'm lazy and don't feel like cooking.  Not because I actually want pizza.  Finding the right balance seems impossible.  I can't decide what would make me happier, losing a few more pounds or just eating the stupid ice cream.  Maybe I can have both.

My goodness I'm ridiculous.

Still going to try and keep my meals as compliant as possible.  The desserts, well...

July 13, 2014

elsie - seventeen months

When I laid out the quilt for this month's pictures, Elsie went right over, laid down and said cheese.  I wasn't quite ready with my camera yet, and naturally, as soon as I held it up to my face she rolled away and ran off all while giggling.  She is always teasing me and making mischief.  ALWAYS.

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I didn't weigh E again this month, we're not at home and I'm just too darn lazy.  She has a well child visit next month so we'll find out how many pounds she is packing in that belly of hers.  She is definitely taller.  It surprises me almost every time what she can reach off a table, or that she can see over the counter when she stands on the step stool.  Just looking at her I don't feel like she's grown that much, her clothes aren't really getting small or anything, but she is obviously bigger.  She has almost grown out of her size 4 shoes though, some of the size 5's will actually stay on.  I think 3 of her molars have pretty much made there way in, with the fourth just breaking the gums, for a total of, we'll say, 11.5 teeth.

It has finally happened.  Elsie is no longer a human food vacuum.  Don't get me wrong, the girl still loves to eat, but she is becoming picky!  Wahhhh.  Lately she is less likely to eat chicken, most vegetables, and she won't eat shrimp.  Sometimes she refuses hot dogs too.  But she does love fish, will usually eat hamburger or meatballs, and she is still a huge fan of fruit, avocados and cheese.  And the only vegetable she'll consistently eat is asparagus.  I'm down with that, I like asparagus.  She seems like she'll be a dip girl.  We finally offered ketchup with some of her meats when she started getting pickier and it definitely helped.  She loves dipping stuff in guacamole too.  Sweet treats are definitely the way to her heart though.  E does a little sweet treat happy dance, she LOVES M&M's.

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The last couple of weeks Elsie has been sleeping much better.  She is going to bed around 7:30 or shortly after, and waking up for the day between 6:45 and 7:15.  There was one day she slept until 8:45 and I assumed she had to be sick.  It was crazy, my kids NEVER sleep that long!  I did take her temp and it was 99.4 or something, so maybe there was a little something bothering her, but it couldn't have been too terrible.  E goes down for her nap between 12:30 and 1 and will sleep for about 2 hours.

Elsie is picking up new words all the time.  She doesn't talk a ton around other people, and she can be difficult to understand, but she certainly knows what she is saying.  And for the most part I can figure it out too.  It's to the point where I honestly can't count the number of words she says because I know I'll forget something, but very few people would catch the words.  She has started calling my mom Nanny and I think it is kind of sticking, so Grammy is gradually becoming Nanny to all of us.  Other new words include Minnie (which sounds very similar to Nanny, very confusing because she seeks out both often!), back, neck, sunscreen (un-eeen), rainbow, raisin, cup (bup), fly (which sounds like why), glasses (which sounds like she is saying Daddy, it's weird), sun, moon, dress, and airplane (ah-pain), that, right there (when she wants you to give her something, put it 'right there!').  She calls cars a vroom vroom, says whoosh after she says airplane, and says beep beep beep! when we ask her to move out of the way or back up.

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proud of herself for climbing up there

She has recently also started saying poop when she either needs to poop, or has pooped.  It really has become pretty regular, so I started attempting to get her to sit on the potty.  Often she'll say yes, but once we get in there she changes or mind.  Or if she does in fact sit on the darn thing she freaks out.  I'm by no means pushing potty training, tried that with Ryann and she showed me who's boss.  Plus I personally find diapers more convenient.  But Ryann poop trained before she was fully potty trained and I'd be down with that.

Elsie loves to point out letters and is very interested in them.  In her world everything is a Y or a D.  She'll repeat the correct letter if I say it first, but whenever she points them out Y or D is all you get.  Chris and I are also pretty sure we heard her count to three last week, but that was a one time thing and really random.  I think I started counting and she just did it with me.  But then wouldn't repeat it again.  So maybe she really is learning something here and there, despite me not sitting down with her near as much as I did with Ryann.

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For the most part I am absolutely loving this stage and Elsie's personality right now.  She is so freaking affectionate it is hilarious.  Always handing out hugs and kisses.  At night when I am rocking her before bed she literally kisses like every inch of my arms and face.  A few nights ago when we were at my parents, she was up at 4am and not going back to sleep, so I tried bringing her in bed with me.  She'd lay all snuggled in for a few seconds, then sit up and kiss me and lay back down.  And repeat and repeat and repeat for like 20 minutes before I finally just stuck her back in her bed because as cute as that was, at 4am we SLEEP.  But seriously, she is so lovey dovey.

On the flip side, she absolutely can get pissed off and turns into a crazy person.  Like completely insane, running around screaming and biting things and throwing herself around.  It is slightly comical because it comes out of nowhere and she is a total nut job.  She HATES hates HATES getting her clothes or diaper changed, to the point where I have to lay her down with my legs over her while I try to change her diaper.  It isn't always like that, but goodness.  You'd think she'd get over it, seeing as I change her diaper a minimum of 6 times a day every single freaking day.  But now.  Most of the time turning Frozen songs on my phone works too.

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done with me.  obviously.

Elsie has gotten pretty good at using a fork.  I'm not sure how she is with a spoon because for some reason we never really eat any spoon necessary foods.  She tries to climb on everything, but thankfully she is relatively reliable about getting down safely.  She can walk backwards a decent distance (I had no idea that was a milestone until Chris pointed it out when she did it one time).

Strangers (and honestly non strangers such as Grandma!) still get the cold shoulder right off the bat, but Elsie has become better about warming up to them quickly.  Peek-a-boo and food win her over the fastest.  She has also been doing GREAT at the gym daycare.  It only took maybe a week before she'd willingly walk in on her own and kiss me goodbye.  Today I when I went to get the girls one of the employees was holding her just because.  She wasn't upset at all and actually seemed to be enjoying herself.  So overall I'd say we seem to be making good strides in that department!

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Really Elsie is just so fun to hang out with right now.  I love watching her play, and she can be such a goof sometimes.  She loves wearing various accessories such as headbands, glasses and necklaces.  She is also obsessed with the little Minnie Mouse toys where you can take the clothes on and off.  She needs help to dress her, but she can regularly be found carrying a Minnie around the house.  The other day she found a little basket and filled it with all of Minnie's accessories, and then carried Minnie and her stuff from room to room.  It was pretty dang adorable.  E also loves to color and can spend a good long time scribbling all over a paper.  Sidewalk chalk is a hit as well.

I know there are things I'm forgetting.  I seriously LOVE this age.  Even though Elsie is still very reliant on me, life in general is just a lot easier.  She plays pretty dang well on her own, likes going on outings and looking around, and is just fun.

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Love you so very much Elsie girl.

July 8, 2014

I finished the Whole30!

This post is a bit overdue, I completed my Whole30 June 27th.  Woot woot!  I wasn't perfect in the sense that I did snack occasionally, which is supposed to be avoided during the month.  But every morsel of food I put in my mouth was compliant.  I truly didn't think I could handle it for 30 days straight, but I did it!

Some of my favorite meals in the last week and a half...

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Top left was salmon cakes from It Starts With Food.  I was completely grossed out by the salmon coming out of the can, thank goodness Chris was home and could handle mixing that one up.  I was worried I wouldn't like them at all just because I was so grossed out by the prep, but they surprised me and I loved them.  They were even better once I made some homemade mayo and created a dipping sauce.

Top middle was compliant chicken salad made with my homemade mayo.  Guys, seriously, make some mayo.  So tasty!  I loved the chicken salad on top of some romaine.

Top right was an open faced omlette with leftovers from a mexican skillet meal the night before.  Leftovers are an amazing tool while doing a Whole30, and this just shows you don't have to eat the 'same' thing over and over.  Use your leftovers but switch it up.

Bottom left was basically shrimp scampi.  I sauteed the shrimp in ghee, lemon juice and garlic.  Heck yes, it was very good.  I've discovered I don't really like ghee on my veggies, I'm not sure why, but it didn't bother me in this one bit.

Bottom middle was a grilled mahi mahi fillet (frozen, the Simply Balanced brand from Target) topped with a fresh mango salsa from Whole Foods and steamed asparagus.

Bottom right was my last meal of the Whole30, made by my mama.  She did the tarragon cream sauce (except she didn't have any tarragon, whoops, but threw in italian seasoning I think?) from It Starts With Food.  Oh my gosh SOOOO good.  Seriously.  I would like to have that again soon.

My Whole30 Results

I know that the majority of the people who are interested in doing a Whole30, are looking for the weight loss factor that generally comes with it.  I was.  What you get out of a Whole30 is so much more than that, it is different for everyone, but since I was shooting to lose weight here is my before and after.  Well the morning of day 29 anyway, I wasn't going to be home on day 31, so I took my pictures early.

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Numbers wise, I lost 6.5 pounds.  I was really hoping for 9, but we all know the scale isn't everything.  And it is obvious that I lost a lot of bloating and some inches.  I never took any measurements (should have, I know) but it isn't a huge deal.  The photos are what I care about, and even though the results weren't drastic, I was happy with them.

I never got any 'tigers blood', but I felt good.  My energy levels are a lot more stable when I'm eating real foods, and my anxiety and temper are a lot easier to manage.  Granted there is a whole different sense of anxiety when I worry so much about meal planning and doing the extra dishes, however it was worth it.  And guys, seriously, I love all the food I was eating.  Sure sometimes (a lot of times) I wanted sweets, but I could handle my cravings.

So what is life looking for me after Whole30?  Well I wish I could say I've continued my excellent eating habits with no problem, but that isn't the case.  I didn't follow the reintroduction phase because I wanted to enjoy our anniversary dinner without worrying about what I was eating.  And I definitely enjoyed it, plus some cheesecake.  And then we had friends over for dinner and they brought some non-compliant foods.  Then we had a patriotic play date, and while I provided compliant foods, there were some desserts available that were not, and I took full advantage.  And then there was the Fourth of July and several days with lots of unhealthy food choices and holy heck.  I feel like I just erased my month of hard work.

The truth is that is just life, and I still need to figure out the balance.  I'm very much a black and white person, I'm not good at finding middle ground.  Right now I'm toying with eating Whole30 compliant foods until the first weekend in August (which includes my 10 year reunion, Chris's birthday and a baby shower).  And if not strict Whole30, then strict paleo.  I don't know.  When I'm planning meals for myself now, I have no issue with creating compliant, healthy and nutrisious meals.  It is making the right choices outside the home (or saying no to things when they're brought over) that is going to be the difficult part.

The only other reason I question whether or not I stick to a grain free diet, is because I've had some AMAZING runs the last 10 days, and I don't know why.  Maybe it is because on those days I've gotten a little more sleep, or maybe it is because there are some carbs in my life.  I'm not really sure.  But the morning after my first non-compliant meal I set out on a 6 mile run, and felt so good that I ended up running just over 8.  On the fourth I participated in the 'run around the lake' in my parents neighborhood, a 6 mile (I believe anyway) race I've done before.  And ran the whole thing in 51:54.  That is roughly an 8:40 pace.  I haven't run that fast in a LONG time.

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Right now the only food that really bothers my body that I can tell, is sugar.  Surprise surprise, I knew that going in.  I expected to have more of an issue with gluten and dairy, but didn't.  I haven't really had much soy, it has been surprisingly easy to avoid.  I may not be making great food choices all the time, but I still don't eat a ton of packaged food, so unless I cook with it, I'm not getting it.

So...... until further notice I'm taking on Whole30 round two.  Well, a whole 26 I guess, since I don't intend to stay compliant at the reunion.  Goodbye tasty desserts, I'll miss you the most.

July 7, 2014

my little lefty

Being a lefty, I've hoped that one of my kiddos would be left handed too.  Why, I have no idea.  Even though I can't write with a pencil without having lead smeared all over my hand, I still like being a lefty.  Ryann teased me a bit when she was younger, being a little ambidextrous, but she switched to being definitely right handed.  Elsie however, is showing a very strong preference for her left hand.  My fingers are crossed that she sticks with it!

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