April 14, 2014

elsie - fourteen months

For some reason I feel like I went from not believing that my baby was one, to assuming she was at least 18 months old already.  Why, I have no idea.  Whatever.  Miss Elsie Jo is 14 months old (plus five days, I'm a wee bit behind).


According to our ever so accurate method of weighing her, Elsie is clocking in at a whopping 22 pounds (although that was fully clothed with a giant headband on).  Honestly I'm surprised it isn't more, the kid eats SO MUCH FOOD.  I switched her to a size four diaper, but they are still a little big, as in, if I let it get too wet and she isn't wearing pants it kind of just falls off.  Whoops.  But the threes were starting to leak at night sometimes.  She is wearing 12-18 month clothing, but still manages to fit in her 12 month onesies and blanket sleepers.  And size four shoes.

One week ago I completely weaned Elsie.  All of a sudden I was just done.  DONE DONE DONE.  I had no interest in nursing her, and I felt like her wanting to nurse in the mornings or just have some closeness was hindering her ability to sleep.  And even if it wasn't, again, I was just done.  She was able to drop all of our session without any issue, except the bedtime one.  E doesn't really seem to mind that I'm not nursing her before bed, she waves at me from her crib, says 'nigh nigh' and blows me a kiss, but then a few minutes later she is crying.  So my guess is she just isn't as relaxed when I put her in the crib without nursing.  She could care less about actually doing it, she just doesn't like handing out in her crib when she isn't on the verge of passing out.  I'm hoping she gets over it soon, because it has been taking her 35-45 minutes at least to fall asleep this week, crying on and off.


Naps are relatively consistent, sort of... if she takes one nap a day it is usually just over two hours, going down around 12:30 and up sometime between 2:30 & 3:00.  Occasionally she'll act like she wants a nap earlier in the morning, but the only way I can get two naps out of her anymore is if we'll be in the car for the second one.  If she naps in the morning there is almost zero chance of her falling asleep in her crib in the afternoon.  Before I weaned her she was going to bed at 7:30 and waking up around 5:45 (eeeeeeew).  Now she hasn't been falling asleep until 8:00 or so, and waking up between 6:15 and 6:30.  I'm sure teething plays a factor in her sleeping, but I never know how much.  She popped her 7th tooth maybe 10 days ago?  There might be more coming in but if I try and look in her mouth she pitches a big fit.  Because she's a drama queen.  Apparently it runs in the family.

Oh the fits.  Just in the last couple of weeks Elsie has starting throwing absurdly huge tantrums if something doesn't seem to be going her way, or you try to pick her up when she doesn't want you to, maybe you looked at her wrong, I don't know.  She arches her back and stretches her arms so you can't really hold her and doesn't this absolutely HORRIBLE high pitched screech thing that makes you feel like you surely must be hurting her.  It is ridiculous.  The only way to deal with it is to either throw her over your shoulder or just lay her on the floor and let her do her thing until she is over it.  I try and redirect, but it rarely works.  Unless I can redirect with food, that always works.  Food is most definitely her love language.


Elsie will try almost any food at least once.  Vegetables are her least favorite, but she still does a pretty good job eating a variety of them.  Avocados and blueberries rank at the top of her list, along with M&M's.  Whoops.  For the most part her and I just share meals, which is good and bad.  Sometimes I really don't want to share.  Back the M&M's though, the little stinker.  Ryann always has some sort of 'sweet treat' if she finishes her meals.  It is usually a dum dum or something of that sort, just a small thing.  Well Elsie has kind of picked up on that, and the other day she was pretty ticked that Ryann had a sucker, so I handed her a few M&M's from the baking cabinet.  I should have made sure to do that while she wasn't looking, because now she'll go stand in front of that cabinet and just say 'peeeassssse' over and over again with her puppy dog eyes.  I try not to give in but it is so damn cute.

For the most part E had been refusing to drink regular milk.  I have been offering it twice a day in a sippy, usually at snack and either nap or bedtime.  She always would take one sip and then give me the cup and shake her head.  At the grocery store she share a cup of chocolate milk with Ryann and absolutely loved it, because chocolate milk is the bomb of course.  So Chris brought home a bottle of strawberry milk and gave her some with dinner, naturally she chugged it.  Then I tried to give her a sippy of strawberry milk before bed and she wanted nothing to do with it.  Both times she had drank milk before it had been flavored, but had also been in a straw cup, so we dumped it in a straw cup.  Yep, she chugged it.  The next step is attempting white milk in a straw cup.  If that doesn't work I might move to almond or coconut milk to see if she'll drink those.  I'm not super concerned with getting her to drink a ton of milk, she loves cheese, but she doesn't like yogurt.  Need to get some dairy in her somehow!

Aside from the ridiculous fits I absolutely love Elsie's personality.  She is funny and spunky.  She still isn't talking a ton, but she does the cutest head nod with the cheesiest smile when you figure out what she is trying to say or what she wants.  We've moved from open mouth kisses to an adorable fish face pucker.  Whenever Ryann is going to the bathroom, E runs, well waddles, in there and blows her a kiss.  I have no idea why but it is funny.  She hides behind curtains and giggles.  Actually she giggles a lot, mostly when she is being ornery.  Which is a LOT.  She loves to open cabinets and laugh because she knows she isn't supposed to.

desperately saying 'peeeeeeease' for more crackers

Even though she still isn't saying very many words, E does seem to be trying to mimic us more and more, testing out different sounds.  She regularly seems to spout of a complete sentence, waiting for a response, even though I have no clue what she is 'talking' about.  She has added 'side' to her vocabulary, which can mean outside or slide.  She can pretty much say bubble and diaper (bah-per).  She also says 'bah bo' for belly button.  Which is an adorable belly button on her gigantic belly that she now shows to everyone quite proudly.  But be careful, she'd appreciate seeing yours as well.  She knows several body parts and animal sounds, and you can tell that her comprehension is increasing daily.

Things that E is loving lately include books (Shake a Leg is a favorite), swinging at the park, eating (duh), 'helping' me with my make-up, brushing her teeth, throwing clothes down the laundry chute and putting trash in the trash can.  Elsie still very much prefers that strangers keep a good distance from her, but she has been a little better about warming up to people as long as I am close by.  If she thinks I'm leaving her she pretty much loses her mind.  Other things she is still hating are diaper changes, clothing changes and leaving the park.


Happy 14 months baby girl.  Love you so much!

April 10, 2014

magical unicorn rainbow princess party

Yes, that is what Ryann deemed it.  Her magical unicorn rainbow princess party.  I of course put my own little interpretation on that, and it was more just a very colorful unicorn party.  But hey, she can call it whatever she wants.

Originally I wanted to do a pajama party the morning after Ryann's birthday.  I figured it was something good for girls and boys, we could spend her actual birthday doing fun things for Ry, and Ryann tends to love breakfast food the most.  So winning, right?  Yeah, she wasn't having it.  The unicorn party really started with a pinata.  I have no idea why she got it in her head that she needed a pinata, but when I asked her what she wanted to do at her birthday party, her only request was a unicorn pinata.  And cake.  But she was really focused on the pinata.  So long story short, we went with it.

For her party invitations I had wanted to use a unicorn silhouette, and surround it in some sort of hand drawn floral illustration.  But being the procrasitnator that I am, I couldn't execute exactly what I wanted in the amount of time I had before I wanted to send out the invites.  And Ryann wanted rainbows, so again, I went with it.  Truthfully I was almost embarrassed by the invitations I sent out, just because I felt they were kind of ridiculous with the whole unicorn and rainbows thing.  But Ryann thought they were pretty awesome, and when it all comes down to it, this is HER birthday party (even though we all know I plan slightly over the top parties for my own benefit).


Thanks to pinterest, this uncorn party became a source of inspiration for the decorations.  I didn't think I'd be able to find a unicorn head (turns out you can get one at Pottery Barn Teen, figures), so I made a glitter unicorn canvas instead.  I printed out the unicorn vector I made for the invitations, made a stencil, traced it on to a canvas, and then used mod podge to glitter the heck out of it.  Pretty sweet if you ask me :o).  And then back to my old trusty tissue poms, turned in to wall flowers.  I also searched tissue flowers on pinterest for a few other ideas on how to make them more flower like.  Ryann also requested 'strings of unicorns'.  Which resulted in me importing my unicorn into the silhouette machine software and cutting out a bunch of unicorns in a variety of colors and gluing them to a ribbon.  Voila.  Unicorn garland.  I ordered some little plastic unicorns on Amazon and fancied them up with Krylon glitter blast spray.  Do yourself a favor and spray paint your stuff gold before you use that.  I'm an idiot.  Whatever.


Our sweets (which were all REALLY good in my opinion) included golden oreo truffles, peanut butter brownies and chocolate chip m&m cookies, as well as unicorn sugar cookies from a woman in Topeka and a cake made by HyVee.  Oh that stupid cake.  I wanted to do a rainbow cake, you know, where the cake is rainbow on the inside.  But for some reason Ry saw this when I was scrolling through pinterest and decided she wanted it.  It was cute, so whatever, I went with it.  My mom went to HyVee to see if they could make one like it, and they actually had a similar cake in shades of blue on display.  Perfect!  She left feeling great about it.  She went to pick it up on Friday, and they couldn't find the cake.  Or the order.  Of course my mom started to panic, but they said they could get it done by 9am Saturday morning.  Naturally when she showed up, the colors seemed nothing like what we wanted.  My rainbow was a little more 'bright pastel'.  Not quite so bold.  They claimed they looked at the invitation for color inspiration.  I can kind of see where they were going with it, but uh, no.  Not what I was wanting or expecting.  On the plus side, because of all the issues, they ended up giving my mom the cake for free.  And it really didn't look that bad with the decor at all, but it wasn't what I wanted.  But it was free.  So yeah.


Besides desserts we had summer sausage, cheese and crackers, chips and summer salsa, fruit and fruit dip, artichoke bruschetta and Chick Fil A nuggets.  To drink we made a version of rainbow sherbert punch, and had water bottles that I exchanged the label for gold duct tape.  Well my sister did that part.  Thanks Lorin :o).  We had WAY too much food.  There were a few people who didn't make it that I thought would, and none of the kids wanted any 'regular' food.  Not to mention we always make way too much food.  But half the fun of throwing a party is getting to have the leftovers, right?


As far as activities went for the kiddos, our splurge was a face painter, and I am 100% happy that we went for it.  Ever since we went to the Halloween party at Berkeley's house, Ryann has said she wanted a face painter at her birthday.  I kept blowing it off because really, she has one (ok two! a friend from dance came!) friend her age.  So it seemed ridiculous to get too crazy.  But the week of I felt really guilty and wanted to do something to surprise her.  I wound up on a website called thumbtack and got connected with Laura Oliver of Face Fancies.  She was free and agreed to come.  Her work was amazing and Ryann LOVED it.  I'd recommend her to anyone in the KC area looking for a face painter.  We also had the pinata of steel of course.  Which the kids couldn't break and Chris wound up having to do.  And because the weather was nice enough we set up my parents bounce house too.  I think all the kiddos were happy.  Everything was great until I cut Ryann off at like her 10th piece of candy.


Oh I can't forget the awesome unicorn tops.  I contacted Christina of Olive and Birdie just over a week before the party to ask if it was possible to custom cut a unicorn applique.  She is awesome and said yes and had them to me by Wednesday.  I had her do a light pink onesie for Elsie, and then I purchased a top at Target for Ry and attached the applique myself.  Ryann had requested a princess dress so my mom made her one.  Of course she decided it was too much to play in and took it off halfway through the party, but she looked pretty fancy.


For favors we found some stuffed unicorns on clearance at Target (well, five Targets actually. Thank goodness KC has an abundance of Targets).  I painted the initials on some bags we purchased at Hobby Lobby.  The boys got paper crowns, while the girls got some pretty fancy unicorn horns that my mom and I made.  I found a couple tutorials (here and here) as well as this image for inspiration.  My mom made the horns and the ears and I added the flowers.  I'm pretty proud of how they turned out.  I need to try and get a picture of Ry and Elsie wearing them.


Aside from a few issues, and well, our plumbing backing up hours before the party thanks to someone cough MOM cough putting too much food down the disposal at once, the party went really well and I think Ryann had a good time.  Truthfully she seemed a little off the whole day, and for some reason was just a bit overtired, so I wasn't surprised when she kind of lost her cool by the end of the evening.  Overtired + overstimulated = disaster.  But she told me she loved having her face painted, loved that her friend from dance came, and got totally awesome gifts. 


Thank you to everyone who came over to celebrate with us!

April 7, 2014

my running inspiration

Lately my runs have been hard.  I feel like I'm dragging bags of lead with me.  No doubt it is related to my poor eating habits as of late and not enough sleep.  As well as not really strength training therefore not being as strong.  Whatever the reason they have been tough.  This weekend I had 10 miles on the schedule.  Actually that was my goal last weekend but I just didn't push through, only covering 7 miles.  So this weekend it was kind of a must if I want to finish a half in a few weeks.

I doubted myself nearly the entire way, thinking I was going to have to walk home, or call my mom to come get me.  It just didn't seem like I am strong enough right now to make it all the way.  But instead of giving up, I channeled a sweet and vibrant six-year-old soul to keep me going.  I've talked about Miss Berkeley Paige here and there, if you don't know her story visit Berkeley's Battle on facebook.  That girl, that CHILD, is facing more difficulty in her life than I can even imagine right now.  Week after week being poked and prodded and pumped full of chemicals.  And yet, she marches on with a smile on her face.  She is still going to school and attending dance competitions and determined to enjoy her day when most adults would crawl under their covers and give up.

If Berkeley can battle cancer there is no reason I can't put one foot in front of the other and keep going.  There is no excuse that even comes close to measuring up.  So I just kept running.  10.2 miles and more hills than I like later, I did it.

this photo does not do this road justice.  the hills SUUUUUUCK.

When Berkeley was first diagnosed, I felt like there wasn't anything I could do.  One of you sweet readers mentioned LLS Team in Training.  Currently I couldn't commit to structured training or a specific large event, so I didn't personally pursue that avenue.  But thankfully some of my friends did.  Kelsey, whom I have known since elementary school, and her husband Joe are currently training to run the Nike Women's Half Marathon in honor of Berk.  I'm so proud of them, training for a half marathon is no easy task, and they weren't experienced runners.  Still they knew they wanted to support Berkeley so they have stepped up to the challenge.

We will be running our half marathons the same weekend.  I wish I could run with them, but I'll do it in spirit.  Please consider donating to their team and supporting blood cancer research.  They are getting close to their goal, and together we can make a difference!


Have you ever ran with Team in Training?  Link up health and fitness related posts below! 

April 4, 2014

dear ryann

My sweet girl,

Naturally I'm a little behind on writing this letter to you.  But only by a fewish days.  And honestly with the amount of writing I've been doing lately (um, none?) I'm going to call a few days late a win.  I just couldn't let a birthday go by without leaving you a note.

Ryann my dear, you are amazing.  An absolute handful, and the biggest drama queen I've ever met second only to maybe your Auntie Lorin, but still.  AMAZING.  You feel all your emotions 110%.  When you are happy or excited you simply can't contain yourself.  When you are sad you feel like the world is ending.  When you're mad I'm pretty sure your head just might explode.  All that to say I believe you will be passionate about your thoughts and beliefs and I hope I that doesn't change.  Stand up for what you think is right (as long as at some point you become a bit more rational about things as well :o).

Darling girl, you are smart and quite clever.  And you make me laugh so much with the ridiculous things you say and funny questions you ask.  Granted half the time if I actually laugh you're pissed and get easily embarrassed, so I have to be very careful with that.  But really, you're funny.  Lately you want to be so independent, you want to do everything, EVERYTHING by yourself.  It can be frustrating for both of us, for you because you quickly get mad when you can't figure something out, and me because I know I can do it faster.  But we're learning to work together and I'm trying to breathe and let you be.  Even if it means we're always 10 minutes late wherever we go.  ALWAYS.

Ry our relationship has changed a lot in the last year.  I'd be lying if I said it doesn't make me sad.  I'm so happy your sister is in our life, I love her, you love her.  But I'm no longer your go to.  You prefer other people over me.  And I can't give you all the attention you want all the time.  Of course it is just fine for you to share some of the attention, but it always stings a little when you point out that I could have done this or that with you if Elsie wasn't here.  I hope that as you get older we can create a really strong bond, because I love you so much, I hope you always know that.

Girlie your future is bright.  The sky is your limit.  I love you with all my heart.



April 2, 2014

elsie's pink & gold first birthday

all photos, except the awful ones of the invitations, are by Adrienne Maples Photography

Really I'm not sure what took me so long to sit down and put this post together.  I think it is my inability to function after 8pm.  I just turn into this zombie.  I can be so incredibly productive from 6am-9am.  Too bad my kids are up at 5:45am...

Even funnier that I started this post a month ago, and am just now finishing it...

Pink & gold are probably really overdone, but I still like it and I don't really care, so pink & gold it was.  With a little coral because coral is my favorite, and hearts because they're cute and it's close to Valentine's day and pink + heart around Valentine's day makes party accessories and such easier to find.  So really I was just doing myself a favor.

Can't say that I'm super pleased with the invitations (or the awful pictures I took of them, but you get the point).  They're cute, but I waited too long to start on the actual design and just couldn't come up with anything I really loved.  I did however LOVE love LOVE the gold glitter liners I put inside the envelopes.  Completely over the top and unnecessary, but totally worth it.  They made me happy.  I'm sure the males on the guest list were just thrilled with the hot pink glitter lined envelope in their mailbox ;o).  I purchased the envelopes at Paper Source, and the liners from here (the seller was great, I highly recommend her!).  Although while in Paper Source I oogled a ton of different papers that would also make good liners, so if you're feeling extra crafty you could go that route.


As far as decorations went, I didn't do anything too crazy.  I reused the wreath I made for Ryann's first birthday party, and just added a gold glittered E to the center (purchased at Joann's and sprayed with Krylon's glitter blast).  I also made some tissue tassel garlands.  These were fairly easy to make, however I don't feel like they compare to the ones I oogle on instagram.  I used this tutorial, and purchased my tissue paper here (same place I purchased tissue from for Ryann's second birthday).  Unfortunately they didn't have any coral so I found some on etsy here.  Table cloths were rented from a local place, balloons were from Party City and the poms were prefolded from Hobby Lobby.  My mom made the gold glitter heart garland (which ended up being a bigger pain in the butt than we expected) and I made the 'happy birthday' banner.  Just used my silhouette to cut stencils for the letters, and then traced them on to gold glitter cardstock and cut them out.


Our sweets table featured the smash cake made by my friend Jenny.  I glittered a basic 1 candle I found at Hobby Lobby, and made the cake topper by wrapping to wooden skewers in gold ribbon, and a little heart bunting out of glitter cardstock of course.  We also had macarons from Natasha's (so freaking good), sugar cookies, brownie bites, glittered fudge, pink lemonade bars and cupcakes.  All the desserts were good, but the macarons were by far my favorite, and I wasn't as thrilled with our spread as some of the other parties we've done.  Oh the horror ;o).


For our other food we had meatballs, cheese, crackers and summer sausage, hummus veggies and pita chips, fresh berries and Neiman Marcus dip.  That last one went over dang well.  I got gold plates and napkins from Target, as well as some other pink napkins from Target and Party City.  Target also convieniently had pink glitter forks and such for Valentine's Day, so we used those.  To hold them on the table I glittered the bottom half of some cheap vases from Hobby Lobby.  I decorated some water bottles by sprinkling glitter and pink confetti on some packing tape, inspired by Sarah's confetti party.  I also put together some pink punch (naturally I can't find the recipe), and served it in mason jar mugs I ordered on amazon.  The straws came from a variety of places and the glitter tape I purchased at JoAnns.  I did my best at a little festiviness on the chalkboard, and created an instagram wall inspired by bub+bug studios twin's first birthday party.  I ordered my prints on cardstock from Persnickety Prints.  I was very happy with their quality and service.  And speaking of bub+bug, the favors for the girls included an adorable little heart clip from her shop, as well as a heart rubber ducky.  The boys got hot wheels cars.  I NEVER know what to put in a favor bag for boys.  If I ever have a boy I think I'm screwed...


Elsie's gold dress came from Crazy8.  Her pink leggings were from Old Navy, and my mom attached the tulle to the ankles.  The pink bow headband was made by bub+bug studio, I can't get enough of her headbands.  E's birthday crown was made by Little Blue Olive, again, absolutely love her stuff.  The high chair we used for the cake smash was a lucky $10 find by Sarah.  She used it for Collins' birthday, and then let me borrow it, and spray it an excessively pink color, for Elsie.


Honestly one of the best parts of Elsie's birthday party was that she seemed to actually enjoy herself, and didn't go in to extreme stranger danger mode.  No, she wasn't super in to all of the guests, but she didn't freak out, enjoyed the food, and overall was just happy.  I was a little terrified to have a birthday party for her because she usually just clings on to me for dear life when we have company over, but it just wasn't the case that day.  We had a great time celebrating our youngest turning one!