April 29, 2014

that's what she said

Me:  "We're going to go upstairs to the food court to eat lunch."
Ryann:  "If you want to get there quick, the trampoline is the key!"

Ryann:  "I wish I was a flying unicorn."
Me:  "Oh, that could be fun.  Why?"
Ryann:  "So I could fly away from here.  I'm mad at you."
Me:  Oh Lord "Why are you mad at me?"
Ryann:  "Because I don't like it when you tell me no."

Me:  "Why oh why is it raining so much?!?"
Ryann:  "I hate to tell you this, but I don't know."

Ryann:  daily "You ruined my WHOLE LIFE!"

Teenage years.  Can't wait.  Seriously.


I've been meaning to write a whole 'four year' post for Ryann, but obviously haven't gotten around to it.  So I thought a quick overview would be good enough.  For starters, I really think I'm going to like four.  Three was cool, it's a fun age, but threenager doesn't even begin to describe what living with a three year old can be like.  Don't get me wrong, Ryann is still full of intense emotion and flips out over the dumbest things.  But she is slightly more rational and can function a little more effectively in all aspects of life.

She is still as smart as can be, somehow managing simple addition and subtraction as well as other basic math skills, plus learning to read here and there, despite my lack of teaching her lately.  Her problem solving skills are top notch, she can come up with a solution for every situation so long as it gets her closer to her goals in life (going to the park, aquiring more unicorns and eating more sweets, things of that nature).  Ry is still a crappy eater, living mostly on chicken nuggets, PB&J, fruit and squeezy pouches, although bacon has been added to the list of acceptable food items.  I can handle that.  :o)

Over the last month an overwhelming interest in independence has surfaced, and often Ryann wants no help from anyone.  A lot of these situations end in tears when she can't quite do or figure out whatever it is she is trying to accomplish, but she radiates pride with every task she discovers she can complete on her own.  My excitement for all of this is somewhat restrained.  I wouldn't say I'm a helicopter parent per say, but I'm close.  I'm thrilled for her, and I know it will be great when she is so much more self sufficient, but it pains me to see her need me less and less.  I have a hard time stepping back and letting her figure it all out on her own.

Ry doesn't know a stranger.  She wants to talk to anyone and everyone and is never shy.  My fingers are always crossed for an empty park so I don't have to talk to anyone, while she eagerly approaches hoping for a busy day.  She yells hello to everyone on the street and passes out dandelions to anyone who will take one.  Her personality is big and bright.  I find it funny that someone as introverted as me would have to take on the task of raising someone as extroverted as her.

Parenting Ryann is no easy task, but I'm so happy she's mine :o).

April 28, 2014

but I don't run in the rain...

On Saturday I completed half marathon #5.  If you asked me how it went, I'd say "Fine.  Happy it's over with!"  For me it was an interesting race.  Run rather.  I'm not sure why I call them races, I'm sure as heck not trying to be the first one to the finish!


I almost didn't sign up for the race.  I had yet to commit last weekend, and my training was terrible.  I had planned to run 11 and 12 miles, but ended up running 10 miles three weekends in a row.  That in itself isn't so bad, but my last 10 miler was really more like 8 miles of running and two miles of walking and I was miserable.  I don't think I've ever battled so much lingering sickness as I did this time around.  Nothing terrible, just a cold and such that was draining me, thus making me give up mentally before I ever even started.  But I figured if I was stubborn enough to go out for those 10 mile runs it would be stupid to not do the half.  So I signed up.

The Garmin Marathon (Half and 6K too) was located in Olathe, which is definitely more 'my' part of town, so even though Chris had to work I felt comfortable getting there by myself and just running this one for me.  Saturday I slept horribly (naturally) and woke up a few minutes before my 5:30am alarm.  I attempted to choke down a piece of toast while getting ready, and left my house at 6:10am (the race started at 7am).  Apparently the race has grown a bit, because even though I reached the exit a little before 6:30am, I didn't get to park my car until 6:50am.  So much for giving myself a little extra time.  When I finally made it to the start area it was only 4 minutes until race time, so I squeezed myself as close to the 2:05 pacer as I could and got ready to go.

When we first started I felt ok, but a little tired, and up until the second mile I was almost kicking myself for signing up.  Running 13 miles really just wasn't sounding like a good time at all.  But eventually I settled into a groove and actually felt better than I had on several of my runs as of late.  Somewhere after mile 4 I managed to pass the 2:05 pacers, on accident really.  I knew I couldn't be too far ahead of them, but I couldn't see them.  So I put in my headphones and just went with it.

Now I knew there was rain in the forecast for the day, but I really thought it wasn't supposed to start until at least 9am, if not later.  But when we turned a corner around maybe mile 5?  The sky was DARK ahead.  Getting wet seemed pretty inevitable.  It held off until shortly after mile 7, then it started to sprinkle.  That wasn't so bad.  It picked up a little, but it still wasn't bothering me.  But then?  Then it was POURING.  Guys, I don't run in the rain.  I don't do 'elements'.  I'm more of a fair weather runner.  Honestly the rain didn't bother me as much as I thought it would, despite my shoes being completely full of water, and my pants sagging because they were so wet.  But I really could have done with out the hail.  Yes, it was little, but freaking hail.  That didn't feel so good.

Thankfully the rain let up right around mile 12, so even though I was soaked it wasn't quite so miserable coming in to the finish.  Minus the part where I kind of wanted to die at that point.  I did good until maybe 10.5 or 11, but at that point I started to slow down.  And then the pacers caught back up to me, and I knew if I wanted to be close to 2:05 I couldn't let up.  Throughout the race what got me through the tough parts was picturing Berkeley's sweet smiling face.  Remembering how happy she looked pushing Elsie in the swing when we played at her house.  Replaying a video of her dancing in her hospital room in my head.  I told myself if that innocent little six-year-old girl could battle cancer with a smile, I could shut up and finishing 13 miles.

The last push to the finish line was hard.  I tried to pull ahead of the front pacer, but I couldn't do it.  I was spent.  But I finished.  Lungs burning.  Quads throbbing.  But I was done!  Number five was in the books.  It was kind of strange to cross the finish line and not have any family to go find, but I survived.  I found myself some chocolate milk and waited in line to get my official time.  2:05:11.  Of course I would have loved to be under 2:05, but based on my training 2:05:11 was a great time for me.  So I'll take it.

Two years ago I finished this half (a slightly different course) 10 minutes faster than I did this weekend.  Not going to lie that is a bit of a blow to my pride.  I don't like to fail, and if I can't do something well, or better than the time before, I usually ask what's the point.  But I'm another kid in and much less time for training, and the point of the matter is that I'm still committed to running.  I'm doing the best I can with what I've got right now.  The right now is always changing so I'm proud of my time and my accomplishment, and I remember where I started.  Three years ago I wasn't a runner.  A 5k was daunting.  I HATED running and working out.

Even if your goals seem unreachable, start small and go for it.  You are stronger than you think, you'll surprise yourself with how far you can go.


Link up any health and fitness related posts below!

April 16, 2014

tidbits from March

Well, I figured since it was nearly halfway through April, and I suck at blogging, maybe I should just try to wrap up March in to one post and call it a day.  Sounds good enough, right?

::  March gave us our first real taste of warm weather.  It is amazing how much easier it is to handle the day when we can spend at least a little time outside.  Not to mention the witching hour (hours.  definitely plural.) between 4-6.  Outside we go!


::  We celebrated St. Patrick's Day of course.  And by celebrated I mean we wore green and took pictures.  And had rainbow fruit kabobs.  Because I'm not really sure how else we're supposed to celebrate it.  Whatever.  We took our fruit kabobs to Sarah's house for a little playdate.  The girls matching bows were a custom combo that Brittany at Pretty Little Elm whipped up at my request.  Ryann said she would only wear green if she got to wear pink too.  I can work with that!  E's onesie is from Olive & Birdie.


::  Elsie rocked an absurd number of beads.  You'd think it was Mardi Gras over here all the time.  I've decided I should probably start gifting new parents a container of beads, they've kept her pretty entertained.


::  We met up with some friends at the children's museum.  That was stupidly exhausting.  The place was packed.  Ryann and Brennan wanted to quickly move from room to room.  The little kids wanted to do their own thing.  It was just a little crazy.  But I think a little bit of fun was had.


::  Ryann got her ears piecerced!  The day before her birthday Grammy and I took the girls to the mall and got them done.  Ry surprised me by asking to get them pierced, previously she told me she wanted to wait until she was 9 or 10.  But apparently she changed her mind.  Despite me reminding her multiple times that it was going to hurt, she went through with it.  And was completely traumitzed.  More or less anyway.  When the first one went in it scared the crap out of her.  The employee quickly just did the other one and Ry started screaming.  I felt so bad, a little guilty, because she was in pain for no reason.  But I did warn her that it was going to hurt, and I'm proud of her for being brave.  She can still be a pain in the butt when we need to clean them, but now she is anxiously waiting for the day she can change her earrings.  They make her look so much older to me!


::  Christopher and Ryann attended the preschool Daddy / Daughter dance.  He said the excitement of the whole ordeal was a little much for Ry and she was just all over the place.  But they had a good time and looked really cute :o).


::  And of course we celebrated Ryann's 4th Birthday.  Auntie Lorin spent the night with us, so she joined us for a birthday breakfast.  After Ry opened one of her gifts we headed out for pancakes.  The rest of the day was spent prepping for the birthday party, and partying of course.


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!