April 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

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March 28, 2012

18 months

I had planned to do a 15 month update and then somehow life happened and the post didn’t! But here we are….18 months.  1.5 years old. Holy smokes.

We definitely have a toddler on our hands…physically she has changed so much in the last 6 months.  She has sprouted up and thinned out, her hair has gotten so long and she is running all over the place! Her little legs show the results of her tumbles and scaling of furniture;  I’m always amazed when I change her at night and realize she has a new scrape or bruise…”why did you not cry?” “how did I not notice you doing that!” She is so busy exploring her world they don’t seem to phase her.

Her ability to understand and process the world around her increases everyday.  She is able to follow directions (sometimes), throw a first class tantrum (practices daily), and can identify certain animals and everyday objects when we are out and about or reading.  She LOVES music and has the most wonderful set of dance skills…it isn’t quite up to the “ratcliff shuffle” standards but she will get there one day 🙂  She is currently obsessed with “Ring around the Posey” and spins in a circle while we sing.  She “makes us” sing it over and over until we go insane or she spins herself dizzy.  We don’t really let her watch a ton of TV but weekends we watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in the morning and we have recently found Backyardigans that she sometimes watches while eating her afternoon snack.  It’s so cute because she KNOWS what I mean when I ask if she wants to watch “Mickey” or “Backyardigans” and my question is always met  with an enthusiastic head nod and smile.

My sweet girl is very independent and stubborn.  These qualities sometimes result in a struggle of will and its in these times that I try to quelch my frustration and remember that these are amazing qualities that will serve her well as she grows. It’s the best reward to finally see her accomplish something she has been trying to do for so long…the look of achievement is in her eyes and the smile on her face is priceless.  Now, Ill be honest,  sometimes that achievement is something I would have rather her have not learned (i.e. climbing on the couch, climbing on the table, climbing in general) but beggars can’t be choosers 🙂

Currently meal time is a challenge.  Lila likes to prop her leg on the table during dinner….(where does she learn these things!) and when she is done she likes to swipe her food onto the ground….both of these things DRIVE. ME. CRAZY.  We re-direct and say “that is a no” about 5,000 times on a bad day but I am confident that this is a phase and I wont have a 5 year old swiping food and whining (please!).  Speaking of food, Lila is still a pretty good eater….she wants to try everything but doesn’t like as much as she used too…very much the typical toddler in the fact that one day she LOVES (insert any food item here) and hates it the next! Her favorite foods are still fruit of any kind and salty snacks like crackers.  We still try to offer her a variety and hope that she turns into foodies like us 🙂

This is the best "frog" picture we could get and it required lots of singing...she is clapping and saying "Yea!"

She is still short on words….there is lots of pointing and LOTS of whining (patience is a virtue and not something Lila or I are blessed with) to make up for her lack of verbal words.  We still use her 5-6 signs and her babbling has dramatically increased over the past month.  I have moments when I worry, but then realize that she definitely understands us and verbalization will come when she is ready….on her schedule 🙂

In the last 3 months she has started giving us kisses and hugs when we leave or she is going “night night”.  It is seriously the best thing and I am looking forward to the day she can return our “I love you’s”.

When I think back on the last 18 months the overwhelming feeling is one of wonder….She is such a joy and everyday I am reminded that I am so lucky to be her mom.  She is very much her own person but I see myself and Chris in her personality and ways.  She is shy for strangers but a ham for those closest.  She needs her own “wake-up” time and sometimes just needs to be alone.  She is cautious of new environments but curious from the comforts of our arms.  She is funny and expressive and down right persistent! Parenting her teaches me daily that I am still a work in progress.  And that’s okay.  I am looking forward to seeing her continue to blossom and hope that as she grows she knows she is loved beyond measure.

Much Love –

Christy

February 29, 2012

Dee-Lish

Fun day at the zoo last weekend!

Chris and I have revamped our diet over the last few weeks and have basically cut out any processed foods.  Its been tough but it’s also opened my eyes to how much convenience type foods we ate on a daily basis.  Not that they are bad, they make life a whole heck of a lot easier and definitely save time on week nights when I fail miserably at planning!  BUT, we decided to try something new for a month to see how we feel….so far so good 🙂

Yesterday while I was making Lila’s lunch of hot dog and peas/carrots (from a can) I realized that I was kind of embarrassed by what I had been feeding her.  Now, the hot dogs were Apple Gate brand so they were organic, all beef, no nitrates/casiens/gluten, etc., and I know canned vegetables aren’t terrible (I’m kind of just glad she is eating veggies!) but this was not a once in a while occurrence.  I looked back over the past few meals and realized they consisted of macaroni and cheese, frozen chicken nuggets, frozen veggie burgers, deli meat and canned vegetables.  The only thing I was serving her that were REAL WHOLE foods was fruit (which she eats by the pound).    She is not super picky….if I am on my game she will eat a variety of food….I just need to prepare, plan and get out of my rut with her meals.  I also think she was getting bored with what we have been giving her (turning down macaroni & cheese was a big “ah-ha moment!”).

So I did some research and found some great recipes that I can make and freeze and then pull out for the week or when I get home from work. I also made a list of meal options and food combinations so that I can reference it when making her lunches.

I’ve made three of the recipes I’ve made so far….they were super easy…

http://weelicious.com/2011/05/23/peanut-butter-jelly-pop-tarts/

http://weelicious.com/2011/09/06/chocolate-chip-granola-bars/

http://weelicious.com/2011/11/28/broccoli-cheese-patties/

My lil taste tester while making the PBJ Poptarts!

These are really versatile and you can add your own spin and experiment with different mix-ins.  For example I reduced the amount of chocolate chips and added raisins and sunflower seeds to the granola bars.  Also after baking they are a bit crumbly (although delicious) so I’ll have to experiment with the mix and baking time to get it to where I want it.  I made the broccoli & cheese patties and added some chopped ham to make them more of a main course.  Lila had a couple last night and they seem to be a hit!

I feel better….I know what’s in these and they provide a quick (and much cheaper alternative) to my frozen go-tos on those hectic nights! I would definitely recommend visiting Weelicious.com, tons of recipes and the user comments are super helpful!
 

Much Love – Christy

February 3, 2012

Tubes

After many rounds with “the ear infection”, we threw up our hands up in defeat and decided on tubes for Lila.  It was a long battle….3 months, 8 rounds of antibiotics and at least 10 doctors office visits…the infection was stubborn and I was tired of seeing LK  uncomfortable.  I think with each round of antibiotics they would work for a bit and she would start to feel better, and then slowly the infection would creep back.  We would know it was back in full effect when her appetite decreased and I had to have an extra few cups of coffee and a bit more concealer to hide the dark circles.

We saw the ENT Monday afternoon and scheduled surgery for Wednesday morning…such a quick turnaround and we really didn’t have much time to think about it before we were waking up with the roosters and loading Lila up for our dark drive to Cooks Children.  She was SUPER skeptical and totally knew we were up to something.  After the long process of checking in and getting her stats the nurse finally gave her the “silly juice”. It was then that my skeptical baby became a talkative goo-goo eyed little drunkard.  It was pretty comical and it made me feel better that she wasn’t as anxious as she had been.  Once she was fully “silly” they came and took her away.

Chris and I promptly pulled out our contraband snacks of an energy bar and banana and demolished them….”no food by mouth” was tough for Lila, but she at least got silly juice…I was starving!

The nurse led us to a small consult room and about 5 minutes later (!!) the doctor walked in to let us know that everything had gone well.  (Still in shock by how quick the whole deal is by the way) He said both ears were equally bad which wasn’t a shock and was we expected. If we needed validation that we had made the right choice that was it!

As he left we heard a child crying…and it took about 3 seconds to realize it was ours.  We were told to wait in the room and the nurse would come get us…… but I could hear her crying...talk about going crazy. That was the worst part of the whole day! Luckily the nurse came through the door nanoseconds before I burst through the halls pulling back curtains to find her.

We were led to a curtained area where we were presented with a screaming demon…..The nurse assured us the back arching screaming scene we were experiencing was normal due to the anesthesia and she wasn’t in any pain.  I tried to console her but eventually it was Chris who got her calm. Something about dads and daughters 🙂  It took a solid 10-15 minutes for her to come out of the haze and after getting her to eat a Popsicle and drink some water we were free to go.  Her hunger level after surgery is proof she is my child.  It was clear 2 minutes out of the parking lot that the Cheerios I was offering were not going to cut it.  After a bit of internal debate I was finally brave enough to risk possible nausea and pulled out the waffle we had stashed “just in case”.   The picture is her mid waffle. Thankfully everything remained in her tummy and by the time we arrived home she was much happier. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful…lots of nap and TLC and Lila is good as new! We have heard that kids with tubes often have behavior and developmental changes after the surgery because they can often hear better and aren’t in pain… Whatever happens I’m happy this day is behind us and happy LK is getting some relief!

Much Love –  Christy

January 28, 2012

Greens

Every now and then I’ll get on a green smoothie kick….I will buy the ingredients and drink them for a few weeks then randomly I’ll forget about them.  They are delicious and shouldn’t be judged based on looks alone.  Now I’ll admit that they are definitely not as sweet as some may prefer, but I have found that as my healthy eating habits have evolved I can’t really tolerate things that are too sugary.

Anyways, I love this smoothie for lots of reasons.  For starters,  it makes me feel ridiculously healthy (hello 3+c of Spinach!) and if I drink them regularly enough I really notice a difference in my energy and skin.  There are lots of websites and recipes out there but this is my favorite. It’s the most basic and you can always add frozen berries or honey if the basic just doesn’t do it for you 🙂

Green Smoothie

1 frozen banana (peel, cut into chunks and store in a baggie in the freezer to make it easy)

1-1.5 c Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (Can use cows milk or soy but I like the low cal and sweetness of Almond)

3+ C Fresh Baby Spinach (I put as many handfuls in as will fit in the blender)

In a blender, combine the milk, banana chunks, and spinach.  Blend on high until all traces of “chunk” are gone.  I have a crap blender so I often have to stop and free the blades.  When blended, pour into a glass and drink up!

I mean would a 16 month old drink it if it wasn’t delicious? (Please excuse my sweaty mess of a self! This glass of deliciousness was a post workout snack that was heisted by LK 🙂 )

Happy Saturday! – Christy

January 20, 2012

Cleaning – Ratcliff Style

So this is something I’ve been meaning to post for a while now….and in honor of the birthday boy I thought today is the perfect day!

Chris is king of the random cleaning.  This is awesome for me because we rarely have to have a “cleaning day” at our house (a day I used to dread growing up).  Chris will randomly clean the bathroom,  or dust our room, or vacuum the 4 sq feet of carpet we have in our house.  I say random because it literally just “hits him” that it needs to be done.  This doesn’t happen to me. Ever.  We sweep every day because Lila thinks throwing food on the floor is the new “in” thing to do. It is NOT, by the way. *If only she and I could come to terms on this issue*. Anyway, this isn’t to say we shouldn’t do a deep clean every now and then because I’m positive there are some dust bunnies under our couch that remember a life pre-Lila.  But, I’m lucky in the fact that Chris likes the random clean so our house always appears pretty spick and span.  We had a realtor come in  a few weeks ago just to give us an idea of what we may be able to get for our house with the improvements we have made and what not and he said, in a slightly “teacherish” way….”you know you will have to keep  your house like this all the time whenever you decide to put it on the market”…. Dude…we didnt clean for you.  We are just that weird.

Anyways, back to the point of this post, when Lila is done eating we always clean her hands and mouth with a wet paper towel.  We are not eco-friendly.  We go through rolls of paper towels a month.  I don’t feel guilty about this.  Lately, when we are done, Lila will want the paper towel and will proceed to walk around the house “cleaning” the floor, her toys and the chairs.  (Now you know why Lila is carrying what appears to be a tissue in the pic!) He has created a little mini me in Lila.  I am now the dirtiest person in our family.  Lord help me.

Happy Friday…Hope your weekend if full of fun (no cleaning!) 🙂

Christy

January 4, 2012

Outside?

Lila loves outside now….pointing towards the window and “Eh! Eh!” is her new favorite thing to do, second only to actually being outside or rolling around like a crazy girl on the couch.  It’s a tie.  We got her an outside climber for Christmas (not the one pictured but pretty similar) and I swear it induces a small heart attack each time she is on it.  No sooner do I boost her little hiney up there she manges to go the direction that has me straddling the slide or diving to the opening on the opposite side to catch her as she walks into the air!  The climber we bought has two slides (one on each side) and I initially thought this was awesome because it gave her options.  I now think its stupid because its two ways she can fall out of the dang thing.  We are trying to teach her to go down the slide “on your bum, feet forward” but she isn’t quite so nimble yet, so she will eventually go down head first and there will be tears of epic proportion.   I’ll put $20 on it and I’m not a betting kind of gal.  But as Chris and I say….”she’ll be fine” 🙂

She is transitioning to the toddler room at school next month (tear!) and once in that room she will spend 2 hours a day outside (1 in the AM and 1 after nap).  I’m so happy, because aside from the weekends, there really aren’t enough hours in the day to get her out once we get home…Im hoping this outside time will appease her but probably not.  We have been so lucky to have such awesome weather lately, but when the sun goes down….brrr! (Go ahead northerners…laugh at the Texas girl who wears uggs and sweats in 50 degree weather!)

Anyways, I am slowly getting back in the groove after an insanely long vacation….it feels great nutrition and fitness wise but work wise…..eh.  I am trucking along, but am still open to any position which pays a full-time salary on a part-time schedule….what….thats not realistic?  Ohh well a girl can dream huh 🙂

Happy Wednesday!

Love – Christy

December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!

So she didn’t quite understand how jolly and cool this big guy is.

You would never know that seconds before and seconds after she was smiling and flirting with the people in line and munching on blueberries.  Extreme drama.  I have to say I couldn’t be happier with this picture…..I think everyone needs a good crying with Santa picture 🙂

I am so excited about Christmas…we are doing the usual Ratcliff gathering on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning at home, and then my clan on Christmas Day for lunch.  The days are long but they are fun and always leave me feeling very blessed.  I procrastinated with shopping this year but I am officially DONE.  A few of our gifts for people are surprises  (which sadly is becoming a rare event!) and I’m hopeful they will enjoy them as much as I enjoyed buying them! Chris and I are taking of advantage of this last year of not having to hide gifts and put together toys on Christmas Eve night…Lila doesn’t really have a clue and wont really understand that her loot is Christmas gifts but I think she will really enjoy them over the next year as we got her a few things to grow into.  I’m absolutely not wishing away the next year, but I am looking forward to next Christmas….Elf on a Shelf here we come!

I am enjoying my time off and looking forward to next week when both Chris and I will be off work and LKs school will be closed.  Hopefully we will spend a few of those days in our pajamas!  Hope you have a wonderful and joyous Christmas and take a moment to remember the reason for the season and all the blessings (big and small) that make life so wonderful!

Merry Christmas and Much Love –

Christy

November 15, 2011

My Girl

This is a picture from Lila’s one year photo shoot….sometimes I am amazed Chris and I created such a perfect (stubborn, beautiful, funny) little creature! These pictures were taken by the talented Lindsey Murphy and she got some great shots! Definitely got the Christmas 2011 Holiday card out of the way 🙂

She is growing too quickly….this past week she has started really walking and you can tell she is gaining confidence with each step. 

 I’m currently in Columbus while Chris is home being Mr. Mom.  I miss them both terribly but know it will make our week together at Thanksgiving that much sweeter! 

Hope everyone is having a Terrific Tuesday 🙂

Much Love – Christy

November 2, 2011

Fall Fun

Its been a rough month! Coughs, colds, ear infections, stomach bugs….lots of fun stuff (and the stuff that earns you parent honor badges). In between all the sickness we have managed to have some fun…

  • We had a morning at the arboretum for Lila’s one year photo shoot (I’m waiting for pictures anxiously and will share them when I get them!).  She was not into the pumpkin patch – way too many kids and the hay was a bit wet so touching it was out. of. the. question
  • Lila had her first visit to the State Fair and was in love with Fletchers….Chris got 2 corn dogs for himself and probably only got 1.25 for himself! Lila loved it — and I’m so mad at myself for missing that photo op! I was too busy stuffing my own face….go figure! Lila was really good and loved watching all the people….we got some fun photo booth picture (anyone who really knows me knows I obsessed with those cheap photo booths (well they used to be cheap!).

  • We FINALLY made it to the zoo after multiple rescheduled attempts…we went first thing Sunday morning and stayed for a couple of hours – it was the perfect amount of time to hit all the big animals without being too much for Lila.  I think Lila was a bit torn between her favorite animal.  She was so intrigued by the penguins but she got to feed the giraffes so it was a tough call 🙂  My biggest kid (Chris) really loved the zoo too….he was really into seeing the chimps but they were in hiding…Maybe next time!
  • Halloween was fun and pretty laid back, we decided not to dress Lila up since we weren’t going to take her trick or treating and I spend entirely too much on her normal wardrobe to waste money on an outfit she was going to spend approximately 10 minutes in.  BUT I did buy her a fantastically cute  Halloween outfit that she wore approximately 8 hours 🙂 She crashed out at precisely 6:55 and Chris and I handed out 4 jumbo Costco bags of candy to the droves of children that flooded our neighborhood! Chris even caution taped our yard to avoid “lawn damage” – yes he is an old man at the ripe age of 30.

November has some great things planned, but work is going to cause both Chris and I to be out-of-town for half of it! (Chris one week and me the next…).  Chris’s sister is getting married this weekend and Lila is the flower girl. They are having a little boy pull her in a wagon and I am crossing every finger and toe that she makes down the aisle without a panic or meltdown….! Then of course Thanksgiving! I’m really looking forward to this year… last year was so…I don’t know…. hazy.  I guess having a newborn will do that too you! This year we are celebrating with both families and running the Turkey Trot with Lila in tow.  I am so thankful for this past year and am going to try to remember one thing each day that I am thankful for…it shouldn’t be too hard!

Much Love – Christy

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