September themed photo: Chargers Monday night football!

Kyla was born a Chargers fan. Her dad is a Chargers fan, her mom is a Chargers fan, even her dogs are Chargers fans. Not only that, but she was born and (so far) raised in San Diego, home of the Chargers. So in celebration of being a Chargers fan, she (ahem, or we on her behalf) decided to get all dolled up as a Chargers cheerleader and cheer with the dogs.

This photo op however, did not come so easy for us. We had this grand idea of taking these photos at a local high school football field on a Sunday night. We drove up to the high school, parked, had the husband go out to make sure we could get in. Fifteen minutes later, with the sun setting down fast, comes back and says “the gates are locked but we can probably fit through the chains.” “Are you surrrre?” I asked. “Oh yeah, I can totally fit through it,” Lawrence said.

So I got out of the car, grabbed Kyla, our camera, dogs, and homemade pompoms. Got to the gate, took a look at it, and was pretttty skeptical that I could fit through. “I’m not sure if I can fit through this Lawrence.”  “Dude, I can fit through it” Lawrence reassured me. So, determined to prove that I was smaller than my husband, because if he can fit through it, I can too, even if that means I am going to suck every bit of my gut in to fit through it. A few minutes later, gut sucked in and butt tucked in, I got through the gates. Then Kyla easily walked through, followed by the dogs. Then, it was Lawrence’s turn. He stuck his arm through, then, the rest of his body got stuck! After all that convincing, he could not fit through. Ha! Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t get his help and with only a few minutes before the sun set, Kyla, the dogs, all the gear and I ran down the stadium stairs, snuck in a few photos in a span of 10 minutes, and these were the results:

Chargers girl  Happy Chargers cheerleader Chargers dog Molly Chargers girl Chargers girl Chargers girl Chargers Chewy Chargers girl Chargers Molly

August themed lemonade stand pictures

August was sort of a hard month to think of a theme for. There are no big holidays that I know of. No celebrations really. I’ve done beach pictures of Kyla. What summer thing can I do? I started to question whether I could pull off continuing this monthly themed photo thing I committed myself for. I turned to Dr. Google to answer my questions…and then here it is, a cute DIY wood pallet lemonade stand:

http://www.thecluelessgirl.com/2013/08/diy-roadside-lemonade-stand-for-only-3.html

So then, I decided just that–this month’s theme will be a lemonade stand photo! Perfect for the summer. I’ve never built anything on my own but I was determined to. I picked up a weathered wood pallet, dismantled it, measured and sawed the pieces, built the frame, nailed the pieces together, made a sign, and whallahhhh, Kyla’s lemonade stand:

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I proceeded to make her a little apron with vintage lace trimming to go with the theme:

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And so last night, somehow Kyla, and our two dogs Molly and Chewy cooperated and these are the results of August’s themed Lemonade Stand photos. Enjoy!

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DIY lemonade stand made from wood pallets

 

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DIY lemonade stand with the dogs

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Toddler sized DIY lemonade stand made from weathered pallets

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My little cutiepie “making” lemonade

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Lemonade made with love

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My happy little lemonade barista

 

We are flying in an airplane, looking out the window, watching the clouds go by

These are the very lyrics that have been stuck in my head from Kyla watching Barney’s sing and dance over and over and over. So catchy, that song.

Speaking of airplanes, this past weekend was probably Kyla’s 5th airplane trip in her short lifetime. We flew with her when she was 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 16 months and most recently, 18 months. Yeah, we’ve been really taking advantage of the lap-child under 2 flies free deal. The younger she was, the easier it was to travel with her. When she was 3 months we took a trip to Hawaii, and all she did was nurse and sleep. And then. Well, she grew out of that. She became more active and slept less the older she got. We would pack snacks, books, iPads, sing songs, you name it, we did it.

But this past flight to San Francisco, something happened. She became fascinated with what was going on outside the plane. She wanted to keep the window open even though the glaring sun was shining through my eyes. She pointed, she babbled, she pulled the window cover up and down and up and down. She was fascinated with people around her. She wanted to do things herself. She was becoming quite her own person.

And then, looking out the window became her thing:

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Egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free…so what’s left?

I have never had to read nutrition labels with such scrutiny. Before it used to be like “120 calories per serving? score!” or “25% saturated fats?, no thanks” “6 grams of fiber? I’ll need that”. And that was the end of it. If it tastes good, it’s going in my belly!

But now, with Kyla’s allergies, snack time foods have been a challenge.  I’ve had to look for egg-, dairy-, and nut-free snacks. No string-cheese, pizzas, cheez-its, cookies, trail mixes? No birthday cakes, muffins, cheetohs or peanut butter? What can she eat?

Luckily, I’ve been able to find some good finds at good ol’ Trader Joe’s. I figure anything that is considered vegan and doesn’t have nuts, is good for Kyla’s allergies. Granted, not all of these snacks are the healthiest foods, but my 5-10% percentile in weight child can use the calories. Here is a list of egg-free, dairy-free, and nut-free snacks that I’ve compiled:

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INNER PEAS: These are basically green peas extruded into a bean-shaped snack. Super easy to eat, Kyla loves it, and you can find the equivalent of these in the more popular brand “Calbee Snap Pea Crisps”

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SOFT-BAKED SNICKERDOODLES: These are free of 8 common allergens including gluten, wheat, milk, dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and soy. These are perfectly bite sized for the little toddler hands and are 130 calories for 2 cookies.

 

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MINI CAFE TWISTS: These I love! Think about those french butterfly cookies but in little twists. It’s non-dairy and does not  use butter for the yummy flakiness. Only 30 calories per twist, but you can’t just have one. The only caveat is that when given to a little toddler, it creates a mess that you would be thankful if you had a dog to help you clean it up (ie our dogs)

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SPECULOOS COOKIES: Have you ever tried Trader Joe’s cookie butter? If you have, these are the very delicious Belgian cookies that are used to make it. Verified by the ingredient label to be dairy and egg-free, even though it tastes so buttery and good.

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HONEY GRAHAM CRACKERS: These are probably one of the easiest snacks to have in my purse whenever Kyla gets cranky, I mean, hungry. They come as a breakable long cookie that I can give her as a big piece to keep her busy in the car, or just a smaller piece if I don’t want to spoil her appetite before dinner.

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CATS COOKIES and ORGANIC ANIMAL CRACKERS: Wheat, nut and egg free, these are my go-to snacks if I want to pack them up in a ziploc bag for the road. They’re fun, not too sugary and Kyla loves them.

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CINNAMON APPLE SNACK STICKS: I am not sure how much “apple” are in these sticks, but Kyla sure loves these.  Crunchy and toddler-hand sized, these snacks are a hit.

Trader Joe’s has so many great snacks to add to this list, but these are so far my favorites. Do you have any Trader Joe’s allergy-friendly snacks that you recommend?

Big Bear manure, I mean manor

Pre-baby Kyla, Lawrence and I used to take day trips up to Big Bear mountain to snowboard. Early in our dating times on our way up the mountain, I would read random signs like “City Market” or “Alpine Slide”. Then we passed by this place called “Big Bear Manor” and I yelled out “Big Bear Man-oooooor”. Lawrence looked at me and said, “you mean Big Bear Manor, not manure right”? Uh yes, new boyfriend of less than a year, I did mean man-or. (insert embarassed face here)

7 years later, and here we are, driving up the same mountain again, this time with baby Kyla and my gargantuan extended family for my nephew Lucas’ 5th birthday party and 4th of July celebration.

We’ve never been up the mountain during the summer, but after being here, I can’t imagine why we haven’t been here more often. The lake was awesome with a beach side, kayaking, and boats on the lake. Instead of skiiers and snowboarders heading down the mountain, we now have bikers zipping their way down the slopes. This was also the first time in a long time that my parents and siblings and all their kids got together and took a trip. It was nice.

We somehow fit in 12 adults, 5 kids, and 2 dogs into a 3 bedroom cabin. That’s how we roll. :) Our trip met some thunder, a 4.8 magnitude earthquake, and rain showers, but luckily, we continued to enjoy a short hike and a pretty awesome fireworks show by the lakes.

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The clan:

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Our personal family photo. Kyla and Chewy were like “what the heck Molly!”

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Our bad boy Chewy:

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Our contemplating Kyla:

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It rained during our hike, but I think Kyla left with a few drops to the nose.

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Kyla enjoying the fireworks show:

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In the end it was a wonderful trip to all be together. As we left our beloved cabin, we passed by Big Bear Manor again, and I proudly said to myself “Big Bear Manooooor”.