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”.

 

We’re going to the market, we’re going to the fair

..to see the senoritas with flowers in her hair!

Does anyone remember that old childhood rhyme? I forgot whether it was a hand clapping game or one where it was a bunch of kids dancing in a circle, but it included lyrics that went like “shake it shake it shake it, shake it all around..” My guess is that perhaps its the latter–a dancing in a circle type of game.  Then that got me thinking, as a kid, I learned these little childhood games from my playground friends. Do kids still pass on games like this anymore or are these things now obsolete? Should I have written down these little playful games so they can be passed on? What do kids do now in the playground?

One tradition that we hope to continue with our kid(s) is to attend the annual San Diego Fair, formerly known as Del Mar fair. We took Kyla last year when she was about 6 months, and although it was fun, it wasn’t nearly as rewarding as it was this time around. Kyla curiously petted the cow, stared at the award winning bunnies and guinea pigs, thoroughly enjoyed some corn on the cob, bravely rode the pony, and shook it shook it shook it to some lively gospel music.

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Del Mar Beach

Finally a real day at the beach with Kyla! Lawrence and I recently went to the beautiful Del Mar Beach where Kyla enjoyed our day in the sun and shade. Speaking of shade, I am in love with this Shade Shack that I bought from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002KRZQMS/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=38200428687&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17202493180990121698&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_6q086l24gf_b)

It’s an awesome pop-up tent that goes from a compact 18″ circle to a generous sized tent to provide instant shade from the harsh sun. There are pockets where you can add sand to weigh it down from the wind or you can pin it down to the ground (ie grass) with some spikes.  Kyla and I laid inside the tent while daddy Lawrence got his tan on outside the tent. Perfect.

Kyla then had some beach fun by happily dipping her toes in the water and stomping her feet in the sand.

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(Kyla is wearing Gymboree striped one-piece swimsuit)

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads out there who have sacrificed so much to raise their sons and daughters. And a special happy Father’s Day to the single moms out there who have played the role of both parents.

Kyla’s outfit this month is dedicated to Father’s Day. I had Lawrence pick out an outfit that he wanted to wear on Father’s day and made a matching corresponding outfit. Lawrence picked out a white dress shirt and a matching blue with white polka-dot bow tie that he got from Banana Republic. I found a blue polka with silver polka-dot cotton fabric that was similar to Lawrence’s bow tie, but decided to make Lawrence a bow tie as well. I found a pretty simple bow tie pattern thanks to Sew Like My Mom: (http://sewlikemymom.com/mens-bow-tie-tutorial/). The outfit turned out pretty good!

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On Saturday, I took my 2 “models” out to Solana Beach to this cute design-center street called Cedro St for a photo shoot. Kyla initially didn’t want anything to do with it:

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But eventually she warmed up and the Father’s Day photoshoot turned out really well.  Lawrence fell into the “model” role because as we stopped by a couple stores after the photo shoot, I found myself carrying everything including Kyla, my camera, and my props bag, while Lawrence was strutting around empty handed. When I asked Lawrence for some help he said “Oh I thought I was still playing your model.” Haha. Oh Lawrence.

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