My Renovation Blog

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dancin' Queen

Some recent fun Ella Facts:

(1) She is now saying "bye bye".  It's like she wakes up with a new word everyday!  She says "this" and "that" a lot too now.  She also somehow learned how to say "Popple" at grandma's house...does anyone my age remember those from when we were young?  They were little stuffed animals that turned into a ball?

(2) She blows on most of her food and most flowers.  Grandma taught her to blow dandelions, so now she blows on all the flowers she picks.  She watches me blow on her hot food before I feed it to her so now when she is feeding herself, she blows on everything before putting it in her mouth!  Funny.

(3) She knows that "CHEESE!" means to smile big for the camera, so she's now a total ham when I pick up the camera.

(4) She is becoming a lot more FEISTY.  My Lord that girl has a personality on her.  When you say no (or yell it, scream it, cry it), she just calmly looks at you and does EXACTLY what you told her not to do.  Twice.  She has also started hitting Rylee- hard.  It makes me VERY upset, and I don't know how to stop her (any advice?).

(5) Ella loves to dance!  I finally uploaded part of the video from the other night, but she even has some new moves since then, including her "sumo" as Gary calls it.  I will say, she prefers rap and hip hop to nursery rhymes...we are creating a monster.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Petting Zoo...Not So Much

On Saturday, our friends invited us to Zoomars Petting Zoo where they had free passes (thanks T!).  To start the day, we forgot the stroller, our camera and Ella's shoes (how do you forget to bring shoes to a petting zoo?!).  We didn't need the stroller anyway, but having to take pictures with my blackberry and having Ella in moccasins with no soles was definitely not ideal.

Unfortunately, Ella is still not a fan of petting zoos. I don't get it. She loves dogs, and even loves going to the dog park, but when it comes to any other animals, she wants none of it. She wouldn't even pet the giant bunnies or guinea pigs, and she thought the goats and sheep were a little scary (although, so did I...those goats are AGGRESSIVE!).  Oh well, maybe when she's a little older.
The only thing she did love was the sitting on the saddle and pretending to ride a horse! I guess she takes after grandpa...

Gary and I went out to dinner with friends at True Food Kitchen...I've been dying to try it for awhile, especially after going GF and being told they have tons of options. It was SO good and healthy! The best part is that the menu specifically designates whether each item is GF, vegan or vegetarian. Oh, and the flourless chocolate cake (which is GF!) was TO.DIE.FOR. To top it off, it's not even expensive!

Sooo, we loved it so much that we decided to go walk around Fashion Island with grandma and grandpa on Sunday and go to dinner at True Food again!

Ella ran around and around the fountain...

She is obsessed with chairs so she decided to be the greeter at Anthropologie...

When we got home, she was in a super happy silly mood and thought she was hilarious walking around with mama's Angels hat on backwards...

Not Ella related, but I'm finally getting back to being a "normal" person again! I had two girl's nights out this week and for one of them, we actually went to a real bar AND stayed out until midnight!  It was like the good old days when M and I lived together...before kids and husbands. ;) This may not seem like a big deal, but me staying out until midnight is insane...I'm very proud of myself!
I purposely made the photo super small so you are not blinded by the shine on my forehead!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

For the Record...

I forgot to post some stuff this weekend:

(1) Ella is officially saying "hi"...she says it in this super cute quiet voice, but she was saying it over and over this weekend..."hi" "hi" "hi" "hi".

(2) She is blowing kisses!  SO cute!  I don't know where that came from because I tried and tried to teach it to her a few months back, and she wouldn't do it so I gave up.  Then randomly this weekend I said, "can you blow mommy a kiss", and I did it to her, and she did it back!  Now she'll do it on command. :)

(3) This probably goes along with blowing kisses, but she mimics us a lot now.  And sort of scary, she seems to understand e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. now.  Things you really think there is no way she could understand...we need to be very careful with what we say around her now...especially if she's going to have a word explosion soon!!

(4) She just started using a fork by herself!  Yes, she's been using a fork for months, but only after we put the food on it for her.  Now, she stabs the food herself and puts it in her mouth!  It doesn't work every time, but she's definitely trying.

I can't believe how much she's changing and growing so quickly!  It's like overnight she can do 25 more things.  I'm so proud of my little munchkin!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gorgeous Weekend!

It was an amazingly beautiful weekend- sunny and high 70's all weekend.  In January!  Ella played outside a ton this weekend and enjoyed the warm breeze and pretty flowers...
She ran wild through the streets (the joy of living on a cul-de-sac!)...
Then she thought, "where is my shopping cart?"
Oh there it is...
I think I will go shopping in the middle of the street!

We had our good friends over for dinner, which meant Ella got to play with two of her favorite people in the world...Peyton and Logan!

Peyton was a big help in feeding her dinner...
Ella hammed it up for some peanut butter faced dinner photos...
And then after some cuddle time...
It was DANCE PARTY USA! Oh my gosh, we laughed our arses off- the girls were crazy!

After church, we took Ella shopping in Balboa...we haven't taken her to Balboa since she was 2.5 months old!

Then we went to dinner with our friends, but we got there early so Ella ran wild around the fountain!
She gave Reese a hug to say hello...
They shared their dinner...
Then they had a ball running all around, playing by the fountain and pretty much bothering every single person who was trying relax on the couches and eat their dinners, coffees and yogurts!

Friday, January 14, 2011


For awhile we were feeding Ella most of her food pieces with a fork, and she was really good at it, but then we got lazy and went back to letting her pick it up with her hands or feeding it to her.  We had never let her try a spoon herself- waaaaay to messy.  After someone in one of my mom's groups asked if anyone was trying spoons yet, I realized I'm going to have to suck it up at some point and just let her start learning despite the messy consequences.  Most of the applesauce ends up in her hair, on her face, body, legs, arms, the countertop, the highchair, the floor and Rylee's back, but she's trying!
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Thursday, January 13, 2011

15 Months Old

Naked wearing Uggs in the doctor's office...hey we had to keep her warm some way!

Ella was 15 months old on Saturday, and today she had her 15 month WBV.  Overall, she is doing fantastic!  This was the first time she remembered the doctor's office.  And she didn't like it one bit.  She was completely fine until we had to lay her on the table to measure her and put her on the scale- she cried!  After the nurse left she was fine, and as usual, got her flirt on when Dr. A came into the room...suddenly, she was smiley, laughing, running around, waving, etc.  I guess we can never switch doctors since she's in love with him!  She went back to crying when she had to get her shots- poor baby!

Dr. A said he thinks her toe walking (she does it about 40-50% of the time) is habitual and not a sign of any problem.  Surprisingly, he was not at all concerned with her speech!  He said they only require one word by 15 months, and since she is saying "daddy", he is not concerned (they re-evaluate at 18 months).  Honestly, I think she also might be saying dog (well she is saying dog), mommy, water, rylee, mine, no, that, and hi or hello but definitely not on a regular basis.  She also signs, more, eat, all done and milk.

The best part of the appointment is when he said she is more social than the average 15 month old. :)  She has really blossomed in the past few months.  She is a little cuddle bug, always hugging and kissing Gary and I, and she adores other kids.  Really, she adores people.  We definitely have a future social butterfly on our hands...class president 2027!

Her 15 month stats
Height 31.5 inches- 80th percentile (90th percentile adjusted!)
Weight 23.08 pounds- 65th percentile
Head- 45th percentile

She is getting longer and thinner (going up in the height percentile and down in the weight percentile)!

I know I always say it, but we really do just feel so blessed.  I want to pinch myself!  I STILL can't believe that I finally have my beautiful baby girl, and she is such a good baby with such a fun personality.  I don't know how we go so lucky.  I hear that we are in the "sweet spot" right now because she's at that really fun age, but she's not throwing tantrums or acting out ever really.  I just want to spend every second with her.  Good idea to keep a record of this time before the kicking and screaming tantrums start!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

iPhone on Verizon

On February 10th, the iPhone will be available through Verizon.  I'm sure most people are super excited about this news, but me, not so much.  First of all, I'm perfectly pleased with my not so special Blackberry.  Second, I love the perfect cell service I receive from Verizon.  But mostly, I'm very worried that the gazillion people that will now move from the awful service of AT&T to Verizon will make my sweet little network no longer be so reliable!!  I clearly have the mentality of a 98 year old, who doesn't like change.  I admit it.

Tons (if not most?) of the attorneys I know have iPhones, and while they all say they love their phone, they all HATE the service.  I do too because about 85% of the time I'm talking to someone who is on an iPhone, the call gets dropped.  AT&T never had good service (I used to have it), but it seemed to get much worse with the introduction of the iPhone.  I know it's supposedly a combination of the the awful service along with problems with the phone (they claim the Verizon iPhone has the antenna in better location so the phone is better), but I'm a little concerned.

Despite all this, I will not say that I will never be the proud owner of an iPhone.  I claim to not like them because I like buttons.  I love buttons.  I don't want to press a screen.  I HATE using Gary's iPod touch.  My "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" of a Blackberry gives me much more satisifaction.  On the other hand, I get green with envy when I'm stuck at an MSC in court, where there is no wireless access, and my Blackberry's little screen and slow download time makes internet surfing very frustrating, while my iPhone owning friends don't have to wait for a download and keep their eyesight in tact with a slightly larger screen.  I also love that my friends can show me 859 photos of their kids since they have ALL their photos on their iPhones, while I get to show them a blurry photo of Ella with one eye closed and naked because it's the photo I was able to capture on my BB! 

Who knows, if I end up owning one, I may learn to love it!  If anyone does get the Verizon iPhone, please let me know what you think!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gluten Intolerance/ Gluten-Free Living/ Celiac Disease

*Warning* Just skip this post if you don't care about that stuff...otherwise it will be reeeeeally boring!

I still don't have my results from my bloodwork, but I'm still GF (shockingly!), and I've done a lot more research.  Here are a few things I've learned:

*95% (!!!) of celiacs are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions;

*6-10 YEARS is the average time a person waits for a correct diagnosis!;

*Apparently, cross-contamination is a HUGE problem for people with CD or gluten intolerances- this is where I'm having a big issue.  To be *truly* GF, you need to not be exposed to gluten at all.  Meaning your food cannot be prepared on pots/pans/grills or with utensils that are also used to prepare gluten foods.  For example, if you get an In-n-Out burger animal style, it's GF, however, if they are grilling the burgers on the same grill that they heat up the buns, your animal style burger has now been contaminated with gluten!  It seems extreme, but for people who are very sensitive (i.e. have extreme reactions), they get VERY sick from something as minor as that.  Well, you say, you clearly don't get that sick from such cross-contamination since eating a piece of bread doesn't make you sick so who cares- no need to be so anal.  HOWEVER, just because you don't get violently ill, doesn't mean your insides are not suffering from a violent reaction, which of course can manifest itself in other symptoms, such as infertility (uh me?!) or skin disorders.  So therein lies my problem.  Gary refuses to eat GF, and frankly, I just don't think I'm ready to switch Ella over to a GF lifestyle, even though she does LOVE my GF garlic crisps!

*The other issue I learned after I bought a ton of stuff at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's is that basically, pre-packaged food, even if specifically listed as GF, still is at risk of cross-contamination, and most people who are super serious about this lifestyle don't eat much, if any, pre-packaged foods.  All fresh, all the time.  Now, of course the most ideal way to eat is all fresh foods anyway, but come on, who doesn't buy crackers, protein bars for a quick lunch, bottled sauces/dips/dressings, etc., etc., etc.?  The problem is that because the foods are (a) either made on equipment that also processes foods containing gluten (I'm no longer buying foods that have this disclaimer); or (b) are made in facilities that also make foods containing gluten.  I read story after story on the CD forum of people who had eating foods listed as GF on Trader Joe's GF list and then became very sick.  GRRRR.

Despite all this, it hasn't been difficult so far because Trader Joe's does have so many options!
*All but 2 types of their hummus is GF- I've been inhaling that.
*The chicken taquitos and black bean & cheese taquitos are delish.
*All of their guacamoles.
*The savory thin mini crackers in 'original' (rice crackers) are SO good.  However, these say they are made on equipment shared with wheat, so I won't be buying them anymore. :(
*The savory thin mini edamame crackers (but same problem).
*The TJ's rice noodle soup bowl (all flavors- my fav is the mushroom).
*TJ's garlic mashed potatoes.
*TJ's Tuscan Italian dressing (so good).

I also learned about many GF restaurant options:
*PF Changs and Pei Wei (we already tried PW- the spicy chicken and spicy shrimp were ok but too spicy, the Vietnamese rolls are really good).
*Chipotle- everything is GF except their tortillas and tomatillo salsa.
*In-n-Out- everything is GF (including fries!) except the buns, however, the special sauce is questionable.
*Wahoos- many GF options including the charbroiled chicken and fish, white rice, gauc, fresh salsa and black beans.
*Chicken Dijon (Greek food)- I haven't ever tried this place, but it looks good and was listed on a GF site as having lots of options- there is one right by us so I'm going to try it!
*La Sirena Grill- apparently many of their breakfast and lunch/dinner options are GF, and there's one by us so I'm going to try it!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's Gluten Free For Me!

I've been eating gluten free for two days now...yesterday was rough because I didn't know what to eat, but today was great (and easy)!  I was diagnosed with an awful but very rare chronic skin condition about a month ago, that is believed to be an autoimmune disorder (like Celiac Disease).  Although there is very little research on it, there is some evidence that it may be linked to CD, and the *only* thing that seems to "cure" it (there really is no cure, it's chronic) from accounts I've read online is a GF diet.

I couldn't stop eating gluten prior to getting the CD panel of bloodwork done (it will produce a false negative if you do), which I finally did on Tuesday, so I started eating GF yesterday.  For those of you that know me well, you know I was fondly called, "the carbo kid" when I was young because of the way I inhale obscene amounts of bread and potatoes.  GF seemed quite impossible for me.

I went to Whole Foods, which unlike most people, I hate.  It's overwhelming to me and far too healthy for this fast food loving girl.  Honestly, nothing in there looks good to me.  Not to mention that it's so expensive- I spent $50 on half a bag of groceries!  Half a bag was pretty much all I could stomach.

However, I spent time doing tons of research online and then discovered the extremely large GF list on Trader Joe's website.  Oh how I heart you Trader Joe's.  They have oodles and oodles of GF items, and what I've tasted so far has been delicious!  I think the only thing I'll be going to Whole Foods for now is rice flour and GF baking mix.

The hardest part of eating GF for me will be eating out.  Especially since we eat out A LOT.  The only places I know that have extensive GF menus are PF Change and Pei Wei.  The problem with non-GF menus is (1) even things that sound or appear to be GF, often aren't at restaurants because they add random fillers and wheat based sauces, etc. to most of their foods, and (2) even things that are GF are often cross-contaminated by being cooked on the same equipment that non-GF foods are cooked on.  People with serious allergy reactions can't even put something to their lips that has touched a piece of bread or wear make-up that is not GF.

But nonetheless, I'm on a GF path.  I *must* get this skin condition under control because it affects my life, but hey, on a positive side note, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to lose the infertility and baby weight that just won't go away!  I'll let you know how it works. ;)

We've definitely been eating much healthier.  Last night, I made salmon and quinoa with vegetables.  Tonight, I made dover sole with a cornmeal and rice flour 'breading' cooked in a bit of olive oil and real butter and a French vegetable dish I found at Trader Joe's.  I'm going to post some of the GF items I've found that I really like soon in case anyone wants to get on the GF train with me!!