Childhood Spinach and Skittles.

Ever wonder why my blog is called Spinach and Skittles?

If you asked me to eat spinach as a kid I would have given you the evil eye and shoveled the requisite three bites in order to give it a proper taste before I ruled it out all together. Never mind the fact that I had followed the three-bite rule every time I ate spinach, and I knew I didn’t like it. I still had to suck it up and give it the ol’ girl scout try.

Skittles, on the other hand, have always stood by my side and gotten me through some tough times. As a Girl Scout camp counselor my nickname was Skittles. I love these little four-calorie beads of colored sugar and am sad that they no longer make the green tart’n’tangy bags of skittles.

Something changed my sophomore year of college. A boy I was trying to impress* was creating a salad with spinach as the base, instead of your standard iceburg blend. Spinach?!?  Alright, here we go, I’m going to try it. The verdict? Yum! Wow, I actually like raw spinach. I didn’t even realize you could eat spinach raw, I had only encountered the cooked variety.

*Yes, I was a total dork, impressing a guy by eating spinach? I was a really awesome flirt and a great catch. Totally.

The spinach obsession was born and I was your regular Popeye. But skittles were still my top contender for tasty treats. A very large spinach salad is my favorite healthy treat and skittles, currently the crazy core variety, are my unhealthy vice. In moderation they are part of a balanced diet, so they wont be leaving my bedside anytime soon.

Seriously, I have a glass bowl of skittles on my night stand. This weekend when Tanica saw the bowl she commented that I was like a child who sneaks candy after she brushes her teeth at night. She is spot on. I am like a child (at heart), which is why when my friend Lindsay of Lindsay Living tagged me to share 7 things about my childhood, I got rather excited.

Me (Left) and family friend Jenna, age 3. I think I had 3 versions of that otter sweatshirt.

1. I didn’t sleep through the night until I was 2 years old. It was the 80’s and I was your typical chubby baby. While I was pretty darn cute, I cried a lot. One way my parents thought to stop the crying was to feed me…milk. They didn’t know I was lactose intolerant until I was four. So this was a vicious cycle, I cried, they fed me (milk), the milk caused my stummy* to ache so I would cry more.

Not me, but I found this to be quite hilarious.


*yes I call my stomach my stummy, sue me.

2. I hated my birthday: July 5th. I had to sit through countless school birthday parties filled with store-bought sugary confections and silvery capri-suns. Every time we celebrated a peers birthday I felt a pang of jealousy because I never got to celebrate my birthday at school. And celebrating my birthday on the actual day was difficult as well. In case you didn’t know, people kind of clear outa town over the Fourth of July holiday.

4th birthday party (most likely on the 7th) at McDonalds.

Also, a summer birthday meant I was younger than almost all of my peers. Being the shorter, slower, and younger kid didn’t help me in the making friends department. I made up for my shortcomings by being very loud and (sometimes) obnoxious.

Now I make up for my lack of school birthday celebrations by treating myself in extravagant ways.

This year we celebrated in Paris.

3. I’ve worn glasses since first grade.

Or rather I was supposed to wear my glasses since first grade. Back in the day the crafters of lenses did not make cute kid frames. My first pair were pink and had Minnie Mouse decals on the arms. They weren’t too bad. But my pair in third through fifth grade were pretty hideous. They were navy and black and resembled my fourth grade teacher’s glasses. He was a man.


Making a “Sun God” mask in 4th grade, age 9.

Due to my hatred for the frames I would often hide them in my desk, only to put them on when my mom would stop by (she taught art every so often at my school).

4. I had a slight obsession with Barbie. (And yes, I know what a terrible representation of the female ideal she is. And maybe playing with Barbies helped lead me to my obsession with my weight later on in life, but such is life). I had a three-story Barbie mansion complete with a working elevator, a Barbie Ferrari, Jeep and hot tub with actual water and bubbles. It was insanity. In fifth grade all of the cool kids stopped playing with Barbies. I did not. I hid my obsession from others, however, and sometimes roped Libb into playing them with me. And, in full-disclosure fashion, I did pull out the boxes o’Barbie with my bestie Jessica whenever she would visit…in high school. Yeah. I’m really cool.

No pictures with Barbie, gasp! So here is just a picture of me, circa ‘90, age 7.

5. Speaking of my bestie Jessica visiting…I met my best friend Jessica on the second day of Kindergarten. We quickly bonded over buckets of colored rice and were completely inseparable.  Jessica’s dad was offered a position in Portland halfway through our Kindergarten year and she moved an hour away. Then in first grade my dad was offered a position in Walla Walla, and our separation grew to four and a half hours.  Our parents wanted to help keep our friendship strong, so they helped us “write” letters by recording our thoughts on tapes and sending them back and forth.

From top left going clockwise: summer camp age 13; white powder faces trying to be the ghosts of Christmas past, age 5; chillin’ on an (un)covered wagon at our favorite meet up spot, Cousins, age 14; hanging on my back deck, age 15.

As we got older we exchanged real letters. Starting the summer after fifth grade we spent three non-stop weeks together every year. One week at her house in Oregon, one week at summer camp and one week at my house. Though miles separated us, I think it made our bond stronger. The only fight we’ve ever had was over a pair of pink jeans.

At my wedding, September 2008

6. I was a girl scout for nine years. I started in Kindergarten as a Daisy and remained in a troop until I moved from Walla Walla to Yakima in eighth grade. The middle school years were the most fun because one of my troop members had a cabin and we would spend hours rocking out to the Spice Girls and sledding on the premise of earning badges.

1st photo: hiking at camp, 2nd photo: hiking Multnomah Falls.

7. I was a pretty active kid, participating in t-ball/softball, basketball, tennis and later dance/drill and cheerleading. But to be honest, I was more interested in the social aspect and snacks after than actually playing the sports. And yes, I consider cheerleading and dance a sport. If bowling is a sport, then cheerleading and dance are sports.

Softball team, 1990. I’m in the first row, second in from the left. My dad is in the back row (duh!) on the left.

Freshman year baseketball and just throwing the cheese-head picture from a Father-Daughter Dance for funsies…

Sophomore year tennis.

Junior year Dance/Drill and Senior year Cheer.

Clearly I had a thing for sports with skirts.

And drama too…plays, not teen mom style.

And I am throwing in an 8 because I can. I have always been a photo-hog and was the obnoxious one with a disposable camera permanently attached to her side throughout middle school, high school and college. Therefore picking just a few pictures to share was really difficult. My to-scan pile grew out of control for this post and I tried to whittle it down to my favorites.

Showing you some serious fashion faux pas was a must! In my defense the 80’s and 90’s were full of really bad fashion choices in general.

Clockwise from top left: On the school playground, age 7; local park, age 4(?); Blossom style hat phase in 6th grade, age 11; and what I really hope was a Halloween outfit during Freshman year, age 14. The cat is clearly coming over to investigate what the hooha is going on.

And some pics of me and Libb, clockwise from top left: windy day at the Oregon Coast, age 12; Disney World, age 8; laying around at home, age 5.

Not positive, but clockwise from the top left: age 4; age 3; age 14 (Freshman year); age 12 (7th grade), rockin’ a perm and red sunflower dress.

My obsession with photos led to lots of “modeling” pictures with my friends.

Kinda hard to see (I pulled it from a scrapbook), clockwise from top left: Christmas, 6 months; playing in the grass clippings pile (only to figure out later I am slightly allergic to grass), age 3; throwing pots in my mom’s studio, age 4; front porch living with Libb, age 5; Literally sitting on a roof in my Dad’s hunting jacket, age 13; rockin’ the overalls, age 13; sporting a ridiculously bright orange prom dress, age 17; Halloween (was I a Geisha!?!), age 5; playing with Bachelor as a puppy and Butter; age 15; before cheering at a football game, age 17; feeling blue, age 17; and making a really gross face, age 14.

So there you are, seven eight things about little Leila. I would like to tag Sarah at The Smart Kitchen, Megan of Megan’s Munchies, Kelly at Doula Kelly, Becky at Letters to Rebecca, Megan at Little Kitchen Big Love and any other bloggers that read my blog!

And I have one last thing to share, because it was too funny to find in my rubbermade tote of childhood items. Every year my high school sold Valentine’s Day grams as a fundraiser. And every year my friend, Bryan, who I called Brotha (which is another story for another time), sent me a gram.

Two years in a row he sent me the essentially same phrase. Cracked me up to find these! Our Honors chemistry* teacher mentioned a bazillion times that Hanford (a place where you may or may not grow extra limbs from drinking the water) was 40 miles from K-Mart.

And I would like to point out that he also spelled my name wrong, on both cards. At least he is consistent.

*I had NO business being in honors chemistry.

Okay, so that was actually nine things. But I don’t color inside the lines, and it’s my blog, so I’ll do what I want. Crap, that’s ten…