Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Snapshots



We were pretty close to not partaking in any Easter festivities this year because Logan has had a cold for a few days. We decided we would just take it one hour at a time and see if we were able to get us all happily out the door to Rory's aunts house; obviously we went! Logan was a little unlike herself, but was all around pretty happy and enjoyed being everyone's entertainment (of course).

I can't help but (already) think of next years Easter. Next year, I hope she'll be able to ride Aunt Kerry's horses and hunt for Easter eggs! I brought some eggs for her to find that were filled with Annie's bunny crackers, but she was too interested in her hula girl necklace to really care that everyone else was playing with candy filled Easter eggs. She did find one egg but just wanted to open and close it instead of bother with the little chocolate bunny that was inside.. not a problem with me!

Also, if you're wondering.. Logan's basket was filled with a new bucket of sidewalk chalk, heart shaped sunglasses, cracker filled plastic chicks and carrots, and "I Can Fly".

How was your Easter?

xo
-Ali

Friday, April 18, 2014

16/52


A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014.

We were feeling out of sorts on Thursday (when this picture was taken) so we stayed home all day and vegged. It seemed to help because today is much better so far!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend!


xo
-Ali

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Helicopter Parenting


I was waiting in line at the pharmacy with Logan the other day and an elderly woman got in line behind us. She asked how old Logan was.. "16 months", I replied. She went on to ask if Logan had any grandparents here.. I said, "yes, my mom lives close to us and my husbands family lives at the other end of town". She asked if I left Logan with her grandparents often.. I told her "no. I'm lucky enough to be at home with her so she doesn't need to be left with anyone."; man, if looks could kill. The woman proceeded to tell me I was a "new age helicopter parent" and I "needed to leave my daughter with her grandparents often". She said "it would be good for my marriage".
::enter screeching halt here::
Alright, one: Rory and I have a better marriage than most married people. two: we want to be home with Logan. I joked with my cousin the other day about not having many friends anymore and Rory and I are hermits.. really, we like it that way. I make plans with the friends I want to see.. we make time for Logan to see family members, but each moment we have together, just the three of us, we want and cherish.

Unsolicited advice has been one of my biggest struggles since motherhood and I always am shocked at what people think they are allowed to say to another human being. I spent my entire life waiting to be a mom and I am grateful to have been given the gift of motherhood. I have been fortunate enough to be able to stay home with Logan and have at home work to do and be able to bring income to my family... why would I leave my daughter with anyone when I am here? I don't need to go anywhere to do things for myself or for my marriage; where we are is where we want to be. Yes, recently I talked about taking a little me time in the evenings to exercise, but honestly I have not kept up with that because I'd rather hang out with Rory and Logan.

I believe this generation of mothers is finally doing things the right way. We are with our children.. we are caring for them as nature intended.. we are not dumping them off on family and friends just because we need a pedicure or something. I have said this before, but children are not dogs to be carried around to where you want to go and what you want to do and they are certainly not dog-like enough to just leave them with another caretaker because you feel like you need a break. If you can't care for your own child while being a stay at home mom.. don't have a child. There's a whole other factor of working moms and I know in my heart that working moms are busting their butts at work and are counting down the hours and minutes until they can go get their babies from daycare.

I don't know what it is about this complex I've seen in grandmothers; this is actually the second grandparent stranger to tell me I am not doing the right thing with my own daughter by being with her all of the time. Times have changed.. parents are doing a better job these days. Just because things are not the same as our grandparents or parents generations doesn't mean we are doing things wrong. My husbands grandma told me she was given pills to dry up her breast milk after having children. My grandma smoked and drank throughout all of her pregnancies.. it's the "Mad Men" era where no one knew any better and now we do.

So...
Dear Grandparents, Parents, and all Strangers for that matter,
My daughter has more words and more knowledge than most children her age because I am doing an incredible job. I am teaching her and raising her because she is my daughter, not yours. I love my daughter more than I can ever express, therefore, I want to be with her. I enjoy her, I miss her when she's sleeping, I wake up each morning and cannot wait to start the day with her... she is everything to me and she is mine. She is mine and my husbands.. so respect that and keep your judgements about my "new age helicopter" parenting to yourself.

xo
-Ali

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Mama Must Haves

When I was a few weeks pregnant with Logan, someone told me not to worry about buying maternity clothes because all I needed to do was buy size XL clothing and that would work throughout my pregnancy; boy, were they wrong! I think that trick only applies to women who are stick thin and that is definitely not me. I, of course, grew quickly out of my normal clothes and wore maternity wear throughout my entire pregnancy.. what I didn't expect was having to buy a new wardrobe for after pregnancy as well. My body is just not the same; I weigh less, am drowning in some of my old clothes and am just not comfortable in them anymore. All of my old tops are too short and I pretty much refuse to wear jeans these days. I have needed to buy some new essential pieces that I feel comfortable in, are easily washed, and hide all of that post baby belly fluff that won't go away. Along with some new comfy clothing, I've realized I need very little these days (only essential things) so I thought it'd be fun to share my every day items with you!

 belly band This is an every day wear for me. Not only does it lengthen the look of my shirts (long torso problems), I feel like it keeps me sucked in a bit. I can look in the mirror and see I weigh less than before pregnancy, but I am still very self conscious about my stomach area. There's not much I can do about my stretched out belly without a million dollars for a personal trainer so this is the next best thing!

 wistful weekender I use this as my diaper bag and though I am not carrying much for Logan or myself lately, I love how comfortable it is on my shoulder and I can pack all sorts of things in there if I need to.

 pony tail holders Every day I will straighten my hair.. give it a brush, but I am always wearing a pony tail holder on my wrist. No matter how fancy my hair looks, it never fails to end up in a ponytail or some messy knot on the top of my head.

 rosebud salve I love love love this stuff! I have been using it as my "chap stick" for years. It keeps my lips soft, I can smear some on my fingers to keep them from getting chapped in the dry weather, I can put it on Logan if needed.. it's the greatest and it lasts forever!

 champion workout leggings I'll be honest here... I hate jeans. I've always hated jeans. They stick to you in the heat, they're not as stretchy as I would like.. I have given up on real pants. I wear these workout leggings every day (I have four pairs) and they are so comfortable. My after baby body really likes how they keep all my bulge in control. I wear them to exercise and out and about with long tees.

Anthropologie shirts: darcy swing tee & tail stripe tee I live in these shirts. I have two of the swing tees for cooler weather and wear the tail stripe tee on warmer days. I have been trying to buy better quality clothes that I know will last longer instead of buying cheap clothing that I'll have to constantly replace.These shirts are longer (a perfect wear with leggings), loose, and super comfortable; perfect!

travel water bottle I try not to leave the house without a bottle of water. Sometimes I have those days where Logan is napping and I realize I haven't eaten or had any water yet.. which is really terrible. Drinking water helps boost your metabolism and I am all for that! These travel bottles help with reminding me to drink all the water I need to in a day and they're easy to throw in my diaper bag.

What are some of your mama must haves?

xo
-Ali

Friday, April 11, 2014

Keeping My Mom Face On & 15/52

 
A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014. 

She sported her first pigtails this week.

I think one of the most challenging things about motherhood is living up to the expectations you have for yourself. When you're a child, you look up to your parents and see them only as your protectors; the ones who shield you from all the bad in the world.. they are always strong and composed. Being a parent, I now know how hard it is to keep yourself from breaking down when everyone is having a hard day.. having to keep your "game face" on so your child(ren) feel(s) safe and secure.

I have always been easily overwhelmed and let my emotions get the best of me, but since Logan has come along and grown up to a point where she understands the emotions I am exuding, I have to keep my emotions in check to be able to care for her the way she deserves.
Wednesday, Logan had an allergist appointment that we had been waiting for since December; it was overwhelming to say the least. I didn't think it was an appointment that Rory needed to take time off of work for; I wish he had come with us. We were there for two hours, answering two hours worth of questions, waiting for the assistant and the allergist to write a novel about Logan's history in to the computer.. Logan was restless, throwing things around the room, tearing the paper on the "bed"; I don't blame her though.. I was itching to get out of that room as well. The allergist ordered a lot of blood work and we needed to get to the lab on the other side of town at some point. I had an empty pantry and refrigerator looming in my mind, Logan needed to eat lunch and nap, and she was already looking like she was going to fall asleep in the car. After a quick Trader Joe's run, I finally got her home and fed.. I layed her down and it took her almost twenty five minutes to fall asleep. Thirty five minutes later, she was awake and I had realized I hadn't eaten or taken one sip of water the whole day... oh well, the show must go on. I decided to just get her to the lab so I could get all of the dramatics with the blood work done and over with. I was feeling anxious and overwhelmed and confessed to the lab tech that I could possibly cry the moment Logan started crying from being poked with a needle.. she giggled and said it was okay. I didn't feel okay. Logan sat as best as she could, I hugged her tightly and kissed her head as tears were welling up in my eyes.. for her, for me. After four viles of blood were drawn, she was very pleased with all of her stickers and walked out of the office saying "bye" to all of her new fans and blew kisses. I got my smiling, happy, unfazed baby in to the car and I felt like I could sit in there and cry for a while, but didn't; I needed to be smiling and let her know what a great job she did and needed to reassure her that we were going home to play outside. 

Shoving my emotions as far down as I can over and over again leaves me drained. I felt exhausted from not being able to just express what I needed to, but what can you do in a situation like that? I don't want Logan to see me upset and then make herself upset. Kids feed on your emotions and I wanted her to be proud of herself and enjoy the rest of her day. Before becoming a parent, I had heard all of the "it's painful to watch your child go through this and that", "I don't want to let my child down".. seriously. She had a very hard and draining day as well, so even though I felt broken from watching her have to go through it all, she was unfazed at the end of the day (probably because she doesn't have the brain capacity to remember all that she had gone through, but nonetheless she taught me a lesson: to keep smiling).

Whether it's because she couldn't remember or because she really has an incredible personality and can bounce back quickly from any hardship, she makes me want to be better at controlling my emotions; not just with her, but in general. I don't want to let someones words or rudeness let me feel down. I don't want things that pop up in my mind about my past ruin my day. I don't want to let a hard situation or a rough day bring me down to a point where I feel exhausted and ready to give up.
Keeping Logan safe and happy keeps me going and seeing her smile after a traumatic situation is all I need to keep my mom face on.

 xo 
-Ali

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Daily Challenge

photo credit: Ressull Salvi Photography
I imagine that leaving the house is not a production for most people. Yes, it is sometimes a production with children and sometimes you may need to go back in to the house because you have forgotten something; for me, leaving the house was almost impossible for a long time. Not because I was forgetful or had children holding me back.. not at the time; I was crippled by OCD and some severe body issues.

I can look back on myself as a child and remember needing the seam of my socks to be perfectly lined across the top of my toes, I needed my shoelaces to be tied in a perfect bow.. and when my mother tried to use velcro to cut some "get Ali out the door time", I needed the velcro to be perfectly aligned. I went through this faze in elementary school where I did not want to be seen if I had fly aways (you know the term ladies.. when you have some hair sticking up over there and a bit back there). I would plaster.. no joke.. plaster my head with hairspray so my ponytail was sleek and perfect. I don't know why I thought I looked better walking around with a cement hairspray helmet on my head, but at the time, I did.

I almost failed out of high school because I couldn't get myself to school on time because of imperfections in my hair, my face, my body... I picked myself apart each morning and sometimes I chose to go back to bed. There were some days I felt like I couldn't face the world. I used to purposefully get to class early so I could sit in the desk against the wall so I could write with my right hand and cover my belly with my hoodie and rest my head on my left hand so I could "hide my double chin".

Every night I'd get in to bed and push little light up toys I had stuck on to my foot board.. and nights I tried to talk myself out of it, I'd lay awake and think about it until I did it. I felt horrible about my body but couldn't exercise in public for fear of being judged by strangers. When I finally did start walking, I waited until dark and wore the biggest baggiest hoodie I could find. Hoodies... I wore them every day to hide myself; even in 100+ degree weather.

photo credit: Dallas Sterling
I still have hard mornings where I do not feel comfortable in anything I try on; I am walking back and forth from the mirror to the closet, making a mess while Rory and Logan wait patiently for me. I straighten my hand towels in the bathroom after each guest uses them. Everything in my home is symmetrical and in its place; if it's not, I am filled with anxiety.

I have let go a little over the years, I've had to. An old friend asked me when I was newly pregnant how I was going to embrace the kid messes and not be obsessive about my home being clean. I wasn't really sure how it'd go. All I could compare it to was my experience as a preschool teacher; I loved the mess because I knew the kids were learning and having fun. I am happy to say that applies with Logan; she is in the dirt, and full of paint and chalk.. but outdoors. We clean up before we come inside.. I bet all mom's do that. Does anyone really let their kids run a muck with art supplies around their house? Maybe you do if you're not a renter and you have wood or tile floors.

Being married and being a mother has helped me to not be so caught up in tidiness and perfection. If I look like a mess and feel frumpy, I have two people who love me unconditionally and could care less how many fly aways I have or if I have a huge red mark on my forehead because I've burned myself with the straightener again or if my shirt doesn't hide my mama belly as much as I would like it to; they love me and are just ready to get out the door to spend time with me. It's such a hard thing to set aside compulsions when you have OCD, but you have to. I am not a fan of medical intervention with mild mental illnesses so having to talk myself out of cleaning every day or talk myself out of the bathroom because I need to make sure I look "ok" is what works for me. Spending time with my family trumps all those obsessive feelings about needing to clean and to check my face in the mirror a million times.. it sounds ridiculous, but it's who I am and who I always have been.

Living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has taken away countless hours of my life but every day I strive to be a better wife and mother and I don't ever want OCD or body issues to get in the way of being able to lead a happy life.

If you're living with OCD and would like to share your story, you can comment here or email me. I always love hearing from you.

xo
-Ali

Saturday, April 5, 2014

This Years Easter Basket

Happy weekend everyone! I hope you're having a good one so far. We're working on a little project that I hope to share with you soon. Meanwhile, I thought I'd share some cute Easter basket ideas with you while Miss Logan is napping! Easter is two weeks away already; how did that happen?

So, I've talked here before about making new traditions and keeping some old ones; well, an Easter basket is a tradition I plan on keeping in our little family. I remember an Easter basket was always waiting for my sister and I on Easter Sunday; it was filled with little treasures and a few pieces of our favorite candy. I remember a New Kids on the Block Joey McIntyre figurine in mine one year! Score! I think it's really special that I still have those memories and I want Logan to experience that too. I am not opposed to a piece or two of candy, but I don't want it to be the focus of Easter for her; candy is for Halloween. In any gift giving circumstance, I want the items to be beneficial to Logan's development.. not just junky plastic crap so...

A few things I'd like to put in Logan's Easter basket this year:
 
Hape Watering Can // Bashful Bunny by Jellycat // Plan Toys Bunny and Chicken Racers // "I Can Fly" // Plan Toys Mushroom Kaleidoscope

I actually already got her the watering can, but if I throw it in her basket this year she wont think twice about it. I also have this sweet bonnet coming in the mail that I may toss in there too!

Do you give Easter baskets to your kids? What kind of items do you fill them with?

And just because..
Logan with her first Easter basket last year!!! Eeeeep the cuteness!
 

xo
-Ali

PS. I wanted to mention that I am currently trying to figure out how to install Disqus on my blog without having to remove all that I've already done to it. Disqus will allow you to follow along easily with my replies to your comments. Please note that I always reply to your comments here.. you just have to remember to check back. I do believe there's a box you can check to be notified by email with comment updates.. but anyway, I hope to figure out Disqus soon so you can see all of my replies to your comments because I always appreciate them :)