Sunday, June 30, 2013

Weekend Snapshots (from my phone)

Here is a preview of the many posts to come about our weekend in Santa Barbara. We are here for one more day and it's been so great. I hope you had a really good weekend as well. Enjoy!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Rearranging


I'm always rearranging things in our home. I like to think that it keeps it fresh.. or it just makes me feel that way! I redid Logan's crate bookshelves recently because I felt the area was a little sparse. I really like the coca cola crate with the owl lamp on it. It's super functional. We now have a larger area to rest her bottles, sound machine and any other little doo dads on. We also hung blackout curtains in front of the lace. She's been sleeping in there for naps and at night so they became a necessity. We put the blackouts on the existing rods and hung the lace behind with 3M hooks and cafe rods we already had in our garage! 
 

It looks better than before, don't you think?

xo
-Ali

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I'm a Writer?

When I was a kid, if someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my only response was "a mom". I was never the type of person to have career goals. I wanted to get married, have kids, and be a 1950's house wife. I always loved to draw, write, photograph things; I never thought about turning any of that into a career.

After high school, with my friends going off to college, I got a job at a local pet store. I applied because I liked animals.. who doesn't? After a few years of working in that little store and a bad break up, I felt like I needed a change. I was twenty years old, couldn't believe I wasn't close to being married or having kids, so I thought the next best thing was to become a preschool teacher. The classes were pretty easy and it only took a few months to obtain my early childhood education units. I started teaching preschool in December of 2005 and stayed in the field until my layoff (ten days before our wedding) in August of 2011. 

The last year and a half has been really hard. Especially before Logan, I felt like I wasn't contributing to my family. I applied to preschools, nanny jobs, YMCA.. anything related to the field I had become so passionate about and I never got anywhere. I think the reasoning is because where I live is very conservative. I am a (most of the time) pink haired girl with tattoos all over me. Though my tattoos are related to the Bible, I understand that it's hard for some people to see past that especially in child care. They just see tattoos, piercings, bright hair, and that is all that matters to them. It's hard to be judged solely upon your appearance, but that is unfortunately human nature.

After Logan was born I started thinking of other ways to bring in an income. It needed to be something I could do at home and it needed to be something that I care about. I thought about watching another kid at my home, but it made me feel sad to think about taking attention away from Logan (how am I going to have another baby thinking that way?). Staying at home with a young sleeping baby, I discovered the world of blogs. I stumbled onto A Beautiful Mess through Pinterest and it led to so many more wonderful blog discoveries. This is what triggered the thought to start my own blog. I was hesitant for a while. I thought "Who would want to read about my life?" So I didn't do it.

It wasn't until I branched out my job search on Craigslist and stumbled upon freelance writing that I thought having a blog would help my chances of getting a job. So I made this blog, applied to some jobs, got my first contract, and am about to start on another with photography included!
 
I am so thrilled to be starting this new chapter of life, this new career of mine. I am at home with my girl, enjoying blogging, sponsoring Freckled Italian and Smile and Wave, and working! It feels so good to do something I am passionate about. Having these few articles published is the best feeling in the world.  You can see them here and make sure to check that website often as I will have more articles on it in the coming months. The website is in a soft launch right now and will be doing it's major launch in August.

I have been grinning from ear to ear whilst writing this. I am happy you are following along and are interested in what's going on with us. It really means so much to me and I can't thank you enough.


xo
-Ali

Wishlist Wednesday

As you have probably seen, I've done a couple of "Friday Favorites" on my blog. I had seen some other bloggers do the series and I liked the idea of sharing things that caught my eye over the week. Honestly, it became sort of a chore to search the depths of the internet for interesting articles, or funny pictures, or random things I liked; so I decided that it just wasn't a good fit for me. The words "Wishlist Wednesday" popped into my head the other day whilst thinking about things to put on here.. I may have seen it somewhere, but I don't remember were so for now I'll take the credit for it. I still very much like the idea of sharing things that I like, but in more of a pictorial format. I sort of got annoyed at myself having to click on endless links and I figured maybe you did too!

So here goes my first Wishlist Wednesday. I hope you enjoy!




Mushroom Bird Feeder @Amazon
Honeycomb rug @ Overstock
Ottoman @ Urban Outfitters
Shoe Storage Shelf @ Urban Outfitters
Climbing Gnomes @ 7Gadgets
Breezy as Pie Doorstop @ ModCloth
Duvet and pillow set @ Not on the High Steet
1970's Crewel @ Etsy
Hanging Macrame Baskets @ Etsy
Did you enjoy the pictures rather than having to click on links? I'd love to hear what you think!

xo

-Ali

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Seven Months


Logan is seven months old today! I can't believe it. Every parent says "It goes by so quickly", but no one ever really explains how quickly. The word "quickly" doesn't even do the quickness justice. I feel like I was just pregnant, my water just broke, I just was in the hospital delivering her. Seven months has gone by in the blink of an eye. I am sad that my baby is growing up, but so excited at all of the milestones she's hitting. Two teeth.. trying to crawl.. babbling.. eating solids.. sleeping in her crib.. on a schedule (Amen!).

This little girl makes every day worth living. She fills my heart with so much joy and love; I could never have imagined a love this great. Before she came into our lives, we loved each other, we loved our friends and family, but this little blondy gives love a new meaning.. a new feeling. Every day we recognize how blessed we are to have a healthy and happy baby. Especially after her first few weeks of life, with all of the emergency and doctor visits, we are so grateful that she's thriving.
Logan,
Thank you for teaching me patience. Thank you for making me smile even when I am feeling down. Thank you for being my best friend. Thank you for teaching me to love the right way. Thank you for helping me be more positive. Thank you for the excitedness that you give when I walk into a room. Thank you for the cuddles, the kisses, and even the spit ups. Happy seven months to you baby girl! I love you to the moon xo

Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekend Snapshots

On our way to the harbor!

Checking out her great grandma.
First carousel ride.
Despite the rough night we had on Saturday, we went to the Ventura Harbor on Sunday to visit with family that came in from out of town. Maybe you can tell from the last picture how tired/traumatized I was feeling? Perhaps at a later date I will tell you of the events we endured.

I hope this Monday is treating you well!

xo
-Ali

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Backyard Woes

Today we (when I say we I mean Rory) took on a project we had been dreading. We dug out the grass in our courtyard. Before we moved in, and before the owner renovated it, we came to look at the house. It is not one of my fondest memories. The carpet was stained, it wreaked of animal feces and urine, there were wires hanging, dirt, broken furniture; it looked like an episode of hoarders had just finished taping here. The backyard had a rotted bench, an overgrown bougainvillea, and pebble ground cover galore. The landlord pulled out all of the plants, but still left it in pretty gross shape when we moved in. We had to clean up beer bottles, electrical wires, bits of tile, and all sorts of trash the construction workers didn't feel like throwing into a trash can. Thanks guys!! Rory dug every thing out, rototilled it, found some dead cat bodies (yep!), and that's when we started our own landscaping. We put down sod, planted some lavender, daisies, and a dwarf orange tree.. we were really looking forward to the warmer weather so we could enjoy our lovely green space. Well ladies and gentlemen, I'm pretty sure the souls of the deceased cats have cursed our little dirt patch because the sod died, we have replaced more daisies than I can count, and one of my lavenders isn't growing. This will be an ongoing project. I think we are just going to get some pavers to put on the dirt; sadly we are giving up on green.
 
See her little teeth!??
Do you have any suggestions to make our little dirt patch thrive? What weekend gardening projects have you been up to? Link in the comments below, I'd love to see!

xo
-Ali

Friday, June 21, 2013

Currently

Watching: "Master Chef" on Hulu. We don't have cable, so our selection is limited. All of the shows we like seem to be on hiatus, so we are catching up on the one show that isn't (on hiatus). Gordon Ramsey is so funny to me. He's so sweet on some shows and then totally crazy on others. Rory and I always laugh at the dramatic pauses on this show and how they always try to make it seem like someone is going home, but they really aren't. Such dramatics. "You... are... about to.. walk... up those stairs because you're safe!"

Listening To: The Hippos! Hello first day of summer. 

Loving: my days with Logan. I have to be honest and say that the first four months or so were pretty boring. She'd sleep all day, I was feeling huge, it was hard to interact with her. I love her to death and I will cherish those first few months (as miserable as they were), but it's so much easier now. And more fun! She will be seven months next week and we actually play now! She's rolling all around like a crazy bug. She's having screaming conversations with us. She reacts a lot more to toys, us, her surroundings. We go to the park with her daddy for a lunch date every afternoon and we love watching her enjoy her surroundings. She gets so excited about the trees, other kids, the wind.. she's getting to be so fun. 

Drinking: strawberry, banana, blueberry smoothies.. every morning! So yummy and Paleo friendly.

Eating: I have been making a really delicious salad for lunch the last few days. Romaine, black olives, chicken, bacon, and my own dressing made of lemon juice and dijon mustard. 

Missing: Friendships. I read this post by Danielle a few days ago and it had me crying. It's tough getting older and not having a lot in common with friends you've had forever. When people don't have small kids and you do, it's really hard to maintain those friendships. It seems like people just assume you can't or don't want to do anything so you never get invited anywhere.. you're kind of forgotten about.

Looking Forward To: our mini vacation next weekend! Hotel room is booked! Itinerary is planned! We need this get away.. just the three of us.

How are you? What are you up to lately?

Thank you to Megan for these particular Currently series questions!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Life Lessons as a New Mom

   I stumbled upon this a while back and it stirred something up in me. When I was pregnant, friends who already had children would tell me "Just wait. People will be telling you what to do for your baby constantly." I always brushed it off because no one in my life would do that to me.  I really didn't realize how much people (even strangers) want to interject on how you are raising your child.  Put aside the learning to function on little sleep, learning to be a mom; the hardest lesson I've had to learn in my six and a half months of motherhood is how to handle people with grace. I had always been the type of person that will shut you out if you say something I don't like, but I have seen myself do that as a mom and I see that it's not healthy (especially if I want to maintain relationships).

   At times, I'd respond with, "Yeah, but Rory and I.." and I still felt like I was being a pushover. I do not want to agree with someones opinions that are unwelcome. No I do not need to leave my daughter. No I do not need to start solids before she is ready. No I do not need to go out with my husband and leave the baby. No I do not need to put her in public school; I can home school if that's what Rory and I choose. No I don't need to buy her this or feed her that. I don't quite understand why people think it's okay to tell you how to raise your child. If someone sharing these opinions has had or have children of their own, I just think "You got to raise your kids already." And weren't they uncomfortable when someone interjected with the way they were raising their child? I'm sure most people have good intentions and just want to share what worked for them, but I still disagree with projecting your parental "guidance" on someone.

   Rory doesn't really understand why I get so angry at this situation. He says, "People are just trying to help in their own way." (We are so opposite. I want to yell and scream at everyone while he analyzes why something happened and will always find the good in it.) I either don't like it because I simply do not like being told what to do or because I've waited my whole life to be a mom and I want to do it our way.. my way? I don't have the desire to leave her. I don't feel like I need a break. I like to have dates with my husband and her. We enjoy being together.

  I still am struggling with how to handle this all, but I am going to try my best to do it gracefully. Rory and I are the luckiest parents of a happy, healthy, gorgeous baby girl and what we choose for us is our decision. No one else's.

  I'm sure this happens to everyone, I know it does. And I'm sure it will happen with every child we have. This is why I must learn to Keep Calm and Carry On.. ha!

last three photos by Dallas Sterling

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Polka Dot Wall

I love this polka dotted wall! Since Logan was born I have been a bit of a shoe Nazi; partly because of her being on the floor and partly because I want the carpet to stay nice. I mean, really, when you think of all the nasty things you walk all over outside, you wouldn't want to be tracking that into your house. 

We don't ever come in the front door.. I think I have two or three times, so the shoe catch all needed to live somewhere near the back entrance. Our garage is detached and that's where we always come through; into our courtyard then through our dining room and kitchen. The small wall seemed to be our only option for storing our shoes and coats. I arranged everything and was unhappy with how plain it looked. So at about seven o'clock at night I decided we needed to polka dot it! We went with white because it was enough to pop, and also something easy to paint over when we have to move. We punched holes in a strip of painters tape, hung up the tape, and repeated the process about fifteen times before we covered the whole wall. It took us until about ten thirty, but I am so happy with it! 
  
 I wish we owned this home. The first thing I'd do is paint all of the gross beige and somehow get rid of the textured walls. They are so disgusting. At least the owner got rid of the popcorn on the ceiling before we moved in! Our shoes and coats fit perfectly on our little personalized wall and the project was pretty easy!

xo
-Ali

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

To Do or Not To Do. Homemade Baby Food

     When preparing for Logan to start solids, we bought a Kalorik baby food maker because I wanted to make my own food for her. The first week and a half I ended up using store bought food because of it's much needed "soupiness". I couldn't really obtain that texture she needed, even with pouring the residual steam water into the puree's. I have been gradually thickening her cereal in the mornings and she's doing really well with it! I figure this is the point to start making her food now using the Kalorik. I really like it because it steams and purees the food in one machine. What I'm not quite sure of is if it's worth the time and the money. It's supposed to save you money, but after spending sixty dollars on produce I'm not sure it will save me anything. It also took several hours to make, which really isn't ideal. I would much rather play with Logan and do other chores around the house than spend the time making her food. I will try this one batch so it doesn't go to waste, but I'm not sure I'll continue to do it. 

     Does anyone else make their own baby food? Feel free to leave comments below with you thoughts!
*update* after nearly losing my mind with all of the assemble, cook, disassemble, reassemble, puree, wash, repeat a million times.. I am DONE! Rory and I ran the numbers and making your own food is far more expensive than what we had been purchasing from Target. I sort of feel like a failure. I still feel this way about breastfeeding (my body just wouldn't make anything). I was so excited about making her food; I felt like I was going to be super mommy, I was going to make up for not breastfeeding her. Well, I guess not.