Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rising Above

Life Lesson Number 591: Don't engage with negative people

This seems to be a reoccurring topic for me lately.

As some of you may know, Logan's Nursery was featured on Apartment Therapy yesterday. I was so thrilled.. felt so honored.. and felt like my little corner of the internet was playing with the big kids. I felt like I had a "I'm a real blogger" moment. Unfortunately, I was brought down pretty quickly with someones rude comment about Logan's pallet bed. Apparently this pallet bed discussion is a hot topic on AT.. people like to share their opinions on how they are wrong for kids bedrooms.. blah blah. So, let's just start with that the pallet bed was built for my craft room when we still lived in our apartment, before I was pregnant. When we moved here I had considered giving it to my mom, and considered putting it outside for outdoor seating. Once the nursery started coming together, I really liked the idea of having a bed in there. It's been helpful for those nights when Logan doesn't want to sleep and Rory and I are trying to be supportive of each other so one of us is comforting her while the other is half awake sprawled out on the pallet bed. We've also already talked about getting a real mattress for it and using the bed frame instead of the pallets because of the heavy bolts that Logan may be able to reach or because of the wood itself... she may try to squeeze under there one day and get caught on it. Your mind starts picking apart all of your furniture once a baby comes.. it's not just the pallets.
Anyways.. moving on. At first, when I saw the comment, I wanted to rip this guy a new one.. but really, why even bother with someone who makes time to criticize a baby's room? I just left a comment in reply that I thought was passive aggressive enough, but not too entirely engaging. I regretted it afterward because I should not have said anything at all. Like I mentioned, this person set aside time to leave not one.. but two negative comments about the pallet bed.. obviously this person has no life and finds joy in being negative.

I thought about it all night. It really bothered me. I started to think about all of the negativity in my life right now... and there's not much, but there is some (especially when it comes to people other than my husband feeling like they can comment on my parenting). I thought about the "well, I think you're wrong" comment I recently got from a person close to me about wanting to be close to Logan.. I thought about the AT comment over and over.. I thought about the "you need to do this and that for Logan" comments again.. it gave me a not so great nights sleep and some pretty hostile dreams. I woke up in the morning wanting to comment back to that person on AT.. I wanted to call the people and yell at them for the parenting butt-ins.. I wanted to cry about it.. I wanted to scream about it, but then I realized how dumb I was being for making it all anger me so much.

I had already thought that I shouldn't waste time with a negative person on the internet, so why waste time with negative people that are actually in my life on a regular basis? I'm turning  a new leaf people! Or trying to. In my short blogging time, I've seen people receive harsh comments, be threatened, or even worse.. their child's picture used for their own sick needs. It all made me think twice about this blog. I am sharing a lot and putting myself out there.. I should have expected to be criticized, but I didn't. I really didn't think anyone outside of the people I already knew would ever read my blog anyway, but there are people across the world reading and I am thankful. I started this blog as an outlet.. as a way to share with family that doesn't get to see Logan.. as a way to support my family... I shouldn't let negative people ruin it all for not only me, but for the people that actually enjoy stopping by my little corner of the interwebs. So I won't.

I will have to be a grown up and not engage with negativity. I will not publish a negative comment, not reply to a negative one that I don't have control over moderating.. I will not smile when told I am wrong with my parenting choices, I will not respond, I will simply turn the other direction. Perhaps that's the thing I've needed to do all along. I don't need to explain myself or try to make someone understand where I'm coming from.. I simply need to not engage.

Hello, my name is Ali.. I am twenty eight years old.. a wife and a mother.. and I am now just learning to be a grown up.

How do you deal with negativity in your life?

xo
-Ali

Wishlist Wednesday

Pink Lawn Flamingo @ House8810 // Myth Perfect Jewelry Holder @ ModCloth // Day After Day Dress in Leaves @ Mod Cloth // Hedgehog Door Stop @ Old Faithful Shop // Utopia Williamsburg Vase @ Jonathan Adler // Sagaform Retro Storage Container @ Target // Garden Gnome Tea Lights @ Perpetual Kid

So, I am thinking I will turn this weekly wishlist into a monthly one. I like doing it but I want to be able to write more serious things more often without having to work around Wednesday. Feel free to share your thoughts!

xo

-Ali

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hooray for Captain Spaulding



When your baby is asleep and your husband is out playing volleyball, what do you do with yourself? Gather lots of knick knacks to clutter your mantle, make pom pom flowers and a fabric scrap garland, of course!

xo
-Ali

Monday, July 29, 2013

Weekend Snapshots



This weekend I was bitten by the reorganize, clean, redo everything bug. I started on Thursday night with a knick knack overhaul.. the garland photo is a little sneak peak of what I did (post to come). The rest of the weekend was dedicated to finding some pots so I could rip my flower bed out. My garden was not happy. You may remember from this post what it looked like before... the lavender on one side did not like the soil it was in or the amount of sun it was getting. I also had the thought that it would be better to do container gardening because we are renters. I don't want to spend a lot of money on plants and have to leave them here when we have to move.. whenever that may be. I'm hoping that everything thrives in it's new soil and in it's new sunshiney spot. My dwarf orange tree is a bit shocked from the move, but I think if I baby it it will be ok. I also painted some bright details on the terra cotta pots.. I really love how it all turned out. Now just to convince my husband to let me buy some pink flamingos.
 
I hope you had a great weekend!

xo
-Ali

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Why I am a Stay at Home Mom


I was in a store the other day, and the lady behind the counter commented on how happy Logan was and I said, "She is such a happy girl. I don't think she'd be as happy if I weren't at home with her." This started a whole mess of thoughts in my scattered mama brain about how I want to raise her, how I want to be close to her, and how I truly believe she would be very different if she were in child care.

This subject is somewhat controversial. People have a lot of opinions when it comes to child care, and I am definitely one of them. I am a (slightly jaded) former preschool teacher who has seen a lot of lows in the industry. I have worked for what I believe to be one of the best preschools and I have worked for the absolute worst of the worst. I originally became a preschool teacher because it was the closest career to being a mom and who doesn't want to do art and be silly with kids all day long? 

From the start of my teaching days, I knew that as soon as I became a mother, I would stop working to be a stay at home mom. At least, that's what I hoped would happen. Instead, I was layed off before Logan's arrival, but I guess it's all the same. For many years I watched working parents drop their children off as early at 6:30am and pick them up as late as 6pm. Some of these kids are as young as eight weeks old and it's just not fair. I understand some families have no choice, they need two incomes.. but honestly, Rory and I need two incomes and we have had to learn to live on one so I can stay at home. We do not have cable, we do not have health insurance, we don't go out much, everyone gets a homemade present, we have one family car; we have sacrificed a lot for Logan's overall happiness and well being. I believe that it is worth it.

If you don't work in child care, then you probably are not familiar with child to teacher ratios and laws. For an infant class, it is one teacher to four infants (eight weeks old to eighteen months). A toddler class (eighteen months to twenty seven months) is one teacher to six children. For Preschool and Pre-K (twenty eight months to five years) it is one teacher to twelve children.
*these ratios can vary by state*
I have worked in all of these age groups, and I have to say that I would never put my young child in a preschool setting with these ratios. Children do not get the attention that they crave and need. Preschool and Pre-K is a bit different.. that age is much more self sufficient and one teacher to twelve kids is not that difficult. But, there are times when it is dangerous. Imagine a child gets hurt.. or two children get hurt. Depending on your school and your director, someone is not always within reach for help. That is very unnerving. Also, if you have to go to the bathroom, or a child has to go to the bathroom. By law, a child cannot be in the bathroom unattended. It's just ridiculous that these ratios are seen as safe and realistic.
The most horrible teaching experience I had was working for a huge and very well known corporate preschool as an infant/toddler teacher. I was constantly by myself with four infants. This particular corporation does a combination class where you can have a two year old running around bored in a non age appropriate classroom while three other babies are eight weeks old to a few months old.. it is impossible to keep everyone fed, clean, and safe in that situation by yourself.

Looking back on all of my child care experience, I am grateful that I am able to be at home with Logan. You just never know what is going on behind closed doors in a preschool and that terrifies me. Though I have worked for a really amazing preschool that always had an extra teacher in the classroom, was hands on, and caring.. I witnessed some teachers hit their breaking point and were not nice to the children. No one can care for your child as well as you can. I'm sure some readers will highly disagree with me, and that's fine.. I'm just sharing my experience and opinions.

In my short time as a mom, I have been met with much criticism already. "You have to leave her" "You have to put her in school" "She needs the socialization". I understand that leaving your child for a few hours a week works for some people.. I understand that some women are very career oriented and they like to be at work.. I understand that school can be a great setting for learning social skills, but right now, none of that is for us. Why do people want me to allow others to raise my kid? It's so demented to me that sometimes I'd like to blow up, but know that I can't. Damn politeness. I love being with Logan so much. She is the happiest little thing and she makes my day better. There are days where I wish I could go get a pedicure, but
I'd rather play with Logan and have ugly toes. She is much more interactive so we will start going to the park soon. There we can meet other moms and kids.. socialization for mom and baby, check!

I am already prepared for when the next one comes along. We may not be able to live here anymore.. we may have to find a smaller rental back in the valley where rent is cheaper and the neighborhoods aren't as safe. Or I can just keep building my freelance portfolio and hope I land a job that I can do from home. For my kids happiness I will continue to sacrifice. I will sell what I need to, not do as much grocery shopping for Rory and I, say goodbye to our Netflix subscription.. whatever it takes to be able to raise my own children.

Here is an interesting article about how it is cost effective to be a stay at home parent. Though it seems like two incomes means more money, the cost of child care can be outrageous. The non profit school that I used to work for charged $2,000 a month for full time care of a toddler. The money you can save as a stay at home parent, along with being able to bond full time with your child seems to be reason enough to do so.

This is also a really interesting article that states how a recent study found that children who have parents that work outside of the home are more likely to have health problems.

Being responsible for a human life is a big deal and I want to make sure that we give her the best life possible. For me, that's what being a stay at home mom means. I can protect her, I can teach her, I can nurture her all of the time without having to put my trust and money in someone else to do so.

*If you'd like to share your experience of being a working mama, I'd love to hear. I was raised by a single mom who worked several jobs at a time, put us through Catholic school, and somehow managed to raise two level headed, civilized, "normal" girls. Props to all of the single mamas that make it happen. Again, these are only my experiences and opinions that are instilled in me because of the way I was raised; a latchkey kid who missed her mommy.*


xo
-Ali

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Little Moments


Watching her discover.. watching her love her dada.. watching her grow; I am grateful for these little moments.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Weekend Snapshots (mostly from my phone)

I'm not quite sure why, but this weekend I was feeling pretty lazy when it came to taking pictures of what we did. I have been feeling sort of "blah" the last few days. Nonetheless, it was a good weekend. Friday night we took our non sleeping baby to our dear friend Bonnie's house for some backyard bonfire bonding time. Saturday we went to lunch with Rory's out of town friends, then to dinner with the whole Mellin clan. Sunday we went up to Ventura to check out all of the antique stores and I was quite disappointed! Well, except for my one favorite kitschy paradise, Attaboy Vintage. Everyone else wants to charge hundreds of dollars for things that I know I can eventually stumble upon at the Goodwill or Habitat Store.. no way ma'am!

If you're in the Ventura area though, make sure to stop by Attaboy Vintage. They are a very sweet couple and have such cute things. I loved this orange patio set up, but couldn't figure how we'd stuff it in the car with the stroller and the car seat. It's times like that when I miss driving a truck.. yup I was that girl. Rockin out in my '95 Ford Ranger.. mhm. I also saw a dining table that I liked, but once we got home I realized the color was a lot lighter than what our credenza is and since we just gave that a face lift, I have to pass. Oy vey.

I am looking forward to a bit more of a relaxing week. Last week and this weekend were so busy. We had lots of out of towners in town, had to do lots of errands, and cleaning. This week all we have scheduled is a Doctor's appointment for little miss almost eight month old. I can't believe how big she's getting. That picture of her hanging out on the couch with a bottle of water is so awesome. She looks like an actual person!

I hope you had a great weekend! Feel free to leave any fun weekend details of yours in the comments below.

xo
-Ali

Friday, July 19, 2013

Currently

Watching: Not much of anything actually. We have had "Oz: The Great and Powerful" from Netflix sitting on our tv cabinet for a week.. or maybe longer. I used to always have something playing in the background for noise (i.e Ugly Betty, Doc Martin) but now I just find myself leaving the tv off all day until Logan is in bed. Once the tv is on though, it's usually playing "Sabrina the Teenage Witch".. don't judge. That is the one show that has a lot of seasons for us to go through. Of course, I've already seen every single episode, but it's just something to watch mindlessly while we are getting dinner ready, eating, just lounging around once the little munchkin is asleep. This is the one downfall of not having cable.. when everything is on hiatus, you are left with not so many viewing choices.

Listening To: The Aquabats! I've been going through all of the ska bands I love. For me, it makes summer feel like summer and makes me feel more like myself. I have the deepest love and appreciation for music.. it really shaped who I am and got me through a lot. Yes, I am one of those people. And who doesn't love The Aquabats??

Loving: New friendships, watching Logan become a little girl (where did my baby go?), cuddling on the couch with my husband, and Instagram. I just jumped on the smart phone bandwagon, finally.. and I am loving everyones photos. I just ordered a stickygram and am pretty unhappy with the appearance of them. Does anyone else have a really great resource for printing Instagram photos?

Drinking: Still on my smoothie in the morning kick. I feel like it has helped a lot with my weight loss and I'm getting a good intake of fruit, which I normally don't eat.

Eating: Bacon and eggs quite frequently. It's so easy and Paleo friendly. I've gotten sort of lazy with cooking lately. I feel so tired by the end of the day. I do my errands, take care of Logan, exercise with the Wii, take Logan swimming, and when she is in bed I am ready for bed too.

Missing: San Clemente. I spent a good portion of my life on the beach in San Clemente.. and even though I hated the sand on my feet, this time of year my heart always longs for it.

Looking Forward To: eventually making it out to a new antique mall in Fillmore that I discovered via Craigslist. Unfortunately there's not much of a turn around with thrift and antique stores in the area so you have to not go for a while to be able to catch some new things. 

How are you doing lately?

xo
-Ali

And, again.. thanks to Miss Megan for the "Currently Series" questions.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Weight Loss Journey

This is a hard one for me to write. I have been going back and forth for a while about whether or not I wanted to share this with you. I ultimately have decided that it is important to share. I am a real person with real struggles and I like the thought that maybe one person reading this can relate or be inspired.

I have a very volatile relationship with food. For me, there has never been a happy medium. I have either been starving myself and way too thin, or binging everything in sight and overweight. Before I met Rory in August of 2008, I wasn't eating. I was drinking.. a lot, but never eating. A few months after we started dating, I stopped the heavy drinking and we started eating out. And eating out some more... and eating out some more. The first year I was with Rory, I gained forty pounds. Yes, love means being a little on the chunkier side. Love is squishy. It took me until the forty pounds were already packed on in December of 2009 to see that they were actually there. I remember feeling a little heavier and some clothes didn't fit quite right anymore so I decided to weigh myself... shock of a lifetime! Where the hell did that come from? Oh yeah.. all the late night pizza and McDonald's with my cute boyfriend might have done that. Ugh. So, I decided to join Weight Watchers. I really liked it and was super motivated. I lost thirty pounds in three months ::pat on the back:: but dun dun dunnnnnn.. I quit my job because it was too far of a drive for very little pay. I wasn't working for two months, was still doing well on the Weight Watchers' plan, and was starting a new job. This job was an absolute nightmare. I felt unsafe, I felt the preschoolers were unsafe.. so I got emotional and started eating again. I stopped tracking my points. I stopped caring. I gained a little weight back, but nothing too drastic.

Rory and I got engaged in December of 2010 so again I found new motivation to lose weight. I did well, just doing my own thing. I was proud to zip up my wedding dress in August of 2011, I felt good in my photos.. I knew I wasn't the skinniest bride, but I felt beautiful at the time.

In March of 2012 I found out I was pregnant. At this time, I had maintained my weight loss from when I gained some back after our wedding. I was fitting in skinny jeans and feeling like I was doing well with my "workout to have a nicer body before you get pregnant" plan. Yeah, well, I got pregnant super quick and got lazy. Pregnancy was pretty tough on me. I had sciatica and a lot of pelvic soreness. I tried to walk throughout my pregnancy and do some swimming, but I felt immobile most of the time. I gained thirty eight pounds while I was pregnant. You're supposed to gain between twenty five and thirty five depending on your body type.. I was one of those women who should have gained closer to twenty five. My husband is a great cookie baker.. how can I resist?


After Logan was born, I was the heaviest I had been in a long time. I was significantly overweight in high school.. I honestly don't even know how much I weighed then.. I'm afraid to even share the pictures below. I knew I needed to get my bum into gear after delivering, but my recovery was hard. I was laying on the couch for six weeks before I could move around comfortably. That was a really hard time. Once I could get up and around, I started walking with her and ended up losing thirty six pounds as of June 1st of this year.

June 1st is when I decided to start eating Paleo, and it's been trying. I could have eaten french fries and chicken nuggets every day for the rest of my life if that was a healthy option for me. Since beginning Paleo, I have lost another twelve pounds.. it could have been more, but I'll be real and say I have some "cheat" days on the weekends. It's hard not to when my husband doesn't eat Paleo, my mom doesn't, pretty much no one I see on a regular basis does. And what do you do when you see friends or family? Eat, of course. I am still struggling with making good choices when we go out, but I am learning and I am dedicated. I just started swimming a lot and doing some Wii Fit while Logan is napping. It's been too darn hot to take strenuous walks, but I guess I should just suck it up and do it. Sweating never killed anyone, right? But then again, I am the girl that gets heat stroke and sun poisoning pretty much every summer... so perhaps the Wii Fit is a better Fit. Haha get it?

I still have a ways to go. I'd like to lose another forty five points within the next six months, and I think I can do it! I just need to be more strict with myself and set in my new Paleo ways. But hey, losing forty eight pounds so far in seven and a half months isn't too shabby.

And now for the photos:


Unrecognizable at my High School Graduation and Senior Prom. 2003
My wedding. 2011 (photo on left by Ressull Salvi photography // photo on right by Dallas Sterling)
36 weeks pregnant with Logan and when she was about four weeks old. 2012
July 16th 2013. I obviously don't like the self timer function of a camera.
So there it is. I cannot even believe myself in high school. I don't remember feeling that big.. I don't remember looking in the mirror and thinking "wow. how did I get here?".. I was totally oblivious to my size. What's crazy is that I know I was more confident in my body in high school. I felt fine, I had fun with my friends.. nobody said anything negatively about my appearance. I forgot to mention that I initially lost all of the weight after high school because I got super sick on the birth control I was taking and then when people started to tell me how great I was looking, I stopped eating pretty much all together. And then I got mono, so that added to it. I was pretty little, the littlest I've ever been.. but so sickly and unhealthy in every way. I developed an insecurity about my body at that time and I never felt comfortable in my own skin again. Hopefully I'll get there, but in the healthy way this time.

xo
-Ali

*update- I forgot to factor in the all important one pound loss today for a grand total of forty nine pounds lost*

Wishlist Wednesday

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Crate Toy Storage DIY

I have been working on this little space in our living room.. trying to turn it into a play area for Logan. We originally had a sleep and play with a changing table down here for diaper changing convenience, but now that she's rolling all over the place and trying to crawl, we really needed a more open space for her. This area is right behind where our sofa, chairs and television are set up. I used to have her roll around in the main living area, but she hit her head a few times on the fireplace and I realized I needed to move her. The new play space is much bigger.. lots of ground for her to cover. I had all of her toys haphazardly thrown into a soft basket originally, but it looked messy and I always had to dump everything out to find one thing. I saw that Urban Outfitters was selling "vintage" crates with wheels.. I thought "I could make that". So I did!

I bought two crates from Michael's for about twenty five dollars. I didn't want to go with a real vintage crate (like the ones in her nursery) because those are usually quite splintery. Next, I pulled out our dark walnut stain and a hand sander. There were a few splinters near the wood staples that needed to be sanded off.
 
After I let it dry overnight, Rory (the screw driver extraordinaire) attached four small casters on each crate. Instead of putting screws in all four holes of the caster, we chose to only put three. I was worried that the one screw not on the edge would poke through the bottom of the crate, causing potential baby finger and toy damage. We did get short screws, but you know, mom anxiety. The eight casters and two small packs of wood screws cost us seventeen dollars at Lowe's.

Her little play area is coming along quite nicely. I am still searching the depths of the interwebs for play area (in the living room) inspiration. I don't want it to scream BABY AREA!! I want it to be a baby friendly extension of our adult living room. We'll just have to keep our eyes and minds open when we visit the thrift shops.

Do you have any ideas or links to pretty play spaces? I'd love to see!!

xo
-Ali