Thursday, October 31, 2013

Garden Gnome Costume

I love how Logan's costume turned out! I knew I wanted her to be a gnome since before she was even born! It had been a while since I did some sewing, but I really wanted to make her first costume. I don't know.. mama pride or something. I was surprised how easy it was.. thanks Pinterest (who even Googles anymore?)!

I found some fabric I loved (so much so that I bought the whole bolt) and followed this tutorial on making a simple skirt. I added the "suspenders" like you would make a purse strap and followed this tutorial on making the hat. With a few handmade felt mushrooms and flowers, the costume was complete! So simple!

I made Rory and I gnome hats as well and even made Rory a vest adorned with mushrooms to go with our "family of gnomes" theme. Maybe we'll get some family pictures in them someday.

Happy Halloween everyone!

xo
-Ali

Monday, October 28, 2013

Better Version of Me?


 Logan had her first Halloween party at Gymboree over the weekend. It was fun to finally see her in the costume I made.. I'm pretty sure that she is the cutest gnome to ever exist!

Rory and I really enjoyed watching her participate in music, play and even craft time with her little friends, but we kept looking at each other and saying "This is weird. We're parents". It's one thing to have a baby and have the baby be integrated in to your every day life, but when your baby starts becoming an actual interactive person who has friends and gets invited to things.. it's kind of weird. It's a whole new stage of life that is beginning for us and it's taking some getting used to.

I'd take whatever kid I was nannying to the park, have girl talk with the other nannys, and the Calabasas moms would always keep their distance. When I taught pre school, the parents of the kids seemed so much older than me.. even if they weren't. It's odd to think of myself as someone in the "mom" group now; especially in my town where the moms are all bleach blond, have diamond rings bigger than my head, range rovers, and are on a Starbucks high. Is that judgmental? Oh well.

One of my favorite things about Logan making us a family is watching Rory be a dad. I love the way he plays with her.. the way he talks to her and laughs with her; it's the sweetest thing. Sometimes I'll look at him and think "Whoa. He's a dad." Is it just me?

I guess it's just that I've spent my entire life (with the exception of the last eleven months) being just me. Doing what I wanted, going where I pleased, sticking to my schedule and not worrying about much. Then I met Rory and it was just us. Even when I became a wife, it was just us. Going to parties, eating whatever and whenever, long road trips to Ikea and lazy Sundays; none of that happens anymore. When you stop doing what you've done for years, stop seeing a majority of the people who were important to you, and all around behave and think differently are you not you anymore? Or is being a parent just being a better version of yourself?

xo
-Ali

Sunday, October 27, 2013

(Trying to be) Carefree at the Fall Harvest Festival

This weekend we finally went to the Fall Harvest Festival at Underwood Farms as a family. I had taken Logan by myself when it first started on a weekday and had wanted to go back with Rory since. We didn't pick out any pumpkins because we decided not to carve any this year.. yes, we are lame. We're always pretty extravagant with our pumpkins and it ends up taking hours to finish our carvings so maybe we'll be less tired and take it on next year. 
 
Little miss had a lot of fun walking around the pumpkin patch and picking up as much straw from the ground as she could. Now that she's walking, she's into picking up every leaf she sees.. she tries to fit as many as she can into her tiny little hands. As she was roaming around, picking up straw and clumps of dirt, I heard myself saying "be careful" "don't touch that" "Rory don't let her pick up the dirt" and I realized that I was being that mom. I don't want to be the kind of mom who doesn't let her kids get dirty or let them explore. With the kids I've taught in Pre School and the kids I've nannied, I was avid about letting them paint themselves, jump in puddles, and be messy gross dirty kids! It's so important to let kids explore and enjoy being young and carefree, so I really need to remember that while parenting my own child.

Obviously I felt really bad about inhibiting her exploration, so we spent an extra two dollars to let her play in a huge box of beans! There were a bunch of other kids in this "bean pit", throwing beans, running around in them, and one kid was even pouring them all over his head and down into his shirt. Rory and I both were a little terrified of the other kids, so we kept her in the corner. I am glad he's as terrified of other children being in Logan's bubble as I am (you can read about that here).
She had a lot of fun in there (despite being semi confined to a corner) and it made me feel like I made up my previous overbearing tendencies to her.. because she totally remembered and was holding a grudge I'm sure.
 

xo
-Ali

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

these days

 
A dear friend came over last night and we started talking about the different stages of life with a baby. The first three months were absolute misery. There was lots of crying, stress, no sleep, and excruciating new mama body pain. The struggle of recovery, not being able to breastfeed, trying to cope and help Logan with her reflux was all very stressful and upsetting. After three months, we got into a groove, got to know each other and learned how to live our new life as a family of three.

I am, without a doubt, loving this stage of life with Logan; my favorite time so far. She's becoming independent and it's so much fun to watch her little brain wheels turning!

My favorite part of the day is when Rory gets home from work; we all play together, Logan always has us laughing , and she shows off some new trick she's learned. She loves to be chased and even looks over her shoulder to make sure you're still coming.. she drops things, pushes buttons she's not supposed to and says (a version of) "uh oh" with her arms and hands out.. she's walking up a storm and is so proud of herself.. she likes to crawl and walk with her wooden stacking rings in hand (or her socks).. she's become a little toddler already.

I have been in a weird place the last few weeks with my blog. I haven't really been inspired to share anything or felt like I wanted to write anything that was going on with us, but I am glad that I have this little space of the internet to look back and remember this stage; to remember those toothy smiles and silly baby quirks, to remember that this feeling is what makes all of the chaos worth it.

xo
-Ali

Monday, October 21, 2013

San Clemente


For a very long time, I felt like one place in the world was home. Even when I had a home with my mom or an apartment with a roommate, no matter where I was living 1534 Buena Vista was home to me. We lived there on the weekends after my parents' divorce, we lived there in the summer, and I spent a lot of time there right before my grandpa passed away. No matter what, "The Ark" was always there.

My mom, sister and I moved around a lot when I was little. Whether it was to an aunts house, a family friends floor, or our own apartment.. we were on the move for a long time. I always looked forward to my dad's weekends because it meant driving down PCH in the mustang with the top down. Smelling the ocean air and the bonfires, blasting 311 and the Ramones.. making that steep crawl up the hill to our Poppo's home always made my heart feel complete. If I was having a hard time in school, fighting with my sister and mom, feeling horrible about my body, sad that the boy I had a crush on didn't like me.. I didn't care anymore because I was home.

Though there was never an actual bedroom that was ours, I felt more comfortable there than I did anywhere else. There we had Super Nintendo and Mtv.. there we had a huge orange tub to "swim" in.. there we had picnics at the beach.. went whale watching.. explored our sea cliff.. had conversations with the talking bird next door.. cruised the town in the VW Bus or Mustang; here I was a kid. San Clemente is my childhood and though my grandpa is gone and the house in no longer ours.. no one can take the memories away.

Do you have a particular place that is extra special to you?
               
xo
-Ali

Friday, October 18, 2013

Mama Bear

^at a pumpkin patch during the middle of the day, on a weekday.. mama knows no kids will be around!^
One of my fears about taking Logan around other kids is that they will hurt her. I know kids get hurt, it's inevitable.. but sometimes I feel like some parents just don't watch their children. As a preschool teacher, I watched my kids like a hawk; making sure they didn't bite each other, making sure they played nicely and respected other childrens' space. Things happen quickly even if you're close by and watching; someone gets scratched or bitten or hit and that just seems to be a part of child development.

When we go to "open gym" at Gymboree, all ages are able to play in the same area, which I find sort of terrifying. Logan loves the big kids; she wants to follow them around and do what they are doing. The other day a mom I've never seen before was there with her crawling baby and her older son. The older kid was a total turd.. super demanding and cranky. He purposefully threw a ball at Logan's face to hurt her and the mom said "Oh, she can't catch yet.. you have to be careful." I was just thinking "are you kidding?" He was not playing catch with her.. he was being mean and wanted the attention. I don't like when parents make excuses like that for their kids; "she can't catch the ball you just wailed a her" "oh her arm isn't a cookie for biting". Some parents are oblivious and dumb and don't admit to their kids bad behavior.. what good does that do? Sometimes I will not hold back from a child that I think is misbehaving.. I don't care if they aren't mine. We attended a birthday party a few weeks ago and a little girl who was probably five was throwing balls at the little babies, was jumping off of things on to them, and was pushing her way through tiny kids to get to what they were going for. I finally had had it and asked her "Do I need to talk to your mom little girl?" Where was her mother anyway? I just may be that mom who goes ballistic on kids who pick on Logan or invade her space, or maybe just to the kids whose parents are on their cell phones rather than monitoring what's happening.


I'd like Logan to be in a little bubble away from jerky children who want to take what she's playing with or push her down for the negative attention from their parents.. I'd like Logan to also kick some serious ass in those cases, but that's probably not good parenting (If someone hits you, hit back hard! Forget that walk away crap). Something I've learned throughout the years is that kids are mean, and most parents shouldn't be parents. Yes, perhaps I sound like an a-hole, but you know you agree.

Where do you draw the line if someones child is being aggressive toward yours? You can't always go total mama bear on a kid, because then you'll make enemies and your kid wont have friends. But that might be nice because I'll be her only friend. Hey there selfish!

This goes along with my whole "how to handle aggressive adults" issue. There's still those adults telling me how to parent, telling me how not to parent. The biggest hardship since becoming a mom is learning how to control my anger, and especially my tongue. I am not a confrontational person, but if you're acting totally rude.. I will tell you. It seems that there is no good in that though because the only person that feels anything after that is yourself. If you scold someone elses child, they don't care.. and it seems that if you tell a person repeatedly you feel no need to leave your daughter, they still don't get it. This past weekend we went to the harbor in Santa Barbara with my family and we lost track of my sister and her kids. What happened was some lame teenager climbed into a bottle brush tree and shook the pollen all over them as they were walking under it. My sister had to strip her daughter down to shake all of the sticky pollen off of her and it took forever. I asked her, "Did you cuss him out?!" because that's what I would have done! She didn't. She said, "What good would that have done? He doesn't care, obviously." I don't know how she didn't say or do anything to someone who caused her child harm.. I would have gone to jail that day, but I guess, lesson learned. 


People who are dumb are always going to be dumb. Kids who are aggressive and out of control are not my responsibility. It's only my responsibility to be a good example to my daughter and to protect her.

xo
-Ali

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Growing Too Fast

A year ago I was pregnant, looking forward to my upcoming baby shower, and had no idea what was really in store for me. It's been a whirlwind.. a fun, loving, happy, overwhelming, amazing whirlwind. Everyone says the same thing, "it goes by so quickly" and it's so cliche and so true. My baby girl will be eleven months at the end of this month and she's grown so much in such a short amount of time. She went from this non sleeping, refluxy, blob of baby into a moving, shaking, babbling little girl seemingly overnight. 

The last week I've looked at her every day and felt like her "baby look" is disappearing and she's developed into a little kid. She's standing, clapping, pointing, doing that "uh oh what happened" hand gesture and even shows concern in her face at the appropriate times.. she's waving, and eating real people food, feeding herself with a fork, pushing her activity walker all around by herself, climbing on everything, crawling everywhere.. she's a social butterfly, she loves smiling at everyone, she has five teeth.. she's growing so fast and mama is taking it all in and cherishing every moment. 

She'd been doing the "uh oh" hands for  few days, but just kind of randomly.. until tonight she purposefully dropped some toys in a crevice, turned to look at me and said "go go" with the "uh oh" arms.. I cried. It was so cute! I love watching her grow and learn new "tricks". Soon she'll be fully walking and talking.. soon we'll celebrate her first birthday.. I feel like soon I'll be sending her off to college.

This little girl is the most precious gift and I am so lucky to be her mama. 


xo
-Ali

Monday, October 14, 2013

Weekend Snapshots


^ At a pumpkin patch.. again. I really could take her on a daily basis ^
 
^ I had a night alone.. weird.. to take some pictures of the Strathearn Ghost Tour for a freelance assignment. I wish Logan and Rory could have gone with me, but it started near her bedtime and it was freezing! It was great though.. surprisingly funny. If you're local, you should go ^
  
^ We were all feeling well enough to go visit my family up in Santa Barbara on Saturday. I must have not been feeling totally like myself because this is the only picture I took. Fail. ^


^ I think these are my favorite photos of Logan ever. Seriously, I wish it was Halloween all of the time. ^

I am hoping that this week is a healthy one. Rory woke up Sunday morning with a sore throat, so if he gets what I had I just may have a nervous breakdown. Talk about one sickness after the other with us. Hopefully we've got it all out of the way now so we can enjoy the rest of the holiday season in perfect health! Fingers crossed.
 
xo
-Ali

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Full Plate, Sick, and a Wishlist

Hello October! I've been waiting for you! and hello Friday! 

This week was a bit of a challenging one, but it could have been worse. On Monday night as I was making my prosciutto rosemary chicken, I started to feel the onset of a sore throat. I usually don't get sick much these days (I used to be ill all of the time when I was teaching preschool), so I just didn't think anything of it. During the middle of the night it got far worse.. to the point of crying when I had to swallow my own spit. That went away and turned into an excruciating headache, conjestion, and face swelling. I have a history of sinus infections so I knew I was definitely on the verge of getting one. I've been taking Zicam and feeling a little more normal so that's great news because I've got some freelance work to finish up and we are going to be in Santa Barbara this weekend. 

I always forget about the trade offs that come with this seasonal change that I adore so much. I am grateful to be cuddling in a blanket and wearing sweaters, but then everyone gets sick as well. I guess nothing in life can be totally perfect. 

I kind of threw this months wishlist together partly because I've been busy with other work, but also because I'm not seeing very many things I "have to have" lately. I've searched through all of my favorite sites and only these few things caught my eye.
  precious goldenrod sweater @ modcloth // huffy mint green cruiser @ amazon // flea market throw @ house 8810 // fox trinket dish @ paper source // unicorn mug @ uncommon goods // rainy daisy umbrella @ modcloth 

 
I am really loving that cruiser right now. We just got Rory a bike so he can get to and from work conveniently on days that it's not so convenient for me to drive him. I definitely want to get a bike soon because the weather is perfect for bike riding right now. Perhaps Logan can ride in the basket like a little E.T., but not really.

I hope you have a great weekend! Do you have any plans?

xo
-Ali


*and as of last night, Logan is sick with a cold and my sinus pressure is worse. God help me* 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What Will She Think?

So, you've seen it.. you've read it; I have purple hair and tattoos. Just wanted to start off there just in case you forgot. Well, I was talking to my lovely gal pal, Bonnie, the other day (who has pink hair) and she said she was thinking about dyeing her hair lavender; when she told one of her sons he said "Mom's don't have purple hair". Now, her son was being silly I'm sure... he is quite the character, but it got me thinking about what Logan will think of me in the future.

When I was growing up, I was obsessed with "Full House".. better yet, I was obsessed with Uncle Jesse ::swoon::. I wished that I had a cool motorcycle riding, tattooed, drummer, guitar playing and even mullet sporting Uncle or Dad. Not that I don't love my parents, but I always felt like such a black sheep among my entire family. My mom and sister are petite, conservative, non farting, non swearing ladies.. and though my Dad is very farty, swears and has my same sick sense of humor, he's still pretty normal looking. My Dad did sport some feathered hair back in the day, but it's no Uncle Jesse style!


Apparently I used to yell at my mom to follow the bikers I saw from my car seat, rocked out to whatever jukebox was playing rock and roll, and I even drew tattoos on my Cabbage Patch Kids. This love of rock, tattoos, and an alternative lifestyle is in my soul.. I was born with a passion for it all. I know this because as I mentioned before, I am a black sheep. No one in my family looks like me or has the desire to.. so I didn't see it anywhere and think "I want to be like that"; I just do. I don't feel like myself if my hair isn't colorful.. if my tattoos were gone.. and it's hard to not have all my piercings in.

Before I was married, I had already been heavily tattooed for a few years and I've been dyeing my hair every color of the rainbow since I got out of a Catholic high school that didn't allow an "unnatural appearance". I always thought that when I became a mom, my kids would think I was the awesome mom.. the one who doesn't look like most other moms, but I am beginning to think that is not how it's going to be. I think no matter what you look like, what music you listen to, or how "cool" you are, your kids are going to think you are totally lame.

Though she may think I am the weird mom at some point, I'm sure (I hope) she'll appreciate me for being true to myself and that's really all that matters.

What about you? Do you think your kids see you differently than you thought they would?

xo
-Ali

Monday, October 7, 2013

Currently

Eating: terribly. I have made some not so great food choices over the last month. I got into this "everything slump" when Rory and Logan were sick. I was eating pizza, sandwiches, and even a cheeseburger or two. Ugh.. I am trying to get back into my Paleo groove and am definitely doing better. You may remember I made some Paleo Brownies recently and I've got proscuitto wrapped rosemary chicken on the menu this week. Just think paleo thoughts.. just think paleo thoughts.. and away we goooooo!

Watching: "The Good Wife". Seriously, how amazing is that show!? Alicia does sometimes get on my nerves because she gets a little whiny about Kalinda.. but I guess I'd be whiny in that situation too. We are currently at the end of the third season right now on Hulu and will get into the fourth soon. I heard the fifth just started and since I don't have cable, don't tell me anything!
 
Loving: that Fall is here.. cliche, right? We had the scariest windstorm on Friday; I was watching Logan on the monitor like a hawk during her morning nap because I thought the tree outside of her window was going to break in. Other than the scary wind, it's really feeling like holiday season here. I loved going to the pumpkin patch with Logan last week, going to the market is a joy with all of the bins of pumpkins outside, the air smells and feels cooler and cozier, and I am counting the days until Halloween. I finished her costume the other day and I am sooo happy with it. She is going to be the cutest mini trick or treater on the planet.
 
Listening to: iHeartRadio. I have not stopped listening to Imelda May for about a month now and it's giving me my rockabilly swing back. iHeartRadio is such a great app because I get to hear all of the Imelda I love and also get to discover new artists and enjoy ones I already know. But anyway, go YouTube Imelda May.. you wont regret it; because her music is awesome and she's hot.

Thinking about: the holidays really. We put up Halloween lights on September 30th and my mantel had already been Halloweenified for days before then. It's crazy that not even a year ago I was very pregnant and looking forward to my Halloween themed baby shower.. then it was on to being a big ole pregnant turkey at Thanksgiving and I was just hoping she'd come soon (she did, a little over 2 days later).. and last Christmas she was exactly a month old, but I was not feeling well and wanted to not be anywhere but in my pajamas on the couch. This year is going to be so different and I am so excited to experience this season as a mom for the first time. I mostly think about Christmas morning with her. I definitely want to establish our own family tradition this year.. I don't want to feel obligated to be anywhere else right away, I want to enjoy my little family's Christmas morning together. I think Rory and I will probably just get her a few things; I've seen a rule of thumb being used by other mom bloggers and I would really like to stick to it throughout the years for all of our kids... something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. I really love that; so she'll have four presents (from us) to rip apart.

What are you up to lately?

...and a huge thank you to my awesome friend, Jenna, for giving my blog a face-lift! Make sure you visit my actual page to see all the loveliness (sometimes I've noticed pictures missing on Bloglovin')

xo
-Ali

Friday, October 4, 2013

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I don't think I can say enough how grateful I am to live next to such a place as Underwood Farms. It makes me feel like a little kid to see all of the animals, and especially now to see the set up for the Fall Festival. Living it through Logan is such a gift and I cannot wait until she can walk around the fields.. it's going to be very soon!

I took Logan to the farm the other day to take some photographs for another freelance writing and photography contract I got (yay). I have been waiting for a little one of my own to take to a pumpkin patch, dress up for Halloween, and just enjoy the magic of Fall with; and now she's here.
 



She of course loved every moment of it! She loved standing next to the pumpkins and especially loved pulling at the straw on the ground. I swear this kid and ripping paper or paper like materials.. she can sit in one place for an hour ripping newspaper if I let her.

We are going to go back again with dada soon so we can enjoy all of the extra festivities they have on the weekends; pig races, real Hawaiian shave ice, live music and all sorts of fun and games.

xo
-Ali