Saturday, December 27, 2014

Year in Review


This year was full of change. We had two big life changes in particular; we moved and we have a new baby on the way! Each change began with lots of tears and devastation, but we came out on the other side of both and are happy and healthy. Our new home feels more like home than anywhere we've ever been and baby girl is doing well and growing; we're ending this year on a good note.

Last year I wrote down some goals I wanted to keep (you can read them here) and I did pretty well with most of them, but let a few get away from me. I didn't get to make my quilt and with having to move, saving was pretty impossible; every few years, we get a good chunk of savings and then we have to move and come up with rent and a security deposit so it disappears. This year was pretty hard financially with the move, our TV broke, Logan needed a new car seat, I needed new glasses... life happens and it gets harder to keep up with it all. The hardest thing has been all of the medical expenses with this pregnancy but somehow we hang in there and for that I am grateful.

This year I am not going to write down any goals for myself other than to be the best wife and mother I can be. I want to go in to the new year with the goal to live each day the happiest I possibly can.

What I do want to do is take some time to look back at a few of the wonderful memories we made as a family a midst all of the transition, hard times, and months of feeling sick!
Disneyland- February 2014. We had such a great time  watching Logan's reactions to everything.. it was her first time there being able to walk around herself and join in on a dance party! 
Duck Park- March 2014. This was a hot day! It was Logan's first time feeding the ducks and huge geese. We spent a few hours there, just the three of us and it was perfect.
Trips to the Farm- Spring, Summer and Fall 2014. Underwood Farms was our home away from home for most of the year. We had many play dates and lots of mom and Logan dates. We bought gorgeous produce to bring home, rode the cow train a million times, fed animals, pet goats, enjoyed the Harvest Festival, and so much more. I can't wait for them to open up again in a few months so we can go enjoy our farm days!
Road Trip to Monterey, Santa Clara and Gilroy- July 2014. We took a long road trip up to visit my dad for a few days and stopped at the Aquarium on the way. The rest of the weekend was hot hot hot (110 degrees at the garlic festival and we also were soaked in sweat when we visited a little zoo near my dad's). This was our one and only getaway this year and it was just enough to refresh us and I love the memories we made.
Three Year Wedding Anniversary- August 2014. Our one year anniversary was spent moving, our two year was spent at home, and this year we made it out to lunch! We're getting better at celebrating!
See wedding photos here and here.
Big News!- November 2014. Logan talks about baby sister being in mama's tummy and we're so excited to have Wesley join the family! I am antsy to see her in a week at my next ultrasound; I had been going to my OBGYN once or twice a week and saw her each time so I've missed her these last three weeks!

Through the ups and downs, it's been a wonderful year! I met a girl who has become one of my best friends, I rebuilt some old friendships, I believe this year was my year of growth; I feel happy, I feel connected, I feel at ease, I feel so much love for the people in my life, I feel like I have become who I am supposed to be right now.

Happy New Year friends!

xo
-Ali

Friday, December 26, 2014

52/52


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

Opening up every one's Christmas presents in the morning sun.


If you've been reading along, then you know that I won't be continuing this portrait series in to the next year; it's really become more of a chore than anything. As much as I love being able to see her grow from week to week, there's just a lot of other things that I'd rather be focusing on. I am going to make it a goal to blog about more meaningful things in the new year and not have my entire blog be all photos of Logan because I haven't written anything else in between portraits.

**You can see all of her portraits by clicking here if you missed any**

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and we'll be seeing you next year!

xo
-Ali

Friday, December 19, 2014

51/52


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

She's been sick with a runny nose and a cough off and on since the first week of November. This morning she woke up with a more severe wet cough and a fever so I took her to the emergency room; she has a double ear infection and bronchitis. I'm grateful she's getting antibiotics on the first day of her new symptoms so she can start feeling better as soon as possible. There's nothing more horrible than being in the ER with your sad sick baby.

Have a good weekend guys.

xo
-Ali

Friday, December 12, 2014

50/52


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

I'm expecting some two year molars to make an appearance soon with the way this girl has been chomping on her fingers, toys, and straws.
xo
-Ali

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Where We've Been


There's been many times over the last several months where I am in the middle of something and I think, "I'll sit down and blog today.. I'll write about so and so.. yes, that's what I'll share." Though I have many of these moments, I just don't have the time to follow through and honestly, if I do find that I have time, I'd rather be taking an hour or so to myself while Logan naps sitting on my butt and catching up with my favorite TV shows. This whole end half of the year has been crazy; so many changes, so many emotions, so many doctors appointments, keeping up with my Etsy shop, dealing with illnesses and trying to keep up relationships; I'm exhausted.

I'm feeling like we've been so busy and so overwhelmed with what's been going on in our lives this year that we have not had any time for each other other than a brief dinner time and television watching for Rory and I after Logan has gone to sleep. I am aching for a getaway, a break and I don't see one happening for a while (definitely not until next year). Employers started calling them "mental health days", I'm ready for a few. I am ready for lots of smiles and sweet moments, just the three (four) of us.

Though the second half of this year was nuts, it's really been since October that we've been put through the ringer. October 1st was the day that I officially knew what was happening with my body for weeks already; we were going to have another baby. We were thrilled and grateful and also a little nervous because what would life be like with two, but excited nonetheless. Fast forward to my first appointment at eight weeks.. the doctor saw nothing inside the sac that was visibly there. She said "it may just be too early, but let's see you back here in a few days." My heart was broken. I was thinking missed miscarriage for that week I had to wait. There was a lot of crying in this house and I didn't think I'd be able to survive if it was in fact a miscarriage. To me, life begins at conception; a life is a life no matter how small and new. I felt that I wouldn't be able to cope with my body rejecting a life.
At the next ultrasound Rory, Logan and I all waited anxiously for some news.. she saw something! Relief? Well, she saw something but couldn't really see a heartbeat yet. Another week of waiting, another week of emotional turmoil.. then, a heartbeat.
Everything with Logan was so easy; she was so active in all of her ultrasounds, she never gave us any fear that we may lose her. This is a whole new experience, one that I never wanted or expected to go through. I've been at my doctor's office for ultrasounds and blood-work almost weekly for my entire first trimester which has been both emotionally taxing but also reassuring; to be able to see how she's growing and thriving gives me a sense of calm that I really needed. She's ok and I am so grateful.

We've been sick with colds, sinus and tonsil infections, and good ole morning sickness. We've thrown a birthday party, baked for Thanksgiving, gone to and from countless doctors appointments, somehow kept up with all of those bills ($50 co-pays each time!), and we are still pushing through.

This year was an absolute roller coaster ride full of epic highs and lows; we were so distraught with having to move and here we are in a gorgeous home, we felt the joy of the news of a new baby and felt the heartache of possibly losing her to joy again in her health and growth. I feel like we've gotten through the worst of it and now is the time to start feeling at ease about everything. Now is the time to feel good again about being settled, being healthy, being with friends and family at Christmastime, and to look forward to a weekend getaway in the near future to celebrate it all.

xo
-Ali

Friday, December 5, 2014

49/52


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

She wasn't too in to taking pictures today.

Happy weekend everyone! I plan to ignore all phone calls, texts, and notifications... we need a serious break from everything and plan to be hermits this weekend. After being so sick for months, Logan was sick, throwing her a party, a sinus and tonsil infection for me, another round of sickness for Logan, Thanksgiving, and general busy life stuff, we need to check out!

xo
-Ali

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

All She Wants for Christmas


It's a little bit of a challenge having a little one whose birthday is exactly a month from Christmas; you really have to think about spacing out gifts and everything she needs I've already bought throughout the rest of the year. This is the first year I've struggled a bit with Logan's wishlist for her birthday and Christmas. I keep an active list for her on Amazon that I update every month or so and now that her birthday has passed, I don't have much on it for Christmas ideas. My mom even called me last night wondering why I had so little on her list and what could she get her for Christmas.

For all gift giving occasions, I still very much want to stick to the four gift rule (something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read).. this year I am switching it up a bit though because we need another book like we need a hole in the head. Logan's playroom and bedroom are filled with books.. a lot that she hasn't even looked at yet, so this year we are keeping books off of all our lists!

Today Logan told me she wants Santa to bring her a car and a snowman.. this is what I'm thinking for her as she already got a power wheels for her birthday, has plenty of toy cars, and has two Bumbles and two Frosty stuffed animals (and no.. no Olaf. Logan has no idea what "Frozen" is):

want: 
1. Melissa and Dough latches board - Logan has always liked doing puzzles and I've wanted to get these for her for a while. I like that it's a different kind of puzzle to strengthen her fine motor skills.. Rory doesn't think I should encourage her to learn how to undo locks ;)
4. Hape babydoll cradle - this is what my mom ended up getting her after our phone conversation last night. Logan has a baby doll that she loves and she has been "putting her to sleep" a lot lately. We have a soft storage basket for all of her stuffed animals and she dumps them all out to use the basket as her babies bed.. she says "Shhh baby is sleeping." I thought she'd like to have an actual crib for her baby to rest in. Thanks mom!
5. Teepee - I kind of want to put this under the "need" category BUT since we already have a teepee, I guess I can't. You may remember that we built Logan a teepee this summer before we moved.. well, the teepee we made really was not meant to be moved. It definitely didn't hold up well and the PVC pipe we used does not stay put on our hardwood floors. We did try and get rubber feet for the pipes, but we could not find any that were wide enough. The teepee we currently have doesn't hold up well to play and I would love something that she can be wild in. Also, we're renters.. it's inevitable that we will move again eventually and our DIY teepee will not survive. Hoping Santa brings this one for Logan this year!

need:
2. Yellow and white dot sheet set - With the new baby coming in early June and now that Logan is two years old, it's time to start planning a transition to the big girl bed that my dad got her. The next several months will be spent making Logan a big girl room!

wear:
3. Footed pajamas - Logan's closet is stuffed with clothes that will get her well in to next summer so she really does not need any sort of clothing gift this Christmas. I did see a cute idea on Pinterest (of course) that was a Christmas Eve gift; everyone gets new pj's to sleep in that night and these cute Scandinavian print jammies from Old Navy would be perfect.

I'm sure I'll be scouring Amazon and other mama blogs for other ideas.. if you have any I'd love to see!

xo
-Ali

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Logan is Two!

Two years ago, this little babe came in to my life and made me a mama. In so many ways this little life has saved mine, changed me, helped me grow and to become a better person each day. She makes me laugh, she fills my heart with so much love and joy, she is my best friend.
Happy birthday to my sweet girl!

**See Logan's first birthday post here.. ugh so little!**

Second Star to the Right and Straight on to TWO!



This past weekend we had a pretty simple celebration for Logan's second birthday at our home.. she enjoyed her day with friends and family very much! It was no question what theme I'd go with this year; my girl has been enamored with Peter Pan for half of her life already!
I really enjoyed the simplicity of this years party compared to last years... we kept the food to a minimum, I made pies; having the party between lunch and dinner time was a smart idea. I also had most of the decor already (I keep a "party" rubbermaid bin in the garage full of stuff that I pick from for any event we host) so this year didn't cost us much to host which was super important. As much as I love celebrating my daughters birthday and having people we love here, she's a toddler and there's absolutely no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on a location and decor and food.

She and her little friends ran around all day with her gifts and balloons, she enjoyed her frosting free Boston Cream Pie (allergy kid issues), and slept like a rock that night... couldn't have been better!

xo
-Ali

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Some News!

At Logan's birthday party yesterday, we announced to our family and friends that we're due with baby number two in early June!
Perhaps from my radio silence over the last few months, you can now piece together that this pregnancy has not been a walk in the park so far; I've been pretty sick and in my doctors office weekly. Thankfully all is well now and we're very excited to find out with this little Mellin is going to be in the next few days!

I'm looking forward to sharing this new chapter of life with you all... I think I know what I'm doing now ;)

xo
-Ali

47/52


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

Watching Winnie the Pooh and waiting for her birthday party to begin.
xo
-Ali

Monday, November 17, 2014

46/52


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

I love her deer in headlights look; her eyes are so big and bright.
xo
-Ali

Saturday, November 8, 2014

45/52

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

 She tells me "I do it myself" a lot these days. She's not even two!

This week was a long one for us. Logan and I have been sick; luckily she's feeling better.. unfortunately, I am not. I'm glad it's the weekend so Rory can take over and I can try to recover from this cold/allergy nonsense!

xo
-Ali

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I Am Mom Enough


Unless you've been living under a rock, I'm sure you've caught on to what's happening in modern day parenting; this American generation is really the first one to practice attachment parenting, breastfeeding without shame, and baby wearing among other things. After Logan was born, I expected myself to be the ever so popular and modern "granola" mom. I was going to wear her, breastfeed her, and I made sure to read every ingredient on the back of her store bought baby food (after I tried making my own). If you've been reading for a while, then you already know that we did not breastfeed.. it just didn't work for us. We also did not baby wear.. Logan hated the Ergo and honestly, so did I. And after Logan turned a year old, I stopped caring that she had Kraft macaroni and cheese rather than Annie's organic.

For a while, I felt pretty guilty about not being a hippie mom.. how could I not be like all these other moms that seem to be doing things the right way? I did not want to co-sleep, I did not want to kill myself trying to breastfeed when I knew it wasn't working, I did not want to force my baby in to a carrier that I knew she hated and made us both sweat profusely, I did not want to spend a fortune on organic GMO free food when we've got rent to pay... being a crunchy family just wasn't going to work for us and I didn't want to be something I'm not anyway.
I firmly believe that you should do whatever works for you and your family; if you hate GMO's and need your kids to breastfeed until they're five and eat sugar free, then ok, that's cool for you... I just don't want to live that way and it seems like social media is so busy praising all of the hippie mama requirements that they're forgetting about the rest of us.

It's taken me a little while to realize, but because I do not breastfeed, baby wear, or feed strictly organic doesn't mean I am a bad mom. My daughter is healthy and extremely social and happy; I'd say that means I'm doing a pretty good job. I made the decision to keep my mind and body healthy by not forcing my family in to parenting trends that did not work for us.  Despite all of the links going around that tell me I suck for not breastfeeding and what brain power my child is missing because of it, I'm happy with the choices we make every day for our family.

Here's to us non hipster moms who are doing just as good of a job as the rest of them.

xo
-Ali

**note: I am not on one side or the other with parenting trends. I just know what works for Logan and I. Perhaps when the next kid comes along, I will breastfeed and baby wear! I just want every mom to know that the healthy choices they are making for their families happiness is what's important. If you are what I'm saying is "on trend" and you are happy, I am happy for you. If you are in my boat and you're happy, I am happy for you. The point is to make sure that all moms feel empowered and like they're doing a great job.**

Friday, October 31, 2014

Ending on a Good Note


October,
You started off incredibly well and quickly turned in to a month of emotional ups and downs. Here we are... the last day, my favorite day and we are friends again. You had me uninspired, tired, brokenhearted, anxious and hopeful; you put me through the ringer.
Today, on this last day with you, I can breathe easy. I feel self assured, at ease, and thankful.
See you next year October.

 

xo
-Ali

44/52


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

Na na na na na na na na Batgirl.

xo
-Ali

Sunday, October 26, 2014

43/52

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

She likes to make us soup every day in her play kitchen. 

xo 
-Ali

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Beginnings of a Toddler Garden



You may remember when we were living in our last rental what nightmares we encountered with the little backyard; there was the mess, the dead cat in a garbage bag, the sod failures, the lavender failure, the overall failure of it all. Thankfully, we're in a rental now with a great backyard with no dead cats to be seen! The one problem area that we have is at the very end of the grass where it just won't grow; the gardener says it needs a sprinkler but it always seems to be wet, so who knows!? It may be the amount of shade from all of the tall trees and shrubs we have in that corner. Rory and I thought about building a bench and putting some potted plants around it to give that dirt patch some life, but after seeing some cute toddler gardens on Pinterest, I decided to go that route. I liked the idea of Logan having her own flowers to take care of and playing in the dirt is a sensory necessity!

I got some cheap plastic flower bed borders from Lowe's, two annuals for her to water, I put some garden decor I had lying around in there along with her watering can and some gardening tools... done. I am kind of dying over these mini flamingos and may need to get them for her little space.

She had a lot of fun in there for its first run yesterday and I'll be scouring Pinterest for any more ideas to add to her little garden. Do you have any?

xo
-Ali

Friday, October 17, 2014

42/52

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

I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps.


Ten weeks left in this year... an odd realization in this weeks portrait.

xo
-Ali

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Calm in the Storm



It's been a very difficult week. The weird thing about having a blog is that you're sharing your life with strangers, ghosts of your past who still have an interest in your life, family, friends.. mostly strangers and there's some things that you just can't share. When there's heartbreak and fear living inside me, I write; so here I am writing as much as I can to feel like I've "opened myself" up enough to feel some sense of relief for the time being. Perhaps you're thinking, "Wow that's vague. Thanks a lot!" but let's remember that this blog of mine isn't really for the entertainment of the world, it's for me to have a bit of an outlet and also to be what it started as; a way for family far away to keep up with Logan.

The weather has been ominous today with little bits of sunshine peeking through on occasion and I can't help but feel the need to be cliche and say that the weather perfectly represents life right now; there may be darkness, but there's sunshine behind it all. There's Logan and my husband and the fact that we're all alive and overall healthy, there's God, there's faith and hope, there's things to look forward to and memories to make. No matter what happens in life, there's always love.

xo
-Ali

Friday, October 10, 2014

41/52

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

It's just her and I this week. Rory left Wednesday night for a business trip and we won't see him until the wee hours of the morning on Sunday. 

 xo 
-Ali

**see all of Logan's 2014 portraits here**

Friday, October 3, 2014

Girl Friends



I've been mulling over the idea of this blog post in my brain for a few weeks now and I suppose the healthy thing is to sit down and actually write it.

I can remember back to being in Kindergarten and being "one of the boys". My two BFFs were Brent and Justin; we played ninja turtles all the time and we never strayed from each other at playtime. Most school days, in the midst of our awesome ninja play, I'd be interrupted by a girl (named Kendall, I believe) who would say "you're not a boy! You have to play mermaids with the girls." I never felt like I was out of place with Brent and Justin, I felt like I was where I belonged and I enjoyed playing "boy games" with them.

All throughout my childhood, I can think of my best friend at school.. always a boy. I started to have a few girlfriends but never enjoyed the sleepovers I was invited to or the girly chit chat. I think my first best girl friend was in junior high.. she came to my Catholic school and rocked our naive class of thirty two; she talked about sex and kissing (let's just say this girl had seen more than she ever should have for a thirteen year old). I didn't like that she always flaked on me to go make out with one or more of our boy classmates by the sheds where they kept the basketball equipment, I didn't like that I always turned in to a third wheel, nor did I like being her cover for her grandparents. I continued this friendship with her in to high school for a few years until she ended up moving up North (my mother was relieved to say the least).

My first day of high school, I walked in to my elected ceramics class and stumbled upon  a tight knit group of boys (they were childhood friends); I was immediately smitten with them all.. not in a crush worthy way, but they made me laugh and I loved them for it. My first two years of high school were spent laughing with them in all the classes we shared, hanging out as cool as can be at our designated lunch table, and when they graduated the other two years of my high school experience were spent going to their shows at the American Legion Hall and all the other dumpy places in the Valley that their bands played. These boys were my entire teenage world. I called the one I felt closest to every time I felt like I wanted to "die".. he was my saving grace for a lot of years and without his friendship, I don't know how I would've gotten through my self inflicted tragic high school years.

This group of boys have remained my friends.. the one I just mentioned above was one of my bridesmaids; these boys are still my family. They eventually brought girlfriends in to the group with them, sometimes I bonded, sometimes I didn't.. mostly I didn't want to bond with them. I had already formed an opinion about these girlfriends because I simply never had any girl friends and wasn't interested in having any; my boys were all I needed.

After I got married and the drinking and house parties stopped, I felt like I was being abandoned by my boys.. I couldn't see at the time that we just didn't enjoy doing the same things any more. Especially after Logan was born.. I was shocked and devastated that they didn't come visit us. In hindsight I can understand.. what guy even thinks "gee, let's go meet a new baby"? Maybe if I had wanted to have a big barbecue with beer and carne asada, they would've come. 
Something motherhood has taught me: boys are not mothers and they do not think like mothers nor do they have the compassion women do for new mothers. I know they love me, they love Rory, they love Logan.. they just are wired differently and that's when I started opening my heart to friendships with females.

Two years ago, if you asked me to name my best friends, I'd name a list of a dozen or so guys.. now, (though I still hold those guys super close to my heart) I name  girls. When I am feeling bad, I call my best girl friends. When I want to get together with another adult, I call my best girlfriends. When the rare occasion comes that I see this group of guys, I hang out with their wives.

I never valued the importance of having female relationships until I needed them; when I became a mom. It's so important to connect with someone who completely understands you because you're just made the same way.. you have similar emotions and expectations, you mature at the time same, you value things differently than your male friends. It's taken me twenty nine years to see how much I need girl friends and how much more I connect with a female now than before when I was single and close minded.

I cherish my girl friends, and I feel relieved to be at this point in life where I'm okay with the fact that I need them.

xo
-Ali

40/52


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

We're taking full advantage of being outside (despite this weeks heat) because the winds are picking up already!

xo
-Ali

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Simply

... today was a good day.
We're happy to see you October; you're looking lovely.

xo
-Ali

**I forgot my camera again! Phone pictures are taking over my blog!**