Friday, February 28, 2014


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

Enough hair for a Cindy Lou Who inspired pony tail.

*you can see week one through eight of Logan's portraits here*

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Logan's Favorite Books (15 Months)

This girl is all about books.. she has been for a while now. She loves nothing more than to sit in your lap and have you read her book after book. Even if Rory and I are busy with talking or household chores, Logan will get a book out and sit down in her reading nook to read to herself. I love the way she turns the pages and "reads" them (she actually babbles at each page like she's reading them aloud to herself.. that's a memory I always want to hold on to).

- Dear Zoo It's the thirty year anniversary of this book! We actually discovered it at our local library and I purchased it for her a few weeks later when I stumbled across it at Target. She loves flipping down each "animal container" to see who's hiding behind.

- Goodnight Gorilla This book doesn't have many words in it, but Logan talks throughout the whole thing. Since there's not a lot to read, Rory and I tell her what's going on on each page.. a lot of "uh oh! what's that gorilla doing!?" 

- Tickle Time I have to admit, I wasn't too thrilled when we received this book as a gift before Logan was born. I had read them while I was a nanny and I found them to be sort of obnoxious; Logan can't get enough of it! The way it reads is like a song, so she'll start dancing as soon as she hands me the book.

- Goodnight Goon I love this parody of "Goodnight Moon". We read this one several times a day and it's our go to for a bedtime story.

- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Another book that's an all day every day favorite of Logan's. She likes to slide the inserts in the pages back and forth to discover what animal is coming up next. I really like this book because we're naming colors and animals.

- Little Owls Night I had never heard of this book until my dad and step mom bought it for Logan. It's a cute little story about a baby owl and all the things he comes across in the night forest. There's not a lot of words on each page so it's a great read for a little toddler who likes to flip pages quickly!

You can see some more of Logan's favorite things here.

Feel free to share some of your toddlers favorite books in the comments. I'd love to see!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Space for Her in Every Room

This post should actually be titled "Find a Use for an Impulse Buy So Your Husband Doesn't Murder You"
It seems like I have been on the hunt for nightstands for Rory and I forever. The bed and nightstands we have now is a part of the Malm series from Ikea. Oh Ikea... I know all you young newlyweds have been there. Ikea is definitely affordable and they do have a lot of really great looking things, but what I have come to learn is you get what you pay for; the materials are cheap. So yes, it's affordable, but they are not pieces that last. Since Rory and I have been together, we have moved only three times and our Ikea pieces have been trashed to say the least. So far, I have successfully rid of all of our Ikea purchases with the exception of our media center and bed/nightstands (which I am trying to find replacements for almost daily).

I saw this seventies end table at Goodwill last week for nine dollars. I kept walking away from it, then coming back; looking a little closer each time and talking myself into buying it then out of buying it. I figured it was less than ten dollars and I was pretty certain I had seen a matching one at another local thrift store, so I got it. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the other thrift store (with my new purchase in my trunk for comparison) I saw that yes, they do have a matching end table, but it was more narrow and tall than the one I had just purchased. I asked the thrift store owner if she wanted to buy it off of me, I was already thinking about my Craigslist ad, I was thinking of how I was going to tell Rory I bought something we couldn't use.. then I figured I needed to find a use for it before I totally gave up.

Something unavoidable about having a child is that they need a space for their things in every single room; entertainment in each bathroom, the kitchen, outside, and even in your bedroom. We originally kept a basket full of some of her toys and books in our bedroom and I always looked at it and felt like our "sanctuary" shouldn't have visible baby toys in it (am I being unrealistic here?).. light bulb! I hauled that heavy sucker of a nightstand upstairs and started making it Logan's toy table. I was able to incorporate it with our already existing sitting area by adding a reading lamp and it makes it feel like the table belongs there. It is functional for Logan and for us (not that we ever read in that chair anyway. Truth is it's a dumping ground for laundry, but let's pretend it's really a master bedroom reading nook). I grabbed a little basket I already had to put some of Logan's smaller toys in, put some of her books up top, and voila; a use for the impulse buy.

I really like how the little table fits in our room and it's easy for Logan to access. She can pull her books off, play with her bead roller coaster while standing beside it, and can easily open the doors to access the rest of her toys. Possible confrontation with husband about making an impractical purchase avoided! ::pat on the back::


Monday, February 24, 2014


I counted 33 potted plants in our little yard the other day; they're thriving and give my brown thumb hope. // She draws on the wall with chalk, but that's ok because look how cute she is. // She smells flowers now. // A cozy nook in our living room. // Hanging out in mom and dad's room.

I hope you had a great weekend! If you have any weekend snapshots you'd like to share from your blog, leave me a link! I'd love to see!


Thursday, February 20, 2014


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

She has lifted my spirits so much this week after receiving some hard news.


*my dad got me a new camera lens for my birthday and it finally came today! Back to our regularly scheduled blogging thanks to him!*

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Every day is a choice; a choice to be healthy, to be happy, to keep those close to you close, to choose to better yourself. There are so many paths that people can take in life and it's all about what choices you make when you meet a crossroad.

Personally, I feel like one crossroad I met in particular, shaped the rest of my life.

When I was twenty years old, I met a guy at a party. He was charming, handsome, my "type". I could honestly say that we fell in love with each other immediately. We saw each other every day and when we weren't together we were always texting or talking on the phone. I was too naive to see it at the time, but after the few weeks of a whirlwind romance, I started seeing less of him. He'd tell me that he was having lunch with his grandma, was at some family function, working.. there was always something going on with him, but he still made just enough time for me to keep me  close. I didn't have any suspicions until one day about six months in to our relationship, I got a message on Myspace. You can read more about that here.

I knew he was cheating on me, I knew he hid a live in girlfriend, I knew he was an alcoholic, I knew he was mentally unstable, I knew he was poison in my life, yet I made the choice to live that way for over three years. I felt like I could save him and I believed him every time he told me that he chose me.

I really can't remember the one particular instance that made me choose to finally leave or if there was only one, but I'm glad I made the choice. I had been choked, kicked, pulled out of a moving car, cut, had beer bottles thrown at me, cheated on, deceived in every way possible and one day I decided to move away to Orange County; I needed to escape to my safe place.
At the time for me, Orange County (San Clemente in particular) was home. My grandpa owned a house on the North Beach sea cliff for decades and when I think of all the places we moved to when I was a child, that house in San Clemente was always there for me to go back to. I got a job and a place to live almost immediately and I was ready to go. I was tired and finally ready to leave a life of pain and suffering behind.

I settled into my new life pretty well, but something was always pulling me back to the Valley. I missed my mom.. I missed my friends. I was driving back and forth every weekend because I felt lonely, and in that loneliness my ex boyfriend crept back in to my life on a few occasions. Each time I saw him though, I couldn't look at his face without remembering every lie and every hurtful thing he ever did to me. Each time got easier to ask him to leave and then eventually, I never saw him again (with the exception of the time he happened to be exiting the freeway right next to me. He waved at me with a big smile like we were old friends, while I had to pull over because I was having a full on panic attack).

I look at my husband and my daughter every day and am so thankful for that crossroad in my life. I am here, I am alive, I am happy and I am thankful for that strength that I was able to muster up. If I had made the choice to stay in that relationship, there's no question that I'd be miserable. I would probably still be with that abusive ex and I probably would have had a few children by now who would be witness to such hurtful and unhealthy things. The only other path in that situation (if I would have stayed) is I would be dead.. by his hand or my own. To have just typed that leaves a sickening feeling in my gut.. that if I made a different choice at that crossroad, I could very well not be alive.

I can still see myself so clearly in my mom's apartment, looking for jobs, a place to rent, and classes to take; feeling like I was making the right choice to get away.. knowing that I couldn't live the life I was choosing to live anymore. That move to Orange County and the time I spent alone there, helped me to grow as an individual. I had to make new friends, I had to be on my own.. though I did mention most of my weekends were spent back at home, I had a lot of time by myself to realize that I am valuable and that I wanted to matter to someone, matter to myself.

I fully believe in God's plan and that we are living the life that God had set in motion for us before we were ever born, but the choices are ours.. God just knew them before we did. I believe I was in that relationship to have met that crossroad to eventually find my way to Rory; it actually was only about four months after I moved back from Orange County that I met him. 

When we meet a crossroad, there is an opportunity to change our lives and I will always think back on that particular one and be proud, thankful, and faithful.

This is a part of "Journal Day" over at Sometimes Sweet

Friday, February 14, 2014

Opposites Attract

That blog title makes me think of an episode of "Maury Povich" where a significantly obese woman would be dating or married to a tiny bean pole of a man.. or vice verse, but that's not where I'm going with this. Where I'm going is down the path that brought me to my husband; my perfectly opposite of me husband.

As a child, I drew tattoos on my cabbage patch kids, I played with monster trucks, I wanted to be a Hell's Angel, I loved rock and roll, my favorite shirt had a bunny and a motorcycle on it and said "Bad to the Bone". In high school, I walked around my Catholic school campus in cardigans adorned with skulls, my shoe laces had skulls, I had an Alkaline Trio patch on my backpack (which is a skull), I pierced my tongue on my eighteenth birthday; I wasn't in the cheerleader group or the drama group or the preppy group; I hung out with kids that listened to punk and we'd go to shows practically every weekend. Once I got out of my Catholic high school, I started dyeing my hair every color of the rainbow, I had twelve piercings (all in or around my face), and I started getting tattooed; I felt like I was finally starting to reflect on the outside, who I feel like on the inside.

I never really dated in high school.. I had two boyfriends; one lasted for a month or so my freshman year and the other was toward the end of high school and I was dating that guy I mentioned in this post. That guy had stretched ears, tattoos, listened to the same music as I did. We went to shows together, got tattooed together and stretched each others ears a little bigger. Each boyfriend I had after that was heavily tattooed with lots of piercings, listened to punk or ska, was in a band; they were like me.. they looked like me and somehow they were all perfectly wrong for me. Each one never treated me well, killed any fragment of confidence I may have had, and obviously, did not end up being the one for me.

Now let's get to the good part.. the Rory part. I was living with this crazy girl for a few months in North Hollywood and I was looking for a new place to live. My living situation turned into a single white female sort of situation; she started getting the same tattoos that I had, started telling me I wasn't allowed to look cuter than her when we went out, and even cut holes in my clothes. She may or may not have stolen underwear as well.. I'll never know the truth about that one. I found an ad on Craigslist to rent a room in a five bedroom house in the San Fernando Valley. I remember that I replied to it because at the end of the ad it said "Respond if you're weird". Hello! My kind of people. I went and met Big Jeff and knew immediately I belonged in that house; though it was totally dingy and there was a nasty guinea pig in the house, something in my gut told me that it was right. I came back a few days later and met Rory.. little did we both know our lives would be forever changed. He walked in to the living room where Jeff and I were sitting and sat down across from me. The first thing I noticed were his shoes.. they were not Vans or Chuck Taylor's, they were New Balance. Then my eyes moved up to his khaki cargo shorts, then up to his paintball t-shirt, then up to his sweet baby face. I thought "this guy is cute, but definitely not my type" which was fine because everyone says not to shit where you eat (a nice way of saying not to be involved with roommates).

The first month that Rory and I were roommates, I didn't see much of him. He was working six days a week, going out with friends, playing paintball and volleyball, and I was seeing someone else as well; but when I did see him, he always made me laugh.. he was so incredibly kind to me and the other people we lived with. I remember our other female roommates car broke down on the 405 at one in the morning or some other ungodly hour.. she called Rory and he got up with no complaints to go rescue her. That was the first time I took notice of him in a different light. I found his selflessness so endearing and attractive. We started hanging out together every night and grew close pretty quickly. Though I had only known him for a little over a month, I felt like he was already my best friend. We made each other laugh and we felt comfortable when we were with each other; comfortable enough to have full on wrestling matches on our gigantic couch and comfortable enough for me to laugh and not scream when he accidentally spit gum in my hair while we were cuddling and watching a movie.

After we had been together for a little over a month, I shared the news while I was at Disneyland with my dad and his family. My step mom asked "How many tattoos does he have?" One. "How many piercings does he have?" None. "What color hair does he have?" Bald. Those questions she asked were very fitting to every other relationship I had been in; the answers would typically be "tattooed from the neck to the ankles", "several piercings", and "a (insert rainbow color here) mohawk".

Rory is the first man that I saw for who he really is first and then fell in love with that rather than pursuing someone for being tattooed and pierced like me. Rory did tell me that the first time he met me he thought "she's cute. I like her tattoos", but that is not why he fell in love with me.

When I reflect back on that day I first met Rory and how I didn't ever think I'd date him let alone be married to him because he wasn't "punk" or "alternative" or whatever you want to call it, I feel like an idiot. Just because someone looks a certain way doesn't mean they are your soul mate.. it took me many failed relationships to see that. I am so grateful I opened my eyes to see past the gym shoes and the dorky shorts and the awful total guy car he drove when we met (an infinity G35 with a super charger and a body kit. bleh), and really saw him. Though we may not have a lot in common, Rory is the most attractive, kind, and selfless man on the planet and I am so grateful to be his wife. I have grown to like the things he likes (I jumped out of a plane and went white water rafting with this man!), and he's grown to like the things I like. We introduce each other to new things, a new way of thinking.. we have been responsible for each others' personal growth and grow more grateful and in love with each other each day. He's my perfect opposite.

Happy Valentine's Day!


*photos by Ressull Salvi Photography**


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

She was diagnosed with croup yesterday.

I'm kind of cheating with this weeks portrait because I am using a picture from this past weekend at Disneyland. I still do not have a working camera lens and the fact that Logan has been ill the last couple of days hasn't made it easy to snap pictures of her.

^^I did get this one photo of her with my phone looking like a miserable little sicky before it got really bad. Poor nugget^^

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Kitchen Within a Kitchen

When Logan was just a few months old, a friend of mine came to visit us and she brought along her darling son. He was about a year and half at the time and my friend looked at me as her son was trying to sneak his way up the stairs and said, "Are you ready for this?" As I looked at my blobby newborn, I felt like that rambunctious toddler stage was so far away for us still and I had a hard time picturing Logan running wild and crazy.

Time definitely flew by and before I knew it, my blob of a baby was sitting up, then crawling, then walking, and now running and getting in to everything! I've definitely needed to find ways to keep her entertained while I have something that I need to do. Whether it's showering, laundry, or cooking, I need to be able to have her occupied close to me while getting normal every day things done. I mentioned in this post that I let her watch "Yo Gabba Gabba" while we are upstairs and I'm getting showered and dressed; I don't want a television show to always be the answer to keeping her occupied so I needed to come up with something else for her to do while I needed to be in the kitchen.

I wanted her in the kitchen/dining area with me because the way our house is set up, I wouldn't really be able to see her in the living room from the kitchen. Even though Logan is a bit young to be in to dramatic play, I thought a play kitchen would be a great idea. That way we have it now for her to explore and keep her busy and we also have it for when she's older and actually playing "kitchen".

My dad got Logan this kitchen by Hape for her birthday. I love that it doesn't take up a lot of space, but it's still big enough to be a fun functioning play kitchen. It was pretty easy to put together.. I did it myself! She has a ton of food and utensils (thanks to my parents). Right now she mostly runs around with her coveted salt and pepper shakers or dumps everything out to dance around her mess on the floor. Hey, whatever keeps her busy for a while so I can get meals prepared!

I recently put up a vintage accordion peg rack above the play kitchen so I could hang a little crochet hot pad and a broom and dust pan I found at Target in the dollar bin. Logan loves to help dust (seriously) when we're doing chores on Saturday morning, so the dollar hand broom set was a total score. There's a lot of pegs to hang from still so we will be able to acquire lots of kitcheny things over time; I'm glad it will be organized and most of all, within her reach.

This little kitchen area of her own has definitely been helpful in keeping her entertained while I am busy cooking, but mostly I love it because I am excited to watch her play skills develop. Soon she'll want to cook her food in her kitchen just like mama does. I am looking forward to all of the pretend meals she'll prepare for me! 


**these photos were taken before my camera lens broke**

Monday, February 10, 2014

Choosing Joy

^I love how happy and carefree she is dancing away at California Adventure. Random fact: the DJ on the truck was the DJ at my wedding!^
*I was able to take this picture because Rory borrowed a lens from work for the weekend*
For a long time, I let the actions of other people determine my mood. I let people get under my skin and I let things someone would say or do put a damper on my day. All of my negative experiences have held me down for a long time. Whether it's not being able to listen to certain bands, not being able to drive to certain towns, or not being able to watch a specific movie, I've let negative experiences ruin good things for me. I've prevented myself from making new memories because for too long, I've let the bad memories stay at the forefront of my mind.

This past weekend, Rory surprised me with an overnight trip to Disneyland for my birthday. I didn't know for sure that we were headed there until we exited the freeway. As we were passing hotels and as I was guessing which one would be ours for the night, I was so giddy to be spending the weekend with my family in my favorite place. I was feeling so grateful for my husband who stops at nothing to make me feel loved and appreciated. We pulled in to the driveway for the Grand Californian Hotel and I squealed; I had been dreaming of staying there since it was built. We pulled along side the valets all decked out in their Disney attire, gave them our keys and luggage; I was feeling so fancy. As we were making our way in to  the hotel to check in, my heart stopped. Could that really be my ex boyfriend walking right in front of me? As I was holding hands with my husband and holding my sweet baby girl, I started to have a panic attack. All I could see was him. All I could think of was the night he burnt a cigarette on my shoulder because he was angry, the times he talked down to me, all of the lies he told me... it all seemed like it was happening again. Once I could catch my breath, I told Rory what was happening. He stopped me immediately and said, "Are you okay? Do we need to go somewhere else?" I stared at the profile of my ex, he turned and saw me and quickly turned away, and then I chose to be okay. I chose to see my husband right there in front of me. I chose to feel my daughter hugging me tightly. I chose to not be my nineteen year old self. I told Rory, "I'm okay".. I had to be. This was my weekend with my family and I was not going to let someone who hurt me in the past ruin it. His haunting face did catch my eye a few times throughout the weekend, but each time I saw him, my heart never sank again.

There are many things that I can think of right in this moment that have been tainted with a bad memory; a song or a place that immediately takes me back to a negative experience with someone who is no longer in my life. This weekend put me in a situation I had never been in before.. it put all of those traumatic memories right in front of me (literally) and I was somehow able to brush them off and not let it cripple me.

For years I've struggled with coping after having a nightmare about an abusive ex or having a bad memory triggered. For years I've allowed myself to be broken, to be paralyzed by the trauma. This weekend I learned that it is as simple as making a choice; the choice to be present and to be stronger than my former self. It is impossible to not be traumatized by an abusive relationship; every single one I was in has shaped me, broken me, traumatized me.. but it doesn't have to take over the rest of my life. I choose to let go. I choose to feel joy in each day.


Friday, February 7, 2014

I'm Turning 29

Happy Friday everyone! This weekend Rory is taking Logan and I away for the weekend.. I don't know where we're going, but yay for birthday suprises! All I really wanted this birthday as a gift was a new hot glue gun with a stand. I told my mom a while ago, so I'm sure she got it, but just for fun, these are some things on my birthday wishlist:

This recipe box.

This shirt.

This is for kids, but who cares? I love it!

Have a great weekend! Any fun plans?


*my actual birthday is Tuesday, the 11th*


A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014.
Hangin' with her buddies after nap.

**my camera lens actually broke right after this, so this is what we've got and this blog will probably be out of commission for a bit. Anyone want to buy me a new lens for my birthday?**


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Great Parental Expectations

As I was blow drying my hair this morning, I was thinking about how I said Logan will never watch TV (we don't even have real TV anyway, but..) and she was watching "Yo Gabba Gabba" right as I had that thought. Sometimes you just have to give up on some of the parenting rules you set for yourself so you can have a good day. I don't have any other way to entertain Logan while I need to shower and dry my hair upstairs, so I put on "Yo Gabba Gabba" for her on the iPod and we're both happy. After she was first born, I was a total mess and thought I was a terrible mother and wife. I could not find enough time in the day to shower, do the dishes, laundry, and clean all while trying to feed and entertain my baby. It has gotten easier as she's grown more independent, but I think the thing that helps most is disregarding my expectations of myself and remembering to take care of me for a few minutes because I take care of everybody and everything else the rest of the day.

I said a lot of things before motherhood; during and even before pregnancy. In watching other people raise their children and especially being a preschool teacher, I knew what kind of parent I was going to be.. I thought I knew. One mom in particular stands out in my memory. When I was a preschool teacher, I had a mother of two boys. She was a sweet lady, a teacher, and her boys were absolute terrors. One boy kicked her and punched her every day when it was time to go home. The other boy pulled out his own hair in raging fits. The whole situation was pretty mind boggling. The thing that really never sat well with me was the way she spoke to them; she'd use a soft voice and tell her boys sweetly as they were physically abusing her or themselves that what they were doing was not ok. I always was boiling on the inside watching her parent her children. I had a million suggestions for her because those boys didn't treat me like that! Teaching toddlers and preschool aged kids hardened me in the sense that I expected myself to be a disciplinarian when it came to my own kids. I'd have fun and play with my toddlers; get messy and run around, but when it was time to move on to another activity or eat nicely or sleep, they knew to listen and they did.

When I found out I was pregnant with Logan, I had conversations with people about what I thought life would be like with her. I told people I would definitely not have a baby sleep in our room; she'd be born and go right in to her own crib and room. I told Rory I did not want to share a bathroom with our baby, that it would invade our space and she needed her own bathtub. I didn't want toys in our room. I had a lot of silly expectations. When Logan was born, I needed her close.. she needed me close, so she slept next to our bed in her Snugabunny until she was six months. This house only has one tub amongst its three bathrooms, so I had to share a tub with her and I don't mind at all. For the first few months of her life, I actually took baths with her. Rory is definitely more stern with her that I am capable of being. I laugh when she's frustrated with me; she's just too damn cute!

I thought children would toughen me up, I thought I would be stern and authoritative, but I am a softy. Trust me, I have my moments where Logan and I butt heads and I raise my voice because she's not listening, but I know that to her, the world revolves around her and sometimes she doesn't understand why she needs to stop playing and we need to get in the car. She just doesn't have that understanding yet, so why get mad at her all of the time over it?

The biggest lesson that Logan has taught me is to just let go. Let go of expectations, let go of strict schedules, let go of most all of my need for control. It's a better day for everyone when we all just go with the flow and understand each others' needs. We do stick to a schedule; Logan eats and sleeps around the same time every day, but on days it doesn't happen, I don't need to be angry about it. When Logan wants to watch an episode of "Yo Gabba Gabba" and we've already played lots of games and done some fun activities, then ok.. let's do it. Logan is teaching me to be the parent I want to be.. all of the expectations I had for myself have flown out the window and I feel like I am better because of it, better because of her.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Owl Hoarder

Every time someone sees my owl tattoo on my arm they say "Wow! Is that an owl? It's so cool." Yes, it is clearly an owl.. and thanks. That's what I am thinking, but what I actually respond with it "Oh yeah, thanks. I got it before owls were trendy." Rory laughs at me whenever I say this because he doesn't understand why I feel the need to say that. Well, it's because I did get it before they were trendy.

The story goes that my eldest cousin, Darren, had a hard time saying "Pappa Al" when addressing my grandpa. So because it sounded like he was saying "Pappa Owl", my grandpa Alfred was then called "Pappa Owl", which turned into Poppo somehow. The last year or so of my grandpa's life, I spent a lot of time with him; a lot of time going through his house full of treasures and learned the stories that correlated with each item and picture.. I grew to know him in a different way and he became more important to me than he ever had been. When he passed away at the ripe old age of ninety one, I was devastated and didn't know how to cope with it. My one way, the one way he would have hated, was to start my sleeve with a ginormous owl tattoo. I saved a few of his owl things for myself and slowly started collecting my own. It's become quite a collection now that I have some tucked away in boxes and closets and under the bed because if they were all out, people might call the hoarder police on me.

On one hand, it's been nice that owls are "in trend" right now because I can easily find things that have a special meaning to me and add them to my collection. On the other hand, when hipster folk rave over my tattoo and go on about their own owl tattoo plans, I cringe and wish they were only special to me; because I'm selfish.

Do you have anything that you collect? I'd love to hear about it!