Summer is officially less than a month away; though it's already been feeling like Summer here in Southern California. We've had some pretty hot days lately with a few pants and tee shirt weather days scattered in.. and as miserable as it gets, it's pretty fun to see Logan's meaty toddler thighs in cute shorts and rompers! Her closet is already pretty stocked for the summer heat (including the oshkosh shortall and pediped shoes), but I'm always looking online for cute things just in case she grows out of what she has.
one. floppy straw hat at gap // two. mini boden applique tee at nordstrom // three. oshkosh floral shortall at target // four. misfits tee at sourpuss // five. bubble shorts at crazy 8 // six. heart sunglasses at crazy 8 // seven. sunny day mushroom tee at ittikid // eight. pediped nikki sandal at amazon
I am pretty smitten with that Misfits tee! She has a Ramones shirt and I got her a Social Distortion one recently.. I'd like to add the Misfits, the Aquabats, and the Beatles to her shirt collection at some point soon (but really.. she does not need more clothes right now). I also got her some sunglasses from Target a few weeks ago and she refuses to wear them ::sad face:: She likes to hold on to them and put them close to her nose, but if I slide them on her face completely, she says "NO!" and pulls them off immediately. **I did manage to get a picture of her wearing them. You may have seen if you follow me on instagram**
What are some of your favorite toddler pieces for summer?
I read something a few months ago about "slow blogging"; blogging when you only have something to share that's worth anything... not just ranting and raving and posting meaningless things because you feel like you owe it to your readers. I've taken the last week off from here because I had been consumed with negative feelings. Our long weekend was a total bust; I had high hopes of beach days and fun time spent with friends, but Logan was sick (again) and it really brought my attitude down. I was thinking I'd post about our wonderful and rare three day weekend, but in reality our weekend was full of crying and coughing and screaming and sleepless days and nights. As the week went on, Logan's mood was still awful because she wasn't feeling well and my mood was pretty terrible too. Each day when Rory got home, I came upstairs and would sit alone and cry or be close to crying; I was feeling so overwhelmed and drained. I did think about sitting down and writing several times, but I did not want to share all of that negativity.
Life with a a toddler is never easy, but for some reason since February of this year, we have been socked up side the head every day with illness and allergies and teething and just somethingthat makes life seem far from normal (I know things could always be much worse, but when you're feeling down and overwhelmed, that's the last thing you're thinking about in the moment). I had started over several times a day, breathed through times when I wanted to chuck something across the room, and sat and stared at Logan throwing a fit because I felt like I had lost all sense of how to function normally. I was feeling broken down, defeated, depressed... non of that makes for a fun blog post.
I am ready to get back to normalcy and days where everyone is healthy! Hopefully I can talk Rory in to taking a weekend trip to Santa Barbara because sometimes, a little weekend trip is just enough to spark some life back in to me.
Here's to hoping for health and new adventures to share with you all!
One post I have been thinking about lately is this one.When I read it back, I can remember exactly where I was emotionally when I wrote it. I actually wrote it several times before publishing because it went from sounding very angry and bitter to a little less angry and bitter each time I edited it. I also can recall very clearly that I wanted to publish it after a wedding we attended. All of the people I didn't feel close to anymore were attending that wedding to be there for a couple I also am not close with anymore. I felt like if I posted how angry I was at them and how jaded I was feeling, I couldn't face them in person.. so I edited and I waited. The wedding day felt odd.. I knew it would. We were sat at a table with people we hardly knew while all of our "friends" were at tables with each other; it's actually funny how that played out because I was already feeling "on the outs".. it just validated that feeling. I was harboring all this resentment toward people who were smiling at me like nothing had ever changed; they acted like they were not at fault for anything and I honestly couldn't wait to leave and go home to my sleeping baby.
In between the wedding last August and now, I can only recall seeing those people on one occasion. We were actually invited to go somewhere to see them all and whilst everyone was gathered together at one side of the pool, Rory and I were with Logan at the other. It's a strange feeling to be on the outside of a group of friends that you've given everything to for more than half of your life and be left looking in on it. That party proved my truth that I had already come to realize; that people grow apart, that my family was not as important as the other families with new babies in that group, and I needed to stop trying.
When you move on to a different stage in life and everyone else is still leaps and bounds behind you, it's very hard to maintain any sort of relationship.. especially when the trying is very one sided. I started the year with a new outlook. I was no longer whining about the loss of all of my friends, I was looking forward to meeting new people who wanted to be a part of my life and who I had things in common with. Beginning the year knowing I would never again have the friendships I did, set me up to be open to meeting new people. I was absolutely terrified of taking Logan to Gymboree and the park and any social setting because that meant I had to interact with adults I didn't know. I was feeling anxious about potential judgments and I was feeling broken because I had just lost all of my friends, but I had to suck it up and form relationships. I don't feel lonely anymore, I don't feel awkward, I am not counting friendships and it feels really great to be perfectly happy with the very few people I call my friends. The friendships I've kept and the new ones I've made at this stage of life are meaningful, genuine, and am confident they are friendships that I will have for a lifetime. My relationships harbor no judgement or resentment, we care for each other and each others' families, and most importantly we make time and want to see and talk to one another.
Rory and I will be attending the wedding of a couple we truly love and admire later this year and I know I will encounter the people I used to call my friends. If it was last year and I knew I'd have to face them, I'd be nervous and upset and would still be wondering why they don't care for me or seek out friendship with me.. but that's simply not how I feel anymore. I feel as if I will enjoy my beautiful friends on their wedding day, I will enjoy the company of my husband, and I will leave still feeling very happy about my relationships.
Coming out on the other side of this has made me see that I am deserving of friendship. I never thought I was before. I let people treat me horribly and I stayed in relationships (friendships, family, boyfriends..) that were detrimental to how I valued myself. I have always needed people to like me and I have always needed to please people.. now I see that I just need to make God, myself , and the people I surround myself with happy.
xo -Ali *perhaps a little too in depth, but in case you're wondering about the photo choice: I chose it to show my shoes on their own in contrast to my other posts shoe shot that was surrounded by some people I don't have in my life anymore. Maybe reading in to it too much, but the symbolism is there for me.
Perhaps you've noticed my blog absence over the last few weeks. I had a few posts go up that I had already written and I kept up with Logan's Friday portraits, but I've been trying to just live life lately. April was one of the most difficult and stressful months I've had in quite a while; with financial hardships, lots of work, Logan's allergies and toddler germs.. I told myself to just take a break. May has been treating us much better so far so I want to enjoy it. I don't want to be attached to my phone or the computer, I didn't want to feel obligated to write something on the blog because I haven't in a few days, I didn't want the work waiting for me in the dining room to take away from me being present with my family.
I have always had a hard time leaving things unfinished or putting things off in general; if I have something that needs to get done, I do it. This month I've really had to change my way of thinking in that the world is not going to end if I don't blog or clean or list items on Etsy immediately.As simple as that might be for most people, it's not for me. I always have tasks looming in my mind.. I stare at every dust/dirt/food particle that needs to be cleaned.. I think about things I should be writing about on this blog.. I apologize to the vintage items sitting on my dining room table that need to be listed then packed away. As a person struggling daily with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, putting those thoughts away is extremely difficult. Typically, I'd obsess over the thoughts and the tasks until they were done.. but now I am thinking about them, moving on from them, then taking them on when I need to. It's been very healing and empowering.
There has been many times where I feel guilty for checking my email while Logan is awake or photographing items for Etsy, I had to remind myself that those things were not as important as spending time with Logan. I mean, I do spend a lot of time with her.. I am always with her, but in those moments where she's reading a book to herself or building with her blocks and I'm looking at Instagram or mopping the floors because they look a little dingyor diving deep into Etsy listings, I know I'd much rather watch her play and problem solve and just be present. Even if she's not directly interacting with me, it's important for me to make these memories with her and to enjoy what's happening in the moments they are happening in.
This generation is an odd one. I have mentioned before that I feel, as mothers, we're finally doing things right; we're raising our children, we're breastfeeding (or in my case, trying), we are choosing health over convenience, we are open books.. but I think this generation of moms also has a down side: we've grown an electronic limb (our phones and tablets). I see moms at the park (anywhere really) and they're on their phone; not watching their children play, not interacting with their children.. it's pretty disheartening. I don't want to be that mom. I want to put everything else to the side and enjoy these precious days... there aren't many. It blows my mind that Logan is almost eighteen months, that she is really a toddler.. a child! Those baby days are long gone for her and I don't want to feel like I missed out on the toddler days because I was worried about getting something else done. Have you seen that sign on Pinterest that says, "Good moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens, and messy kids"? Well, I have to sort of disagree with that, because I'm a very clean person and just because my floors aren't sticky and my child is not filthy in no way means I am a bad mom.. but, I get the message. Every day with this girl is a gift and it's up to me to set all of the things on my to do list aside and just enjoy her, be present with her, and be the mom I want to be and be the mom I want her to remember.
Even little things like putting off a much needed trip to the grocery store for a play date is something that will impact our day in a positive way. There is always going to be things that need to get done; there will always be work and laundry and dishes, but there won't always be these precious days with my daughter. Telling myself it's okay to be present and it's okay to enjoy these moments is only going to make sweet long lasting memories. I wont remember the work or the laundry or the dishes, I will remember days like today when Logan rode a pony for the first time and I had a meaningful conversation with my best girlfriend as we walked around a gorgeous farm with our little ones.
So relax and enjoy... it's what I'm doing and it's pretty nice.
A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014.
She's been very much in to painting this week; either with bingo markers or finger paints. I put her in her bathing suit to play in the water, but she asked for "colors" instead. I tolerated about ten minutes in the heat to let her paint, then we went off to the pool,
If you've been following a long with me for a while now, you might have read before that I was layed off ten days before our wedding in August of 2011. At the time, I didn't mind it much because I was planning a wedding and I had a honeymoon to go on... so I didn't think once all the wedding madness had died down that it would be very difficult to find a job. We had been living in the town we live in now before I lost my job and I had an incredibly difficult time finding a preschool job in this very religious and conservative community. I am a Christian with tattoos and rainbow hair, so it didn't matter if I had the beliefs a Church wanted a preschool teacher to have.. I look weird and I couldn't get hired anywhere. I started to branch out of my field; I looked for receptionist jobs, retail jobs, assistant jobs, organizing jobs... anything I felt like I could do I applied for and I never went on a single interview outside of the teaching field. Six months came an went and I finally found a job in an antique store in town and just a few weeks in to working, I was pregnant with Logan. The owner was verbally abusive and hostile to say the least so I left after a few months of working there and have not returned to a "real job" since.
Once Logan was born and the first hectic three months of her life went by, I started looking for things I could do at home. I know a lot of mom's work full time because they enjoy their careers and there's other mom's who work because they are single or their family cannot survive without two incomes.. right now, our life allows me to stay at home with Logan and I am grateful. I could probably go to work, but I don't trust anyone to care for Logan and I'd be working my ass off to only pay for childcare; to me, it's not worth it.
Rory and I have sacrificed a lot for me to stay at home with Logan and I wanted to share the ways we are able to do that:
We are a one car family. By having one car, we save on gas and insurance. Rory works very close to our home, so on days I do not drive him to and from work, he is able to walk or ride his bike.
We have cheap phones. Rory and I have our plans with Virgin mobile and pay about $70 a month for the both of us. I have a smart phone with unlimited calls, text, and data; I pay far less than any plan we'd have with any other provider.
No cable. We moved into our current rental in August of 2012 and we decided to not have cable set up. We knew we wouldn't be watching much TV with a newborn, and there are really only a few shows we liked in the hundreds of channels we were paying for with Direct TV. And seriously.. more than half of the channels we had were in Spanish! Such a waste of money. We currently pay $9 a month for Netflix dvd's and $7 a month for Hulu (we stream both through our PS3). We also are able to stream Amazon Prime videos as a part of our $79 a year Prime membership.
We keep our internet costs low. Attention: any time your internet provider raises your bills, threaten to cancel and they'll knock it back down! We have had internet through our provider for several years and moved our bill to our current address when we moved and our bill has stayed right around $30 a month. Last August, they tried to raise it from $29.99 to over $50.. we called to cancel it and it was brought down to $31. The provider wants your business, so take advantage and save money!
We turn off our lights. If you're not in the room, turn off the lights. If it's bright enough outside to see clearly, don't turn your lights on. Our power bill is usually less than $20 a month.
I sell things online. All of those shoes, clothes, art work, and other "things" that you're saving for one reason or another are a source of income. My rule is, if I don't use it on a daily or weekly basis, I don't need it and I am going to sell it. I sell things on Craigslist and local Facebook groups; there are people out there that want to buy your junk!
I work part time at home. I was able to create a relationship with an owner of a local vintage store and I have been doing PR and running an Etsy store for her. The work hours vary week to week, but it's something! I feel grateful that I have the opportunity to not only bring some extra money to my family, but also to work with really unique vintage items. Whatever you have experience in, network and find out how you can bring work home.
Meal planning. Having an actual plan and a grocery list to follow has helped tremendously. I used to go to the market and just grab things I thought we needed or thought I wanted, but then I'd end up throwing a bunch of food away.. money right in the trash. Having a meal plan and sticking to it has cut what we spend on food greatly; not only at the grocery store, but in general. If we had nothing we wanted in the fridge then we'd go out and spend money that way. Eating out is so expensive (and fatty), so with having a meal plan, we have no excuse to dine out or make multiple market runs.
We don't buy bottled water. Seriously, it gets so expensive! Right now we have one of those fancy refrigerators in our rental with an ice maker and water dispenser, but before we lived here, we used a Brita. The Brita and the filters more than pay for themselves and you're helping the environment!
Save the A/C and heat for desperate times. It gets hot here in the summer. Really hot. Our kitchen has stone tile and counter-tops that suck up the heat like nothing I've ever experienced so we invested (I say invested loosely because we got them from Walmart) in some black out curtains for all of our windows on the sunny side of the house as well as solar shades for our little courtyard just outside our kitchen. Even if it's warm outside, opening the windows and letting the breeze flow through helps a lot. When it was cold here (ahem.. for that one week this Winter), we curled up under blankets or put a log in our wood burning fireplace. Not relying on the glorious central air and heat we have all the time really helps with the bill.
Use help where you can get it. Logan is on Medi-Cal and some utility bills offer a discount on your bills if you provide them with your Medi-Cal information. Just research what help you can "take advantage of" and use it; it's there for a reason!
We gift homemade items. It's kind of a bummer to be "those people" at Christmas who give the homemade gifts, but that's how it has to be. We have a child to clothe and feed and I'd rather be able to pay my rent than give a gift card to someone. If we do give gifts that aren't homemade it's because they were A) free B) on mega sale or C) I bought them with a gift card someone else gifted me.
I am always looking for ways to spend less each month and save more, so if you have any other ideas on how to do so, I'd love it if you'd share!
Saturday we drove about forty minutes North of us to Rincon Beach and spent the afternoon with my mom. I am not a beach person per say.. I hate crowds and trekking through the sand, but this beach was quiet and there wasn't much beach to trek through; perfect! Logan hadn't been to the beach since she was about seven months old, so I'm calling this her first real beach day.
She ran straight to the water! She played around in it for a while, but when a wave came in a little further than she liked, she was done with the water and only wanted to play in the sand.
It really was such a gorgeous day. It was grotesquely hot here last week, so it was nice to be in the ocean breeze. I am a total idiot and didn't sunblock myself, so I am feeling the burn (literally) and hoping aloe applications several times a day will un-tomatoe my back. And hey.. yay for some family pictures! I am trying to embrace the camera lately by being in pictures. I realize that I am not in many because I am either taking them all or I turn down the opportunities to be in a photo because I don't feel skinny enough to be in them yet. Me feeling uncomfortable isn't worth not being in photos with my family.
This weekend was a really great way to start the month and I am feeling like this great weekend has paved the way for a great month!
A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014.
This gerber baby had a rough week with recovering from a two week long cold and skin testing at the allergist (more on that next week), but she's remained happy and is truly the most resilient child. She's been really in to singing, dancing, and coloring this week.