Monday, June 30, 2014

26/52

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

A little late on this one. Looking cute in her sugar skull dress from Auntie Tam and Uncle Robin.

xo
-Ali

PeekABoo


Hey there! Did you think we had fallen off the face of the Earth? The past few weeks have been pretty crazy and I have not been able to sit down and write until now. Life has been full of lots of changes and new beginnings... in the thick of it all we felt depressed and like there was no light at the end of the tunnel, but here we are, in a gorgeous new home and all is well.

When we rented our townhouse, the owner told us he had no intention of selling. We were coming to the end of our two year lease and were asking the owner quite frequently if we were going to be able to renew.. a few weeks later we received a formal notice to vacate because the house was going to be listed and sold. We were heart broken to say the least; I was actually hysterical for a day or so. I felt so helpless, I felt like a failure because my daughters home was no longer going to be hers. I looked around at what we had made our home and realized we had become a family there, Logan had been there her whole life, she'd taken her first steps there... so many memories flooded my head and my heart became overwhelmed. I was filled with anxiety wondering what would we do, where would we go, and we need this much space now, and now we can't try for another baby this summer because we're moving... I was in a state of panic for days. I kept thinking about my childhood and how we were constantly moving from place to place and I was devastated for my daughter; I couldn't have her live the life I lived. I thought about us moving every year or so and having to put Logan and any other future children through that, it killed me.. it killed Rory.

The thought of continuing to live this way has made us set a lot of new goals that we are very motivated to keep. We prayed and we had faith and now we're here in this moment, enjoying our new home and feeling grateful for the chance to make our lives here.. to grow our family here and to make new memories.


xo
-Ali

Monday, June 23, 2014

25/52


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

A little behind on this one, but more on that in the near future. We're having the most stressful and hectic week of our lives.
xo
Ali

*photo by Rory this week*

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Teepee for a Tot

I've been wanting to make Logan a teepee for a while, but kept thinking she wasn't at an age where she'd get it and enjoy it for what it is. The last couple of weeks, either Rory or I would say, "she'd really like a teepee in here". So after searching Pinterest for several weeks and coming up with what I assumed was a fairly well rounded idea of how to execute this project, we decided to take it on Saturday night. Well, the poles were too tall and the tarp wasn't laying right.. so Sunday night we tried again, still wasn't working. Cut to Monday, we cut the poles and were on the right track until the plastic grommets we got kept breaking. Finally on Tuesday night, accomplishment!!
I wish I could provide a link to some amazing tutorial, but honestly this process was all about trial and error. Through my Pinterest search I did settle on the supplies we needed, which were:

-one 9x12 painters drop cloth
-12 metal grommets (I got these from JoAnns in the jewelry section. They screw in to secure rather than hammering)
-5 PVC pipes (we started with 8 feet pipes then cut them down to 7 feet to better fit our space)
-shoe lace like rope/ribbon (I got mine on a spool from JoAnns)
-twine
-spray paint (we already had this color in the garage)

Rory followed the steps to secure the pipes that you'll find in all tutorials; he drilled holes in each pipe and strung them together with twine. We actually secured the teepee once, then cut the poles and had to redo the twine at the top to better secure the tarp and help us widen the base of the teepee. Every tutorial using a tarp will tell you to fold it lengthwise and cut a semicircle, before you cut make sure to measure the top of your teepee! We cut ours too wide and had to flip over the tarp and redo it. Thankfully, there was enough fabric to make that mistake.
We restrung the grommets, rehung the tarp, pinned and repinned the tarp, and basically built this thing over and over for days until it was right. Taking on this DIY to avoid spending a trillion dollars at The Land of Nod was a pain in the ass, but definitely worth it. Rory and I always laugh our way through all of these projects that are supposed to be easy and basically effortless, it's obnoxious but fun. Also, I'd much rather have something we made for Logan than something I could just buy on the internet that a million other people have. I like things to be unique and building memories around something you made is always that much more special.

xo
-Ali

**Are you wondering why there is only one picture of Logan outside the tent? Well friends, it's because she's scared to go in it right now. Figures! Hopefully she'll like it soon.**

You can see more picture of Logan's playroom here and here.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekend Snapshots- The Museum


I hope you all had a wonderful weekend with the fathers' in your life! Rory had requested we go down to LA to Exposition Park to visit the museums. We had gone before I was even pregnant with Logan, so it was fun to go back and experience everything with her. She was pretty excited about these elephants; she kept asking to go see them. She ran around all of the mammal halls like a toddler on crack.. everything was new and exciting, I'm so happy she loved it and Rory and I had that much of a better time because of her.

If you know me at all, you'll know I do not like anything with wings to be in my personal space.. it's just terrifying to me, but I grew some balls and went in to the butterfly preserve at the Natural History Museum. It wasn't so bad, Logan was actually pretty nervous about them flying close to her so I had to laugh; like mother like daughter.
We were at the Natural History Museum for a couple of hours and then headed to the Science Center to see the space shuttle. It was packed and we found out you had to wait in some awful line to purchase tickets just to see it, so we walked around all of the other exhibits. Rory and I both agreed that the Science Center is something that we'll have to go back to in a few years when Logan can actually interact with everything. It's all hands on, which is really awesome, but she's not really ready for it all yet.

It's pretty crazy that June is half way over already! We've been so busy, have been working on a certain project that's been a thorn in my side (I'll share once we're done), and it seems like we blink and it's 11:30 at night and I'm angry at myself for not being in bed an hour ago! I'm grateful for these little weekend getaways we're able to have so we can sort of slow down, get away from home life, and make memories as a family.

xo
-Ali

Friday, June 13, 2014

24/52


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

Distracted by the wind while blowing bubbles in the front yard. I love her curious gaze.

xo
-Ali


You can see all of this years portraits here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The One I Want to be With When I'm Ninety Two


I think most females fantasize about love, marriage, and the baby in the baby carriage for a good portion of their lives. Though I was a tomboy and played Ninja Turtles with my best guy friends, I was still a romantic deep down (yes, even as a five year old). I swooned over Jordan Knight from New Kids on the Block, wanted to marry my best guy friend Brent Cicogna, and always answered "a wife and mommy" when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I come from a broken home, if you will. My life was pretty normal up until my parents divorce (I think I was five); we lived in nice houses, had horses in our backyard, had presents piled twice the size of us at Christmastime.. life was normal, maybe even extravagant by my standards. I remember one day my dad came to sit next to me as I was watching "The Goonies" and he said, "We'll always be friends" with tears welling up in his eyes. I thought, "Ok Dad, sure"; I mean, what else was my five year old self going to think? The next thing I can remember is my mom, sister and I moving our stuff out of our house. I don't remember if I was aware my dad was not coming with us.. I guess twenty four years is a long time to remember something like that.

My life changed pretty significantly from that point; my sister and I were scooted back and forth from parent to parent and from home to home. My mom, sister and I lived with family members, friends.. we lived in guest bedrooms and my mom slept on an air mattress in someones dining room for a long time. I didn't really get it then; it was just my life.

I have one very clear memory of a night my dad dropped us off in our town house rental (my mom finally got us our own place, then we were quickly displaced by the 1994 Northridge earthquake).. my mom asked if he wanted to stay for dinner and he did. We ate together, the four of us, like a real family
; my eight year old heart was filled with so much joy that I ran upstairs after dinner, started to jump on my bed and sing to all of my stuffed animal friends "my parents are getting back together.. my parents are getting back together".
As an eight year old, I didn't know what love really was and I didn't know that sometimes people fall in and out of love. I believed in Disney; I believed in happy endings.

Obviously, my parents did not reconnect (and as an adult, I am grateful they did not. Some people just don't belong together), I was disappointed in love and didn't really realize what love actually meant until I met my husband (aww).

I was a train wreck of a young adult. After high school, I dropped a ton of weight and began dating and seeing whomever I pleased. If some guy thought he was my boyfriend, I didn't care.. I'd go on a date with other people who showed interest in me. I can see now that I was subconsciously trying to make myself feel better because I believed all these guys really liked me and I felt like crap about myself.. right? Psh.. they liked that I was unattached and didn't care if they called back or not. The one guy that I can think of that did really care and love me, I pushed away. He said once, "I can see myself marrying you" and I thought "Ugh God" to myself.. I was far from believing in love at that point, I had been burned a few times by then. I had been in three long term relationships that jaded me and made me devalue love and myself.

Poor Rory.. by the time I met him, I was a mess; a drunk, jaded, insecure, cold hearted mess.
I won't go too much in to when we first met because I wrote about it here already, but will say that Rory saved my life and made me believe in love. I've said that a lot.. "Rory saved my life", because he did. I could have continued being who I was, dating jerks, being abused in every way possible, but Rory saved me. I wonder if we didn't live together if things would have ended up happening the same way; if I would have seen his kind heartedness so soon and fallen in love with him so deeply and quickly. I don't necessarily believe in "soul mates" or "one person out there for you" because I believe people can fall in love many times and fall out of it many times as well, but I do believe in God's plan. I believe Rory and I (and Logan) were in God's plan and I am grateful that God had faith in me and my broken heart to be open to Rory when I had no faith in myself or men for that matter.

Knowing love, feeling love, and living in love is a gift and I feel like people throw the word around so loosely (i.e. I'm fifteen and in love with my boyfriend). I don't think an immature heart can truly feel love and give love back in that way; that's a hard thing for a teenager to swallow, I'm sure (sorry kids). I was a brokenhearted teenage girl once who thought I was in love with every San Fernando Valley band member that played at the Cobalt and the American Legion Hall.. I didn't understand love and honestly, I didn't want to. It was easy to be closed off and devoid of all feeling, but I am glad to not be that person anymore. People say to stop looking if you're looking for love and it will find you.. I think that is so true because you have to stop screwing around with idiots in order to open your heart to a good man deserving of your love. Good point? I think so.

xo
-Ali

**photo credits: photos one and three by Ressull Salvi. photo two by Dallas Sterling**

Monday, June 9, 2014

Weekend Snapshots - 60th Anniversary Party


Yesterday, Rory and I hosted a small get together to celebrate my grandparents sixtieth wedding anniversary.. sixty years guys! Having people over always makes me so anxious, but I truly love to plan a party; in another life I'll be a party planner and professional organizer. Logan had partied pretty hard the night before at another party to celebrate my Uncle's (well, third cousin or something) sixtieth birthday! It was a very busy weekend full of dancing, family, and lots of desserts and food that I did not indulge in (pat on the back).

Hello Monday, you came awfully quick.

xo
-Ali

Saturday, June 7, 2014

23/52


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

We finally had a normal week, despite the two vaccinations and k9's that just wont move! She's really exploded with words this week more so than any other. I haven't counted in several weeks, but I am thinking she's got about 115 words now. The other day she put a few pieces of chalk in Rory's hands and said "Juggle?".. we didn't know she knew that word!
xo
Ali

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Taking Stock


Making: changes! I'm on day four of strict Paleo/Whole 30 and I am already feeling so much better. I started eating Paleo last July and have been stress eating like a doofus since February. I am super motivated, doing well, and am happy. I figured, "why keep feeling miserable?" It's not worth it.. even though I will miss traditional pizza.

Cooking: Right now I have a seven pound brisket in the oven with some sweet onions, garlic, sweet potatoes and carrots.
Drinking: water and orange juice only! Bye bye diet coke (again).

Reading:
 Nothing of substance. Occasionally I'll click on a link someone shared on Facebook about some celebrity, the news, a science article, a parenting article. I should find a good book. Any recommendations?
Wanting: to take a vacation. It's hard because even though Rory's been at his job for over a decade, they do not offer sick or vacation time. Every hour he's not at work, we're losing money. Paying our bills is a priority so I am keeping my fingers crossed for a weekend trip soon.

Looking: for new rentals. It's kind of devastating. We're actually not one hundred percent sure if we'll be moving this August; we're waiting to hear back from the owner about the possibility of him selling this house. If we can stay, I am sure we will.. but something might be out there that's cheaper and that in itself could be worth a move. Lots to think about.
Playing: Mad Caddies "Dirty Rice". The Mad Caddies are my favorite band.. I saw them in concert while I was six months pregnant with Logan... yeah I was that mom/pregnant lady, in a bar, at a concert. Logan's favorite song is "Shoot Out the Lights" (mine too), and she wont let me listen to the rest of the album lately. After the song is over, she says "lights... lights", so it's on repeat right now.
Wasting:
 time.. which I am happy about. I had felt so overwhelmed and stressed beyond belief the last few months that I've made myself sit down to lunch after I put Logan down for a nap and to watch at least one show in my Hulu queue. Sometimes it good to veg.
Sewing: Ahhh nothing right now! I still have intentions of making my first quilt this year. Rory and I are going to make a tee pee for Logan soon, so I'll be doing some sewing for that.

Wishing: for money to fall out of the sky. A big chunk of my family if going to Hawaii next month and of course, Rory and I are not going. I just can't justify putting ourselves in that much credit card debt. It's really hard to be left out of things and not be able to go places because you simply can't afford it. Maybe one day we'll win the lottery.
Enjoying: Logan, of course! Did you think I'd answer any other way? I love our conversations. I love hearing her words. I love watching her play and become more confident in her motor and social skills (well, she's always been socially confident). I am enjoying this age a lot!
Waiting: for June 15th! We're taking a day trip to Santa Barbara for Father's Day (per Rory's request)!

Liking: all of the cute vintage items I have listed on Etsy. It's really fun to have pieces of kitschy history in my home.. until they get shipped out.
Wondering:
 how this summer will go. If we'll move, if we'll decide to get pregnant...
Loving: this stage of life and new friendships. I feel like the last year and a half has been all about personal growth and I'm really happy about where I am. Still working on some things, but overall pretty happy.
Hoping: to stay motivated. I am already feeling the difference, so I want to remember that I feel better this way and to keep it up!

Marveling:
 at my daughter and at the fact that God has blessed us so much with her life. So many babies have been lost this year; I've seen in on Instagram and on blogs I follow. It seems like so many babies have been born and the same amount have been taken away from this world. People are having miscarriages, their babies are lost in tragedy, babies are being stillborn... it's heart wrenching. I feel so beyond grateful that my daughter was healthy enough to live and that tragedy has not stricken our family. You just never know what the day will bring and when it will be your last, so I am in awe of life and her every day lately. The reality of how precious life is is too real lately.
Needing: a vacation.. again. Soon ::fingers crossed::

Smelling: That brisket that I've been cooking for hours... mmmmm.

Wearing: Anthropologie shirts.. always. I really love the selections this year; the tops are cut for normal sized people, they're flowy and flattering; can't ask for anything more when you're still giving your post baby body the stink eye every day in the mirror.
Following: My Etsy shop has a new Instagram account! Are you following?

Noticing:a change in my energy and my body already. I have been feeling a little dizzy since being strict Paleo again (probably caffeine withdrawal), but I feel more energetic, leaner, and mentally alert and happy.

Opening: my heart to people that used to be in my life more often than they are now. I have gotten over the anger and the bitterness and I am okay with where our relationships are at.. there or not. I reached out to an old friend the other day and it felt really good to talk to him again and feel that special bond we have always had.


Feeling: like I am on the right track. I am eating well, exercising, close with people I enjoy being close with, finally dealing with the ptsd I was diagnosed with... I'm feeling good. 

How are you doing lately?

xo
-Ali

Monday, June 2, 2014

Weekend Snapshots

We finally got out of the house this weekend! We slept in a little on Sunday, and after breakfast I was feeling pretty antsy and wanted to figure out what we were going to do for the day. I had heard of a children's museum up in Oxnard and thought it was the one I remember going to as a kid, so we decided to head out there. Unfortunately the museum was not what I thought it was; it was pretty sad and dingy (I don't think we'll be going again), but Logan had fun nonetheless!
She didn't seem to mind that the "interactive" star fish tank had a big grate on the top of it with a sign that said "do not open".. she enjoyed climbing up the stairs to take a peek at the little sea creatures.
After about an hour and a half at the museum, we headed to the Ventura Harbor for lunch. It was such a gorgeous California day; not a cloud in the sky and a perfect ocean breeze. It was nice to just wander around, watch Logan play in the Spring weather and put all worries in my mind aside to enjoy time with my family.

We have some seriously busy weekends this month, so I'm glad we were able to get out (just the three of us) and make some sweet memories.

xo
-Ali