Monday, September 29, 2014

Logan's Favorite Things (22 Months)


Just a few days ago, Logan officially turned 22 months. Each month that she inches closer to turning two, she amazes us with her social, motor and language skills. Just over the last couple of weeks we have seen so much change in her; she's no longer timid about climbing to the top of play structures or sliding down slides that are meant for bigger kids.. she's fearless and she's confident in herself. She's talking to us in sentences, she's aware and understands everything now.
I've done a few of these before (you can see all here), so I thought I'd share some of Logan's favorite things with you again just in case you're looking for some gifts for an almost two year old in your life!

one. Plan Toys preschool musical band //  two.  playdough (I use this homemade recipe) //  three. AlphaBlock by Christopher Franceschelli //  four. Ikea LATT kids table  //  five. Melissa and Doug stacking train //  six. 4 in 1 Radio Flyer Trike //  seven. anything and everything Peter Pan  // eight. Melissa and Doug wooden vehicles set  //  nine. push along toy (specifically, hers is a worm that my dad and step-mom bought for her in Portugal)

If you'd like to share some of your favorite toddler toys with me, I'd love to see!

xo
-Ali

39/52


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

Taking a break from working on a chalk art masterpiece to stare at a plane overhead.

I am late on this one, again (and again I'll refer to this portrait series as a thorn in my side). Late last week we were feeling pretty exhausted from no naps and good old fashioned busy days. Saturday we spent a good chunk of the day hanging Halloween decor outside and Sunday I forgot to bring my camera to a birthday party we went to at the beach.
I'm surprised I got this snapshot in today because Rory and I are both feeling sick and I had to take Logan to an emergency allergist appointment this morning after we were all awake all night (whine whine whine). It's only Monday, but I think it's safe to say that I am over this week!

Here's to hoping tomorrow's a better day.

xo
-Ali

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Autumn

Happy first day of Autumn friends! I've been a little nostalgic today thinking about last Fall.. Logan was just starting to walk, we visited lots of pumpkin patches, I was making her first costume; I was pretty excited for our first Halloween together.

This year will be a whole new experience; she may partake in trick or treating, the harvest festival will be more exciting for her this time around, she'll be aware that she's in a costume on Halloween... I'm really excited to see Halloween through her eyes again this year.

You can take a peek at little Logan during the Fall here and here and here and here.

It's official, tonight the Halloween decor can go up outside!

xo
-Ali

Monday, September 22, 2014

What September Looked Like.. On My Phone


^^ we've been spending our afternoons outdoors despite the awful heat. ^^


^^ Rory and I attended our friends wedding in Santa Barbara. We danced, caught up with some old friends, but we mostly talked about Logan. ^^

^^ It was a farm month! Logan rode horses at Underwood at the beginning of the month and then again this past weekend at another farm. This girl loves animals and she's particularly fond of the horses and goats. ^^

September is coming to an end and it's creeping closer to holiday season. Though it's officially Fall tomorrow, that doesn't really mean anything in Southern California... we're still baking over here! I am so ready for some chilly weather, Halloween festivities, and again cold(ish) weather.

xo
-Ali


Friday, September 19, 2014

38/52

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

Every day is a new discovery.. every day is a new adventure with this girl. She's in to looking for worms in the dirt and playing the drums. 

xo
-Ali

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Grace


This weekend was a bit of an eye opening one for me; we went to a wedding to celebrate two people that are super close to my heart. I knew I'd see people that I used to be close with and I was nervous, but I just reminded myself to keep my wall up and everything would be fine. I convinced myself that I didn't need these people because I had been pretty angry with them. Over the last (almost) two years, I've seen a different side of people I loved, I saw a different side of myself. I had felt that I had been burned by these people, that these people didn't care enough to meet my daughter, they didn't care to be a part of my family. I've written about all of that here before so I wont stay on this part for too long, but the point is, I felt like I had been abandoned. I felt angry and bitter for a long time and I thought I had moved passed that. When I wasn't invited to concerts, or baby showers, or birthday parties (any get together's) I felt burned by them but moved past the hurt pretty quickly.

At the wedding this weekend, I felt like I was being just enough of myself with these old friends of mine.. I felt like I could be around them but I remained closed off. I made sure to not be overly friendly or approach them to say hello.. I waited to be greeted, I waited to see how they'd react to me. Each time I am going to be around this old group I prepare myself to be open enough to seem normal and to not let them know of all the hurt they unknowingly caused me.
After nearly two years of being closed off, I was called out...
My friend said "Let's talk" and she told me how I wear my emotions on my face and how she could see that I was not happy to see most of the people I was surrounded by. I was there to have a good time with my husband, celebrate my favorite couple, and then keep to myself. She told me that I needed to be the bigger person, that I needed to be elegant and graceful. Her words weighed heavy on my heart. I looked around at the people I used to love endlessly and felt the rush of sadness because they never extended the care to come meet my daughter after she was born or to be a part of my family. Each time I am in my old group of friends, I am happy inside.. my heart overflows with love for them and I think that things can be the same as they were. My friend told me that because I don't tell these people how they've unknowingly hurt me, things can't be the same. All anyone can see is that I am being cold and distant... my dear friend spoke such truth that night and I can see how I need to be full of grace and forgiveness.

I am ready to open up and confess my hurts to the people that I love. I am ready to give grace when I encounter them. I am ready to be myself around the people that filled my heart with so much love. I have shared more than half of my life with these people, I've shared my secrets, they've taken care of me, I've taken care of them... there's so much love and history that it doesn't quite make sense to just be angry and give it all up. I can understand now that they may all be totally clueless as to what's going on in my head and my heart... if so, I alone created the distance.

Relationships change as you get older; friends are lost and made. People move, get married, have kids.. people grow apart and I am ok with that, but if there's something I can do to keep important relationships strong, like be a more graceful person, then I am going to try my best to do that.

"Be elegant and graceful because you're better than that to not be"... words that rattle the person I've been lately. I've been secluded and fearful of people that are closest to me. Not even with just friendships, I can see in other parts of my life that I've been unknowingly hurt by people and I've totally shut them out. I don't want to see them or have conversations with them... when I have to be around them, I am reserved and anxious.
This perfectionist is far from perfect.. it's time to strive for grace.

xo
-Ali 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Other Things


I have blog posts come across my mind several times a day; I start rehearsing the words I'll write in my head, but I just haven't made it to the computer to type lately. I mentioned recently that I felt like I've been on auto-pilot since June and that's still very much the truth about how I feel.. I'm just going going going. Every day there's Etsy orders to list or send out, there's emails to answer, floors to clean, laundry to do, appointments to go to, phone calls to make; when I do have a moment to sit down, sometimes I eat for the first time that day or I sprawl out on the couch with a book. I feel like I've neglected this little corner of the Internet for a while; blogging was an outlet for me.. it still is in some ways. I like to write things down and I enjoy going back to certain times in my life, but I can't help but feel like this blog is like a nagging spouse sometimes. "Don't forget this weeks portrait." "It's been days since your last post.. you'll lose readers." It's taken a lot for me to put those nagging inner voice moments aside to truly do something for myself in the few moment's I have each day. I easily overwhelm myself with each task I have to do, even this tiny blog can overwhelm me.

I've been reading a lot this year (thanks Krista!) and it's become a favorite pass time. In high school, I was the queen of cliffs notes. I can honestly say that I did not read one single required book.. I don't know how I managed to graduate; I barely did to begin with. Taking thirty minutes or even an hour to read a bit of a new book while Logan is napping has become glorious to me! I let the dishes sit clean in the dishwasher for a while longer, I don't immediately put the laundry away, I don't sit down at the computer and type away about something I don't feel passionate about in the moment, I don't bubble wrap those fragile items that need to be shipped out sometime this week, I just relax.
Relaxing is a hard thing to do for me, clearly. I am a girl that does not ask for help; if I need help, I feel like it should be offered. Even in times where help is offered, I smile, say "thank you, but I'm fine", and then continue going about whatever I'm doing like a stressed out maniac. Whether it's control or passing up help because I'm annoyed it wasn't offered sooner or something else, I do things on my own. I hated group projects in school because I knew I could do it more efficiently by myself. Having to cooperate with others never made sense to me.. just let me do this work my way and it'll be done immediately and perfectly. There it is.. I'm a perfectionist.

I sat down the other day to write a blog post about my fears for the future; my fears about having more kids (ultimately breastfeeding fears) and I erased and typed then erased and typed and erased. I don't feel like I should ever publish a blog post for all the world to see when it's not happening naturally, when I'm not typing continuously.. I loose confidence in my words and put the subject on the back burner. That's why I have been more quiet over here as well, I just don't feel like there's anything I need to write about or I feel like it's all redundant (baby, breastfeeding issues, we moved). I do enjoy sharing bits of our life here with you, I love being able to keep my distant family close through this, I love the few emails I've gotten from strangers for being "inspiring".. I guess I'm just going slow at the moment.

The last two and a half months have been a total whirlwind of change and illness and an insane amount of barbecues and appointments to go to. September is almost half way over already and I've got Halloween costumes done, Logan's birthday in the works and Christmas gifts planned; it's always something!

This blog post has been a wild trip through my anxious brain, so thanks for bearing with me. I would love to say that things are going to calm down soon and I know I'll be back with lots of inspired posts, but the next few months are kind of nuts. I know I'll have some weekend snapshots for you and I'll continue with Logan's portraits (which I don't think I'll be continuing next year).. maybe I'll have a rush of inspiration like today to sit down and write something worth reading in between all of the crazy.

Have a good weekend lovelies!

xo
-Ali

37/52


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

She started wearing corrective shoes today.. like mother like daughter. I was worried that they'd inhibit her; keep her from running and walking normally. she's doing just fine in them! I still want to keep these shoes at home only shoes because clunky white leather corrective shoes aren't meant to be played in.
Hopefully they straighten her feet out so that casts and surgery are not in her future.

xo
-Ali

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekend Snapshots - Kids Adventure Garden


Simi Valley is definitely not as full of adventure as Santa Barbara or downtown Los Angeles may be, but we do have a few little gems here. There's a botanical garden in the neighboring town with a Kids Adventure Garden that I have been wanting to take Logan to for a while. We finally got to go with a few members of the tattooed mom group I started a little over a month ago! This garden is free to enter and has some sweet little play areas that lead in to nature trails.

It was an odd humid day here; clouds and scorching sun.. needless to say we were all dripping sweat. Despite the arm pit sweat stains, the constant wiping of upper lips, and flushed faces, we had a great time with friends.
Logan stayed at the tea party play space the longest.. it's so fun to watch her pretend. She started doing that at home a while ago too; pretending to feed us and her toys food from her play kitchen. She and her friends poured tea for each other and shared an eccentric banquet of play tacos, lettuce, and watermelon.

One we got down to the nature trails, it was much cooler; we reveled in the shade of the Oak trees, dads hopped along rocks peeking out of the creek with their little ones, they chased toddlers across bridges and prevented curious hands and feet from touching poison oak.

September, October and half of November is holding lots of busy weekends for us. I'm so glad we got to have this past weekend to be adventurous with good friends. More often than not, I feel like my calendar is always going off, alerting me of all the events I've typed in there so I won't forget. I look at my calendar and feel overwhelmed with always having to be somewhere and having to take my little family away from our routine.. I am grateful for the family and friends we get to see (not so much the appointments we have to go to), but sometimes it's nice when we have nothing to do.

I hope you're all having a lovely Monday!

xo
-Ali

Friday, September 5, 2014

36/52


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

"I solemnly swear that I'm up to no good".


Turns out her runny nose and sneezing was due to cutting those two year molars.. thank God; unfortunately I was the one who ended up getting sick this week (I am the queen of sinus infections).

It seemed like an incredibly short week (despite the holiday). I can't believe it's September already; I am compiling lists for Logan's birthday and Christmas DIY gift ideas, our Halloween costumes are here.. I'm ready!
Have a great weekend everyone!

xo
-Ali

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

35/52

A little late on this one..

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

Possibly getting a cold after a lot of partying this weekend. Let's hope not!
xo
-Ali

Recovering

... from a long weekend that is.


Rory took Friday off so we could take an afternoon to celebrate our anniversary. We decided to drive up to Santa Barbara and visit the zoo. We took Logan last year and it was so fun this time around! She was thrilled to be there; she loved the train ride, sliding down the ant hill and most of all, she loved the elephants!
I forgot to bring my camera, but if you follow me on Instagram, you saw some pictures from our day. I, of course, have about a million more on my phone.

Saturday we went to our dear friends house for their gender reveal party. They're having a girl! I am so excited for them and was totally wrong in my guess; I even thought Logan was a boy.. I just think that every pregnant person is having a boy. 

Sunday we went to Rory's aunts for a swim party / barbecue. Logan stayed in the pool for quite a while with her grandma and had a great time with all of the toys her aunt keeps in house for all the kids. For the first time, she wasn't interested in seeing the horses. I kept asking her, but she kept saying "No. Toys!" Alright kid... I think she just forgot the horses were actually there.

Monday we went to our other lovely friends house for another barbecue! It was really great to see two of my favorite couples twice in one weekend. We had a great time though we could tell Logan was at the end of her rope with all the no nap holiday party shenanigans; she fell in the corn hole board twice and got pretty upset when her daddy was playing beer pong and couldn't hold her. 

She slept incredibly well at nap today after all of that! I do believe she is getting sick though.. not good. She's been sneezing all day and her nose is running; she's either getting a cold, is having allergies or is teething. I swear this is motherhood.. a guessing game of what's wrong with your kid while they're still getting teeth. Logan's been getting her two year molars for more than a month and they do actually looks pretty swollen now. I'm wondering about allergies on top of the teething though because she is allergic to four common molds that are just floating in the air... the weather is changing and it's been windy here so maybe she's having a reaction to that. I just hope that it's not a cold... having a sick baby is the worst.

I was met with a lot of errands and work to do after taking four days "off" but somehow I managed to do it all today without going crazy. I listed a ton of new stuff over on Etsy if you want to go check it out (click the "Etsy" link I provided or click on my Etsy store widget on the left sidebar of my blog)!

I hope you're all having a great week so far... it's half way over tomorrow!!

xo
-Ali