Sunday, December 11, 2011

Back to Blogging (maybe...)

Don't take my word on that as I am known to disappear from this space for long periods of time. But right now I feel the need to update this little corner of the internet.

I have so much to say but not enough energy to put it all out there so I will share the Cliffnotes of my life with you...

Ava and I have left my family, friends, and job and recently moved down South, Charleston, SC, to be exact. It wasn't an easy decision but after many e-mails with her dad discussing the realities of long distance co parenting we decided to just dive right in and embrace parenting to the full extent. Why did Ava and I have to relocate instead of the other way around? Well, her dad just started his career as a fire fighter down here and I couldn't say no to the warm weather.

So here we are, a month in and I am not going to lie, things aren't easy. I guess I should explain the logistics. Her dad and I are not together and our goal is not to rekindle a romance. We simply want to be Ava's mom and dad. So at the moment we are living together in a 3 bedroom home, each with our own room. I am not working, but actively looking for a job. Ava's dad's schedule is 24 hours on, 48 off, which leaves plenty of "family" time. But because I am not working and there are bills to pay he picked up a second job. More often then not it is just Ava and I. Don't get me wrong, I love every second with my growing baby (toddler! but I don't want to admit it yet), but I am a little let down at the lack of CO parenting.

Right before moving down here I envisioned what life would be like now that I would have a partner to share all of this with, but to be 100% percent honest, I had more "me" time when I was living at home with my parents. This is so complex and there is so much to consider that I honestly don't know how I feel about everything right now. There is a lot more to say about all of this, but I am going to be vague for now.

Life would be so easy if we cared for each other enough to make it work as a couple, but that isn't where we are right now. And a good friend pointed out to me that I shouldn't settle for someone I didn't really love (a true reminder).

So now what? I have no idea. I am beginning to think I may have bitten off more than I can chew....

But I do it all for this little face.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Our Little Family Vacation

A few weeks ago Ava and I flew down to Charleston, SC to enjoy a little vacation with her grandparents and her dad. It was so nice to get away from the gloomy Ohio weather and spend some time on the beach. We were only there a few days and to be honest I didn't want to leave the sunshine. It was a very short trip but totally worth it because now Ava can look back at the photos and see that her Dad and I worked together to give her a true family vacation.

Ava's first time in the ocean!

I am completely in love with these photos of Ava and her Grandpa. How cute are they?? She definitely takes after that side of the family...

Playing with her dad...

This is the only picture of the 3 of us together (very strange...)

Overall the vacation was fun and I'm glad Ava got to see her Dad and his parents.

This weekend we are headed to a very small town in Kentucky for the Cyrus Family Reunion (yes, as in Miley). I am excited to show off my little Ava and eat some fried chicken. And in ONE WEEK we will be in New York City!! Eeek! I am so excited. Oh, and I'll also be 24 in one week! This is a great start to the summer.


P.S. Ava turned 9 months on Tuesday!! My baby girl is growing so fast. I'll do a post on that later. There is so much to share.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dear Blog,

I am sorry for my lack of posts. Has it really been 2 months?? Where does the time go? I promise I think of you everyday. I am constantly making mental notes of all the things I should post (Ava updates, fashion inspiration, pretty pictures...) and yet when I am given the time to sit down and write I choose to read all my favorite blogs instead. And then before I know it, my short window of free time is gone.

Forgive me as I am still trying to balance everything out as a single mom with a part time job. I can't even imagine how so many moms (single or married) go back to work or school full time so soon after having a baby. They are truly super moms. Let's not forget the stay at home moms who somehow manage to fight off boredom everyday by creating a fun routine with their little ones. I am stuck in an in between universe where I work 4 hours everyday but still must find little things for Ava and I to do so we don't get stuck in a boredom rut. I am still working on that. The weather has not been kind to us here in Ohio and we didn't see sunshine for days at a time. But May is here now and the sun is shining and the park is calling our names (but so is the shower and the grocery store and dirty dishes and the breakfast I have yet to eat...).


This was meant to just be a quick post to say hello and give you a few little updates...So here we go...

Ava will be 9 months old later this month. Where did the time go?? You know all those moms who tell you to soak it all up because time flies?? Well, I have truly listened to their advice and I have a confession to make. Since I have started working back in January, Ava has only napped in my arms. I never lay her down. I know that might sound crazy because nap time is usually the time most moms use to get things done around the house. Not me. I use that time as an excuse to lay on the couch and relax with my little Ava and I wouldn't have it any other way. And later on in life I can truly say that I soaked up that time with my sweet baby girl.

Ava LOVES daycare now. She used to hate it and it killed me. But now she is always so happy when I drop her off and pick her up. And I love the women who take care of Ava. They are all so sweet and patient with all the kiddos. And I can see that Ava is developing little social skills. I am so happy that she is embracing the world around her.

We are headed to South Carolina on Thursday and I cannot wait to sit on the beach. I am so excited for Ava to dig her toes in the sand and woo everyone around her in her little green striped swimsuit. Her dad's parents have a time share down there and asked us to join them on their vacation. Her dad will be with us on the weekend and we will have a full on "family" vacation. I am excited to give Ava this experience. While her dad and I are not together romantically we are doing our best to be together as her mother and father and when she older she can look back at the photos of our first family vacation.

Shortly after we return from the beach, Ava and I will be heading to New York City (!!!!!). Words cannot express how excited I am. While this visit will be drastically different then my past experiences in NYC (hello? I have a baby now) I know I will have more fun this time around. No more late night drunken taxi rides. No, no. Hello daytime picnics in the park with my bestest of friends and maybe a glass of champagne here and there. This trip is hands down the best birthday present (thanks Miss Katie!).

OKOK. This post is soooo long now. I'm wrapping it up with some new photos of Ava...

She is so cute it kills me sometimes.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dreaming of Warmer, Dryer Days

It's cold and rainy here but it hasn't stopped me from daydreaming of warmer days and pedicures. A few days ago Melissa from Dear Baby tweeted a picture of her wearing the cutest pair of shoes. She highly recommended them for their comfort. The woman is my idol, she is 31 weeks pregnant, has a toddler, and manages to look great and wear 3 inch wedges while doing it all. Amazing. Well, now I am obsessed with those shoes and looking for a similar (cheaper) pair...

Melissa modeling the shoe:

The shoe...

Here are 3 similar pairs (all under $30, from Forever 21)...

These are shoes I would usually overlook, but part of me is ready to get out of my comfort zone of simple flats and sandals. I think this style is the way to go. What do you think??

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Girlfriends and Bad Pop Songs

I've been missing my close girlfriends like crazy lately. Most of them live on the East Coast and our doing amazing things. We talk almost everyday and I wish we lived closer so we could see each other regularly. I am reminded of them and all the fun times we had on a daily basis. Usually the memories hit me when I am flipping through the local radio stations on my way to work and a really bad pop song comes on. Apparently my friends and I (sometimes) listen to really bad music. Think Kelly Clarkson's Since You've Been Gone and any Kanye song.

I remember when I was living in Brooklyn my friend Cadi and I would BLAST Since You've Been Gone and scream and jump around our tiny apartment that we shared with 3 guys. It was ridiculous and so much fun. We looked like fools and we loved it. Here is a picture of Cadi (the blond), myself (the tan one), and a few of our other lady friends. We were a tattooed, wing eating, pink champagne drinking group of ladies. I miss that summer.

My best friend, another Katie (different spelling) loved to make fun playlists for our weekend nights. We were roommates for 2 years so there are a lot of songs that remind me of her. One that always makes me laugh is a ridiculous song by the Gym Class Hero's called Cookie Jar. Katie would always do this silly dance but she somehow made it look cool.

Another best friend I miss everyday is Alyse. Alyse is CRAZY and that's why I love her. My favorite memory of Alyse was from New Years 2006. She came home with me for break that year and we partied here in Columbus. We drove around blasting a band named Adult and then went to a party on OSU campus. It was a riot. We walked around taking Polaroids of everything because we were sooooo coool.

(look at her shoes!)

These ladies (and others) have so much to do with who I am today. I can't wait until I see them again so we can drink cheap champagne and eat greasy pizza.


Monday, March 7, 2011

A Quick Visit

Ava's Papa came for a very short visit this weekend. He is hoping to make it up here at least once a month to see little Ava. We were able to take a few photos while he was here...

Smushed nose kisses....

The little photo shoot didn't last too long. Ava was ready for a nap and Papa was sad he had to leave.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately and I am seriously considering moving to Charleston, SC once Ava's dad finishes the Fire Fighting Academy. While I want Ava to be around her grandparents and her aunts I know that it is more important for her to be around her Dad. Plus it would help to have a partner in all of this. I realize that when he is around I get a little more "me" time. I was able to do little things like paint my nails, sip my coffee, flip through magazines, style my hair....

We have no intention of exploring our relationship romantically (been there, done that, didn't work out...) but we know that we have to do what is best for Ava and being in the same city and working together as her Mother and Father is definitely the best scenario.

He doesn't finish school until July so I have plenty of time to think this over and figure it all out. There is definitely a lot to think about....

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No Offense....

...but these shoes are just a little too loud...

Monday, February 28, 2011

6 Months!

I honestly cannot believe that my Little Ava is 6 months old!! Time flies. She is such a happy little baby these days and I love it. I used to be afraid to go out and about for long periods of time with her because she would often become overwhelmed and it was hard to calm her down. But lately we can go out and she'll just spend the time taking in all the sights and sounds.

I am so glad Spring is just around the corner so our outings can be outdoors and she can see the changing of the season. I am looking forward to walks around the park with this little one.

Now for some 6 Month Updates....

Ava weighs 15 pounds, 3 ounces.
She is 26 inches long and has big feet.

Ava loves to chew on her Sophie Giraffe,
but no teeth seem to be poking through those little gums of hers.

She LOVES taking a bath.
She makes the funniest faces when trying new foods.
She still loves to be naked.

She loves to kick her chubby little legs.
She squeals like a professional.

She still has bluish eyes (it's a mystery).
She adores her Grandma and she loves her Grandpa's guitar playing.

We have plans to go to Rhode Island to see her other NaNa and PaPa at the end of March. I cannot wait for them to see how much she's grown. Last time they saw her she was a grumpy little 3 month old.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Wish....

...I could pull this look off...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunny Saturday

Forgive me for my absence this week. I always get a small case of the winter blues around this time of the year. Nothing to be concerned about, just a little lack of motivation. Luckily Spring is right around the corner and the sun has been making more appearances lately.

Yesterday Ava and I took full advantage of the sunshine and spent the day with my sister at her VERY sunny apartment. I was excited to get out of the house but I didn't want to really go out and about, so my sister's apartment was the perfect place to spend the day. We lounged, played with Ava, and watched Eat, Pray, Love. It was a perfect February Saturday.

At one point in the middle of the(long) movie I could see the sun shining on my sister's bed. It looked so warm and welcoming. That kind of sun doesn't shine on my bed, unfortunately. So we paused the movie and Ava and I soaked up some much needed vitamin D. And of course I took some photos (I am still getting used to my new camera and trying to get my photo mojo back )....

What did you do this weekend? Any big Valentine plans?

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pretty Fantastic

Things have been going my way lately. Nothing too amazing has happened but there have been some pretty fantastic things warming my heart and making my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. Let's start with the biggest and best news of all. I BOUGHT A NEW CAMERA! A really, really nice camera for a really, really reasonable price. I have been searching Craigslist and Ebay regularly looking for a nice DSLR for under $300. Kinda a stretch, right?? Well, I saw an ad on Craigslist for a Canon Powershot SX10 IS.
This is an amazing camera and is everything I wanted. The best part?? I only paid $225 for this beauty, almost new in box. The guy I bought it from bought it as a back up to his much nicer DSLR and hardly ever used it. I couldn't believe his asking price. Spending that much is a stretch for me right now but I know this is a great investment and I can't wait to shoot with it. I kinda feel like my love for photography is coming back (it's been gone for awhile).

Following that buy I spent some much needed quality time with my good friend Caitlin. We went to a few thrift shops looking for some bargains. I only purchased a few items (boots, jean jacket, knit skirt) as I am now on a spending freeze because of my camera purchase. But it was nice to have some girl talk time while my mom babysat Ava.

Another great thing?? I was awarded the Stylish Blogger award from Nikki at Life of A Single Mommy.

I am going to treat the rules of this award a little differently. I know I should follow the rules and pass is on but well instead I am just going to highlight some new to me ladies I have recently started following.

First of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH NIKKI. I am truly flattered. You have become one of my favorite ladies to follow because I can relate so much to what you are going through. I hope you keep sharing and I cannot wait to read more about your journey.

Another lady I really enjoy following is Drea from ohdeardrea. I adore her blog and reading about her journey with her baby girl, Marlowe. I am envious of her Floridian lifestyle.

Through Drea I found Chelsea from too many cookies. She is another young mama with lots to share. Do you see a trend here? I am excited to find young ladies like me who are sharing their parenting journeys.

Then through commenting on all these blogs I've gotten a few new readers including Kathleen from too many shades of violet. She seems like the sweetest lady and her daughter is so adorable.

And last but not least I've really enjoyed reading Cassie's journey over at Baby Makes Two. She is so witty and honest, it's super refreshing.

I never thought I would find so many like minded mama's to share this amazing journey with. Thanks ladies. You are all pretty fantastic.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Why Mornings Are My Favorite Time of Day

(image via We Heart It)

I have always been a morning person. I love to wake up early (or late), lay in bed for a little while, make some coffee, start breakfast, turn on some music, and enjoy the morning sun. Ava has only made the mornings more special for me. My mornings with are her are hands down my favorite part of being a mother. Everyday we wake up together (we co-sleep) around 8:30 or 9 AM, Ava spends a long time stretching (and growing!), I open my bedroom curtain, and we lay in bed "chatting" and snuggling. She has started to maneuver her body in a way where she is able to scoot around and not long after we wake up she is right next to me, nose to nose and wide eyed. I absolutely love it. It is truly the best way to wake up.

On a different are two amazing links I wanted to share...

If you read RockStar Diaries then you know she and her hubby had a beautiful baby girl a few days ago. While she is gone she has some guest momma's sharing their motherly advice and it is definitely worth checking out.

Through that post I discovered Princess Lasertron and was pleased to stumbled upon a post on her blog about Breastfeeding in Style. It is a must read for any momma or momma to be who is or plans on breastfeeding.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day!

Due to the nasty weather hitting most of the country I've had 2 official snow days in a row. It is one of the many benefits of working for a large school system. These last two days have also made up for my lack of a weekend due to my nasty stomach bug. So here I am lounging in my PJs and snuggling with Ava. While I miss warm weather and sunshine I wouldn't trade in these moments for a thing.

I decided to take a few photos of Ava today to pass the time. I usually dress her up but today I decided to leave her in her colorful onesie and throw down a very patterned blanket for the background.

I've been thinking a lot about buying a new, nicer camera. While I love my little camera I can see that it is on its last limb. I've had it for almost 4 years and it has definitely seen better days. Plus I want to upgrade to something nicer that will allow me to do more. However, I don't really have the funds to go out and splurge. All the cameras I am looking at are in the $300-400 range (USED) and well, I just can't justify spending that much at this point in my life. Maybe I can spend $200-250....maybe.... If you know of any reasonably priced cameras (preferably a digital DSLR), let me know!

If you know me, you know I went to school for photography and have a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, so you might think I'm crazy for not already having a fancy DSLR, but I was taught that it isn't the camera that takes the beautiful photo, it's the photographer. I still very much believe that, I just miss taking photos in the Manual setting. And to be honest I REALLY REALLY miss classic film photography, unfortunately it is way too expensive these days to process film. Plus I like being able to capture a moment and immediately share it with everyone.

On that note.....I was playing with colors and what not while editing my photos today and I am debating which photos I like best. I usually prefer to edit as little as possible, usually just slightly changing the contrast or color. So what do you think?? Obviously the original is on the left...

I love her rolls,

and those toes,

and her little strawberry nose.

I would love your advice!