Tuesday, December 31, 2013

some of you already know, but here's a little snippet of what we've been up to since arriving in Michigan.

//beautiful bird gift tag c/o Kelly Murray (free printable gift tags if you click here!).


Thursday, December 12, 2013

it's so funny to me that these are December photos. also funny that I can see my belly in photos of my feet now. this baby is done hiding. (;

in just a few short days, we'll get to see this little dancing one up on a screen. last time was such an amazing experience, I can't even imagine how much more amazing this time will be. we will be finding out the gender, but not at the appointment and actually, not until we get to Michigan with our families. so just hold your horses.

I'm mostly writing today to ask you all for some reader participation about Advent.
what does it mean to you? do you celebrate? and if so, what does that look like?
anyone do something daily in December? is it with your kids? or just your spouse or by yourself? or just at church?
do you have any favorite books you like to read about the real story and meaning of Christmas? you know, other than the Bible. I definitely have that one.
let me know!

Friday, December 06, 2013

sitting here at the table.. it's suddenly really sunny and starting to rain. and all of these little yellow things start flying around, which is sort of exciting when you realize they're leaves. but then my brain gets a little confused when I remember it's December. and it's supposed to be snowing.

even after two years.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

christmastime is here.

and I'm pretty happy about it.

Chad so graciously let me decorate before Thanksgiving this year so I started adding a few things here and there. I go for simple.. to avoid lots of clutter in our tiny house that already has enough. we'll be in Michigan for most of December (yes!), so I've really been wanting to enjoy our own Christmasy home for a bit before we leave. especially since every Christmas from here on out is probably going to be a lot different. (: 

and this is our sad, little tree. we never could figure out which pesky bulb was making that whole middle section not light up. I ended up turning the whole tree a little to an angle that doesn't really show it as much so I could actually decorate. can't really complain too much about a seven dollar pre-lit tree (after Christmas clearance!) that has been a champ for the first few years of our marriage. maybe it's time for a big girl tree soon. (; or maybe even venture into the real trees. haven't had one of those since I was little and it made our whole family sick, ha. but really, seven dollars? hard to beat.

I'm also planning on making these little cinnamon ornaments in the next few days because, well.. CINNAMON. am I right? and I found a little pine scented soy candle at Target that surprisingly makes our house smell like a real tree. I haven't even had to light it yet. cinnamon and pine.. if you close your eyes, you just might think you're in Michigan.

and just for fun, here's a video from our first (married) Christmas in our first tiny apartment in Michgian.

so, what are your favorite holiday traditions?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

when I almost destroyed the pie.

we haven't been keeping up with our resolution to try new places to eat because when you're growing a human inside of you, it's better to just play it safe and familiar (and all the mommas said amen). we did however feel up to try a new place in mid-city called 3 Potato 4 and we were definitely fans. their big thing is fries, but they're baked and all of the ingredients used in everyyythinnng are very well thought out and healthy. the only thing in the entire place that wasn't vegan was, well, us. (: but no matter. I felt great afterward so I'll for sure be back. it will be a place we can take future visitors because it's something you don't see everywhere.

I definitely succeeded in continuing to forget to take photos, so I don't have anything to show for it. I'll just blame it on the pregnancy brain this time.

which, by the way, I'm learning is totally a real thing, Lord help. and also, hormones. I never really gave them enough credit and I'm still not happy to, but their ability to make a girl sad at the drop of a hat is incredible. if it weren't for the fact that they make this miracle inside of me take place, I'd question what God had in mind there. I'm a firm believer that we have more control over our responses than we realize, but pregnancy throws you for a loop once in a while (it really hasn't been so bad thus far, so please don't think I'm crying all of the time, ha). needless to say, I'm very thankful for grace. (;

speaking of being thankful.. our friends hosted Thanksgiving and a bunch of us pitched in dishes for a big, tasty meal. we supplied the cheesy potatoes and pumpkin pie, which I almost nailed until my oven mitt made it IN the hot filling. I guess all that matters is the fact that it was edible and reminded me of my grandma's pie.

it was a real blessing to have somewhere to gather since our family is in Michigan. we're grateful for friends near and far and that we never really have to be alone.

friendsgiving. complete with flower crowns because, well, those are always a good idea.

hope you all had a great holiday.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

on getting bigger and trying to not compare.

the last two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. the really nice thing is that I was able to go to Michigan twice; once unexpectedly for a funeral, but the family time was something I won't take for granted. we will miss grandma Sally, but will continue celebrate her life and the fact that she is no longer suffering.

welp, I jumped into the second trimester and all of the sudden my body decided I could handle this whole pregnancy thing. such a breath of fresh air. I still have queasy moments here and there and obviously life is much different, but I'm feeling better and feel like I can enjoy this time more. I wanted to love being pregnant so bad, so it has been nice the last couple weeks.

anywho. some of you have mentioned that you want to see more photos of the little one making me pack on the pounds. (; I have a hard time willingly posting this kind of thing (you know, photos and such vulnerable info of myself), so thanks for the push. I will try to update more often. here are a few.. twelve weeks, somewhere in between fourteen and fifteen weeks, and then sixteen weeks. little on is growing.

one thing I have been learning about is that all of the sudden comparison sneaks in again. it's something I feel most women deal with in all seasons of life. but once you seem to grasp that you're who you are for a reason and comparing yourself is a big waste of the peace you could be experiencing, you start something new and wonder if what you're doing is right. does that make sense at all? I'll have thoughts that are obviously not productive and then wonder why all of the sudden I care so much. things like, 'she is farther along than I am and I'm way bigger than her already' or 'she is so much more prepared than I am'. getting used to having this belly is interesting and finding clothes I feel good in is a grand task. don't get me wrong, I love it so much and I wouldn't wish it away for anything. and obviously every woman is different and will carry differently, but I think identity can be a struggle no matter where you are in life and comparing myself to other mommies-to-be (which there seem to be a ton of right now, congratulations ladies!) is something to be watching out for.

and then God is like, 'okay, but look down.' and I see my belly for real. and I remember the greatness of what is happening inside of me. that there is a HUMAN in there. a real life baby. and for as long as I'm living on this earth, it is my real life baby and even once it is no longer inside of me I get to keep it.  and it gets to have Chad as a daddy. beautiful.
so the handy little phone app says the babe is about the size of an avocado this week and can start hearing my voice, among many other miraculous things, which has been so crazy for me to think about. I guess that means we need to start being more vocal. but how neat is it that our voices will be recognizable and soothing once he or she is here? that's pretty neat in my book.

Friday, November 01, 2013

little one.

happy Friday, everyone.

I read this week that the little one is about the size of a pea pod (other things have said a peach) and I couldn't get over how incredible and cute that sounded. to think that there is this baby with all of it's vital organs and hair and finger nails, but only a few inches in length, just hanging out in my stomach is unbelievable. so neat.

I'm turning turning the corner in to the second trimester and as many of you have experienced, you know this is an exciting and much better feeling time. (: I'm still figuring out what it takes to make me feel better, but so far it's just to eat. and eat and eat. that's probably been the hardest adjustment because we're just not big eaters and I feel like I have to eat all day long, ha. I'm a little bit tired of food (okay, a lot tired of food), but have to keep it up every couple hours or it's bad news for Ali. so that's life for the last six or so weeks. also, this crazy sensitive nose here. the grocery store is tough. so many smells! but this week has been much better and I can tell things are looking up.

have a great weekend. I'm off to meet Chad for "lunch", because his lunch today is when you should be eating dinner and he'll be working until crazy hours of the night. this job is weird, I tell you. (;

Thursday, October 17, 2013

a thank you.

oh my gracious, you guys are so lovely.

we have some of the nicest friends and family, thank you so much for all of the love. I can't believe we are having a baby! except I can because I've basically been in a constant state if icky feeling (morning sickness all day is for the birds. or.. can it be, please?). I'm starting to feel a bit better every day( oh please and thank you, Jesus) so the best is yet to come!

there are times every day that I stop and think, is this real life? we had our first ultrasound last week and it was probably the best thing ever. seeing the tiny little arms and legs moving all crazy-like.. the sweetest moment.

I'm pretty sure the desire to be a mom started to creep in when I was so small, only just big enough to hold a baby, but once it happened I was committed. ( ; it's one of the few things I can remember always dreaming of. so now that it is here, life is so surreal. and also, wonderful.

Chad's parents drove all the way down here for a quick visit last weekend and it sort of felt like Christmas. I'm not kidding, I think I looked out the window every hour  on Friday afternoon just hoping they had pulled up. something about being pregnant and having family close.. nothing like it.

they brought a couple drawings from our nieces and I really just can't get over how sweet the one Sophia drew all on her own was. I was going to post a photo of Chad and I to announce the big news, but that drawing was too perfect. no one told her what to draw, can you believe it?! I just love those girls so much.

anyway, thank you so much for all of the love and we love you right back. hope you're having a great week!


Saturday, August 17, 2013

the locale.


here's the thing.

Chad and I thought we would make a new year resolution type commitment at the beginning of the year. and I thought it could be something I would blog about so the family could see what we were experiencing. we're sort of doing well with it, but sort of failing at the second part.

I haven't blogged about it once, ha.

we decided to try one new local restaurant each month. we've been here for two years now (what!) and while we had experienced a bit of the culture, we couldn't stop hearing how AMAZING the food is here. but in all honesty we hadn't been too impressed. so we thought we would try harder to find local spots and try some of their cuisine. so far, we've found some gems but also some not-so-gemmy (?) places.

I know it's kind of late in the year to start, but I still thought I'd throw some of the places out there, even if just to make myself feel better.

january. our first stop was Katie's in mid-city. probably our favorite so far. if you go, you should to try the garlic feta fries. if you're into that (probably horrible for you) kind of thing. we find ourselves randomly craving those fries. we went back when Chad's parents were visiting in March and everyone loved what they ordered.

february. we had Breakfast at a little place in uptown called Couli. hasn't been our favorite (we love The Ruby Slipper and Surry's, which are both hard to beat as far as breakfast goes), but could have just been an off day, so maybe we'll try it again sometime.

march. the Milk Bar. they have a couple locations and we've only been for lunch, but we thought it was great and really good for a quick, casual place to eat. strangely enough, we haven't tried a shake, but I hear they're delicious. also, in this month we stopped in a cute place called Manhattan Jack in uptown with Chad's parents. good coffee, really good treats and a nice place to take a break from all of our adventures with parents. we've been again since and now I for sure want to be there right this minute. ( :

april. this is where things get blurry. we signed our lease for the house and were crazy with moving and going back to Michigan to get the rest of our things and all of that fun stuff. so I'm a little bit unsure of where we went. I will say, somewhere around the March/April time, we went to Crêpes à la Cart on Broadway Street for a nice treat and we had never been there before, so that counts. ( :

may. again, not so sure, as this is when we moved. I think we stopped in to Parenton's Poboys because our landlord told us about them and they're pretty much in our new neighborhood. kind of a little hole in the wall that looks like a house, so you can almost miss it, but the owner takes great care of her customers and takes pride in how fresh her food is. bonus. we had probably the best po-boys (overrated sandwiches in New Orleans) we've tried so far here, so that's saying something, I think. definitely worth a visit for you locals, so look it up!

anyone hungry yet? I am.

I'm really not sure what happened in June and July. we went to The Blue Tomato at some point, which is right around the corner from our house also. they serve just about every kind of food, which made me question the place at first, but it wasn't bad actually. we also went to Cafe Navarre recently and had really yummy breakfast foods.

we've still got some time in August, so we'll keep you posted on this month, and I'll hopefully finish the year off with monthly updates. by the way, this is just a glimpse at some of the restaurants here and doesn't even begin to list all of the great ones we had already been to. these are just the new local ones we've tried. let us know what you think if you try any of these places and if you have any recommendations, we'll take them for the remainder of the year!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

heat advisories and a baby shower.

I have a harder time finding the silver lining, or whatever you want to call it, here than I did in Michigian. I'm trying. before we moved here, God had me in this place of loving any weather that Michigan brought to the table (which is kind of a big deal if you know anything about Michigan weather) and it was beautiful thing. and I try to keep it positive and full of gratefulness on here, but I think August is my rock and a hard place. the air is just so thick here. does that make sense. it's just really really thick. and I always feel so gross. like I can honestly say I would rather have to put on a sweater any day than feel the need to change my clothes/shower half way through the day because it feels like it's over one hundred degrees and the humidity is through the roof and our cars don't have air (seriously, you can check weather.com.. not exaggerating.. heat advisories all week here? that's hot). can I just not be a southern summer person even though I live here or do I have to find a reason to like it? can't I just say I'm grateful I don't have to drive on icy roads all winter? oh, well I guess that's my silver lining. sorry. end scene.

in other news.. a friend of ours is having a baby in September and some of us had the pleasure of planning a baby shower for her. she is waiting to find out the gender, so we wanted plan something not so girly but also not so blue. (: I saw this honey themed shower online, and then found out the mom-to-be loves honey, so we thought we'd just go from there! so we can't take all of the credit, but we did try to make it a little different and special in our own ways. it was so fun to be creative and celebrate Sarah and her honey as they wait for their new little honey on the way (so much cheese there I know). I wish I had a photo with the rest of the planners, but once again I was not any good at getting lots of photos while thinking about everything else. next time that will be delegated. (: at least I got one with Sarah.

trying to keep with a yellow and grey theme (like the baby's room) we filled the desert table with lots of yellow and grey candies, had some summery deserts and a berry salad with a honey/lime dressing. so delicious. we also had cans of lemon san pellegrino and tea and water in a couple of bee hive beverage dispensers, which were a perfect addition the the decor (thank you Brittaney!) and everyone left with a cute little jar of honey.

a special thank you goes to Chad, who I worked like crazy the week leading up to and on the day of. and he did it all with a smile on his face. and to Lauren, Emily, and Brittaney.. I think we pulled off a pretty successful shower. (: you're all wonderful. praying Billy and Sarah were blessed and felt all of the love I know everyone there has for them. can't wait to meet the little babe!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


[this photo has nothing to do with the following post, I just thought it was a good one. (: took my first yoga class with a couple friends and it was soo nice. I went again the next week. I added a little filter-love here, but the real credit goes to this lovely lady.]

ever have that dream where you're back in high school and it always seems to not go right and be a bit stressful. yes, that was me this morning. and also, ew.

whenever I have that dream (not so often, but it has happened multiple times. at least I feel like it has), I always seem to have forgotten about my math class. I get really stressed that I haven't attended the class in forever and I have all of this homework I didn't even start, but when I finally go to said math class, it's like my teacher never noticed. I'm not in trouble and my grade hasn't suffered at all. and then I'm a little bit stressed about that whole situation because it doesn't make any sense.

every. single. time I dream about high school, I've forgotten about my math class. and I don't understand.

later, the song 'Ugly Day' by Five Iron Frenzy was stuck in my head. which is very random; I can't remember the last time I listened to that band. but it did take me back to the high school days again, when Chad introduced me to the song. one minute I'm dancing in my head and the next I'm being super grateful I'm still with Chad and even more grateful the high school days are behind me. (I'm most thankful for Chad, I just wanted to accentuate the fact that I love not being in high school anymore.) (;

why, after not writing for so long, am I writing about this? I dont know.

I haven't felt like I had anything to write about lately and thought, you know what? I'll just say hi to my family by telling them about my morning. ha. sorry, I'm sure you would rather hear about New Orleans and whatevs. today, you just get Ali's dream.

[I wrote this a few days ago, but then I decided it would be a good (terrible) idea to catch a stomach virus that has been floating around down here. I don't think I had enough strength to even look at my computer, let alone pick it up.]

so if anyone likes to interpret dreams and wants to give the recurring situation a go, I'm all ears. (;

watch: this video. it was all over the internet yesterday, so you've probably already seen it but the longer I think about it since I watched, the more and more beautiful a revelation it is to see.
read: (or look) also has been all over the internet for a bit now, but come on. this guy? he wins.
ooh and this.. got a vsco grid, yo. did that make me sound cool? whatever.

oh yeah, and see you tomorrow, Michigan!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

happy mail.

today was such a happy mail day! no more hole-y rain boots. (: a must in New Orleans.

anyone heard of Roma Boots? I first heard about them from my friends in Romania. for every pair of boots sold, a new pair is donated to a child in need, sort of like Toms shoes. the neat thing about the boots though, is that the company works with Roma communities like the one we worked with on our trips to Romania. also, a percentage of their sales go towards helping the children break out of their cycle of poverty and despair. love it. the founder was born in Romania in an area much like the one I worked with, so you can imagine how excited I was to hear about this company.

anyway, I'm not trying to sell anything, I just found it all so neat and thought I'd share it with you.  (sounds like they're doing lots of good in Moore, OK right now too!) there's a video on the website that will give a little more insight.. romaboots.com. definitely worth watching. seeing all of the photos takes me back to that hospital. love that place.

thanks goes to Chad's parents for the wonderful birthday gift. his momma loves to spoil me. (;

watch: roma boots.
read: a holy experience.
listen: he is faithful | bryan and katie torwalt.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

birthday things.

so my wonderful husband treated me to a day full of early birthday things on Friday. he had the whole day planned out and I didn't know any of it before we left the house. needless to say, I'm feeling pretty loved.

we went to breakfast, had some coffee, did a little shopping for me, some shopping for house things, had lunch, walked by the set for the show Chad is working on, participated in national doughnut day (like the good americans we are), went to a movie and got some take out for dinner at home. and then I passed out because I've been a sickhead all week and all of that just did me in, ha. somewhere in there we returned the rental car we had and picked up the Jetta from a body shop (someone backed into my car and the driver's side mirror was basically hanging by a thread.. another story, another day). I also realized I'm no good at actually taking photos of us doing these fun things. I need to work on that.

I love you, Chad Taylor. you sure do know how to make a lady feel special. you're my favorite.


Monday, June 03, 2013

then.. now.

[if looks could kill..]

[over a year ago. there's an extra friend here, so really we only lived with just five other people. (; ]

we started out with lots of roommates here in New Orleans. loved it. and wouldn't trade that time for anything. I really am so thankful that we had friends who were willing to share one space with us. (if any of you are reading this.. hi! we love you!) we spent a couple of years at that apartment and were able to have the cheapest rent possible living that close to downtown, I'm pretty sure. needless to say, splitting rent four ways is fabulous for a season, especially when you're not working very much. so we were able to build our savings back up a little and this year we just felt like we were able to move somewhere on our own. we basically only lived together, just us, for a year before moving here, so the change has been fun.

so here we are. in the house! for the most part, we're unpacked. we get a little bit done everyday, it seems, but it also feels like there's a lot left to do. we have also been able to do a little bit of yard work (also going to take some time) which has been fun and something a little new for me. I even used a hedge trimmer for the first time! feeling super accomplished. almost like cutting hair. (:


Thursday, May 09, 2013

moving time!

this little baby U-Box finally showed up today and we can't wait to get our hands on it. Chad was working, so I didn't want to dive in just yet without him. don't you just love our rusty, little gate? ( ;

we have been running around, getting things ready for the move, feeling pretty busy and tired. but all the while waiting for what felt like months for U-Haul to do their thing. it's crazy how you can get so worn out from waiting. anyway, the next couple days will be full of lifting and arranging and hopefully lots of fun.

and when is this whole teleportation thing going to happen, am I right? sometimes it would be nice to just have our families pop in so they could see the place but not have to spend a fortune doing so.

oh, and since I've been neglecting updates, at least neglecting how often I want to, maybe I should talk about our anniversary last week! I sort of felt a little bad for not posting a lovey something or other on here for my husband. but I feel like the fact that we so enjoyed each others company the entire day is more important than some soon forgotten blog post. I'm sure you understand. but April 30th marked three years married and we can't wait for so many more! we ended the night with dinner out and our waiter just so happened to be from Michigan, so that was neat.

hope you're all enjoying your week! I'll try to be back soon to keep you all posted on the move and such.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

vampires anyone?

(the "moving" crew. and somehow Chad mysteriously added a foot to his height for this photo.)
I had been planning on posting some photos yesterday for a Wednesday Without Words of our time in Michigan. also planned to tell you earlier this week about an episode of The Vampire Diaries that Chad worked on and airs tonight (Thursday). neither of those happened. but it's not too late!

if you watch The Vampire Diaries (anyone? I never have.) pay close attention to this one. I guess it gives you a look at a spin-off that will be happening in the near future. you should be able to see some places in the French Quarter, so that's fun.

hope everyone is having a great week. love and miss everyone in Michigan already. stay warm. ;)
we're just waiting on our things to get here via U-Box and then we'll be on the move! it's getting pretty exciting over here.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

friends, I could use your prayer! every single time we travel to Michigan, one of us (but usually both) gets sick. I tried very hard to strengthen our immune systems this time around but I guess that wasn't enough because yesterday I started getting the scratchy throat and today feel a little more crummy. it just makes it harder to enjoy family time and takes a toll on me emotionally since it happens every time. this is home.. it's hard to have it be a place I always get sick. so healing for me but mostly protection over Chad, that he would stay healthy.

but these two were around a bunch and this happened so, you know, life is still good anyway.


Thursday, April 11, 2013


I love how gloomy and stormy it is here because I feel a little bit of justification for how slow-moving I am today. that, and I think we were deep cleaning until 7pm yesterday (at our new house AND our current apartment). we finally sat down for small group and somehow had enough left in us to watch a movie after, which kept us up very late, and I finally rolled out of bed at eleven this morning. (WHAT! lazy.) anyway, we worked really hard, so I'm trying to forget (or let go of) the fact that I slept the morning away. and let's be honest, when it's stormy here, the city is like one giant puddle, soo...

we spent Easter and the few days prior with our Taylor parents and I sort of feel like we're still recovering from the food induced coma that weekend gave us. seriously, so much eating happened. but it was lovely. and we went out to see not one, but two (!) of the movies Chad has worked on, so that was special to have his parents here for. I loved watching how proud they were of him, seeing his name on the big screen.

we also went on a walking tour/scavenger hunt of the garden district and learned a lot of new things about the city and saw a few houses that are owned by celebrities or where certain football players grew up; I won't give it away just in case you go sometime. (you can go at your own pace because the instructions are sent to your phone. we highly recommend it.) maybe next time we'll try the french quarter tour. we took them for gelato later and I tried the dark chocolate, honey, cayenne flavor.. that was delicious and also burned my throat, but I let it slide because it was so tasty.

we went on a fan boat swamp tour the next day, which was so much more enjoyable than I though it was going to be. I felt like we learned a TON and we got to be out in the sunshine on the water for a couple hours. our captain's name was BeeBop (?), and at the end he brought out this little alligator he had on the boat-the whole time-and let everyone hold him. I HELD AN ALLIGATOR, PEOPLE! never thought I'd say that. he was surprisingly cute and his name was Miller Light. yep. lots of new things for us when we have visitors.

and this week, we got our keys! a little earlier than expected, but good, since our move includes a trip to Michigan and back and it is giving us time to clean and move some things early. it's kind of like moving twice to one place. should be fun. or something.

somebody update us on what's new with you! (I've been hearing some people are unable to comment.. I'm not sure what is going on, but it's usually when trying from your phone. let me know, I'll keep trying things.)