29 April, 2013

A Perfect Moment

I love the late afternoon/early evening sunlight that pours through the windows in our living room, but I don't always take the time to enjoy it. One day last week, we were all home during the sunshine hour, and I really needed a break (after a 15-month hiatus, my monthly friend came back. that bitch ;).

I opened up the blinds, sat down in my rocking chair, and took my break. I flipped through a magazine while listening to a podcast. Cecily played in her jumperoo. And Levi made himself some coffee. It was such a perfect little chunk of time. So peaceful, happy, and rejuvenating.

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I nursed Cecily. Levi and I had an early dinner. And then we all went for a family walk. 

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^^ I love the way she holds her feet while she nurses. Sweetest thing. ^^

Perfect way to ease into the evening.

28 April, 2013


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"A portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2013."

Cecily: 27 weeks. Enjoying a Vivian Maier exhibit.

Linking up with Jodi. Some favorites this week: one. two. three.

26 April, 2013

My Little Weirdo

Cecily rolled over on Sunday! From front to back. She's been rolling over from her tummy for a little while now. Of course, I missed the big roll, and she wouldn't repeat her performance for me until a couple days later. She's been swaddled for bedtime since birth, but I've been terrified of her rolling over in her swaddle since birth too so the swaddle had to go!

We put her to bed with one arm free that night. She played in her crib for about 40 minutes then fell asleep! She kept getting herself into the weirdest position, and I finally got a picture of it yesterday.

Cecily's preferred sleeping position:


I pull her face out of the bars all the time, but she always gets herself back over to them. She is so weird. I love it. She has loved this position since the womb. Remember when we picked out our Christmas tree and the lady at the lot picked her head up for me??

Cecily is a dancer. I just know it.

22 April, 2013

There's always money in the banana stand!

Thursday was Levi's last day at his second job for the week, and he didn't work at the salon in the afternoon so we decided to head down to Balboa to enjoy the pretty day, grab some frozen bananas, and introduce Cecily to the ocean (from a distance). We hadn't been down there in awhile, but I saw this old blog post the other day, and it got me in the mood to go.

First stop: frozen bananas. Obviously.

frozen banans
(btw, only about a month to go until season four hits Netflix!!!! FINALLY.)






Cecily saw the ocean for the first time:




She thought the waves were pretty cool.

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Taking family photos by ourselves is hard. Especially when Cecily only wants to look at Daddy. She's pretty crazy about that guy.



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We spent the rest of the day grocery shopping and made chicken curry when we got home. It was delicious. Cecily woke from a nap while we were catching up on some New Girl and Modern Family so she joined us on the couch before going to bed. Again. So hard to take photos of the three of us. That's Levi's lap on the left side.


I'd say it was a pretty good day!

21 April, 2013


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"A portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2013."

Cecily: 26 weeks. SIX MONTHS old today. Ohhh, it's all going too fast. Silly, you're my "girl of all the world."

Linking up with Jodi.

17 April, 2013

Second Jobs and Stuff


Levi started a second job on Monday. He works from 6:00-11:00 in the morning Monday-Thursday now in addition to three days a week at the salon. This job is a major blessing to our family. The hours are pretty much the only hours that he's available, and it just kind of fits right into our life.

It is a change though, and it's requiring some adjustment. We're working on getting to bed earlier so that Levi gets more than four hours of sleep a night! It's tough for us. He doesn't usually come home from the salon until 7:30/8:00 so it's hard to eat dinner, unwind, clean up, put Cecily to bed, and spend some time together in such a short span of time. I've been going to bed after everyone else this week so that I can have a little (desperately needed) alone time. I get time to myself during the day while Cecily naps, but since her naps are only like 30-45 minutes long, I never feel like I get a real break. Once she's in bed at night, I finally feel like I can count on some uninterrupted time. But I don't like being the last one to get into bed when everyone else is sleeping. It makes me feel lonely for some reason.

I should probably just go to bed earlier and switch my alone time to the morning. I'm more productive when I'm up in the morning. Blah. It's so hard for me to make myself do things!! I get really frustrated with myself. My best days happen when I outline my day the night before and begin the day by reading my Bible and praying that God will give me the grace to actually get things done. I'm so weird - I need routine and a schedule, but at the same time, I hate routines and schedules. I love being awake in the morning and typically have a lot of energy once I'm up, but I'm also a total night owl. My entire personality is pretty much a contradiction. Best of both worlds maybe? I'm working on it, and I'm improving. Slowly, but surely.

Anyway! Even though I'm still feeling pretty thrown off, Levi's new job is a really good thing! It'll help us get caught up financially so that we can feel a little more stable. Levi and I have never been very good with financial planning, but we're trying so hard now. It's difficult when our income is so irregular and unpredictable, but it is possible. We've started having little planning meetings on Tuesdays to review our deposits, bills, etc. We're also starting to plan our dinners for the week ahead of time. This one is soooo important for us. We spend a ridiculous amount of money on groceries. And we're creating goals and planning ways to save for specific things. Yesterday, I counted all the change we had lying around the house and put it away to start saving for the downpayment on the Disneyland annual passes we plan on getting once we take care of a couple debts! We're really excited to get them, and I know we'll feel really proud of ourselves for saving the money over time instead of just waiting for Levi to have a really good day at the salon. But if you'd like to help us get there sooner and you happen to need a headband for your baby or a really awesome original drawing for your house, head on over to Ménagerie. Or book a hair appointment with Levi (562.436.4255). Hint hint. ;) ;) How's that for a totally superfluous, shameless plug for the shop and salon??

I'm so grateful that I have a husband who's willing to take a second job (and wake up super early in the morning) in order to provide for his family. I'm also really grateful that it's important to him that I stay home with Cecily. I always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom, and it makes feel really good that it's a priority to Levi too. I'm a lucky woman!

16 April, 2013


You might possibly notice some changes around here... An Experiment in Poverty exists no longer. Now this blog is called avec la fleur, and I'm pretty happy about it! I needed a change to get me excited about blogging again. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you'll probably recognize the name. I got it from an old French teacher of mine. On the first day of class, I had a big, giant flower in my hair, and he referred to me as "jasmine avec la fleur." I liked it. I took it. It stuck. I think it's appropriate for me, especially with a name like Jasmine.

Anyway, the blog got a new name and a bit of a facelift. I've got one of those fancy Instagram galleries in my sidebar to the left and a link to our shop in the sidebar to the right. Ménagerie also got a little bit of sprucing up. I re-photographed some listings and added some new headbands. Cecily did a little bit of modeling for me:



She's an excellent model. You can check it all out here.

And that's about it! I think I'm finally ready to start blogging a bit more now instead of only sticking to my 52 project posts and my monthly Cecily updates. Feel free to update my URL in your bookmarks. It's aveclafleur.com. You can also continue using the old URL since it will redirect you.

Here's to change!

15 April, 2013

First Trip to Disneyland!

We took Cecily to Disneyland for the first time on Tuesday. A friend of the family was kind enough to meet us at the park on his day off to sign us in. We're so grateful! Thank you, Frank!

When we first started thinking about going about a month ago, I wasn't sure it would be a good idea because Cecily is so young. But it was SO fun. All three of us had an amazing time. Even though Cecily is only five months old, I can honestly say that she loves Disneyland. She's definitely her mother's daughter. :)

I really want to remember everything about our trip because it was so perfect... so this blog post might be a little bit annoying to read if you aren't me or Levi. Feel free to skip it. Levi and I were seriously grinning all day and kept saying how much fun we were having. He doesn't even love Disneyland like I do; I'm not even sure he likes it all that much. He's fine with it, but I'm pretty sure he only really goes for me. Well, now he goes for me AND Cecily. And seeing how much fun Cecily was having made it really fun for him too. At one point, he said, "Disneyland is fun again!" Haha!

We got there in the afternoon and went to California Adventure first. Our first stop was the lockers. We had brought quite a bit of stuff with us for Cecily, and we didn't want to lug it around all day. We stashed our warm changes of clothes and our carrier that we planned on using in the evening. Then it was sunscreen time. We doused ourselves and decided we would head over to get fast passes for World of Color and then go on The Little Mermaid ride. Cecily promptly fell asleep in her stroller. Haha! Exhausted after only 15 minutes! I picked up a first visit button for Cecily and pinned it to her stroller:

first visit

And then we were on our way!

We got our World of Color tickets and some corn dogs (best corn dogs in the world) and walked around, waiting for Cecily to wake up. She took a really good nap, and we were able to enjoy our food and take our time getting from one place to the next. When she woke up, I found a bench on Paradise Pier to nurse her and change her diaper (I'm really good at lap changes;).



And then we were off to Ariel's Undersea Adventure!!! I was ridiculously excited to take Cecily on her very first ride. Especially since it was The Little Mermaid, my all-time favorite! Whenever we're at Target, I always hold up Disney princess dolls for her to look at. She seems to prefer Ariel and Merida. I guess she likes red hair. So I was interested to see how she felt about this ride... and rides in general. Cecily did not disappoint. She loved it SO much. She kept whipping her head back and forth to take it all in. In the beginning, you go "under water." There's lots of lights to look like bubbles. Cecily really loved that part. And then there's a part where you look up to see Ariel and Flounder swimming up to the surface. I probably wouldn't have noticed it, but Cecily looked up right away. It was so cute that she noticed! I hardly saw any of the ride because I was so busy looking down at Cecily on my lap, trying to see the faces she was making and listen to her reactions. The whole thing was really sweet. We all got off the ride feeling really happy. What is it about Disneyland that's so damn heartwarming??




little mermaid

Next we headed over to the Animation building to hang out in the Animation Courtyard for awhile. That place is so cool. We laid out a blanket for Cecily to play, and we all sat on the floor. Cecily really enjoyed eating her toes while she watched all the screens and lights and listened to the music. It was really fun to watch her take it all in, and it was nice to sprawl out on the floor and relax for a bit. We even changed her diaper in there!





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Once she started to look sleepy (Silly still takes quite a few naps every day), we packed up and headed out. Cecily took another nap in her stroller while we headed over to Disneyland. First stop? Churros, of course. And while we were waiting in line, I spotted my brother, sister-in-law, and nephews! So funny! We really wanted to let Cecily meet some princesses (had our hearts set on Ariel or Rapunzel), but she was still snoozing so we went to the Mad Hatter by the teacups to get her her first pair of mouse ears. They're too big for her, but I couldn't resist getting her some. It was such a thrill for me and Levi to see her name embroidered on the back (Levi even recorded a video of it - hahaha!). We really love her name. :)

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Next up: the hunt for some princesses. There's a new place near the castle called the Fantasy Faire where you can wait in line to meet some princesses at the Royal Hall. Cecily woke up right when we got there so we waited for about 20-30 minutes in line for our turn to meet Tiana, Snow White, and Aurora. Sadly, Ariel was getting ready for the parade. Next time! Silly got hungry in line so I nursed her as we waited and got commended by the mom behind us for nursing in public. There's so much camaraderie when you're a mom. I love it. :)

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(just waking up)


We didn't know if Cecily would give a hoot with the princesses, but we wanted some photos to show her when she's older. We were SO surprised and delighted by her reaction. She loved them. LOVED THEM. Especially Snow White. She adored Snow White! She kept staring up at her with pure adoration and fascination. She was all smiles. It was such a sweet moment. Levi and I couldn't stop laughing. Funniest part of the experience: when I asked Tiana if she could hold Cecily for a photo. She said, "I cahn't" in her New Orleans accent, but I heard "I can," so I started to pass her off as Tiana backed away. I think I might have made her break character for a minute as I tossed my baby at her. Hahaha! Wooooops.

She liked Tiana just fine:


But Snow White really had her heart:




I really can't get over the look of adoration on her face. It's too much!!

Even though it feels slightly lame to stand in line to meet princesses inside a building, the Royal Hall was actually really cool. The lighting inside is really great, and they have each princess in her own little section. It feels super private. We didn't run into any other families or children so it felt like we were the only ones there. And they let you have time to take plenty of photos and to visit with the princesses. I'm sure Cecily will really love talking to them when she's older.

After princess time, we sort of wandered around for a bit, trying to decide what to do next. Everything takes a long time with a baby so we couldn't try to cram too much in, but we wanted to take advantage of Cecily's awake time. We walked down Main Street and stopped at the silhouette shop. I had my silhouette cut when I was about two, and it's so cute. Cecily's turned out really cute too. The woman hand cut it in about two minutes! Isn't that incredible?? Levi had to put a basketball video on his phone to get Silly to face forward. She just wanted to stare at the woman. My favorite part of her silhouette is her sparse hair and her chubby little chin(s).


Next we headed over to the main entrance to have our photo taken as a family. On the way, we saw that Mickey and Minnie were out signing autographs. Levi waited in line while I took Cecily into a shop to look around. She really loved the plush Disney Babies and didn't want to let go of Ariel or Rapunzel. She is seriously the best!!

Watching her meet Mickey and Minnie was another hilariously sweet moment. She loved them so much! She "kissed" them both on their noses (meaning: she tried to eat both their noses) and grabbed at Minnie's eye. Levi and I think she's pretty funny. The little boy in line behind us pretty much tried to come home with us as we were walking away from Mickey and Minnie. He was about four and wanted to ask us all kinds of questions. He just kept walking with us away from his parents, and he asked if he could touch Cecily. Haha! He was hilarious.




At this point, she was trying to get back to Minnie and Mickey's faces and really didn't see the need for a posed photo.


We had our picture taken in front of the main entrance. Cecily was being her cute self, and a few girls/women gathered around to try to get her to smile for the photographer. People can really be so sweet. I've never been as aware of this as I am now that I have a baby.

We have like three family photos. This is one of them.

After taking pictures all over the place, Cecily was ready for yet another nap. We got her all settled in her stroller and headed over to Tomorrowland for some dinner. Kids meals at Pizza Port. Oh yeah. It was really nice to sit down and eat. It was also nice to have some semi-alone time with Levi. After heading out of Tomorrowland, we sort of wandered around without a plan, got some more churros (of course), and headed over to the Winnie the Pooh ride to wait for Cecily to wake up. She woke up pretty much right when we got there and was ready to go! I felt like she was happy that we were still at Disneyland every time she woke up. Like she was saying, "It wasn't a dream?? We really are here!" Haha!

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Just up from her nap and ready to go!

She really enjoyed the Winnie the Pooh ride.

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Next up: time to head back to California Adventure for World of Color!! We got our stuff out of the locker, and everyone changed into warmer clothes. Silly wore a hoodie for the first time, and it was pretty much the cutest thing ever. I popped her into the carrier in the facing out mode, we got some coffee, and we headed over to World of Color! Call us crazy, but we decided that we wanted to stand right in the very front row... the "you're gonna get wet" zone. I'm pretty sure everyone around us thought we were nuts for bringing our five-month-old to the very front, but what's a little water? Cecily was pretty exhausted, but there was no way she was gonna sleep with so much to look at. As soon as the show started, she was enraptured. She quietly sucked her didi the entire time and whipped her head back and forth to see everything. She was fascinated and really loved the whole thing. I had a really thick, fluffy blanket to hold in front of her, and when the mist got a little too heavy (and the fire got too hot), I held it up over Cecily's face. I was really wet at the end, but Cecily was dry as could be. After it was over and everyone cleared out, I turned her around in the carrier, and we walked back to the lockers to get our stuff and go home.

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Levi instagrammed this one with the hashtag #cecilyisgonnagetsoaked. Hahaha!

It felt like it took forever to finally get to our car. We were all exhausted, and Cecily was passed out.


We were some of the last ones to get to the deserted parking structure. As we were walking to the car, I saw some cash on the ground. I pointed it out to Levi and told him to grab it (I was still wearing Silly). I thought maybe it was $5. Nope. It was $60. SIXTY!!! So, basically, almost everything was free that day! Can you get any more perfect than that??? Levi and I were both starving by the time we started to drive away so we stopped at Jack in the Box (terrible, I know). Every freeway exit we would normally take to get home was closed down so it took us ages to get home, and, of course, Cecily didn't sleep well that night. Pretty sure she was too exhausted to sleep well. But it was all worth because it was the best time I've ever had at Disneyland and such a bonding time for our little family.


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