The Adventures of You & Me: Blog en-us (C) The Adventures of You & Me (The Adventures of You & Me) Thu, 22 Feb 2018 01:52:00 GMT Thu, 22 Feb 2018 01:52:00 GMT Slow Parenting & Giving Yourself a Break At times, I tend to overwhelm myself with whether or not I am putting enough effort into parenting. Am I doing enough? Does Alo have enough to keep him occupied? Am I killing his brain cells by letting him watch 22 minutes of "Sarah & Duck" every day? Am I providing him with enough activities to do? Am I reading enough parenting books? Am I already behind in researching homeschooling? I scroll through Montessori-themed blogs and Instagram feeds I follow, thinking that I am lacking. 

But then I step back, breathe, and remember all of the milestones that my son has reached:

  • He is sitting at his own miniature table (no highchair for a while, now!)
  • He can clean up a spill (I tell him to "clean, clean, clean!")
  • He can push in his chair
  • He can retrieve his shoes
  • He can "put things back" from where he found them
  • He can put "cuckies" in the trash by himself
  • He can drink out of a cup
  • He can sweep the floor
  • His vocabulary is insanely large for his age ( think—though I could be biased ;] ) 
  • We visit the library at least 2x a week
  • We read to him way more than 20 minutes a day (which is the recommended minimum amount you should read to your child on a daily basis.)
  • Alo is incredibly well-traveled—he has been to a lot of places, and seen a lot of things! 
  • He is an excellent sharer 
  • He adores books more than any other physical thing we/he owns

I also remember the stumbling blocks: 

  • I  H A T E winter (in Western NY, mind you). This makes everything generally more difficult. 
  • I am moving across the country in 3 months from a place I have truly struggled living in (eee!). That mental weight is ever-present. 
  • I have limited funds! I am definitely jealous of all of the Grimm wooden toys and Holtzeiger animals sets I see around the blogosphere ... but I am funding a medical education, and am not in the stage of life where I can give Alo the finest things. Though, I will say, for what funds I do have, I really am resourceful. I SCOUR ebay, Facebook Marketplace, local children's consignment shops,  Amazon ware-house deals, garage sales, etc. on a regular basis for quality, wooden toys. My ever-so-manly husband even constructed our own learning tower (retail price for one of those is anywhere from $175 – 200)!!! I'm lucky to have come across really quality second-hand materials for CHEAP! It's all about how much effort you are willing to put in to find quality materials for your child, and how resourceful you can be. For example, I'll be completely honest: I cannot afford to buy eco-friendly fingerpaints for my son as much as I want to. However, if he spills some of his morning smoothie all over his table, imma let him "fingerpaint" that fruit puree all over his body and surroundings until he is well and done! 
  • Parenting is H A R D work, and it's plum exhausting to be 100% engaged 100% of the time. Major kudos to single parents like my sister out there. 
  • I am absolutely passionate about parenting. I think I fight it sometimes, wondering if I should be setting my sights on more professional pursuits. But I really do get a thrill at re-arranging my sons play space, rotating out his toys, picking out books I think he will get a real kick out of at the library—and then seeing how he reacts to all of these things. It lights me up inside knowing that whatever energy and effort I contribute, directly effects his life. You can see how that is also very daunting and bring forth a lot of shame and stress if I'm having a day where I am altogether too hard on myself. 
  • My interests are completely different than those parents who are also doing their very very best to raise their children mindfully. I've seen a lot of lovely posts of mothers baking with their toddlers. But you know what? Baking stresses me out to no end and makes it a dreadful experience for everyone. I'll leave that one to Dad (he's a pro-baker, you know!). However, I am passionate about the outdoors, reading, and feeding my family a mostly-homemade and weird-ingredient-free diet. These are things I put a lot of time into and should be more proud of them!


Fellow parents of young children: we will forever walk atop the fence dividing the sides of: "Are we doing enough?" and "How can I be a better parent?" It's a necessary evil at times, but it doesn't have to lead to self-degradation and shame. Join me in this challenge———Today I am making several appointments in my phone calendar for the next 2 months. Every Sunday evening, I will ask myself: "How did I do this week as a parent?". On the last day of every month, I will plan to look for age-appropriate activities for my son to enjoy and appreciate, keeping in mind what he needs from me as a parent— whether it be specific emotional support or filling in some gaps on supplies we need. Let me know if this helps you over the next few months, and I'll update you as well. The only way we can improve is to mark our progress and remind ourselves that we are doing the best we can! Make a list of amazing things your child can do, and  This ramble was mostly a personal reminder for me, but I certainly hope that it helped you in some shape or form. 

More later, 


Below are notes for myself to reflect upon over the next month on things I could be doing better!




Notes for myself:

Things I could improve at:

  • Involving Alo in more food and meal prep: slicing fruit with his crinkle-knife, kneading dough, setting table, pouring water, cleaning up afterwards, bring dishes to sink after a meal, etc.
  • Allowing him more time to learn to dress himself and pick out his clothing
  • Toy rotating more often, so he becomes better at entertaining himself/ less overwhelmed. 
  • More Art! Water coloring, painting, stamping, coloring, colored pencils, markers, play dough, etc.
  • Getting outside a little bit more. It's truly been a frigid few months, but I still know there is room for improvement here.  
  • Giving him more mindful activities at a table—puzzles, matching, sensory activities, etc. on a loose schedule rather than whenever the bug bites me or on days like today where I am feeling slightly inadequate. 
  • Better introduction to the potty—sitting and reading once in the morning, and once at night for 5 minutes.
  • A more firm, but flexible routine...though this next month is going to be absolutely all over the place due to traveling. Then when we come back, it will be full speed ahead with packing up, finding a place to live, patching up any small damages to the house, and getting Jared ready for residency. I am a little stressed out at the prospect of these next crazy few months, and hope it won't have too strong of an effect on Alo. I need to continue to spend time with him in the mornings—reading books, singing songs, and snuggling. ALWAYS snuggling.



(The Adventures of You & Me) Thu, 22 Feb 2018 01:52:24 GMT
Fall Mornings I always wake up a little groggy, still not used to the realization that you've been sleeping through the night for 4 months now. I never wake up before you, I'm still catching up on z's I lost when you were learning how to drift off to dreamland uninterrupted. Someday I'll get up before you and be productive or exercise or something. But not yet. 


You're happy in the mornings, but still clingy snuggly. I don't mind. Since you've weaned and since Daddy has been away, I'll gladly sit with you under the covers while you slurp down your morning yogurt with syrup. We're both still warm with sleepiness, and you haven't started wiggling too much yet. 


You've started sitting at a small table—like a big boy—and I hate to break your routine, but I just can't resist the closeness and the heat of your little body. You used to cuddle so freely when it was my body that was keeping you nourished. Maybe I should feel more appreciative of them now that they're on your own terms.

If I'm lucky, I'll put on my pot of tea and get around to drinking it before it gets too cold. (That's what microwaves are for, right?) I have a stainless steel thermos somewhere that would keep it piping hot for me, but there's just something about drinking from a pretty tea cup that makes the constant re-heating worth the inconvenience. 

Meanwhile, you've begun your morning work: removing every single book from the bookshelf, before you begin dropping dominoes down the slots, peeking in afterwards and smiling at me for approval while they 'plink!' against each other. This is only the first of many rounds of this activity. I'll pick up and re-shelve your "babies" (books) a thousand times so you can relive the joy of removing everything from its place. 

At some point after I scroll for a little while, you find my phone, and practice your own photography skills.

These are the details I want to remember before they change into something new. In a few months, you'll be walking and our morning rituals will undergo a drastic change. I love watching how you change, but I mourn the loss of each stage before this one, and look forward to each new one with excitement. I love you, Alo Monroe.

(The Adventures of You & Me) alo alo monroe autumn baby elmira fall mornings new york personal writing Mon, 02 Oct 2017 02:14:01 GMT
When You're Gone (an iPhone dump) This is what a lot of life has looked like lately:

Not so much the bunny ears, but there has been a lot of Video Chatting happening this Summer, and now Autumn. For those who aren't aware, my husband is a medical student. On top of that, he is in the Air Force too (notice the beardlessness in the above photo, much to my dismay). 

This season of school and life has meant a lot of training and a LOT of traveling. Sometimes I feel lucky at how "adventurous" we get to be, by traveling around and having lived in several places so far... but then other times, man do I just want to be home... in a routine and settled. Then after a week of being back and settled, I get restless again! The grass is always greener, I suppose. 

So far since June, Jared has been to 5 states (not including ones driven through)— Ohio, California, Nevada, North Carolina, & now Florida. All to make our life better. To work hard to figure out what the best next step for our little family's journey is. I am so in awe in how hard you work, and how you rarely complain. 

I've had to figure out how to do things alone. For the sake of all of our sanities! IT IS HARD. I miss your company and your presence. I miss our dumb inside jokes that we always regret attempting to explain to other people (we're not as funny as we think we are). I miss holding hands while you drive. I miss sitting next to you in church, smiling while you experiment with your singing—trying to find the harmony while we join the congregation in singing hymns.  

In all honesty, I'm better when you're around. Your presence makes me WANT to be better. You bring out a focus and drive in me that I can't explain. And when you leave I turn into a pumpkin again. A pumpkin that is seriously tempted to eat scrambled eggs or cereal for every meal. 

 I think the thing I miss the most though, is that magical hour or two in between you coming home from work and Alo's bedtime. Where you both light up the room with your love for each other, and I turn a blind eye while you toss him a little higher in the air than I probably would.


Then after cleaning up dinner and talking, we cuddle up on the couch. I argue about what we're going to watch on Netflix while we scroll for a good 20 minutes. You put up with it, even though we both know full well that I am just going to fall asleep 10 minutes into whatever we end up watching anyway. 

Monday can't come soon enough—we get to discover Florida with you, a place where we might live in just 8 short months. It's too soon to tell where we'll go for sure. For now, I look most forward to you coming back to New York, and enjoying that last slice of time in this home and soaking in the last true Autumn and snow-filled Winter we'll get for at least 3 years.  


Thank you for everything you do, my love. Home is wherever you are.


(The Adventures of You & Me) alo autumn elmira fall florida home husband jared marriage mr. baird new york personal writing Thu, 28 Sep 2017 03:33:51 GMT
You Are O N E

Alo Monroe Baird. You, my playful little fox, have been with us for an entire three-hundred-and-sixty-five days, though it feels like you've been with us from the start. You've given my life so much more depth and meaning than I could have ever imagined. You helped me find myself, my purpose, and the drive to be the best I can be so I can be an example for you. I keep looking at this paragraph, feeling like I need to write more about how much you mean to me, but I don't think I could come up with the words if I tried. 

There's so much I don't want to forget about you in this stage—you're changing and growing so much I can barely keep up. You've been waking up at night this past week, I think, because your brain is developing at the speed of light. You're still not walking, but your language has starting pouring from your lips! It surprises me when you call something by name so intentionally. 

First Words:

  • Tickle (First Word, though I'm not sure you know what it means)
  • Mama
  • Dada
  • Ow! (No doubt repeating me every time you pull my hair or pinch my skin a little too hard.)
  • Hi! + Wave
  • Hey! 
  • Baby — We were looking at a book of babies from around the world, and you started repeating me when I said, "Baby!". Later in the day, and the next morning, you crawled up to the book, turning its pages, saying "Baby. Bay-beee!" Now, though, you refer to all books as "baby". Not a bad thing to treasure. Books can definitely be your babies. 

Favorite Activities: 

  • PLAY IN THE DIRT! It amazes me how quickly you can get truly disgusting, complete with dirt crammed under your fingernails. 
  • Play, "Find the bellybutton" on Mom & Dad. You lift up our shirts, stick your finger in the hole, and look at our faces expectantly waiting for us to squeal, giggle, and jiggle. You could do this for hours, I think, but you're really starting to poke a little too hard. 
  • Walk with your baby walker. This only holds your attention for a few moments, as you haven't learned how to turn yet, but when you do run back and forth through our little house, it's impossible for you to contain your laughter and glee.
  • Bathtime, or, anything with water, really. You can splash like nobody's business.The first time I took you to the beach, your crawled right toward the ocean waves, not thinking anything of it. Everyone was quite impressed that you did not eat any sand. Just squidged your fingers in it joyfully! 
  • Hiking. Need I say more? You're the best little adventure companion. The best birthday present to all three of us was a new Osprey hiking backpack from REI, since hiking in the Tula baby carrier is getting a little less comfortable to take long treks in. Unfortunately in this new pack, you have close access to my hair. OUCH! 
  • Bike-Riding. You really did hate it at first. I think you were a little bit small when we first started out, but now you love the speed and the wind blowing through your hair. 
  • Playing with your babies (books). You're not super interested in "toys", but you love exploring new things, pulling things apart, and emptying containers. 
  • Empty the pantry. I made it off-limits for a few weeks because I was so tired of cleaning up after "Hurricane Alo", but you stay occupied in there for so long!

Outdoor Activities You've Done In Your First Year:

  • Hiking
    • Locally in NY
    • North Carolina
    • Yosemite
  • Camping at Letchworth State Park
  • Biking at Presque Isle with Zoey & Zander, and on The Catherine Valley Trail 
  • Kayaking countless times with Nana
  • Went Blueberry Picking
  • Went Apple Picking
  • Went Strawberry Picking
  • Swimming 
  • Snow-shoeing 
  • Went to the Races at Watkins Glen
  • Watching Mommy & Daddy Water-Ski/ Boating
  • Watched the Palmyra Pageant

Favorite Foods:

  • Eggs
  • Full-fat yogurt with Maple Syrup
  • Cheese Sticks
  • Veggie Straw Chips
  • Pickles
  • Ice Cream (You literally cry because you're so sad it's over. We know how you feel, buddy.)
  • Lemons (Weird, I know)
  • Brown Rice/ Quinoa Noodles
  • Annie's Macaroni & Cheese
  • Smoothies 
  • Bananas

I've probably forgotten something somewhere about you. The time we've had together is so full, but at the same time peaceful. I don't want to forget any of it . . . But all I can do is watch you grow, and keep taking photos of it. I love you, Alo Monroe. You are my everything. Happy First Birthday.

(The Adventures of You & Me) alo alo monroe baby birthday boy little fox one year old personal son writing Mon, 18 Sep 2017 13:30:00 GMT
Back to the Blogosphere


Hello world. I'm back. (( With my own website this time! ))

Backstory: I used to blog religiously. Like several-times-a-week, too-many-photos, share-the-link-on-Facebook type of blogging. I'll admit, sometimes I definitely over-shared certain things in my personal life. But, I don't really regret it. What I do regret is stopping blogging. When I got engaged to my husband, life got a lot busier but also a lot simpler in lots of ways. I was in my last semester of college, Jared was applying to medical school, and we were gearing up to move to the other side of the country. So... something had to give. Blogging, music, and writing in general were just a few of those things that seemed to fall by the wayside. I became comfortable with the age-old excuse of "well, all that angst from being single is gone so....guess I'm all out of material!" I also didn't feel like I had to impress anyone anymore. I didn't have to prove that I was pithy or clever or talented to my peers. I started to shrivel up creatively, and when I moved away to a particularly unfriendly small town in Pennsylvania, I started turning more inward and becoming more private, for fear of judgement. That is not a time of my life I hold with much fondness and it really affected me. 

I also had a bit of an exhausting experience with writing in general. I went through a time in my life where I had made a few close friends through a creative writing class, and a few in my editing program in college. We were passionate, perhaps naive, and ready to get published. I loved that time of my life dearly. I know I had a good story brewing inside of me, and I brought the best I could to the table in my novel-writing class, and am still to this day proud of that work. However, I think the pressure of finishing something I knew was really more of an exercise than something that would come to end up on a shelf at Barnes and Nobel, really bothered me. I felt compelled to finish it like how you're sometimes compelled to finish a book you don't like BUT you've started and there's noooo going back now. There is, I believe a bit of an unhealthy culture among writers that "YOU MUST WRITE EVERY SINGLE DAY OR ELSE YOU ARE NOT A REAL WRITER AND WILL NEVER AMOUNT TO ANYTHING." Like the DMV, Home Owner's Associations, and anything else mandatory and bureaucratic, the pressure to write every day turned into a chore that I resented. Combine that with many months of freelance editing some truly terrible self-published YA novels, and I got burnt out and tired. 

I'm not writing this because I feel the need to explain to anyone why it is that I stopped writing. I'm not embarrassed that I failed at something. I'm proud that I can admit that I failed at something and that I've learned more about myself in the process. I'm writing this to give myself permission to write again, whenever the heck I want, however often I want, and to share a piece of myself with you again. I'm ecstatic to report that I am much happier than I've been over the past 3 years. I live in a town that is much warmer (though not temperature-wise), and have made life-long friends I know I'll look forward to seeing again throughout my life. 

Obviously, this is a photography website first and foremost, so I plan on sharing lots of fun client and personal work with you! So while this post has few images attached, look forward to seeing many more in the future. I have found something I truly L O V E doing, and hope to rekindle the relationship I had with writing in the process. 



Until next time! 



(The Adventures of You & Me) back to blogosphere first post personal writing Sat, 02 Sep 2017 17:57:10 GMT