Monday, October 20, 2014

a few links from around the internet.

^ before & after shots of joggers.

the best way to respond it the comments of internet trolls? sew their words onto some muslin & make it look adorable.

delving more into the meaning of the word "basic,"  as in, "she's a basic white girl".....hoooooo boy.

a project in which a photographer literally throws herself at men (who also happen to be strangers who knowingly signed up for the project through craigslist). it's a hoot, & awkward & strangely romantic. lilly mcelroy, the artist, says, "there is obviously a strong feminist component to this project & that read is very important to me. mostly, though, i'm interested in talking about how human that desire for connection is." (the photo below is from the article)

current blog obsession: jasmine croissant has me envying something fierce. 

designing a nursery in six steps this feels both incredibly relevant to my life right now & something i see & think, "i should forward that to my mom!"

in search of a great twitter feed? (A better question: are you ever NOT in search of a great twitter feed? :) ) no no further: wtf renaissance will have everything you want in a twitter feed. truly - THIS IS A GOOD ONE.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

28 weeks: an update.

(oy, the mess in the background of these photos. tissues for the residual sniffles i have from that cold a few weeks ago, the perennially comely AC unit, the mac charger, the's like a still life, minus a dead animal or two.) 

here we are, another week gone. this pregnancy is flying by. it's reminding me a lot of my mission: the days passed as sllloooowwww as weeks, & the weeks passed as quickly as a single day. & then it was like before i knew it, i was on that long flight home from TW wondering how i had even gotten to that point. i have a feeling that's how it's going to be those first few days i'm holding the little cupcake that is currently GROWING INSIDE OF ME. it'll be all, "how did we get here??" anyway, lemme do a quick update with a template i'm shamelessly lifting from this post:

baby's size: a large eggplant, around 2 pounds. POUNDS?! i have something inside of me that has left the dinky world of ounces behind & now weighs in the POUNDS??!

i'm feeling: mostly really good! i do have to be careful, there are a lot of circumstances that trigger some intense stomach pain: after a day of work i'm pretty exhausted & have to come & sit for at least an hour & a half. if i push myself too hard physically (read: walking too fast? holding the toddler i watch for oh, more than 20 seconds?) i cramp up & have to sit. i have official orders from the doctor to stop running (at least for a few weeks, but with the pain i was experiencing the last few times i ran before doc's orders, i have a feeling i won't run again the rest of this pregnancy {a sad story for another time}) at the risk of spurring on the mini contractions i had this one night a few weeks ago. BUT. if i listen to my body on all these things, & just kick my feet up when my body gets angry with me, i do fine.

food love: see, this one is tough, because i can't tell if the food that i love stems from pregnancy cravings or just my normal love of food. let's just take a look at the food i've been loving & craving lately: pizza, hot chocolate (okay, that one's a drink), life cereal, oranges, & beef lo mein from the chinese place around the corner. pregnancy loves, or just normal life loves? tell me. also, does scandal count as a food craving? :)

food hate: get me away from most fish, immediately. nay, get me away from most fish, YESTERDAY. 

3 pros of october: 
1. strangers being incredibly nice. it's not so much a "pro" as it is a fascinating ongoing study of, i don't know, societal patterns, i guess.
2. being pregnant in the fall! a crazy/exciting thing happening during a delightful season (i'm being careful here lest i venture into this confusing territory).
3. daily, & usually hourly, karate chops from the girl of a thousand kicks.

3 cons of october:
1. waddling when i'm tired. "it's cute," the guy who calls himself "ben" "claims."
2. those CRAMPS though.
3. no more running! one of my favorite ways to exercise & recharge. oh well - it'll be fun to switch things up.

currently living in: dresses like this or this with tights or leggings underneath. i don't know if i'll ever go back to jeans, even AFTER this babe arrives (or maybe that's just the mindset i'm in right now talking!)

looking forward to: TOTALLY taking advantage of this pregnancy when it comes time to pick a halloween costume. i have a few ideas bouncing around, but let's not forget this priceless treasure trove of ideas.

dreaming about: can't quite remember these days. at the very least, i'm not really having those  super trippy, crazy-A dreams i had during the first trimester.

good night!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

art & the visually impaired.

it all started with the new york times piece "the art of slowing down in a museum." 

the article itself is wonderful ("what if we slowed down?" it asks. "what if we spent time with the painting that draws us in instead of the painting we think we're supposed to see?") & addresses something that nags at me whenever i visit a museum: do i zoom through to the heavy hitters & quickly glance at the pieces along the way, in order to check off some kind of "famous paintings i've seen in person" bucket list? or do i slow down & pause for longer periods of time at more paintings - including the lesser-known ones? 

while there's no one correct way to experience a museum, james o. pawelski (a directer of education for the positive psychology center at the university of pennsylvania) says, "when you go to the library, you don't walk along the shelves looking at the spines of the books & on your way out tweet to your friends, 'i read 100 books today!' yet that's essentially how many people experience a museum." that kind of humbled me.

ANYWAY, this is a very tl;dr intro to a part of the article that i really loved. the piece points out that many museums are actually encouraging museumgoers to mimic the pose of a statue & take pictures of it, because it helps them form a new appreciation for the piece. the author then adds, "in fact, taking on the pose of a sculpture, for example, is something the Met does with visitors who are blind or partially sighted because 'feeling the pose' can allow them to better understand the work."

i loved this idea of enhanced accessibility for visually impaired museumgoers so much, i kind of got caught in an internet rabbit hole of reading as much as i could about it. there are so many programs & methods out there for helping blind, visually impaired, & in other ways disabled people appreciate art & museums. anyway, it was kind of fun to learn more about it. 

art beyond sight is doing great things to help blind people learn about, appreciate, & create art. here is their twitter account, & there's also new york beyond sight where new york city residents describe their favorite landmarks. cool!

programs at the met for the blind or partially sighted. 

an article in disability studies quarterly entitled, "from the mind's eye: museum & art gallery appreciation for the blind - canadian perspectives," with this line, "enjoying art is less about seeing, and more about thinking." it's a little long, but worth a scroll-through, at least.

a nyt article titled "welcoming art lovers with disabilities" lists several ways museums are creating new & innovative programs all the time to further enhance the museum experience for disabled people. i would highly recommend reading this piece - it's a fun one.

one writer shadows a married couple for a day as they visit the Met. she is blind; he is not. the writer notes details from him firmly placing his hand on her back as they navigate the crowded lobby and her clutching tight to a list of works she wanted to see, to a step-by-step outline of the way he methodically & lovingly describes each work to her.

happy reading! that is, if you decide to read any of these :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

dressing the bump: attempt #68 (27 weeks).

awkwardly, i'm trying out some serious poses in these first few photos instead of my usual more happy looking ways. i now realize i can't quite pull it off, & i apologize :)

as i'm sitting here typing, my belly is sprawled out before me, ben, & god himself (God Himself, 'scuse me) & baby is kicking away so hard i see the movement all the way from out here (it's after 11 pm, which is usually the time she goes **nu-uuuts** [said in a high-pitched voice with strong vibrato]). seriously, she's such a kicker. i was comparing notes with a friend of mine who is due about a month before me, expecting a boy, & she was saying that her little guy is more of a roller. when she feels him move, he's mostly rolling, turning, & readjusting. which is funny because this little one in me is a kicker. man she's a kicker. sometimes her kicks come in strong, long segments, like how it would feel if someone were dipping their legs into a pool & kicking the water to make giant splashes. even at this stage in the pregnancy, her kicks are sometimes so forceful i arch a little in pain. 

another story: the other week during an ultrasound, she was putting on such a dancy, wiggly, kicky show on the screen for ben, the resident, & me that he (the resident) exclaimed out of the blue, "wow, she's a party animal!" haha.

this dress is a thrifted little guy (not a maternity dress), & i've found that a lot of the vintage dresses i love & gravitate towards are working really well with my growing bell (that's a purposeful typo, because RHYME). weirdly, i actually like how this dress looks on me with a pregnant belly more than how it looks on me, well, not with a pregnant belly. it just kind of hung a little shapeless, i think? you can see what that looked like HERE, back when i had bangs & long hair! weirrrrdddd.

i love the white detail on this dress - the scalloped strip crosses the front & the sleeves & continues on all the way around to the back & up the neck. it's just a really great thing.

remember in an earlier post (in which i am wearing the same heels i am in this post!......nah, not embarrassed) i told you about how ben snaps photos for a crazy long amount of time after our little "photoshoot" has stopped & i'm packing up & getting ready to leave? needless to say, he struck again:

me saying, "okay, STOP!!"

& lookee what we have here, the snaphappy snickerdoodle himself:

good night! baby just gave two swift kicks in succession, which we interpret as meaning "goodbye!" either that or "give me another bite of those reeses pumpkins NOW."

Sunday, October 12, 2014

ben, the newly minted tough mudder.

yesterday my main man ben ran a tough mudder with some of our friends from church. the tough mudder is essentially a 10 mile run through the mud, scattered with obstacles along the way. you can read more about it HERE, but some of those obstacles are pretty crazy. swimming through ice, army crawling through underground tunnels, climbing over walls, running through mud puddles & over bales of hay while electric wires hang all around's a difficult race but so FUN (remember how i did a similar mud run just about a year ago?). you can learn more about the various kinds of crazy obstacles they have HERE.

a lot of wives & kids went along to cheer on our menz. these little ones were really cute cheering on & waving to their dads along the way. the starting line was in a large racing stadium...

...with a giant monster truck named the "terrordactyl" leading the way after the starting gun?! so funny. such random.

here's the obstacle called "arctic enema" (the obstacles had pretty priceless names), also known as the one where participants had to jump into a truck bed full of ice. you can see ben in this photo, standing up there on the left getting ready to take the plunge:

& the jump! he had to swin under that dos equis sign there with the two red x's, which meant completely submerging himself in the frigid water. eek!

& the merciful climb out the other side:

i love these two photos of ben. muddy & cold, but still smiling. & such a handsome smile! okay, gush over:

haha. ben did have to sign a release form in order to compete:

eyeing the next obstacle, "pyramid scheme." look at that muddy ground!:

pyramid scheme required climbing over a wall, but since it was tilted at a difficult angle, everyone had to use the help of teammates & other participants to successfully climb over. see ben there in the bottom foreground with the number on his back, in between his two teammates?

climbing up (the masses of bodies kept reminding me of this movie poster, morbidly enough??)...

& he made it!

a similar event later was called "everest," where the wall was higher & at even more of a slant, almost a half-pipe shape. you had to get a good running start, & while some of the taller people were able to grab on to the top, most had to grab on to the hands of racers waiting at the top. sometimes people missed the waiting hands, didn't have enough of a running start, or it was too slippery to get a good hold, & would slide down the ramp to the bottom & do it all over again. anyway, it was a fun one to watch:

about an hour later in the race, we caught up with the menz again to watch them climb over tall, wooden walls. see ben there on the top of that farthest wall?

okay, this event was the nuttiest to me: the "electric shock." they had to run through puddles of mud & climb over bales of hay while dozens & dozens of live electrical wires hung down in the way. ben said the shocks caused his muscles to contract in violent spasms! kind of intense:

ben had a great time during the run, all which was made even better by the team of seriously cool guys he ran with. let's do a little before & after of the crew, shall we, hmm??

here they are, looking fresh & clean:


here is the crew of wives, moms, moms-to-be, & kids that cheered on their people. we were all saying that while we didn't actually run the tough mudder ourselves, it was still a pretty rough day for the spectators! it rained on & off while we slogged through mud, woods & hills with strollers, babies, & *gasp* purses. it was really fun to get to spent the day chatting with these girls, snapping photos, & cheering on husbands together (the tough mudder was an all-day thing! ben & i left the house at about 8:30 in the morning, & returned right around 7 that night):

here we are meeting up at one of the points during the race. i was not about to touch even a finger of that brudder from anudder mudder. look at his legs, THEY ARE BLACK:

we ended the day with long hot showers (ben's shower was admittedly longer than mine, & at one point i'm pretty sure i heard him say, "i am finding mud in places i didn't even know existed," so, there's that visual for all of us), an episode or two of parks & rec, & pumpkin oreo milkshakes (also, funnily, do you see my giant body pillow snaking its way around the bed? #pregnancysleepingproblems).

here's to you, my tough mudder!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

what we've been up to lately...

just some tidbits of what we've been up to lately, featuring photos from my phone:

1. we saw the black keys at the barclays center a few weeks ago. they sounded perfect live, we were able to sit down THE ENTIRE TIME, & we got home before midnight! what else can all of that equal but a really great time?

2. these are the respective books we read last week. ben has been so good about reading baby books, much better than me, because i just can't quite seem put the brakes on (or at least put a hold on for the next while) my love of fiction just yet. speaking of which, i really enjoyed the art of fielding. plus i thought it was so funny ben was reading about babies while i read about baseball. we're just shattering gender norms left & right!

3. ben & i help with a church youth program, & i had to miss our big kickoff activity to run the ragnar. while on the race, i made up this quick little sign to let all the youth know i missed them & would be thinking about them. ben projected the photo real quick at the beginning of the activity (which was conveniently able to happen because he would already be using the projector at other points during the night, although the thought of my sweaty, un-makeupped face being projected to several times its size in front of a giant crowd still fills me with dread).

4. one more belly photo from said ragnar (lots of hot pink was happening that weekend)

5. after the finish line at the ragnar, they had this giant sheet which participants could sign. i signed for me and baby fran, because we ran it together! or, at the very least, she put up with all the rocking & swaying that happened as i ran my miles (i had a friend who saw this picture & asked, "did you draw that flag about it, too??" i didn't, but it kind of looks like i did. ha)

6. the two of us (? does that even count? i'm kind of making up ALL THE PREGNANCY THINGS as i go along) in front of the big signature sheet:

7. aaaaand the whole team. what a good-looking bunch of ladies i ran with! i also feel the need to apologize; i thought i had gotten all the ragnar photos out here or here, but it turns out i found yet some more goodies on my phone:

8. so this is funny. i went & had my nails done the other day (mani/pedis are my happy place) & afterwards i instagrammed this photo, with the caption, "just finished getting my nails done at a place where all the kind ladies spoke chinese (a language which i also happen to speak). i am now happy to officially confirm that while you're sitting there getting your nails done, YES, they're totally talking about you." & they totally were! nothing too awful, they just shared with each other how much i had tipped, commented on le baby bump, & speculated as to my age. i never did end up responding in chinese & giving them a scare...i guess i felt like i should just make a quick, clean getaway? 

9. we tried a new place a few blocks down from us called bernheim & schwartz. ben got the turkey burger, i tried the fish tacos, & we shared fried pickles, & it was all, all good. worth a try!

10, 11. we headed out to brooklyn last saturday morning for the birthday of ben's cousin's daughter (did you follow that? :) little edie is one now! you can see us wrestling in the photo on the right. on the left is a outfit you'll generally find me in these days (dare i call it a uniform?) : an easy, loose dress with a long, chunky sweater over it.  a scarf, necklace, & tights are optional, but nice:

12. another day, another "easy, loose dress" (is that what i called it above?), same baby belly. i just snapped this photo today!

13. i felt particularly proud of myself for going to the gym tonight. it was a long work day nannying it up, but i made it out to the elliptical for a few minutes & of course i felt worlds better afterward.

& it looks like we've come to the end! good night!


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