welcome ... enjoy yourself

Thursday, April 23, 2015

portland baby shower


Pregnancy has been a bit of a roller coaster for me, and I doubt I'm alone in describing at least some part of pregnancy like that.  I spent the first trimester sick on the couch and much of the second trimester distracted with finishing up a bunch of work and feeling like a stranger in my own body.  Now, I'm in the third trimester - aka the home stretch - and I am absolutely loving it. 

Everything feels so real.  We've started the nursery, I'm loving my (very visible) baby bump, I feel the baby move all the time, and we've been showered with showers.

When we were in Portland in March, Paul's family hosted a St. Patrick's day shower for friends and family.  The day was fantastic - super laid back with plenty of love and lemonade and cupcakes.  I brought the camera to the shower but just put other people in charge of it, so many of the pictures turned out to be of us.  And I love them.

 
I love these pictures - imperfect though they may be - because they capture where we're at right now.  It captures my swollenness, my love of all things baby, Paul's curiosity about a lot of baby things, how happy and excited we both are for this next adventure, and how much we love each other.   


I look at myself in these pictures and just see happiness and joy.  And that really seems to be the theme for this last stage of pregnancy.  I'm excited about everything, and I am loving soaking up these last weeks of pregnancy.  I also look at myself looking at my husband and just see love.  I'm so grateful to be on this journey with Paul by my side and so grateful to be about to share some of the biggest moments of my life with him. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

art in bloom


Good news everyone!  I finally learned how to use my new photo editing software, and I was able to upload my photos to the blog.  Yay!  I feel like I'm back in my groove when I can blog and share photos regularly.  Kind of weird?  Maybe. 

I'm sharing photos today from one of my favorite events of the year: Art in Bloom.  I've seen these events popping up around the country over the past few years, which is amazing!  Because combining art and flowers is one of the best ideas humanity has ever had.  And I am not overstating that in the slightest. 

I start counting down the days to Art in Bloom sometime in February.  Just when I need some color and sunshine and spring in my life.  The annual arrival of Art in Bloom is synonymous in my mind with the arrival of spring. 

This year, the Milwaukee Art Museum took a slightly different approach to Art in Bloom as much of the museum is currently under construction (everything except the main entrance and traveling exhibit space).  They very creatively tied the flower design competition in with the traveling exhibit Ebony Fashion Fair.  The result, Beauty in Bloom, was amazing.  You can see above how they showcased the floral arrangements and the outfits that inspired their design.  I was quite taken with many of them.  And as always, I left feeling rejuvenated and inspired. 

Which is your favorite? 










Again, because most of the museum is closed right now, they made use of an underground parking lot for the second part of the Fashion in Bloom exhibit.  It actually worked really well because of the natural light and because there was so much space for extra vendors to showcase their works and goods. 







Orchids win every time in my book. 


Past posts on Art in Bloom: 2014, 2013.  See the winners for Beauty in Bloom 2015 here

Thursday, April 9, 2015

thoughts on pregnancy (rethinking beautiful)


Fact: Victoria's Secret does not sell maternity or nursing bras/clothes.  Fact: pregnancy, birth, and motherhood involve lots of stretching and bodily fluids.  Fact: I am the heaviest I've been in my whole life and my abdomen is covered in stretch marks.

I've decided that no matter what my family, friends, and husband tell me to the contrary, I am not currently beautiful -- at least not in the way that society would define beautiful.  I'm bloated, swollen, stretchy, heavy, and creaky.  I have a double chin, I can't fit into any of my pre-pregnancy clothes, my feet have started popping out of my shoes, and I can't touch my toes.  I'm getting ready to push a six to nine pound baby out of an opening that's currently less than one centimeter wide.  Following that, some of my sexiest lady parts will be used for feeding and keeping a baby alive.  None of these things would get me on the cover of Vogue or Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.   

But part of me also trusts my family, friends, and husband when they say I'm beautiful.  They genuinely see a glowing in my face, my body, my general presence right now.  And in my better moments, I do too.

I kind of love my roundness and my big belly.  It means that my little baby is growing and developing and is warm and cozy and safe.  I even kind of love my extra weight because I know it's my body's way of helping to get me ready for breastfeeding.  I love how happy I look in pictures from my showers and with friends and family. 

These things make me feel beautiful in a completely new way.

I'm beautiful because I'm happy.  I'm beautiful because I'm creating a new little life 24/7.  I'm beautiful because my body is preparing me to be a mother.   I'm beautiful because of a new energy that comes from the excitement of embarking on a huge adventure.   

Relatedly -- I also trust mothers when they say there's a kind of beauty to birth as well.  Yes, I know birth involves pain, potential tearing, LOTS of bodily fluids, and even sometimes scary complications.  But birth also involves bringing a new life into the world, and I think that in itself is beautiful.  During labor, I'll get to journey with my husband and trust and rely on him for support.  I'll get to surrender to my body's instincts in a deeper way than I ever have before.  I'll get to meet my little baby for the first time, and we'll all begin bonding as a family.  That to me all sounds extremely beautiful. 

I don't think someone needs to be skinny, perfectly symmetrical, or airbrushed to be beautiful.  And I don't think an event needs to be clean, tidy, or without pain and challenges to be beautiful.  Being pregnant has made me rethink my perception of myself, and I'm glad I've had the opportunity to rethink how, when, and why I feel beautiful. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

15 (goals) for 30


I mentioned last week that I would be sharing my goals for my 30th year (31st year? I have no idea how this works).  I've scaled down the number of goals and the scope of my goals compared to years past.  I knew I would feel slightly off if I started a year without setting some new goals, but I also didn't want to overwhelm myself in my first year as a mom.

I decided on these fifteen goals and am calling it my 15 for 30 list.  (Paul and I play cribbage and a lot of times I'll get mixed up with scoring and say things like "15 for 30" instead of "15 for 2" or however you correctly announce points in cribbage.)

In writing this list, I thought ahead to next April 4th when I know I'll appreciate being able to say that I met most of my goals.  It'll be a year when my biggest accomplishments - keeping our baby alive and becoming a mom - won't be as tangible because they're not something you can really check off a goal list.  I have a feeling this list will give me that extra pat on the back boost I'll probably need after a challenging, wonderful year.  The other thing inspiring this list is that I want to hold on to a few things that bring me joy in my current pre-baby life.  I want to keep accomplishing things that have nothing to do with the baby but everything to do with continuing my personal development and ultimately making me a better person and parent. 

My 15 for 30 List

1. Spend time in the garden (community and porch)
2. Keep up with regular low impact exercise  
3. Get back to roller derby
4. Bake something new
5. Complete one big painting project
6. Try a new craft
7. Try oil paints
8. Take the baby to St. Louis, Portland, and one other place
9. Embrace motherhood
10. Complete 52 week photography challenge
11. Make some baby photo albums
12. Go on regular dates with Paul
13. Be kind to myself
14. Play and dance
15. Start a family tradition

I am so excited about this list and so excited to experience these things/check them off.  The goals are simple, attainable, a bit challenging, and should be fun and enjoyable. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

when i was 29 i...

Last year I did a round up of highlights from my 28th year.  I had such a fun time doing it, I put together a similar post for my 29th year.  Hope you enjoy!   
 

 
When I was 29 I participated in a roller derby league and set a personal record for skating 25 laps in 5 minutes...

 
attended all the local roller derby bouts with this lady...
 
 
explored new places in Milwaukee including the music conservatory...
 
 
fell in love with spring all over again...
 
 
made macarons for the first (and second) time...
 

 
started a million seeds inside for my porch garden and community garden plot...
 
 
celebrated my JVC roommate's wedding in Rochester...
 

 
explored NYC with this handsome guy...
 

 
visited old favorite places in Hartford...
 

 
 took a nap on this beautiful porch...

 
enjoyed a visit from my parents and brother...
 
 
lead the community garden for another season - and had the company of my family at one of our workdays...
 

 
travelled to Baltimore for work and spent breaks walking around the inner harbor...
 
 
visited the National Aquarium and went crazy with my camera...
 
 
harvested lots of lettuce, beets, cilantro, tomatoes, peas, kale, and nasturtiums from my garden...

 
invented my first ice cream flavor: earl grey lavender...

 
spent many afternoons and evenings relaxing in my porch garden...
 
 
dreamt of plans for the next season and ways to keep our beagles from eating all the plants' soil...
 

 
visited friends in Seattle...
 

 
watched the sun set over the Seattle Public Market...
 


 
drooled over all the amazing fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers at a Portland farmers' market...
 

 
found my new favorite cake shop (The Cakery in Portland, OR)...
 
 
lounged by the Columbia River to celebrate the 4th of July...
 
 
 took pictures of fireworks to annoy my sister...

 
savored every bit of an amazing nasturtium season (and felt thankful I invested in six varieties of nasturtium when everyone thought I was crazy for doing so)...

 
walked around the St. Louis zoo with my dad and husband...

 
discovered a new love for cucumber pineapple juice...
 
 
walked to the top of Holy Hill with my husband and father in law...

 
played my husband in cribbage (and probably lost)...
 


found my dream job and switched careers... 

 
hiked through the woods from the Wildwood Chronicles...
 
 
drank sparkling wine at the Blue Lagoon Spa with great friends...
 

 
saw where the tectonic plates are shifting apart in Iceland...
 
 
stood in front of a geyser...
 

 
tried fermented shark for the first (and probably last) time...
 

 
ate Boogles at Gulfoss waterfall...
 
 
walked around a local farmers' market after receiving confirmation that we were expecting our first baby...
 

 
hiked at Devil's Lake while five weeks pregnant and subsequently lived on my couch and stopped taking pictures for the next three months...
 
 
was paid to speak about my paintings in four different cities - and didn't let morning sickness stop me...
 
 
shared the news of our pregnancy with my family over the Thanksgiving holiday...
 
 
and shared the pregnancy news with more friends and family in our 2014 Christmas card...
 
 
slowly recovered from morning sickness and started embracing the Christmas season...
 

 
dressed Diego up like Santa Claus and he loved it...
 
 
 began reflecting on the beginnings of my journey as a mother...

 
took pictures of steam rising off Lake Michigan...
 
 
celebrated mine and Paul's third anniversary in Madison...

 
took turns walking the dogs through the coldest parts of the winter...
 
 
completed an artist in residence - and a portrait of American journalist James Foley (this was one of my in progress photos)...
 

relied on bright decorations to get me through the longest part of the Wisconsin winter...
 
 
hosted friends for an Oscar party...
 
 
celebrated the anticipated arrival of our new baby with friends and family in Portland...


supported my husband as he finished up his last semester of grad school...

 
and ended my year with an Easter/birthday/baby shower!
 

What a year!  I have a feeling my 30th year will have a bit less travelling photos and a whole lot more baby photos.  I'm so excited to be starting this new journey!