Sunday, February 19, 2012


This week one of the blogs I follow did a special series called "Crush", featured here on eighteen25. I thought the idea was really cute, so I decided to follow suit.


Main Crushes:

These two really make my day; everyday.

TV Crush:

I'm not ashamed to admit that I LOVE Whitney.
I am guilty of 30 minutes of straight giggling every Wednesday at 7.

Star Crush:

Submitted by @ThriveBlog

Ryan Gosling. This man could not be any more attractive. Sorry Mr. Allen, but you, too, know how very true this is. Crazy, Stupid Love shirtless scene? Yum.
I can not get over these little "Hey girl" clips. Check more out here. They'll make you laugh.
PS - My friend, Amy, shared this little story about his wonderfulness and I thought I would pass it along. :)

Music Crush:

East Lansing's finest. Although I sure do miss Anna's voice mingled in amidst the mix.

Dessert Crush:


Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake. YUM. (Forget Ryan Gosling when comparing the yum-factor of these two.) Made best by my sister, Erin. :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

planes, trains, and automobiles

I've tried them all: planes, trains, and automobiles. I've even tried a boat and bicycle here and there. But yesterday, as I was riding the train to Michigan from Chicago, I realized how much more I prefer the train.

If I could, I would turn this into a large three-element Venn diagram (see there is a teacher in me deep down inside even though she's been deprived of her real capabilties for a while now) and really show you what I mean. But I'm not that worried about you figuring it out, nor do I want to spend the time designing that Venn diagram, so here it is in words.

Trains: ...go fast. (Planes and automobiles do this too.)
Trains: ...don't have seatbelt lights/rules. Shoot, they don't even have seatbelts. Getting up and walking around is ... awesome, and it's more than necessary when pregnant (especially when the doctor told you this week you shouldn't be traveling anymore since you're over 34 weeks. Whoops.)
Trains: ...have outlet plugs. (Some automobiles do, and I'm sure there are planes that do, but I've never experienced them.) This feature saves me big time: Cell phone dead (because I played to many games on it out of boredom)? No problem - plug it in. Want to watch a movie on your laptop and not waste away your battery? Plug it in. Have crazy-bad back pain because of a wee-little one in your stomach (or in your life)? Plug in that heatpad and soak in the goodness of relief.
Trains: ...have a food cart. Yesterday was the first time I think I have ever not taken advantage of this feature. Sure, I know that all the food and drinks are overpriced (and frozen to warm in about 30 seconds), but how convinient are they to be ready at the drop of a hat, not slowing down your trip to stop and pick something up, and there's no need to pack extra snacks for the ride.
Trains: ...are not dependent on the weather nearly as much as the other two. Snow does not stop the train from traveling fast (cars can't say the same) or landing safely (planes are guilty here). I'm sure there are times when the train suffers from the woes of bad weather, but I know that it is my go-to method of getting home if the weather turns a little iffy.

All this being said, put me on the train every time. Please. I love being able to have a relaxing ride to wherever I'm headed. And when Amtrak gets wi-fi, trains might compete with heaven. What could be better?

Oh yeah, having possession of Hermoine's Time Turner might be nice to just go appear in places. Maybe someday I will really master the art of Harry Potter-ness, but I'm still struggling with Lumos when I'm laying in bed late at night. Our pesty apartment light just doesn't know the spell.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

better late than never

When the first Harry Potter book came out, I was in 4th or 5th grade, I believe, and a lot of my friends and classmates read it. Then the series started to really pick up speed with the next few books, and if they hadn't ready it before, all my classmates got to reading (some already going on their second or third time through the books.)

When they came out, my parents strictly forbid my siblings and I from reading them because of their content: magic, witches/wizards, dark forces, etc. So, what did I do? I read the first few chapters of the Sorcerer's Stone at school, where they could never find out. I remember bits and pieces of those chapters, but here's the thing - I hated reading growing up. My sister and mom are both avid readers, and I just couldn't understand the principle. So even though I wanted to rebel against my parents and read the "cool" books that everyone else was reading, I didn't actually want to. So I stopped, and never felt like trying that out again.

And then, when I was in late high school and early college, my mom, being the reader that she is and loving to listen to books on tape/CD to get extra "reading" in when she's in the card, started to listen to the Harry Potter series on her way to and from work. She loved it. She powered through the books quickly, and then she (just as quickly?) realized there was no harm in the books. Rather they were good children's literature and didn't press the magical/witchcraft-ness of the content on the reader, but obviously was fictional writing.

And then, the books were officially fair game for all of us. [Thanks, Mom, now that I'm out on my own and can make my own decisions about what content I subject myself to, you allow me to read some juvenile literature.] So, again, I still didn't like to read, so I had little to no interest.

Then I started dating Mr. Allen, and part of dating Mr. Allen was dating his family. [This is a good thing, not a bad thing.] We spent a lot of time around each others' families in our college days, so we got to know each others' siblings and parents well; much better than the average in-laws. We became a part of the other family very quickly.

Well, the Allens are avid readers. Not only that, but Mr. Allen and his two sisters (and I'm sure his parents) all read the Harry Potter series a few times through. They were those Harry-Potter-freaks, you know - the crazy people that dressed up to go to opening night at the theater. [I was only lucky enough to do that for High School Musical 3. Now who's the real freak?!]

Anyway, so I realized I needed to start the series soon or maybe they wouldn't like me anymore. So slowly (as in over a 2 year period) I read book 1 and 2. Then Mr. Allen and I got married (2 more years had passed) and the 7th movie, part 2 was going to be coming out soon. He was excited about its premiere and I felt bad that he would have no one to get excited with him about it. [I had also picked up reading as a hobby in the last few months because, living in Chicago, time to read is plentiful on long commutes.] So I decided to do the impossible(?). I started reading, and I mean POWER-reading, through all the books in a very short time. I know it was less that 2 weeks for sure (and this is HUGE for me, the non-reader) in which I finished books 3-7.

And, guess what, I loved them. We also would celebrate the ending of one book by watching the corresponding movie that night, as I instantly started the next book. I finished book 7 the day before the movie was to come out, we bought our midnight showing tickets, and watched 7 part 1 as we waited for midnight to come.

All this being said, I am not at all mad that I jumped on the bandwagon late. Not just was it late, it was like a decade late. Whoops.

And now, I'm jumping on another bandwagon a little late. The Hunger Games.

I'm over 200 pages into the first book (in 2 days) and love it. Really, I wish that the first book was more like 4 or 5 because there is so much action that moves so quickly. I can't wait to finish the series. I can't wait for the movie to come out next month. I bought Mr. Allen a giftcard to the movie theater for Christmas, and he's been saving it for this event.

I don't feel stupid for reading them later than everyone else. I know it's a little late in the trend, but I also had made the decision to read them back in the early summer. But, again, living in Chicago, getting your hands on a popular book from the library is nearly impossible. You can put a hold on it and still wait months for it to be ready for you. I finally got a copy and am busy tearing through.

So call me a late bloomer, because yes - my passion for reading did show up during year 22.
And call me a bandwagon jumper, because yes - I do love to be in the "know", reading what everyone else is reading.

Moral of the story - go pick up The Hunger Games (if it is that easy for you) and start reading. And if you've never read Harry Potter, it's not too late. I'm proof of that one. Enjoy a book.

PS - Let me know what you're reading/have been reading, I'd love the recommendations!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

finally, a decision

I'd like it if everyone just forgot about the fact that I didn't post for 2 weeks. And that, although I just got finished saying in the last post how I was ready to keep on with "la sencillez de Sunday", she failed. I'm going to just say that, for now, she's over. I'll let you know when I am ready to pick it back up. But for now, I just want to get back to blogging in general, and not be tied down by the stress (yes, it does cause me a little stress) of a weekly schedule. I'm just not that type of blogger yet.

So, saying all that... here's a post. A step back to the basics: baby, me, our life.

I've been wanting to write this post for a while. I didn't know exactly how or when it would be best. ...but here it goes.

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite bloggers wrote a post called "Oh the noise noise noise!" over here. I want you to read it. If you don't... well, I can't stop you from ignoring my wish, so here's a quick synopsis: She was pregnant before all her friends were, before everyone was pushing and shoving to be the one who could get closest to her ear to tell her their oh-so-important (and absolutely-without-a-doubt-perfectly-best) opinion about baby birth. She was allowed the opportunity to work through all the information that is out there about her body, her baby, and the way in which she would approach childbirth. From this freedom, she was allowed to sort through and make her own informed opinion. And now, she feels for those other mamas out there that are in a whirlwind of "noise noise noise" where everyone is overly-eager to share their thoughts and make sure you hear them out (and follow it to the tee.)

I have often during my pregnancy felt stuck in this overwhelming need of others to ask (which is not a problem) and share (sometimes can be a problem) about childbirth. Here in Chicago, in the hipster-area that we live in, and also in the environment I find myself in at church, I felt so overwhelmed with the pressure of you-will-have-this-baby-ALL-natural, and I was so uncomfortable. I wasn't ready to sign my name next to that line. Shoot, a few months back, I was so quick to want to rebel against that bandwagon, that I was going to walk into the hospital begging them immediately for drugs. I didn't really know what I wanted exactly, but I also felt like the choice wasn't mine. I felt like society was making the choice of how my baby was to be born and treated for me.

Wait, am I not the mom? Isn't this baby Mr. Allen's and mine? Don't we get to get a word in?

And although my rebellion was still ready to lead me running in the opposite direction, I kept my head from really spinning out of control and kept reading. I tried to read a lot. I tried to read a little of everything. I did spend some time talking to other mamas, trying to sort through this "noise noise noise" to get to the bottom of my what really were my options, and what did we think was best.

And then yesterday, Mr. Allen and I went to the hospital for our birthing class. It was a mixed-information session basically a little of what is out there. Here's your options, here's what a lot (99.9%) of the mamas that come to this hospital are doing, but to you other ones - we support you too. For the first time in 8 months, I was in an environment that wasn't telling me medicine is evil, that, although my body was made for birthing babies, I could (and maybe should?) choose to let medicine help me through the process.

And, you know what, even though I finally found someone on my side of the whole issue, I was able to more-clearly-than-ever-before make a final decision of what would be happening to my body, my baby, and her wonderful entrance into the world. (Did I really just call HOURS of pain "wonderful"?!) I finally feel comfortable and confident to go into the hospital on the day of, and when they ask, to tell them: this is how everything will be handled today, thank-you-very-much.

So, maybe the moral of this story (if that's even possible), I am so thankful for Ashley's post about the "noise noise noise" that's out there. Because I was surrounded by it. (Disclaimer: I never minded people asking me what my approach would be, please don't think that if you ever asked. Sometimes I was asked in such a pressured way though. And I knew that I would have given you the "wrong" answer, so maybe I painted the picture of my child's birth in such a way that you would like it instead of what I really wanted. But then again, when you asked, I also really didn't know what I wanted.) I'm so thankful that there is so much information out there, that there are options and no one-right-way.

And I am so so SO thankful that I've finally been able to make a decision. That I finally feel ready for this lady to be ready, because now I know how we're going to handle it.

...and all this pressure/information for just a few hours (hopefully) of childbirth. And then, guess what, she's here. And it didn't really matter how she got here, because she will be an absolute beautiful, wonderful miracle.

And she will be ours.
(Boy, does that make me happy.)