long winter days and nights

i believe in process. i believe in four seasons. i believe that winter’s tough, but spring’s coming. i believe that there’s a growing season. and i think that you realize that in life, you grow. you get better.

~ steve southerland

this quote is so on point. winter can be dreary, depressing, and drags on for what seems like an eternity in new england. and as much as i complain about the cold and being trapped indoors, i do like the snow. it’s so pure, bright, and pretty. i also like how it creates a soft blanket over everything. still, cold weather does not equal snow unfortunately because snow, to me, justifies the frigid temperatures.

 

i used to think winter made me appreciate my favorite season, summer, more but as i grow older, i’m not quite certain about that. i get cold easily even in the summer time so staying warm during winter has its challenges. lately, we’ve had extremely frosty temperatures with wind chills in the negatives. it literally hurt to be outdoors, just to get out of the car and run inside a store. now we are back to “normal” new england winter temperatures although friday was a balmy 60 degrees.

 

saturday, january 13: we beat cabin fever by going to the mall to ride the carousel. this was ezra’s first time riding an animal. the other times, he sat in the seat with grandma.

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friday, january 12. penny enjoyed splashing through the puddles in her hunter boots after a playgroup at a local school. she’s eating goldfish crackers from a cup.

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the warm weather + rain melted most of the snow away on friday

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there actually is a thing called the winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder. i feel like i’m much happier during spring and summer when there is more sunlight and warmth. i’m also probably more cheerful during these seasons because we aren’t confined indoors resigned to do the same activities over and over. who knows? maybe if i lived in sunny california, i’d be happy year-round… but nothing is ever perfect. california lately has been besieged with natural disasters such as wildfires and mudslides, so there’s no escaping the force of mother nature.

white christmas! these photos are long overdue!

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this photo was featured on the ig page: moms with cameras

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eating snow!

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it’s been rough over here in the so household for the past couple weeks. the kids had been sick which is no fun for anyone. penny’s congestion finally fully cleared up on wednesday but ezra still has a rattling sound when he breathes. he’s also teething so he’s been incessantly drooling. (his third tooth erupted yesterday.)

our daily struggles mostly concern miss p: being nice and sharing toys with ezra, using words to communicate instead of crying and whining, and eating. p lost nearly a pound while she was sick because of her refusal to eat most foods. now the weight difference between p and ezra are 1.6 lb. i weighed ezra the other day and he was 24.2 lb! i believe some of p’s emotional outbursts are because she’s hangry, but who really knows?! mealtimes have been a battle these days but now that she’s feeling a lot better she’s starting to eat more again.

on a positive note, a big milestone occurred today: penny used the potty on her own for the first time! while i was cooking dinner, penny announced she had to go potty and walked to the bathroom. my in-laws were over for dinner and we all thought penny was just pretending, but when my fil went over to check she had pulled down her pants and had already peed on the potty! when i walked over to see for myself, she had already finished wiping! i’m so proud of this girl!

it’s day 14 of the new year and so much has happened already. ezra is 9 months old; i went to a preschool fair to start preparing penny for preschool; i’m planning ezra’s first birthday (and penny’s 3rd birthday, already!); and preparing for our cancun trip in march! oh, and i also started a book club! that, i will go into detail in my next post. i want to finish this post so i can start reading tonight.

stay warm, friends.

 

back into it

i’ve been mia from the blogosphere and it makes me sad that i didn’t chronicle the entire month of september. not a day went by without me thinking about finally writing another entry, but i kept putting it off for “tomorrow.” so much has happened since then.. umm, mostly just life.. with two kids. but seriously, at the end of the day, i just wanted to sit on the couch with munchies and watch tv.

we started shameless recently.  i can’t believe it’s been around for seven years (eighth season starting soon) and i am just getting into it now. (we are on season 2.) it’s rather addictive. i also began and finished atypical, a netflix series about a teenage boy on the autism spectrum trying to find a girlfriend. dennis couldn’t get into it, but i really enjoyed it. this is us also returned a few weeks ago so i’m watching that on tuesday nights along with fresh off the boat. two big shows are returning this month: the walking dead and stranger things. more reasons to veg out on the couch after a long day.

i also started reading for pleasure, again. i purchased john green’s new book, turtles all the way down. i’m taking my time reading it though because now i’m busy trying to catch up on my blogging (among other things) at night! ellington library is having a book sale this weekend so i brought penny with me this morning. they didn’t have a good selection of children’s books for sale so i only bought two. i was also getting carried away with the adult books until i realized i can just borrow them from the library. the grand total for two adult books and two children’s books was $1.00!

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a big reason i was also not blogging was because i was working on two scrapbooks: one for my mil and one for my good friend, genie. i decided to make each of them a scrapbook as a birthday gift, and even though i knew these would be time-consuming projecst i still didn’t give myself enough time to work on them. for genie, i showed the mostly-finished scrapbook to her at her surprise birthday dinner and took it back to finish. for weeks, i stayed up until nearly 2am, on some nights, to work on them! it was insane.. and i would have to wake up early to take care of the kids. i’m feeling so much better now that i am a little more well-rested. (i still have a bad habit of staying up late.)

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a good change i’ve been making in my life is starting to work out again. i was browsing my town’s park & rec catalog for classes i would possibly be interested in taking this fall. i came across pound, a group workout that uses weighted drumsticks, and was intrigued. after bringing up the class to the mom’s group that i am a part of, three other moms joined me in going to the group workout! i actually had a lot of fun, but it was hard because i am incredibly out of shape! i could barely do lunges let alone try drumming the floor at the same time. another class that i’d always been interested in trying is zumba. i had a blast! i liked all of the song choices that the instructor incorporated into the routine particularly the unexpected ones like “rollin’ down the river.”

dennis and i do have memberships at a gym that offers zumba, but none of the times work for me. the one i go to is on mondays & wednesdays at 7pm. this works out perfectly for me because i can help with the bath portion of the kids’ bedtime routine before leaving at 6:45pm. dennis usually comes home around 7, or a little after, on mondays-wednesdays so the time couldn’t have been any better, really.

like i mentioned before, so much has happened in these past six weeks (!) that i haven’t blogged. i’m quite overwhelmed at all of the catch-up posts that i have to do.. not to mention uploading all of photos i want to share. (and sadly, i still haven’t done my dad’s birthday from june!)

here’s a quick update before i go:

ezra

  • 6 months old! i cannot believe he will be a year old in… six months!
  • he is rolling onto his tummy now but have only just started seeing it in person! he keeps doing this in his crib, mostly.
  • he’s also pivoting in all directions and trying to crawl
  • eating solids: loves sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, pears, and butternut squash; hates peas!
  • 2 teeth finally broke through but they have to make any progress beyond the tiny dots
  • still happiest during bath time, in the jumperoo, and taking walks
  • loves to watch his sister and dog
  • 9-month clothes are getting snug and short on him… we need to move on to 12-month clothes
  • “talking” a lot more and yelling out
  • bangs his toys around
  • loves looking at the ceiling fan and penny’s chandelier (as she did when she was an infant!)

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penny

  • vocabulary (english & korean) rapidly growing every day
  • speaking, up to, 6+ word sentences
  • counting ability and number recognition is on par with a 4-5 year old according to connecticut standards
  • identifies and says all 26 uppercase letters
  • memorizes oft-read books
  • can sing 8+ songs on her own including the abc song; twinkle, twinkle, little star; i’m a little teapot; and korean songs
  • talented at drawing!
  • still loves mickey and minnie mouse
  • sudden interest in her donald duck doll (dolls altogether) and taking care of him
  • loves to sort objects and line them up/put them in order
  • plays more with her kitchen than she ever has before
  • still gets jealous of her brother; controls what toys he plays with
  • fully day-trained for the potty and has been diaper-free at night for almost a month now
  • has been pacifier-free for nap/bedtime for about 3 weeks now. still asks for it now and then, and can get whiny, but she’s slowly getting better
  • transitioned to a toddler bed due to nighttime potty training. she’s doing great and loves her bed!
  • used scissors a few weeks ago for the first time
  • overall, a great eater. loves korean food especially different kinds of soups and fish; vegetables like onions, broccoli, and spinach; fruit such as golden kiwi, grapes, and clementines. hasn’t liked pasta and cheese for as long as i can remember (which kills me because pasta is my favorite)
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penny wearing her new vest from zara

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cute activity at a playgroup

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for some reason, penny is really possessive of this toy (even though it’s ezra’s). i have to let him play with it when penny isn’t around otherwise she throws a fit.

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80-degree temps in october!

 

snow days & birthdays

2017 is already turning out to be a busy year: yet another one filled with babies, weddings, and birthdays. many of my friends and acquaintances had babies in 2015 (the year i had penny) and most of them are having their second this year. this includes my friend, and neighbor, yan, who kicked off the year with a baby boy named lucas on january 1st. he was the first 2017 baby to be born at st francis so he was featured on the news! her firstborn, olivia, is 3.5 months older than penny and now ezra’s first playmate has already arrived!

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lucas li, 1/1/2017 @ 5:18am. 6lb. 9oz.

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i’ve been spending my free time trying to get things done. my friend, grace’s shower is this upcoming sunday so i spent last night making a banner for her mickey-mouse themed shower. i’m bringing penny with me to the shower and i purchased her a minnie mouse outfit from babygap to wear to the event.

even though penny’s 2nd birthday is four months away i already finalized the details. it’s actually too early to book the venue so i need to get back in touch with them next month. also, we are close to booking our family newborn photo session. we will be going with the photographer who did penny’s session: remi kate photography

penny is also a flower girl for our friends’ wedding in april so i’ve been looking for a dress. the wedding colors are lavender, sage, and white; after browsing through some options i feel a lavender dress will look really sweet on penny for a spring wedding. since ezra is due on easter sunday (4/16) and the wedding is on 4/30 i probably will not be able to attend but i would still like to try. we shall see when baby boy arrives.

i’m looking forward to next wednesday because mommy-to-be grace and i are going to new jersey for the day to stuff our pregnant bellies. we settled on japanese food but we will probably also stop by korean bakeries, eat ice cream, and maybe squeeze some shopping in. it’ll be fun to do my own thing for an entire day.

i already feel so accomplished today because my mil came early this morning. on days that dennis works the afternoon shift, she comes after penny’s nap and on days (like today) where dennis works the morning shift she comes in the morning. while mom watched penny, i was able to…

  • take yuri out
  • shower (still a luxury)
  • do laundry
  • eat peacefully
  • prep for dinner

now that penny’s napping i’m trying to whip out this blog post so i can get a few other things out of the way before i attempt to rest.

we had about 5-6 inches of snow last saturday. it was still snowing in the evening so we didn’t take penny outdoors until sunday. after getting all bundled up and going outdoors, we only lasted about ten minutes because it was too darn cold! the temperature said 18 degrees but the weather app said “feels like 6.” at least penny had her first experience of tubing down the hill!

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our first attempt to go out: she started crying shortly after this picture. we found out her brand-new boots are too small for her! we took out the lining when we went out the second time but we will have to return the boots.

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tubing with grandma

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off we go!

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there goes daddy and penny! yuri is trying furiously to keep up.

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fun with grandpa

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like i said in previous posts, i can’t keep up with penny’s expanding vocabulary. since my last post, she’s been saying “딸기” (strawberry), 뜨거 뜨거 (hot, hot), and 추워 추워 (cold, cold). the latter two she hears us saying when the stove is on so when she pretends to cook, is about to eat hot food or the stove/fireplace is on, she says “hot, hot!” sometimes she will want to go in the sunroom and if the space heater isn’t on we will tell her it’s too cold, so now she says that as well.

yesterday she tried to say “i love you” when i said it to her as i put her down for a nap. it was more like “i lay” but she’s trying! she loves her colors and i’ve probably said this before but now she also says “brown” and “green.” “orange” is more like “jee” (that’s a tough one).

with my baby shower approaching, i keep meaning to write posts on useful baby items and toys that penny likes so i can share with other parents/future parents. i promise to write separate posts on baby items and baby toys & books this month!

summer daze

with school in session and it being the second week of september, you may think fall is just around the corner. as the official first day of fall is september 23rd, you would be correct. but this month has still been summer strong. new england has been having record heat the past few days. i didn’t dare take penny and yuri for a walk today, but the mail carrier came to the front door with a certified letter and i was able to feel the sweltering and suffocating humidity from just standing in the doorway. it’s so bad a bunch of towns and cities issued an early dismissal for their schools today, and some have already announced early release for tomorrow. the city that i am employed in has 8 elementary schools but only 2 are air-conditioned so all elementary schools ended the day at 1pm and the middle school ended at noon. the high school has ac so they had a regular day – bummer for them.

currently, it’s 3:56pm and penny is taking her last nap of the day. she’s been sleeping for just about an hour now. penny’s bedtime is around 7pm and last night she woke up after only a half hour! she must have still been hungry because i nursed her to sleep while she was still wearing her magic merlin suit. she ended up sleeping from 8pm-6am!!! her longest stretch ever!!! i have been setting my alarm to wake up to pump but i kept putting it off from 2am on because i kept thinking penny would wake up and i wanted to nurse instead of bottle-feeding her. well, when she ended up waking up at 6am i was engorged 😦 i just recently started getting my supply back so it wasn’t a smart move neglecting to pump. my issue with bottle-feeding at night is that she’s more awake because i have to pause to burp her and make sure i’m pace feeding. with the boob, it’s more likely she’ll fall asleep and i can gently place her in the crib without having to spend extra time putting her to sleep.

dennis is back at work today after having had a 4-day weekend! on friday, we drove up to massachusetts to visit my family and grandma. we stopped in boston first so dennis could get a haircut and then we had lunch at my parents’ restaurant. we had to interrupt penny’s nap to make it to dennis’ hair appointment in time and penny was overtired. she actually ended up falling asleep while bottle-feeding but woke right up when dennis tried putting her in the stroller. my mom took her for a walk while dennis, my sister, and i ate and penny ended up falling asleep again.

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yummy!! i got 짜장밥, or jajangbab. it’s fried rice with a sweet black bean sauce on the side.

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after lunch, we drove another 45 minutes to see my grandma and aunt. my dad was also there so we were able to see him as well. my grandma wasn’t able to make it to penny’s 100th day celebration and i really wanted her to see penny.

this picture was taken just before she started crying

this picture was taken just before she started crying

penny’s not comfortable with unfamiliar faces so she gets upset when anyone other than dennis and i hold her. she used to be great with dennis’ mom, my mom, and sister but she doesn’t see them on a daily basis… and she has her preferences.

sadly, we didn’t stay too long because we wanted to stop by my parents’ house and also had a 2-hour drive home ahead of us. what should’ve been a 45-minute drive from boston to my grandma’s house took nearly 2 hours because of labor day weekend traffic! we had to pull over and change penny’s diaper and outfit too because she had had a blowout -_-

my parents recently purchased a new home and my dad really wanted to show it to us. my parents have been wanting to downsize for years but couldn’t find a condo that they liked in boston. after a year of living in an apartment, they decided to purchase a 5-bedroom house 25 minutes from boston. my dad’s reasoning: condos in boston are around the same price.. so might as well purchase a house. right… not sure how that’s downsizing, but they seem pretty happy.

here's dennis feeding penny in my parents' family room

here’s dennis feeding penny in my parents’ family room

snoozing on the way home

snoozing on the way home

on saturday, i drove up to massachusetts solo to attend my friend, esther’s baby shower. although i had said i was attending i kept having second thoughts because i was nervous about being away from penny for so long. plus, with the supply issue i had to make sure i pumped during the middle of the shower. anyway, i ended up going and had a great time. penny also slept for the majority of the time i was gone so that was easy for dennis! he ended up cleaning the entire house: vacuuming, laundry, dishes, and organizing every room. he was vacuuming the couch cushions when i came home! (penny was up by then.)

one thing i never really thought about until i had penny was being able to find a place to pump. the baby shower was held in a restaurant and when i went inside the bathroom to pump, i saw that the only outlet was near the sink. a server very graciously stood guard by the bathroom door while i pumped. oh, the joys of being a mama!

we relaxed the rest of the weekend by staying at home. we tried going to church on sunday but penny ended up taking a 3 hour nap. our friend, john, came over after church to visit instead. he arrived right when penny woke up from her nap; that’s when she’s the happiest so when john bent over the crib to see her, she was smiling. (otherwise, she probably would’ve cried.)

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penny’s first time on a swing – she was falling asleep!

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yesterday, we tried hanging out on the field behind our house but that lasted, maybe, 15 minutes. penny was fussy so i brought her inside to feed her because she seemed distracted outside. well, it turns out she was super sleepy from not sleeping well the night before. she ended up napping for 4.5 hours! i had to go wake her because it was interfering with her feeds and i didn’t want the long nap to keep her up at night.

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it would’ve been nice to be able to chill outdoors 😦

any time there is a sweltering heat wave or an icy snow storm, people are quick to complain about the weather on social media: “i can’t wait for summer/winter to be over.” having lived in new england all of my life, i truly appreciate having four seasons. not only does it break the monotony of having the same kind of weather over and over again but it makes me appreciate each season that much more. still, spring and fall are relatively short in comparison to summer and winter. out of the four, people seem to complain about fall less, if at all. it’s easy to see why with the cool, crisp weather; gorgeous foliage; fall activities; and comfort food to name a few.

though i haven’t been able to “enjoy” summer this year in terms of activities and events, it still was my first full season with penny. many days i would stare wistfully out the window wishing i could make an impromptu trip to the beach or pool or meet my girlfriends for happy hour. as penny gets older i’ll be able to do all these things once again but this will be the only summer where i was able to see penny at one month, two months, and three months old… and that is worth everything.

just before daddy started dancing with penny

just before daddy started dancing with penny

bath time

bath time

i see you!

i see you!

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diy decor

i hope everyone had a lovely weekend. today is my last day of a 4-day weekend. normally, i would’ve had a week-long february break but it was shortened to two days due to our district having 9 snow days last year. i’m pretty bummed to be returning to work tomorrow but  at least it’s three more days until the weekend again.

valentine’s day was very low-key for us this year. first of all, we got hit with another snowstorm albeit a much minor one compared to the ones we’ve had but still not ideal to be out driving. dennis had to work this past weekend anyway and we just wanted to hunker down at home where it’s warm and comfortable. we told each other we wouldn’t give each other presents so we can save money for the baby, but dennis surprised me with a beautiful bouquet and a much-coveted patriots pom hat.

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i’ve been trying to purchase this hat since december but it was out of stock everywhere. (unless you count the exorbitant marked-up prices on ebay.)

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close-up of the bouquet. i love how the roses are placed in the center of the hydrangeas.

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with two baby showers coming up in march (ct and boston), i’ve been preoccupied assisting with details especially since one of my friends organizing the ct one is 33 weeks pregnant. we hung out on sunday to make tissue paper garlands and flowers. both looked easy enough on pinterest but we found out just how time-consuming the projects are, particularly the garlands. i was cutting each tissue paper by hand and painstakingly rolling them to make the garland.

i ended up purchasing a garland cutter from michaels so i could slice 4 tissue papers at once. using the device is a little tricky at first because tissue paper is so delicate and rips easily. the directions recommend not using less than 4 sheets of tissue paper and also putting a piece of copy paper on top to help prevent the papers from snagging on the blades. i also stood up to apply even pressure when moving the blades and instead of slicing them in one go, i made little cutting movements to prevent tearing. they were okay for the most part but some did tear in places.

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the adorable gray-and-white dewey decimal organizing drawers are from land of nod. i love that store – they have a lot of cute toys and accessories for babies, children and even adults. i plan on using the drawers to store things like diaper rash cream, q-tips and other things for the nursery.

here are the directions

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lastly, these two are great finds from homegoods. we can’t wait to hang these up above the changing table in penelope’s nursery. they go with our color theme and fit our vision for a modern-elegant nursery. the one on the left is a canvas and the chandelier one is a mirror.

dream big, sweet pea.

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

our dog is normally great about waiting to, er, shall we say, relieve herself until either dennis or i get out of bed. we know she really has to go if she jumps out of bed and starts pacing which is what she did on saturday morning. then she started hinting even more by jumping on the couch and looking out the window at the freshly fallen snow. light began flooding the room because she pushed aside the curtains and we couldn’t ignore her any longer.

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catering to our dog is not much to complain about. when our baby arrives, we’ll be in a sleep-deprived state of mind most of the time so taking care of yuri is cake. we’ll just have to make sure she doesn’t get jealous of the baby :X as i type this, she is curled up on my lap…

much of connecticut received 5-8 inches of snow yesterday. dennis and i were going to visit my grandma in massachusetts because she recently had a hip surgery at 93(!), but the treacherous roads kept us at home. we enjoyed each other’s company instead by playing in the snow, dancing to bruno mars’ uptown funk in the kitchen, and eating homemade brunch together

putting our selfie stick to use

putting our selfie stick to use

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she loves daddy

she loves daddy

faceplant, lol

faceplant, lol

great recovery

great recovery

awesome still from a video

awesome still from a video

heading back

heading back

chocolate chip pancakes with powdered sugar, eggs with baby arugula and bacon

chocolate chip pancakes with powdered sugar, eggs with baby arugula and bacon

after we ate, all three of us relaxed in the living room: dennis read a magazine and i read the newspaper in front of a blazing fireplace. we slowly drifted to sleep and fell asleep for about an hour and a half.

we woke up like this

we woke up like this

in the evening, we visited our friend, genie, who is about 31 weeks pregnant. her husband, ben, works for espn and is away in arizona until february 2nd to work at the superbowl. we went to her house to shovel her driveway (rather, dennis shoveled and i took yuri for a walk) before she came home from work. then we all ate individual pizzas from california pizza kitchen and watched dawn of the planet of the apes. it turned out to be an entertaining movie even without, sadly, james franco.

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2 preggo ladies

2 preggo ladies

my friend, almex, works for sho eyeworks, a company that sells eyeglasses and sunglasses. recently, he hooked me up with a pair of shades that has clear frames.

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they are lightweight and comfortable, and also retail for around $52!

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mine are the ivan in matte crystal gray seen here

if you are interested in any of the products, please let me know so i can contact my friend! enjoy the last moments of your weekend 🙂