Pregnancy: Week 28

Hello, hello!

I’m going to make this a quick post since we got home late last night after dinner at the new Half Shell Oyster House (it was decent, but not fabulous, and service was kind of weird) and running some errands. I didn’t have a whole lot of time this week to work on my update (it’s usually an ongoing process).

At 28 weeks, I’m now officially in the THIRD TRIMESTER! It’s getting close, folks. And…I have some good news: I passed my glucose test this morning!

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The drink was not nearly as awful as I’d imagined (it tasted like fruit punch, only thicker and a bit more syrupy), I never felt sick afterward, and my blood sugar tested much lower than I’d thought. I’m so thankful I don’t have to sit through that nasty 3-hour test. And I totally celebrated my success (many hours later) with a giant, sugary, chocolate cupcake. Contradictory? Sure. Typically me? Yep.

Anyway, let’s get to the update.

28-weeks-pic What’s Baby M up to this week?

  • Baby M weighs around 2 ¼ pounds (about the size of a large eggplant) and measures 14.8 inches from the top of his head to his heels.
  • He can open and close his eyes, which now sport eyelashes, and can see light that filters through the womb
  • He’s also developing billions of neurons in his brain and adding more body fat, while his muscle tone is also developing steadily
  • He can now recognize my voice (Oh the horrors! He’s going to remember me as “the one with the foul mouth!”)

How am I feeling this week?

Weight Gained:

Per my appointment today, 22 pounds. My doctor said I’m right on track and looking good. I also measured at 28 ½ weeks, which is where I am today.

Workouts:

Not very many to speak of:

  • Sunday: relaxation post-wedding
  • Monday: lunchtime walk + rest
  • Tuesday: lunchtime walk + barre
  • Wednesday lunchtime walk + rest (my neck was still hurting from yesterday, so I gave myself a break though I’d planned to start my DVDs again)
  • Thursday: short lunchtime walk + rest
  • Friday: plans for a lunchtime walk + maybe a DVD pilates workout
  • Saturday: who knows?

Symptoms:

  • upper back/neck pain (though it may not be pregnancy-related)
  • occasional rib pain
  • breathing more heavily (darn those stairs!) and just moving more slowly/awkwardly
  • clumsiness! (more so than usual)

Food Aversions:

None really, though I had to force down some leftover fried rice today (I was starving after my appointment)

Food Cravings:

  • a fried shrimp po-boy (which we had last last night!)
  • chocolate
  • fruit
  • peanut butter

Sleep:

It’s been ok. A few nights this week I woke up several times trying to make myself comfortable. I’m still getting adequate rest, but some nights are better than others. The weird dreams are still going strong, too!

Stretch Marks?

Haven’t spotted any (but I don’t look that closely either)

Wedding rings—on or off?

A bit snug in the heat, but on

Belly button—in or out?

Barely in (it’s getting flatter)

Happy or moody?

Mostly happy; I don’t think I’ve had one mood swing this week!

Maternity Clothes?

 You betcha!

Baby Purchases:

We ordered this glider for the nursery and I’m planning to order the crib bumper and bed skirt before this weekend; Mark picked up a few wall decorations, too

Looking forward to:

  • cleaning out closets this weekend and doing some work on the nursery
  • maternity pictures (which reminds me I need to e-mail the photographer this weekend with our final plans!)
  • enjoying the rest of my pregnancy (despite the heat!) and all the upcoming events (showers, weekend trips, etc.)
  • signing up for classes at the hospital (making arrangements for that this weekend or early next week)

Miss anything?

Just the usual: feeling more energetic and regular clothes

Funny/Odd Moments:

None really, although I was asked at dinner last night if I was ordering anything from the bar? Um, probably not a good idea! (I assume it was hard to see my belly sitting next to the table.)

Oh, and Baby M has been moving like crazy this week. I felt him low on my left side, and within a few minutes, he was high on my right side! He’s either doing jumping jacks or learning the backstroke!

No questions this week. Hope everybody has a great weekend! :-)

What I Ate…Before My Glucose Screening

Hi there.

I’d hoped to post a recipe today, but experimenting in the kitchen just hasn’t been in the cards this week. I was exhausted Monday evening, and yesterday I woke up with the worst upper back and neck pain. It’s still sore today, though maybe not quite as bad (thanks to my husband ever-so-kindly giving me a massage, some stretching at barre and throughout the day, and a good use of the heating pad last night). I have no idea if it’s pregnancy-related or if I just slept funny (I’ve woken up like this a few times in the past—and it’s usually better after a couple of days), but I sincerely hope this isn’t my “new normal” until Baby M arrives!

In other pregnancy-related news, I have my glucose screening tomorrow. I’m nervous, but I’m not really freaked out. It is what it is. Although I’m sure I’ll beat myself up if I fail and have to take the 3-hour test, it won’t be the end of the world. It’s largely out of my control (some of the healthiest and fittest women develop GDM during pregnancy!) and I can’t really do anything this far into the game to change the outcome. Even though I’ll feel really bad for a while (and probably cry at the doc!), I’ll remind myself that it’s much better to know that there are risks—so that I can make the best possible efforts to control them with my diet, exercise, and medicine (if necessary)—than to be in the dark about something that could cause health issues to myself and Baby M.

But…I’m looking on the bright side and enjoying a normal day of eats today (but no dessert after dinner!). Nothing in my tests or daily symptoms has indicated that I’ll test positive, so I’m looking on the bright side.

And with that, I guess now is a good time to take a look at What I Ate Wednesday.

Breakfast

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2 whole grain waffles topped with white chocolate peanut butter (my treat for the day!) and a sprinkling of pumpkin spice granola (made from the Choosing Raw cookbook) + my tiny mug of coffee

Morning Snack

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A few dried apricots

Lunch

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Mixed greens topped with pecans and pan-fried chicken (leftover from our Asian chopped salad the other night)

Afternoon Snack

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A few unphotographed goldfish crackers + a cup of Chobani + a small handful of granola

Dinner

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My mom’s homemade vegetable soup (from the freezer) + a grilled cheese

I’d thought about foregoing the grilled cheese, but I figured it’s better to eat how I normally do in the evenings than try to “trick” tomorrow morning’s test by stuffing myself with veggies only.

Don’t forget to stop by Peas and Crayons for more WIAW. But before you do, wish me luck tomorrow!!!

Weekly Links 07.21.14

How is it already Monday? This weekend flew by. We had a great time hanging out with friends, attempting to stay dry between monsoon-like rainstorms, and having a mini college reunion at the wedding, but I’m still utterly exhausted. I don’t know if it’s old age or pregnancy (let’s just say both?), but even after a good night’s sleep Sunday night, I was dragging the ground today. Here’s hoping the rest of the week is easier!

Since I’ve neglected my Weekly Links posts the last 2 weeks, I thought I’d try and redeem myself by posting just a day late instead of skipping another entirely. Happy reading.

weekly links header

.Recipes.

Coconut Frappuccino with Boozy Whipped Cream via Imma Eat That

I want this right now. And, since the only “booze” in this concoction is a tiny teaspoon of amaretto in the whipped cream, I might have to try it.

BBQ Chicken Nachos with Buttermilk Onion Rings via How Sweet It Is

Two of my absolute favorite things in one summery dish. An odd combination, but it has to be amazing! (Maybe it’s because we’re both pregnant?…)

Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Rice Krispie Treats via Mountain Mama Cooks

Oh my gosh, yes. I think it’s time Mark and I whip up some of these with the giant box of Rice Krispies and bag of marshmallows hanging out in our pantry.

Hot Fudge Ripple Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream via Creme de la Crumb

Swoon. I’m dying over the fudge ripple.

Summer Squash Pizza via Peas and Crayons

This looks so summery (and is a nice healthy balance to the desserts I’ve already posted).

.Food & Nutrition.

To Save These Pigs, Ky. Farmer Says We Have To Eat Them via NPR

Biodiversity is important. I commend this farmer and others like him, especially since small-scale farmers tend to treat their livestock vastly better than factory farmers.

Sizing Down Food Waste: What’s The Worst Thing To Toss? via NPR

Although I despise wasting food (and do it far too often), I’ve never thought of it from a calorie perspective. Something to think about next time I’m cleaning out the fridge!

.Health & Wellness.

We Are Our Bacteria via The New York Times

I’ve always found our gut and microbiome fascinating. It amazes me how many bacteria live inside of us, and I think it’s important for us to consider that diversity when choosing to take antibiotics, giving birth naturally, and eating fermented foods, for example.

.Body Image & Mental Health.

When Self-Confidence Isn’t 24/7 via The Lunchbox Diaries

This was posted a couple of weeks ago, but I thought it was worth sharing. No matter how happy we are in our own skin, we’re human. I have moments just like this, but overall, I’m confident with my appearance and grateful for my body and what it can do.

The Scale via Snack Therapy

I adore Carly’s humor, but even more, I adore the truth and importance to what she shares. The scale is powerful, but only if we make it that way. Personally, I’d rather focus on the experiences I’ve gained in the last few years than on the pounds that I’ve seen come and/or go.

.Fitness.

8 Incredible Ways Exercising Outside Will Improve Your Health via The Active Times

“Regular contact with nature isn’t an elective. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a requirement,” says Sisson. I couldn’t agree more, although it’s much more difficult to accomplish that contact with 90+ degree temperatures and nearly 100% humidity. Nevertheless, I’ll always prefer exercising outdoors to indoors (unless it’s barre or yoga).

One Size Doesn’t Fit All: How to Find the Best Health and Fitness Routine For You via Greatist

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a new fitness plan because I read somebody else’s raves about it but ended up hating it myself. Well, if you’re not enjoying a routine that fits your body, your lifestyle, and your tastes, then you’re doomed to fail. It’s going to take work, but it should be somewhat enjoyable and manageable, too.

Pregnancy: Week 27

Hello there, and happy Friday!

It’s been another long and busy week, but I can’t do too much complaining. The weather’s been beautiful, I’m really content with life (if not terrified at the same time), and I’m feeling pretty good.

Still, I can’t believe the last week of my 2nd trimester is almost over! WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?

Now more than ever, I truly feel pregnant. I can’t see my toes when standing normally, I find myself tiring more easily doing simple tasks, and I think I’m finally experiencing the surge of (irrational) emotions that only pregnancy hormones can offer (this excludes the first month, when I was still too shocked to accept and be excited about pregnancy). Just an example: I was in tears on the floor trying to coax our sweet Iggy from underneath the bed after Mark trimmed his doggie toenails. I thought he hated us and was going to stay under there forever! Then…I opened the refrigerator and grabbed a bag of blueberries. Out walks Iggy (and rather perkily, I must say).

Anyway, I have no idea what these next 12 ½ weeks have in store—but I’m ready for it. If you’d told me at the beginning of the year that I’d be pregnant and loving it, I’d have laughed in your face. Although I’ve always seen myself with a family of my own, I honestly thought we’d wait a few more years. At the new year—and in the days before my 30th birthday—I’d promised myself a few things. First, I was going to make this the year of gratitude (so far, I’ve even kept up with my daily gratitude jar, although post-baby, that may get a bit more difficult!) and perspective. I wasn’t going to fear or loathe leaving my 20s behind, I was going to embrace 30. I was going to be kind and more appreciative of the people in my life—be they family, coworkers, strangers at the grocery—and work on becoming the type of person I admire and wish to emulate. I was going to continue Bikram yoga (so much for that, though I plan to return one day) and reap the emotional and mental benefits it offered me for 9 months (and continues to offer me, even though I’m not practicing). I was going to enjoy being fit and love my body, rather than focus on its imperfections. I was going to find joy in the little and big things and grab new opportunities and experiences by the horns. In other words, I was going to make 2014 MY YEAR.

Though I initially felt all that came crashing down on February 11, I remember lying in bed, crying my eyes out, talking to Mark about our surprising future. I said a lot of awful, regretful things (out of fear, shock, and even anger—thank goodness Baby M couldn’t hear that early!), but I also reminded myself that, one day, February 11 would become one of the best days of my life instead of “the awful day.”

Although I’m still anxious about becoming a mother, am concerned with finances and childcare, and experience the occasional twinge of envy at friends who are still enjoying their single and child-less lives, I can honestly say that excitement and a boatload of love have replaced the negative feelings. I feel like a different person—one who is ready to enter a new stage of her life. I’m so glad that, when I turned 30, some little spark of wisdom decided to show up and assure me that expectations are bullshit and that we can never predict our lives. I’m so glad that I figured out that 2014 could, in fact, be exactly what I’d hoped it would be: a year of new experiences, gratitude, and growth. My year.

I had no intention of rambling and spilling all my emotions (it’s the hormones, damnit!), but there you go. Now let me get to my usual update. ☺

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What’s Baby M up to this week?

  • He weighs approximately 2 pounds (about the size of a head of cauliflower) and is around 14 ½ inches long with his legs extended
  • He’s sleeping and waking at regular intervals (I could’ve told you that!), opening and closing his eyes, and perhaps even sucking his fingers
  • With more brain tissue developing, his brain is very active now
  • His lungs are immature but would be capable of functioning—with medical intervention—if born now
  • His eyelids, closed until this point, have begun to open and now his retinas can begin to form

How am I feeling this week?

Weight Gained:

About the same as last week (20-21 pounds) per the gym scale

Workouts:

  • Sunday: nothing; we ran some errands, did laundry, and had a delicious dinner at my parents
  • Monday: just my lunchtime walk
  • Tuesday: lunchtime walk + barre class (they keep getting crazier and more brutal!)
  • Wednesday: lunchtime walk + evening walk with Mark/Iggy
  • Thursday: lunchtime walk + rest (a gift to myself for working late twice this week)
  • Friday: planning a walk unless it rains
  • Saturday: planning to relax

Symptoms:

More of the same: leg cramps, frequent peeing, occasional lower back pain, a bit of fatigue, some bloating/digestive issues (mostly because I am eating too much at once!), weird dreams, and I think I had another Braxton-Hicks on Thursday (my tummy felt a bit tight; I wrote down the time—10:41—but haven’t felt anything since)

Food Aversions:

Still nothing! I’m an anomaly…

Food Cravings:

  • Things that are both sweet and thirst-quenching: like fresh fruit!
  • Sweets in general
  • Carbs
  • A mixed grill

Sleep:

Some good nights, some not-so-great; luckily, even when I wake up a few times, I still get a decent amount of rest. I can’t really complain!

Stretch Marks? 

None that I’ve noticed

Wedding rings—on or off?

Getting snug, but still on

Belly button—in or out?

Hasn’t changed since last week—still in, but tiny

Happy or moody?

Mostly happy, with a few moody moments (mostly at work, go figure)

Maternity Clothes?

Yes, although I’ve discovered some non-maternity maxi dresses in the back of my closet that fit like a charm (one of which I’m wearing in the picture). I hope I can avoid buying more (apart from the pair of white skinny pants I bought last weekend), although I worry if my pants will still fit.

Baby Purchases:

Nothing this week (trying to hold off until our upcoming showers)

Looking forward to:

  • Spending this weekend with friends we haven’t seen in a while
  • Our baby showers
  • Our day trip to NOLA
  • Finalizing our maternity photo session (we’re down to a couple locations: Dauphin Island, downtown, or the botanical gardens)

Miss anything?

Just the usual: limitless caffeine, alcohol, feeling 100% like myself (although I do feel good)

Funny/Odd Moments:

Nothing in particular, but Baby M is moving around like crazy this week. Of course he still decides to stop when I tell Mark to feel (stubborn like his mother and father), but he was having a full-on dance party Tuesday night when I woke up around 3:30 AM. This kid is going to be a spaz!

Questions for moms & moms-to-be:

  • What should be on my “approaching the third trimester” check-list?
  • Did you friends or family hold a baby shower for you? Was it traditional or were guys and girls welcome?

What I Ate Wednesday: Trying To Get Back On Track

Hi there!

Is this week absolutely dragging for anybody else? Even though I haven’t been waking up during the night as often as I had been, I feel like I can’t get a really good night’s sleep. Maybe pregnancy is finally taking its toll on me? I feel much more aware of the extra 20-or-so pounds I’m carrying around—and trying to sit up using my abs only is hilarious.

Nevertheless, it’s Wednesday and I’m glad! Tonight we’re supposed to have record cool air (thank you, polor vortex!) and it should be nicer the rest of the week. Plus, we have friends coming in Friday and a wedding to attend Saturday night. Hopefully Sunday is full of down time (mama needs her rest).

Because I haven’t done much in the way of cooking this week, I thought I’d share another day’s worth of meals.

This one includes all of yesterday’s meals. Since my glucose screening is next week and I’m in the last week of the 2nd trimester, I’m really going to focus on healthy eating these last few months. I’m trying to include more veggies in my work lunches like I used to and make sure they’re full of enough protein. I’m also going to try to cut back on the cake, ice cream, and other sweets that seem to be my ultimate craving lately. My meals this week aren’t fancy, but they got the job done.

Anyway, enough rambling—here’s What I Ate Wednesday Tuesday.

Breakfast

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a big bowl of plain 2% Greek yogurt topped with cinnamon, walnuts, fresh blueberries (actually they’re huckleberries) picked from my parents’ yard, and cinnamon Puffins cereal.

Side note: I’m so tired of reading in pregnancy books that advise eating only LOW-FAT dairy! Many studies today show that full-fat (or 2%) dairy is much healthier. Plus, our bodies NEED fat, and it just tastes better!

Morning Snack

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a juicy (and messy!) nectarine

Lunch

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peanut butter sandwich with a side of baby carrots, celery, pretzel thins, and hummus; lunch was followed by an (not pictured) afternoon snack of a few dried figs and veggie Skinny Sticks

Another side note: I’m not even sure where I saw this (so take its accuracy with a grain of fleur de sel) but apparently, in France, pregnant women are discouraged from eating raw vegetables! (I’m guessing it has to do with unwashed produce and risks of contamination, which, of course, is an issue here, too.) Since veggies and I haven’t been getting along too well lately, this recommendation is a dream to me! 

Dinner

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fried brown rice with eggs, broccoli, mixed frozen veggies, fresh corn (cut off the cob), and plenty of Sriracha (I’m almost positive that a small bowl of ice cream will follow dinner sooner rather than later)

I didn’t eat a whole lot of veggies, but I did manage to get them into 2 of my meals. Apart from the dried fruit (and inevitable ice cream), I stayed away from the sweets. Plus yogurt, fruit, and whole grain/low sugar cereal are perfectly healthy.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Don’t forget to check out the WIAW party over at Peas and Crayons. Have a lovely Wednesday!

 

Pregnancy: Week 26

Hello there, and HAPPY FRIDAY!!!!

The day might not be over yet, but I think it’s safe to say I’ve survived my first full week back from vacation. It’s been a long one—and I’m overwhelmed with paperwork—but I’ve survived nonetheless.

I’ve noticed two things this week: one, I’m really starting to feel pregnant (I can tell the fatigue is slowly but surely returning), and, two, people really love pregnant women! I’ve spoken to more strangers and passers-by this week (just random conversation about kids, pregnancy, etc.) than I have in a long time. I’d forgotten how much I actually like people! :-)

I feel like this week’s update is much like the last few, but having just 1 more week in the 2nd trimester, I’m almost positive I will have much more to share soon. Let’s move on to this week’s “bump-date,” though.

26 week pic

What’s Baby M up to this week?

  • The network of nerves in Baby M’s ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both my voice and Mark’s as we chat with each other (Oh $#&%! Now I really have to say nice things only.)
  • He’s inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid, which is essential for his lung development
  • His veins are visible through his transparent skin, but soon that will change, as his skin begins to turn opaque.
  • He’s continuing to put on baby fat, weighing just shy of 2 pounds and measuring around 14 inches long—the length of a scallion

How am I feeling this week?

Weight Gained:

Um, I think we’ve hit a growth spurt? (Let’s blame it on vacation food!) If the scales at the gym are correct, then I’ve gained 21 pounds (which is the absolute peak of the “healthy/normal” range, according to charts on the internet at least). I’m not concerned, though (just a little shocked). I’ve mentioned it before, but even though I had a very normal BMI, I think I was slightly underweight for my frame. Plus, apart from what I assume is a tiny circumference increase in my legs/thighs (based on how my leggings/skinny pants/shorts fit!), all of the gain has been belly and boob!

Workouts:

Not a whole lot this week, but I don’t feel bad at all

  • Sunday: nothing—we were driving home all day & relaxing post-vacation
  • Monday: lunchtime walk + rest
  • Tuesday: lunchtime walk + barre class (the most difficult to date; holy glutes and quads!)
  • Wednesday: short walk (thanks to the rain) ☹ +rest
  • Thursday: lunchtime walk + rest (in my defense, I walked a lot at the office today)
  • Friday: I’ll probably take my walk and maybe do a DVD workout at home (since we don’t have plans)
  • Saturday: nothing planned yet…

Symptoms:

  • Occasional lower back pain
  • Leg cramps
  • Slight digestive issues
  • Possibly a single Braxton-Hicks contraction Tuesday night (still not sure what it would feel like, but my belly felt kind of hard and tight; hasn’t happened again since, though.)

Food Aversions:

Still nothing! I’m amazed…but enjoying the heck out of my appetite.

Food Cravings:

  • Cookie dough (glad I made some of Angela’s healthy, vegan cookie dough bites again!)
  • Fresh fruit (loving seasonal berries especially)
  • CARBS!!! Wednesday night, I wanted nothing to do with real food. I could’ve happily eaten cereal, chocolate, etc., but I opted for a grilled cheese and tomato soup instead.

Sleep:

On average, good, but Sunday night I woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep. From trying to sleep on my sides rather than back, my arms and shoulders keep going to sleep. The snoogle helps with my hips/knees, but the arms still bother me. Oh well…I guess it’s preparation for waking up every few hours with Baby M?

Stretch Marks?

None that I can see…hooray!

Wedding rings—on or off?

On, but a little tighter, especially in the heat

Belly button—in or out?

It’s still in…but so tiny!

Happy or moody?

Pretty happy—even though we had to go back to work after 9 days of vacation. I’m just feeling really content with life right now (which is a far cry from last year around this time). I’m nervous about becoming a mother, but I’m excited for the adventures that await us. I’m more confident and more appreciative of the people and things in my life. It’s a good feeling.

Maternity Clothes?

Still wearing them (although my outfit above is 100% regular clothes, unless you count my undershirt)—and I haven’t bought anything new although I want to find some cute sundresses (or maxi skirts) for everyday where (the dresses I have are more work-attire than weekend—or are even dressier).

I just realized I wore the same skirt almost 2 months ago! Check out the comparison.

19-26-week-comparison

Baby Purchases:

We bought enough last week to open our own baby clothing boutique (seriously!) and the dresser delivered yesterday. I was quite surprised to walk in the nursery and see it, since we were expecting it tomorrow.

Looking forward to:

  • Signing up for the tour and birthing classes at the hospital
  • Scheduling maternity pictures
  • Starting on some paintings I want to do for the nursery (still haven’t figured out what I want to do, though)

Miss anything?

  • This week it’s wine (instead of beer)—go figure
  • Having more energy (I still feel pretty good, but I can tell my energy level is waning as I approach the 3rd trimester)
  • Being able to sleep like a normal person—my snoogle is great, but it means I can only cuddle with it instead of my dog/husband (yes, in that order) ;-)

Funny/Odd Moments:

This kind of made me laugh—last weekend in Jackson, I was trying on a lightweight windbreaker jacket that will be perfect for walking/running in the fall, and everything was fine till I tried to zip it up! Oops. Sometimes I forget my belly is even there! At least it fit everywhere else. And at least I abandoned the idea of zipping it when I first realized it instead of trying to force it!

Oh, and I know I’ve mentioned how important it is for me to stay active and show other (more naïve) people that pregnancy isn’t a disability, so you’ll understand how this irked me (to say the least). A woman in another department (who’s not my boss or superior in any way) called a few minutes after I’d gotten to my desk for the morning about some binder my boss forgot to pick up. In so many words, she asked (told?) me to drop what I was doing to come pick it up (her office is far away). Excuse me?!! When I reacted in a “can’t it wait?” manner (since I plan on walking over that way as a courtesy to somebody else later), she asked me snarkily, “oh, is it too hot for you to walk over here?” OH HELL NO!!!! Of course I responded that “no, I’m not disabled, just pregnant” but wasn’t going to drop what I was doing (since she was about to leave her office for a bit), and she and I agreed I’d just remind my boss when he came in. Good thinking, rude lady! It’s part of my job to drop off paperwork and pick things up—and I would have gladly obliged had MY BOSS asked me to pick it up when I was going over there—but I don’t react well to that kind of nerve. She’s been very ugly to me before, but that just ruined my morning! It’s a bloody binder. It can wait till my boss decides he needs it!

And to end things on a less negative note: I was asked the other day “are you a Marine?” while walking on my lunch break. Puzzled, I replied “no” and was told “oh, ok, because you’ve got to be tough walking around out here [in this heat] pregnant.” Haha, it made me smile. Should’ve replied, “nope, just a former gymnast and Bikram yogi.” :-)

Questions for moms & moms-to-be:

  • What was/is your favorite part of pregnancy?
  • Did you/have you had Braxton-Hicks contractions?

What I Ate…While in Memphis

Today was a bit stormy (had to stay indoors during most of my lunch, boo!), but it’s Wednesday, which means my first work week back from vacation is more than half-way over. Hooray!

Speaking of vacation, I thought I’d hop on the What I Ate Wednesday party bus and share some of the awesome food we ate in Memphis (+ a little re-cap of our trip). I’m leaving out a special dining experience from our first night in MS with the in-laws (because it was so delicious, it deserves its own personal review and post), but I’ve got more than enough pictures and meals to share below.

On our first afternoon in Memphis, we took a little stroll through downtown and made our way to a restaurant we’d heard about a few nights before while watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: South of Beale.

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We weren’t starving—and it was a bit late in the afternoon—so we chose to share a few dishes including the fried green tomatoes; crisp beat salad; and gouda mac ‘n cheese. We nibbled on the free popcorn while waiting—and I had a sip of Mark’s beer, which was brewed at a local Memphis brewery, Ghost River.

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The food overall was good—but not great. The highlight was definitely the remoulade served alongside the fried green tomato. In Guy Fierri’s words, I would eat that on a flip-flop! The downside was a piece of ceiling falling onto my salad plate. No, I’m not kidding! We sat in the corner by the window, and apparently the recent heavy rains caused a bit of damage. Definitely startled me, though!

After a nap at the hotel, we ventured out to Beale Street. We walked around a bit before settling on Pig on Beale for dinner.

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Per my usual, I ordered the pulled pork sandwich (“pork with an attitude!”) and Mark opted for the smoked turkey. It was good (particularly the baked beans), but not as good as my hometown favorite, The Brick Pit.

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We then ventured to BB King’s Blues Club to listen to the awesome All Star Band.

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Their selection of non-alcoholic drinks was slim, so I had a raspberry tea (way too sweet—and bearing no resemblance to tea at all!) and a cherry limeade. Craving dessert, Mark and I split a humongous brownie, topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and strawberries. Yum!

IMG_0927On day 2, we ate a huge breakfast at Bon Ton Café (no photo) before driving to the zoo. A big plate of fried eggs, toast, bacon, and hash browns (with a side of OJ) was just what I needed. The zoo was fantastic. It was quite big—and we walked a lot—but I really enjoyed it. Some of my favorite animals included the penguins, elephants, polar bears, and baby giraffe.

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That’s me pointing to my baby and the baby giraffe, in case you couldn’t tell!

After the zoo, we stopped for a tour of Sun Studio (where Elvis, Johnny Cash, and a host of others were discovered). I didn’t take any pictures on the tour (wish I had), but the tour was really informative and fun. And of course we just had to order a chocolate malt at the attached soda shop (again, no picture!).

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We later had dinner at a fantastic restaurant: McEwen’s. One side was a wine bar, the other a small, but nice, restaurant. Mark and I were both really impressed with the menu; there was nothing on it that sounded anything less than delicious.

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I ended up ordering a single glass of red wine (oh how I miss thee!) and the duck breast entree (with green beans and a potato/butternut squash side). Mark opted for the catch of the day: grouper, served with an heirloom tomato relish and polenta. While my duck was cooked perfectly, I found the smoked chili to be a bit overpowering. I still ate every last morsel, however.

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For dessert, we shared the classic vanilla creme brûlée. It was simple, but made very well.

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Post dinner, we took a carriage ride through the downtown area. It was so breezy and cool thanks to looming rain (it barely sprinkled, however), and while our tour guide didn’t share a whole lot of knowledge with us, she was really nice (as was her rescue dog, Jack).

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We checked out the top of the Peabody Hotel (before it started drizzling) and enjoyed some coffee (decaf for me!) and a pianist in the lobby before heading to bed.

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On our third day, we went to Graceland. We slept a bit late, so our first meal was lunch. We tried to eat at Rendezvous, but they were closed for lunch. This was to our advantage, because our next choice (recommended the night before by our carriage guide) was Aldo’s Pizza Pies.

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We sat outside on the lovely sidewalk and shared the Gina Bellina (tomato sauce, goat cheese, spinach, black olives, mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes). We also split an order of mini cannoli for dessert. So good!

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Graceland ended up being more impressive than I anticipated. It wasn’t too crowded, so we enjoyed touring the home, airplanes, and car museum.

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For dinner, we ventured back to Rendezvous.

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Again, I opted for pulled pork (pretty good, but I didn’t like the coleslaw at all) and Mark tried the world famous ribs (and brisket). Neither of us was super-impressed, but it was still tasty.

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We did a bit more walking along Beale and also walked along the river bank for a while before going to bed pretty early. We’re old, what can I say?

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After checking out of our hotel on Thursday, we had lunch at Huey’s (another recommendation from our guide). It was a neat place and I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of all the toothpicks stuck that people shoot into the ceiling! I decided to branch out and order the Bluff City Burger, which was loaded with onion straws, smoked cheddar, and BBQ sauce. It was huge, but satisfying.

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Once we loaded up into the car, we decided to stop in Tunica for a little bit to see the casinos. Again, no pictures, but we though the Gold Strike and Horse Shoe were pretty nice. Shortly after we made it back to the in-laws’ house in time for dinner, the next day’s 4th of July cookout, and quality family time (aka, buying lots of clothes for Baby M).

All in all, we had a great time and enjoyed some tasty food. Have a great remainder of the week, everyone! :-)

Pregnancy Update: Week 25

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I hope all you (American) readers are having a safe, fun-filled holiday with plenty of good times with family, delicious food, and an extra ice-cold beer (for the pregnant lady). And for all you non-Americans, I hope your weekend is going well, too. :-)

Is it really time for another pregnancy update? In just a couple of weeks, I’ll be entering the third trimester; although I’m hoping Baby M continues cooking for another 15 weeks, there’s a 50-80% chance of survival if he were to come early. It’s surreal thinking about how close we are to meeting Baby M for the first time!

I think being on vacation made this last week fly by even more quickly than usual. We had a fantastic time in Memphis, and now we’re kicking back with the in-laws till we drive home on Sunday morning.

We spent today relaxing and barbecuing; I didn’t take a single picture of the food (which, in all honesty, was kind of nice), but trust me when I say the barbecue chicken, hot dogs, corn on the cob, salad, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, and homemade blueberry pie (made by our guest) were delicious and Baby M-approved. :-)

And now it’s time for this week’s update…

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What’s Baby M up to this week?

  • Head to heels, Baby M measures around 13 ½ inches; he weighs approximately 1 ½ pounds or the weight of your average rutabaga!
  • He’s still pretty long and lean, but his body is beginning to fill out and gain some baby fat
  • If we could see his hair, we could discern its color and texture (his skin is also gaining some color)
  • His hands are fully developed—including fingertips
  • The structure of the spine is beginning to form (33 rings, 150 joints, and 1000 ligaments)

How am I feeling this week?

Weight Gained:

No idea (there’s a scale here, but I don’t know how accurate it is compared to the ones at the doctor/gym), but it’s likely that I gained a few pounds with all the good food we ate in Memphis and today. I’l find out for sure Tuesday, I guess.

Workouts:

No scheduled workouts this week, but we did a whole lot of walking around the zoo and downtown Memphis.

Symptoms:

  • still peeing like a machine
  • some rib pain (still on my right side)
  • digestive issues (I think pregnancy has triggered slight lactose intolerance—or perhaps my body just isn’t used to a giant cup of ice cream from Sonic!)
  • occasional leg cramps
  • crazy dreams (though I forget most of them before I get up)

Food Aversions:

Nothing really…still loving it all!

Food Cravings:

Well, we ate a lot of BBQ this week (when in Rome Memphis…) but I don’t know if I was really craving it. I still enjoy my sweets and carby, pizza-like things.

Sleep:

Pretty good, though that might be due to the massive, pillowy, king-sized hotel bed we slept on. I didn’t bother bringing my snoogle along, and I’ve managed to stay comfortable (except for last night). Long days full of walking made for easy rest!

Stretch Marks?

Nothing new that I’ve noticed

Wedding Rings—on or off?

Still on

Belly button—in or out? 

It’s still in and hasn’t changed much in the last couple of weeks. Stay in there, buddy!

Happy or moody?

Happy (but who isn’t happy when they’re on vacation?…) although I did have a slight mental breakdown Wednesday morning when getting dressed (thank you, armpit fat!)

Maternity Clothes?

Pretty much exclusively, although I did wear a pre-pregnancy pair of shorts with my belly band this week. I haven’t bought anything new.

Baby Purchases:

Plead the fifth?…

We might have explored the clearance racks at Belk and the Carter’s/Oshkosh outlets in Tunica. NO MORE CLOTHES!!! MUST RESIST!!!

Looking forward to:

  • Enjoying our last couple of days of vacation

Miss anything?

  • It’s the 4th of July, so…BEER!!!
  • being able to move around and roll over easily (this tummy is starting to take its toll on me)

Funny/Odd Moments:

Nothing unusual, just the standard, friendly “when are you due?” or “is it a boy or girl?” from passers-by

Questions for moms & moms-to-be:

  • If you had a summer pregnancy, what are your tips for surviving the heat?
  • Besides the typical pregnancy symptoms, did you experience any unusual issues like lactose-intolerance or sensitivities to foods that normally don’t affect you outside of pregnancy?

Thinking Out Loud: Memphis Style

We’ve been enjoying our vacation in the new-to-us city of Memphis, but I thought I’d pop in for a quick hello, Thinking Out Loud style. If you’re new to TOL, head over to Running with Spoons to learn more.

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1. Downtown Memphis is much smaller than I’d anticipated. It’s clean, the Main Street pedestrian mall is a fantastic area, and the riverfront was pretty nice, too, but I guess I imagined it to be bigger and busier (we’re also there during the middle of the week, so that’s probably part of it).

2. Likewise, I’d imagined Beale Street to be much bigger. It was still neat, especially last night when they had all the bikers showing off their motorcycles, but I expected it to be larger than a few blocks.

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3. The zoo, however, was one of the best I’ve visited. Its grounds were kept up really well, it was in a beautiful part of town, and it ended up being quite the workout for a 6-month (!!!) pregnant lady. It was really hot, but we stayed hydrated and took advantage of the shade. Plus, we saw penguins. :-)

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4. As excited as we were about barbecue, our 2 favorite meals were completely different cuisines. We had our nice dinner Tuesday night at McEwen’s, and it was amazing! Wednesday’s lunch at Aldo’s Pizza Pies was pretty fantastic, too.

5. One of the best parts of our hotel? FREE COOKIES. We were given warm cookies at check-in, plus they gave us two more the next day when I asked. Simple things make a pregnant girl content.

6. On a more random note, does somebody want to buy me a pink Cadillac like the one Elvis had? It’s so pretty! (Graceland itself was pretty cool, too.)

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7. While we’re on the subject of wishful thinking, can I live in a “palace” atop the The Peabody like the famous ducks? Seriously, their lives must be pretty awesome. Waking up just before 11 AM, splashing around in a hotel lobby pool for hours, and having people gawk at you as you parade down a red carpet back up to your special digs? Sounds pretty sweet to me.

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8. I’m not ready for our little “baby moon” to end—but at least we have a couple more days in MS with the in-laws.

9. Plus we get to see our sweet, little baby dog who’s hopefully been a good house guest while we were out of town!

10.  But for now I’m going to enjoy my chamomile tea (like the old lady that I am) now and give you more of a vacation wrap-up next week. Have a great Thursday, everyone!

Weekly Links 06.29.14

Happy Sunday!

I’m keeping things short and sweet today since we’re hanging out in Jackson with the in-laws. We’re enjoying our time here, but I’m excited to travel to Memphis tomorrow. It’s going to be crazy hot, but we have a lot of fun things (and EATING!!!) planned.

Hope you find some of the recipes and articles linked below to inspire you in the kitchen or make you think. Have a great week everybody!

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.Recipes.

Apricot Strawberry Grilled Crisp via Edible Perspective

Oh this looks amazing. I love crisps/crumbles/cobblers/etc., and the addition of fresh apricots (which I’ve never tried either) and strawberries is too much!

The Best Peach Mango Salsa via Averie Cooks

Yum! This looks so fresh and summery.

Samoa Cheesecake via Gimme Some Oven

This needs NO explanation…

Toffee Ice Cream Brownie Bars via Two Peas & Their Pod

I realize almost all of the recipes I’ve shared have been desserts, but this one is too delicious-looking to pass by.

Raw Zucchini Salad with Lemon, Herbs, and Goat Cheese via Kalyn’s Kitchen

On a healthy note: this looks so refreshing. Lemon makes every vegetable better (as does goat cheese).

.Food & Nutrition.

GMO bananas are coming to a supermarket near you, thanks to Bill Gates via Natural News

I don’t know nearly enough about the science of GMO foods to determine for myself whether they’re the evil, frankenfood opponents claim or the life-saving, means of feeding the world proponents would lead you to believe.  Nevertheless, I do know that all consumers should be told whether or not what they’re purchasing/consuming contains GMO, and that something found safe in gerbils isn’t necessarily good for humans. Nevertheless, the scariest part about GMO foods, in my opinion, is not the possible dangers of the organism but the power it gives to a handful of corporations (like Monsanto).

.Body Image & Mental Health.

Rethinking How We Compliment One Another via My Food ‘N’ Fitness Diaries

This is precisely why I’m hesitant to tell somebody “those jeans make you look so skinny” or “look how slim you are!” Compliments, no matter how well-intended, can be taken entirely differently than we mean, so it’s best to avoid using such words.

Why I Won’t Be Working For a Bikini Body This Summer via Running with Spoons

I agree that while it’s one thing to eat well and exercise because it feels good, it’s another to diet and go on cleanses, exercise religiously, etc. for a few weeks out of the year just to achieve the “perfect” bikini body. Our bodies are already perfect because they function and carry us through each day. It’s incredibly unhealthy the way society and media put so much focus on looking good in a swimsuit, dieting away holiday weight, etc. Health, fitness, and beauty are a lifestyle; they’re not something you turn off or on for a few weeks out of the year. You, go, Amanda—and rock that bikini anyway should you go to the pool/beach this summer! ☺

My Healthy Living Philosophy via Long Drive Journey

…and a great philosophy it is.

What Happened When One Woman Had Her Picture Photoshopped In 25 Different Countries via Huffington Post

This was really interesting and proof that the ideal of “the perfect woman” is unattainable. In my opinion, this woman looked best in the photos that were retouched the least.

.Fitness.

How To Do The Perfect Push Up via Greatist

I’ve always done push-ups (due to gymnastics), but I can guarantee I was doing them incorrectly for a while. Now that the pregnancy “pit fat” is driving me NUTS, I’m counting on correct, frequent push-ups to fix that problem post-baby and post-nursing! (Although, if the little pudges remain, I’ll be ok with that, too.)

What Yoga Is Teaching Me About Life via Healthy Helper

A great post—and it echoes a lot of my own sentiments about yoga.

For Fitness, Push Yourself via The New York Times

While any exercise is better than none, I’ve always heard you should push yourself (within reasonable limits!) to benefit fully. That’s one reason I love my barre class so much: I’m always forced out of my comfort zone. Just make sure to listen to your body, though.

.Pregnancy & Children.

Should you eat fish during pregnancy? via Fit Pregnancy

I’m glad to read this. I haven’t stopped eating fish at all during my pregnancy. I still enjoy shrimp, salmon, rainbow trout (my new favorite for easy weeknight dinners), and oysters maybe once every couple of weeks, although I’ve been avoiding tuna and other large predatory fish (which I rarely consume anyhow). I take a DHA supplement and eat other Omega-3 rich foods, but I’d like to increase my servings of fish to 2 or so per week so Baby M has even more brain power!

Four Truths About Our Post-Baby Bodies via Scary Mommy

I realize this is supposed to be encouraging, but I found it to be a tiny bit discouraging, too. Sure, my body won’t be 100% like it was before, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t be able to run a faster 5K or get my flat tummy back (and for the record, I’m hoping I have a few more curves months after Baby M is born and nursed) in due time. I do agree with the last point, “beauty is where you find it,” though, and I realize that what we gain from pregnancy and childbirth is far greater than what we lose.