The First Week…

Good morning!

It’s been a while. Little did I know last week that I’d be posting my last pregnancy update at 39 weeks. I plan on sharing my birth story (oh, it’s interesting enough), but before that, I’d like to introduce Luca Davis Miele, born October 11 at 9:17 PM. The little guy weighed just 6 lbs 1 oz and measured 20.5 inches. He’s absolute perfection, and Mark and I are both head over heels in love. I can’t believe he is one week old already!

IMG_1370 We brought him home Monday afternoon—on his due date. It’s been a challenging week (little guy seems to have his days and nights mixed up) and I’ve had many mental breakdowns (my ugly cry beats Luca’s by a mile), but we’re slowly and surely getting into the groove of parenting.

They don’t lie about postpartum hormones! I’ve gone from complete euphoria to feeling like an utter failure in the same breath, it seems, but I am happy to say that I’ve gone over 24 hours without a single freakout. Life is good.

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So what have I learned so far?

  • For starters, I’m physically tougher and stronger than I ever imagined I could be.
  • My husband is the sane one. He was the absolute best labor support and has offered endless encouragement when it would be easy to just let me cry in the hallway or on the nursery floor, wallowing in my irrationality and fear of failure.
  • Breastfeeding is difficult, but I’m bound and determined not to give up. Eating enough calories is going to be a challenge because who has time to eat?
  • We really should sleep when he sleeps (the number one tip offered to us as new parents). I should be sleeping right now, actually, considering Luca has slept more solidly this past night than ever.
  • Getting outside on a cool, sunny fall day does wonders for the soul. Luca already loves strolling in the fresh air just like his mommy.
  • My emotions are bizarre. I’m perhaps the only person ever who started tearing up (happy, nostalgic tears) after reflexively rubbing my belly and looking down with a smile as All About That Bass came on the radio (I mention Luca’s little dance in my 37 week post).
  • (Explosive) shit happens. ;-)
  • I’m in awe of how wonderful motherhood is and will be, but I genuinely miss being pregnant. Meeting our little guy and getting to hold him, staring at his impossibly long eyelashes, laughing when he does his Elvis smirk and shows off his little dimples, and even wiping up the pee that inevitably gets sprayed during a diaper change is so much better, but I miss those little flutters and kicks and the way my belly felt, even if it made normal movement a challenge.
  • I want to savor every moment, especially the ones where little man is asleep on my chest instead of his crib or any number of other places he should be sleeping.

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I will share more soon, but I need to wake up little wiggle man for a feeding. Till next time…

Weekly Links 10.12.14

Hello! And happy Sunday…from the hospital postpartum room!

We have a new, adorable addition (I’ll share more soon), and after a very long weekend and labor, mom, dad, and baby are doing well (but sleepy). We’re already in love; he’s absolutely perfect (stubborn, too!).

I’ll admit this post has been scheduled since early in the week. Being unsure of Baby M’s arrival, I didn’t want to leave you guys hanging. Content may be sparse in the next couple of weeks, but I’ll try. Hope you enjoy some weekend reading for the time-being.

weekly links header

.Recipes.

Autumn Kale Salad with Fennel and Honeycrisp via Cooke + Kate

This salad is everything I’ve ever dreamed of in a salad. It’s on the menu this fall, for sure.

Barbacoa via Gimme Some Oven

I’ve never actually had barbacoa (to my knowledge), but this looks delicious and the soon-to-be-mother to a newborn loves that it’s a slow cooker recipe!

Snickerdoodle Bread via Averie Cooks

I love snickerdoodles and all things cinnamon, and this looks like a perfect fall breakfast (of the indulgent variety). Yum!

Crispy Kale Grilled Cheese with Fried Eggs via How Sweet It Is

I don’t like screwing around with traditional grilled cheese, but I’d make an exception for this. Plus I can’t wait to eat runny eggs again!

Buffalo Chicken Pasta via Chocolate & Carrots

Yum! I’ve only recently discovered the awesomeness of buffalo chicken dip, but his pasta version sounds easy and delicious.

.Food & Nutrition.

Eating Comfort Foods May Not Be So Comforting After All via NPR

Hmm, I’ve always called them “comfort foods” because they bring me comfort while I’m eating them, not because they act as anti-depressants. Sometimes you just need to indulge and enjoy the moment while not thinking about the science or health of it all.

.Health & Fitness.

Can You Be Fat & Fit? via Refinery 29

There needs to be more attention paid to the “health at every size” mindset/movement. Not everybody had the same body type; a petite person may never exercise but remain extremely thin (but maybe not healthy) whereas a bigger person may do all the right things (eat well, exercise, etc.) and remain the same size. As long as you feel great, that’s all that matters.

.Body Image & Mental Health.

A Body Image Monopoly? via Snack Therapy

Like usual, I agree with everything Carly has to say. Body image sure is tricky…

Foreign Body via Rookie

“Rather than seeing my body as an enemy, I am trying to consider it a part of a beloved whole that serves me in everything I wanna do.” A good way of thinking…

.Pregnancy & Parenting.

Why Most Pregnancy Guides Are a Total Turnoff via Time

This is pretty much why I haven’t finished reading “What To Expect” and have found I prefer blogs from actual pregnant women or mothers, my weekly updates from various websites, and answers from both my doctor and childbirth/breastfeeding instructor to these infantilizing and fear-inducing books.

6 Reasons You Really Need Your Kids via Huffington Post

Haha. I’ll remember these when the time comes!

Why Are America’s Postpartum Practices So Rough on New Mothers? via The Daily Beast

While I don’t feel like pregnant and/or postpartum women need to be treated as disabled or helpless and would go mad with some of these cultural practices, I certainly believe that the US lags behind other countries regarding maternity leave, postpartum care, etc. We have it backwards, really: we micromanage pregnancy and then expect new mothers to jump right back into their previous “normal” as soon as the baby is born. Reading things like this makes me glad I chose to take my full 12 weeks for leave.

A New Favorite Found at The Noble South

During my “vacation week” of my maternity leave, I’ve decided to take advantage of my free time (since Baby M could make his arrival at any time now). Lunch at The Noble South was the perfect way to do just that.

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Mark and I have been wanting to try this restaurant for a while (I believe it opened early this year), but since they’re open for lunch only during the work week and dinners seemed a little pricey, we never did try it out. My mom joined me Tuesday afternoon, and I’m really glad she did.

The restaurant itself is small, but extremely bright and airy thanks to a high ceiling (with upper floors removed). The decor is farmhouse chic, I suppose, and I love the white-washed brick, wood floors, and rustic bar setup. The tables even have a butcher block look to them.

I feel like there’s a little bit of everything on the lunch menu, and I thought the pricing was very reasonable. I probably could make a meal out of the “snacks,” although I knew going in that I wanted a plate lunch.

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Although everything sounded appetizing, I had a hankering for fried catfish. I was a bit disappointed to hear that they had already sold out of the squash casserole and cucumber  salad (the two sides I’d most wanted to try!), but I took our waitress’ recommendations to heart and opted for the kale salad and succotash. (Next time I want the fried okra, as it would’ve been my next choice).

I’m very glad I limited myself to two sides because they were quite large! One would’ve been sufficient, but I didn’t realize it going in.

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Let me start with the catfish! It was the fluffiest fillet I’ve ever seen, and the crispy cornmeal batter was seasoned and fried perfectly, not a drop of grease in sight. I’m not sure what the dipping sauce was, but it tasted like some kind of rémoulade (I’m pretty sure there was whole grain mustard in there) and complimented the flaky fish perfectly.

The kale salad was tender, but it had a nice bite to it, as well. The parmesan added a salty touch (almost too much), and the heirloom tomatoes and vinaigrette were the perfect touch of acid.

The succotash was extremely fresh! The corn was definitely cut straight off the cob, and you could tell the mixture was cooked in a lot of butter (in a good way, not a heavy or offensive way).

As much as I loved the fish, I could have happily made a meal out of the sides (which is an option: 4 sides for $8.00).

We didn’t ask to hear dessert offerings, but I did eavesdrop on the neighboring table and heard something about a banana pudding semi-freddo (whoa!) and something with peanut butter. I guess we’ll save dessert for next time!

The only negative about the restaurant was the heat. Sure, it’s October and “technically” fall, but it was quite warm today. It didn’t bother me as there was a slight breeze coming in through the open doors, but had it been slightly warmer (like during the summer!), I would have been uncomfortable.

Hot or not, I definitely plan to return and let Mark have a taste! We may even treat ourselves to dinner, which, after experiencing the quality and freshness of the ingredients firsthand, probably is just as reasonably priced as lunch.

What I Ate (On Possibly My Final) Wednesday of Pregnancy!

I know, I know! I go days without posting anything worth reading, and then I turn around and publish two posts in one day. What’s become of me?

My eats lately have been abysmal; well, most of my meals have been pretty much what I always eat (oats, yogurt bowls, or egg sandwiches for breakfast; leftovers, salads, and sandwiches for lunch; and soup, pasta, beans & rice, etc. for dinner), but my snacking has been out of control. I blame pregnancy hormones (though it’s probably just my insatiable sweet tooth and lack of will power). I can’t stop inhaling sweets!

Today’s eats were pretty good (mostly because I forced Mark to take the last cookie in his lunch), so I thought I’d compile what may very well be my last WIAW of pregnancy!

wiaw fall into good habits button

After sleeping late till almost 9:00, I remembered I’d opened a can of pumpkin Monday and made myself a pumpkin spice smoothie (recipe here). It hit the spot, though I followed it up with an un-photographed leftover biscuit with strawberry jelly (again, sugar!!!). Oh, and a small cup of coffee.

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On the way home from shopping for a few pantry/freezer items at Sam’s Club, I did treat myself to my first (decaf) pumpkin spice latte of the season. It was tastier than I remember, though it’s still too sweet for my coffee preferences.

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Lunch was a spinach salad topped with hemp seeds, dried cranberries, and poppyseed dressing with a side of roasted sweet potatoes. Healthy stuff! Woot!

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I snacked later on a giant Honeycrisp apple and peanut butter (OMG—Sam’s had 4-lb bags of them for $8.98, which is way better than the $4/lb price tag at the regular grocery store!). This one was from Publix or Rouse’s, though.

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Dinner consisted of half a flatbread pizza (they’re small) that I completely inhaled over an hour ago before realizing I had this post in my drafts. It was tasty, though. Pretend like this old naan bread pizza is frozen flatbread, ok?

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My sweet tooth is still out in full force, so I’m sure I’ll have a little dessert before bed. At this point in pregnancy, I figure an extra cookie or bowl of ice cream isn’t going to do irreparable damage. Plus, a sugar-filled mama is a happy mama. :-)

What’s the best thing you ate today?

Pregnancy: Week 39

Well, we’re officially in the home stretch. Baby M could make his arrival any day now (which is why I’m posting 2 days early this week).

I still feel pretty good and haven’t experienced any signs of labor (that I know of!), but I do feel slower, heavier, and generally more awkward. Oh, and anxious. I’m trying to relax this week while I’m off work, but it’s hard for the hubs, knowing he could get a frantic “I’m in labor. Come home now!!!” phone call at any time.

Tomorrow morning I have my 39-week checkup, so we’ll see just how far I’ve progressed since last week. I need to remember to ask the doctor for Baby M’s estimated weight!

Who knows if I’ll be back for an update next week or if this is it? Either way, here’s the latest on my bump.

39-week-bump

What’s Baby M up to this week?

  • He’s about 20 inches long and weighing around 7 pounds; he’s the size of a mini-watermelon!
  • He continues to build a layer of fat to help regulate his body temperature after birth
  • The outer layers of his skin are sloughing off while new skin forms
  • His immune system is developing and will continue to do so after birth

How am I feeling this week?

Weight Gained: 

34 pounds (per last week’s appointment)! I think I’ve stopped, however, because I was up just 33 pounds at the gym Tuesday.

Workouts:

I went to my final barre class Tuesday morning (a different crowd, but just as challenging). It was tough, but it felt good. I’ll probably take a couple walks and do some cleaning throughout the rest of the week so I’m not stuck on my bottom all day.

Symptoms: 

  • Pelvic pressure (after barre in particular)
  • Heartburn (it had all but vanished, but I’ve noticed it the last few nights)
  • Still going to the bathroom all the time
  • Lots of Braxton-Hicks
  • General discomfort/awkwardness

Food Aversions:

Nothing really.

Food Cravings:

ALL the sugar!!! I’m addicted to cake, cookies, ice cream, you name it. Ugh. Still enjoying salad, though, so that’s balance, right?! ;-)

Sleep:

Some good nights, some bad. I’ve started getting up to use the bathroom twice instead of just once.

Stretch Marks?

I still don’t see any. If I’ve made it this far without them, I hope I don’t get them postpartum!

Wedding rings—on or off?

On, but snug

Belly button—in or out?

The edges protrude, but it’s not full-blown out and probably won’t be

Signs of labor?

I don’t think so…

Happy or moody?

Happy. Just excited and full of anticipation (and some fear)

Maternity Clothes?

Duh.

Baby Purchases:

We bought a mobile for the crib the other night, but I think we’re finished for now. Oh, and my mom bought Baby M a first Christmas ornament when we visited Robert Moore (still heartbroken they’re closing!) on Monday.

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Looking forward to:

  • Meeting Baby M!
  • Having Mark home with me and the baby for 2 weeks

Miss anything?

The usual (alcohol, having energy and mobility, sleeping comfortably, etc.) As much as I’ve loved my pregnancy (well, I could have lived without some of the symptoms), I’m ready to feel “normal” again. I read this (extremely short) article the other day about how pregnancies last approximately 40 weeks not so much because of pelvis size (although clearly a vaginal delivery would be impossible if gestation lasted much longer than 42 weeks) but because of a metabolic “danger zone” that women reach. I think there’s some truth to this, that our bodies reach their capacity to metabolize/burn calories and put any more energy into pregnancy. I feel like I’m on the edge of that zone.

Funny/Odd Moments:

  • At barre, the instructor told me I had that “look” about me like Baby M would be here soon. She’s been on target with the other girls (one delivered the next day after class!), so perhaps there really is something other women can pick up on.

Questions for moms & moms-to-be:

  • What’s the best thing I can do to prepare for the hospital (we’ve had our tour, but I always get that “sterile/scary place” anxiety at hospitals, especially since I’ve never been admitted before)?
  • Any last minute advice on prepping the house for Baby M’s arrival (I read this great post about setting up “new mom survival stations” around the house)?

Weekly Links 10.05.14

Happy, happy Sunday!

This weekend has been absolutely gorgeous! It’s finally cool outside (though I’m sure it will
warm up a few times again before it stays cool), and I finished my last week of work before maternity leave. I have to admit, it was weird leaving work on Friday. I was actually kind of sad when I took my last lunchtime walk, left my desk, and drove off the facility.

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 view from my last lunchtime walk for a while!

Give me a few days (especially once Baby M gets here) and I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune.

Saturday we spent a bit of time outdoors. We slept late, grabbed some lunch at Jason’s Deli (one of my favorite places during pregnancy!), visited the Kidz Klozet consignment sale, and took a short walk through the neighborhood with Iggy.

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Today we’re cleaning, watching the Saints game, and enjoying some relaxation outside. Who knows, this could be my last weekend without a baby!

Before I go, here are some weekly reads. Enjoy!

weekly links header .Recipes.

Bang Bang Shrimp with Napa Cabbage Slaw via How Sweet It Is (from the Skinnytaste Cookbook)

OMG. I love Bonefish Grill’s Bang Bang Shrimp, so I know I would inhale this DIY version. Mark and I were just talking about how we should eat more shrimp!

Homemade Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream via yakkafit

Must, must, must make this! It sounds fairly easy and combines two of my favorite things!

Pumpkin Beer Waffles via Take a Megabite

These sound like the perfect autumn breakfast (if I had a waffle iron).

10-Spice Vegetable Soup via Oh She Glows

Comfort in a bowl!

The Best Ever Pumpkin Oatmeal via Edible Perspective

Now that I’ve restocked my canned pumpkin, I have to try making this for breakfast.

 .Food & Nutrition.

From Kale to Pale Ale, A Love Of Bitter May Be In Your Genes via NPR

As one of the few women I know who loves IPAs and bitter beers, I think this is interesting. I love most bitter things, actually (although I have become more sensitive to bitter things during pregnancy, just as the article says).

 .Body Image & Mental Health.

How I Let Go via Snack Therapy

I can’t imagine living like that.

 .Fitness.

10 Ways to Stay Active As a Working Mom via Carrots ‘N Cake

I will definitely keep these tips in mind!

No Running Cardio Program You Can Do at Home via Huffington Post

I love these types of workouts.

 .Pregnancy & Parenting.

If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises From A Christian Pastor/Parent via John Pavlovitz

I read this a couple weeks ago, but it’s worth sharing here. It goes without saying I will love, support, be proud of, and stand up for my child no matter what. Whether you’re religious or not, this should resonate with you.

10 Parenting Milestones You Should Laugh and Not Cry About via Huffington Post

I’m sure there are many more than 10…

Pregnancy: Week 38

Hey hey! I’m checking in a day early (why not?) which means that I have just one more day until I’m officially on my maternity leave. Is it weird that, after all of my complaining, butt-busting, and near-mental breakdowns from stress, that I’m kind of going to miss work? Maybe not work itself, but I will miss some of my coworkers. Anyway, just give me a couple days, especially once Baby M arrives, and work will be the last thing on my mind.

I can’t believe I’ve almost completed Week 38 and that it’s actually October (my favorite time of year and Baby M’s birth month)! I can tell that he has dropped (I feel like my belly is on my lap or between my legs most days), and this afternoon I have my weekly doctor appointment to see how things are looking. Hopefully I’m progressing, but not too much. I still want him to hang in there a little longer, even though it feels like he’s really cramped!

Moving on to the update…

38-week-bump

What’s Baby M up to this week?

  • He is measuring from 19 ½ to 21 inches long and weighs around 6.8 to 7 pounds (he’s the size of a winter melon)
  • His organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb
  • His lungs continue to mature and produce more and more surfactant, a substance that prevents the air sacs in his lungs from sticking to one another once he starts to breathe

How am I feeling this week?

Weight Gained: 

I’m guessing about the same as last week (31 pounds) or maybe one more pound? I’ll see this afternoon.

Workouts: 

Still walking a good bit, but I skipped barre on the account of “taking it easy” this week. I wish I’d gone, but if I’m feeling ok, then I plan to go one more time next week.

Symptoms:

  • Pelvic pressure
  • Braxton Hicks all the time
  • So much movement (it’s almost painful because he’s so tight in there)
  • Occasional lightheadedness
  • Overall discomfort

Food Aversions:

Still nothing, although for dinner I often lack a taste for anything in particular.

Food Cravings:

Nothing crazy. Food still tastes good, but it doesn’t excite me like it did weeks and months ago.

Sleep:

Generally good, although I’m waking up even earlier to go to the bathroom. Some nights I fall right back to sleep, others I toss and turn a while.

Stretch Marks?

I was trying on some pajamas at TJ Maxx last Saturday, and I thought I saw a couple. You know how bright those lights are! But once I got home, I didn’t see them. Regardless, I’ve been lucky and my skin is still looking good.

Wedding rings—on or off?

Still on. It’s cooler out and I still haven’t had much water retention, so they may stay on till the big day.

Belly button—in or out?

Flat or slightly out. Barely noticeable through tighter clothing.

Signs of labor?

Nope! Although every time my uterus hardens from a Braxton Hicks I get kind of paranoid and wonder that maybe I just don’t know I’m in labor!

Happy or moody?

Mostly happy. I was taking to a former coworker earlier in the week, and when I mentioned that people probably thought I was being the meanest, craziest pregnant lady, she actually told me that everybody was saying how nice I’ve been! I’m curious who “everybody” means, but I’m glad to hear my efforts to tame the hormones and avoid biting off heads have paid off.

Maternity Clothes?

Same old, same old, although some of my pants are starting to ride down because my belly is so much lower! After seeing photos of other bloggers who’ve recently had their babies and how slim they look after just a week or few days, I’m anxious to fit in some “normal” clothes again! Maybe not my skinny jeans, but maybe my regular-sized yoga pants and workout tops? :-)

Baby Purchases:

Some baby mittens (which are ridiculously hard to find here). Not winter mittens, but the thin kind to protect them from scratching their face. I also got some accessories for my breast pump (since I had a coupon that was expiring). We pretty much have all that we need, so no more purchases till he actually gets here.

Looking forward to:

  • Relaxing next week and possibly treating myself to a pregnancy massage and/or pedicure
  • Meeting Baby M (of course)!

Miss anything?

Just the usual: having all of my energy and coordination, alcohol, exercise, not being told to “go sit down and rest” by my dear, sweet husband (who only loves me and looks out for me).

Funny/Odd Moments:

This is kind of gross and TMI, but this past Sunday (when Mark was cooking several freezer meals at once in our kitchen), I noticed my chair felt damp. I kind of freaked out and ran to the bathroom, thinking it might be my water leaking. Well, turns out it was just sweat! Disgusting, but I was comforted by that fact.

Questions for moms & moms-to-be:

  • Any bets on when Baby M will make his arrival?
  • How did you truly know you were in labor (water breaking, doctor confirming or inducing, etc.)?
  • How did you spend your last week(s) before giving birth to your child(ren)?

A Review of YAK The Kathmandu Kitchen

Ever since we drove by its humble location in a strip mall, I’ve been dying to try YAK The Kathmandu Kitchen. We’ve always managed to “forget” about the restaurant when deciding where to dine out, but after reading this article about their upcoming expansion, I decided right then and there that we would finally try them out this past Friday night.

yak-restaurant

[source]

I sure am glad we did!

The restaurant interior is fairly open and airy, and it had a comfortable feel to it. They definitely could use some new booth seats (my 31 extra pounds of belly and I immediately sunk into a giant hole), though we switched to a table and chairs shortly after I managed to climb up.

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Before we ordered our meal, the server brought out a type of crispy flatbread that reminded me of a sesame seed cracker. It was peppery and salty—I forgot to ask what it’s called—and served with what I gathered to be coriander chutney and tamarind chutney (though I’m not sure).

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Whatever the bread/sauces were, they definitely had a spicy kick to them!

After asking our server for recommendations (everything sounded delicious!), we decided to share an appetizer of traditional Nepali momo, a dumpling that can be filled with vegetables, chicken, or other meat (we chose chicken). They came with fantastic dipping sauce made from tomato, garlic, and seasonings.

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We opted for the traditional steamed version, although the dumplings also come fried.

Since we weren’t sure of the portion sizes, we decided to share an entrée of traditional Nepali thali (they also had an Indian version) and an order of garlic naan.

We chose lamb for our protein (there are vegetarian and multiple meat options) and our multi-course platter of food came out on a large metal tray.

Everything was full of flavor—and the “medium” (as opposed to “mild” or “spicy”) level was perfect for our palettes (and we tend to enjoy spicy foods).

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The selections included (clockwise): basmati rice, steamed mustard greens, dal (a soup of lentils, vegetables, and spices), gundruk (a fermented leafy green vegetable mixed with tomato, onion, cilantro, and other seasonings), and lamb curry. The lamb was incredibly tender (I could’ve made a meal of it and the rice), and I enjoyed the tanginess of the gundruk. While the mustard greens were a little bland (possibly due to the spice of everything else), the dal was quite satisfying.

In the center of the platter was a “salad,” which really only consisted of a piece of lettuce and two cucumber slices (the cucumber was actually pretty refreshing with all the heavy spices). The small dish at the top was a dessert, which seemed like a lightly sweetened, chilled pudding with shredded coconut in it. Not “dessert” by my indulgent Western standards, but it was nice to end the meal on a sweeter, if not quite watery, note.

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The naan was also fantastic, but I do wish the garlic had been roasted beforehand. It was almost raw and quite pungent—even for extreme garlic lovers like us!

All in all, the food was delicious, and it’s obvious (to me) why the restaurant won “best ethnic food” the last 2 years in a local publication.

Pricing was very reasonable, and you receive a lot of food for your purchase. I’m anxious to return—maybe to try some of the Indian dishes or their lunchtime buffet. Although you won’t find actual yak on the menu, YAK The Kathmandu Kitchen is well worth a visit.

Weekly Links 09.28.14

Happy Sunday!

After several beautiful, cool, fall-like days, today is kind of dreary. We’re staying around the house prepping lots of frozen meals to have on hand for when Baby M arrives. When I say “we,” I mean “Mark.”

Yesterday we had some yummy lunch at Cousin Vinny’s (pizza) in Daphne and stumbled upon the annual Jubilee Fest. There was some nice wooden artwork, but most of the stuff there wasn’t our taste. We ran a few errands and then saw the movie, “This Is Where I Leave You.” I enjoyed it!

Anyway, today I’m trying to relax so I make it through my last scheduled work week before I go on maternity leave. To say I’m excited would be the understatement of the year.

Here’s a bit of weekend reading for you, though.

weekly links header .Recipes.

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls via How Sweet It Is

I’m in awe of this recipe. I’ve never made homemade cinnamon rolls (all about the Pilsbury, though!) and they seem so complicated and time-consuming, but…BACON.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie via Averie Cooks

It’s that “pumpkin ALL the things” time of year. But seriously, you can’t go wrong with both ice cream and pumpkin.

Butternut Squash, Apple, & Pear Crisp via Edible Perspective

So many fall flavors…in one dish! Yum.

Roasted Garlic and Potato Beer Cheese Soup via The Beeroness

This sounds like the perfect, indulgent fall comfort meal. I love soup, especially this time of year!

Sweet Pulled Pork Taco Pizza with Tomatillo Avocado Ranch via Carlsbad Cravings

I’m not generally a fan of nontraditional pizzas, but this sounds tasty.

.Food & Nutrition.

Food Addiction vs. Eating Addiction: Why A Single World Makes All The Difference via Huffington Post

This is a difficult one because we have to eat food in order to live. While the term “eating addiction” makes more sense than “food addiction,” it’s true that processed food is formulated to meet that “sweet spot” when scientists combine the perfect amount of salt, sugar, and fat (nevermind the evolutionary reasons behind why we seek out carbohydrates, fat, etc.). Of course, then there are people who have an eating addiction (which is just one of many ways eating disorders are manifested) so our relationship to food is equally important as the foods we choose to eat.

To Stop Picky Eaters From Tossing The Broccoli, Give Them Choices via NPR

With limited budgets, offering a lot of choices doesn’t seem that possible. Plus, the eating of vegetables begins at home (though I realize that many people eating school lunches are low-income and don’t have that kind of home life). Regardless of whether it’s in schools, homes, restaurants, or hospitals, we waste far too much food.

  .Health & Wellness.

10 Things I Wish Every Woman Knew About Health via Mind Body Green

This is a good list…

.Body Image & Mental Health.

Covering Up With The Hijab May Aid Women’s Body Image via NPR

I meant to share this last week when I first read it. I think there’s a good point to be made about how women who challenge society’s “conventional” view of beauty tend to have higher self-esteem and more respect for their bodies, but I think any causal tie to the hijab is jumping to conclusions. I’m glad the article mentions that these “results” are unique to Britain and may not be the same in places where a full burqa is required or prohibited. It’s interesting, though, and I’m curious whether other “less conventional” communities (the Amish, for example) have similar increased body image.

Why Emotional Eating Is Often A Cry For Pleasure via Mind Body Green

I think there’s some truth to this. I know sometimes when I’m stressed and simply needing down time or a minute to relax and process whatever is on my mind, I turn to food or candy. After the fact, though, I usually don’t feel any better until I address what really is bothering me.

 .Fitness.

4 Great Stretches To Losen Up Your Hamstrings via Mind Body Green

I need to make these a daily practice; my hamstrings are always tight!

.Pregnancy & Parenting.

10 Tips for Balancing Exercise With A New Baby via Carrots N Cake

These are great tips! I will certainly keep them in mind for the next few months (after my recovery, of course)—and I especially love the idea of taking family walks (involving Iggy and Mark!) so we all get some fresh air and exercise. I may not get back to Bikram or Barre as early as I’d like to (due to time and cost), but I have a feeling there will be a lot of dancing around with Baby M and impromptu “workouts” around the house. Babies make excellent weights, haha.

Pregnancy: Week 37

Hi there! I’ve been a terrible blogger this week, but I did manage to put together my 37 week update. It’s getting close!

Side note: I might post the last (couple? few?) updates a bit earlier in the week since by Friday I’m actually X weeks + 4 days. Plus if you go by my LMP instead of my ultrasound, then I reached 38 weeks yesterday. I’m leaning toward the later date, though, since it’s what my doctor has followed since March, it’s what I’m measuring, and because my cycle is generally longer/more irregular than “normal.”

This week has been good, but long! The last couple of weeks the exhaustion started hitting me on Friday, but this week it had caught up to me on Thursday. I still feel decent, though, just generally uncomfortable, slow, and awkward. The cooler weather has been a life saver!

I had my 37 week appointment this afternoon. I’m not going to share measurements or numbers (too paranoid that somebody may feel the need to share that labor is impending or something), but I am progressing. My doctor even said that I’m progressing better than most, though she didn’t sound concerned about me going early. I think all of the walking I do has helped move things along. I’m confident that Baby M is cozy in there. She also informed me my Strep B test was negative. Woot! After the appointment I met the other doctors. One of them was warmer and friendlier than the other, so if I do go into labor while my doctor is on vacation, I hope the one who made me feel more comfortable is on call.

Anyway, enough blabbering. I think it’s time to move on to the update.

37-week-bump

What’s Baby M up to this week?

  • He is considered “term” or “early term,” but 39-40 weeks is still optimal and considered “full term.” Spending these next 2 weeks or so in the womb allows his lungs and brain to fully mature.
  • He weighs around 6 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head to heel—about the size of a bunch of Swiss chard!
  • Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, with locks from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long, but it’s anybody’s guess as to whether Baby M’s will be light, dark, or anything more than a little peach fuzz.

How am I feeling this week?

Weight Gained:

Per the nurse, 31 pounds (same as last week)

Workouts:

Same old, same old. Barre class Tuesday night was awesome (and I might try going back next week!) and with the cooler temperatures this week, I was able to take longer walks on my lunch break. Other than that, I just want to rest!

Symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Gassiness (sorry, but it’s true)
  • Pelvic pressure (mostly after I’ve been sitting at my desk a while)
  • Stuffy nose
  • Minimal lower back pain, but it’s there sometimes
  • A few Braxton Hicks contractions
  • Clumsiness

Food Aversions:

Nothing really

Food Cravings:

Much of the same. Back to loving unhealthy, carb-filled things!

Sleep:

It’s been ok. I fall asleep quickly but still wake up around 2 AM (last night it was 4 AM) to go to the bathroom. Sometimes I go back to sleep easily, other days (last night) I toss and turn.

Stretch Marks?

Still looking good!

Wedding rings—on or off?

On, but snug. If it warms back up into the 90s again, I may not be able to keep them on. We’ll see.

Belly button—in or out?

Flat—sometimes the edges stick out, but not enough to see through my clothes

Signs of labor?

Nope (although as mentioned above, I’m progressing well)

Happy or moody?

I’ve been extremely cranky most of this week, although little things will make me smile and send me back into a good mood. I guess it’s better to say I’m happy but easily aggravated?

Maternity Clothes?

Nothing new. I’m just wearing whatever fits well these last few weeks.

Baby Purchases:

Nothing. Apart from needing extra breast pump accessories, we’re pretty much set. Car seat is installed, diapers are stocked, and clothes/blankets are washed!

Looking forward to:

  • My last work week before I go on leave!
  • Relaxing this weekend and maybe doing some cleaning
  • Enjoying a movie, dinner, etc. as simply a couple

Miss anything?

Having energy and the coordination to bend over to pick something up without feeling like I’m dying! Yesterday I skipped making our bed and sat down on the toilet while drying my hair. The rush of getting ready in the mornings is exhausting, although I do find I feel better during the day when I get up and move every hour or so.

Basically I miss feeling like a normal (non-pregnant!) person. I’ve loved being pregnant and am grateful for having an easy time, but the discomfort and fatigue are catching up to me. I want Baby M to stay in there till at least 39 weeks, but I finally understand why women in their last month are just ready for pregnancy to be over!

Funny/Odd Moments:

This didn’t offend me but it did make me shake my head and laugh a little. You know how you generally move to the side when passing somebody down a hall or narrow passageway? Well, I was walking through the hangar to the restroom in between a ladder and something else (there were at least 4-5 feet there, it wasn’t narrow), when a person drastically scooted to the side to allow me to pass. I was thinking, “dude, I know I’m big, but I’m not that big!” It could’ve been offensive but was just plain funny.

On Wednesday afternoon, Baby M had been quiet and still since 3:00 or so. As I was getting in my car at 5:00 to go home, the song “All About That Bass” came on. I felt a sharp kick on my right side (per usual) and then felt this butt jumping up and down on my left side. It seriously made me laugh—because I guess Baby M is all about that bass, too!

Oh, and another one of the “barre babies” was born last week (I’m now the last super preggo left—there’s just one other pregnant girl there and she’s not even showing yet). Just like the last girl, this baby was out in 3 pushes and the doctor agreed that barre must be it. I’m hoping to keep the trend going!

Questions for moms & moms-to-be:

No questions today—but what is your advice for these last couple of weeks?