2015: A Year in Review

Good-bye 2015. Hello 2016!

Remember me? I used to blog. I used to share my thoughts with you whether you wanted to read about them or not. And then, 2015 happened. I think I blogged three times over the course of 365 days. Seriously. I’m not going to make excuses, but baby, MBA, life. I’m going to pick back up and do the best I can in 2016. To start us off, let me do a quick recap in an every so trendy way #2015bestnine.

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It was a year of firsts and a year of celebrating. To highlight a few that were featured in our #2015bestnine…

March 10 – Piper James was born.
April 24 – I turned 30!
August 18 – Turned in my final project to complete my MBA.
October 1 – Celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary.
November 26 – Hosted our first Thanksgiving.
December 25 – Celebrated Piper’s first Christmas.

As you reflect on 2015 I hope you choose to dwell on the highlights and accomplishments, no matter how great or small. Feel free to share some of them with me!

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Happy “Due” Date

Well, we have been talking about March 1st since June 24, the evening I found out I was pregnant. We’ve been prepping and planning for this date. Lately I’ve been working more than 40 hours each week to help prepare my teammates, I have worked to stay ahead on homework assignments, and of course have been organizing and making room for all of the baby stuff in our home. Everyone tells you the likelihood of your first baby being late is high; however, there is so much focus on “when are you due” that it is hard to wrap your head around going past that date.

Luckily I’ve had a pretty decent pregnancy. I don’t think I am overly uncomfortable, just as comfortable as one can be with a full-term baby still cooking away inside. I am still working and walking on the treadmill but have found that with every move, especially if any core engagement is involved, I am a lot more vocal. Sorry to those around me, it is probably annoying to hear me grunt so often.

But overall, I am thankful that my blood pressure thus far has stayed in a normal range, my canckles and overall swelling appear to be of no concern, and the baby still moves around plenty and jams herself into my ribs if she feels the need for a real good stretch. Each uncomfortable movement is a reminder that she is doing well in there.

I don’t want this post to be a woe is me since tomorrow I will officially be “overdue” (although, I know with each date they provide it is simply a guess and a benchmark) so I thought I’d share some of my favorite things that have helped me enjoy the final trimester of my pregnancy.

1. Our Treadmill – Since a Minnesota winter typically involves plenty of cold air and ice-covered walkways, all of my walking has taken place inside. Luckily we have a treadmill so it hasn’t been too hard to still get a walk in 3-5 days per week. Not only has this helped with my energy, but it has also helped me somewhat manage my pregnancy weight gain. Hate treadmills? Plug in a Friends DVD and the time flies!

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2. Tums – Lets be real. If you know me at all you know that you can count of me to have some Tums nearby. However, since going gluten-free I have relied on them less and less each day. That was until I learned about pregnancy heartburn. Pregnancy heartburn is not like normal heartburn. It can sneak up on you without notice or cause and travel all the way up your esophagus in about .5 seconds. It is actually kind of impressive. For me Tums have been enough to manage it. Thank goodness.

3. Friends and Family – We have been showered with a lot of love over the past three months. Lots of gifts, well wishes and support from all of those around us who already love Baby B. We can’t wait to introduce her to everyone.

4. Starbucks – I know, I know. Probably not the best source of nutrients for growing a human but sometimes a girl just needs to start her day with a decaf latte. Especially if it gives her the kick in the rear that is needed to focus through a working day and homework at night. So Starbucks, thank you for existing.

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5. Prenatal Yoga – Justin signed me up for a 5-week prenatal yoga series as part of my Christmas present. Unfortunately it ended two weeks ago but showing up every Sunday was the best thing I could have done for myself during my pregnancy. I only wish I would have started sooner instead of waiting until the final stretch. Ps. Yoga is hard in general. Yoga while pregnant is even harder. Ufdah.

And without being too mushy, I have to mention that without my husband none of this would have been possible. Haha, obviously. But he has been patient and supportive and has even helped me with my compression socks a time or two. And why those aren’t on my top 5 list is beyond me. They are my favorite things ever right now, right behind the husband. 🙂

With all that said, I am going to throw on my compression socks and hit the treadmill. Until my next post, I will leave you with this picture from this morning because I think it is funny.

My feet are still down there.
My feet are still down there.

Certified to Parent

Yesterday Justin and I spent all day in the classroom. The teacher shared a story with us about her almost eight year old daughter and trying to explain the test you take in order to receive your driver’s license. The little girl was intrigued and then wanted to know what type of test her Mom’s students have to take at the end of her class. Well, her Mom teaches prenatal parenting classes, and crazy enough, there is no test at the end.

We attended an express, all-in-one day, preparing for childbirth class. We took the class through Amma Parenting and had a great registered nurse, Meggin, as our instructor. Amma was recommended by our provider and they also contract with the hospital we plan to deliver at. After looking at their course offerings and realizing we really don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to more classes since I am still in grad school and Justin is wrapping up his thesis we decided to do the all-in-one.

The all-in-one is more high level, touches on a lot of things, but doesn’t go into great detail about everything. I found this to be just fine for what we were looking for, and Justin was happy with it as well. The first half focused on labor and delivery and the second half was about nursing and newborn care. The only thing I question now is whether or not we should look into a labor and delivery class that teaches more coping mechanisms since after watching the labor and deliver video I was like, “Hells no.” And if I am being honest, the video wasn’t even that bad and was only 12 minutes long so I probably need to buck up here pretty quick.

I thought our instructor did a great job keeping things light and exciting as I am sure most couples looked confused and terrified at different times during the class. She also did not push any opinions or objectives on us. She did share personal stories from her births when asked and what she has seen as a long time labor and delivery nurse but always stressed that there is a pattern to labor but not one is the same.

I know Justin said he is feeling a lot more confident especially now that he has some ideas of what he can do to support me through labor and learned more about new-born care. I am not so sure my confidence is any higher yet but I am more informed about what we have gotten ourselves into. Haha. Just kidding. Sort of.

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Proof that we are certified to parent!

I also thought I’d take this opportunity to briefly share some other resources we have taken advantage of throughout the pregnancy as well.

Bump Club and Beyond – Twin Cities
Justin and I have attended two paid Bump Club events together and I have attended one free one by myself. The paid ones can be expensive depending on what type of tickets you buy. For instance, the first one we attended, Gearapalooza, cost $130 total for us both to attend. Our ticket included a Beco Carrier retailing about $130 and a swag bag worth $150. I also won a Baby K’Tan which retails about $50. The second one we attended was for expectant parents that was a dinner and presentation all about sleep! Such an important topic. We paid about $160 total for us both to attend. Our tickets included a Motorola Video Monitor retailing about $200, another swag bag, and I ended up winning a Skip Hop Duo Baby Bag retailing about $60. The information was awesome as well!

The free ones are about an hour-long, held at a Target in Minnetonka and also offer great information. I went to a car seat basics one and learned more about car seat safety…which is always important since I think about 80% of people are using them incorrectly! :/ I didn’t win anything but they do offer 10% off in baby for that night so it is well worth the trip for the education and the discount.

This is almost all Bump Club swag.
This is almost all Bump Club swag.

Everything that is included in the gift bags is legit, useful stuff too. It isn’t just a bag full of samples and brochures. Totally worth it in my opinion!

Sacred Pregnancy Retreat
I also attended a Sacred Pregnancy Retreat in November hosted by Moon River Wellness. I didn’t learn about how to care for a baby or survive childbirth, but it was an awesome opportunity to connect with myself & baby, as well as other pregnant mamas. It was a day retreat with three other woman, and we did multiple activities and rituals to help us connect and understand that being pregnant can and should be a sacred journey. I really enjoyed it and left feeling a little less anxious about the process. I still think about it today now that I am in my final trimester, and when fear starts to creep in I light the candle we made and spray the essential oils we mixed and just reconnect with myself. I would highly recommend you look into this if/when you are pregnant…and it is not just for first time Moms!

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I’d love to hear if you found any resources particularly helpful during your pregnancy. Comment below!

Twenty Fifteen

Happy New Year!!!

That is all…

Just kidding. It is 2015!!! I love the start of a new year. It is full of hope and possibilities. Last night we were in bed by 10:30pm but an unknown neighbor decided to light up the sky shortly after midnight which kept me up and freaked out Selby. I wished Justin and Selby a happy new year and luckily we were fast asleep again.

When I woke up groggy this morning I continued to think about what the new year means for our family. It will probably bring the most change we have ever experienced. More change than the New Year’s Eve I accepted Justin’s marriage proposal and saw him off to Iraq for a year a month and a half later. More change than the first year in our house, the first year of marriage and the first years of our new jobs. This year, we will be welcoming our first child and frankly, that is kind of scary but also very exciting.

We have roughly two months to go (January & February), and I still don’t feel ready, but at least Justin and I have gone through our own struggles and have always come out stronger on the other side. I have no doubt parenting will be the same.

I like to make resolutions and set goals for the year, but I have been struggling to put them into words. And then I opened up my tea packet this morning and saw, “Feel great, act great and approve of yourself.” I think this put my feelings into words so perfectly.

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FEEL GREAT… I do not want to focus on “losing baby weight” in 2015. Of course, I do want to lose the baby weight, but I want so much more than that. I want to start off my life as a mother with a positive body image for myself in hopes that my daughter will develop a positive one for herself. I hear that is tough in the dreaded fourth trimester, but I am determined to feel great in my mind and my body in 2015. This will also include a more concentrated effort to limit my sugar intake, move more, and of course take time to slow down when I/We need it.

ACT GREAT… In 2015 I want to be more compassionate, understanding and patient. I especially want to be this towards my husband since I am sure we will be tried and tried again in 2015. I also want to spend more time with family and feel less stressed about it and just enjoy more. (School doesn’t end until October so I know this will be especially tough.) And I just want to be more gracious, thoughtful and mindful in all that I do.

APPROVE OF YOURSELF… In order to accomplish the other two I need to make sure I approve of myself. When things don’t go as planned I need to be ok with that, re-evaluate and move on. I need to accept that this new year will bring many challenges but will bring more moments of happiness and joy. And frankly, I probably won’t know what I am doing for most of the year but that is ok. I have a good support system, and I am sure we can handle anything that comes our way…like a baby who enjoys independent sleep. 😉

If you are setting your own resolutions, goals or intentions for 2015, I’d love to hear them! Hopefully I can keep up with blogging in 2015 as well so feel free to click the follow button so you don’t miss any of the 2015 shenanigans that I am sure will ensue!

Any guesses?

This is the week Justin and I have our 20 week ultrasound. First, are we for real halfway there? And second, I really hope the kid cooperates and shows us their goods, but of course what I am really hoping for is a child who checks out as healthy as can be! I definitely have some anxiety going in to this appointment instead of all excitement. What else is new though?

With that said, are you leaning one way? Here are some things to help make your guess a little more educated.

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1. Justin thinks it is a girl. I think boy.
2. I have no idea if I am carrying high or low because the belly isn’t that big yet and frankly I don’t entirely know what that means, but I feel like I am carrying a little more out than expanding horizontally (or is that just wishful thinking?). I think that means boy.
3. My skin has not gotten worse, except right now it ain’t so good, so that could mean boy.
4. The baby’s heartbeat has always been 160+ so that means girl.
5. Per the Chinese birth calendar, it is a girl!

 

 

 

Trip Out West

I thought I’d spend a little more time this morning highlighting some of the other great aspects of our trip last week. In my previous post I shared our Bottle Feeding Experience at Yellowstone Bear World. It was awesome! That came early in our trip though and we spent three days in Montana afterward.

Our time spend in Idaho Falls was quick. We flew in to a fairly small airport, especially compared to MSP. The flight was just over two hours and was pretty easy. I was slightly nervous about flying, well, I am always nervous about flying, but this time around due to the fact that I still have a little nausea every now and then. It is very minor, but who wants that on an aeroplane? Not me!

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Seriously, where is everyone?

Once we made it towards our hotel we decided to stop for lunch since it was about 11:30am and we were both pretty hungry. We stopped by a place called Snake Bite. They had amazing waffle fries (obviously! It is Idaho after all.) and I enjoyed shrimp tacos made with fresh corn tortillas. Yum. Justin started out vacation right with a flight of local beers. Lucky.

Snake Bite.
Snake Bite.

After lunch we strolled through a local farmers market and then went to check in at our hotel. We ended up using our points and stayed at Marriotts while on vacation so nothing too crazy to report there. We are always happy with Marriotts and know what to expect which is nice.

Before heading back for a quick nap before dinner we stopped by the Museum of Idaho. They were featuring, The Race to the End of the Earth exhibit. It was a nice exhibit and we learned about the first two groups to make it to the south pole, which has nothing to do with Idaho. 😉  We had dinner at a recommended spot, Jakers. They had a separate gluten-free menu which I was happy to see, and I had a massive baked Idaho potato and was happy as can be!

Before heading to Bear World the next morning, we stopped down to the falls that give Idaho Falls its name.

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Really gloomy, but pretty falls.
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First of many selfies.
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Gimme all the potatoes.

Bear World is recapped here so after our eventful afternoon we drove to Bozeman. Unfortunately we did not stop for any pictures on the beautiful drive. Not even through Big Sky!!! That is our one regret, but both agreed we would be back and spend more time in Big Sky. The drive was amazing and took about 3.5 hours. We had dinner at Montana Ale Works. We shared a gluten-free spinach dip with tortilla chips, and I enjoyed some fish tacos and a pomegranate No’jioto! Our waitress also is also dating a guy from Afton, MN. I haven’t cracked open my yearbook to find him yet, but talk about a small world.

Cheers to Bozman!
Cheers to Bozman!

Waking up and seeing mountains out the window is by far one of my most blissful ways to wake. For our first full day in Montana we decided to head to Livingston. It had a nice and quaint downtime with a beautiful view. It was labor day so perhaps that is why it seemed like it was also an empty town. We did some walking around though and then enjoyed lunch at Rib and Chop House. They were donating part of the proceeds that day to the Wounded Warrior Project and we couldn’t pass that up. They also offered us 25% off since Justin is in the military. How awesome! They also had a separate gluten-free menu. Wins all around.

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Downtown Livingston.
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Can’t get enough bear time.
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Sacajawea Park.
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Paradise Valley.

Before heading back to Bozeman we drove through Paradise Valley which is on your way to an entrance to Yellowstone National Park.  It was amazing. Once we returned to Bozeman we took a nap (such a great vacation theme) and went to the Museum of the Rockies.

Museum of the Rockies.
Museum of the Rockies.

In an effort to wrap this post up before it gets way too long, I will end with our final full day in Montana. We decided to head into Gallatin National Forest and hike to the Palaside Falls. I researched it ahead of time and it was only about a half mile hike to the falls. Nice and easy for this newly pregnant lady.

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Gallatin National Forest.
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Palisade Falls.
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We made friends with wildlife.
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Top of the falls. 
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Trees for miles and miles.

Hiking at that elevation while pregnant turned out to be slightly more difficult than I expected. It took me awhile to catch my breath, but it was a fairly easy pace and we brought plenty of water and snacks. Justin made a nice chipmunk friend and we really enjoyed the view. On our way back to Bozeman we stopped by a little river since we didn’t feel ready to leave the beauty of it all. While we were sitting there having a quick snack, Justin noticed some black animals coming out of the woods. His initial thought was black bears, but we were happy to see they were just friendly cows looking for a bite to eat.

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Cows. Not bears. Phew.
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Peaceful.

As we left the forest and received cell service again, I messaged my parents to let them know we’d be in a tent by the river and they should start driving out with Selby. We LOVED it there. The Gallatin National Forest was about 25 minutes outside of Bozeman and offered other hiking trails as well. It was gorgeous.

For the rest of the afternoon we toodled through the shops in downtown Bozeman. The rest of the evening was spent just relaxing and taking in the last few hours of our vacation. We got a lot of reading done (I finally finished Wild and LOVED it!), took plenty of naps, enjoyed the company of each other and of course, enjoyed the beauty that is Montana. We are already talking about when we will go back and what we will do.

Whoa Baby!

Most of you probably saw via Instagram or Facebook, but I recently announced that Justin and I are expecting our first child. It has been a pretty surreal experience thus far, and uttering the words, “I’m having a baby!” still seems a little awkward.

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I found out I was pregnant towards the end of June while Justin was at annual training (for Army) in Kansas. I found out the Tuesday before he arrived home on Friday. I decided to wait to tell him until we were face-to-face so the secret stayed with just me…and Selby. I took about seven pregnancy tests throughout the next couple of days leading up to him coming home just to be sure. I also found myself checking back on the tests to see if they still said positive, just in case they did anything tricky and change a few minutes, hours or days later. Turns out, they don’t.

When Justin got home I picked him up from a local armory and we went out for pizza. Justin loves pizza. Once I parked the car I gave him a card and he assumed it was a nice welcome home gesture. Which, I suppose it kind of was. On the front of the card were different monkeys swinging in trees and it said, “Have you been monkeying around lately?” The answer was pretty obvious.

We both got a little emotional, he was a little shocked, but ultimately super excited. Right off the bat I think he wanted to tell everyone we encountered. He was 100% excited. Meanwhile, sleepy me watching him have a glass of wine was about 60% terrified and 40% excited. I quickly explained to him the reasons for waiting to tell people and we both agreed we’d wait until after our first appointment.

Justin told a coworker three days later.

His two bosses were a couple of weeks after that, and basically every day I’d ask him, “Who did you tell?” He actually did pretty good, but he is a horrible liar, which I guess I can’t totally fault him for. It did seem weird to lie to people for quite a few weeks or refrain from sharing our joy. It is definitely a lot more exciting when people actually know. I am thankful we had an appointment at 10 weeks and told our families right after that.

I will also post about how we told our family and friends in the next few days. For now, it is almost my bedtime. Just kidding, I took a long nap today so I am good for a few more hours. 😉