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.
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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!

The End of 2014

Oh my goodness – 2014 is just about over and 2015 is about to begin. I love the start of a new year since it feels like a fresh clean slate. Although that really isn’t true because life just keeps going, it still provides a great opportunity to reflect on the last year and perhaps make some goals for the new one.

I’ve been battling a fabulous cold that arrived on Christmas Eve, but finally got a decent night of sleep last night. I decided to head out of the house this morning and be productive while Justin was at work. I ended up heading to Walgreens to restock on cough drops and kleenex, dropped off another five bags of items at Good Will (I’m in full on nesting mode), and then headed to brunch…alone.

I’ve been interested in trying The Buttered Tin for awhile now, but the wait is typically really long. I tried one time with some girl friends only to find another place to eat due to the wait. I decided to try my luck this morning, especially since I really didn’t have anywhere to be and hoped to finally cross it off my 3o Before 30. And. I. Did!

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The set up in the restaurant is a little different. You order your food at the counter and then wait until a table opens up. Once a table becomes available they seat you and put your food order in. In my mostly gone man voice, I order The Buttered Tin Hash and a cup of green tea. Then, I waited. From the moment I arrived to the moment I was seated I probably waited less than 30 minutes.

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I ended up being seated at a “community style” table since I was a lone diner. It felt kind of nice since finding time to dine at a restaurant alone is probably going to be a little more difficult in the future. I waited less than 10 minutes and my food arrived.The food looked amazing just as I suspected. I tried to take my time but it went down pretty quick and baby was excited about the spicy red aioli sauce. Mmm. All and all, I am super glad I went and enjoyed my alone dining experience.

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Blurry since I had to sneak this photo so I wouldn’t be judged by others at my table. 🙂

After The Buttered Tin I figured I should swing by Cupcake on Snelling and Selby. It only made sense that I track down some gluten free cupcakes to enjoy for dessert on New Year’s Eve, but I also wanted to spend a little more time in St. Paul. I ❤ St. Paul! I left with the Aretha Franklin and the Carol Brady for Justin and I to split. Yumm. I can’t wait.

I write this now in Kowalski’s after enjoying a latte (no flavor, doing my best to cut out extra sugar…oh wait, the cupcakes).The internet is barely working so I assume this post will go through later, but I am going to pick up some lobster to make for Justin and I to bring in the new year as a family of three (don’t forget Selby people) since soon we will be a family of four! Oh, and we will also probably reminisce about our engagement night as well. Has it already been six years?

French Silk Pie

I’ve been burning through projects lately but none of them having anything to do with my 3o Before 30 list. The baby prep has really started to take over and she wasn’t even on the 3o Before 30! Thanksgiving presented the perfect opportunity for me to complete #16 – Bake a Pie From Scratch.

I decided to wait until my family’s Thanksgiving which is celebrated the Saturday after. I haven’t subjected my in-laws to my random baking experiments yet. I am sure they would be more than willing, but I know I will get very honest feedback from my parents, brothers, and sibling-in-laws.

With that said, I set out to make a gluten-free pie from scratch yesterday and settled on a French Silk Pie. I have never been a huge pie person, mainly because I am not a fan of the crust or baked fruit, so I figured as long as the filling turned out it should taste decent, right?

I did my research, and by research I mean I pinned a few recipes for gluten-free pie crust and then Googled French Silk Pie in the grocery store on a whim to make sure I had all the necessary ingredients. Then I just went for it and here is how it turned out.

I followed this recipe and this recipe for the crust. I used the Namaste All Purpose Gluten Free Flour, a stick of butter, five tablespoons of ice water and a small spoonful of sugar.

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Butter, Flour, and Sugar

 

I mixed everything by hand which made quite the mess, but I don’t think it would work very well otherwise. Especially since you are using cold butter. Most of the recipes I checked out recommended that I refrigerate the crust for at least an hour and many did it overnight. I didn’t have the overnight option (hello, procrastinator) so I refrigerated for just over an hour. Most recipes also recommended you take it out for about 10-15 minutes before rolling.

 

 

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Roll Out!

The rolling out was a little difficult and required a little more effort since the dough wanted to fall apart. I rolled it out more than once and then re-balled with my hands to make it feel like a more consistent product. Eventually, I made it look semi normal.

 

 

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Not Very Professional

I sprayed my glass pie pan with coconut oil just to ensure the crust didn’t bake directly to the pan. I wasn’t sure if I should have but did anyway. I also didn’t have a pie weight or any other fancy pie baking tools many of the recipes called for. I just rolled the crust on a counter top full of gluten-free flour.

Once it was baking at 350 degrees I watched it closely. I first set my timer for 10 minutes and then an additional 10 minutes. Once it appeared to be done (it wasn’t very golden brown but when I poked with a tooth pick it seemed done) I took it out and let it cool. Then I started the pie filling.

Following a Taste of Home recipe things came together quite well. Heating up the eggs and sugar turned out to be a longer process than expected, especially since I became nervous that it actually reached the recommended 160 degrees. Luckily I do have some  food thermometers and was able to confirm that it did reach 160, but I also don’t know if it exceeded it and was overdone. It probably was, but I get nervous about foodborne illnesses. 😉

In the end, it actually looked like French Silk Pie filling. I had Justin test it and he said the filling tasted great!

Ready to Refrigerate
Ready to Refrigerate

 

I put it in the fridge until we were ready to go to my parents and then left it outside (yay for MN becoming an outdoor fridge/freezer) until we were ready to eat it. I topped with Cool Whip and shaved some frozen Dove Chocolates over the top before serving.

Ready to Eat
Ready to Eat

Everyone who consumed it said it tasted great. I totally agreed with them too. Even my picky little brother who is also gluten-free liked it! And I think I saw my husband having one of the few leftover pieces for breakfast this morning!

If you are interested in trying a pie from scratch for the first time I would highly recommend you start here. Most of the ingredients I already had and it really didn’t take that much time to make but be sure to plan a little ahead. It will help. 🙂

Did anyone else try some fun recipes for the first time for Thanksgiving?

Surviving My Commute

If you’ve ever had a conversation with me over the past year I’ve probably complained about my commute to you. Sorry, that is probably annoying. In all seriousness though, with winter approaching, my commute is only going to get longer. I’ve been trying different things to try to make it more enjoyable, and no, getting up before the rest of the world to get to work at an insanely early time is not an option.

I realized one of my biggest complaints was losing 1.5 – 2 hours a day when I could really use that time towards something more productive. Plus, I found myself getting more frustrated and distracted while driving. Flash back to car accident this fall. That is when I decided to start listening to audiobooks. I have reserved my commute time for nonfiction, professional development, or some type of book or program I can learn from. And let me tell ya, it has been a game changer.

With that said, I’d like to share a few titles I have enjoyed since starting this new commuting activity.

1. #GIRLBOSS – Written by Sohpia Amoruso, founder and CEO of NastyGal, had a refreshing perspective about being an entrepreneur and basically kicking ass in business. She often swears, tells it how it is, and overall inspires you to try harder and just go for it.

2. Lean In – This has been my favorite so far, and I will probably listen to it again in the new year. What I love about this book, written by COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, is her support for women in top leadership positions throughout all areas of business. I’ve read different articles and blog posts that go against the idea of “leaning in” but with everything you have to do what works for you. For me, I really identified with her message especially as I prepare to be a working mother. If you are interested, check out her TED Talk as well.

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3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Oh my gosh, soooo good! I was supposed to read this for book club but never got around to it. To be honest, I think reading the book could have put me to sleep, but the audio version was perfect and I actually looked forward to my commute. Written by Rebecca Skloot, she tells an often forgotten story that has greatly influenced the world of medicine.

4. The Chalene Show – This is a Podcast by fitness celebrity and motivational speaker, Chalene Johnson. I’ve always been a fan of hers and a friend kept telling me I needed to check it out. I downloaded it awhile ago, but hadn’t listened too much since I had so many good books lined up. This past week I really dove in and got to listen to quite a few episodes. She focuses on fitness and nutrition, business, motivation, and pretty much everything else you can think of that you’d want to hear about!

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5. Required Texts for School – I have also found that some of the required books for grad school can be downloaded in audio version. Talk about a time saver!!! My most recent Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. I’ll be honest, when I first started to listen I was bored, but then all of a sudden it became applicable to everyday life as he explained his studies in behavioral economics. I look forward to seeing what else I can listen to for school.

If you have any suggestions for me please let me know. I have all the time in the world, literally, for about 1.5 – 2 hours per day.

Operation Don’t Ruin The Nursery

I’ve often heard that parents want their children to have the best, and many will do whatever it takes, within reason, to make sure that happens. There were many times this weekend I stopped and thought, “Hmm, that must come after the baby is born, because if I really wanted Baby B to have the best I would have hired someone to do this.” In all seriousness, this weekend was a major nursery weekend. Since Justin was out-of-town deer hunting I decided to enlist the help of my parents and gets some stuff done.

I had originally set a goal to have the spare bedroom, which was to become the nursery, all cleaned out by our 20 week ultrasound. I missed that goal by weeks, but had the motivation to finish it before we had our carpets cleaned last weekend. This is what it looked liked before.

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Catch-all Room

 

I seriously went through about 15 years worth of stuff and donated about 10 bags full of clothes from my late teens and early twenties. Whoa, I wore a ton of halter tops.

I’ve been scouring Pinterest to find ideas for our nursery and came across a project I wanted to attempt that required me painting something on a wall. I am not all that creative or artistic so I went in to this project with the wall paint re-shook just in case it turned out to be a disaster. My parents came over to assist with moving furniture, painting it and hanging up shelving. Selby also tried to help but wasn’t very effective.

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The Happy Helpers.

We decided to use my old bedroom set for the nursery furniture to not only save money, but I have had the set since I was a kid, and it was my Mom’s grandmothers so it has been around a long time and was still in fairly good condition. We sanded it, repainted it white and then I repainted the trim. When I was growing up the trim was pink. Since pink has always been a favorite color of mine, but I figure we will be gifted lots of it, I decided to accent Baby B’s room with purple.

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Before & After
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Before & After.

We painted a tall dresser, a desk and a nightstand. The trim was absolutely dreadful to do and will require some touching up. For now, don’t get too close or you will see I do not have a future in furniture painting. The desk will be turned into a changing table once we get all the needed accessories for it, but we should have plenty of storage for diapers, wipes, and all the other necessary baby changing items.

And now you are probably wondering how my Pinterest project turned out. Well, I have to be honest, I am super excited and happy with how it turned out. And if I am being really honest, I am pretty proud of myself!!! 🙂

Pinterest Photo...Not Mine.
Pinterest Photo…Not Mine.
My Finished Product!
My Finished Product!

The Pinterest one looks way more professional and more like a tree than mine does but that is ok. It is better Baby B learn now that her mother isn’t perfect. 😉 Overall, I’d still say I nailed it.

It has been a labor of love this weekend trying to get the nursery started and I am definitely feeling it today. Getting out of bed required a lot of limping as my lower back feels like it fused together. Oy! Where did my core strength go? So on that note, I am relaxing for the rest of the night with some laundry and plan to do some stretching before bed. This Mama is exhausted!