BOY!!!! If you read my last blog post, you know that this means I have "mother's intuition" bragging rights. I seriously knew it, intuitively, the whole time.
We had our 20 week ultrasound appointment on Monday and had asked the technician to not tell us the gender, but tp put it in an envelope for us to open later than night. Longest 5 hours EVER.
That night, we had a small family dinner and did a little gender reveal. My mom, who is a chemist, devised an acid/base experiment for the event. We handed her the envelope, she pulled out the appropriate solutions, and we had Avery do the mixing to reveal either pink or blue.
Apologies for the poor photo quality, but I had to post this hilarious moment. Perfect example of a toddler in an overwhelming situation. There was a lot of cheering and celebrating going on when that solution turned blue, so she took the liberty of restoring the peace with a "shhhhh" and mouth covers. She doesn't quite get the whole concept yet, but I have no doubt that she will be a loving and incredible big sister. We are beyond thrilled to get to experience one child of each gender, and feel so blessed that everything with baby looks good and healthy. Here is the first photo of our new little nugget...
Can't wait to meet you, precious boy! <3
Here we are, a mere two days away from finding out the gender of baby 2. There's been a lot of speculation and guesses flying around, but I'm pretty sure I already know the gender of this little one. When I was pregnant with Avery, I didn't have a feeling one way or the other. With this pregnancy, I'm 95% confident that it is a BOY. Call it mother's intuition? Or maybe just the fact that I now have standard of comparison to my last pregnancy? It's a pretty strong feeling either way. If we are going with the comparison route, this pregnancy is a complete 180 from my last one. Let me count they ways...
I'm carrying this baby so much differently. He/she sits much lower than Avery did. People tell me all the time how low I'm carrying this baby, and trust me, I feel it. This baby also feels so much bigger and more.....robust. I felt this one kicking and squirming around at 13-14 weeks. With Avery, I didn't start to feel anything until 19-20 weeks. Whelp, I'm 20 weeks now and people can even feel the baby kicking from the outside. Should I be worried about the toddler years already??
My symptoms are much different. I was nauseous 24/7 with Avery in the first trimester. I definitely had nausea this time around too, but it wasn't nearly as bad. This time, I had days with absolutely no nausea. I flew on an airplane without losing my lunch. I was even able to muster 2-3 days of exercise per week. What has been worse this time around is the fatigue. Physically, I feel totally wiped at the end of the day. My back and lower belly are always sore in the evening. Mentally, too. My boss even gently pointed out that I'm slowing down noticeably at work. I can probably attribute the fatigue factor to having a toddler this time around, but still, such a different experience.
Totally different food cravings. Last pregnancy, it was all about the sweet stuff. I was addicted to Life cereal and Nutella. This time around, I couldn't even look at sugar without wanting to gag for the first 4 months. I want all things salty and sour. Plain yogurt and kefir, cheese, tomato soup, and extra salt on everything, please.
Baby has a slower heart rate. I distinctly remembering taking several gender prediction quizzes online when I was pregnant with Avery, and each one correlated a faster heart rate to a girl. (Ok, ok, I may have taken one or two this time around too...). Avery's heart rate in utero was 160. This one's is 150. AND. The Chinese gender chart also states this is a boy. Just sayin'.
The intuition factor. Like I said, it wasn't there at all when I was pregnant with Avery. But I would put money on this little nugget being a boy.
I'll be back with an update next week, either totally in shock or bragging about my keen mother's intuition (:
I don't know about you guys, but I'm over here geeking out over the fact that Halloween is TOMORROW! Our family costume this year, per Avery's request, is a Beauty and the Beast theme.
In truth, we have been celebrating Halloween for the entire month of October. At 2.5 years old, this is the first time that Avery truly understands the concept of Halloween and has been SO excited about it. Naturally, I've been taking full advantage of this. I've scoured the internet and the depths of my creativity to come up with activities that are age appropriate for our toddler during this Halloween season. Here's a list of some of our favorites from this past month:
Cotton ball ghosts. Light colored paper (background), dark colored paper (eyes/mouth), cotton balls, and glue is all you need to make these babies. The glueing was definitely Avery's favorite part.
Toilet paper roll spiders. Just a few dollar store items to throw these together: googly eyes, black pipe cleaners, glue, black watercolor, and a cut up toilet paper or paper towel roll.
Pumpkin carving. Of course. We skipped on giving Avery the sharp tools this year, but the task she really enjoyed was pulling out all the pumpkin guts. We loosened them up with a scraper first to make the job a little easier for her, and this was actually a huge help for us too (I personally hate doing that part).
Halloween Themed Foods
Ghost pancakes. Ok, ok, not my finest work of art. But Avery didn't seem to mind.
Spider cupcakes. I used a healthier chocolate cupcake recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie. Here's the link: chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/07/10/my-go-t-chocolate-cupcake-recipe/ There were incredible, by the way, and you'd never know they were modified to be a healthier version. Add some pretzel sticks for legs, marshmallows for eyes, and a dollop of food coloring for eyeballs and voila.
Monster smoothies. AKA healthy green smoothies. Mom win! My recipe: banana, bit of vanilla yogurt, milk, spinach, bit of almond butter, and chia seeds.
Goodwill starts selling Halloween costumes in September, and that's quite honestly when they have the best selection. I bought Avery a few costumes just for dress up play (as well as parts to make our adult costumes) during that time. We used them pretty much all this past month for dress-up play and to "practice" trick-or-treating. Avery would pick a costume to wear, we'd grab our trick-or-treat buckets, and go and knock on the pantry door. Daddy was waiting inside, and when he opened the door he would put a healthy snack in each of our baskets.
Frequent Pumpkin Patch Visits
This one is pretty obvious, but pumpkin patches are SO toddler friendly. I'm talking petting zoos, piggy train rides, romping around in muddy corn mazes, climbing on hay bales, pumpkin bowling, etc. etc. etc. And some awesome family photo ops. Here'a few of my favorites from our pumpkin patch experiences.
Happy Halloween, my friends!!
Good morning! I've got a great workout to share with you guys today that is a little different from my norm. I typically incorporate a lot of agility type exercises into my workouts because I'm a big fan of functional exercises (I'm a PT, remember?) and I love how they are an instant heart rate booster. These days, things are a little different. My ever growing pregnant belly and loosening ligaments are starting to limit my want to do a lot of sprinting, jumping, hopping, etc. So how do I still get a good workout in without agility training? Simple - I add weights. I have a pair of 15 pound dumbbells and a 10 pound medicine ball at home that have been getting a lot of love lately. 20 pound dumbbells are on my Christmas list too. Using the weights has allowed me to keep things on the low impact side without feeling like I'm missing out on a good workout. Below is a sample of a low impact full body workout I put together. I used my 15 pound dumbbells for the starred exercises. It took me about 35 minutes to get through with 60 sec break between each set. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
I'm in a kitchen frenzy today. My mom's birthday is coming up, so I decided to try out this recipe for German chocolate cake www.myrecipes.com/recipe/mamas-german-chocolate-cake. One thing led to another, and I ended up simultaneously making mini bran muffins. And cleaning out the pantry. And blogging while waiting for everything to bake. All while Avery slept.
I find baking, and organizing, quite relaxing when I get some alone time to do so. BUT. There are always those little annoying tasks that pop up during these processes that make me cringe. Can't someone make an app for these?? Here's what I particularly dislike...
Cleaning mini muffin tins. Apparently my dishwasher hates this task too, so I'm always left scrubbing out those tiny, individual tin cups myself. One by one. Every nook and cranny. So fun.
Stirring the oil into the nut butter. WHY hasn't anyone thought to make the jars a little bigger to allow room for this messy process?? I don't think I've done this without oil seeping over the edge of the jar. I've found a butter knife to be the best tool for minimal spillage, but it's still such a tedious task.
Figuring out what to do with random little bits of leftovers. Case in point: lasagna noodles. What am I supposed to do with FIVE uncooked lasagna noodles? Buy more lasagna noodles and make a larger batch? Nope. It never works out. The amount of noodles in the box never ever ever ever ever matches the size of pan I make the lasagna in, no matter how big or how small.
Cleaning the blender. In fact, I avoid the blender as much as I can because I hate cleaning it so. Thank you, inventor of the Magic Bullet. I'd rather blend something in 5 batches using the Magic Bullet than take the blender out of its box, use it once, and then have to take it apart and wash the components separately, by hand. Plus it takes up soooo much counter space when it dries.
The kitchen junk drawer. Ugh. No matter how many times I've organized this thing, chaos always takes over in a matter of days. There is literally NO good place to put the little odds and ends that end up in the junk drawer. So junky it remains, eating away at my sanity little by little every time I open it.
Ok rant over. Please feel free to vent about kitchen tasks you hate in the comments. We're all in this together, friends.
I'm not going to lie. Or even sugar coat it. I HATED the idea of exercising in my first trimester. I had been on such a great workout regimen pre-pregnancy, and was reeeeaally hoping that I could keep it up when I got pregnant. Nope. Overwhelming fatigue and constant nausea had me hitting the snooze button instead of getting up to workout more times than I care to count. BUT, I didn't totally give up. I stuck to a regimen of getting some kind of exercise 3 days a week, which meant anything from a walk to a 20 minute YouTube yoga session.
So many times I had to pep talk myself into getting my body moving. The first trimester exhaustion was seriously crushing, and between work and household chores and being a mommy to a toddler, the idea of doing any extra physical work seemed unfathomable. "Only 10 minutes of light stretching today," I'd tell myself. Or "Let's just walk to the mailbox," I'd tell my toddler. In reality, once I got moving and realized that it felt good, I usually ended up doing more than I initially set out to do. So, first trimester consisted of lots of neighborhood walks. And yoga. And weight training with my toddler (which always guarantees more rest breaks than without toddler).
Now that I've hit the second trimester "honeymoon phase," I am actually really glad that I pushed myself to keep working out through this pregnancy so far. I feel like even though I toned down the intensity in the first trimester, I didn't completely lose my fitness. I've been able to gradually work back up to a higher intensity and more frequent exercise regimen, and I feel great. What I've been really into lately is weight training, so I though I'd share a particular superset workout I'm enjoying at the moment. It's a workout compliments of Jen at www.peanutbutterrunner.com, adapted by me to suit a growing baby bump:
15 squat to overhead presses
15 deadlifts to high pull
15 chest presses on stability ball
15 bent over rows
15 weighted lunges
15 weighted sumo squats
15 dolphin push-ups
15 triceps extensions on stability ball
30 weighted russian twists
40 ab scissors
The only equipment I used was a stability ball and a set of 15 pound dumbbells (didn't end up using the medicine ball in the photo), and repeated each set of exercises 3x before moving onto the next set. Cheers to fitness, my friends!
Hi friends. Long time no see. It's been quiet on the blog for the past month, I know, but I have a perfectly valid excuse...
I'm pregnant! Keeping pregnancy a secret for the first trimester is the worst. Not only is it hard to wait to share such exciting news, but its even harder to act like nothing is up I was feeling exhausted and nauseous and like I could puke without warning on anybody/anything at any time if something didn't smell quite right by me. And my list of offensive smells was not short. Admittedly, I told a lot more friends, family, and co-workers about our news well before the 12 week mark this time. I figured that if anything were to go wrong, I wouldn't want to face it alone anyway.
I'm in my second trimester now and feeling so much better. My energy levels have come back up and the nausea has subsided. One thing that hasn't gone away is my extreme aversion to sugar. I literally can't eat anything sweetened at all. It's like my sugar-addicted body decided to cleanse itself of the sweet stuff to force me to eat healthier for this baby. This is a good thing, Betty, a good, healthy thing for you and baby. But I do hope it goes away soon (*twitch*)
In other news, we have had quite the busy month of September. We were in Alaska for two weeks (more on this later), followed by a work trip to Salt Lake City for me, and then Brandon's came to town for a week-long visit. These are also reasons the blog has taken a back burner for a bit. Our October calendar looks quieter so far, so I'm looking forward to some relaxing weekends and lots of planning for baby ahead. Happy fall ya'll!
Every summer for the past 12 years, our family gets together for an annual beach camping trip. Everyone comes - grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. And every year its the same. My dad and my uncles hit up the reservation line the minute it opens (9 months in advance) to secure our spot. The guys bring their boats and spend their days fishing for salmon, while the girls hike the nature trails and soak up sun at the beach. In the evening we all gather together at camp for a big family dinner, the kids ride their bikes around and play in the sand while we clean up, and then we cap it off with s'mores and beer around a campfire. We follow this same routine, year after year, yet somehow I come to love it more each year.
Its funny how your perspective changes as you get older. I didn't think much of our family camping trip in my early twenties, and even skipped out on in a few times because I was bored of the same old thing. Now days, I wouldn't miss it for the world. Part of it, I think, has to do with becoming a parent. One of the most fulfilling and joyful things to witness is my little one developing unique relationships with each member of the family. There is no other time in the year that we all get together for quality time like this, and it really brings out all the feels in me. Its time uninterrupted by phones and televisions and iPads. Its time spent worrying about nothing more than how to get the sand out of your ears. Its time that us girls get to talk, for hours, about anything and everything. Its time for the guys to wake up and fish every single day to their hearts delight. Its time that the kids get dirty and stay dirty and its ok. So even though its the same thing every time, its become one of the most treasured times of the year in my book. Bonus - we go home with SO MUCH FRESH CAUGHT SALMON!
Hello hello! I have an awesome lower body workout to share with you guys today. It doesn't require any equipment except an elevated surface for step-ups, however you can choose to use dumbbells if you reeeeaaaaally want a killer burn. This was one of those improvised workouts that left my legs sore for days, and therefore worthy of sharing.
In other news, our summer continues to be bustling with outdoor fun. We've had an unusually long heat wave here in Oregon, which has landed us in a routine of water play during the day and going out and about to enjoy the warm summer evenings at night.
Some our daytime shenanigans...
And then those summer nights...
I know that Halloween decor is already out in the stores (ugh), but I plan to hold onto every last drop of summer over the next month and then some. Hope you are all having a great summer so far too <3
Confession: patience has never been one of my virtues.
I'm big on quickness and efficiency. I'm an organizer, a planner, and a multi-tasker so that I can make the most of my time every day. I don't like to diddle-daddle. There are days when I measure my success by the number of "to-do" items I've accomplished. It's not one of my proudest personality traits, but I can't help it. As much as every inspirational infographic on the internet tells me that I need to slow down and just live in the moment, its against my grain. Both of my parents are type-A people who never stop going, moving, and doing, and I've definitely taken after them. And this has been one of my biggest challenges in parenting. Especially parenting a toddler.
Anyone who has ever spent a few hours with a toddler knows that there is NOTHING quick or efficient that happens in their presence. Parenting a toddler takes patience. A lot of patience. For example...
And then of course, there are the times that my toddler purposefully throws her plate of food on the floor because she doesn't like what's for dinner. And times when she pees her pants in defiance. And the list goes on. The point is, my patience is tested on a daily basis. I'm trying hard to be an intentional parent and recognize areas that I need improvement in, and patience is definitely one of them. From various parenting books, advice from friends, and my own trials, I've been learning some strategies that help me stay grounded during the times when I lose my patience with Avery. Here they are...
I Breathe. Ah, the miracle of deep breathing. Taking a good long breath or two before reacting seems to help me avoid an explosion of anger/frustration and focus more on how I can turn the situation into a teaching moment (both for Avery and myself).
I remind myself of her age. She is only two. She is not a mini adult. Her frontal lobe is far from developed and there is no way I can expect her executive functioning skills to be on par with mine. Sure, she experiments with pushing my limits at times, but this is an age-appropriate thing that all toddlers to in order to establish boundaries and as sense of themselves and their personalities. By reminding myself of her age, I really try to be realistic in my expectations of her.
I allow extra time for everything. I know that a trigger for both of us is anytime we have to rush somewhere. It's frustrating to both of us when I'm trying to rush us out the door and Avery is just trying to finish her tea party or needs one more snack or whatever. So, anytime we have to be somewhere at a certain hour, I start getting us ready to go way in advance. I give us at least 20 minutes of wiggle room. Its SO much less stressful when we are not rushed that its definitely worth the 20 minutes less of sleep, playtime, etc.
I try to tap into my sense of humor. This is hard for me to do in the moment, so my trick is to take a photo of the situation. See the pictures above? They were each taken at times that I was frustrated with Avery. By taking a quick photo of some ridiculous thing she is doing, I can step back, look at my snapshot, and realize that there is almost always some humor/cuteness in what is going on. Now, when I look back at those photos, I see nothing but a sweet little girl just being two.
I give her a quick kiss as I'm putting her into time-out. There are definitely times where I feel that her behavior calls for disciplinary action, our version of which happens to be time-outs. Both Brandon and I have tried hard to be consistent with what behaviors land her in time-out and making sure that time-out immediately follows said behaviors and that it happens the same way each time. When this does happen, no matter how upset I am, I always give her a little peck on the cheek or head as I'm putting her into time-out. It sounds weird, but it gives me peace of mind in knowing that even though I'm disciplining her, she knows that my love for her is unchanged.
If you parents out there have any other tricks/tips, PLEASE share!!
I’m Betty and I live in the beautiful pacific northwest. I'm a mommy. Vegetarian. Wife to a meatatarian. Pediatric physical therapist. Outdoor enthusiast. Enjoyer of fitness/healthy living. Even bigger enjoyer wine and chocolate lava cake. And hoping to find some balance between it all.