As the arrival of our little man nears, I've been making more of an effort to slow down and enjoy the last few weeks that I get to carry him around in my belly. Knowing that this is most likely my last pregnancy gives me all sorts of bittersweet feels. On the one hand, I feel huge and exhausted and ready to meet our tiny new baby. Parenting a toddler while 3rd trimester pregnant is no joke. On the other hand, I love being pregnant. The feeling of a little person wiggling around inside me is the most incredible thing I've ever experienced. I love walking past my reflection and catching a glimpse of that big ol' baby bump. The sweet gestures and kindness from strangers everywhere I go. The feeling of Avery's little hands on my belly when she gives her 3 second attention span to feeling for her brother move. The rare nights that I get to snuggle up on the couch with Brandon to watch a movie while he feels little man dancing around in my tummy. It makes all the hardships so very worth it.
In finding balance between everything this time around, writing a regular pregnancy update has fallen to the wayside. Instead, I'm rolling with the punches and documenting things as I find the time. So here is a snapshot of pregnancy right now, thanks to an early morning and a late sleeping toddler...
I feel my best in the mornings. Light on my feet and energetic, which is why most of my workouts happen in the early hours. The evenings are not as great. I've had Braxton-Hicks contractions since around 25 weeks, and they are getting ever more intense. I feel heavy, bloated, and achy in the evenings. And for whatever reason, no matter how much food I eat throughout the day, my belly feels incredibly full and tight by the evening time. It's like having eaten a Thanksgiving dinner every single night. That first trimester fatigue is also starting to set back in. It's a different kind of fatigue though - not a brain fog like before, just pure physical fatigue. Even walking around the house feels challenging at times. Definitely a little harder this time around with a toddler to chase!
The smell of coffee brewing. Eeeekk. It gives me a gnarly ocular migraine. I've had to leave notes about this in the work break room, and poor Brandon has to brew his coffee in the garage every morning. Can't stand yogurt right now (although it was my favorite in the first trimester - so weird). Also not a fan of the smell of seasoned meat. Or onions.
My cravings have been hitting mostly early in the morning and late in the evening. In the morning, I crave one of two things: a bowl of oatmeal squares cereal topped with banana OR a peanut butter, banana, and chocolate protein powder shake. In the evenings, its sugar. Especially chocolate and ice cream with peanut butter. Guess I'm making up for the lost time during first trimester when I couldn't eat sugar at all. Oh, and tomato soup.
Exercise intensity has really fallen to the wayside, and I'm totally okay with that. These days, a brisk 30 minute walk is enough to elevate my heart rate quite a bit. I've been doing a lot of walking, swimming, YouTube video workouts (low impact cardio), some weight training on my own, and I've even managed to sneak away to the gym once a week or so. The thing I feel good about is that I'm still doing at least 30 minutes of exercise, 3x per week. And by exercise, I just mean continuous movement. That's the only standard I'm holding myself to right now. Avery joins me for a lot of my workouts, and I have to admit I don't mind the interruptions that come with snuggle/play breaks when she is with me.
I'm completely spent by the end of the day, so falling asleep has been a breeze. It's staying asleep that has been the challenge. Between bathroom trips every 2-4 hours, the impossibility of finding a comfortable position, and waking up at 4 am with a racing mind, I've definitely had my share of restless nights. The good news is that there have also been plenty of nights with a solid 8-9 hours of sleep, thanks to a supportive hubby who has taken on all of the nighttime toddler wake-up calls.
Aaaaaallll over the place. Relishing in the joys of the pregnancy. Excited to meet our new little one. Nervous about how we will find our new balance with two young kids. Hormonal, at times - like when I broke down bawling last week when my midwife talked to me about baby's circumcision. Guilty about not having as much time or energy for Avery as I did before, but at the same time, happy to let myself put a lot of things on the back burner and just focus on spending quality time with her right now.
The extra love and support from friends and family. It's really brought to light how blessed I am to have such a loving network of people in my life. Maternity clothes - SO comfortable! Strangers allowing me to cut in line for the bathroom.The wiggle room in my diet to eat what my body feels like eating. Nesting, and seeing baby's nursery come together. Folding his tiny little clothes. The questions I get from my kids at work about the baby bump (Do you think he will have a beard? Is he going to come out of your belly button? You're STILL pregnant?!?). The "pregnancy brain" excuse. How self care becomes a priority. The praise I get at the gym from strangers (I actually had a group of people stand up and clap as I walked off the weight floor once!). The "pregnancy beauty package": great hair, strong nails, fuller breasts. The anticipation and the thrill of not yet knowing what baby will look like or what kind of personality he will have.
BUT, my very favorite thing about this pregnancy has been my midwife check-in appointments. I take Avery with me and she LOVES to participate. As soon as we walk in the door, she is the first to hop on the scale and get weighed. She then climbs up onto the exam table, lies down, and lifts up her shirt in anticipation for the midwife to check on "baby Charlotte", who is apparently in her tummy. After that, she helps the midwife do my checkup and we listen to the reassuring sound of baby's heartbeat together. When we are all done, we walk to the Starbucks next door; she gets a "cake lolly" and I get a hot cocoa. Every time.
And I'll leave you with this - a few of my favorite shots from our maternity photo session this past weekend.
Is it too early to feel spring fever? The groundhog did say we are done with winter, and I think this year he was right. With temperatures hitting 60 degrees and the sun peeking out more and more often, we've wasted no time in getting outside as much as possible
I've been gradually moving my morning workouts outside too, which has been amazing. The boost in my daily happiness factor that comes with getting some fresh air in the morning is real. There is actual scientific evidence to this, no lie: www.inc.com/jeff-haden/10-scientifically-proven-ways-to-be-incredibly-happy-wed.html. The balance at this time of the year comes with completing my morning workout late enough to take advantage of some daylight, yet early enough so that the munchkin is still asleep. The timing doesn't always line up perfectly, and sometimes I get the added bonus of a morning workout buddy.
Being in month 8 of pregnancy now, I sure don't mind slowing things down during my workouts when Avery joins me. Things are fairly low key and low impact these days, with my only goal being consistent movement for at least 30 minutes straight. Ok, with rest breaks (: I shared a low impact total body workout a few posts back, so I thought I'd continue the trend and share one of my low impact lower body workouts today. All you need is a step and a set of dumbbells for this one. Safe for third trimester, but also great for working the legs out without any bouncing/jumping. Enjoy!
Happy new year, friends! I know I'm a little late on this, but that has just been my life theme lately. Now that the holiday hustle and bustle is history, I'm trying to get back on track with everything. As much as I get the post-holiday blues every year, there is a part of me that feels relieved to have normalcy and a routine back in my life. Before diving into that topic, though, I want to devote a little space to an update on the past month, since 0% of it has been spent blogging. Here we go...
Christmas & New Years
For Christmas, we do a 3 year rotation of how we spend our time: (1) in New Mexico with Brandon's family, (2) in Oregon with my family, and (3) just the three of us on our own, either at home or on some adventurous getaway. This year was our year to do a "just the three of us" thing, and we decided to keep things low key and stay at home. Then, on Dec. 23rd, Brandon's parents popped in from New Mexico to surprise us and spend Christmas with us. Sweet gesture, for sure, but to be quite frank, it was not exactly what this type-A, plan-ahead kinda girl had in mind for a relaxed holiday with my little family. We made the best of it though and ended up doing Christmas all together with them and my parents as well. It was fun and everything worked out fine. The in-laws left on Christmas day, so we even got to sneak in a little bit of "just the three of us" time that day. OH! And we got snow on Christmas Eve! Its been like 10 years since Portland has seen a white Christmas, so that was pretty awesome.
For New Years, we kept with our low key theme and it was wonderful. Some close friends of ours invited us over for an afternoon celebration with our toddlers, and we rang in the "new year" at 6pm (bless you, Netflix on-demand NYE countdown for kids). Went over to my parents house after that, put Avery to bed at her normal time, played card games till midnight, then hit the hay ourselves.
Its still surreal to me, but I'm in my THIRD trimester of pregnancy now. Once I hit that mark, both Brandon and I went into full nesting mode and really cranked things up in the baby prep department. We've had quite a few house projects to do, but the most fun has been getting the nursery ready. We painted it light gray with a white ceiling, and it changed the feel of the room tremendously. Bye-bye all-beige everything. My dad built baby boy an incredible closet that is going to maximize the storage space in the room, and from here on out we just have to assemble the crib, the changing table, and decorate (which I've been most excited for).
Quality Time With My Firstborn
Especially in this past month, I've been feeling this growing sense of urgency to spend as much quality time with Avery as I can before baby comes. Newborns need a lot of attention, as I've learned, so I know that Avery will get much less of me in the coming months. Am I shooting myself in the foot by spending all this one-on-one time with her now and then expecting her to understand that I can't do the same when baby comes? Probably. But I don't want to miss this out on the opportunity I have now to put everything else on the back-burner and just love on my little girl. Plus, I truly am doing my best to prepare her in the meantime. We read stories about baby and talk a lot about what her role as a big sister will look like. She feels him kicking in my tummy (and even thinks that there is a baby in her tummy too). She helps me fold his tiny laundry. She helped paint his room. And I have no doubt whatsoever that she will be a loving and amazing big sister.
That's all for now. Hope everyone's 2018 is off to a great start!
You guys. I have to be honest in that I'm struggling with balance right now. Trying to keep up with everything is difficult for most people during the holiday season, but adding the layer of pregnancy onto it this year has been challenging for me. This time of the year bring so much joy and excitement and so much to do, and with it comes the pressure to do it all. Sometimes it leaves me feeling like this:
So how have I managed to stay sane? Simply by slowing down. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I hone in my focus on two simple things: my health and my family. I've tried to be very intentional about prioritizing these areas in my life, especially this month. This means that a lot of things have taken a backseat this holiday season. We're not hosting any holiday parties. Skipping retail store shopping (bless you, Amazon). I'm baking ONE batch of cookies for my family (sorry neighbors, you'll get your usual assortment of homemade goodies next year). Foregoing the need to turn our home into a Pinterest-worthy Christmas wonderland. And for our Christmas card this year, I slapped a photo from my iPhone onto the first holiday card design I found on Walmart.com and ordered it through one-hour photo. I haven't totally turned into a Scrooge, I promise. We've just taken the holidays at a slower pace this year, and it has been amazing. We even still managed to fit in the important things...
Lesson learned from this year so far: I'm okay with letting go of holiday expectations. No big deal if we miss an annual Christmas tradition for once...we can always resume next year. No need to make a holiday bucket list and then stress about checking everything off of it. No need to see every single lights display in the city. No need to attend every single holiday gathering we are invited to. I just keep telling myself - there is always next year. The most important and treasured things for me right now are spending time with my family and staying healthy for me and this precious baby boy.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and stress-free holiday season <3
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!
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.