Monday, January 31, 2011

30 Weeks and My Prenatal Exercise Routine

Hey greenies, I'm in the process of being "snowed in" as we speak! They're calling it "The Blizzard of 2011" here in the Midwest. The snow was pretty light this morning, but it has been steadily increasing as the day's gone on and they're predicting that we may get 18 inches or more! With that in mind, school has already been cancelled for tomorrow- woo hoo! B is home with me as well, and we're having a nice relaxing snow day with our two dogs...it would be way more fun if Avery was here too, but I'm sure we'll get to experience that next year! One of my favorite things about snow days is getting caught up on my blog posts, so here's a little update for you! I'm in my 30th week of pregnancy now and things are going great. As you can see from the pic to the left the students in my class (which range in age from 3-5 years old) have had a fun time watching my belly grow and feeling Avery move around and kick. You can see more pics of my 30 week belly in the exercise pics that follow. ( :

Last night we met with our midwife and that went great. She checked my blood sugar for gestational diabetes and my number was right on target at 95 (I wasn't fasting or anything and had a green smoothie about an hour beforehand) . She also measured my belly (or the more official term is measuring the "fundal height") which is the length in centimeters from my pubic bone to the top of my uterus when I'm lying down. Usually you want the measurement to be around the number of weeks you are pregnant (give or take 2 cm) and I'm at 30 weeks and I measured 30 centimeters. Way to go Avery! It's kind of fun because she uses the same paper tape measure each week, so we can look back and see what I measured back in November (when she started doing these measurements) to see how much I've grown since then and at the first measurement I was 20 centimetres. Keep on growing Avery! The last thing she checked was her heartbeat which sounded nice and clear. We will see our midwife again in 2 weeks, as our appointments are now 2 weeks apart instead of 4 since I'm getting closer to the end of my pregnancy! He he! ( :

Moving on, something I've been interested in posting about for awhile now is my prenatal exercise routine. Before I was pregnant, I would work out for about an hour and a half each day (1 hour-long workout in the morning before work, and then 30 minutes of yoga when I got home) and I feel very grateful to say that I've been able to keep that up throughout my pregnancy. Obviously my workouts have changed a little bit in how they are much lower-impact, and with more of an emphasis on stretching, but I still try to keep with that same amount of time. In fact, I can't imagine my pregnancy without my workouts! On those days when I feel lousy, large, and uncomfortable, I workout and I feel 10 times better! I feel like it helps with my mood, my overall energy level, coping with the common aches and pains of pregnancy, and the way I feel about my growing and changing body. There have been many interesting studies done on the benefits of exercise during pregnancy, one of which I will mention below, and another you can find here which found that a 20-minute exercise bike ride was found to be as effective as insulin given to pregnant women with gestational diabetes! Seriously, a 20 minute workout instead of taking insulin? Rock on prenatal exercise!

Let's get our workout on!

Let me share some details, resources, and pictures of my prenatal exercise routine. I will mention several workout DVDs below, all of which I tried out first on Netflix. I highly recommend you do that as well with any exercise DVD, because it gives you some "trial" time with it, so you can see if you like it before you end up spending your money on it. All of the DVDs I'll mention can be found on Netflix.com. Don't have a Netflix account? Try your local library or at least get them used on Amazon.com if you feel inclined to buy them first. Now on to the workouts...

Time to walk.
Walking: So one workout that I do every other day is to walk on the treadmill. Back in my pre-pregnancy days, I would run on my treadmill, but that stopped around month 2 or so of being pregnant because it just didn't feel comfortable and my energy was kind of low in the first trimester. Now I walk...but I do it for an hour. To challenge myself in this workout, I try to raise the incline every 5 minutes, so I end up at about 8.0 or 8.5. I used to increase the speed a little as well, but around week 28 or so, I started to get a little tightness in my abdomen when I did this, so I took it as I sign that I need to chill it out a little bit, so lately I've been keeping the speed a little lower. I love having a treadmill in my basement for a number of reasons: I can go workout anytime, I can watch tv (usually I'll pop in one of my favorite documentaries or shows I've "Tivoed" which currently include: The Biggest Loser, The Bachelor, or just some old episodes of The Office), or I read...I know reading on the treadmill is kind of weird, but I like it! Nearly all the topics I've posted about on this blog have come from books I've read while working out on the treadmill!

Fan, book, treadmill...and a bathroom near by, perfect for
a pregnant mama!

Here's my little treadmill set-up to the left featuring my "ghetto-rigged" fan, something I am infamous for (what can I say, I love air blowing right on me when I work out- lol!). This fan works great and it just sits on a chair, and although it's not exactly the best decorating feature of the room, it works for me! As you can see I usually have a book set up on the "dashboard" of the treadmill, and I alternate between reading or watching TV. One more benefit of working out at home is that I have a bathroom nearby at all times, which is a good feature when you have a baby pressing on your bladder when you're trying to workout!

Pilates time!
Pilates or Strength Training: The other workout that I alternate with walking is to do pilates. I found a great DVD in my early weeks of pregnancy that I do often called 10 Minute Solutions Prenatal Pilates. It is 50 minutes total and it has 5, 10-minutes segments: standing pilates, core pilates, pilates for buns and thighs, total body pilates, and pilates for flexibility. One of my favorite sections is "Core Pilates" because I figured that once I was pregnant, I couldn't do a single ab exercise for nine months, but that's not the case! In this section you do a variety of exercises (all with the support of a large pillow...I use a small couch cushion as you can see with the pic to the left) that help strengthen my abdominal and back muscles. Another feature I like about this DVD is that the pace is very quick. Since there are only 10 minutes allotted for each section the instructor, who is 36 weeks pregnant herself, goes very quickly through each exercise, which I love! Sometimes pregnancy workout DVDs go slow stinking slow it drives me mad...just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean I need to move as slow as a turtle, come on! So I love that this DVD doesn't waste anytime.

Still working those abs!

Before I was pregnant, I would alternate my treadmill workouts with a strength training workout, something I just created based on a number of workout DVDs I'd used in the past, taking a lot from Core Secrets (with an exercise ball and some free weights) as well as some Winsor pilates, and P90X. But since I'm pregnant, I tend to stick with this Prenatal Pilates DVD, and luckily it utilizes some strength training in two of the sections for which I use 3lb. weights, and it works well for me. Here I am to the right doing some more of the pilates DVD, a lot which takes place on your hands and knees...a common theme in prenatal workouts, but I don't mind. Pilates' emphasis on stretching and flexibility has really helped me feel great throughout my pregnancy and I think it's kept my body feeling strong and lean, despite the use of mega dumbbells or a heavy impact workout.

Here is a preview of the 10 Minute Solutions Prenatal Pilates DVD I mentioned above:


Yoga: The last workout I do on a daily basis is yoga. I love the way it feels as I stretch, practice deep breathing, and relax from my day. As if I wasn't sold enough on yoga as it is, I came across an interesting study that found if pregnant women did yoga for an hour a day (as compared to walking for an hour a day) that they were: less likely to have preterm labor, less likely to develop hypertension, and more likely to have an ideal-weight baby. Go yoga mommies!


As I mentioned before, I used to do yoga for about 30 minutes a day after getting home from work and since I've been pregnant this has continued...only now I do prenatal yoga! Granted some days when I'm feeling really tired, I just take a nap instead of yoga...but on most days, I try to do both. Back before I was pregnant, I posted about my favorite yoga DVD series: Namaste Yoga, in this post. And although I still love it, it moves a little quicker for me now and I find myself having to modify nearly every exercise so that I can comfortably do it. So, it wasn't long before I began searching for a good prenatal yoga DVD to take it's place. I believe I've found it with, "Anna Getty's Divine Mother Prenatal Yoga Series" DVD. I've scoured the Internet to try and find a video clip that best shows this DVD, but none were available...grrr, so I'll settle for a picture of the DVD I suppose! I love this DVD because it utilizes Kundulini yoga, a practice that I hadn't had much experience with in the past, but I've found that it feels extremely good now that I'm pregnant.

When I first started doing this DVD, I would finish and feel so much more energetic and more connected to my baby...probably because the movements are tailored to increase blood flow to your abdomen and baby, as well as stretch those areas that get tense and tight (back, hips, etc.) during pregnancy. Although there are additional sections on the DVD, I primarily do the "Floor Exercises" and "Standing Exercises", which together total about 45 minutes. Despite the old looking, retro-DVD cover, the DVD is actually very modern and features great music and a beautiful background...see note below about alternate DVD title. I also love that Anna, the instructor, has a voice-over narration during the workout, so that she isn't trying to lead the workout and talk at the same time (a yoga DVD pet peeve of mine). There are many exercises in this DVD that I feel help me prepare my body for labor and delivery, and some that I may even utilize during my labor so I love that! I highly suggest you try it out! *Just a note if you have a Netflix account, it is listed under the DVD title: "Anna Getty's Pre and Post Natal Workout". There are two discs included and the one with the workout I describe above, is on Disc 1. Not sure why there is a change in the title of the DVD, but this is the DVD I use for this workout.

Another yoga DVD that I like is: "Living Room Yoga with Eva Barash: Prenatal Workout". This workout is one hour long, so I usually don't do this one after work, but I do sometimes throw it in my morning workout rotation when I'm tired of treadmill, pilates, treadmill, pilates! I didn't think I would like this workout much because it seems kind of low budget, but the instructor does a good job of keeping the pace going and having a good balance of stretching and strengthening exercises that feel great for my growing pregnant body!

Here's a preview of her Living Room Yoga DVD Series (which does feature a few scenes from the prenatal yoga DVD):


The last yoga DVD I use often is "Yoga Journal's: Yoga for Your Pregnancy with Kristen Eykel". Although this DVD could be turned into an hour-long workout routine, I typically do the "Energizing Practice" which is about 30 minutes. I like using this DVD because it provides some variety to my yoga practice, the stretches feel very good as my belly continues to grow, and it helps me to relax. Two things I don't like about this video are: the slow speed, and the fact that the instructor takes forever to talk about each pose. As you can see from my discussion of the pilates video above, I like my workouts to flow right though from one exercise to another so when I have to pause for a minute or two in between each yoga position, it gets a little annoying. I try to just relax during those "talking breaks" and focus on my deep breathing, instead of trying to rush things along. All in all, it's a decent yoga DVD that gives me some variety, but it can't quite compare to the Anna Getty Yoga DVD to me.

Here's a preview of this DVD:



No matter how you workout when you're pregnant,
just make sure it's fun! ( :
So that's a nice long review of my prenatal exercise routine and some of my favorite workout DVDs that I use on a daily basis at this point in my pregnancy. I'm interested to see if I continue with the same workouts as my pregnancy progresses, or if I need to modify things a bit more as I get closer to the end. Either way, I'll keep you all posted! Feel free to post any questions you may have about my workout routine, or if you have any good prenatal exercise tips or favorite DVDs that you've used in the past. I'd love to hear about them!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

29 Weeks and Hypnobirthing Classes

Hey everyone, I am officially 29 weeks now and just starting out my 3rd and final trimester (started last week). It's hard to believe that there's only 11 weeks left! It has gone by so fast. Things have been going great, and really I was struggling with what to blog about this week because there really isn't much going on with my pregnancy...which I think is a good thing!

29 weeks

No frantic phone calls to my midwife, crazy uncomfortable symptoms, or other medical issues. What can I say, I love my "boring pregnancy"! I've had a little bit of lower back pain that has comes and goes every once in a while, probably just from my growing belly. Usually I can prevent the backache by doing yoga daily, and going to my chiropractor every two weeks. Using lots of pillows to support my belly and back when I sleep seems to help as well.


As you can see, Avery has been growing quite a bit and my belly seems to be starting to grow OUT now, rather than UP, so that's been kind of fun to see. Needless to say, mostly all of the shirts I wear nowadays are maternity shirts...this one is a pre-pregnancy one though- still making it work! I think it's days are numbered though as you can tell from the way it sticks out and rises up where my belly is...LOL!



One thing we have started lately is our birth classes. I fell in love with the Hypnobirth book featured below by Marie Mongan before I was pregnant, and when my midwife mentioned that there was a Hypnobirthing instructor in our area, I knew I was game! Why Hypnobirthing you might ask? When I say "hypnobirthing" the image most people get in their mind is that someone will hypnotize me with a some funky crystal and then put me in a trance for the birth. This is not the hypnotizing state that hypnobirthing refers to.


The goal of hypnobirthing is to enter a calm, relaxed state where the mother's body is able to do what it does naturally and best...give birth to her baby...without the help of drugs or other outside influences. Hypnobirthing is also about releasing fear and negative images/thoughts associated with birth like: "It's going to hurt like crazy!" or "The only way I'll get through it is if I have an epidural!"

Don't get me wrong, this birthing perspective may not be for everyone, and by no means am I trying to convince you to go the hypnobirthing route. I think that every woman should do what feels right for herself and her baby. If you feel comfortable with another birth philosophy or with more medical interventions, then by all means go for that. I just love envisioning Baby Avery's birth with the hypnobirthing strategies, where it be calm, peaceful, private, and I will feel confident in my body and my ability to give birth naturally.

Our amazing instructor's website is called, Superbirth.com and basically we meet once a week for 5 weeks. Our class takes place on a Sunday and lasts for 2.5 hours. The cost for the class is about $300 and it comes with a copy of the book, and a notebook with additional articles and relaxation scripts. There are two other couples in our class, though B and I are the only "first time" parents. During our first class session we reviewed some Hypnobirthing history, the importance of choosing a care provider who will support your "birth preferences", changing the language associated with birth (switching out words like "surges" for "contractions" and "birth companion" instead of "birth coach"), and we tried out a few relaxation techniques. During our second class session, we watched a few Hypnobirthing births, talked about different settings in which you can have your baby (hospital, home, birth center), and tried out some of the deep-relaxation techniques mentioned in the book. Boy, was it one relaxing class!

If this philosophy is something that you like and can see working for you in the future, feel free to check out the Hypnobirthing website here. Here's a section on the website that explains the philosophy. My instructor also has some great descriptions of Hypnobirthing as well as a list of the many benefits associated with this approach listed on her website here, which I highly recommend checking out.

Now if you like to learn by watching, rather than reading (which I like to do!)- check out these YouTube videos that help explain Hypnobirthing a little bit more and allow you to see it put into practice.

This first video is 2 separate news stories that explain hypnobirthing, take you inside a hypnobirthing class (somewhat similar to the one I'm currently taking), and follow a couple that used HypnoBirthing with their babies. What I love about this video is that they show real people using Hypnobirhting...and having success with it!




Next up is a video of an actual birth (beware, if this freaks you out, stick with the clip above because it's not as graphic as this one!) in which the mother utlized the Hypnobirthing practices. What I love about this video is how calm and relaxed the mother is. Also, you can see how her husband/birth partner takes on a very supportive role in the birth by encouraging her and helping her to go deeper into her relaxation. Start taking notes Brandon! ( :




This video is basically the cliff-notes of the video above in how it shows the Hypnobirthing strategies being used, but in a shortened way. Still a good one though!


So, that's just some of the highlights of the Hypnobirthing approach, and as my classes continue I will post more information about this childbirth method and how we are preparing to use it in Avery's birth. Have a great week!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Peachy Kale Smoothie Recipe (Video)

Let's get some kale into that smoothie of yours!



Peachy Kale Smoothie
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-2 leaves of organic kale (pull the leaves away from the stem and then put only the leaves in the smoothie)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 5 slices of frozen organic peaches (3/4 cup)
  • a few chunks of frozen pineapple
Steps:
Blend and add more frozen fruit if still tastes "too green" for you. Enjoy!

Just a note...I'm 28 weeks pregnant here! Also, if you're wondering why I giggle a few times in this video, it's because my two chow chow dogs kept scratching my camera man (aka my husband) to go outside while we were trying to film this. Silly doggies...don't you know it's green smoothie time! 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nursery Projects: Nightstand, Curtains, Photo Collage and More!

Over the last month, my mom and I have spent a number of weekends working on some of our final projects for Avery's nursery. To the right is what it looks like now that all our small projects are complete. Below is the boring "Before" pic we took when we just started working on the nursery. Now let me fill you in on some of our projects.
After

Before
The first thing I worked on was putting together a nightstand for next to the recliner/rocker. I had a feeling that I will be spending a lot of time there once Avery's born and I know I would need a place to put somethings! So I found this nightstand from Target, and while my mom was painting the cherry blossom tree on the wall, I put together the nightstand. This was a big deal for me because usually Brandon takes on those sort of things, but after I put together the shelf seen in this post, my "construction" confidence increased, and my nesting instincts took over! Here I am with all the pieces laid out, reading all of the instructions of course!

Next up, assembling the drawer and shelf portion of the nightstand.


And finally I'm done! This is me at 22 weeks pregnant, in case you're curious.


.
Here are a few of the functional details I've added to this area since I put it together. I found this simple, modern lamp here at Target. The iPod dock was from Wal-Mart...I know Avery will love rocking out to music on it one day (the question will be if she'll like Mommy's music or Daddy's?).


Currently on the shelf are some monogrammed burp cloths I got from my baby shower. On a side note, you might have seen a white foot stool in the top pic of the room and here is some info about it. It's a Nursing Stool I got on Amazon.com. Aside from helping with nursing, since it can assist in proper posture, I also wanted this stool so that I could put my feet up a bit. I'm kind of short (about 5'4) and when I sit all the way back in the rocker, my feet don't touch the ground. So with this stool, my feet actually have somewhere to go! This not only helps with rocking in the chair, but also my overall comfort in the chair. I have a feeling it will be helpful with breastfeeding when Avery is born.

Curtains: Okay so window treatments aren't exactly the most exciting thing in the world, but after seeing some ideas online I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted and instead of trying to shop and find what I was looking for, I decided to work together with my mom and grandma (two creative and talented women!) to make them for Avery's room. First we bought the 3 fabrics...a stripe print for the front panel, and then a white linen and white room darkening fabric for the two panels that would open and close. Next, the work began! We had to measure, cut, and then sew lots and lots of fabric!

Here's my grandma and I measuring, cutting, and pinning the fabric...something we did a lot on these curtains!


Here's my grandma and mom sewing the front panel with the stripe fabric. This is the same fabric that will be on the skirt of Avery's bed...I will post about this project in the upcoming weeks.



Here I am sewing. I made sure to choose a nice, easy, straight edge to sew...nothing tricky!




Here's the sewing team! I'm about 25 weeks pregnant in this pic.


Now although we thought we had the curtain all done when we took this group pic, I put it up and it turned out that the two white panels that would open and close were not quite as wide as we had hoped, meaning that I had to work a little bit to get them to touch in the middle and block out the light of a street light that shines nice and bright into Avery's room at night. So, we decided to get some more fabric and make each panel wider. Then after two more Saturdays, the curtains were complete! They took a lot of work and time, but they have a lot of special meaning to me because my mom and grandma both helped with them. Aside from that they are exactly what I was picturing for that room, and they easily open and close now (see the pic to the left and right), a feature that I'm sure I will appreciate when I'm trying to hold Avery and close a curtain at the same time! A big thanks to my mom and Grandma Sue for their time and hard work on this project, Avery and I appreciate it! ( :



Etsy Find of the Week: Pink Framed Chalkboard. As I mentioned in last week's post, I love finding cute baby things on Etsy! After putting some of the above mentioned projects in place in Avery's room I began wondering what I could put on the wall in this nook by the recliner, and then I found this cool pink chalkboard on Etsy. I thought it would be fun to have, not only because of how cute it was, but because of how we could write little messages or quotes on it for Avery (it is also magnetic). As you can imagine, it wasn't long before I purchased it and now it hangs so nicely on the wall. Although the exact chalkboard is no longer listed, here is a similar one. The shop owner, Tina, is incredibly nice and I strongly recommend checking out her Etsy shop if you like decorative chalkboards as she has some other fun colors and styles available!


Flower Hooks: As you can see from that last chalkboard pic, another small project we did was to create some kind of fun hooks to hang a variety of things from once Avery is born...specifically some cute headbands or bear-ear hats (my fav!). So while we were at our local craft store one day, we found these flower hooks and we thought they had some potential (after a good paint job that is!). So we primed them, painted them similar colors to the cherry blossom tree, and then my mom painted little green leaves onto the wall behind them. I love how they turned out and I know we will get some use out of them in the future.


As for now, we like to use them to display what we call the, "Outfit of the Week". This is something kind of funny that Brandon and I do when we've bought or someone's gotten us a super-cute outfit that we just can't bear to put in the closet, and we just want to display it instead. So we hang it on the "Outfit of the Week" flower hook! Kind of funny I know, but we love it! Here is one of my favorite outfits that I found at Target awhile back. I call it "Organic Girl" because it just looks like one cute little nature-loving outfit that I can see Avery wearing when I introduce her to our local farmer's market this summer.


Photo Collage Frame: This last project came from an idea my mom and I had, and since I'm a huge fan of vision boards and collaging, I knew I wanted something in Avery's room where I could combine these two. Our idea started out by picturing that we would use something like one of those big frames you see at weddings where you can sign your name and write a message...except instead of writing things, we wanted to put pictures and specifically pictures of family members so Avery could get to know who they are. We pictured standing there with her saying, "Oh here is Grandma Karen, or here is Daddy skateboarding." ( : With all those ideas, we set out to our local craft supply store and there we found a nice, big, white frame as well as some special paper (like dry-erase poster board...which would be easy to put pictures on and take off as I wanted to. It was only $1!), and some ribbon.

Here's the steps we took to create the frame:
1. Hot-glued the pink ribbon onto the top of the frame.


2. Cut the the dry-erase paper to fit the frame, you can see how it looks out of the frame here after pictures were added...


3. Created an insert with one of Avery's bedding fabrics for the center piece of the frame. We did this by cutting out a piece of cardboard, covering it with fabric, wrapping the same ribbon from the bow on the frame, and then gluing the words that we typed ("You are loved.") on to it. I chose those words because all of the people pictured in the frame are her family, from brothers, to grandparents, to aunts, and of course her mom and dad and I want her to know that we all love her!

4. Unfortunately, now is when our project took a turn for the worst! It seemed like such an easy project, but we hit several walls which just about sent us over the edge. My job was to find pics on my computer and print them in black and white. Well, my printer decided to stop working right when I was ready to print! It would just shoot the paper right through, instead of printing anything on it! Here I am in "technology meltdown mode".

My mom was having trouble of her own as she tried to get the paper to lay flat. For some reason it was warping a bit every time she tried putting the back on the frame on. Here she is in "craft meltdown mode"!

5. In the end, we got the pictures printed, the paper to lay flat, and we even got it up and hanging on the wall...whew! Even though it turned into one headache of a project, it is one of my favorite features of the room and I can't wait to show it to Avery. Also, since we made sure to pick out the special dry-erase paper, it will be an ever-changing frame. So as she gets older, I will change out the pictures and update them with new pics of her, and family and friends.


Okay so I think that's it for the decorating update for this week, sorry to bore you with all the details of these many projects. I just love knowing how other people create their nurseries and if these projects can help give other future mamas out there some ideas, then that would be great! If not, this sure will be fun to look back on once Avery's born and know all the hard work we put into creating her nursery. Have a good week everyone! ( :

Sunday, January 9, 2011

27 Weeks and Kicking!

Snow day!
Hi greenies! I am one happy momma today because as you can see from the pic to the right of my backyard, I am enjoying a snow day today! It hasn't snowed much this winter here in Missouri, and last night we got our first "snow storm". Even though it doesn't look like much (maybe 4 inches or so?) sometimes it doesn't take much to get a snow day! For those of you who don't know, I teach special ed preschoolers, so when the talk of snow days come up I'm always crossing my fingers (along with every other teacher out there!) that we might have a snow day. I'm a bit more cautious with my snow day wishes this year because Baby Avery is due around the beginning of April and with 6 weeks of maternity leave, that takes me right up until school being out for summer...so too many extra snow days at the end of the year, means I might have to come back, which will be fine, I just know it will be hard to part with her that early on! Either way, I'm enjoying this quiet, relaxing snow day today and the chance I have to get you all caught up on what's been going on with my pregnancy lately.


Pregnancy update! I celebrated my 27th week of pregnancy this past weekend and I cannot believe how fast it is going! Next week starts my 3rd trimester...how crazy is that?! As you can tell from the belly pics, I am growing a lot! It seems like my belly is really starting to stick straight out instead of growing up or to the sides.

As of right now, Baby Avery is the "food size" of a head of cauliflower, and apparently my uterus is the size of a basketball (which explains the pic below-hehe!).

Uterus=basketball size...nice!

Another fun developmental change in Avery is the fact that she is kicking a lot...much stronger and harder kicks this time and throughout the day. This has been awesome for Brandon because he has really been able to bond with her in a new way since he can feel her kick and move around. Also, this past week, we had a check up with our midwife so that was fun. We talked about some of the upcoming tests I will be having done (probably sometime in the middle of February) like: a blood test (to get a complete blood count, find out my blood type and Rh factor), as well as a glucose screening test (which she can do herself at our next appointment...it will be a random test, so I won't have to fast- thank goodness, those stress me out). And the last test is the Group B Strep test, all of which I will tell you more about after I have them done. Then after all that medical talk we moved onto the fun stuff like hearing Avery's heart beat, and having her tell us where she was positioned. Even better, she showed Brandon how to feel her placement in my abdomen, and in the process he got to feel her head (which was down by my pubic bone) and then her back (she was kind of curled up more on my right side). The look on his face was priceless! We meet with our midwife again in four weeks, and from there we will start scheduling our appointments for every two weeks since we're getting closer to the end! Wow! I have a feeling April will be here before we know it!



Body Image: So, as most pregnant women can relate, pregnancy brings about some interesting changes in your body and in how you feel about yourself. I know it's a little startling to me sometimes to see these pics after Brandon takes them every other week because I'm like, "Who's that girl? That doesn't even look like me! I'm not that big!" I think it's because the changes in pregnancy are so gradual that us pregnant moms hardly notice the changes on a day-to-day basis, and for the most part we just feel normal (at least throughout the 2nd trimester I know I have). I know I still feel like myself, and my arms and legs still look somewhat like how they did before I was pregnant. The only major change is my stomach and even though I can see the bump when I look down, I don't see the full belly shot...until picture day that is. I think the biggest nagging emotional issue I deal with in adjusting to my new pregnant body is not so much worrying that I will get "fat", but that instead wondering if this is how BIG I am now...what am I going to look like in 3 months? Will I have a freakishly large stomach? Will the rest of my body start to get crazy large too? As someone who has weighed the same since about high school, this dramatic change is quite a lot to deal with. But, I believe a lot in the law of attraction and positive thinking, so I know that dwelling on all these negative thoughts and fears is only going to attract more of that to me, so here's my new mental game plan to cope with my body image:
  • As long as I am healthy (I truly feel so healthy, alive, active, and well right now it's amazing) and my baby is healthy (all is good according to the midwife) then I will enjoy and embrace my pregnant body! As my husband says, "Yes, you're stomach is big, but you're growing a baby!" He rocks doesn't he?!
  • I will remember that pregnancy, just like labor will come with times that I need to just surrender. I have read in countless books about birth and labor that women often hit a wall during labor and after they surrender to the experience, they find that their labor proceeds much quicker and easier. I have a feeling it might be the same for pregnancy. As my body continues to change and grow, I know that resisting the changes or growth will just be counterproductive to my own well-being. I know that I am doing everything I can to stay in shape by exercising and doing yoga daily, as well as eating the food that I feel is best for me and my baby...so if growth is what my body and baby needs I will surrender to that and embrace it! Grow away Baby Avery, I want you to be happy and healthy!
  • Last, I will be grateful for the experience of being pregnant. I remember a year or so ago when I started "reading up" on pregnancy and preparing mentally and physically for it, I looked at pregnant women with awe and wonder, thinking, "I can't wait until I'm pregnant! I can't wait until I can experience the kicks of new life in side of me. I can't wait to have that cute pregnant bump." But yet, I remember reading some other pregnancy blogs and feeling a bit annoyed that all they did was complain about their pregnancy. Even sometimes now that I'm pregnant, I get in a rut, where I just wish I had my smaller stomach back. Yes, pregnancy comes with its fair share of ups and downs, as well as discomforts and changes, but I know there are women out there that would do anything to get pregnant, or who have pregnancies filled with more serious complications and issues. This makes me put my pregnancy into perspective a bit more, because although it may be easy to complain about the changes, I am going to choose to be grateful for every moment of my pregnancy. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am experiencing right now and I know I will look back in a few months and remember the joy I felt to know there was a new life growing inside of me...what a magical time this is, so I'm going to be grateful for it!

Well, thanks for bearing with me as I vent and process through these emotional and physical changes I'm going through, it helps to have this blog so I can get my thoughts out of my head and work to find some positive solutions. Hopefully other pregnant mamas out there can relate to some of the feelings I've been going through and know that they're not alone. Feel free to post your experiences below or any other tips you might have! ( :

Etsy Find of the Week: Onto some lighter topics, like shopping on Etsy! In the beginning of my pregnancy I loved Amazon.com, as I mentioned in this post, but now my favorite place to shop online is on Etsy! I think I love how most of the products I buy on there are handmade, they are unique (not just the same baby item that everyone has and if you can't tell, I like to be unique and do my own thing!), and just being able to talk directly with the sellers and have that connection with them. I've got so much stuff "Favorited" on there it's not even funny! My Etsy find of the week is this adorable set of monthly stickers and matching headband, which I of course purchased...even though Avery won't get any use out of it for several months!

After Googling a variety of ways to capture Baby Avery's monthly growth after she's born, I found these cool pics on this blog and I really liked how she used stickers on her little guy's onesies to show how many months old he was. What a cool way to track a baby's growth and changes! So, then began my search for some cute stickers, and boy did I have some good luck on Etsy, as usual! I came across Babycakes Design Co. where she sells a variety of monthly baby stickers to fit every style and personality! I chose these to match the pink and brown stripe theme of Avery's room and since the shop owner Maria, mentioned she was willing to do custom orders, I figured I would see if she could make a matching headband like the one in this pic to the left which is featured in this listing (how adorable is this?). She agreed and a few days later, these adorable stickers and matching headband (see mine in the pic above) arrived at my door. I love them! I highly recommend you check out the Babycakes Design Co. on Etsy to find some cute monthly baby stickers, you won't be disappointed. I can't wait to post some pictures of Avery with her monthly stickers and matching headband. ( :


Food Cravings: So my food cravings have been pretty tame lately...no pickles and ice cream yet- lol! But after a recent trip to Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill with Brandon's family, I have a new craving...this exact plate of food! What I love about Genghis Khan is they have a Mongolian BBQ style buffet, where you basically get to make your own meal by picking a variety of food out of a buffet line (veggies, noodles, seasonings, and meat) and then they will grill it all up for you on a mega grill! For someone with a variety of dietary restrictions, I love that I can control what goes onto my plate here, and best of all...it tastes delicious! In the plate you're seeing to the left I have the following combo of food: tofu strips, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, carrots, corn, rice noodles, and my awesome seasonings/sauce mix which I create with: garlic water, ginger water, and a dry chipotle seasoning- the best part (it reminds me of BBQ)! Put all that together and saute it up on the grill and you've got one delicious meal!


It's so good in fact that this was Plate #2 for me, what can I say, Avery and I both love Genghis Khan! I've been nagging Brandon since we went to go back there and it looks like we might go in a few weeks to celebrate my birthday. Until then, I will be drooling over the picture up top! 

After the dinner at Genghis Khan we went back to Brandon's parents house to hang out with his brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews that were all in town, for a family-style New Year's Eve party. They began the night with some Rock Band on the Wii (go Brandon on the drums!) and then all the adults started the "1st Annual Couples Pool Tournament." I am not a pool player at all, so I knew we would be in for a good time and a few laughs! Surprisingly, we took 2nd place in the tournament...out of 5 teams. I think I can credit that to a lot of tips, pointers, and patience from Brandon! Here's a few pics from the fun night...



Here I am at 26 weeks pregnant. Everyone joked that my pregnancy would hurt Brandon and I's chances of winning the tournament, but I think it helped..we placed way higher than I expected! Avery must be our lucky charm!




Here's me attempting to make a shot...before learning some good form and hand tricks from Brandon.



Here we are placing 2nd in the tournament, and getting ready to ring in the New Year.


So I think that's about all for this week's update, I have much more to blog about, but I feel like this is a pretty long post as it is. Coming up in next week: my mom, grandma, and I will be finishing up the curtain for Avery's room so I can finally post some pics of the other projects we have been working on for that little nook of the room. Also, next week we start our HypnoBirthing classes, so I'm excited for that! I'll post more info about that style of birthing class as well as my reasons behind choosing it, next week. Now I'm off to enjoy the rest of my snow day...by the way, about 2-3 more inches have fallen since I took that pic this morning! ( :

Friday, January 7, 2011

26 Weeks and an Early Baby Shower

Hey everyone, I'm a little behind on my baby posting here, so let me fill you in on what went on last week. It was week 26 of my pregnancy and we had an early baby shower for Avery! Here's my belly pic from the shower, and I think it's safe to say that my belly has grown considerably this past month...wow!

26 weeks

 Anyways, since most of my relatives and extended family live out-of-state, we decided to take advantage of the fact that many of them would be in town over the holidays and have my family shower with them now, instead of waiting until March. This turned out to be a great idea because I couldn't imagine having it without them! Now I can't take the credit for this awesome shower, that goes to Brandon's side of the family who planned, cooked, and hosted the event. They did such an amazing job and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out and the memories I will take away from this fun occasion. Here are some pics from the shower!

Here I am with the "food table." I love the pink and brown decor,
which goes right along with the way we decorated
Avery's room (check it out in this post).


Up next are these adorable chocolate cupcakes with pink icing...how cute! Although I couldn't eat them, I heard many good things about them. I brought my own chocolate cupcake to enjoy (here's the recipe-they are gluten-free, vegan and delicious...love the icing too).



After playing a baby trivia game (about the only game I would allow-no melted candy bar in diapers for me please-lol!), it was time to open some presents!

A fun thing we did was for everyone to write down a piece of advice for me on a card when they first got to the shower, and when it was time for me to open their present, they would read me their piece of advice. It was fun to hear all the "new mommy" advice, and even better, my sister-in-law made me a really cool scrapbook for the shower that has a place for me to save all the advice cards. I'm sure I will be re-reading these in a few months!

Here I am getting the Arm's Reach Mini Co-Sleeper from my mom and Brandon's mom. I'm sure I will post more details about this later, but it's basically like a bassinet that sits right up against your bed. So when Avery is crying or hungry at 3 AM, I don't have to go all the way down the hall to feed or comfort her, I just roll over and there she is! I'm not a parent yet, but that sure sounds good to me!





Another thing we did during the shower was after I opened up a present, we passed it around the room so everyone could see it. I liked that we did this so that everyone could be included in the gift opening process, as well as how it took a bit of pressure off me! I am not used to being the center of attention like this, so I was just fine with people looking at other things instead of me opening up present after present! Any other mama's out there remember that feeling of being in the spotlight at your shower? It's not a bad feeling, just a little different than what I'm used to in my day-to-day life ( :



Here's another cool gift I got from my sister-in-law Meghann, a cloth diaper cake! With as green as I am, you know I'm going the cloth diaper route when Baby Avery is born (more posts to come about this), so I loved that Meg created this for me. It served as the perfect centerpiece on the table, and I like it so much that I can't bear to take it apart! It's just sitting on the dresser in Avery's room, all put together still!



Up next was picture time! Here I am with my side of the family.




Next up was Brandon's side of the family, many of which had a hand in the planning, planning, and decorating that went into the shower, so thank you for all your hard work ladies! ( :


After it was all over, we brought home the presents and displayed them here on our dining room table. Brandon and I have this funny tradition of putting anything new we get for Avery on the table here, mainly because our kitchen is like the central-hub of the household, so anything we put there we will be able to see many times a day. And after getting all this fun stuff for Avery, we weren't ready to just go put it up right away, so we had fun checking it out for a few days. Now although I didn't mention everything I got at the shower, you can see there were many pink outfits, as well as a few fun accessories like baby hats, socks that look like shoes, bamboo cloth baby wipes, and this adorable sheep sound machine.


As you can tell, it was a really fun shower and I'm so glad we decided to have this family shower early while most of our relatives were in town. A big thanks to Brandon's family for putting this on and making it such a fun and memorable event for Avery and I!
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