Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Catching Up and Terry's Birthday!

Another week, another unexpected hiatus from blogging. I've taken on some new responsibilities at work, which have kept me quite busy, and even my evenings have somehow disappeared lately. I hope I'll find ways to slow down over the next few weeks to enjoy this time before baby arrives.

The last few days in particular have been a whirlwind. On Saturday, Terry and I woke up early to take a short hike. I'm trying hard to be consistent with three 30-minute sessions of aerobic activity each week. My options are walking or walking, so at least we have some local hiking trails to keep things interesting. 

Then we headed up to our friends Katie and Corey's daughter's first birthday party at a community park. They went with a Madeline theme (I loved Madeline books as a kid!), and I devoured all the French desserts. A very cute idea for a first birthday! We also got to see our friends Heidi and Ed, who are now less than a week away from their due date, so it was a blast to catch up with everyone. 

Heidi recently put together this little collage of our bump pictures:

It's been so fun to have a close friend pregnant at the same time as me! We text, call, and visit each other often to discuss symptoms, share stories, and compare pregnancy myths we've heard. I am so excited for her and Ed as they prepare for baby Kayla's arrival! 

Saturday afternoon we headed to our hospital for the last time before I go into labor--yikes! We dropped off our pre-admissions paperwork to make the process easier when we get there, and then we had our baby care class. I loved our instructor and learned a ton. I feel very comfortable around babies, but it's different knowing I'm actually responsible for this child's well-being, not just an hour of babysitting. The class had excellent tips on reading baby's cues, adjusting to parenthood, bathing the baby, and lots more.

Saturday night we stayed home and Terry grilled up some incredible lamb. More on that tomorrow!

On Easter, we slept in a little and then I baked a birthday cake!

Terry's birthday was yesterday (Monday), and he requested a marble cake, which I gladly made for him. (The cupcakes were for his coworkers; they have a new tradition going at work where everyone is supposed to bring in a treat for the rest of the group on their birthdays. I love that idea!)

We spent Sunday morning with friends at a brunch, and then we headed to Orange County for Easter dinner with Terry's family. It was so nice to see so many loved ones all in one weekend!

And then came Monday! Happy birthday to this guy!

Terry is just the greatest guy, and I'm so grateful to get to celebrate his birthdays with him. He's the best, and I look forward to many more of his birthdays!

We went out to dinner at Catalina Kitchen in Rancho Palos Verdes at Terranea Resort. They have a birthday special for free surf and turf! It was delicious and a really fun night out together. Then we came home for that cake.

Yummm (if I do say so myself).

Today I had a short work day and spent some time working in the nursery. We have two weeks until our dresser/changing table (a gift from my parents) arrives, and three weeks until we pick up the crib (a gift from Terry's parents), so for now we're just cleaning and preparing the space.

Tonight we took a long walk around our neighborhood (we're finding more and more routes that we like!) and are planning to spend the rest of the evening curled up on the couch before plunging into another day tomorrow. This weekend we're traveling up north to my parents' house for our first baby shower. My aunt is hosting, and I'm so excited to see so many people I love all together!

Let's hope our next meeting won't be too long from now. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Creative Solutions for Working Out at Home

Yesterday was a bit of a whirlwind, and today is a marathon day (5 am wake up call, and I'll be on campus until 8:30 pm!), so I'm squeezing in a short post while I can.

I've mentioned it before, but I think I've reached a stage of not sleeping as well throughout the night. Even when I'm exhausted, I wake up a couple of times to go to the bathroom, and sometimes it takes me a while to fall asleep again. Terry and I have switched sides of the bed so I have easier access to the bathroom, which is helpful. Those extra ten steps really do make a difference.

Yesterday (around 4 in the morning) I also experienced my first pregnancy leg cramp. I've had a charlie horse or two in the past, but somehow this one felt more intense. Luckily, Terry used to be a swimmer and is what I would consider an expert in treating leg cramps. I woke him up (rather frantically--the poor guy), and he massaged the muscles until they relaxed. It was nice practice for labor; apparently I will panic, and Terry will calm me down and know exactly what to do.

Despite the less than stellar nights of sleep and a sore calf muscle, yesterday morning started on a wonderful note: At our doctor's appointment, we learned that baby has flipped! He or she is now head down, which is the appropriate position for birth. We still have several more weeks, but it's nice to have one fewer thing to worry about.

With that news in my pocket, I enjoyed the rest of my day of errands and chores. I had a big list to tackle, but I'm also trying to remind myself that when things don't get done "on time" it's not the end of the world. Rest and keeping stress to a minimum are far more of a priority.

This week is what I would consider our first routine week in our new place. Terry isn't traveling for work; we're both going to work regularly; we're cooking dinners each night; and we're finally getting back to our workouts. On Monday we did some upper body action in our new gym, which, unfortunately, is even smaller and more crowded (equipment-wise) than our old complex's gym. We're trying to think of some creative solutions.

Of course, cardio is pretty simple: we love running, hiking, and walking. Right now I'm officially down to just walking, but Terry and I have talked about finding a 10K that we can train for together to get me back in shape after baby arrives. We're thinking maybe November or December; I think a few months will be enough time to work back up to six miles.

While the area where we live now isn't fantastic for our usual evening walks (too much traffic immediately outside of our complex), we are a very short car ride away from some awesome trails and beautiful hikes, so we'll take advantage of those before and with baby.

For strength and/or variety workouts, we have a few options. I love bodyweight training, as you know, so sticking to the basics like squats, burpees, push ups, lunges, etc., will be an automatic part of our routine. But we can also add in more comprehensive at-home options, like yoga videos and boot camp-style videos.

We're also strongly considering purchasing a nice set of adjustable dumbbells like these that we can use at home.

I have always loved at-home workouts, so it'll be an easy adjustment for me, and Terry says he's totally willing to try it out. I expect that the next few months (for me) and baby's arrival (for both of us) will throw us off track quite a bit in terms of our "usual" workouts, but I'm excited about the changes. We've done a good job keeping up our walking and pregnancy-friendly exercises, so I'm sure postpartum exercises will be another adventure we enjoy just as much. Hopefully we can combine all those options to stay fit while we transition into parenthood!

Any tips for staying healthy as a new parent? Do you prefer gym or home workouts?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Decorating, Bump Twins, and Tasty Meals

We had a wonderful weekend! So wonderful that I chose to get to sleep as soon as possible last night instead of writing a blog post. But now we'll catch up on our fun and productive couple of days.

We finally started hanging our artwork on the walls! This task might be Terry's absolute least favorite task, so we spread it out over three days and are now taking a break before we tackle the other rooms. For now, I'm thrilled to have our living room all decorated!

(We hung up that last frame tonight.)

And we finally cleaned out the den area, too!

 Saturday night, Terry grilled tri tip so we could make some phenomenal sandwiches--cambozola cheese (a brie/blue cheese blend), greens, and onion jam.

I took advantage of Scout's cuddles with the bump.

We used the leftover tri tip to create a Southwestern salad with corn, black beans, avocado, pepper jack cheese, and Greek yogurt with BBQ sauce as a dressing. YUM.

 Saturday was also our hospital tour! We learned all about the facility where we hope to deliver our little one, and we could not be happier with our choice. Thankfully, LA seems to have quite a lot of excellent options for great facilities that respect families' wishes. But we think we'll be in great hands at the UCLA Medical Center!

On Sunday, Heidi and Ed were in the area because they needed to grab a few more registry items for their baby girl, who is due in two weeks! Terry and I tagged along to Buy Buy Baby and tried not to feel overwhelmed by the endless options. It's so exciting to see Heidi so close to her due date!

Our last twin bump pic? 

 Last night was our final birth class, where we focused on newborn procedures at the hospital and learned about postpartum care for mom and baby. I'm a little sad our class is over! Our teacher was awesome, but she has encouraged us to keep in touch and to ask questions as needed. We're even supposed to call her when we're in labor, and she can help us with those questions, too!

I'll write up a more thorough review of our birth class soon (or maybe after delivery, so I can tell you if it helped!).

Today was a normal day--early work, carpooling, and a workout!

Upper body day! It had been awhile! 

And Terry grilled up some chicken for dinner. I made a little brown rice stir fry with eggplant, asparagus, bell pepper, and onion.

A wonderful few days! Tomorrow we have a doctor's appointment (keeping our fingers crossed that baby has flipped out of breech position), and the rest of the week looks fairly mellow.

For now, I have a batch of brownies in the oven that I need to enjoy before we stay up for the blood moon. (There's a chance I may just fall asleep instead of watching.)

Have a wonderful day!

What's the best meal you've had recently? We've had some tasty ones, but that tri tip sandwich was probably the highlight.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Midday Lunch Date and Our Breastfeeding Class

After our whirlwind evening last night, I could have used a lot more sleep last night, but the alarm had no pity this morning at 5 am. I struggled out of bed, made toast with peanut butter and banana for breakfast, and headed out the door.

Thankfully, my brain finally woke up around 8 am (times like these I really miss caffeine), and I was already done subbing by 10 am. After a few quick errands at school, I picked up Terry for a midday lunch date!

While we are still sticking diligently to our budget, we've also decided to take advantage of our last few kid-free weeks with a couple of outings--movies, dinners, whatever. We are planning to go to the movies this weekend (Captain America!), and I'm hoping to plan a little outing for Terry's birthday.

Today I picked up Terry at his work for lunch at--how exciting is this?--Flame Broiler.

Terry has been there several times, but I've been meaning to try it, so we went. It was pretty good! Our conversations have revolved almost exclusively around baby topics for the last several weeks, so I was grateful to just enjoy each other's company and give Terry a short break from work.

Once I dropped him back off, I headed up the freeway to our old stomping grounds for a dentist appointment. Since I had time to kill before 4 pm, I stopped at The Pump Station, a store that specializes in newborn care, nursing, and other baby-related products. I also grabbed some frozen yogurt for myself.

One of the founders of The Pump Station, Corky Harvey, actually taught our breastfeeding class last night. She was the head lactation consultant at the hospital where we plan to deliver for many years, and she is obviously very knowledgeable on the subjects of infants, postpartum mothers, breastfeeding, and more.

I think my parents thought it was a little weird that I was taking a breastfeeding class (and that Terry came with me!), but it's definitely a learned skill, just like giving birth. Young girls used to (a loooooong time ago) grow up watching their mothers and other women giving birth, breastfeeding, caring for babies, but now our culture has shifted to a figure-it-out-for-yourself kind of situation. So skills like breastfeeding and giving birth are mysteries until we go through them, at which point it's often too late to learn some of those skills. I have no shame in taking some classes to learn as much as I can, and of course there will be aspects of both I can't prepare for (just like parenting!), but at least I can go in with some information to help me along the way.

Yesterday's class talked about a huge range of topics within breastfeeding:
  • Benefits of breastfeeding
  • Latching
  • When to start nursing after birth
  • How often to nurse
  • Babies' hunger cues
  • How to tell if baby is eating enough
  • Pumping
  • Storage
  • Troubleshooting problems
  • Nutrition
At one point, I whispered to Terry, "This sounds hard. You do it." But that's part of why I was glad he came with me (LOTS of dads were there; Terry certainly wasn't the only one!): I know we function best as a team, and I know I can rely on him to help me remember all the stuff we learned. If/when something doesn't work or isn't going very well, Terry can remind me of things to try. 

Some fun facts I learned:
  • Insurance is now required to cover a breast pump, BUT the quality and type of pump you are offered can vary immensely. One mom-to-be in our class was told she would only get a manual pump, and another (with the same insurance plan!) was offered a top-of-the-line pump. Quality pumps cost around $300 to purchase without insurance.
  • By evolving into upright mammals, humans were forced to give birth earlier because our hips don't allow the baby to continue growing. Evidence suggests that babies "should" stay in the womb 10-16 more weeks (but can't physiologically), so we're born very immature, which is why newborns are especially dependent on their mothers. (Please excuse my incredibly unscientific explanation there.)
  • Almost all women have some sort of struggle with breastfeeding, so moms who are having trouble should immediately seek help from a lactation consultant. Women shouldn't have to struggle through those tough times alone!
I guess that's enough with the breastfeeding talk. If you're planning to breastfeed, I highly recommend taking a class. I still plan to check out a breastfeeding book (our birth class teacher recommended La Leche League's The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding) and make use of the hospital's lactation consultant, but I'm also excited that the Pump Station offers two free breastfeeding support sessions with other new moms. I'll let you know how they go when I attend!

Have a wonderful FRIDAY!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

WIAW on a Busy Day

As I mentioned yesterday, I have 6:30 am sub jobs the rest of the week. On the plus side, it means I'm done and home super early, but of course I'm exhausted today. Thankfully I normally wake up between 5:30 and 6 with Terry, so the earlier alarm wasn't too bad.

I'm starting to notice that I don't sleep quite as soundly lately. Throughout my pregnancy I think I've been lucky to not have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but now I'm regularly waking up once to go. And last night I really struggled to get back to sleep, so let's hope that's not a regular thing. My hips felt super uncomfortable, so I'll need to make some pillow adjustments!

In the ongoing condo-setting-up saga, I finally ordered a damn area rug! I know you were on the edge of your seat waiting to hear about that one. Don't worry, I'll keep you in the loop about how it looks when it arrives.

Since we have our breastfeeding class tonight until 9:30 pm, today's edition of What I Ate Wednesday will actually be "What I Will Eat Wednesday." Some of it is already in my belly, but some I'll enjoy after I publish this post, because I need to get to bed as soon as we get home tonight.

Breakfast--5:30 am 
Last night I made a pancetta-veggie scramble for dinner, and I saved half the fillings to have it again for breakfast this morning.

The scramble includes:
  • two eggs with a splash of milk
  • extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • onions
  • red and green bell peppers
  • asparagus
  • pancetta
Since all the fillings were already cooked, breakfast was quick and efficient this morning to help us get out the door before 6. I reheated the fillings in a pan, added the eggs and milk and cheese, and scrambled away. 

Snack #1--8:00 am
I've moved into a point in my pregnancy where I'm trying to eat every 2-3 hours, so I end up consuming a series of snacks instead of full meals. Today's first snack: cottage cheese and an orange.

Snack #2--11:00 am
I made it home from subbing and desperately wanted to nap but headed for the kitchen instead of the couch. I went with sliced banana with yogurt, peanut butter, and honey. I could eat this snack every day; I'm so glad it's healthy!

On a less healthy note, I also grabbed a few of these cookies and a small glass of milk.

My sister-in-law introduced me to them, and I looooooove them!

Lunch--1:30 pm
Ahhh, pregnancy naps are absolutely incredible. I used to feel weird and groggy after naps, but even a quick 20-minute rest now gets me re-energized. Today I think I slept a full hour. For lunch I had some leftover pasta with turkey meatballs.

The other night I had some work stuff until late, so Terry made a delicious dinner for us, and the leftovers have spanned three meals! That's impressive for us, and I love that I can hand over the task of making dinner to my husband without worry.

After lunch I spent some time tidying up the house (I noticed it had somehow become something of a disaster area within the last few days) and prepping food for tomorrow. 

Snack #3--TBD
Not sure yet what I'll be eating after I publish this post, but it'll be a good one!

Dinner--6:00 pm
Since our breastfeeding class is at 6:30 tonight, we'll be eating dinner on the go. I'm leaving in a few minutes to pick up Terry from work so we can head up there. I'm packing a picnic lunch:
  • Turkey sandwiches with cheddar and mustard
  • Salad with greens, diced pears, olive oil, balsamic, sunflower seeds, salt, and pepper
Dessert?--10 pm 
This one will depend on how hungry and/or sleepy we are when we get home. I made some ice cream yesterday, but we may be ready to crash, so we'll see. Lately we've been chopping up some Brix chocolate into our ice cream, which I highly recommend. Add a few walnuts and you've got yourself a simple sundae!

After my nap today I also wanted to squeeze in a super quick lower body workout, but time wasn't on my side. My plan was:
  • 25 squats
  • 25 stability lunges (each side)
  • 25 plie squats
  • 25 curtsy lunges (each side)
  • 25 calf raises
(Repeat 3-4 times.) Hopefully I'll get to it tomorrow. Here are some similar non-pregnancy workouts if you're looking for some lower body action!

Enjoy! And be sure to check out the other WIAWs!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Starting the To-Do List

Yesterday I stumbled upon Tina's baby to-do list and Lindsay's to-do list and promptly scrambled to make one of my own. (Thankfully my husband does not find this behavior at all irrational.) While I don't think you would be all that interested in it, I felt better just writing out what we need to get done in the next several weeks.

Today I started tackling some of those (baby-related and non-baby-related) tasks. Our glider was delivered (a gift from my in-laws), and Terry set it up in the corner of our den area.

I think we'll probably take the plastic off eventually. 

It's going to look great, but I think we'll need a rug eventually. I've been searching on Overstock.com for rugs, and we've narrowed it down to a few options within our budget. I hope to order one tomorrow and see how it looks.

Terry also helped with setting up the stroller and infant car seat! I can't believe how tiny that car seat is, and I can't wait to try out that stroller on a walk in a few months.

Speaking of which, Terry and I took our second walk around the new neighborhood today. We tried a different path and ended up on a 2.5 mile loop. Unfortunately, the street traffic is pretty bad--lots of cars in a 45-mph zone, and the sidewalks aren't very far removed from the road. It won't be safe enough to bring the baby out with us, so we'll need to keep searching for family-friendly routes around here. It made us miss our old neighborhood's lovely walking routes.

But on the other hand, the loop crosses multiple equestrian centers, and we saw four horses at different points! One came right over to us and walked along his pen (is that what you call it?) as we walked by. I feel bad that the horses are so close to the busy road, but it was cool to see nonetheless.

So obviously we're still adjusting to our new place and figuring out this whole about-to-be-parents thing. But I feel good about even tiny improvements and having just a few things off our list! For the rest of the week I have 6:30 am sub jobs, so I'm off to bed.

Hope you're having a great week so far!

Do you have a favorite running/walking/hiking trail near you? I know there are some amazing hikes and walking paths within a short drive of our new place, but I am a little disappointed that the street traffic near us is so intense.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Halfway There Condo Photos

For several months, I felt myself counting down the months, weeks, days until our move. Even before we had a location in mind, I knew the move was imminent and couldn't help focusing on the fact that we would be packing up and relocating. I feel like life gets this overarching sense of temporary-ness when a move is coming up.

Thankfully, after two weeks, we're finally feeling mostly settled. I'm providing photos, but forgive the messes. You want me to unpack and clean? Come on, folks.

The kitchen, bedroom, and living room are 100% functional,

set up almost exactly the way they were at our old place (if it ain't broke, don't fix it).

The baby's room is virtually untouched and currently serves as a general storage area. Our baby showers are in a few weeks, so I imagine we should make some decisions relatively soon about what we plan to do in there, but let's not go too crazy too quickly.

We have two bathrooms now, which I love, and all our old towels and mats and decor work just fine in the master bath. The second (guest/baby) bathroom is this strange peachy color, however, so I think we're going to find some grey decor to try to tone down the walls. (We could probably paint it, but we really aren't that picky and have no idea how long we'll be here.)

The big question mark is our new den space (pretend the boxes aren't there) . We've decided that we'll put our glider there--the window and the fireplace make for a lovely, peaceful sitting area--but we will also need an area rug and probably a small table.

That super dark corner to the right is the fireplace.

As you can see, we haven't hung a single frame or piece of artwork. We have some ideas but haven't committed, so we'll get around to it eventually. I am aiming to get them done by the end of the month.

Obviously, we could easily go out and spend a few hundred dollars on decor to make this place exactly what we want, but we're trying to focus on function right now. Maybe once a month we'll grab something to brighten up the various spaces (like this set of three canvases we had to resist at Target yesterday), but for now we'll make do with what we have. Luckily we still really love all our old furniture and decor; we just need a bit more to fill the space eventually.

Now that we're somewhat settled in our new place, I'm sensing a shift in my focus from the move to the baby. We have our registries in place, we're almost done with all our classes (one more birth class, a hospital tour, a breastfeeding class, and an infant care class are all we have left! I actually find it pretty fun to take a class with Terry since we never did in college), and we're starting to realize exactly how little time we have left before we become parents!

If you could fix up or add to or change one thing about your house/apartment/cave, what would it be? Choosing just one at this point would be tough, but I'd say I would hang all our artwork. I think that will make this place really feel like "ours".