Thursday, December 31, 2015

Pregnancy Update: 35 Weeks

Sorry I haven't been checking in here as often!  I got a little overwhelmed in the week leading up to Christmas between trying to get all of our shopping and wrapping done, prepping for baby (I had set Christmas as the deadline I wanted to have everything ready for her at the house and our hospital bag packed), and getting the house ready to have family come for Christmas (and prepared for them to come stay at a moment's notice when baby arrives).  Blogging was the one task I could take off the list, so I had to put it on the back burner for a bit.  The Mister's parents stayed over the weekend, and since then I've been a little worn out from all of our Christmas celebrations, plus Chris is still on Christmas leave so I've been hanging out with him as much as possible.  But I finally found the time and energy to sit down and do a pregnancy update tonight - so here I am!

I haven't taken a side photo this week, but these are some photos of the Mister, my sister, and me joking around in front of the tree a week ago on Christmas Eve.

Baby's size: She's the size of a canary melon (according to What to Expect), a coconut (according to The Bump), or a mini-lop rabbit (according to the "weird-but-cute-animals" theme on OviaPregnancy).  She should be weighing in between 4 and 5.8 pounds and measuring somewhere around 17-22 inches (that's a pretty wide range!).

(image from

Weight gained:  I think I've gained about 38 pounds at this point. To be honest, I haven't been weighing myself as consistently as I was because I've gained more than I wanted to (I was hoping to not max out above 35 pounds), and I don't really want to know. : )  I only care about being healthy at this point and my practitioner hasn't said anything about my weight, so I guess everything is fine.  It didn't help that on top of the holiday decadence this past week that the weather has been terribly rainy, so that means very little walking to burn off those Christmas calories.

Working out: Unfortunately. almost no exercise has happened this week.  I went on a couple short walks, but the weather has not been cooperative.  It's supposed to be chilly this next week but finally sunny, so hopefully the dogs and I can get outside and get a move on.

New Symptoms:  Pretty much if it's a pregnancy symptom I'm experiencing it now (just kidding... kind of).  Don't get me wrong, I'm beyond thankful that our baby girl has made it to almost full term, and I'm happy to be a bit uncomfortable for her sake.  But this pregnancy has taken an abrupt turn from fairly easy to not so much.  It could definitely be worse, though!

My ribs are where I'm experiencing the most pain and discomfort right now.  It's not as much that she kicks me there, as she's just stretching out into my chest and making everything tight and crampy.  On that note, when I get hungry now I feel it in my chest, which is pretty bizarre.  I guess that's where my stomach is these days!

Beyond that, my main issue is that almost everything has become difficult.  I can't bend from my middle much anymore, so standing up, putting on my shoes, getting in and out of the car, etc., are all challenges.  Chris laughs because by the time I've showered, gotten ready, and loaded myself into the car, I need a nap!  I spend a good part of my day winded and exhausted.  : )  Luckily, I have a husband who isn't above helping me tie my shoes.

As my belly has started to poke out more and more, my balance has really been suffering.  The dogs have been almost taking me out when they brush up against my legs in a hurry, and I get a little unstable in the shower.  I've also started experiencing the infamous pregnancy leg cramps.  These are not your everyday calf cramp!  They jump between my calf, shin, and glute, and they are CRAZY.

Like I said, I don't mean to complain.  The longer the baby is in there the better. and it's nothing I can't handle.  But it's pretty astonishing how much has changed in the past few weeks!

Food aversions: None that I can think of!  I don't love savory food with a lot of flavor right now just because I burp up the taste of whatever I eat for hours after each meal (yuck!).

Food cravings: I was craving a Greek chicken skewer these past couple days, and I finally had one tonight.  Other than that, I'm not having a ton of cravings right now.  I've all but given up ice cream since I've put on so much weight, so I am missing that a little!

How I'm sleeping: My airways are pretty constricted, and I'm just generally uncomfortable, so I sleep very lightly and wake up every couple hours.  I'm so glad that I'm done working and don't have to wake up early in the morning!  I can make up for my lack of sleep by staying in bed until I feel rested and ready to face the day.

Feeling baby move: We had an appointment with my practitioner yesterday, and we found out that baby is positioned head down!  The part of her that is pushing into my ribs on the upper right is her butt (we got to see her chubby cheeks and precious leg rolls on the ultrasound!). All the rest of her "knobby parts" (knees, feet, elbows, hands) are on my left side.  She doesn't "kick" much anymore - instead, she stretches out and puts pressure on my insides.  She's also been getting the hiccups a TON lately.

We're in the midst of a very low-key New Year's Eve celebration at my parents' house with my mom, my brother, and his girlfriend.  I bought myself some sparkling grape juice to enjoy at midnight (if I make it till then!).

I can't believe in just a few minutes we'll be in 2016 - the year of the baby!  And our moves to Oklahoma and wherever our next post will be six months after that!  It's going to be a fun year of VERY new experiences and adventures.

I hope you have a safe night of celebrating the arrival of 2016 and that your next year is full of joy and blessings!  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Pregnancy Update: 32 Weeks (a couple days behind!)

Wow, sorry I'm just now writing this update two days into my 33rd week!  I thought I'd have time to post it this weekend, but we had our shower Saturday night (so much fun!) and I ended up being much more worn out on Sunday than I thought I'd be.  Being tired when pregnant is so different - there's no fighting through it like I can when I'm not building another little life inside me.  If I'm tired right now I'm worthless and just have to rest.

I didn't get a side shot of the belly this past week, so I stole this Instragram photo with my friends Lizzy and Sarah at the shower.

Baby's size: To be honest, I can't remember what the fruit/vegetable size comparisons were on my What to Expect and The Bump apps last week (thanks pregnancy brain!), but I do remember that, according to the "weird-but-cute animals" theme on OviaPregnancy, she was about the size of a naked-tailed armadillo (hah!).  She should have been weighing between 3-4 pounds and measuring in at 15-19 inches long.
The Mister says that armadillos can carry the plague, so I'll admire them from afar.  They don't look especially cuddly anyway. : )
Image from

Weight gained:  As of Friday, my weight gain was at about 34 pounds (and it was still the same this morning).  That's a big jump from the week before, about three pounds.  I think that can be attributed to finding a more effective acid reflux medicine that allows me to eat a little more without feeling sick.  May have eaten a little too much over the past two weeks!  I've tried to make better choices this week (while still feeding the baby when my stomach growls, of course).

Working out: Like recent weeks, my exercise last week mostly consisted of walks with the dogs each morning.  On Thursday, I was able to take a nice, long five mile walk, which was wonderful.  Last Monday, it was raining, so I left the doggies at home and went to the gym that day to walk on the treadmill instead and do some light weightlifting.  I hate to say that it's been a few weeks since I took the time to do a barre or prenatal yoga DVD.  Barre workouts may be a thing of the past for now as my balance has really been suffering and I've had a lot of muscle soreness in my hips and upper legs.  But I would like to find the time to do prenatal yoga more often as it includes gentle stretches that make my sore joints feel much better, and I do think it'll help me during labor and delivery and recovery.

New Symptoms:  NESTING, NESTING, NESTING - can't stop, won't stop!  Our lucky and very loved little girl received a TON of gifts at the shower this weekend.  Now I'm working on trying to wash her new, tiny clothes, get organized, and find a place for everything!  Our house is relatively small, and we're pretty much out of storage, so I'm having to be creative.  Even with the generosity of our family and friends, we still have quite a bit to buy, and we have a few packages still on the way.  My neat, minimalist self is having to accept that our house is just going to have to look like a baby store exploded in it - and I'm okay with that!

A huge thank you to both of our families for the most wonderful night on Saturday!  And to everyone who came to celebrate our baby girl!

I've also started the process of packing our hospital bag (I'm hoping to post about that sometime soon).  All of a sudden, I have the urge to have everything DONE and READY.  I know I'll likely be sitting around with nothing to do in January if I have everything finished by the end of the month.  Even so, I want to be prepared if the baby were to arrive at 35 or 36 weeks, so I wouldn't have to worry about not feeling ready for our stay at the hospital and bringing our little one home on top of being concerned about the well being of an early baby.  I'm trying to make lists and complete tasks in small chunks instead of diving headfirst into baby preparation on top of Christmas shopping/wrapping and the day-to-day things I have to do around the house.  It's so easy to feel overwhelmed when I think of it all "big picture" instead of one task at a time.

My worst symptom last week (and continuing some into this week) may be a little TMI, so I'll try to explain it as politely as possible.  My stomach has been very upset; I'm not sure if it's related to my muscles tightening during Braxton Hicks contractions, the limited space available in my abdomen, or both, but I'm finding myself running to the bathroom constantly.  I have a little less trouble with this if I take it easy and stay seated, but I have too much to do to sit around all day!

Food aversions: Plain grilled chicken

Food cravings: Still dairy products!  Ice cream primarily... I'm also really craving gummies, like gummy bears and Sour Patch Kids (I bought an embarrassing amount when I went shopping for our hospital bag), but I've mostly resisted them for now because I know baby and I don't need those empty calories.

How I'm sleeping: As of last week, I was kind of alternating back and forth.  One night, I would have a rough time trying to sleep and then, the next night, I would rest well because I'd be exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before.

Innie or Outie?:  Still an innie!

Feeling baby move: It's almost funny to me that the week before last I was worried she wasn't moving enough because she starts squirming as soon as I sit down for a few minutes these days.  I've noticed I can see her more than I can feel her lately - I can see her little arms and legs (but I'm not sure what is where) pushing out often but don't really feel it from the inside.  It could be I've just gotten used to the feeling of her moving so it's not as noticeable anymore.

Already, this week is different from last week, so I'll be back with a 33 week update to fill you in sometime soon!  How do we have less than seven weeks till the baby is due??  And only a week and a half till Christmas?  Hope you're enjoying the holiday season and not feeling too busy!  I'm trying to remember to stop every once in a while and appreciate Christmastime.  It's so easy to let it fly by!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Purchases for baby so far: PART 2

Since we first revealed we were pregnant, I promised myself I wasn't going to let this space turn into babyland, that I was going to do my best to keep up a balance of pregnancy posts and "normal" posts.  But, alas, the baby's impending arrival is pretty much all I can think about AND I still have so much to tell you!  So, it's looking like this is going to be babyland after all for the next couple months.  I also can't promise it won't continue to be all about our little one after she is born.  I'll try to sneak in content other than cute photos of her every once in a while.  : )

While we're on the topic of the baby (surprise!), how about I fill you in on the purchases we've made for her care and comfort since my last post on this subject FOREVER ago?  In that post, I explained how my original intention had been to build my registry through a site called Cricket's Circle, but that plan fell through because they stopped supporting the registry portion of their site.  However, their careful curation of the items they had available for registries helped me make most of my final decisions on everything for baby.  I ended up registering at Buy Buy Baby, and all's well that ends well!  Since then, we've been trying to buy baby things when we've had the financial wiggle room (and when Buy Buy Baby is offering 20% off and free shipping!).  Some of the items have been off of the registry and others have been things that I'd picked out that weren't available at Buy Buy Baby.

The HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper was the next item on our list after the last post, and it is now put together and all ready for baby - I just need to wash the fitted sheet that came with it. This bassinet is pretty cool because it functions as a co-sleeper with a flexible side, but we have the ability to swivel it off the bed if we get crowded or aren't comfortable with her sharing our sleeping space.  It's still hanging out in the Mister's office right now with the rest of the baby things.  My plan is to move it into our bedroom in the next week so that the dogs can start becoming used to its presence and we can get a better idea of how much room we're going to have.  As you can see, the "feet" of the bassinet are really long (for stability), which means we're going to have to put it between the wall and the bed on the far side of the room to prevent a tripping hazard right inside the doorway.


Our biggest investment so far is our infant car seat.  We decided on the Nuna PIPA for its serious safety features and ease of use - not to mention it's pretty sleek looking, too!  I'm by no means a car seat safety expert, but as I understand what makes this seat special is that its base has a stability leg that extends to the floorboard and that it has a "rigid LATCH system" (don't ask me exactly what that is, but it's supposed to make car seats super safe).  Here is a very in depth review I found online that goes into all the details about the Nuna PIPA if you're interested.  One base was provided with the seat so we bought one extra for Chris's truck so we wouldn't be constantly installing and uninstalling.  If we're ever in a tight spot and don't have a base, we can attach the car seat directly into a car with a seat belt.  While of course this isn't the preferred method, it's nice to know it's an option if we ever need it.  I think that's a feature that's aimed more toward city dwellers who are in and out of taxis a lot.  Another added bonus is the neato "dream drape" that can cover baby during nap time or walks in the sun, so we won't have to buy something extra to serve that purpose or deal with trying to keep a blanket over the top while moving the car seat around.

Most of the nursing pillows I've seen are the classic Boppy style, just a basic U-shaped pillow, but I decided to go with the "My Brest Friend" pillow instead (most awkard name ever, I know).  This pillow is a lot more substantial in size, has a backrest, and has a strap to keep the front piece from sliding around.  I know many moms like that the Boppy can also serve as a support for babies as they learn to sit up on their own, however we registered for a bebePod that will hopefully come in handy for that.  My parents gave me a Buy Buy Baby gift card for my birthday in September that covered the cost of the pillow, so I was especially excited that we didn't have to make this purchase out of pocket!  The pattern isn't my favorite - it's just what they had available at the store.  My Brest Friend sells solid colored covers I could switch to at some point, not that it really matters because nobody's ever really going to see it anyway!

For sleeping for the first few months, we bought our little one the "Miracle Blanket" swaddle in gray.  Even though this wasn't one of our more expensive buys, it's an important one because babies can't sleep with loose blankets until they're much older (and the Mister and I have no clue how to swaddle and this blanket is supposed to make the process fairly easy).  If she isn't a fan of swaddling, we'll have to buy her a tiny sleep sack, but we thought we'd try this first.

While we're on the subject of sleep sacks, I bought this one to use after she outgrows the swaddling stage (around 4 months old).  It's an Aden + Anais Sleeping Bag, and it's made out of the softest, most comfy-feeling muslin.  I kind of want one to sleep in!


One of the most fun purchases I've made so far was baby's bunting!  I can't resist any hoods/hats with ears.  Although I've seen lots of brands with versions of this particular style, I went with the Magnificent Baby Hooded Bear Pram because it's a little bit fancier with easy-to-use magnetic closures and unbelievably soft fleece.  I had a really hard time deciding what size to buy this in because I want her to be able to wear it through the cooler months, which could be all the way to May, but I also want her to be able to fit in it when she's brand new.  After consulting with my mom, I decided to go with the 6 month size, in case she grows really fast.  My mom pointed out that if she is teeny tiny, we can buy a cheaper bunting in more of a sack style to get her through this winter, and then hopefully she'll fit into the 6 month size in the fall.

The last big item we've purchased recently is our changing table.  At first, I didn't want to buy a traditional changing table - my plan was to secure her changing pad on top of a storage shelf with cubes I could put canvas bins in to store her clothes and other necessities (I've read that canvas bins are easier to navigate with a baby on your hip than dresser drawers).  I spent a lot of time searching for a shelf with a top that was wide enough for the changing pad we'd picked out but couldn't find a single one.  So, we went with plan b and ordered the Gulliver changing table from Ikea.  It has room for the bins like I pictured (I ended up buying those at Walmart with gift cards from my baby shower at work) and matches the style of furniture I'm hoping to eventually have in the nursery.  When we move, she'll have her own room, and I have my eye on a crib that is natural wood colored as well.  Right now, the changing table is in the only available corner we had in the house in Chris's office.  Please pardon the disorganization; I'm hoping to get everything settled in her little corner after the shower this weekend.

And that's it for now!  Once we see what our family and friends have been so kind and generous as to gift us with at our shower this weekend, we'll have a better idea of what our remaining list of items will be.  I know for sure I want to have our jogging stroller, changing pad, diaper pail, and travel crib ready before she arrives (and hopefully a bundle of nice cloth diapers, if I'm brave enough!).  After that, the crib will be next on the list, but it's not a necessity right now as we won't be using it until at least May when we move to Oklahoma.  Until then, we'll make due with the bassinet, a family heirloom cradle, and her travel crib if she outgrows those first two.

Lately I find myself in the office just staring at all of her baby things - I can't wait to actually see her little self in them!  I'm really looking forwarding to washing and readying everything over the next few weeks.  I can't believe we're almost down to a month and a half!  Sometime this weekend I'll pop in with my 32 week pregnancy update. : )

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Pregnancy Update: 31 Weeks

I'm not sure why the Mister never tells me my cardigans are stuck in my pants when he's taking these photos.  : ) So, I took a selfie too with the cardigan out of the way to hopefully give you a better view of my belly.  But I couldn't resist using the photo on the right even though my clothes are all jacked up because Luellen is so darn cute in it.

This weekend was a good one, but it was busy!  I went to Burlington Friday to see one of my best friends' new baby while they were in town, then drove back to our house yesterday morning.  Last night, we met my family for dinner in Pittsboro to celebrate my mama's birthday.  And today was full of Christmas decorating and trying to get the house tidied through a sleepy pregnancy fog.  Now here I am in bed with the Mister snoozing beside me attempting to get this 31 week update done before tomorrow arrives and I'm officially 32 weeks along!  I should add I'm typing this on Chris's ancient Mac (my computer is having issues) that immediately shuts down if the charger becomes just a little loose, so I'm trying not to wiggle too much as I type.  Here's hoping Santa brings me a new computer!  (But there are so many other things we need before baby arrives and we move that a computer really isn't high on my Christmas list right now.)

Baby's size: She's as big as a coconut (according to What to Expect), a pineapple (according to The Bump), or a small-clawed otter - not including the tail (according to the "weird-but-cute animals" theme on OviaPregnancy).  Does that conjure up images of an otter drinking a pina colada for anyone else?  She should be weighing between 3-4 pounds (same as last week, guess they don't change these guidelines much week-to-week at this point since every baby grows at a slightly different rate in the last couple months) and measuring in at 15-18 inches long.

animal banner image
Otters are so freaking adorable!
image from

What I'm wearing: Nothing new to share here!  I'm still in my trusty Liz Lange maternity jeans and a variety of sweaters and maternity t-shirts.  Even my comfy pants are starting to get a little tight now, so I may have to buy a couple pairs of XL jammy pants to wear to bed and lounge around the house.  I have no shame in wearing Chris's t-shirts to exercise and sleep in now because mine are just a little too snug.

Weight gained:  My weight fluctuated a good bit this week - one day earlier in the week I'd even lost a pound or two since the week before, which wasn't a huge surprise because I was really struggling with acid reflux and was feeling full quickly when eating.  Now I've gained that little bit I lost back and my total weight gain is around 31 pounds.  For the first time this week, I had a stranger ask me when the baby was due, which doesn't sound like a big deal, but was exciting for me because I've worried that I just look chubby and not pregnant because of the way I'm carrying and because I hardly ever wear form fitting clothes.  I know I shouldn't really be concerned about that, pregnancy looks different on every woman and is a beautiful process, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me feel a little better. : )

Working out: This week was mostly just walking again other than the one day I made it to the gym to do some weightlifting.  The longest distance I walked was about three miles.  The day I could have gotten a good, lengthy walk in I had a malfunction with my earphones and had to turn around early because I couldn't bear the boredom of walking in silence.  It's supposed to be cool tomorrow morning so I'm hoping I can go further now that I have my Christmas music back in action!

New Symptoms:  As of last week, I thought I was just going to have to accept that I'd be miserable with acid reflux for the rest of my pregnancy.  But when I mentioned at my appointment this week that the Zantac was no longer helping, my practitioner prescribed Prilosec instead, and it has made a WORLD of difference.  Not only is my reflux gone (knock on wood), but I can eat more than a couple bites without feeling like I'm going to explode AND I'm not getting nauseated when I go too long in between snacks (but I'm still trying to stay on top of eating healthy snacks frequently to keep the baby nourished).  I am so relieved that the reflux was something that could be helped!

In the past 48 hours, I think my hormones have been raging!  My face is broken out for the first time in a while, I woke up at 3:45 this morning for no particular reason and couldn't get back to sleep until after 5, I'm overly sensitive about everything, I keep getting frustrated over the littlest things, I'm beating myself up and feeling like our house will never be ready for Christmas or the baby's arrival, the list goes on.  So far during the pregnancy, I've been able to avoid most of the crazy emotions, but today it was like they all arrived at once and I was very overwhelmed.  On top of that, I felt sleepy all day and unmotivated.  I tried taking a nap around lunchtime but that made me feel more yucky.  I'm thinking this is temporary while my body adjusts to some new surge of hormones and I'll be back to my semi-normal self tomorrow.  I'm already feeling much better tonight than I was during the day today.  I don't like being a negative Nancy!  Especially not at Christmas time when I'm usually obnoxiously happy.  I'm trying to remember that being emotional and a little irrational is just a normal part of pregnancy and that I've been lucky to mostly avoid it up until now.

Days until my next appointment: We have a while!  Our next appointment is on December 30th and I'll be 35 weeks by then.  I was wondering if my practitioner was going to want to start scheduling our appointments closer together this month, but she's okay with waiting another 4 weeks for now.  She said after that I'll be in the office "all the time," so I'm okay with putting off the frequent visits a little longer.  Of course, if I was ever worried I was experiencing any signs of preterm labor I could go to the labor and delivery unit at the hospital, so I feel safe waiting until the end of the month for another regular appointment if everything stays normal.

Food aversions: Nothing that I can think of right now

Food cravings: Still ice cream - Edy's has a "half the fat" flavor called "French Silk" that I want all the time, but I try to resist indulging daily.  I bought some root beer today because that was sounding really good, and I'm craving sweet tea again after being turned off it for a while after I threw it up once a few months ago.

How I'm sleeping: Other than the frustrating night I had last night, I'm sleeping pretty well.  I'm having some CRAZY dreams lately, probably a combination of hormones and anxiety.

What I'm looking forward to in the near future: I used this one last week, but I'm totally going to say it again - our baby shower is on Saturday!  I can't wait to see all of our friends and family and celebrate our little one.

Feeling baby move: I still don't feel her moving "constantly" like a lot of women say they do at this point, but I do feel her going crazy in there when I'm in bed and when I sit down for a few minutes.  She's definitely getting stronger and bigger!  She's started stretching my belly out horizontally when she straightens her arms and legs and it makes me laugh ever time.  I can feel a body part pushing out low on my left side, not sure what it is though!  It's so funny to feel lopsided.

After seeing two of my friends' newborn babies over the past couple weeks, I'm starting to make the mental connection that I have one of those inside me and she's going to be here in no time!  Our car seat was delivered to the house yesterday and that also made things feel very real.  I'm hoping to do another "big purchases for baby" post this week to fill you in on the essentials we've bought so far.  We still need to invest in a few things that aren't on our registry, like cloth diapers and a gate to keep the dogs in the back trunk area of the car instead of crawling on the baby in the back seat.  Then after the shower we'll have to go through the registry to see what items we need that weren't gifted.  Much to do, but in my opinion there is no shopping that is more fun than baby shopping!  We have a very exciting two months (well actually we're down to just 57 days!) ahead!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Weightlifting During Pregnancy: Chest & Triceps

I don't know about y'all, but it feels like this week has flown by to me!  For some reason, I'm putting myself under a lot of pressure to get Christmas "done" early this year, maybe because I want to spend the second half of the month preparing for baby in case of the unlikely event she arrives at 36-37 weeks, so I've spent the week shopping and decorating.

A few fun things have happened around here since I last posted.  Hank somehow got a dead dove past me into the house and under our bed... while the Mister was at work.  Sometimes I have this inner mantra of, "Hannah, you're about to be someone's mom.  You have to be able to kill bugs and handle gross messes on your own and be fearless in your child's eyes." But in this instance I did not have the nerve to handle the situation on my own.  I called Chris and said, "You have to come home now," and luckily he was able to leave in the next hour or so.  While I waited for him, I coaxed Hank out from under the bed and locked him out of the bedroom.  Thankfully, there wasn't any nastiness to be cleaned up once the Mister got the poor birdie out.  Hank was pretty upset to find his dad had stolen his prize when he went back under the bed to play with it later, though.  I'm just waiting for something like this to happen the next time Chris is on a work trip or deployed.  The worst I've ever had to deal with alone were a few spiders and a praying mantis and those almost did me in.  : )

Not to be outdone, Luellen has developed an affinity for wrapping paper.  One of her favorite toys in the whole wide world is the cardboard tube from inside paper towel rolls, so naturally she sees wrapping paper as a very shiny, enlarged, awesome version of that.  After spending way too much time in Target Tuesday picking out my corresponding colors and patterns of wrapping paper for this Christmas so that the gifts under our tree will match (am I the only one who does this?), I was none too happy to spend time chasing her around the house begging her not to put teeth holes in all of my new, fancy paper.  It's hard to be angry with her though when she's smiling from ear to ear and gleefully galloping all over the house with her treasures.  Why do I even buy these dogs toys when dead animals and cardboard tubes are so much more enticing?

In other news, this week I came to terms with the fact that I can't stop buying my little girl boys' clothes.  I had "super cash" from Old Navy to receive a $40 discount on a $100 purchase, and when I went in to shop around I found myself drawn to the baby boy section.  It's not that I want her to be a tomboy or have plans to dress her in a masculine fashion, nor do I dislike girls' clothes.  But the boys' clothes are just so much more FUN.  While most of the girls' clothes were pink and either had deer or bunnies on them (don't get me wrong, I think these are precious, but you can only buy the same thing so many times), the boys' clothes have shapes, fun phrases, and patterns.  They're not particularly "boy-ish," but more neutral, with greens, grays, and plaids.  Hopefully I won't spend the first year of my daughter's life correcting people who call her a "him" because of my clothing choices.

Anyway, none of that is related at all to what I wanted to post about today.  In addition to all of the fun above, I found time this week to go to the gym and walk on the treadmill and lift weights.  Although it did feel a little strange to go without Chris, as I've been nervous to go on my own since I found out I was pregnant, I really enjoyed myself and was happy to find a little of my old confidence returning as I did some familiar exercises.  And I tried to doubt myself less and listen to my body to know how far to push myself.

During our info session about the "dos and don'ts" of pregnancy when I was only one month along, I asked the nurse about weightlifting, and she advised against it other than with "very light weights."  But as I researched online and talked to friends who were pregnant/had babies, I came to the conclusion on my own that there were safe ways to keep lifting.  Although we haven't been as often as I would have liked (first due to intense morning sickness and then to Chris's work schedule being too busy), we have been to the gym a handful of times since I've been pregnant.  I'm hopeful I can start going more on my own now that I feel safer and more confident that I'm not going to hurt the baby without Chris's supervision (he's the weightlifting expert in this house).

The advice online for weightlifting during pregnancy from "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and various other pregnancy/fitness sites is pretty much universal - never lie flat on your back, never strain, never hold your breath, and don't use weights more than 15 pounds.  Now, if you look at some other women's blogs who continue to lift and/or do crossfit during pregnancy, you'll find that they break a lot of these "rules," but I'm more comfortable not pushing the limits (not saying what they're doing is wrong or right, I'm no expert and I haven't studied any statistics on the subject).  So, I've been sticking to light weights with higher reps, paying very close attention to my body.  If I feel like I'm straining, short of breath, or dizzy, I stop or adjust immediately.

Chris and I tend to favor isolation workouts instead of full body sessions, so I thought I'd share with you what a chest and triceps weight workout looks like for me right now.  My plan is to do a few of these posts with different exercises for the various muscle groups I like to target.  Disclaimer:  I am not a personal trainer nor do I have any type of certification when it comes to weightlifting or fitness in general.  This is just what has worked for me.  I would not advise any woman to take up weightlifting for the first time while pregnant - correct form is very important when lifting weights to prevent injury, and there is little room for error when a mother's body is changing so rapidly and she is responsible for a life other than her own.


Arguably the most popular chest and triceps exercise, bench pressing is the token "meathead" weightlifting exercise.  It deserves its reputation though as it REALLY strengthens your whole chest and your arms.  There are few things quite as empowering as reaching a new goal weight on bench press. But since I'm not trying to make "gains" (hate that cliche weightlifting word) right now and I can't lie flat on my back, I've had to make a lot of modifications to the way I do this exercise.  Instead of using the 45 pound bar plus weight plates, I use dumbbells which are lighter and easier to control, and I lie on an incline bench (with an elevated head/back).  Usually I do 15 reps with lighter dumbbells for my first few sets (5-10 pounds) and then a final set with 10 reps and heavier weights (10-15 pounds).  15 pounds in each hand used to be easy peasy for me since I was used to the bar and additional weight before I was expecting, but as time has passed I'm much weaker and can sometimes only do the 10 pounders (which is perfectly fine - I'm still pushing myself and keeping muscle tone by staying active).

image from


There are a variety of exercises you can do with a cable machine to work your triceps, but my favorite is the one pictured below using the rope attachment.  I especially like using the cable machine right now because the only modification I really have to make due to pregnancy is being careful not to use too much weight.  It's better for me to do reps of 15-20 with the machine set at a low weight than pushing myself to do 10 reps with a challenging weight.  I usually do four sets of these.

photo from


Chest flies can be done on a bench with dumbbells or with a cable machine, but I prefer to use the machine that is specifically for this exercise.  Once again, this doesn't require much pregnancy modification other than being careful not to strain.  I do four low weight/high rep sets of these, usually trying to increase the weight setting by a little bit on the last rep.

Image result for chest fly machine
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I think this is my very favorite exercise for the triceps!  Even though I miss doing it with heavy weights, I still get a lot of benefit from using a 10 or 15 pound dumbbell and doing 15 or so reps (four sets on these as well).  I'm very careful when lifting the weight over my head to hold it securely and if I were to drop it (which isn't very likely with such a light weight other than just because of clumsiness) I would try to drop it behind me instead of in front where it could risk hitting my tummy on the way down.

image from

Right now, I'm typically stopping myself at four exercises with four reps each (I do cardio as well so weightlifting isn't my only work out).  If I were to do a fifth exercise (or if I needed to sub one of these out because a machine or bench wasn't available), it would probably be assisted dips using a dip/pull-up machine.  I prefer to do these with a lot of assistance right now (think almost my body weight) and high reps.  They burn - in a good way!  But they do sometimes pull on my round ligaments and hurt my preggo belly, so I don't love them as much as some of the other exercises.

Although I know this isn't the case for every pregnant woman, I've cut ab-targeting exercises out of my fitness repertoire entirely for now.  I just don't feel safe straining or crunching my tummy muscles.  I figure I can catch up on all of that after baby is out - even though I'm sure that area will never look exactly the same. : )

So that's a day at the gym focusing on the chest and triceps for me as a pregnant lady!  Hope that wasn't totally boring if weightlifting's not your thing!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pregnancy Update: 30 Weeks

Baby's size: She's as big as a butternut squash (according to What to Expect), a cucumber (according to The Bump), or a platypus (according to the "weird-but-cute animals" theme on OviaPregnancy).  She should be weighing between 3-4 pounds and measuring 15-17 inches (same as last week).

Hi Mr. Platypus!
(image from

What I'm wearing: Maternity jeans, stretchy black ponte leggings, maternity t-shirts with big, long scarves, sweaters, and ponchos are pretty much it right now!  The two dresses I ordered from Asos arrived this week, and I wore one (pictured above) for Thanksgiving with the Mister's family.  It fits really loosely, and I'm a little self conscious just because I feel VERY pregnant in it, but it's comfortable and the color is festive.  The second one that I ordered to wear at our baby shower is made from a thinner, more "jersey-ish" fabric, so I don't love the way it fits over my growing belly.  I'm hoping if I find a slip to smooth things out I'll be okay with wearing it in front of everyone at our shower.

Weight gained:  We've been traveling for the holiday since midweek, but as of Wednesday morning my weight gain was at 30 pounds.  I'm not sure if it increased over Thanksgiving with all the yummy foods and desserts around.  I've been getting full really quickly though, so I doubt it has increased substantially. At this point, I think my stomach is pretty much in my rib cage, so it's no wonder I don't have room for much food!

Working out: My exercise has consisted only of walking this week since we haven't been home much.  On Monday, I set a new personal pregnancy record of six miles!  Before we left for South Carolina on Wednesday, I took a shorter walk, only about forty minutes.  Then, on Friday morning, the Mister helped me walk off some of my Thanksgiving sluggishness with a short jaunt around his neighborhood.  Yesterday, my mom and I walked four or five miles, and hopefully we'll do that again today before Chris and I head back home.

New Symptoms:  Like last week, I'm not having any new symptoms, but the old ones are definitely still around.  I'm having a really hard time with acid reflux, and the Zantac and Tums are pretty worthless at this point (probably also related to my stomach and intestines being squished up toward my ribs).  Even though things can get pretty uncomfortable at times, I'm really thankful that I'm not having any of the trouble with swollen legs and feet that a lot of pregnant women experience and that at almost seven months I'm still mobile and able to exercise.

Days until my next appointment: Just two days!  Our next appointment is on Tuesday.  I'll be interested to see how far away our practitioner will schedule my next appointment.  We had a four week break between this one and the last one.  I don't know if she'll want to wait another four weeks or start seeing me every two weeks now since we're at only about two months to go.

Food aversions: I can't remember being particularly grossed out by anything this week!

Food cravings: Still ice cream and pretty much all dairy products!  I LOVE chocolate milk.

How I'm sleeping: I'm still very tired and sleeping well.  Sometimes I do wake up in the early morning hours and have a hard time getting back to sleep, but all in all I can't complain.

What I'm looking forward to in the near future: Our baby shower is less than two weeks away!  It's going to be such a fun night with friends and family.  And it will be so relieving to feel a bit more prepared for baby's arrival afterward!

Feeling baby move: She's moving more and more!  I feel her almost every time I sit still for a few a moments.  Often, her kicks are much higher, close to my ribs, so I'm happy she seems to be settling into a better position for birth and is no longer squashed down in my pelvis all the time.

Innie or outie: Still an innie!  I'm thinking it's going to stay that way.

My sister Caroline got in on the bump photos this week!

Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving and safe travels!  I'm so excited it's officially CHRISTMAS TIME!  And that means baby will be here before we know it!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

PAINTING - Before and After

Over the last two weeks, we've had painters at our house a couple days painting our master bedroom, guest bathroom, and hallway.  I won't bore you with photos of the hall because we painted it the same color as before, just in a higher quality paint that hopefully won't get so marked up by the dogs and that we'll be able to wipe off a little easier when the walls do get scratched or rubbed.

We're at my parents' house right now enjoying the Thanksgiving weekend, so I don't have the paint chip of the color we used in the bathroom handy to remember the name/brand, but it's an oatmeal color (or "Luellen" as I like to call it).



In the bedroom, we used Valspar's "Covered Wagon," a light tan with a touch of orange in it.


(Please pardon the pile of clothes at the end of the bed.)


Of course, I had to buy a new comforter to celebrate the new paint!  We also had all the carpets cleaned in the house last week to make the floors a little more sanitary for the baby and to start getting ready for putting the the house on the market in the spring.

Even though we only changed the color in two rooms, the warmth it added to our home is pretty substantial - everything just looks more "finished."  Before, the paint was low quality and all the rooms were the same color other than Chris's office.

In our next semi-permanent home, I want to paint all the walls a bright white, but I'm really enjoying these colors for the short term until we move in May.  I think/hope potential buyers will find the colors inviting and neutral enough that they will be an asset instead of something they feel like they have to change.

Sometime next week, the painters are going to come touch up the front porch where it is starting to peel and look yucky, then the painting will be officially complete!  It feels so nice to be one BIG step closer to having the house ready to sell (so we don't have to worry about it after baby is born).

I'll be back tomorrow with a pregnancy update for this week!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pregnancy Update: 29 Weeks

Baby's size: She's as big as a small cabbage (according to What to Expect), an acorn squash (according to The Bump), or a New England cottontail rabbit (according to the "weird-but-cute animals" theme on OviaPregnancy).  Her weight should be somewhere around 2.5-4 pounds, and her length is supposed to be 15-17 inches.

I couldn't find a picture of a New England cottontail that was very representative of its size.  But it sure is cute!
(image from

What I'm wearing: Thank goodness a substantial cold front has arrived!  My uniform is currently sweaters, scarves, ponchos, and jeans. The dresses I ordered from Asos for the holidays and our baby shower haven't arrived yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing how they fit.  Earlier week, I bought this coat from Old Navy (pictured above), and I'm IN LOVE with it.  It ties in the front instead of buttoning, so I don't have to worry about it getting too tight as my belly continues to grow.

Weight gained:  Once again, we've been at my parents' house this weekend because we came into town to watch the Burlington Christmas parade, so I haven't weighed myself since Friday morning. My weight gain was at 29 pounds then. As it has been for a while, it's a little higher than I'd like it to be, but it could be worse.  If I keep going at this rate, I should gain right at or a little over the 35 pound maximum most doctors and pregnancy reference materials suggest, so I'm okay with things as they are.

Working out: Just like last week, I don't have anything new or exciting to share here.  I'm still walking most mornings and doing a barre or prenatal yoga DVD a few times a week.  Thanks to the cooler weather, the dogs and I have been able to walk longer routes, so I'm happy about that!  I want to keep exercising as long as I can into the pregnancy (hopefully up until the very last day!).  The mornings after I walk 3-5 miles, I have a little muscle soreness in my hips and upper thighs that didn't used to be there, but I don't think it's anything that puts the baby or me in danger.  I do think it's important that I keep challenging myself while I still can to help with my strength in labor and delivery and my recovery afterward.

New Symptoms:  No new symptoms this week other than some uncomfortable back pain and tension that I think is to be expected at this point since my belly is growing bigger and bigger!

I have, however, had a resurgence of old symptoms that had taken a backseat before this week.  My sensitivity to smell, nausea, and fatigue are all making me feel like I'm back in the first trimester! It's funny, last week I thought I was going to be an insomniac until I had this baby - now I'm sleeping like I've been drugged every night.  And during the days I can hardly keep my eyes open, which makes it hard to get motivated to do much of anything around the house.  I have little spurts of energy followed by the overwhelming need to nap.  This growing a baby is hard work!

Days until my next appointment: Nine days!  I didn't hear anything back from my practitioner this week about my blood glucose or iron deficiency tests, so I guess I'm in the clear on those. That's good news for me and baby - and two less things to worry about!

Food aversions: Nothing sounds too terribly gross this week... I've been able to overcome my aversion to plain water a bit by adding a few drops of lemon and orange essential oils to my glass.  They said in our childbirth and infant care class that I'm going to have to drink a TON of water while I'm breastfeeding, so I've got to get used to it whether I like it or not!

Food cravings: Ice cream, ice cream, ice cream!  Also breakfast sandwiches!

The Mister sent this text to my family last night... I don't like giving him bites of my ice cream! Please pardon the sheets on my parents' new sectional - they're trying to protect it from my dogs. : ) But it's beautiful underneath!

How I'm sleeping: Like a rock! I get sleepy around 9 pm, and I think I could sleep until noon every day if my dogs would let me and I wouldn't feel terribly guilty for being unproductive.  I hope I can keep resting and that the insomnia doesn't return (although I'm sure it will once my due date looms closer and I'm feeling more anxious).

What I'm looking forward to in the near future: TWO of my best friends had their babies this week - and one of them had TWINS!  Three new babies to love!  Chris and I are going down to Augusta this weekend after Thanksgiving festivities to see the twins.  I can't wait!!!

Feeling baby move: I'm still making myself nervous about how often I feel her move, but in the mornings and at night when I'm in bed and paying close attention, I always feel her kick at least ten times in a minute or so.  And I think I felt her hiccuping the first time this morning!  I guess I just can't feel her as much when I'm upright and distracted by other things throughout the day.

It's hard to believe I'll be 30 weeks tomorrow!  And that Thanksgiving is in just a few days!  I'm especially thankful for Chris having a couple days off of work for us to visit family and friends at the end of the week.

I'm having some technical difficulties right now with my computer, but I'm hoping I'll be able to keep posting this week from an old Mac we have at the house.  Technology is so frustrating sometimes!  Talk to you again soon!