Archive | February, 2013

Florida 2013

27 Feb

Every 2 years, my immediate family goes on vacation together. This year, my aunt and uncle were also able to join us. Usually, we go to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, which is wonderful. But since I was pregnant this year and my nephew is only a year old, we decided to stick to the States. We were a little worried that maybe the weather wouldn’t be as nice, or we wouldn’t like having to cook our own food, or renting a private property wouldn’t turn out well, but I’m happy to say that the whole vacation went great!

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Except for the first day that we were there, it was sunny and high 70s every day (which was plenty warm when you were sitting in the sun!). The house we rented (through the VRBO website) had a great pool and hot tub (once we figured out how to heat it) and it was a lot of fun having a common area to hang out as just our family, instead of staking out lounge chairs and deciding where to meet up every morning. It also allowed my sister-in-law to hang out with everyone while my nephew napped – something that would have been tricky, if not impossible, at a big resort. Who knows what we’ll do in future years, but for this year, Florida was perfect.

IMG_4205 (Large)The pool and hot tub

IMG_4241 (Large)The canal that ran behind our house

Just like our Mexico vacations, we spent almost every day just relaxing, mostly around the pool. Every morning started off with coffee as strong as we could make it and a delicious breakfast, usually prepared by my mom. A treat my brother and his girlfriend shared: egg, sausage and sharp white cheddar on an English Muffin with blueberry jam. Delicious.

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IMG_4234 (Large)My nephew loved that little blue truck.

We also went to the beach a few times, but it was usually pretty windy so we preferred the pool.

IMG_4209 (Large) IMG_4224 (Large) IMG_4283 (Large) IMG_4286 (Large) IMG_4301 (Large)It was fun to see how much my nephew improved in his walking ability just in the week that we were there. Kids learn so quickly!

IMG_4302 (Large)856686_10100734809113852_1519118560_oOn Wednesday, we went mini-golfing, a favorite pastime of ours.

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It was definitely a little hard to bend over for the ball with this belly!

Another notable happening was a trip to Trader Joe’s – my first time ever! I discovered the amazingness that is Crunchy Cookie Butter. Seriously, if you love peanut butter, try this. On the whole, I can see why people like shopping at Trader Joe’s but I found that it’s very similar to the Sprouts stores we have in Colorado. So I feel less like I’m missing out on things. Although, once a TJ’s opens here, I will be going to buy more of that Cookie Butter.

We also went out to eat a few times – my brother had an insatiable craving for fish and chips so we walked to the Old Salty Dog for dinner one night. They were apparently pretty tasty. I had some tasty shrimp since fried food gives me really bad acid reflux (and it did even before I got pregnant). After mini-golfing, we had lunch at the other Old Salty Dog location, which was right on the water. My fish tacos were a little disappointing but other people got the Grouper catch of the day and liked it.

856547_10100734804053992_1784737307_oAs I mentioned in my pregnancy update yesterday, I’m pretty sure I ate ice cream every day we were there. One day, I ate it twice. How I only gained a pound in 2 weeks is really beyond me. (And for the record, Crunchy Cookie Butter is delicious on ice cream too.) A couple of times, we got ice cream from a shop called Big Olaf. If you’re ever in Siesta Key Village, check them out.

Friday evening, my brother Chris, Travis and I headed to the beach about 45 minutes before sunset to take my maternity pictures. Right before sunset, everyone else joined us down there for a family picture. I’ll post those pictures once the photographers post them (aka my oldest and youngest brothers, and uncle).

And that’s about it for our Florida trip!

Pregnancy Update: 33 and 34 Weeks

26 Feb

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Our Florida vacation went by way too fast! And… we came back to 8 inches of snow. But I’m not too sad about being home because I have a lot of fun baby preparation stuff to do. 🙂 Emma could be here anytime in the next 3 – 8 weeks!

The last couple of weeks have been fairly uneventful pregnancy-wise. Traveling to both Minnesota and Florida went beautifully. My feet and ankles definitely swelled up (but I didn’t wear compression socks like I heard recommended) and I tried to only carry on my purse and a book but otherwise, it was just like flying not pregnant. I expected to get a lot of weird looks from people (a pregnant woman flying?) but besides the one comment I got when flying home from Minnesota, everything was perfectly normal.

I’ve still been having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions. They’re kind of annoying even though they don’t hurt. And if I have to pee at all, a contraction makes it 10 times worse.

Emma has been moving around like a crazy girl lately! Maybe it’s because she’s bigger, or there’s less amniotic fluid in there, but it feels like she’s constantly kicking, moving, poking and squirming. And almost all of her movements are visible from the outside, which is fun to watch. I keep trying to show Travis her antics but it seems that she always settles down once daddy is watching. He did get to see it a few times though.

While we were in Florida, Travis and I slept in a room that had 2 queen beds. After a few nights of uncomfortable sleep, I decided to try out sleeping in my own bed. It was wonderful. I got a lot of great sleep on vacation. I’d go to bed around 9:30/10 and get up around 8:30/9. I wish I could do that every night! Now that we’re back, I’ve discovered that my body pillow actually makes my back hurt worse than sleeping without it. So I’m switching to just a regular pillow, mostly to go under the belly. Much better!

Something else I’ve noticed lately is tiredness settling back in. It’s not the first trimester coma feeling but I get worn out very quickly. I can’t stand or walk very long before needing to sit down. I frequently feel out of breath doing nothing but standing. My workouts have pretty much dropped off completely. I walked 2 times during Week 33 and did a little walking last week on vacation, but that’s about it. I want to keep working out at least 3-4 times a week but it’s hard when there are so many other things I’d rather do (like organize the nursery)! Once I recover from vacation (and the snow melts), I’ll try to get back into my morning workout routine.

I was expecting to have gained a bunch of weight from vacation (hello ice cream every day and no exercise!) but in the last 2 weeks, I actually only gained a pound. I’ll take it.

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Symptoms: Braxton Hicks,  tiredness, increased body temperature, swelling

Cravings: Sweets of every kind, juice

Emotions: Excitement mixed with feeling a little overwhelmed by my to-do list

Weight Gained: 1 lb (27 lbs total)

Rings on or off: Off

Belly button in or out: Mostly just flat

Stretch marks: None so far

Best moment the past 2 weeks: Spending time with my family at the pool in Florida! And having my maternity pictures taken – I’ll post them once I get them.

Looking forward to: Time with friends this weekend – soaking it up before Emma comes!

Minnesota Baby Shower

15 Feb

A week ago, I flew out to Minnesota for a baby shower. I got in around 3:30 pm on Friday and we had some time to kill before having dinner with my brother and sister-in-law. I was still searching for a shirt to wear for maternity pictures so we went to Macy’s at Southdale Mall. Their maternity selection was awesome! It was about three times as big as the maternity selection at the Macy’s in Denver. I found 3 shirts I liked – one I wore for the shower that weekend and another I’ll wear for maternity pictures in Florida. And with that, I think I’m done maternity shopping. Thank goodness.

My parents and I had dinner with my brother and SIL at a restaurant called Faces and then we drove up to their cabin about an hour north of the Cities. We stopped at the grocery store on the way and even though I was exhausted by the time we got to the cabin, we turned on the first episode of Downton Abbey (my parents haven’t seen it). I slept through pretty much the whole thing.

The next day, we slept in until 9 and then had French toast for breakfast. It’s especially delicious when you put blueberry pie filling on top. Mmm… Then we just hung out. I helped my mom put together a simple website for her business (using WordPress), we ate lunch, picked up the centerpiece and groceries for the shower on Sunday, got a pedicure, and then ate dinner at Pizza Pub in Pine City.

Sunday morning, my mom woke me up at 7 am because we had an issue – the cabin plumbing had frozen where it leaves the house, meaning we couldn’t use the shower or toilet. Enter Plan B. Luckily, my brother is nice and was willing to let us take showers at his place. So we packed up all our stuff, grabbed breakfast at McDonald’s and hit the road.

After getting ready at Chris’ house, my dad drove my mom and I to Travis’ aunt’s house where the shower was. It had started snowing/sleeting and there was a lot of slush built up on the road, making the drive a little sketchy. We started to wonder if people would decide not to come, or if we should even cancel the shower. But that seemed so sad since I had flown out just for the shower. So we decided to play it by ear.

An hour later, the snow was really coming down:

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I think it ended up snowing around 5-6 inches, which isn’t too bad for Minnesota, but it was the slush that made the roads so treacherous. Nonetheless, everyone who RSVP’ed for the shower showed up, minus 4 of my college friends and one of Travis’ aunt’s. I was very appreciative to everyone for venturing out in such weather! My aunt Sharyn even drove all the way from Rochester (about 2 hours away)!

Once everyone had arrived, we had some coffee and punch while chatting and then played games. For the first ‘game’, everyone had to say their name, how they knew me and give me either parenting advice or a story. There were lots of great suggestions!

The next game, my mom had packed my diaper bag full of essentials for a newborn to 3 month old and we had to guess what they were. Whoever guessed the most won. I got a lot of good ideas from the answers, but didn’t even get close. My friend Brittany, who isn’t a mom herself, actually tied with my cousin-in-law Laura (a new mom herself) for the most right!

Another game we played was matching things in our purse to the first letters of Emma Grace. Brittany and my aunt Sharyn won that one!

The final game we played was a word scramble – all the words related to baby stuff. It was actually pretty tough! It didn’t help that my brain seemed to have stopped working.

After the games, we went upstairs and dug into the goodies.

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Gourmet cupcakes from Cupcake in St. Paul

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The candy bar

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The awesome diaper cake (made out of diapers, so it’s not edible) that my MIL made – she did a great job! I even brought it back to use at my Colorado baby shower in March.

We also had cucumber sandwiches (one of my favorites), cheese and crackers, fruit and dip, and a delicious, easy punch – raspberry sherbet and ginger ale. Try it.

Once we were full, it was time to open gifts! My very generous family and friends gave Travis and I lots of great stuff, including:

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Diapers

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A cross-stitched blanket made by one of Travis’ aunts

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Plus a carseat, diaper pail, pack-n-play, swing, bath tub, baby outfits, blankets, baby monitor, baby bath stuff, and some picture frames for the nursery. I was able to fit everything in the two suitcases I had brought along, minus a box of diapers, the diaper pail and the bath tub (the other big things were shipped directly to our house). My parents will bring the stuff that I left behind with them when they drive out when Emma is born. We won’t need it before then anyway.
MNBabyShower 035 (Large)The group

By the time we said goodbye to everyone and packed everything up, it was past dinnertime and we decided that driving all the way down to Rochester just to drive back up in the morning was a little ridiculous. So we rented a hotel room, had dinner with Chris and Meg again, and then hit the hay. I was so relieved to not have to sit in a car for a couple of hours. My back was hurting. (Though I know a lot of it is my own fault – I have even worse posture pregnant than I normally do!)

The next morning, I was able to meet up with my 4 college friend who hadn’t been able to make the shower on Sunday. We met up at Panera and it was so fun to see them and their kids!

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MNBabyShower 052 (Large)It was a little more chaotic than the previous day’s shower but all our church friends have kids, so Travis and I are pretty used to the mayhem. It was so much fun to see my college friends. My friend Jen gave me handmade burp clothes, plus a bunch of other baby stuff. Katie gave me a really cute little outfit, Samm bought us loads of diapers, and Holly gave me stuff for breastfeeding plus baby care. We’re getting closer to having everything we need!

After everyone left, we had an awkward amount of time to kill. My mom and I shopped for some baby clothes at Carter’s next door (so much fun!) and then we just hung out at Panera until it was time to go to the airport. Despite the weather, my flight was on time and the airport was pretty much dead, so it was a breeze checking my bags and getting through security. I arrived back in Denver around 6 pm.

It was a great trip! My parents made the weekend so special, and it was fun spending time just the 3 of us, knowing that it’ll probably be the last time for a very long time!

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Speaking of trips, Travis and I leave for Florida this coming Sunday!! I probably won’t be posting much (or at all) the week that we’re gone, but I’ll be back with lots of pictures and stories once we’re back.

 

Pregnancy Update: 32 Weeks

13 Feb

32w2dMy 32nd week of pregnancy brought with it an increased feeling of being pregnant. I feel bigger, my rings no longer fit, I officially have cankles, and I have been informed by a few different people that I now do the pregnant waddle (at the speed of a grandma). Sweet.

I’m keeping up with walking the dogs, but my 1.7 mile walk this morning actually wore me out. I also have noticed my energy lagging a bit the past few days but maybe that was due to traveling?

Sleep continues to be a challenge – between acid reflux, an aching back, sore hips, and inner thigh pain each time I roll over, I’m amazed I get any sleep at all. Some nights are better than others, but I am SOOO ready for this part of pregnancy to be over. I’m kind of thinking 9 hours of crappy sleep isn’t any better than only 2 hours of good sleep.

Emma continues to kick away, though she goes through periods where she does hardly anything. When I was in Minnesota last weekend, she was hardly kicking around at all. Maybe a growth spurt? I did gain 3 lbs this past week so we’ll go with that (and also water weight from swelling).

Overall pregnancy is still treating me well, but I can see why so many women say they’re ready to be done by the end of it. It just gets old dealing with all this stuff.

Anyway. My workouts last week:

Su: 1.55 mile walk

T: 1.15 mile walk

W: 20 min prenatal Pilates

Th: 1.15 mile walk

F: 1.15 mile walk

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Symptoms: See above

Cravings: Frozen yogurt – which I satisfied at the airport on my way to MN!

Weight Gained: 3 lbs this week (26 lbs total)

Rings on or off: Off – even a ring that’s usually too big for me is too snug now. I could barely get it off the other morning! So now I’m completely sans rings. *sigh*

Belly button in or out: Mostly just flat

Stretch marks: None so far

Baby purchases: I went to Carter’s with my mom in the Twin Cities and bought Emma some cute little outfits. I can’t wait to dress her up! I also got a lot of baby stuff from the shower (duh) but I’ll post about all that stuff when I recap the weekend.

Best moment this week: My baby showers in Minnesota!

Looking forward to: Flying to FLORIDA on Sunday! I’m excited for warm weather, sun and spending a whole week with my family.

The reason for blogging

12 Feb

I’m back from my baby shower in Minnesota! The weekend was a lot of fun and not without a few incidents that kept us on our toes. But I’ll blog about that later this week. I’ll also do my 32 week pregnancy update once I take a bump pic.

Today, I wanted to share some thoughts that I’ve had for quite a while now. And please understand that I’m not judging anyone. This is meant to inspire discussion, not condemnation.

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Blogging is kind of a strange thing when you think about it. I don’t read celebrity gossip magazines because I don’t want to spend more time finding out what’s going on with Lindsay Lohan or Kim Kardashian than living my own life, and yet, by reading blogs, I know what a girl who lives out in California had for dinner last night.

Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing – either for me to know what she ate, or for her to share. Blogs are personal and the author can post about anything they want. If I have a problem with it, I can just stop reading.

But it’s funny how that works. Blogs can get sort of addicting. I find myself wondering how Person X did in their race. I see something at the grocery store that reminds me of Person Y. Or the reverse happens – I’m out on a run and start writing out my blog post in my head. I take pictures of random things “for the blog.” I share more details about my life on this blog than I do with some of my friends (because I’m the only one talking here!).

I think blogging touches on a desire in every human soul. C.S. Lewis said it best (as always): “All enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise. … The world rings with praise — lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game. … I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with. . . .”

We want to share experiences.

What once went unshared or was only shared with the closest of relatives or friends – the parking ticket you just got, how traffic was on your evening commute, what kind of peanut butter you think is the best, what you did on the weekend – can now be shared with the entire world.

That’s the aspect about blogging that I love the most: being able to connect with other people who share my same interests and experiences. When I was training for my marathon last year, I was inspired by reading running blogs. Since getting pregnant, I’ve added about a dozen pregnancy or motherhood blogs to my Reader list. If no one in your “real life” circle shares your interests or is going through the same thing, someone in blogland does or is!

But just like with any online community, I think there is a line. Do I know more about a girl I will never meet than I do about a girl in my care group? Do I share things on my blog to serve and inspire others, or just to talk about myself?

From time to time, I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that my blog “should be” a certain way or I “should be” a certain kind of blogger.  I should post once a day, document everything with pictures, be on Twitter and Daily Mile and Pinterest and go to blogger retreats. Or I read a certain blog because they read mine, or because I’ve been reading it for months. But the truth is, I don’t want to be more connected than I am now. I should read only those blogs that uplift and inspire me. And I want to be more engaged in living my own life than I am in reading about others’.

I really do benefit from the blogging world and don’t have any foreseeable plans of discontinuing my blog (though that is a question I’ve also wondered – what is the lifespan of a blog?) or of not reading others’ blogs. But I do think I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to accept that I won’t ever be a “conventional” blogger. I can’t post quality thoughts every day. I don’t want to share every detail about my life. I won’t be buying an expensive camera to take pictures of my food in natural lighting.

But I will share my life journey and what I’ve discovered brings joy. I will reveal what God is teaching me. I will point to Jesus as the only way to heaven. I will share my love for endurance sports again someday.

All that said, I hope that my blog is a blessing to all of my readers. And I hope that you are out there, living your own life with gusto.

If you blog, why do you blog? Why do you read others’ blogs? 

Pregnancy Update: 31 Weeks

4 Feb

31w0d001Last week, I wrote about all the not-s0-pleasant side effects of pregnancy. So this week, I thought I’d make a list of all the pleasant, exciting and fun parts about pregnancy (yes, they do exist!).

Here is what I’ve loved about being pregnant:

– seeing the miracle of my body growing another human (it’s amazing how it knows exactly what to do!)

– getting to hear our baby’s heartbeat and see her via ultrasound

– decorating the nursery

– shopping for all the cute baby stuff!

– spending more time with Travis (he’s gone to the grocery store with me more often in the past 3 months than the previous 5 years)

– having an excuse to take a nap whenever, to eat whatever I’m craving and to forget things (“Hey, I’m pregnant!”)

– having all of our friends and family excited about the baby with us

– looking forward to having at least 12 weeks off work (I’ll post more on that later)

– the excitement and anticipation of getting to meet Emma, discover her personality and love her to pieces!

The benefits of pregnancy are definitely more emotional than physical. Pregnancy is not something that every woman gets to experience and I feel very privileged that God has allowed me to not only be a mother, but to also experience this miracle of life. I don’t want to take it for granted.

And as a side note, in the past week, 4 of my friends/acquaintances have announced that they’re pregnant. So exciting!

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I had another ultrasound this morning and they said everything looks great. I’m measuring 31 weeks and Emma is estimated to be 3 lbs 11 ounces and 19 inches long. She is head down (yay!) and facing slightly to the right. As far as the technician could tell, she has not presented any indication of being a boy. So we’re still banking on Emma being Emma, and not Emmitt. We also got to see her yawn! 

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My workouts last week:

W: 20 min prenatal Pilates

Th: 1.15 mile walk

Sa: Race setup/teardown (I volunteered at one my friend’s races again)

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Symptoms: Pelvic/inner thigh pain, CRAZY DREAMS, back/hip pain – still feeling pretty energetic though

Cravings: Still loving sweets like ice cream

Weight gained: 2 lb this week (23 lbs total)

Rings on or off: Off – they get pretty tight by the morning and I don’t want to wait too long, so I just took them off this morning

Belly button in or out: Starting to poke out!

Stretch marks: None so far

Best moment this week: Feeling Emma kick/punch like crazy – what is she doing in there?!?

Looking forward to: Flying to Minnesota on Friday! Baby shower is on Sunday.