The Sh%! They Expect Of You

Pregnancy can be an amazing experience. Between the kicks and flutters in your belly to the adorable sonogram images and watching your belly grow, releasing the comfort of knowing your little one is healthy, pregnancy certainly has it’s WOW and AWWW moments!

It would be great if it were all sunshine and glitter every day, but then the reality of expectation creeps in and it’s not enough to just sit and eat ice cream in your husband’s pajamas, binge watching your favorite Netflix series..

Just when you think you’ve got this thing figured out, people start asking you how many pediatricians you’ve interviewed and who you picked for your maternity photo shoot. Is it horrible that I DON’T want to do a maternity photo shoot?? There are literally 3 pictures of me pregnant that I think look really good! I just don’t feel all that cute right this second, sorry. I know there will be pictures of me from my baby showers and some from vacation and a friend’s wedding that I’ll look back and always remember this time, I don’t need someone putting me in different poses with my husband trying to get his arms around my belly by a log cabin or beach somewhere. And no, I haven’t “interviewed” a single pediatrician…yet.

Speaking of photo shoots, I think the creative newborn pictures are adorable and all, but I assume by the time I have the energy to search for a talented and affordable photographer to help me get my baby “milk drunk” enough to squish him into a cute little bum-up pose, the baby will be picking out his kindergarten snacks. THEN you have to get them made into Christmas cards and mail them out to all your friends and family in time for them to hang proudly on a window sill or under a bunch of other cards from overzealous moms showing off their beautiful family photos like personal accolades. I can’t. Ours will show up sometime between Easter and 4th of July…next year, most likely.

As far as registries go, who the hell has the time for all that research?! If you google “best pack and plays” you get 1500 websites claiming to have the best lists, from safety to affordability and quotes from moms all over the world saying why they love/hate certain brands. It’s all a little overwhelming and confusing. Everyone has an opinion but none seem to be the same…If you ask your friends and family with little ones, not only do they have different ideas, but some of the things they say they NEVER used are the EXACT same things someone else swears they wouldn’t have made it through the 1st few months without!! I’m going to head into this like I do most things: Trial and Error. Live and Learn. The baby will tell me (loud and clear) when he’s unhappy and hopefully sleep when he’s comfortable. I pray Target takes returns and exchanges with rips and tears.

Entertaining the drunkies. Who has time for this? Weather you’re listening to your husband tell you the same story for the 9th time after a bottle of mouth-watering petite sirah that you couldn’t enjoy with him or you go to a friend’s mid-summer cookout and try to look sympathetic while she cries with red wine lips over her annoying boyfriend while you hold the King-sized ruffled chip bag in one hand and a half eaten s’more in the other, nodding along wondering if this is how you normally sound. Answer: you do. There’s just never a sober bystander to witness it.

Here’s my advice for anyone in the same boat: Do your thing, girl. If you want to ditch all responsibilities on a Tuesday and get a pedicure, do it! If you make not one but two ice cream stops in one day, go for it. If your husband insisted on having people over to watch the game and you’ve literally had enough and just can’t anymore, excuse yourself and go to bed, put on the Real Housewives and lock the damn door, I seriously hear you. Just do it and who cares. If you are pregnant with your second child and have a little one running around that you need to take care of…you are a hero and rock star and I tip my hat to you. Cheers!

 

 

 

Excited, Annoyed, and Grumpy. 24 Weeks!!

So I’m creeping up to 24 weeks pregnant and am feeling it!! A lot has been happening that’s new and exciting and I am so over everything that is going on outside of my growing little prince! My baby has been moving around a lot and I LOVE it! Kicking and punching his way around my insides and waking me up/keeping me from falling asleep.

ENTER THE “PUFF”

I started feeling puffy last week (started at 23 weeks) when I look in the mirror and my slender face is fading, leaving me with a nice little layer of “puff”, which has always been something I’m self-conscious about and try like hell to get rid of. In the 1st trimester when I was sick and hadn’t drank in about a month, my face started to slim down, which was great! A plus to feeling like crap! Then I got my appetite back and came the 2nd trimester along with more energy. This happy “glow” lasted up until I believe, last week, and enter the puff. Thank God for maternity clothes , I’m keeping these pants for every holiday well after the baby is born! Now I don’t feel so cute in pictures anymore, like this one, which looked much different in my mind when we were taking it:

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NO MORE WEIGHTS, THANKS!

So I was trying to go to Body Pump or incorporating weights in my workout routine for the entirety of the 2nd trimester and that, too, came to a halt last week. I was using 8-12 lb. dumbbells to do various lunges, squats and arm exercises. I would do each muscle group for 60 seconds and then take a 60 second break and try to do at least 3 rounds of each. This became pretty difficult last week when I got really out of breath and overly tired. I decided this new beautiful surprise of cellulite on my legs wasn’t going away with squats or lunges during pregnancy. I’m throwing in the towel when it comes to weights and sticking to my power walks and stair master. I still love cardio, and it makes me feel really good. I do a 3.5 mile loop around my neighborhood, making sure to hit a few steep hills, or I walk at an incline on the treadmill if it’s raining or too hot (it’s been in the high 90’s and humid here in the south!) This was my last Body Pump pic right before the “puff” began to show:

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GIVE ME ALL THE FOODS:

I have always loved food! Growing up in an Italian family, we were always making and eating delicious food and I enjoyed every bite! I have “dieted” most of my adult life, until I was getting ready to get married and started my Paleo diet. That was truly the best I’ve ever looked or felt. Eating MOSTLY paleo and 3 Body Pump classes per week plus 1 day of cardio got me looking and feeling my most toned and slim. I gave up all the treats I love including bread and pasta and supplementing them with zucchini noodles and sweet potatoes. Well, thanks to this little boy growing in my belly and the fact that I can’t indulge on wine anymore, I’m eating all the yummy foods I love and crave including my FAVORITE chocolate croissants and ice cream sundaes. I still read labels, try to avoid preservatives, bleached flour, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, white sugar and try to stick to milk/butter without rBGH (a genetically engineered artificial hormone given to cows to force excess milk production), whole grain pasta (when I can), fresh farm eggs and lots of fresh fruit and veggies. When I buy ice cream and sundae toppings, I try to get hormone/antibiotic-free ice cream with the least amount of ingredients, I like to whip my own cream and get an all-natural hot fudge. Is it great for me? Hell no, but it’s MUCH better than all the other crap they put in our food! If I’m going to gain weight and eat the treats I want, I don’t want to add chemicals that my child will have in his system too!

MY HUSBAND IS TRYING TO KILL ME:

Have you every been pregnant? Did your spouse or significant other “forget” that you’re no longer super woman? Mine forgets. For instance, just tonight, I was grilling some pork chops and roasted vegetables and the gas went out (so annoying) half way through! My husband wasn’t home yet, so I turned the broiler on in the oven and grabbed my trusty cast iron skillet to finish the job (they came out perfect, by the way). When he got home, my husband proclaimed “You know we have another gas tank in the shed! Why didn’t you just get that?” Um….because it’s like 20 lbs. and the shed is way in the back corner of the back yard?! I’m 6 months pregnant?! “Oh, yeah.” Did I mention I have absolutely no patience anymore and the simple act of putting groceries away can result in a meltdown if the broccoli falls out of the bag while you try to bend over in a way that doesn’t hurt your belly? People who have never been pregnant seriously don’t know the struggle. Maybe I can best describe it as a constant built-up anxiety attack coupled with a ravenous hunger that can only be satisfied by eating all the cookies fresh off the hot cookie sheet and milk straight from the carton while having an overwhelming happiness and love for someone I’ve never met but somehow know and complete loss of control of my body and its’ functions. Putting clean sheets on the king-sized bed becomes so frustrating you could literally kill… There you go, now you go get the damn propane tank and you can put it right up….

EMBRACING MY CRUNCHY:

Being pregnant has given me a maternal instinct to live longer. I buy all natural SPF 50 without phenoxyethanol and apply liberally when by the pool or beach, organic, DEET-free bug spray  and have started making all my own cosmetics including belly butter using unrefined cocoa butter, my own moisturizer using organic argan oil and aloe and diaper rash cream using zinc and witch hazel. I love farmer’s markets and locally grown produce. I’ve started using organic makeup and much less of it. I don’t dye my hair anymore and am trying to embrace the roots! No more tanning products and I make my own body bronzer that washes off with soap and water. My head hurts from reading labels of products and ingredients and googling those I don’t know. Making our baby registry was beyond stressful trying to make sure all baby products were all natural or organic and looking up ingredients in them as well, baby mattress included. There are so many harsh chemicals and toxic ingredients in SO many daily products, I advise anyone having a baby or a curious mom to start really reading what goes into the products we’re putting into our bodies and those of our children who don’t have a choice of their own!

Till next time 😉

 

Don’t Throw Those Bananas Away!

As I said before, when in doubt, make your own…and have I ever! From banana nut breads to blueberry muffins and mixed berry crisp with vanilla bean ice cream, I’ve been having myself a good old time over here:)

Here’s a recipe I’ve been craving and finally made, because as I have discovered, my little boy loves his sweets! He wiggles when I eat delicious sweet treats!

Here’s what I did:

Preheat oven to 350

  • 3 Ripe Bananas (organic, if you can)
  • 2 Eggs (pasture raised/cage-free)
  • 2 Cups Flour (unbleached)
  • 3/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Softened Butter (grass fed)
  • 1 Cup Pure Cane Sugar (with a little extra for topping)
  • 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Mix all dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix butter, eggs and bananas (I leave the bananas a little bit lumpy). Gradually mix in all dry ingredients and finally add the walnuts. Pour into your greased and floured loaf pan, sprinkle a little extra sugar on top and bake for 50-55 min.

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It’s A BOY!!!!!

I am currently 19 weeks pregnant and we found out this past Tuesday that we’re having a boy!! I have to say, I didn’t realize how badly I wanted a boy until the nurse told us the news. I knew my husband, Nick, was desperate for a son, but I had maintained that I really didn’t have a preference until Tuesday when I was just as happy as my husband!

Nick has two, much younger brothers who were born when he was 14 and 16 years old, so he was very hands-on and had a huge part in raising them. From diaper changes, coaching little league and rough housing, Nick was almost like a father. He knows how to raise and handle little boys. I don’t. I have much younger siblings as well, but we grew up in different households (same dad, different mom), so I didn’t have the experience Nick did. I was a nanny, but not for a baby, and it’s different when you can go home at the end of the day! Long story short, I am a little relieved that at least one of us will be in their element!

What has changed from 1st to 2nd trimester:

HUNGER:

I want to eat everything! There isn’t anything I’m particularly adverse to anymore and I have a huge appetite. I’m allowing myself to indulge and enjoy all kinds of foods from fresh chocolate croissants to s’mores by the fire, steak tips and potatoes to huge salads with lots of veggies. Ice cream (all-natural whenever possible) is a must-have and hot fudge (no high-fructose corn syrup) and fresh whipped cream every now and then is truly Heaven.

HEADACHES:

I was suffering from bad headaches consistently for a few days and the OBGYN recommended I increase my caffeine intake! I always thought caffeine was bad for growing babies, but she assured me a little here and there would benefit both the baby and me. Sure enough, my 1st cup of coffee (2 parts caffeinated, 1 part decaf) completely subsided the headaches! Now I have 2 cups every morning of that ratio. I really don’t drink soda, so the rest of the day is usually caffeine-free. I will have an iced tea in the afternoon from time to time.

WORKOUTS:

I have been getting back into Body Pump and it feels really good! There are certain muscle groups that I pass on (chest, especially) because you have to lay down on your back and it feels weird on my belly. Even at an incline, my belly forms this little grapefruit-like ball and it freaks me out, so I usually take that opportunity make a bathroom run because I have to go constantly. I have found that now that I’m no longer experiencing nausea or extreme fatigue, working out a little harder feels great. I missed incorporating weights in my workout routine (I was really just walking a lot in the 1st trimester) because I feel stronger and much less jiggly. They say the better shape you’re in during pregnancy, the easier your delivery will be (we’ll see!!).

RELAXING:

Letting myself REST!!! Lately I’ve been feeling like I just need to relax. Most days (nights, really) I don’t feel like getting out and about and just want to come home, put my feet up and chill. If I am too tired to make dinner, I order something or defrost and do a quick grill on the back deck. If I’m too tired to workout, I don’t. I try to plan ahead and choose 2 days to go to Body Pump and another day or 2 for some cardio. Sometimes that’s a walk, sometimes the stair-master and sometimes I give myself a break and do nothing at all. I try to remember I have a little human growing inside of me and I’m not a super-hero or robot.

STOMACH ACHES:

I’ve always had a bad stomach. I never throw up (sorry TMI), I can eat a double cheeseburger and go on a rollercoaster and be fine, but I get THE WORST stomach aches EVER. They come on from time to time, usually if I’m hungry and don’t eat right away, and they get worse at complete random. Some months during the year I’m totally fine and others are brutal. I’ve been tested for everything from celiac disease, gastritis, and high anxiety caused by PTSD. I’ve been prescribed everything from anti-anxiety meds, a gluten-free diet and acupuncture. Finally I decided that I know my body better than anyone else and I know how I feel. Lately when I don’t eat RIGHT when I get hungry, I get excruciating stomach aches and nothing makes it better. Being pregnant, there aren’t many medications I can take (not that they help anyway), so I just suffer for hours. Add literally any responsibility to that discomfort and it makes you want to die.

Here’s what I do: Keep snacks on me at all times! Whether I’m running errands, at work or even going out to eat or a party, I have to have a banana, multiple granola bars, and crackers at my disposal. Not getting seated or waited on right away and having one of these stomach aches come on truly ruins a night for me. It makes me completely silent and withdrawn because the pain just takes over. I’ve even popped a few crackers in my mouth in the middle of a service at work because I can feel it coming on! I’ve also found that eating nuts or other hard-to-digest foods make the pain so much worse!! Having a huge chunk of white Italian bread works MUCH better. Nothing hard on my digestive system, and I still try to stick to non-bleached flour, but I’d rather a nice white roll than a whole grain.

BABY MOVEMENT!!!

Finally, the happiest and most rewarding feeling so far in my pregnancy has been feeling my son move and kick around in my belly. It’s light and sporadic but it’s amazing! The first little poke came a couple weeks ago and I knew what it was right away:) I can tell the difference between the baby and gas (again, TMI?) so I just love when he kicks and moves all around because I feel so connected to him. It reminds me what is actually happening right now and that there’s really a little person in there!! Every little movement reminds me that he’s growing and progressing! Really exciting:)

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Preggo Tip: Make Your Own

Ok, so if you’re pregnant or have children, you understand the seriousness of a craving. All bets are off, you’ll walk across hot coals to get what you want.

So, my new thrill in life (well…a more intense thrill) is food. I am pretty much known for my love of wine. In fact, we couldn’t even keep my pregnancy a secret because the second I turned down a glass of wine, everyone knew. Alas, I’ve always loved food, but now it’s all I can really get excited about on a daily (and hourly) basis.

I was picking up ingredients for dinner at the grocery store yesterday and began contemplating what to eat for dessert with our movie (Sisters with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, highly recommend for a good laugh!!). I had gone to the farmer’s market earlier and had some beautifully fresh strawberries to indulge on and was craving some strawberry shortcake. I saw a display at the store with strawberries, shortcake, angel food cake, etc. Of course, I look at the labels.

One of the first ingredients in any cake was bleached flour. Ugh. Why?? We are forever turning our food into something more “appealing” to look at (hence, making the normally yellow-ish flour appear bright/white and “clean” when it is anything but). In order to bleach flour, you need a chemical called Alloxan, which is a poison. Alloxan is used to produce diabetes in in healthy experimental animals so that researchers can then study diabetes “treatments” in the lab.

No, thank you. I’ll keep my off-white flour, it looks just fine to me. That being said, some people may argue that white flour, in general isn’t nutritious at all and here’s what I say to that: You can eat naturally gluten-free and paleo food all day…many times, I have. Right now, I’m growing a human inside of me and sweet potatoes aren’t cutting it.

I crave cookies, cupcakes, French toast and pizza. I could grab everything quickly off the shelf and satisfy my sweet tooth, but I’m choosing to make these goodies myself. Yes, there’s sugar and flour and butter, but I try my best to use unbleached flour, grass-fed butter and raw sugar. Does that happen 100% of the time? No. I do my best to feed this growing baby the best I can, including locally grown food and the least-processed ingredients I can. I grocery shop in about 4 or 5 different places throughout the week and educate myself.

This strawberry shortcake recipe was really easy and delicious. I bought whipping cream at Trader Joe’s, strawberries from a local farm and used unbleached flour. The heavy cream in the cake was not organic, nor was the sugar, but hey, you gotta live.

Here’s the recipe I followed, although I cut back on the sugar on the strawberries and I added a little more heavy cream to the cake batter:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/strawberry-shortcake-recipe3.html

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