Monthly Archives: February 2015

Baby 2.0 – 28 Weeks

Whew- what a week! Lots happened in pregnancy and in life! So many good things and one stressful household situation. Here are all the details!

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Baby

This week baby is the size of an eggplant. Thanks to my ultrasound today (more on this later), I now know that my baby is approximately 2 pounds & 9 ounces, which is on the bigger side of the range for this point in pregnancy! His eyesight is developing, and he is now able to see light and blink. He is also continuing to gain fat each week as he gets ready to enter the world. I know that the seventh and eighth months are the most important for brain development, so it is extra important to remember eat well and take care of myself to help those brain cells grow!

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Body

I felt pretty great this week! I am noticeable less bloated and puffy-looking now that we’re back from vacation and getting back on track with our normal routines and eating at home again. I didn’t gain any weight this week, so I think last week’s 2 pound weight gain was partly water or something due to the way we ate. I’m definitely feeling more like myself now!

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One thing that has really helped me feel better was making sure to get decent sleep. I slept so well this week once I was back in my own bed with my Snoogle pillow. It also helped that I had some snow days which allowed me to sleep a little later in the morning too. I am going to soak up every minute of good sleep that I can get from now until baby comes in May!

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This week I had another appointment with my midwives, who I grow to love more and more with each of my visits! My appointment started with my glucose test. Of course they only had the orange drink, and I can’t stand anything orange-flavored. Yuck! But I chugged it down anyway. After that I got to spend a lot of time talking with one of the midwives about everything pregnancy-related. I love how they listen to everything I have to say, patiently answer my questions and don’t make me feel rushed at all. Such a different experience than my last pregnancy. They measured my belly which was perfect at exactly 28 centimeters, and listened to baby’s heart rate, which was 140 bpm. At the end of my appointment it had been an hour so they drew my blood to test my glucose levels. While I was there I also scheduled the rest of my appointments from now until 41 weeks. That is crazy to me!

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A few days later I received the results of my tests and found out that my glucose test came back great. They want the levels for the 1 hour test to be below 180 and mine was 87. I also found out that my iron levels are low, which was a little surprising since they were fine with my first pregnancy. I’m going to try to bump up my intake of iron-rich foods but also start taking a supplement to help with this.

Mind

This week I had some situations that really tested my emotions! In a way it was a very relaxing week because I had off on Monday for President’s Day, then snow days on Tuesday and Wednesday, a 2 hour delay Thursday, and a snow day on Friday. It was great to have some extra time at home with my boy, especially on Tuesday when all 3 of us were home together. The rest of the week was spent doing fun things like playing with snow inside when it was way too cold to go out (sub-zero wind chills!), hanging out at the library, and baking muffins. 🙂

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The extra time at home also helped us get some much needed stuff done! I was able to secure a birth assistant and a birth photographer this week, which I am SO excited about! My midwives require each person to hire a birth assistant, who performs certain duties like a nurse would in the hospital but also acts as an extra form of support for mom and dad. I also have been thinking a lot about birth photography and decided it was something I really wanted. I met with a woman tonight who is also a doula and has 4 kids. She’s due in a few days with her 5th, and has had home births before. I am so excited for her to be there for the birth, and I can’t wait to be surrounded by such a positive, encouraging birth team!

In other exciting news, we transitioned Kevin to a big boy bed this past weekend! Since he has officially figured out how to climb out of his crib and Kyler will need it soon, we upgraded to a full size bed (mattress on the floor to start). He’s so excited about his big boy bed and has done an amazing job with it so far. Tonight is his third night sleeping there, and he napped in it over the weekend as well. We have been laying down with him until he gets sleepy and then we leave. The funniest part is that when he wakes up, he just lays there and sings songs. I was convinced he would come to our room in the middle of the night but I don’t think he realizes he can get out of bed. Eventually I showed him that if he wakes up, he can get a book from his bookshelf until mommy or daddy comes in, so he’s started to do that. I’m so proud of my big boy!

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And after all of that positive news we had a little scare last night. We were cooking dinner and noticed a very strong smell of gas coming from the kitchen. We called the gas company and they told us not to touch any light switches, to get off the phone and leave the house because it sounded like a gas leak. Talk about scary! They sent a guy out to check the house and he found a leak coming from our oven. He turned the gas off to the oven and did readings all over our house, and they all came back clear. I was so paranoid about going back in but he insisted all was safe. There is a problem with our oven which was causing the gas to leak out, so now we need to get a new one. We went ahead and bought it but it doesn’t come until next Monday, so we’re without an oven and stove until then! We use them a ton so we’ll have to be creative with dinners this week. I’m just so thankful we caught the leak quickly and it didn’t turn into a MUCH bigger problem, but it definitely gave this pregnant chick quite the anxiety attack.

After the drama of last night I really needed a pick-me-up today, and I got it! I got to see our sweet baby at my ultrasound! The ultrasound was to check on my placenta and if it moved up and away from my cervix. At my 20 week appointment it was only 2 centimeters away, which is considered risky. Thankfully today it was 8 centimeters away, so we are in the clear to have our home birth! Yay! The ultrasound tech was super nice and took some extra time to show me the baby, and even switched it over to 3D so I could see his sweet face. He had his hands up by his head the whole time, but I was able to see a little bit of his mouth and eyes. So cute!

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Just like every other ultrasound so far, he was measuring a little big, and his head measured 29 weeks 2 days! Whoa!! I know that those measurements aren’t really accurate though, and I really hope that one isn’t!

Food

This week we got back on track for the most part after our indulgent weekend away, which felt great! I could not wait to get back to our normal eating routine and cooking at home. My digestion was better and I had a lot more energy. Unfortunately with our stove situation we won’t be able to make all the meals we have to figure out how to make that work.

Fitness

Due to our crazy weather I was stuck inside most of the week, which is really tough for me. After coming home from Myrtle Beach on Monday I did all of my runs on the treadmill, because there was just too much snow/ice/cold temperatures to risk going outside. By Sunday I was going crazy, and I purposefully waited to do my long run until almost 2:00 p.m. when I knew that temperatures were going to rise up to the 50s. I was hoping some of the snow would melt and it did! I ran 7 blissful miles outside and LOVED it! The only thing I didn’t love was that I forgot to put Body Glide between my legs, which is becoming more and more necessary lately. I got some pretty bad chafing between my thighs as a result. Boo! Live and learn!

  • Monday – 2 miles @ 9:39 pace
  • Tuesday – 3 miles @ 10:34 pace
  • Wednesday – ​Rest Day
  • Thursday – Body Pump + 2 miles @ 10:32 pace
  • Friday – 4 miles @ 10:12 pace
  • Saturday – Body Pump + 2 miles @ 9:54 pace
  • Sunday – 7 miles @ 10:44 pace
  • Run – 20 miles
  • Strength – 2x

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Ouch 😦 And that’s only 1 side!

Week 28 Summary

  • Weight gained this week: + 0.0 lbs.
  • Total weight gained: +18.6 lbs.
  • Linea negra status: I feel like something is definitely starting to emerge!
  • Stretch mark status: nope, but motioning up every day because I’m only getting bigger and bigger.
  • Belly button status: still getting shallower!
  • Favorite part of the week: my snow day with both of my boys at home
  • Looking forward to: going to see my family and friends in Pennsylvania this weekend. We haven’t been to my hometown since Thanksgiving!

28 weeks last time around!​

Baby 2.0 – 27 Weeks

Hello third trimester! I cannot believe that you are here! I had a pretty great week overall. I worked 3 days and then we spent the rest of the week in Myrtle Beach visiting my in-laws and running our half marathon! What a way to kick off my final trimester. Here are all the details.

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Baby

This week baby is the size of a rutabaga! He is about two pounds and almost 15 inches from head to heel! No wonder I feel him stretch from my ribs down to my pelvis these days! Baby is sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing his eyes, and even sucking his fingers. He is developing more brain tissue  which means his brain is very active now. While his lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with a lot of medical help — if he were to be born now. From here on out he’ll be working on packing on the pounds to get ready for life on the outside!

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Body

Not too much to report as far as physical symptoms go this week. I am mostly feeling tired because I didn’t get great sleep at all, which is a huge bummer because last week I did and it was so nice! Kevin was a little sick and not sleeping well due to a persistent cough, and apparently Kyler does not want to stop moving at night. Those two things combined meant no sleep for mama. It was the same in Myrtle Beach, but also worse because Kevin’s nap and nighttime routine were thrown off since we were out of town and in a new environment. Also, since I was so tired from being up most of the night I took a lot of daytime naps, which further messed with my nighttime sleep. And then lack of sleep meant my emotions were kind of all over the place again. Basically it was a big cycle and a mess! We had a great time while we were away but my body is very happy to get back into our old routines and schedules.

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Anyway, in other news, when I start a new trimester I think it’s always fun to see how much I have grown since the last! I did this comparison last time and wanted to do it again, so I wore the same shirt for my 27 week picture as I did at 13 weeks. Oh yeah, lots of growth happened over the last 14 weeks!

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I feel like I look puffy this week due to the eating out we did while we were away- especially in my face compared to last week. I’m sure there was a ton of sodium (and calories) in the foods we ate, and it reflects in the way I look and on the scale- but I know I’ll be back to normal once we get back into our normal routine of meal planning and cooking so I am not too worried about it.

Mind

Aside from sleep deprivation, I felt pretty good mentally and emotionally this week. It was really nice to have time off from work and spend a long weekend together in Myrtle Beach. We jammed a ton of fun things into our 5 days there and really made the most of it. We took Kevin to the beach and aquarium, went to one of his favorite places (the bookstore, which he calls the library), spent time with his grandparents and their puppies, got to go on a fantastic Valentine’s Day date and a few runs together. Here are some pictures of the fun we had!

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Food

This week we finally let ourselves indulge a bit and eat out for the first time this year! It was amazing, but I sure am feeling the effects of it now like I said earlier. Some of our indulgences included my favorite pizza at Mellow Mushroom before the race, Japanese Hibachi dinner for Valentine’s Day followed by the best ice cream sundae ever, loaded baked potatoes, chips (my guilty pleasure), and waffles for breakfast at our favorite diner before we left. It was all so delicious and so worth it, but it felt great to eat my standard oatmeal for breakfast and a yummy salad for lunch today- that’s for sure!

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Fitness

The biggest news from this week was obviously our race! Kevin and I ran the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon and had an amazing time. Other than that, I took it pretty easy this week. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to make it to Body Pump at all due to our travel schedule and sleep issues, but I did squeeze in a mini-strength training session at home so I guess that’s better than nothing! My runs consisted of a 3 mile treadmill run before we left, 4 miles along the beach with my hubby in beautiful weather, and our half marathon. I had 3 glorious rest days and enjoyed every minute of them! Now that the half is over I’m ready to cut back a bit. I will be keeping my long runs around 6 miles and cutting back further from there when I feel ready.

  • Monday – Rest Day
  • Tuesday – At-home Upper Body Strength Workout (20 min.)
  • Wednesday – ​3 miles @ 10:11 pace
  • Thursday – 4 miles @ 10:18 pace
  • Friday – Rest Day
  • Saturday – 13.1 miles @ 10:14 pace
  • Sunday – Rest Day
  • Run – 20.1 miles
  • Strength – 1x

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Week 27 Summary

  • Weight gained this week: + 2.0 lbs.
  • Total weight gained: +18.6 lbs.
  • Linea negra status: not sure, I feel like if I squint I can see it starting to come out!
  • Stretch mark status: nope
  • Belly button status: still getting shallower!
  • Favorite part of the week: my entire Valentine’s Day- running the half with my hubby and then our date night later that night!
  • Looking forward to: Not setting an alarm tonight because we have another snow day tomorrow!
  • # of days until my next appointment: 2! The dreaded glucose test. Fun!
  • # of days until I get to see the baby again: 6. I will be having an ultrasound to see if my placenta has moved up from where it was before- only 2 cm. from my cervix. Fingers crossed that it has!

27 weeks last time around!​

Myrtle Beach Half Marathon [2015]

This past Saturday on Valentine’s Day Kevin and I ran the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon together. This is my 3rd year participating in this event and it’s definitely becoming a favorite tradition of mine. We ended up finishing with a time of 2:14 on 2/14… completely coincidental! I can’t believe how amazing I felt during this entire race. I didn’t have a single moment of discomfort, and I ran this half 10 minutes faster than the Rock & Roll Seattle Half that I also ran at almost 27 weeks in my last pregnancy. I even had a huge negative split, running the last half of the race 4 minutes faster than the first half! Needless to say, this race exceeded all my expectations and was very special to me, especially after my marathon DNF here last year [scroll down to the bottom for details on that]. To experience it all with my husband by my side made it even more memorable. Here is how it all went down!

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One of the things I love about this race is that it’s not too big but not too small either. This makes the logistics of pre-race and race day activities easy but still exciting. We arrived in Myrtle Beach very late on Wednesday night and had a beautiful day on Thursday to enjoy the weather, a run together by the ocean, and some beach time with little Kev which he loved. On Friday morning we headed to the expo right when it opened and relaxed the rest of the day until it was time for dinner at our favorite pre-race restaurant, Mellow Mushroom. I had been waiting for this meal for a while and it did not disappoint (it never does!).

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That night we went to bed semi-early with alarms set for 4:30 AM. One of the things I don’t love about this race is the 6:30 AM start time! Ahhh! But we got up, drank our coffee, ate our breakfast and got ready to go. We bundled up quite a bit because the temperatures had dropped to a freezing 30 degrees with wind chills lower than that. It was really nice to have Kevin participate in the pre-race routines with me just like old times 🙂 And it was also nice to be able to let little Kev continue to sleep peacefully with my mother-in-law staying behind to be with him!

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Around 5:40 we left the house and drove 20 minutes to the race start at Broadway at the Beach. Since I was paranoid about needing to pee a million times and waiting in lines for the porta potty in the cold, we stopped at a gas station to use the bathroom on the way. After that we made our way to Broadway. I love that the race starts and finishes in this area because there is tons of parking, and you can stay warm in your car until really close to the race start time. We just sat in the car for a little bit and talked, and I couldn’t believe how different I felt this year compared to last. I was so relaxed, so excited, not nervous at all about what was to come like last year before the full marathon. It was a great feeling, and really comforting to know that I was going to get to run the entire race with my hubby. We ended up jumping out of the car and running over at 6:20, with enough time to use the porta potty (again, I know- but there were no lines at all!) before the gun went off too! Score! We hopped into the 2:30 half marathon corral and before we knew it we were off and running.

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Even though it was much colder this year than previous years, the wind was minimal which made a HUGE difference. Last year I felt like I ran into a steady wall of wind for the first 5-6 miles. It was really draining mentally and physically, and I think that attributed to my DNF and how weak my body became when I realized I had to quit. It was a much more enjoyable experience running without that wind, and my body warmed up quickly. The first mile was our slowest, as we tried to get through walls of people like usual at the beginning of the race. But after that we were able to settle into more of a groove. I was feeling great.

  • Mile 1 – 10:45
  • Mile 2 – 10:21
  • Mile 3 – 10:31

Shortly after the third mile Kevin told me had to stop to use the bathroom. I thought this was hilarious, because usually it’s me (the pregnant one) who needs to stop to go pee! He ran off to go while I continued running. I knew he’d be able to catch back up to me easily and I didn’t want to lose my momentum, and he did within a minute.  Before I knew it we were passing mile 5 and about to head off the main road we had been running on and into a little out-and-back segment in a shopping area called the Market Common. I felt like this race was flying by!

  • Mile 4 – 10:12
  • Mile 5 – 10:16

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We headed into the Market Common to do a little loop before heading back along the beach to run back to where we started. It was nice to have a little change of scenery from the road we had been running on for a few miles, and there was a small band set up  there that gave us a little adrenaline boost. While we were in the Market Common shopping area we passed the halfway point (mile 6.65) and I noticed I my time was exactly 1:09. I realized if I maintained the pace I was running I would beat my expectations for this race by a lot. I had predicted around a 2:30 finish. I wasn’t sure if I could maintain it or not, but I figured I would hold onto it as long as I was feeling great like I was. We were having a blast running together and taking fun pictures. Have I mentioned I missed racing with him so much?

  • Mile 6 – 10:12
  • Mile 7 – 10:10
  • Mile 8 – 10:13

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A little before mile 8 we exited the Market Common area and started running along the road that was adjacent to the beach, back toward the start/finish area. I loved being able to look out at the sand and the ocean. I knew that we had a little over 3 miles running on this road before we would turn to head back. I was expecting the wind to kick up a little on this stretch since we were right by the beach, but it wasn’t too bad. I actually started feeling hot at this point and decided to take off my hat and gloves, and unzip my jacket a little. Once I did this I felt a lot more comfortable and was able to settle into a natural pace again. Again, the miles kept ticking by, and when we passed mile 9 I was really proud of Kevin, because that was the farthest we had run in training together. After that point he was getting into mileage he hasn’t run in years. He said he felt great and was so happy he was running with me on Valentine’s Day. That made me happy ❤

  • Mile 9 – 10:07
  • Mile 10 – 10:15
  • Mile 11 – 10:18

At around mile 11.5 we turned left and started running away from the beach and back toward the stadium where the finish line was. Again, this change of direction and knowing we were close to being finished gave me a boost of energy and I picked up the pace effortlessly. I kept thinking about how this was my last long race until the fall, and probably my last pregnant half. It made me feel a little emotional and gave me the motivation to kick it up a little for the last 2 miles.

  • Mile 12 – 10:01
  • Mile 13 – 9:39

When we turned the corner to run the final stretch to the finish line the crowd was pretty quiet so Kevin tried to get them to cheer and be loud. It worked, and we had everyone clapping as we crossed the finish line!

  • The last .1 miles – 8:17 pace!
  • Finish Time – 2:14:04, 10:14 average pace

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When I saw that I had finished in just over 2:14 I was so happy. I was even more amazed when I realized I had run the second half of the race in 1:05, a negative split by 4 minutes! I spent most of the race not even feeling pregnant at all, and was shocked I didn’t need a million pee breaks 🙂 I am so happy to have had such a positive experience with this race this year. It felt so good to be able to cross the finish line and get my medal after my DNF during the full marathon last year. It was a little bittersweet though, since this is my last long race until later this year once baby is here, and most likely my last pregnant half marathon. I’m happy to be starting to cut back a bit now on a positive note, and I’m already looking forward to next year!

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Kevin posted this picture with the caption, “She runs for two, I drink for two!” LOL 🙂

Past Recaps:

Baby 2.0 – 26 Weeks

Well, week 26 was definitely more eventful than week 25! It was a rollercoaster, pretty great in some ways and not-so-great in others. Read on for the details!

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Kisses for baby brother Kyler 🙂

Baby

This week baby is the size of a head of lettuce (umm, huge!). He is starting to soak up all of my antibodies to prepare his immune system for life on the outside. He is also starting to practice “breathing” in amniotic fluid, and is continuing to develop all 5 senses. As of this week there’s officially less than 100 days until my due date… 98 days to go. Eek!! That sounds a little scary!

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Body

I had some more physical symptoms this week compared to last.​ It’s like my body gave me a break then decided to kick it back up again- maybe another hormonal fluctuation? Most notably this week I had a good amount of heartburn and headaches. I also had some nosebleeds, which has happened on and off throughout pregnancy but for some reason it happened quite a bit this week (maybe due to the dry air?). I’m definitely feeling pregnant lately! On the plus side, the whole family is pretty much over our congestion and coughing, which is making us all a lot happier!

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My goal for myself this week was to focus on getting quality sleep, at least 7 hours a night. There were only 2 nights that I wasn’t able to do that and got about 6-6.5 instead. Coincidentally I was extra emotional the following days, so I’m realizing how much decent sleep affects my mood, emotions and overall feeling of well-being. My goal is to really make that a priority for the next 14ish weeks of pregnancy!

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I found this picture from 26 weeks last time around and I thought it was interesting to compare! I’m wearing the same shirt in both pictures but obviously there are some differences. This time I’m less blonde and less tan, my belly is shaped a little differently and is positioned lower, and my butt is bigger (LOL), yet I’ve gained almost the exact same amount of weight as before… actually a little less at this point! It’s so interesting how two pregnancies can feel and look different with the same person, just two years apart!

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Mind

I was a little sad and emotional on some days this past week because I’m starting to realize how quickly things are changing, and will continue to change as we make the transition from 1 to 2 kids. My baby boy is turning into a big boy and I can’t sit with him in his glider to read books and rock him before bed like we used to. He’s getting too big and so is my belly, and it’s just not comfortable anymore. Soon we will have a new baby in this nursery but he’ll always be my firstborn, who taught me how to be a mommy and showed me what unconditional love is all about. It’s been the most amazing and challenging ride of my life and I know it’s still only beginning, but I feel really emotional about closing this chapter soon. This past week I got pretty upset during Kevin’s bedtime routine because I realized it was probably one of the last times I could sit with him in our chair, since it’s so uncomfortable for me now. I started crying while trying to rock him before bed and he looked up at me, put his hand on my cheek and said, “It’s okay Mommy.” Cue even MORE tears! We’ve been doing this routine every day since we brought him home from the hospital, almost 2 1/2 years ago, so to not to be able to anymore makes me very emotional. I know we are going to need to come up with a new special bedtime routine so that I can continue to have this time with him now and once the baby is here too.

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In other stressful news, we woke up one morning this week to find that someone went on a shopping spree with my husband’s debit card. This is the first time something like this has happened to us and we felt so violated. Luckily I caught it really fast and we were able to contact the bank and all of the companies that the person spent our money on, and we got it all back and canceled our card. We’ll just need to keep an extra careful eye on our accounts now to make sure nothing else pops up. Ugh, what a headache!

Food

So we are now into February and our “eat at home” challenge from January is continuing! This week’s yummy meals included pasta with lemon basil butter sauce, black bean and quinoa enchilada bake, spiced red lentil soup, homemade burrito bowls, and Mexican salads with roasted chickpeas. Talk about delicious! Dinners like that do not make me miss eating out at all!

Fitness

This week I felt pretty good on most of my runs! We went back and forth between cold and warmer weather, and this past weekend was amazing! Saturday it was 55 degrees, and Sunday got close to 70! I was LOVING it, although my “long” run of 6 miles on Sunday with my boys felt more challenging because I’m not really used to the warm weather anymore. I also was able to run with Laura on Saturday and made it to Body Pump twice this week. It was a great week for fitness!

  • Monday – Rest Day
  • Tuesday – 2 miles @ 11:17 pace
  • Wednesday – ​4 miles @ 10:26 pace
  • Thursday – Body Pump
  • Friday – 4 miles @ 10:32 pace
  • Saturday – 1 mile walk + Body Pump + 4 miles @ 10:30
  • Sunday – 6 miles @ 10:35 pace
  • Run – 20 miles
  • Walk – 1 mile
  • Strength – 2x

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Week 26 Summary

  • Weight gained this week: +0.4 lbs.
  • Total weight gained: +16.6 lbs.
  • Linea negra status: not sure, I feel like if I squint I can see it starting to come out!
  • Stretch mark status: nope
  • Belly button status: still getting shallower!
  • Favorite part of the week: spending time with my family in the beautiful weather this weekend
  • Looking forward to: Heading to Myrtle Beach for our mini-vacation on Wednesday! So soon!
  • # of days until our next race: 5! Eek!

26 weeks last time around!​

Stridebox: January

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 9.11.18 PMIt’s time for another Stridebox review! In case you haven’t heard, Stridebox is a $15 monthly subscription box for all things running related. As of today I have tried everything that was in my January box (with a little help from my hubby) and I am ready to review the items I received.

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To celebrate the new year, Stridebox unveiled a new look. They had a new box design, a different “Stride Guide” and the box was loaded with stuff- not just food, but gear and other fun stuff too!

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Here’s everything I received this month and my review of it all!

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Detour – Smart Bar (Blueberry): I can’t believe these filling little bars have only 130 calories and 10 grams of protein! It tasted pretty good too! They are gluten-free and made of organic whole grains, oatmeal, whey protein and natural sweeteners. I also noticed real pieces of blueberries and apple when I ate it. I’ve just started seeing them in grocery stores around me, so I might pick up another one some day. Although I do try to choose bars that do not contain dairy or whey protein because my body doesn’t digest it well.  Retail: $14.85/9 bars ($1.65 each).

G Endurance – Gatorlytes:  This teeny tiny packet contains an electrolyte blend especially for salty sweaters and athletes who tend to get cramps. My husband and I both fall into this category, so we thought this would be a great product to try. However, we missed the memo that you are supposed to mix this with regular Gatorade or another type of sports drink. We just mixed it with water and my hubby took one sip and spit it out. He said it just tasted like salty water and didn’t understand how people could drink it. Duh, note to self: read the directions more carefully next time! We’ll have to give this another shot and do it the proper way. Retail: $14.99/20 pouches ($0.75 each).

Designer Whey – Protein2Go (Lemonade):  Another whey-based product. I passed it onto Kevin who doesn’t have any dairy sensitivity. He mixed it with water after a long run and said it was just okay. He said it tasted like watered down lemonade and he didn’t think it was worth the pretty steep price, over $3.00 for one pouch. We wouldn’t purchase this one again unfortunately. Retail: $15.90/5 pouches ($3.18 each).

GU Energy – Brew Recovery Drink (Chocolate Smoothie): I passed this one onto my husband because again, it was a dairy-based drink mix and I knew my stomach would hate me if I had it. He was super excited because he loves anything and everything chocolate. He mixed the packet into a smoothie with banana and ice and said it was delicious. However, like the lemonade protein mix the price per packet is a little steep, and Kevin said he’d be more inclined to buy a large container of protein powder instead because it costs less.  Retail: $36.00/12 packets ($3.00 each).

Nuun Energy (Cherry Limeade): I’m a big fan of Nuun so I was excited to see this in my box! Especially because it was cherry limeade, a flavor I haven’t tried before. These little tablets contain electrolytes, B vitamins and no added sugars. They have recently added a little bit of caffeine too, which I definitely appreciate. I like to drink Nuun after a sweaty long run, and sometimes in the summer I drink it while running as well. It always does the trick for me 🙂 Retail: $8.00/10 tabs ($0.80 each).

2Toms – Blister Shield: Okay, so I lied earlier. I said I had tried everything in this box and then I realized I hadn’t tried this yet. That is mostly because I tend to get blisters more in the summer when it’s really hot and I sweat a ton, so I want to save it for then. This is a pretty interesting product- it’s a powder that you pour into your shoe, sock or glove that prevents friction and blisters. It then washes out with soap and water. I’ll be interested to try this and see how it works in the summer! Retail: $1.50/pouch.

Stridebox – Mini Training Log: This cute little training log contains 13 weeks, plus a section for training notes, and a race tracker. I have used Daily Mile to track my running for years, but I’m a paper and pencil girl at heart so I love this (which is why I love my Erin Condren Life Planner!).  Retail: $5.99.

Stridebox Safety – StrideLights: Since many of my runs lately have been in the early morning darkness, I am all about the safety products these days! These little lights are motion-activated and lace into each shoe. The battery is good for over 150,000 strides and is actually really bright. This is definitely a great addition to my gear to ensure my safety in the dark! Retails: $9.99.

Fun Extras – Running sticker, Stridebox temporary tattoo, and Rundana coupon. Who doesn’t love stuff like this?! 🙂

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My only criticism of this month’s box was that it contained a lot of products that were whey-based or had dairy in them. In the past my boxes have maybe had 1 or 2 items that did, but this month the majority of the nutrition-related items were dairy-based. Not a huge deal to most people I’m sure, but as someone who is sensitive to dairy it definitely put a little bit of a damper on this box.  Oh well, can’t win them all! I do like the new look of the box and the way they notate on the Stride Guide whether the product is best used before, during and/or after your workout. My February box has shipped but I haven’t received it yet. I can’t wait to see what’s inside!

Previous Stridebox reviews:

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Stridebox (I wish I was! LOL). I purchased this subscription myself and all opinions are my own.

Essential Oils: Part 1

I have mentioned in a few posts lately that I’ve been using essential oils since November. I really want to share what I’ve learned and how I’m using them so far. I’m calling this post “Part 1” because I’m still very new to learning about essential oils and experimenting with them. I have a pretty decent collection but haven’t even used all of them yet. This is because some of them aren’t pregnancy safe, and some of them I haven’t had a use for yet. So for now, I just want to talk about the ones my family has been using and loving so far, and then I’ll write another post at a later date with more as I continue to explore!

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​Before I begin, I want to say that I am definitely NOT an expert on essential oils. Everything I have learned so far has come from my friend/former Bradley Method teacher/doula Marisa, the Modern Essentials Book, Youtube videos, other online sources, and the entire amazing essential oil community that’s out there. I’ve also talked to my midwives about the safe use of oils during pregnancy (they greatly encouraged it!).

Modern Essentials: my go-to essential oil reference book

Modern Essentials: my go-to essential oil reference book

Here are the oils we’ve been using and loving (so far):

Lavender: Lavender is one of the only oils that I actually ran out of and needed to reorder! That shows how much we use it in our house. I love lavender for so many reasons. I put it in the diffuser in our room at night while we sleep (more about diffusing oils later) and I rub it on Kevin’s feet before bedtime. It helps us all relax and sleep more soundly. It’s also amazing for diaper rash and other skin issues. I went through the 5 mL bottle that came with my Family Physician’s Kit pretty fast and now I’m working on a new 15 mL bottle 🙂 To learn more about how to use lavender, there’s a link at the bottom this post!

Lemon: Another one of my “most-used” oils. Like lavender, lemon has a ton of uses. Since the oils I use are all pure and therapeutic-grade, most of them are safe to take internally and put in food and drinks. I mostly put a couple drops in my water every morning for it’s detoxing properties and how it helps keep things ‘moving’ with my digestion [which is always a huge pregnancy concern of mine!]. It’s also great to use for household cleaning, as well as to wake me up and energize me when I’m tired. Like lavender, I ran out of my 5 mL bottle and reordered the 15 mL size.

Peppermint: Oh how I love peppermint. Like lavender and lemon, there are so many uses for peppermint that it’s pretty much a must-have. This oil is extremely strong and just a drop can fix a lot of issues for me. It helps boost my energy when I’m dragging (by smelling it or putting a drop on my tongue), it is the best heartburn reliever I have found, and it helps me get rid of my frequent pregnancy headaches- just to name a few! This oil is safe to use during pregnancy with dilution, but can affect milk supply as you get closer to the end, so I’ll probably stop using it sometime during the third trimester and until my milk supply is fully established afterwards.

Ginger: This oil was not included in my initial Family Physician’s Kit but Marisa gave me a small sample and then I found myself ordering it almost immediately due to my nausea and indigestion issues during early pregnancy. Even though I no longer feel nauseous, I do have some issues with digestion (especially if I eat dairy), and ginger has really helped. I liked to apply it on my chest and stomach, or even take a drop or two internally. Like peppermint, it’s really strong, so only a little bit is needed. DigestZen is another good digestive oil but it is not really recommended to use during pregnancy, so ginger will do in the meantime 🙂

On Guard: This is a protective oil blend. The oils that are in it have strong abilities to kill harmful bacteria, mold and viruses. It is not really recommended to use during pregnancy unless heavily diluted, but it has been super helpful for my son and husband. If there’s something going around Kevin’s daycare or we notice him start to come down with something, we will dilute this oil and rub it on the bottom of his feet, and also diffuse it into the air. I have noticed that it really does boost his immune system and helps him fight off whatever’s trying to compromise his body. It has also shortened the span of illnesses he has come down with. I love this oil blend!

Breathe: Another oil blend that I LOVE (and is pregnancy safe). This one has been great, especially after a fall and winter full of colds and respiratory issues. It contains oils that help open and soothe the tissues of the respiratory system. It also helps combat airborne bacteria and viruses. If we’re feeling a little congested, I’ll rub this on our feet and diffuse it in our room at night. It opens up the nasal passages really quickly! Just this past week this oil helped all of us get over a nagging cough and congestion we were dealing with.

Serenity: This is a relaxation blend. It’s pregnancy safe and filled with oils that help calm and soothe the body, alleviating stress and anxiety. I like to diffuse this one if I am feeling extra moody or stressed and I need more than just lavender to help calm me down. It has really helped my pregnancy insomnia as well.

Cedarwood: This is another oil that Marisa recommended to us for sleep issues, especially for my husband because he really has trouble sleeping. He needed something a little stronger than lavender and serenity, and cedarwood is more of a calming sedative oil, a.k.a. it knocks him out. He applies it on the bottoms of his feet before bed every night. It is not really recommended to use during pregnancy so I haven’t tried this one, but Kevin says it’s working really well for him and has helped him get better quality sleep.

Deep Blue: Kevin (my husband) uses this oil blend which is great for reducing muscle aches and pains and soothing inflammation. He likes to apply it to certain “hot spots” after we run, especially his knees. He says it’s like a natural version of icy hot. I have only tried it heavily diluted because that is what is recommended for pregnancy. This oil will really come in handy when I get back into marathon training next year!

My headache blend: I discovered this blend in the Modern Essentials book when I had a bad headache (common during this pregnancy) and was trying to figure out how to get it to go away. The book recommended combining frankincense, peppermint, and lavender and applying it on the temples, back of the neck and forehead. I was amazed when my headache disappeared within 5 minutes. I’ve tried it multiple times since then and it always does the trick, for both me and my hubby. This is awesome because there’s not much you can take while pregnant, plus I am not a big medicine taker as it is. I love that there’s a more natural way to cure these types of things.

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Other tools I have needed as I venture into the essential oils world:

​Fractionated ​Coconut Oil: This is used to dilute some of the oils. There is a chart in the back of the Modern Essentials Book that lists whether each oil can be used aromatically (by smelling it), topically (applying it to your skin), or ingesting it. Some of the oils are used topically, but it is recommended they be diluted with a carrier oil (like coconut oil) first. This depends on the strength of the oil and also certain factors, like pregnancy or if the oil is being used on a child. Marisa recommended this fractionated coconut oil and I ordered mine from Amazon.

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Here is what the chart looks like, with the key to explain what the different colored dots stand for.

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Diffuser: I use a diffuser to use oils aromatically. A few drops of oil go into the diffuser with water, and it either puts out steady steam or comes out intermittently. I bought my diffuser (again, recommended by Marisa) from Amazon, and plan to get a couple more soon. I want to get one for Kevin’s room as well as downstairs. It’s important to get an ultrasonic diffuser, because they will not destroy the chemical properties of the oils, which is important if you want to get medicinal benefit from them. The biggest thing to look at when researching which one would be right for you is the amount of time they can run and how big of a space they fill up. I like the Jasmine diffuser because it can go 7 hours continuously and 21 hours intermittent with a half cup of water; however it is better for small to medium-sized rooms rather than large ones. There are other diffusers that put out a lot more steam but only run for 3 hours continuous or 6 hours intermittent. It all depends on your purpose for diffusing and what size room you have.

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To build my stash, I started with the Family Physician’s Kit which includes 5 mL bottles of Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Melaleuca, Oregano, Frankincense, Deep Blue, Breathe, DigestZen, and On Guard. When I ordered my kit it also included the Slim & Sassy oil which helps boost metabolism (not pregnancy safe but will be great to use afterwards!). It’s definitely an investment but I wanted to start with a good variety of oils that would be useful to us in many ways.

 

After that initial order I’ve been placing small orders each month. We are just beginning to experiment with some oils that will help me with my new lovely varicose veins and my husband’s high blood pressure. I’ll make sure to report back on if the recommended oils helped us with these issues! Beginning this month I will be also start to build my stash with oils that are good for labor/delivery, post-partum and breastfeeding, as recommended by Marisa. I am thinking of doing a whole post (or series) on how I’ve used oils in pregnancy, labor/delivery, post-partum and breastfeeding- once I get through all of those stages of course.

I really can’t say enough about how much using essential oils has improved my family’s health and happiness, even after only 3 months! I’m so excited that I’ve discovered them and I know they’ll continue to benefit us in the future.

Helpful Links:

Baby 2.0 – 25 Weeks

Hello week 25! Apparently I have no notes about this week! I guess that means it was relatively uneventful, which I’m actually happy about because the last few weeks (and months) have been crazy! Looking back on the week now, there are definitely some things worth mentioning, but a lot of it is more of the same. Read on for all the details!

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Baby

This week baby is the size of a cauliflower. He is now at least 13.5 inches from head to heels and weighs about 1.5 – 2.5 pounds. He is starting to fill out and fatten up, and will continue to do so for the next 15(ish) weeks. Something cool I learned is that he can now tell which way is up and down as he develops his sense of equilibrium. He is also starting to grow nails, grasp his hands, and wiggle his fingers and toes!

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Body

I didn’t have as much belly discomfort this week so I think I’m past the growth spurt or whatever that was in week 24. I’ve been having some of the same typical symptoms though, mostly heartburn, even hours after eating, and peeing a little bit when I sneeze… you know, the usual 🙂

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We’ve all been dealing with a touch of sickness this week. Nothing terrible, just a little cough and congestion. Other than that I’ve felt pretty good for the most part. My energy level was a LOT better than last week and that’s made all the difference.

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Other than that, just a whole lot of movement happening in there! I can actually see it from the outside at this point. I keep trying to get it on video but of course once I start it he stops moving. I’ll catch it one of these days!

Mind

All of our low key weekends lately and another snow day have feeling pretty relaxed lately! I am so glad we decided to not plan anything big for a while after the holidays. It’s been so nice. We’ve been able to take it easy but also get some much needed things done around the house. I figured out how many weekends we have left until my due date, and picked one ‘project’ for each of them. This makes all the things we’ve been wanting to do before baby #2 comes so much more manageable! Some of the projects are small and some are a little more time intensive, but we’ve been working together a little bit both days of the weekend to get them done. This past weekend our project was organizing the extra room in the basement that currently contains a whole lot of stuff. We didn’t get totally finished with it, but my hubby did bring up some of the baby stuff we had down there. WOW, it definitely brought back memories! And made me so happy that I don’t have to buy it all again!

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In other exciting news, we decided on a name for our little man! We’ve had this name in mind for a while (even before we knew it was another boy) but we wanted to try it out for a while to see if it was a good fit. We now feel 100% confident in our decision. Our baby will be named Kyler James Spaulding 🙂 My hubby actually suggested Kyler, which we love because it’s not super common but not too unusual. It actually has Dutch origin, and my grandma was born and grew up in the Netherlands. James is my dad’s name. We think it’s perfect because Kevin is named after my hubby’s side (he’s Kevin Troy Spaulding III), and we wanted this baby to be named after my side. I am LOVING being able to call him by his name!

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Kevin loves talking to Baby Kyler too 🙂

I can tell my hormones are in full pregnant mode because I found myself crying at pretty much every Superbowl commercial yesterday. I just couldn’t handle them. Puppies, daddies, running ‪#‎likeagirl‬, domestic violence, kids getting into household accidents… to name a few. Pass the tissues please!

Food

I was still hungry this week but not RAVENOUS like last week. We followed through with the last week of our January meal plan and I’m so proud of us for meeting our goal to not eat out all month. I’m really feeling good physically and “clean” inside because of the food choices we’ve been making. However, I’m definitely excited to go out to eat soon! We did plan out meals for February, but we will be heading to Myrtle Beach for a mini vacation to visit my in-laws next week so we’re ‘saving’ our meals out for then. I can’t wait to eat some pre-race pizza from Mellow Mushroom (our favorite) and then go out for a Valentine’s Day dinner after our half marathon!

Fitness

All of my runs felt awesome this week! Yeah! So thankful to be able to say that. I am aware of the varicose veins in the back of my right leg but they don’t feel painful, just a little uncomfortable and “full” after a longer run. Wearing compression and elevating when I can definitely helps. My favorite runs this week were on Saturday and Sunday, because I got to run with Laura again!!! Laura is my friend that just had her second baby 3 weeks ago. She’s already feeling great and has been starting to run again. We ran 3 miles on Saturday and then I did part of my long run with her on Sunday. I really missed her!

  • Monday – Rest Day
  • Tuesday – 4 miles @ 10:24 pace
  • Wednesday – ​3 miles @ 10:18 pace
  • Thursday – Body Pump + 1 mile @ 10:34 pace
  • Friday – 3 miles @ 10:17 pace
  • Saturday – Body Pump + 3 miles @ 10:54 pace
  • Sunday – 7 miles @ 10:42 pace
  • Run – 21 miles
  • Strength – 2x

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Week 25 Summary

  • Weight gained this week: +1.2 lbs.
  • Total weight gained: 16.2 lbs.
  • Linea negra status: nope
  • Stretch mark status: nope
  • Belly button status: still getting shallower!
  • Favorite part of the week: my snow day with my boy!
  • Looking forward to: Heading to Myrtle Beach for our mini-vacation next Wednesday!
  • # of days until our next race: 12! Our Valentine’s Day half marathon is coming up soon 🙂

25 weeks last time around!​