Monthly Archives: April 2015

Our Family & Maternity Photos

A couple of weeks ago we had a family photo session done with Sahsha from Rubylee Photography. I found her when I was searching for birth photography in our area, and as soon as I saw her work I knew I needed her to be at our birth. This was confirmed when I met her in person and got to know her better. At the time she was currently pregnant with her 5th child (who was born a little over a month ago!), is also a doula, and was planning a home birth. It was a match made in heaven! We also asked her to do some family/maternity photos before Kyler joins our family. We really wanted more of a “lifestyle” photo session that captured things we do as a family, so we decided to do the photos around and inside our house. Sahsha did an amazing job, and I cried when I saw the photos for the first time. She did a nice combination of posed and candid photos in her unique and artistic style. She has an amazing eye for using lighting, colors and shadows, and I LOVE it. Here are some of our favorites. It was hard to narrow it down from over 100 photos!































I am so thankful to have this special time in our life preserved in such a beautiful way, and I can’t wait to see how she captures our birth story in a few weeks!

Rubylee Photography’s Facebook Page

Baby 2.0 – 37 Weeks

Well, with my first pregnancy my 37 week update was the last one I wrote. My water broke at 37 weeks and 6 days, and Kevin was born 30 hours later at exactly 38 weeks. I have to say I really do think that I’ll be writing a 38 week update this time (and most likely 39 and 40 weeks as well!), but we’ll see! Here are all the details about week 37.



This week baby is the size of a winter melon. He could be anywhere from 6 to 9 pounds (whoa, that’s quite the range!) and anywhere from 18-21 inches. He is busy practicing skills like inhaling, exhaling, sucking, gripping and blinking. Even though he has developed his most important functions, he needs to spend these last few weeks getting stronger and healthier before it’s time to come out!

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I have quite a bit to update on this week physically. I had my 36 week appointment with my midwives last Tuesday, where they did some tests (group B strep and iron levels), checked baby’s position and did an internal check for dilation and effacement while she was down there. She was able to confirm that baby was head down because she could actually feel his head through my cervix- which was 1 centimeter dilated and 60% effaced. I know that doesn’t really mean much but it’s kind of interesting, since I didn’t get checked at all like that until after my water broke and I was admitted to the hospital at 38 weeks. I don’t want to get a lot of cervical checks, but they do that to establish a baseline for once I’m in labor to see how much I’ve progressed.

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More good news came a few days later, when I found out that my iron levels are good now after taking a supplement for almost 2 months now, and I am GBS negative! This means I don’t have to worry about any antibiotics when I go into labor or being put on a stricter timeline if my water breaks first again. It is just one less thing to worry about!

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Aside from that I am continuing to have random pelvic pains (a.k.a. lightning crotch) as baby gets lower and lower. I also have a lot of soreness and tenderness around my belly button, which has almost fully popped out at this point. I am actually sleeping a little better for the most part, but it would be a lot better if I wasn’t congested all of a sudden! I think it’s my allergies, since this tends to happen every year around this time. It’s no fun but I know it will get better soon.


Whew- another busy week at work and at home! However, at the end of it I can say that I really do feel prepared for baby, which is good since I’m now full-term! I feel very relieved too because from now until 42 weeks, I will be able to go through the birth center with midwives as planned and not at the hospital. I didn’t really think I’d go into labor before 37 weeks or anything, but my best friend Ashley’s water randomly broke this past week and she had her baby shortly after. She was only 35 weeks 5 days! He was only 4.5 pounds but super healthy, and mom and baby are both doing well. They actually just went home from the hospital yesterday when he was 5 days old. When all of this happened it reminded me just how close we could be to meeting our baby, and that anything can happen!

We had our visit with our birth assistant to make sure we have everything we need for birth, and we have officially prepped everything for baby as well as completed random projects around the house. We have the car seat installed, bottle parts/pump parts/pacifiers sanitized, projects like staining furniture and recaulking bathroom tiles done, finally putting wires in wall from when we mounted our TV, and bought some supplies that we still needed like nursing bras and tanks, and our double BOB running stroller (!!!).

One bit of stress we had this week was getting surprising news from the pediatrician we have been seeing since shortly after Kevin was born. They informed us that they would not sign the document from our birth center agreeing to see our baby at his 2 day appointment, since he is not going to be born in a hospital facility. We were told (after a month of waiting) that only 3 out of the 8 doctors at the practice agreed to support our ‘choice’ so they could not sign the paperwork. We were extremely disappointed, but took it as a sign to switch pediatricians and find one that would be a better match for our family. We ended up finding one that we are really excited about, so I think it was all meant to be 🙂


Another week with a decreased appetite. It’s starting to show on the scale too – I didn’t gain any weight this week. My midwives told me this is normal as the stomach is so compressed in the last weeks of pregnancy. It feels like everything I eat gives me acid reflux/heartburn and also gives the baby hiccups. It is not very pleasant! In other food news, this week I officially finished the 15 freezer meals I prepared for after the baby is here, which feels SO GOOD! I wrote a post all about it a few days ago that can be found here. I know I am going to love having a months worth of food ready to go after the birth!



I had an amazing week of running except for one day- which is a win in my book at 37 weeks pregnant! I really believe there are two reasons why I had good runs this week: #1) Starting to go to the chiropractor (I went last weekend and this past weekend too), and #2) Doing 3 out of 4 runs in the morning. Coincidentally, the one run that was horrible was done after work. I think that the baby is just too low at that point – it felt like straight baby skull on my pubic bone. So painful! By far my best run was my “long” run on Saturday with our running group. I was only planning to do 4 miles but I felt so good that I added an extra mile on at the end. I didn’t feel pregnant at all. It was amazing! I know I say this every week, but I am so unbelievably thankful that my body has allowed me to continue running to this point. I feel stronger than ever!

  • Monday – rest day
  • Tuesday – 2 miles @ 11:28 pace
  • Wednesday – ​3 miles @ 10:57 pace
  • Thursday – rest day
  • Friday – 2 miles @ 11:04 pace
  • Saturday – 5 miles @ 10:39 pace
  • Sunday – Body Pump
  • Run – 12 miles
  • Strength – 1x


Week 37 Summary

  • Weight gained this week: +0.0 lbs.
  • Total weight gained: +26.0 lbs
  • Belly button status: Ouch is all I have to say 😦
  • Linea negra status: Starting to show up but only below my belly button this time!
  • Stretch mark status: Still none, but I check every day.
  • Best part of the week: Baby Henry being born and healthy as could be at 35 weeks!
  • Looking forward to: Little Kevin’s first race this weekend- a 1/4 mile kids run! He is so excited!
  • # of days until my next appointment: 1! My appointments are every Tuesday now.

37 weeks last time around!​

15 Vegetarian Freezer Meals


Before I had Kevin 2 and a half years ago, I spent a weekend making a few freezer meals for us to have after he was born. I made 4 meals and blogged about it here. That post remains one of my most viewed (out of over 500 posts!). This time around I knew I wanted to make freezer meals again, but I wanted to make it easier on myself by slowly working on them rather than making them all at once. I also wanted to make a LOT more- at least enough for us to eat for about a month.

I made a list of recipes from some of my favorite websites and cookbooks, and then did some meal planning. I decided that over the course of a few weeks, I would make each meal in a double-sized portion- one for us to eat now and one to freeze. By doing it this way it was much easier since I was already buying and prepping the ingredients, and would cook them both at the same time. I was so excited about this plan and got started right away, and just finished last night with #15!

With all of these freezer meals, I fully cooked them and then froze them, so that they just require a reheat before eating. Since these meals will feed us for 2 or more days (we love leftovers!) it should definitely last us a month after Kyler is born, which makes me very happy! Here are all the meals I made with links to most of them – unless they came from a cookbook that I purchased. In that case I won’t be able to share the recipe due to copyright issues. But the cookbooks are definitely worth purchasing – they are our favorites! Here we go!

1. Baked Pasta with Spinach & Ricotta. A simple and delicious twist on baked ziti. It consists of layers of mini pasta shells in marinara sauce, spinach and ricotta cheese, and mozzarella sauce. All 3 of us love this meal!



2. Black Bean Quinoa Enchilada BakeAnother recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod, and this one is a favorite of ours! I make it frequently, and I made it for a friend after she had her baby a couple months ago. It is delicious by itself or with some tortilla chips for dipping. I can’t wait to eat this one after baby is here!


3. Black Bean Burgers. Someone randomly gave me this recipe and I’ve blogged about it before, but it’s so simple and delicious! I thought that it would be nice to have some healthy homemade veggie burgers in the freezer for an easy and quick lunch or dinner.


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4. Tortilla Soup. This recipe is from one of our favorite cookbooks, More Peas, Thank You, which was written by a former blogger named Sarah Matheny. It is so easy to make but has a ton of flavor. We love to top it with fresh avocado and baked tortilla strips. I made a double batch of this soup and put the extra in two large ziplock bags that I laid flat in the freezer to save space. I can’t wait to eat this soup on a chilly late-spring evening!



5. Vegetable Lasagna. Lasagna is pretty much the ultimate standard freezer meal. Some lasagna recipes are pretty complicated though, so I wanted to find one that was simple but packed with veggies at the same time. I used the recipe that I linked above, but I omitted the mushrooms and added more zucchini. I also didn’t cook the noodles before assembling the lasagna, and it turned out perfectly!


6. Red Lentil Enchiladas. This recipe is from Sarah Matheny’s original cookbook, Peas and Thank You, and is my hubby’s favorite meal. It was also one of the freezer meals we made last time! These are pretty much basic enchiladas that are filled with a mixture of red lentils, onion, jalapeño, cilantro and enchilada sauce. I topped half with real cheese and half with vegan Daiya cheese. I am slightly lactose intolerant but (obviously) still eat some cheese if you haven’t noticed in all of these freezer meals! I decided to use the vegan cheese for this meal just to give my body a break from the dairy. It still tastes awesome to me!


7. Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes. I got this recipe from a friend after she made it for dinner one night when we came over. It is PACKED with flavor and so yummy with cornbread muffins or tortilla chips. Like the soup, I froze this in two large freezer bags by lying them flat.



8. Naan Pizza Pack. This was an idea I just made up. We love making pizzas with Indian naan bread, so I thought it would be fun to make a frozen ‘pizza pack’ with everything we needed to make simple pizzas for dinner one night. Inside a large freezer bag I put a pack of naan bread, baggies of marinara sauce and cheese, and a frozen vegetarian sausage that we usually split between the two of us. I figure whenever we want pizza after baby is here we can also throw any veggies we have on top as well.



9. Roasted Vegetable Burritos. If you haven’t noticed we really like Mexican food! This recipe is from Budget Bytes, which is a website I discovered recently and love! Like the veggie burgers I made, I thought these burritos would be awesome to grab and eat for dinner or lunch. They are filled with Mexican rice, black beans, a little cheese, and roasted veggies. After having a couple for dinner, we were able to freeze 8 of them. I’m so excited to dig into these later!


10. Easy Cheesy Baked Tortellini. This is another recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod. Both of my boys LOVE tortellini, so they were big fans of this meal. For this one I decided to just freeze half of it rather than make a double portion, which is why the pan is smaller. It’s still enough to feed the 3 of us though because it’s filling- a little tortellini goes a long way! My hubby actually made this one himself because I had a late doctor’s appointment on this night. He’s the best!


11. Crispy Quinoa Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. We LOVE these little cakes from Vegetarian Times, but I do modify the recipe a bit. First, I skip the tahini (just not a huge fan of the flavor) and add an extra egg instead to help bind the cake together. I use baked/mashed sweet potato rather than grated, also for binding purposes. I also do not use the optional nuts. I love to eat these by themselves with the roasted red pepper sauce, or on top of a salad.

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12. Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas. Yet another Two Peas and Their Pod recipe! This dish consists of layers of enchilada sauce, tons of roasted veggies, black beans, corn tortillas, and cheese. It’s really delicious!


13. Vegetarian Meatballs. This recipe is also from the More Peas, Thank You cookbook. I wanted to freeze some “meat”balls for us to be able to throw into a pasta dish or make meatball subs with. This was the first time I made this recipe and we were all very impressed. These meatballs are made with pinto beans, ground flaxseed, ground oats, onion, garlic and other yummy ingredients. It was super easy to throw it all into the food processor and then form into balls, that then baked in the oven. We made meatball subs with them that night and froze the rest. They were delicious, and so similar to real meat that it almost freaked me out a little bit 🙂

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14. Pancakes. Who doesn’t love pancakes? We do! We love them for breakfast, but we also enjoy breakfast for dinner a couple times a month. Pancakes are super easy to make, but it’s also nice to have a frozen stash to pull from when time (or free hands) are limited. I kept it simple by using our favorite Kodiak Cake mix (just add water and they taste delicious!). I wrapped up the pancakes in sets of 3 and then put them in a larger freezer bag. Yum!

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15. Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread. This last recipe is not technically a “meal” but it is super delicious! My husband was upset when I made these and froze them all- he wanted me to save him some to eat now. Oops! I use the recipe linked above, but I cut the sugar down to 1 cup (you won’t miss the extra, I promise!) and use half white and half whole wheat flour. I didn’t use any nuts but I did use chocolate chips of course! One batch ended up making one loaf and 10 muffins, that I wrapped individually then put in a large freezer bag. These will be great to pull out for a quick snack or a sweet treat once baby is here 🙂


I am more than a little proud of my stocked freezer! I know I’ll be so thankful for these meals once baby is here and I can take a little break from cooking to enjoy some extra newborn snuggles 🙂 Please share your favorite freezer meals below- I am always looking to add more to my list!

Baby 2.0 – 36 Weeks

Oh boy! 36 weeks! I am now within a month of my due date. Kevin was born at exactly 38 weeks, and while I know that probably won’t happen this time, the fact that that’s only 2 weeks away is in the back of my mind! Eek! Here’s what went down during week 36.



This week baby is the size of a honeydew melon. He’s continuing to gain weight and get ready for life on the outside. If he were to be born now he would most likely be able to breathe fine on his own. His bones are getting stronger, but are still somewhat flexible to help him get through the birth canal. According to one of my apps, fetal kicks may actually feel more like a sliding motion since he is running out of room- I have found this to be true! Baby boy is getting big!

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Symptoms this week… lots of them! I’ve experienced more dropping, as can be seen in the photos below! I also know this has happened because of the lovely sensation of lightning crotch I’ve been having lately. Sometimes it feels like he is actually burrowing deep into my pelvis and it’s really painful!

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I’ve been continuing to have a lot of Braxton Hicks, some of which come with a crampy, achy feeling almost like menstrual cramps down low. I’m definitely noticing that I’ve been growing at a more rapid rate these last few weeks too. I pulled my maternity pants up last week and they ripped (big sad face!), and my wedding rings stopped fitting this week. It’s also getting more uncomfortable to drive because the position I have to sit in just doesn’t feel good- it makes Kyler move like crazy and there’s not very much room to do that these days. Other than that, I’m just tired from sleeping really restlessly, like I mentioned last week. I think that’s just going to be the norm for a while.

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I also finally got to see a chiropractor this past weekend, and he worked on my right side where I’ve been having tightness, numbness and tingling in my leg, hip and lower back. He said he can definitely tell that is the side of my body where baby usually hangs out and that it’s causing some imbalances in my body. I felt amazing after he adjusted me and used a heated wand thing to rub out a big knot in my lower right back. I’m looking forward to going weekly to keep my body feeling good and keep everything in alignment for what will hopefully be a smooth birth in about a month or so!


Another busy week checking things off the to-do list, but we did have time for some fun as well. The project I am most proud of is our new headboard for our bed. We’ve lived together for almost 5 1/2 years now and have only ever had a bed frame. I have been wanting to make a headboard for a long time now and we finally made it happen! We followed this tutorial and it turned out great. I’m excited to have an ‘adult-looking’ bed, and I know it will made middle of the night nursing sessions a lot more comfortable. I also worked on purchasing and organizing our supplies for birth, which made it very apparent that this is actually happening soon!


We were able to have a date night on Friday night, thanks to my friend Cynthia, her husband and their 3 month old baby, who spent some time with Kevin while we went out to dinner. Kevin had a blast playing with them and practicing his skills being around a new baby, and we had fun eating sushi (veggie for me!), ice cream, and taking a trip to Babies R Us 🙂

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The fun continued the next day, starting with my 5K race, and continuing with another great day with friends! We met up with our friends Laura and Stephen, who have a daughter Kevin’s age and a new baby as well. Our toddlers are both doing the Caboose Run in a couple weeks, which is a 1/4 mile fun run for kids, so we took them to the track to let them run around and practice. It was so much fun. I think they’re naturals! After some time outside it was really hot, so we went back to our friends’ house to let the kids play indoors and do some grilling. I love hanging out with friends that have kids the same age as Kevin because they understand all the things they do- like when my son colors with crayons on her beautiful carpet! Ugh!


Other than that I have just been enjoying my special time with my boy and trying not to let annoying work things stress me out too much. At the end of the day when I lay down with him and relax, this is all I need to make me happy 🙂



My appetite decreased some this week, I think because I’m running out of room in there to fit very much. I think this is why I didn’t gain much weight this week. I have now officially hit 26 pounds though, which is what I gained total with Kevin’s pregnancy! I’m fine with that since I am eating relatively well. This week we also continued to stock up on our freezer meals. I’m almost done with the whole process and will blog about all the meals we made soon!


Running was definitely a roller coaster this week- full of ups and downs. I had two days where I did 1 easy mile with the kids at running club, and two morning runs- a 3 miler and a 2 miler… One of which felt awesome and one of which left me in pain from baby’s head burrowing deep down in my pelvis. Over the weekend I ran what is most likely my last race of pregnancy, and because of how the week went I had no idea how it would go. It was really warm outside and the course had lots of hills, but somehow I surprised myself with a finish time of 30:31! The full recap is linked above. I had quite a drop in mileage this week, but I have decided I’m totally okay with that, especially due to my awesome race and actually making it to Body Pump twice this week! Yeah, go me!

  • Monday – rest day
  • Tuesday – 1 untimed mile at school running club
  • Wednesday – ​3 miles @ 11:17 pace
  • Thursday – Body Pump + 1 untimed mile at school running club
  • Friday – 2 miles @ 11:54 pace
  • Saturday – 3.1 miles @ 9:49 pace
  • Sunday – Body Pump
  • Run – 9.1 miles
  • Strength – 2x


Week 36 Summary

  • Weight gained this week: +0.4 lbs.
  • Total weight gained: +26.0 lbs
  • Belly button status: Popping out more and hurting 😦
  • Linea negra status: Starting to show up but only below my belly button this time!
  • Stretch mark status: Still none
  • Best part of the week: Saturday- the race, running at the track with the kids, and spending the day with our friends
  • Looking forward to: BIRTH! I am getting excited to do it all over again!
  • # of days until my next appointment: 1! Should be an interesting one. They will be doing my GBS test and checking internally to make sure baby’s head down, along with other fun stuff.

36 weeks last time around!​

Stafford Hospital 5K

Yesterday I ran my 8th race of this pregnancy, the Stafford Hospital 5K. This is a local 5K that takes place at a hospital that is about 10 minutes from my house. I was loving the fact that it was close to home and started at 8:30 a.m.! I also loved that both of my Kevins came along and that my friend Laura was running too.


The week before the race was a little rough in terms of my running, so I had no idea how it would go. It was really warm outside (in the 60s at the start) and the sun was strong with no clouds in the sky whatsoever. Laura had run this race last year and told me the course looped a few times and was hilly, so I figured due to all these factors I would just do the best I could and take it easy. I am 36 weeks pregnant after all 🙂


The race started right on time and we all began with a nice downhill. Laura went ahead since she was trying to get a good baseline of where her fitness is right now at 3 1/2 months post partum, while I stayed back and ran my own pace. Since the course was looped I knew I’d be able to see my boys a bunch of times, and I saw them right away on the side of the road.  I love seeing them when I run- it’s the best!



I didn’t wear my watch so I had no idea what my pace was, I just ran by feel and thankfully I felt amazing! I did get warm pretty quickly due to the temperature and the sun, but I never had a moment of discomfort, pain or anything – even on the many hills!

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The course had a few out and back segments where I was able to see Laura, who was killing it with her pace! I felt strong and so happy, I couldn’t peel the smile off my face. I walked through a water stop right before mile 2, but other than that I ran the entire time. While I was finishing my final loop Laura was crossing the finish line in just over 25 minutes- a new course PR for her! She’s a rockstar!


Then it was my turn! I rounded the corner and expected to see about 33 minutes on the clock- assuming I was running around an 11 minute mile. I was shocked to see 30 minutes! I actually crossed the finish line asking Kevin and Laura, “Was that really my time?”


Official Finish Time – 30:31 (9:49 average pace)

I was so excited to have run such a good race and felt so strong at 36 weeks pregnant. This is most likely my last pregnant race (maybe ever!) so I was really happy to finish on such a positive note.



Depending on when this baby is born, I may have time to squeeze in a May race on Mothers Day weekend or the weekend after that! I would love to wear my Running for Two shirt one more time 🙂