Friday, February 28, 2014

It's Raining!

If you're in the LA area, you already know it's raining--not because you can see or hear it but because every news station has dispatched half their reporters to various locations to discuss the weather.

Actually, though, we've all been anticipating the rain all week, and I'm thrilled it's finally here. We needed it, and--bonus--I don't have to drive anywhere today, so I can enjoy it from the comfort of home. (For non-LA folks, rain and the 405 just do not mix. People panic. It's chaos.)

I really meant to publish a post last night, but I hit a wall around--I kid you not--6:30 pm. I almost fell asleep at 7 but managed to really push myself to stay awake. Until 8:30. Terry went over to our neighbor's to tutor their son, and I crashed on the couch. I slept almost straight through the night until about 6:30 am. And today I feel spectacular, so I guess I just needed some sleep!

Before my epic night of sleep, Terry and I had leftovers on the menu for dinner last night. I've been craving crunchy tacos, so I picked up a package of crunchy shells from Trader Joe's. Unfortunately, all but two taco shells were completely broken! So the first night we attempted to eat the tacos as though they were, in fact, tacos, but yesterday I just broke up a bunch of shells and made nachos!

What you see:

  • broken taco shells
  • ground beef sauteed with red bell peppers and Mexican spices (Terry makes this mix at home)
  • shredded pepper jack and Iberico cheeses
  • a whole avocado, diced
  • Greek yogurt (substitute for sour cream)
  • tomatoes (only for Terry)
I've never made homemade nachos before, but it was so simple. If I had thought it through, I would have added black beans and diced onion, but whatever. They were delicious and fun to eat. Terry needed more food, so he also had an apple with cheese slices, but these nachos will certainly make another appearance in the Heinrich household.

Speaking of our house, we're officially beginning the process of getting ready to move out. We've been apartment hunting for several weeks, but yesterday I pulled a bunch of boxes out to start packing, and today we're giving notice to our current place that we'll be leaving at the end of March. I'm surprised to find myself very sad to be leaving this home. It's the longest we've lived somewhere since starting college! This was where we started our marriage, too, which makes it just a little harder to leave. I know I'll be glad to have more space, and of course the experience of welcoming our baby into the new home will make up for being just a teensy bit sad about leaving here, but we're certainly going to cherish this last month!

Our plans for the weekend: yoga, apartment hunting, and a date night tonight; more apartment hunting and packing tomorrow; our first birth class on Sunday!

How's the weather where you are? (<--winner of the Least Interesting Question Award!)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WIAW--as the French Do

Today I did something I almost never do: I ate three meals, plus dessert. Normally, as you've noticed with other WIAWs, I snack all day. But I decided to try what the French do and go with just three larger meals today. (Terry thought it was strange that I found this method to be an experiment, as it's a very common way of eating. Whatever, it's not my norm.)

So here's what I ate:

Breakfast: two scrambled eggs (made with milk and cheese), plus a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter, sliced bananas, and strawberries.

Lunch: turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with cheese, mustard, and avocado, plus a baked sweet potato with some butter and salt

And a small brownie with a glass of milk with lunch.

For dinner, I made ground beef tacos with bell peppers, spinach, Iberico cheese, some Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) and crunchy taco shells, plus some mango

And for dessert, some ice cream with granola

My little experiment (which Terry still thinks is ridiculous and doesn't really count as an experiment) really wasn't a big deal. I didn't get hungry between meals, and I think my meals were a little more well rounded than my snacks usually are.

I really don't have too much to report from the rest of my day. I got in some quality time on the treadmill this morning (30 minutes walking), subbed a half day, and spent the afternoon catching up with Jenn at her place. This evening Terry came home after a night away in San Diego for work, so we chatted awhile before settling in for new episodes of New Girl and Brooklyn 99. Riveting, right?

I am, however, really looking forward to this weekend: apartment hunting and our first birth class! Can you believe it's already almost March?

Of Possible Interest:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Exercise During Pregnancy

Yesterday, Terry and I headed outside to enjoy the beautiful weather and get some exercise. Sadly, the wind picked up and we were freezing almost the entire time, but at least the exercise part worked.

Sort of. 

I wanted to try jogging again in short intervals, but, unfortunately, it didn't exactly happen that way. We jogged for maybe 3-4 minutes when I decided my body just didn't feel right. I couldn't specify a particular pain or symptom, but something was off. Granted, it could just be that I'm out of jogging shape (my runs have become progressively less frequent), but this isn't exactly the ideal time to get back in shape for it. 

The bummer is that I really love jogging, and even jogging a month ago felt fantastic. After a solid warm up (usually at least 10 minutes of walking and light jogging before I worked up to around 5.5 or 6 mph), my body just dove into the rhythm and felt great. It's possible that I just had an off day yesterday, but I'm aware that my running days might be on hold until summer.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd share the exercises I have enjoyed lately, including some online (free!) resources.

A few notes:
  • I'm currently 25 weeks pregnant.
  • Before pregnancy, my activity level was moderate to rigorous exercise, 45 to 60 minutes per day, five days per week, including strength training, cardio, HIIT, and yoga.
  • My doctor is well aware of my current activities and approves. If you're pregnant, you should check with your doctor before making any changes to your exercise program.
  • I really focus on and listen to my body when I exercise (as illustrated above with jogging). If something doesn't feel right, I stop. I recommend the same to anyone who is pregnant, as pregnancy is NOT the time to push yourself too hard.
So on to my favorite pregnancy exercises!

Walking and Hiking
While jogging isn't currently working out, walking has been consistent and wonderful throughout pregnancy. It allows me time outside in the fresh air (sorry if you're somewhere cold), time to catch up with my husband (Terry has been awesome about walking with me whenever possible), an opportunity to get my heart rate up safely, and a chance to get all that blood circulating. 

Strength Training
My doctor requested that I limit my weights to 5 or 10 pounds, but I've had no problem sticking to those weights or even bodyweight. Here are a few strength workouts I've done in the last few months:
Actually, yoga has been on the back burner during pregnancy. Much as I love it, I haven't found an in-person prenatal class I can attend regularly, so I'm resorting to online videos. And just now I'm finally getting around to actually giving the online videos a chance...and they're actually really great! Here are a few I've tried (I may or may not have created a spreadsheet so I can keep track of the ones I like, how long they are, and what they focus on, so I can decide in the moment which one I want to do):
  • Alleviating Back Pain (Prenatal Yoga Center) - This one has been fantastic for me and really does release some of the tension in my lower back. (16 minutes)
  • Helpful Hip Openers (Prenatal Yoga Center) - My hips were already tight before pregnancy hit, so this one feels even more necessary. Plus, hip openers also alleviate back pain. (20 minutes)
  • Prenatal Yoga Flow (Do Yoga with Me) - Honestly, this one isn't for me, but I can imagine its benefits for anyone who might need extra relaxation. It's VERY mellow, slow, quiet, and peaceful. (60 minutes)
  • Pregnancy Yoga 1-5 (Body Talk Daily) - My favorite so far! This link goes to the first video, but the site has multiple 10-minute prenatal yoga videos, each with a different emphasis. Today I did the second video, which is a standing flow that emphasizes leg strength, and I loved it. I especially love that Katy Appleton stresses the importance of transitioning out of and into poses slowly and safely. Plus, she's British, and if you've never done yoga with a British teacher, I can't tell you how much better it is. :-) (10 minutes each)
Stretching and Labor Exercises
I could be much better about these, and since Terry and I will start our birth class this weekend, I imagine we'll get homework to practice, but the few attempts I've made have felt great. I especially love cat-cow stretches, pelvic tilts, and sitting cross-legged on the floor (simple but effective). Beyond that, I'm just stretching in whatever way feels good to keep my muscles active and limber throughout the next few months.

Overall, I'm just thrilled that I have a good amount of energy to keep up some activity throughout this time. I'm learning to be patient with myself as my abilities change almost weekly, and I have grown more in-tune with my body and what feels good and what doesn't as far as exercise. I hope (and think) it will all pay off, either in labor or in getting back to "normal" after baby is here, but for now it just feels really good to stay active. 

Any favorite prenatal exercises you recommend?

Have you ever had to make a major shift in your activity level? The only other time I can think of is when I was in recovery from my foot surgery, but I'd say that was way worse!

Quick Weekend in Vegas

A few months ago, one of my best friends, Amanda, moved to Vegas for work. She is now a big hot shot in marketing at one of the major hotel groups out there, so I planned a trip to visit. I arrived Friday evening, and we stopped at the strip on the way back to her apartment for pizza at Five50 in Aria (Aria is one of the newest hotels on the strip and one of the nicest, based on my thorough inspection of its lobby).

Five50 was delicious! We shared garlic bread, a chopped salad, and the meatiest pizza they had.
 I really liked the ambiance of the restaurant, too--not too dressy or casual, perfectly fine for conversation, and  We ended up bringing all but two slices of the pizza home because we were stuffed, but that made for a perfect lunch the next day. The rest of the evening focused on catching up, relaxing on the couch, and getting to sleep relatively early.

Unfortunately, I didn't sleep in much, but I still felt rested upon waking up. We ate some cereal (a special treat! Amanda had some delicious mango granola cereal from TJ's) and then headed out for a walk around Amanda's neighborhood. She lives in a more residential area of Vegas, and it was really nice to see the parks nearby with lots of active kids, families, and dogs. We even saw a mini-dog show with four dogs competing to win what was obviously a rather prestigious and competitive honor.

Amanda and I spent a lot of Saturday just relaxing, hanging out at home, watching The Mindy Project, eating leftover pizza. Later in the afternoon I suggested pampering ourselves, so we headed to a local nail salon for manicures and pedicures (in the fancy massage chairs!). I decided on grey, shimmery nails, which turned out to look a little like abalone colors, and blue toes. We agreed it was a mermaid theme.

After a quick grocery trip, we whipped up some veggie quesadillas at home and munched on too many chips with guac and pineapple salsa. We also made brownies and topped them with ice cream, which is one of life's great duos. Amanda had Pitch Perfect, which I've only seen once, and my love for Anna Kendrick only grew watching it a second time. How is she so awesome?

So on Sunday we basically repeated our entire routine from Saturday: coffee/tea, cereal, long walk, but then we spiced it up with brunch! We went to Honey Salt, which I highly recommend. Amanda had the short rib egg slider, and I chose the roasted apple pancakes.

Both were incredible! Plus, the restaurant is just so cute, and they have a salt scrub in the bathroom that made my hands feel soft like butter. We also contributed a haiku to the guest book, which was a cute way of presenting the bill.

We did a little window shopping after brunch and then headed to the apartment so I could pack up. Before my flight, we headed to the strip once more. Amanda showed me the stunning Chinese New Year decorations at The Bellagio,

we browsed the "Women Artists" exhibit, we checked out the Cosmopolitan hotel, and we stopped at Jean Phillipe's incredibly artistic dessert displays. We also grabbed sandwiches for an early dinner, since my flight was during dinnertime, and I snagged two croissants to bring home to share with Terry (chocolate and almond).

After a quick stop at the Bellagio fountain, we headed to the airport and said our goodbyes.

Not at the Bellagio fountain, but a nice photo

The weekend, while quick, helped me completely relax. It was wonderful to step back from apartment hunting and baby stuff to catch up with my friend and clear my head a bit. I think it worked, too, because I haven't had stomachaches in several days!

And of course, it was wonderful to come home to my favorite boys. Scout ran around the house for about a half hour after I came home, so I'd say he must have missed me a little. (Terry expressed his sentiment by joyfully eating the croissant I brought him, which is his way of saying he loves me.)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Lessons I Learned from My Parents

What a day yesterday was! I woke up before 5 am to the poor kitten trying to cough up a hair ball. He's never had a hair ball in all three and a half years we've had him, so it's still unnerving to me when he starts coughing. You'll notice yesterday was the second day in a row that he has woken us up before the alarm; I can only assume he's preparing us for taking care of an infant. (Although we do not anticipate any hair balls from our child, it's best to be prepared for everything.)

After work yesterday, I did some apartment hunting until I picked up Terry, and then we ventured back up to West LA to check out an apartment together, which turned out to be another disaster of an experience.

Next up was the really exciting part of the day: happy hour to celebrate Jenn! Jenn has been working toward her Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education for almost five years, and yesterday she officially defended her dissertation. I could not be more excited or proud; it's been so interesting to watch Jenn complete her research and become such an expert in her field. Terry and I joke that she's our child-rearing guru, and we're already bombarding her with questions. Congratulations, Jenn!

While happy hour was a blast, I struggled with another of my stomachaches for almost the entire afternoon and evening, and I finally had to head home around 8. I think the stress of apartment hunting was getting to me, so it'll be nice to have a weekend off. I'm going to Vegas this weekend to visit my friend Amanda! We have big plans to check out her favorite Vegas spots, hang out in our PJs, and watch Pitch Perfect. It's exactly what I would plan for a girls' weekend!

Lessons I Learned from My Parents
I'm not sure what inspired this part of the post, but last night as I was doing dishes I got to thinking about what my parents taught me and how those lessons still affect me. I guess as I anticipate my own impending parenthood, I can't help but imagine what types of lessons I want to teach my own children. So here are a few lessons I learned from Mom and Dad, either directly or through examples, over the last 28 (and a half) years:

  1. Everything happens for a reason. My mom says this phrase almost every time I talk to her, and it never gets old. I can't tell you how much faith I have in the universe's ability to sort out what's "supposed" to happen and what's not. Yesterday, when we found out that the apartment we wanted doesn't allow cats, I felt so discouraged and frustrated. But I quickly reminded myself that it just wasn't meant to be. Anytime I face disappointment, I  rest assured that the universe is looking out for me and making sure I'm headed in the direction I'm supposed to. It sounds a little like denial when I type it out, but hey, it gets me through the tough stuff.
  2. Go out of your way to be kind. I learned this one through my dad's example. I can't even remember all the times he made some small gesture to help someone else, even if it went without thanks or recognition. He took out and put away our elderly neighbor's trash cans every week without expecting anything in return. We had some workers come to our house once and he suspected that the assistant wasn't getting his fair share of the money, so my dad paid him separately and asked me to translate to Spanish that the money was only for him. I've learned that this type of kindness--selflessly helping others--does not need to be repaid. It just makes you a good person, and it makes the world a better place. People know they can depend on you and that you will gladly help them. I hope to set the same example for my kids.
  3. Invest in your future. Time and time again, my dad has lectured me to put money into retirement, to keep a healthy savings account, to build up my credit. I had no idea how grateful I would be for his advice, and I'm sure I still don't completely appreciate it. But I look at how my parents have managed to retire very young and still live full, exciting, adventurous lives, and I'm eager to be able to do the same. Right now, my parents are building their dream home (less than a month until they move in!), vacationing in Hawaii, and planning an extended visit for when their grandchild arrives, and they aren't even 60! I am so proud of what they have accomplished and hope I can do the same.
  4. Continue to enjoy your own life, even after you have children. My brother and I grew up knowing how proud our parents were of us and enjoyed a childhood full of family memories. We took family vacations, my parents attended Chris's baseball games and my dance competitions, we spent holidays together. But we also knew that there were times when my parents needed to be away from us and to spend time together or with just adults. Back then I viewed it as time for me to be away from them, but now I see the reverse was true as well. My parents took vacations here and there without us, went out to dinners just the two of them, and cultivated relationships with their own friends. I think there are different ways to strike the balance between being involved with your kids' lives and having your own life, and Terry and I will have to figure out what that balance is for us, but I'm glad to have my parents' model as a starting point.

  5. Speaking of balance, Find a healthy balance between work and family. To be honest, my parents did bring work home with them sometimes (I remember some dinner conversations where they would actually speak in police code to each other about what happened during the day), but I still think they found ways to make sure family was the priority. While their hours were unconventional, they still demonstrated that family came first. They also communicated clearly to my brother and me that sometimes work does interrupt (like when Dad had to work on Christmas and we had to wait until his break to open presents), and that's a valuable lesson, too. We learned patience and saw that sometimes a sacrifice is necessary in order to provide for the life you want to live.
  6. Stay active. My mom sets an example of one extreme--working out almost every day--and my dad sets a more moderate example, but I do believe a large part of my appreciation of physical fitness comes from my upbringing. We were always an active family: water skiing, snow skiing, family walks, hiking, swimming in our backyard, riding bikes, going to the gym. I cherish those memories with my parents, and Terry and I are already excited to teach our kids to swim and ride bikes. My parents have virtually no health problems, and I attribute at least part of their health to the fact that they stay so active! They still go on crazy long hikes, ski, go to the gym, and even try new things (my dad texted me yesterday that he stayed up on a paddle board for a record time!).
  7. Have a sense of humor. Okay, Dad takes the credit for this one. Don't get me wrong, my mom has a sense of humor too and is always the life of the party, but Dad tends to look for the humor in every situation. When I'm upset and talk to my dad, he forces me to lighten up, even if I'm reluctant to do so. It keeps things in perspective, and I've found myself learning to enjoy life's irony and annoyances rather than getting down on myself.

  8. Always have a drink ready for a guest. This one is Terry's contribution to the list. I asked him what lessons he's learned from my parents, and this was the first thing to pop into his head. It is true, though, that anytime we show up at my parents' house, Mom immediately asks, "What are you drinking?" So there you go.
What lessons have you learned from your parents or other mentors?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Honest Company

Well I'm pretty thrilled to see so many folks ("so many" is a relative term) liked that upper body action I posted Monday!

As I sat down to write today, my thoughts swirled with baby registry items, baby books, apartment listings, and a million other non-blog-related ideas. Granted, this blog does its fair share of discussing whatever its author wants (including but not limited to cats, travel, and pregnancy--all related topics, right?), but on days like this when my mind is running crazy I figure it's best to just roll with it. Enjoy. :-)

The Honest Company
It just gets better and better. Last month, I signed up for the free trial. You pay shipping ($5.95), but then you get five products of your choice in small quantities (about 3 ounces each). I chose hand soap, shampoo/body wash, conditioner, lotion, and healing balm. I was impressed with all the products, but obviously I was only able to use each a few times before they ran out. So when my real bundle showed up yesterday, I was so excited!

Here's how the bundles work:
  • You choose a type of bundle (baby, bath & body, cleaning, or health & wellness). You can sign up to receive multiple bundles, and several products overlap into various categories.
  • You choose how often you want to receive your bundle (every 4 weeks, 6 weeks, etc.).
  • You choose what goes into your bundle for your shipment. Some items are excluded from the bundle option, but you can still add them on with the "+3" option where you add up to three items to your standard five. 
  • You can purchase items separately (and without signing up for the bundles), but you get up to 35% off with the bundles, so it's a great deal. My friend Jenn, however, sent me a link to Zulily saying that The Honest Company has a new partnership with them! The deal lasts for two more days, and the prices are on par with the discounted bundle prices, so check it out!
  • The best part: You can switch up what you get in each shipment! For example, I ordered all-purpose cleaner this time, but I certainly won't use it all in six weeks, so I won't order that again in the next shipment.

Also, I'm pretty sure Jessica Alba packed my shipment. 

Here's what I got and my initial thoughts:
  • Shampoo/Body Wash: I liked the sample I used of this product, but I'm a little disappointed in the size. I'm pretty certain that two of us using this product as shampoo AND body wash, we'll go through it long before our next bundle arrives. I also have a pet peeve about shampoo and conditioner containers coming in the same size bottles, because I go through shampoo way faster. Does anyone else have this problem?
  • Conditioner
  • Face/Body Lotion: Excellent scent, great size (should last me six weeks). It's definitely a lighter lotion, not a cream, so I will still use my thicker cream at night.
  • All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Dishwasher Detergent: We are now trying out our fifth brand of dishwasher detergent. If you remember the dish soap incident, you know it's been a rough road. I wasn't happy that our original detergent wasn't getting completely rinsed off the dishes (probably our dishwasher's fault), so I figured if some residue is going to be left on the dishes I should switch to a less chemically-harsh brand. But after several other tries, including some powder brands, still no luck. Right now we're using Target's Up & Up brand, which has been good for two cycles, but I am excited to try this one, too. First world problems, I tell ya.
  • Belly Balm: This one was my add-on item (optional), and obviously I'm using it for my growing belly (helps moisturize, soothes and prevents itchiness, might help with stretch marks). It smells awesome (Terry said it smells like Burt's Bees) and feels light, not too greasy. I normally use plain coconut oil, and I can't tell if there's a major difference between the two yet, but I like it!
You can click here to check out the website or to sign up for your bundle! (<--If you click that link and sign up, I get a referral credit!)

Why Today Wasn't the Best
I told you it was going to be a random post. This morning was a bit rough when Scout woke us up at 6 and then refused to let us go back to sleep. I know, I know, we better get used to it, but the baby's not even here yet!

Then I had to drink the infamous orange drink for the glucose test (to check for gestational diabetes--50 grams of sugar in liquid form). It was just as awful as I anticipated it would be, but thankfully it's done now. Hopefully I'll get good results in a few days and won't have to do it again!

Then we drove all the way to the South Bay to check out yet another apartment. It was a promising one, until we learned at the very end of the tour that cats aren't allowed in the building. And so the search continues.

After my sugar crash (they say it's a placebo effect, but I felt awful for the entire day after gulping that drink), I picked up Jenn for a quick workout at UCLA. We just did about one and a half bleacher snakes at Drake Stadium, and I was proud that I felt like I could do more! Still, the rest of the day remained in a funk.

Terry and I are heading to Jenn's for a little happy hour celebration tomorrow, and she asked me to make a dessert. Granted, she probably wouldn't mind if I bring any old dessert, but I felt it would be rude to not being at least something gluten-free so Jenn can enjoy it too. Well, after half an hour of searching and an hour of baking, I came out with two failed desserts. I made fudgy brownies and these lemon bars. They seemed so straightforward, but the brownies came out completely crumbly, and the top layer of the lemon bars were too liquidy to call them bars. Utter fail.

Disaster crumble

The bottom layer--which was actually tasty.

*Updated to say: Good news! The lemon bars actually came out pretty well, or at least the top layer solidified enough so that I can, in fact, call them bars. It's all coming together now, guys.

Alright, so here's what I ate on this less than stellar day:

Boring breakfast: plain scrambled eggs and the disgusting orange drink

Pre-apartment hunting snack: Peanut butter chocolate chip Lara bar

Pre-workout snack: Plain Greek yogurt mixed with honey, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds

Lunch: Enchiladas (actually, I got full, if you can believe that, so I only ate one)

Baking snack: Carrots, plus some taste-testing bites of the brownie crumble

Dinner: Turkey sandwiches on whole wheat with bacon, spinach, mustard, and avocado, plus about a third of a baked sweet potato

My sandwich

Terry's sandwich (he insisted I take a photo)

Dessert: The last of our pudding dessert with some brownie crumble on top

Check out the other WIAWs!

I hope you had a better day than I did. And I hope tomorrow is better for all of us! Happy Thursday!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Pick Your Poison: Upper Body

While I wasn't up for a walk or leg workout today, I did manage to squeeze in some upper body action this morning. I can tell my stamina is way lower than it used to be, so this workout may require a third round and heavier weights to leave you feeling fatigued, but I was feeling it pretty quickly!

Upper Body Supersets
Complete each set of exercises two or three times before moving to the next set. Aim for 10-15 reps of each exercise, keeping good form throughout.

Pregnancy modifications for me:

  • Very light weights
  • Only two rounds of each superset
  • 1-2 minute break between each set of exercises
  • Push ups on knees
To increase the intensity:
  • Use heavier weights (but remember to keep your form)
  • Eliminate or reduce breaks
  • Complete three or four rounds of each superset
  • Try decline push ups
  • Where possible, complete the exercises on one foot (challenges balance, engages core)
I thought I would also share with you a workout that I designed for Terry. He's done it twice now, and he really likes it. I will definitely add it to my routine once I'm back to my normal workouts!

Chest/Core/Back Drop Sets
Warm up first (after 5-10 minutes of moderate cardio)
  • 15 push ups
  • 15 dumbbell flys
  • 15 dumbbell bent over rows
  • 15 dumbbell reverse flys
  • 25 crunches
For the workout, complete 3 sets of each exercise back to back with minimal rest/ Then move on to the next exercise. Your 3 sets should go like this:
  • Heavy weight (exhaustion within 8-10 reps)
  • Drop set one: Medium-heavy weight (exhaustion within 6-8 reps)
  • Drop set two: Medium weight (exhaustion within 2-6 reps)
Here are the exercises*:
  • Chest press
  • Wide rows
  • Chest flys
  • Reverse flys
*You can use cables or dumbbells. Cables are a bit faster because you don't have to switch out your dumbbells or wait for someone else to finish with their workout. 

Core series (complete 2-3 times):
So there you go! Pick your poison: a comprehensive, low-intensity upper body workout or a significantly more intense workout that focuses on just a few muscle groups. If you like the look of both, be sure to take at least one day off between them; give your muscles time to rest!

Hope you had a happy Monday! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Walking Weekend

This weekend completely wore me out! It was by far the best Valentine's Day weekend I've had in years, though, even if I won't be able to move tomorrow. For starters, the weather was absolutely gorgeous.

Terry and I took advantage of our day off together on Friday by taking a hike at Escondido Falls in Malibu. Our hiking book claimed it was easy and flat, but my huffing and puffing suggested otherwise, and those 3.5 miles kicked my butt!

That bump gets me tired SO quickly now!

Unfortunately, those "falls" weren't exactly falling. We spotted a small trickle of water, but this spot was sad proof of LA's crazy drought.

Terry and I loved the hike, and we'll keep it in mind for future outings. Later, we played some Scrabble. Try not to be jealous of our awesome romance.

Despite my rocky start, I won!

Who gets letters like these?

For dinner on Valentine's Day, we went our usual route, but with a twist: fondue made with pepper jack cheese!

Our dippers: blanched broccoli, hunks of sourdough bread, baby carrots, apples, and celery

We also watched Annie Hall, a classic we hadn't seen. It's always referenced in How I Met Your Mother, so we finally rented it and thought it was great. Definitely a different style from what we're used to but funny and endearing. As a Seinfeld fan, I saw a lot of the same type of humor, so I recommend it to my fellow Seinfeld lovers!

Saturday morning we couldn't sleep in, but we had agreed to take turns making each other breakfast in bed this weekend! Talk about an easy way to pamper your significant other. I highly recommend it. :-) I went first and made us French toast.

Then Terry suggested walking to Target for our quick shopping trip, which logged four miles for us. We spent the rest of the day apartment hunting (more walking), relaxing, catching up on some Downton Abbey, and then heading out for a little date night. Of course, we walked the mile or so to dinner, so we were at nearly seven miles for the day!

We wound up at Burger Lounge, a restaurant that focuses on grass-fed and responsibly-raised meat. Terry tried the grass-fed elk burger, and I had the Lounge burger (grass-fed beef). The flavor is phenomenal!

We also split a shake on the walk home, and it was delicious!

This morning we slept in a bit more, and Terry make me a scrambled egg burrito in bed. Scout was thrilled.

And we decided to round out the weekend of walking a million miles with a "quick" walk to the farmer's market. Turns out, I was completely wiped out from the previous two days. By the time we got half a mile from the apartment, my back hurt, my legs and hips felt sore, and I was completely out of breath. We slowed way down and even took some breaks. Needless to say, I think pregnancy has taken its toll on me this weekend! I'll be resting tomorrow for sure.

Still, the walk to the market was totally worth it, because my sweet Valentine bought me these gorgeous flowers!

After some more apartment hunting, I took a suggestion from a friend to try swimming for back pain relief. I'm not totally sure how well it worked, but it did feel lovely to float around in the pool. I even soaked my feet in the hot tub to relax my sore toes.

Dinner tonight was our favorite grilled veggie kebabs with pita and goat cheese. A great way to end a wonderful weekend. I'm exhausted, but I can't really complain about all that time with my hubby!

Off to get some rest before another day of apartment hunting tomorrow. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Most Common Pregnancy Questions

Hello WIAW! I've actually been excited about our food this week, including Terry's chili and our lettuce wrap tacos. We've been really good about eating at home lately, and thanks to some planning we already have meals lined up through the weekend! Our plans include:

And here's what I munched on today:

Breakfast: A pancake and an egg topped with maple syrup, plus tea

I've come to the realization that my tea tastes different when I drink it out of our to-go mugs. And not in a good way. I really think the pregnancy must be to blame, because it all started about five months ago. The problem is that I rarely make enough time to drink my tea at home out of a ceramic mug. So now I have a choice: Skip the tea, get up early enough to drink from a mug at home, or suffer with the taste. This, my friends, is a true first world problem.

Morning Snack: Half my peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Second Morning Snack (what?): A very sad, almost-bad pear (or about 3/4 of it, before it got too mushy

Lunch: The other half of that peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Afternoon Snack: Peanut butter chocolate chip Lara bar

Second Afternoon Snack (yes, that's a thing, too): Baby carrots and a slice of Havarti cheese (post-grocery shopping, pre-picking up Terry from work)

Pre-Dinner Snack (I can't explain this one): Bowl of cereal (a combo of two Cascadian Farms cereals)

Dinner: Roasted veggies with marinara, goat cheese, and pasta

I came upon this website showing produce in season in Southern California by the month, and it inspired tonight's meal. I bought asparagus, kale, spinach, and broccoli for our meal, roasted 'em up, and served with marinara and goat cheese and whole wheat pasta. So simple--and nice to know we ate seasonally!

Dessert: Two brownies and a glass of milk

For the brownies, I used Smitten Kitchen's One-Bowl Brownies recipe, but I reduced the sugar to 150 g (about 3/4 cup) and reduced the butter to 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons). The original recipe just came out a little too buttery and sweet for me the first time I tried it.

Not a bad day, especially dinner.

Most Common Pregnancy Questions
My pregnancy update this time around will be a little different. I have a few extra details and bump pictures at the bottom, but I thought I'd share the most common questions I've received throughout the last several months. The last few weeks I've finally been unmistakably showing that I'm pregnant, so I get even more questions now--from strangers, too!

How are you feeling? This question is by far the most common one, and I almost always say, "Great! I get a little tired sometimes, but overall great." I think that's the safe way to answer, for the sake of the asker. Here's what I would really say, depending on the day:
  • I'm exhausted. 
  • I have a ton of energy!
  • I feel frustrated that I can't do all the things I used to be able to do (like bend down to tie my shoes or stand up quickly or roll onto my stomach).
  • I feel uncomfortable almost all the time.
  • I just love feeling the baby kick! The rest doesn't matter!
  • I feel hungry.
  • Really, really hungry. 
  • (Yes, I know I just ate.)
  • I feel so happy and excited.
  • I feel stressed and anxious.
  • My back hurts.
  • I wish I could have a drink.
  • I feel very, very lucky. :-)
How many months along are you? It's strange, but I actually don't usually know the answer to this question for two reasons: 1) Doctors, books, and other pregnant people count their progress by weeks, not months. I can tell you exactly how many weeks (and days) I am at any moment, but months requires some math, because 2) When I try to figure out how many months I am, I come up with different answers. Do I count assuming each month is four weeks? Do I count backward from when I'm due? Do I go by the date from which the pregnancy began? See how confusing it is?

So, to answer this question, I usually say the number of weeks and then give my estimation of months. For example, right now I'm at 24 weeks, so some might call that six months (if you count four weeks in a month), but I still have almost four months to go, which adds up to a ten-month pregnancy. Which is why most books I read try to clarify that you're technically pregnant for nine months, but really it's almost ten.

Do you have any cravings? This one is so sad, because I have no fun response! I wish I had something weird, but I've only really "craved" cereal, and I try to resist buying that too often. I notice myself eating a lot of carbs and protein: pita, pancakes, bread, cheese, all varieties of meat (but I'm not excited about meat by itself--it has to be part of something else, like chili), milk, and pretty much any sweets. For the first few months I wanted tons of guacamole and hummus, but that's changed now, too. I also told myself going into this thing that I'll try to ignore any seriously unhealthy cravings, so that has been helpful. At one point I thought a Sourdough Jack from Jack in the Box sounded amazing, which is completely uncharacteristic of me, but thankfully I came to my senses on that one.

Is it a boy or girl? Everyone is curious--except Terry and me! We are still thrilled with our decision to wait until the baby is born to learn if we have a little mister or a little miss, but I love hearing everyone's guesses for us. So far, it seems most people are thinking it's a boy, but Terry and I have no idea and absolutely no preference. My friend Jenn was convinced at first that we were going to find out and just not tell anyone, but I'm certain we would let it slip if we did that. So the world will have to wait! And luckily, we've found some incredibly adorable unisex clothing options that I probably wouldn't have registered for if we knew the gender!

Do you have names picked out? Kind of. We have narrowed down our names a bit, and we're in agreement about the short list, but we haven't selected THE boy name or THE girl name. We are hoping to narrow down our choices to two boy names (including a middle name for each) and two girl names before we get to the hospital. Then we'll make our final decision once we get to see our little one. We also aren't going to tell anyone the "finalist" names ahead of time. Since we won't know for sure which one we're using, we don't want to welcome anyone's opinions that might sway us one way or the other.

Your bump is tiny! This one isn't a question, I realize, but it's a common comment I hear. I never truly know how to respond. First of all, no two women look exactly the same during pregnancy (just like no two women look exactly the same before pregnancy--except twins, I guess), so how can they decide whose bump looks "big" vs. "small"? I also always feel a little self-conscious when I hear someone say my bump is small, because I can't help thinking that maybe they think I'm doing something wrong. Ultimately, I try to just politely steer the conversation away from the size of my bump and remind myself that my doctor is very happy with my progress and weight gain. Given that our doctor told us that the baby is ahead of schedule in terms of weight gain and overall size (including the head...yikes), I'm not worried.

It doesn't feel tiny to me.

When are you due? I know I have a due date (June 5), but at our most recent ultrasound the doctor's measurements determined that the baby is ahead of schedule, as I mentioned. So she informally announced that the measurements indicate that the baby's due date could be May 30. that now my due date? Or am I still June 5? Or should I just not even try to guess because the baby will come when it's good and ready? All I know is that we are almost certain to have a little Gemini, and the rest will remain a mystery!

The Bump:

Baby's Progress:

  • Baby is about the size of a grapefruit and weighs over 1.5 pounds. 
  • Baby's lungs are developed enough that he or she could survive if born now (crazy!). 
  • Baby is moving around a lot! I feel lots of kicks and hiccups, but there aren't any regular patterns yet. Apparently Weeks 24-28 are most active in terms of somersaults, because baby has enough room to flip around. After that, he or she will be too big and his or her movements will be more predictable (that's when baby might start reacting to different foods and/or be more active during regular parts of the day). 
An Update on Me:
Aside from what I addressed in the questions above, here's what I've noticed:
  • I think I'm sleeping pretty well. I expected to get up 25 times a night to go to the bathroom, but I almost never do. During the day, it's a different story, but I'm thankful for restful nights. I sleep with a pillow between my knees (to take pressure off my hips) and a pillow wedged behind my back (to prevent me from rolling over onto my back).
  • Despite those solid nights of sleep, I'm exhausted a lot of the time. Mid-afternoon I feel like I could take a nap, around 7 I seriously consider just skipping dinner and go to sleep, and by 9 pm I'm usually asleep on the couch.
  • I feel best on days I exercise. Long walks, short jogs (usually with walking intervals), and light strength training are my usual rotation now. I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to jog, but it's already pretty slow going.
  • My very favorite moments of my entire pregnancy have been curling up on the couch with Terry's hand on my belly to feel kicks. He's gotten to feel them a lot, and watching his face light up makes me just sublimely happy.

Off to rest and enjoy those brownies! Hope you had a great Wednesday!