Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Learning About Our New Place and WIAW

Today flew! I spent almost the entire day working on the apartment. We've already been here for a month, but we're still learning a few things, like:

  • The whole place is quite dusty. Every few days I notice a thin layer of dust on all the smooth surfaces.
  • Scout seems to shed a lot more here. We bought a pet fur scraper thing to help save the couch.
  • More wall space is not necessarily a motivating factor in getting us to actually finish hanging all our frames, but we're slowly getting there.
  • We had to buy two nightlights because the apartment gets so dark at night, and I walk around more than I used to in the middle of the night. Instead of turning on all the lights and waking myself up more, the nightlight provides just enough to get me where I need to go, which is occasionally the fridge at 2 am.
  • While this space is almost twice the size of our last place, we're finding some aspects that are actually less spacious--like storage for our glassware. We've had all our wine glasses sitting out on the counter since we moved in, and I haven't yet found a wine glass rack that will work in the space. The hunt continues...
  • We have basically no insulation, so extreme heat may be a bit of a struggle this summer. Wonder how that'll go with a newborn...

But overall we really like our new place and are feeling mostly settled in!

And now for some WIAW action. I completely forgot it was Wednesday until my third meal of the day, so the pictures are a bit scarce today.

Breakfast - oatmeal with a splash of milk and maple syrup, plus a scoop of peanut butter

Snack - Plain Greek yogurt with peanut butter and honey

Lunch #1 - a fried egg over greens with some cheese and turkey (I'm working on that protein!), plus a glass of milk

Lunch #2 - a bean and cheese burrito in a whole wheat tortilla (leftovers from last night)

And a tiny orange a little later (Mandarin? Cutie? Are they all the same?)

Honestly, I could not stop thinking about sweets ALL day. I was craving cookies, ice cream with sprinkles (specifically frozen custard from Anderson's in Buffalo...obviously), anything chocolate. It's a good thing we didn't have any of those items on hand and it was way too hot to bake!

Tonight's dinner was another slow cooker meal. This time we made pulled pork using Lisa's recipe, served with homemade biscuits (Terry says these are the best I've ever made, which I think can be attributed to the Kerrygold butter), and a big green salad.

And for dessert we shared the last (so sad) of the cake from our baby shower. I'm already scheming up ways to get my hands on more of that cake. Hopefully my parents will host a housewarming party sometime soon...

Hope it was a delicious day for you, too!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tired Tuesday

Thanks for all the sweet comments on yesterday's post about our baby shower! We are currently in the midst of unpacking, organizing, arranging, and deciding where everything is going to go.

Terry is currently building a bookcase, a gift from Terry's aunt, that will house baby's books (and likely a few other items). We have another shower this weekend, plus my dad is driving down to LA with a dresser/changing table for us, and next weekend we'll be picking up our crib. Then we can finally put everything together!

I'm not in the official "nesting" phase yet, but I've definitely put a lot of thought into how to make the nursery come together. I like a few ideas in this post from Young House Love, especially the laundry hamper (although I would want a cover or lid). Looks like more trips to HomeGoods are in my future! Five weeks to go...

Notice how Scout is always nearby to lend a helping hand?

Today felt a little rough, mostly because I slept terribly last night. I woke up around 1:45 am and then could not fall back to sleep for over an hour. My friend Katie has told me before that she struggled with sleep the last few weeks of pregnancy, but she is convinced that it helped prepare her for the strange sleep schedules that come with parenting. So today I felt like a zombie, despite my attempts to nap until the absolute last minute this morning.

This evening, thanks to the crazy heat wave running through LA right now, Terry and I headed down to the pool for a quick swim. We each just took a few laps, but it felt pretty good to get my heart rate up a bit while staying off my feet. I have read that swimming helps with swelling, and I'm not completely convinced, but it still felt decent compared to walking in the heat. (Terry, by the way, added in some strength exercises for his workout.)

For dinner, we're keeping this week's meals pretty simple. I have a feeling simple will be the name of the game a LOT over the next several weeks--er, months? Today we opted for slow cooker refried beans wrapped up into tortillas with cheese. It doesn't get easier than that.

And with that, I'm off to bed in hopes of a better night of sleep. Wish me luck!

Do you have any fun house projects on the horizon? 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Our First Baby Shower

I've been looking forward to our baby showers for months now, and this weekend absolutely did not disappoint!

Terry and I drove up to my parents' house Friday afternoon and evening to arrive around 8 pm. We chatted with my parents, ate dinner, relaxed. Saturday we ran a few errands and went out to lunch, my mom and I went shopping, and my aunt came over to set up for the party (she was the host, at my mom's house). My aunt has impeccable taste and an eye for all things party-related. While I've attended tons of gatherings at her house (she also hosted my bridal shower), I've always seen the finished product and never the set-up phase. It was so fun to get to help a little bit, watch her work her magic, and see the whole space come together (photos below!).

Saturday night my brother and sister-in-law joined us to go out to dinner and stay over at my parents'. We had a great time hanging out, as always, and everyone got to feel the baby moving! He or she is quite active now, lots of wiggles and squirms.

Sunday morning Terry and I took my brother and Ashley's dogs for a two-mile walk and then got ready for the party. My mom and dad cleaned the house beautifully, and my aunt arrived to put all the finishing touches on the decor. I put Terry in charge of photos of all the adorable and Pinterest-worthy details!

Elephant confetti (orange, grey, and silver)

Homemade tissue paper puffs that are now going to decorate Baby Heinrich's nursery! (Any ideas for how to use them in the room?)


Mom and Dad's mantle with a print from my aunt, which will also decorate the baby's room

I loved these straws!

We randomly discovered these little artifacts the day before the party, and my aunt polished them for the big day. The cup is from my dad's birth as a gift from the military base where he was born. The fork was my Nana's from when she was born! Crazy, huh?

One request I had for the shower was to see if our wedding cake baker would be willing to bake a (much smaller) cake. Honestly, it was the best cake I've ever tasted, so I've been racking my brain for almost three years to come up with more excuses to eat it. This occasion seemed perfect, and she ended up creating a perfect cake, complete with the design my aunt had given her! If you're in the Bay Area and looking for a fantastic, personal, and beyond reasonable baker for any occasion, call this woman. You won't regret it!

Once guests arrived, the party was all about catching up with so many people I love and don't see nearly enough. Three of my dad's cousins came, plus his aunt. Both of my aunts made it. My sister-in-law was in charge of games (more on that in a second) and made the day extra-special for us. One of my best friends Winnie (who has a baby bump of her own!) made quite a drive to be there. Two of my elementary school teachers showed up, as well as one of my parents' former neighbors. My mom's best friend as well as her mother-in-law, who is like a grandma to me, made the trip to be there too. Of course, my mom was there. Even those who couldn't attend sent their love, and it was just a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by so many people I love. This baby is mighty lucky to be welcomed to the world by such incredible people!

With the hostesses!

Me and my mom

My mom's BFF and her mother-in-law

My dad's cousin, aunt, and cousin, me, my mom, and my aunts

My brother, my sister-in-law, my mom, me, Terry, and my dad

We all chatted for awhile, then ate a delicious brunch. We feasted on a giant green salad (my aunt makes the best dressing), various types of quiche, my mom's famous breakfast casserole, croissants and muffins, fruit salad, and plenty of champagne and sparkling fruit juices. Plus that cake!

Ashley, my sister-in-law, provided the entertainment for the day. She organized a little game called "Daddy Knows Best" where she e-mailed Terry a bunch of questions to answer, like:

  • Who will change more diapers?
  • How many times will the baby wake up in the middle of the night at first?
  • What traits do you hope the baby will get from Julie?
Then I got to hear all the questions and give whatever responses I thought he said. I did pretty well, and it was fun to hear everyone's thoughts on our responses (when we said the baby will wake up about three times per night, everyone told us we should expect way more, but when we said we assumed the baby would go through 10 diapers per day, they thought we were overestimating--looks like we're in for some surprises!). Ashley also brought some yarn for the "guess the size of the belly" game, and one of my elementary school teachers was right on the (belly) button! 

One of my favorite "games" Ashley organized was actually a scrapbook for Baby H. 

Ashley had cards printed up that include prompts for wishes or hopes that people have for the baby, including:
  • I hope you learn ________________________
  • I hope you get ________________________
  • I hope you never ________________________

Each guest filled out a card and then got to include them in the scrapbook! It was such a fun idea, and I love that we now have a book full of positive wishes for our little one. It was especially interesting to see everyone's philosophy about what will make a person happy, successful, and wise!

Since we don't know the gender of the baby, I heard lots of guesses about boy or girl, and that led to the last "game"--a guessing game! Everyone wrote down their guess for baby's gender, due date, and weight (and some gave us name suggestions!), so we'll see who was closest. 

And of course I was blown away by everyone's generosity for our little one. Adorable clothes, personalized burp cloths (such a great idea for a shower gift!), a homemade blanket, a hand-knitted sweater, Boppy pillows, feeding kits, our crib mattress, a car seat, our high chair, an activity mat, swaddling blankets, and so much more. We feel incredibly blessed to have such generous friends and family! 

Terry and I are so grateful and even more excited for our little arrival!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WIAW and 34 Week Update

As of tomorrow (Thursday), I'll be at 34 weeks! Baby has really grown!

Last time I did a bump/pregnancy update was over a month and a half ago, so I have a few details to document. These little updates serve as a nice virtual scrapbook for me!

Most Recent Symptoms:

  • Itchy skin all over, usually in the evenings. 
  • Sudden pain in my left inner thigh/groin (at first I thought it was a pulled muscle of some sort, but now I'm pretty convinced it's the baby's movements)
  • TONS of kicking, which is awesome but occasionally a little uncomfortable if I'm sitting.
  • Restless Legs Syndrome, which drives me a little nuts, but usually I do some leg exercises and feel better. So far, it hasn't interrupted my sleep.
  • Speaking of sleep, I'm waking up at least once per night, and sometimes I go right back to sleep but occasionally I'll stay awake for an hour with my mind racing. 
  • I'm noticing some swelling in my feet/ankles and hands, so I'm trying to chug water and eat healthy foods (in addition to cake). I'm thankful it's not too hot yet!
Other Recent Developments: 
  • As I mentioned before, the baby has flipped out of breech and into a head-down position! Yay!
  • A little bit of a nesting instinct! I get sudden urges to clean the house at random times, like Saturday evening's vacuuming marathon while Terry grilled lamb.
  • We finished all of our classes! After our (seven-week) birth class, our hospital tour, the breastfeeding class, and the baby care class, we are finally done. They were so fun and informative! But now we're pretty excited to have a little more time on our hands and fewer trips to the hospital.
  • We switched sides of the bed, which is awesome for getting up in the middle of the night.
  • I'm gaining weight a little more steadily now, which is a relief after so many weeks of being "stuck" at the same weight.

Parenthood Preparation:

  • Our baby showers are the next two weekends! My aunt is hosting a shower up north at my mom's house, and Terry's family and close friends are throwing a shower in Southern California. We are so excited to see everyone and feel all that love for our little one!
  • We are making very slow progress on our baby to-do list. We have a LOT left to go, but I have a feeling those showers will kick us into motion!
  • Everything we read and hear suggests that we should spend time talking to the baby, but sometimes we have trouble figuring out what to say to him or her. We sometimes tell the baby about our days, but then we end up just talking to each other. I guess as long as the kid hears our voices it's fine, but tonight we started reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland aloud near the belly. It's a nice little break for us too!
  • We're still being diligent about our pregnancy exercises. Here's hoping it all helps with labor!

I only took three pictures of food today, because I'm awesomely forgetful lately. Like that time (which may or may not have been yesterday) when I forgot to turn off the car while filling up with gas. That was a low point. My husband has declared me unfit to run errands now.

But anyway, here are today's eats:

Breakfast: a fried egg with leftover roasted red potatoes, plus some orange juice

Morning snack: 

carrots with peanut butter!

Lunch: a turkey and cheese sandwich plus Greek yogurt

Afternoon snack: a few bits and pieces of whatever I could find: turkey, cheese, bread

leftover lamb turned into grilled sandwiches with caramelized onions, and sharp cheddar cheese, plus roasted sweet potato fries and a simple green salad

Dessert: more birthday cake!

Check out the other WIAWs at Peas and Crayons!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Catching Up and Terry's Birthday!

Another week, another unexpected hiatus from blogging. I've taken on some new responsibilities at work, which have kept me quite busy, and even my evenings have somehow disappeared lately. I hope I'll find ways to slow down over the next few weeks to enjoy this time before baby arrives.

The last few days in particular have been a whirlwind. On Saturday, Terry and I woke up early to take a short hike. I'm trying hard to be consistent with three 30-minute sessions of aerobic activity each week. My options are walking or walking, so at least we have some local hiking trails to keep things interesting. 

Then we headed up to our friends Katie and Corey's daughter's first birthday party at a community park. They went with a Madeline theme (I loved Madeline books as a kid!), and I devoured all the French desserts. A very cute idea for a first birthday! We also got to see our friends Heidi and Ed, who are now less than a week away from their due date, so it was a blast to catch up with everyone. 

Heidi recently put together this little collage of our bump pictures:

It's been so fun to have a close friend pregnant at the same time as me! We text, call, and visit each other often to discuss symptoms, share stories, and compare pregnancy myths we've heard. I am so excited for her and Ed as they prepare for baby Kayla's arrival! 

Saturday afternoon we headed to our hospital for the last time before I go into labor--yikes! We dropped off our pre-admissions paperwork to make the process easier when we get there, and then we had our baby care class. I loved our instructor and learned a ton. I feel very comfortable around babies, but it's different knowing I'm actually responsible for this child's well-being, not just an hour of babysitting. The class had excellent tips on reading baby's cues, adjusting to parenthood, bathing the baby, and lots more.

Saturday night we stayed home and Terry grilled up some incredible lamb. More on that tomorrow!

On Easter, we slept in a little and then I baked a birthday cake!

Terry's birthday was yesterday (Monday), and he requested a marble cake, which I gladly made for him. (The cupcakes were for his coworkers; they have a new tradition going at work where everyone is supposed to bring in a treat for the rest of the group on their birthdays. I love that idea!)

We spent Sunday morning with friends at a brunch, and then we headed to Orange County for Easter dinner with Terry's family. It was so nice to see so many loved ones all in one weekend!

And then came Monday! Happy birthday to this guy!

Terry is just the greatest guy, and I'm so grateful to get to celebrate his birthdays with him. He's the best, and I look forward to many more of his birthdays!

We went out to dinner at Catalina Kitchen in Rancho Palos Verdes at Terranea Resort. They have a birthday special for free surf and turf! It was delicious and a really fun night out together. Then we came home for that cake.

Yummm (if I do say so myself).

Today I had a short work day and spent some time working in the nursery. We have two weeks until our dresser/changing table (a gift from my parents) arrives, and three weeks until we pick up the crib (a gift from Terry's parents), so for now we're just cleaning and preparing the space.

Tonight we took a long walk around our neighborhood (we're finding more and more routes that we like!) and are planning to spend the rest of the evening curled up on the couch before plunging into another day tomorrow. This weekend we're traveling up north to my parents' house for our first baby shower. My aunt is hosting, and I'm so excited to see so many people I love all together!

Let's hope our next meeting won't be too long from now. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Creative Solutions for Working Out at Home

Yesterday was a bit of a whirlwind, and today is a marathon day (5 am wake up call, and I'll be on campus until 8:30 pm!), so I'm squeezing in a short post while I can.

I've mentioned it before, but I think I've reached a stage of not sleeping as well throughout the night. Even when I'm exhausted, I wake up a couple of times to go to the bathroom, and sometimes it takes me a while to fall asleep again. Terry and I have switched sides of the bed so I have easier access to the bathroom, which is helpful. Those extra ten steps really do make a difference.

Yesterday (around 4 in the morning) I also experienced my first pregnancy leg cramp. I've had a charlie horse or two in the past, but somehow this one felt more intense. Luckily, Terry used to be a swimmer and is what I would consider an expert in treating leg cramps. I woke him up (rather frantically--the poor guy), and he massaged the muscles until they relaxed. It was nice practice for labor; apparently I will panic, and Terry will calm me down and know exactly what to do.

Despite the less than stellar nights of sleep and a sore calf muscle, yesterday morning started on a wonderful note: At our doctor's appointment, we learned that baby has flipped! He or she is now head down, which is the appropriate position for birth. We still have several more weeks, but it's nice to have one fewer thing to worry about.

With that news in my pocket, I enjoyed the rest of my day of errands and chores. I had a big list to tackle, but I'm also trying to remind myself that when things don't get done "on time" it's not the end of the world. Rest and keeping stress to a minimum are far more of a priority.

This week is what I would consider our first routine week in our new place. Terry isn't traveling for work; we're both going to work regularly; we're cooking dinners each night; and we're finally getting back to our workouts. On Monday we did some upper body action in our new gym, which, unfortunately, is even smaller and more crowded (equipment-wise) than our old complex's gym. We're trying to think of some creative solutions.

Of course, cardio is pretty simple: we love running, hiking, and walking. Right now I'm officially down to just walking, but Terry and I have talked about finding a 10K that we can train for together to get me back in shape after baby arrives. We're thinking maybe November or December; I think a few months will be enough time to work back up to six miles.

While the area where we live now isn't fantastic for our usual evening walks (too much traffic immediately outside of our complex), we are a very short car ride away from some awesome trails and beautiful hikes, so we'll take advantage of those before and with baby.

For strength and/or variety workouts, we have a few options. I love bodyweight training, as you know, so sticking to the basics like squats, burpees, push ups, lunges, etc., will be an automatic part of our routine. But we can also add in more comprehensive at-home options, like yoga videos and boot camp-style videos.

We're also strongly considering purchasing a nice set of adjustable dumbbells like these that we can use at home.

I have always loved at-home workouts, so it'll be an easy adjustment for me, and Terry says he's totally willing to try it out. I expect that the next few months (for me) and baby's arrival (for both of us) will throw us off track quite a bit in terms of our "usual" workouts, but I'm excited about the changes. We've done a good job keeping up our walking and pregnancy-friendly exercises, so I'm sure postpartum exercises will be another adventure we enjoy just as much. Hopefully we can combine all those options to stay fit while we transition into parenthood!

Any tips for staying healthy as a new parent? Do you prefer gym or home workouts?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Decorating, Bump Twins, and Tasty Meals

We had a wonderful weekend! So wonderful that I chose to get to sleep as soon as possible last night instead of writing a blog post. But now we'll catch up on our fun and productive couple of days.

We finally started hanging our artwork on the walls! This task might be Terry's absolute least favorite task, so we spread it out over three days and are now taking a break before we tackle the other rooms. For now, I'm thrilled to have our living room all decorated!

(We hung up that last frame tonight.)

And we finally cleaned out the den area, too!

 Saturday night, Terry grilled tri tip so we could make some phenomenal sandwiches--cambozola cheese (a brie/blue cheese blend), greens, and onion jam.

I took advantage of Scout's cuddles with the bump.

We used the leftover tri tip to create a Southwestern salad with corn, black beans, avocado, pepper jack cheese, and Greek yogurt with BBQ sauce as a dressing. YUM.

 Saturday was also our hospital tour! We learned all about the facility where we hope to deliver our little one, and we could not be happier with our choice. Thankfully, LA seems to have quite a lot of excellent options for great facilities that respect families' wishes. But we think we'll be in great hands at the UCLA Medical Center!

On Sunday, Heidi and Ed were in the area because they needed to grab a few more registry items for their baby girl, who is due in two weeks! Terry and I tagged along to Buy Buy Baby and tried not to feel overwhelmed by the endless options. It's so exciting to see Heidi so close to her due date!

Our last twin bump pic? 

 Last night was our final birth class, where we focused on newborn procedures at the hospital and learned about postpartum care for mom and baby. I'm a little sad our class is over! Our teacher was awesome, but she has encouraged us to keep in touch and to ask questions as needed. We're even supposed to call her when we're in labor, and she can help us with those questions, too!

I'll write up a more thorough review of our birth class soon (or maybe after delivery, so I can tell you if it helped!).

Today was a normal day--early work, carpooling, and a workout!

Upper body day! It had been awhile! 

And Terry grilled up some chicken for dinner. I made a little brown rice stir fry with eggplant, asparagus, bell pepper, and onion.

A wonderful few days! Tomorrow we have a doctor's appointment (keeping our fingers crossed that baby has flipped out of breech position), and the rest of the week looks fairly mellow.

For now, I have a batch of brownies in the oven that I need to enjoy before we stay up for the blood moon. (There's a chance I may just fall asleep instead of watching.)

Have a wonderful day!

What's the best meal you've had recently? We've had some tasty ones, but that tri tip sandwich was probably the highlight.