Monday, May 22, 2017

Recipes I Want to Make: Early Summer Edition

Strawberries with coconut chocolate mousse

Asparagus and bacon frittata

Honey roasted strawberry muffins (we really like these, but I need to tweak the GF option a bit more. I will post when I do, though!)

Fresh cherry chocolate chunk cookies (Really yummy with Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free flour as a substitute for white flour, and strawberries as a sub for cherries. Would be better for Valentine's Day than early summer, though. But of course strawberries are in season NOW!)

This minimalist recipe for peanut butter oatmeal cookies

Curried Tahini Pasta Salad would make a simple summer lunch

No-bake Chocolate Chip "Cheese"cake

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

Sunday, May 21, 2017

27 and 28 Weeks: Ish is Getting Real

How big is baby? At 29 weeks, she is as big as a butternut squash (roughly 2.5 lbs and 15 inches long). Funny, because I just planted some squash seeds this week! Honestly, she feels huge when she moves-- I can feel her simultaneously kicking my ribs and punching my bladder some days!

Total weight gain/loss: I finally made up for lost time, and at my 28 week appointment, I was up 21 pounds! Not surprising, given that I've been waking up super hungry and thirsty in the middle of the night (and eating a Larabar) for the past two weeks.

Exercise: I'm finally easing back into this a bit. Trying to take a walk 1-2 times a week, weather and schedule permitting. I LOVE the fresh air and movement, but pushing a heavy stroller and/or walking a long distance really doesn't feel great on my hips, unfortunately. I'm also trying to do a 10-20 minute Barre3 workout 2-3 times a week. Life has been so crazy, though, that it's been more like 1-2 times a week. I really like these workouts because they take effort, and help with back pain, but they don't totally wipe me out.

Stretch marks: None yet, knock on wood. Trying to moisturize most nights now that baby is growing so quickly!

Swelling: Just yes. It's really uncomfortable. I had a reprieve for about a month there, but she flipped into a vertex position at 28 weeks, and the discomfort increased again. It's much more comfortable when she's transverse or butt-down, but I think she's running out of room to hang out like that. It's nice to know that she can safely be head-down (I was starting to wonder...), but now of course I wish she'd waited a few more weeks!

Sleep: Oh boy. The past two weeks I've had some crazy 4am insomnia! I fall asleep instantly at night, but then wake up in the early hours and cannot go back to sleep. I started taking a bathroom break, eating a Larabar, and chugging water at that time. It helped a bit, but it was still hit or miss whether or not I'd fall back asleep. Even when I did fall asleep again by 0530 or so, I'd actually wake up more tired when Noah got up at 0600. Thankfully, the past few days I seem to be falling back asleep much quicker, but I've been going to bed WAY too late. We finally finished (knock on wood) the last big house project, and I've been trying to get everything back in order after having the house in disarray again.

Food cravings: It's funny, I think I'm just not going to have cravings this pregnancy. In reality, it's only been about 8-9 weeks since EVERYTHING sounded disgusting, and even now, I'm not really interested in eating certain things at certain times. However, I will almost never say no to seared scallops (!!!), a gluten free lemon bar from Dolce bakery (SO amazing), or CoYo dairy-free yogurt (particularly the mango flavor, but all of them are thick and tart, like a coconut-based Greek yogurt).

Symptoms: Thankfully the heartburn has decreased, and I'm so thankfully that the nausea is gone. I feel like pregnancy is moving crazy quickly now, and I think it's because I really only stopped feeling miserable about 8 weeks ago! Swelling is my biggest symptom right now, and I know that's just going to get worse. Oh! And the crazy Braxton-Hicks have decreased significantly since I started drinking red raspberry leaf daily. I definitely notice the days I don't take it!

Movement: Lots, and all over. She's pretty quiet when I'm up and about, but almost always makes her presence known when I lay down. Noah often asks, "Is my baby sister awake?" Of course, she's usually asleep when he asks that!

What I'm loving: Looking pregnant. The third trimester is my very favorite for this fact alone.

What I'm looking forward to: Meeting her. I'm going to try really hard to enjoy the last 10 weeks (although if she's early like Noah, it'll be even less than that. Yikes!) but now that I know how fun it is to get to know the little PERSON in there, I'm excited to see what she's like on the outside.

Best moment this week: I passed my glucose tolerance test. Yay! The bummer is that I'm slightly anemic, but I'm so glad I don't have gestational diabetes.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

26 weeks

I'm so thankful that this past week was filled with SUNSHINE with the exception of rain on Wednesday. Noah and I stayed busy and I simply can't believe how quickly the third trimester is approaching. Writing this at 27 weeks, I'm exactly 3 months from the due date. Which, if this babe is anything like her big brother, means that we could be meeting her in as little as 2 1/2 months!!!

This past week, it all continues to get more real. Baby has had a huge growth spurt, as evidenced by a resurgence in insomnia and middle-of-the-night hunger as much as the huge belly. Ever since 10 weeks, I've been feeling all sorts of movements below my belly button, but seemingly overnight, I now feel baby's movements practically around my side and up to my ribs! She's almost always kicking my bladder. Per my Midwife's encouragement I'm trying not to freak out about having a breech baby, since she doesn't really have to make up her mind until 34-35 weeks. In the meantime, I'm loving all the kicking and rolling and hiccups I can feel!

Strangers are now asking when I'm due without batting an eye, so that means I must really look pregnant. And I feel legit pregnant. Huffing and puffing and waddling, but I LOVE having a baby belly.

I have Braxton-Hicks contractions all day long. It's a fine line between dehydration (which exacerbates B-H) and a constantly full bladder (which also exacerbates B-H). Alas. I'm super grateful to be at the point where pregnancy feels real. Between sickness for the first 20 weeks, and some underlying fear of another miscarriage, I don't think the reality really sank in until quite recently, and it still continues to hit me in waves. We are having a baby. Soon!

This week, Noah asked how baby sister is going to get out of my belly. I was NOT prepared, but I think I answered his question okay. I'm sure the subject is going to start coming up more and more! Anyone have any advice on preparing older siblings for labor/delivery/having a newborn?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

23, 24, 25 weeks and counting!

Holy cow the past 3 weeks have been a whirlwind! Lots and lots of rain and lots of growing and lots of travel have happened in that time frame. And somewhere in there, I turned 32, too!

So week 23 started with a homeschooling conference, which sounds random, but Ross and I had a lot of fun. It was a great way to reconnect and be rejuvenated in this parenting job before we start round 2! Thanks to Ross' mom for watching our munchkin while we got out. Unfortunately, the rest of the week was pretty painful for me. Some SPD pain kicked in and I was having trouble walking. It's so hard for me not to get discouraged when pain flares up!

Week 24 started with a whirlwind trip to Big Cedar Lodge! It was our first and last real trip as a family of 3. Saturday was SO fun, but Sunday was a bit of a bummer with even more rain. We definitely want to go back, but now we know to plan for a bit longer of a trip. The fresh air and lots of walking was really good for all of us, and I was feeling pretty good!

Unfortunately, all that activity caught up with me again in week 25, and I was just plain sore and exhausted. Noah and I traveled to Omaha while Ross worked on house stuff (the new goal is to have the house finished before THIS baby is born)! I got to go to a really special dinner in honor of my dad while we were in Omaha, and it was fun to see family, but it sure was a lot of travel. Thankfully, after spending something like 15-16 hours in the car in an 8 day period, I got a prenatal massage last week between working at the hospital Tuesday and Thursday, and it was AMAZING. Everything I needed. Thanks to my mom for watching Noah so I could leave the house for something like that during the day!

And here we are at 26 weeks! I feel huge overnight, and I'm in that weird place where I feel like I'm barely over halfway, but baby is definitely viable, and third trimester is going to be here before we know it. Eek! This is HAPPENING. And where did the month of April go?!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Weeks 21 and 22

Time is FLYING. I'm sitting here well into week 23, feeling baby move daily, and losing track of how far along I am! I'm so so so thankful that the nausea is still 90% gone and, knock on wood, I've been healthy for a month straight!!! It makes a huge difference.

How big is baby? At our ultrasound at 21 weeks, baby's estimated weight was 1 lb 0 oz, the head circumference was 18.61 cm, and the abdomen was 17.05 cm around. It blows my mind how much growth happens in the second half of pregnancy! I know that technically the rate of growth actually slows down, compared to the first trimester. Yet, growing from a 1 lb baby to a (hopefully) 7 lb baby feels a whole lot more physically impactful than growing from the size of two cells to the size of a blueberry! This past weekend, Ross and I went to a homeschooling conference. There was a pro-life booth in the vendor hall with little models of babies at certain gestational ages. It was kind of cool to be 23 weeks pregnant and holding the 24 week model. There's a BABY in there!

Sex: It's a GIRL! With Noah, our guess was girl, and he's all boy. With this one, our guess was boy, and the ultrasound technician put the probe on my belly and said, "you're wrong again!" (I think Noah was kind of upset she said it that way, and he took it personally.) So once more, we were in shock. It took a few days to adjust to the idea, but we are so excited. We asked Noah what her name should be, and he said "Red." We'll work on that. But in the meantime, it's so fun to have a pronoun to use. My friend Rachel bought us our very first GIRLY cloth diaper a few days later, and it was so cute! And made everything feel even more real. 

Total weight gain/loss: I think at 21 weeks I was up 10 pounds? Feeling bigger every day now!

Exercise: Oh boy. I was really happy to be getting into a routine of Barre3 twice a week and walking once a week, greatly anticipating the walks increasing as the weather improved. But last week, we walked to BSF and it killed my hips. I'm definitely struggling with this. Walks with Noah are my very favorite part of our summer routine, and I'm so so sad that they might not happen this summer. 

Stretch marks: None yet, knock on wood. I somehow didn't get them with Noah?! But I haven't been as vigilant with almond oil this time, so we will see.

Swelling: Just yes. It's really uncomfortable. Not sure what I'm going to do when it's too hot for compression hose! Getting a massage next week, so I really hope that helps for a bit.

Maternity clothes: Exclusively. I even had to switch to a maternity tank for pajamas since my belly was getting cold in my old PJ shirts!

Sleep: It's fairly decent (aka fitful, lots of vivid dreams, and lots of potty breaks, but otherwise sleeping through the night). About every other night, I'll have a bout of insomnia after waking up to pee, either around 2am or 5am. This lasts anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, but it could be so much worse. I'm SO GLAD I'm not working night shift this pregnancy!

Food cravings: This is so bizarre to me. I remember last time, when food sounded good, it sounded REALLY good! This time, food still mostly just sounds tolerable, or most definitively not at all. Onions, cooked or raw, have become a definitive no right now. They do not sit well. If I'm craving anything, it's slightly tart tropical fruit like pineapple and mango. And also the gluten free lemon bars at Dolce. A few weeks ago, baby must've had a growth spurt because I was craving chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. But nothing too intense, random, or consistent. 

Symptoms: Enjoying a bit of a sweet spot at the moment. I only get nauseated if I get too hungry, and my fatigue is okay as long as I'm not awake for the day at 2am. Biggest symptom is still swelling and pelvic pain this week, and I'm fighting a lot of discouragement on that front, along with sorrow that my "last summer with Noah" won't look quite like I'd hoped.

Movement: Yes! Consistently in the morning and evening, and sometimes more often. The other night, Noah got to feel a few kicks during bedtime stories. The look on his face was sheer delight!

What I'm loving: I love looking pregnant and feeling the baby move. Pregnancy is such a unique season of life and growth, and I do want to soak it up. Even though I know I don't know what life is going to look like in a few months when our family totally changes, I do know everyone says your heart just expands to make room for the next baby. So much love.

What I'm looking forward to: Feeling more big kicks and rolls! And having my gestational diabetes test behind me.

Best moment this week: Seeing baby on ultrasound two weeks ago was really sweet. We got to see her little profile and her little hands and feet and it all just feels so much more real. It's also cute to hear Noah use his "baby sister" voice, and to hear him start to include her in things already. And he notices babies everywhere. I'm so excited for these two to meet!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Easy Stovetop Granola

Why have I never made stovetop granola before? It's seriously SO easy!

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 Tbs butter on medium heat and stir in 2 Tbs maple syrup, 2 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.

Add 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal, 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, and 1/4 cup walnut pieces.

Cook on medium low for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Then, remove from the burner and let it cool in the pan, stirring occasionally.

So easy!

Monday, March 27, 2017

The BEST Gluten Free Pancakes

I've tried A LOT of gluten-free pancakes over the past 5-6 years. A lot. Some are decent. Some are awful. Most are mediocre. Some taste decent, but the texture is way too starchy. Some (like my favorite buckwheat pancakes) have a good texture, but don't taste like the quintessential pancake. Sometimes you just want a stack of pancakes.

This weekend, I mashed a few recipes together and totally lucked out. These were so good. Like, Ross took a bite and asked, "are you sure these are gluten free?" So. Good.

Gluten-Free "Buttermilk" Pancakes
makes 15 pancakes

2 cups almond milk
3-4 Tbs lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
2 eggs
4 Tbs butter, melted
2 Tbs sugar
2 1/3 cups Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Mix (do NOT substitute other flour blends here)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

1. Add the lemon juice or vinegar to the almond milk and mix. Let sit for 5 minutes to curdle. This is your dairy-free "buttermilk."

2. Whisk the eggs, butter, and "buttermilk."

3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until just combined. Batter will be slightly lumpy.

4. Let batter sit for 5 minutes.

5. Scoop 1/4 cup of pancake batter at a time onto a hot skillet. Cook until the first side just starts to bubble, and then flip and cook until both sides are very light golden brown.

6. Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

THIS is a recipe you can serve to your gluten-free and gluten-loving friends alike. That's always my barometer of whether a recipe is worth posting or making again.