Monday, March 18, 2013

How to Survive Pregnancy

I've earned the right to write this post.  This is my third pregnancy, and I feel like I've finally learned how to be pregnant and not hate it the ENTIRE time.

Here's a run down of what I've learned:

1.  Eating for TWO is a LIE...

It is an evil lie that will cause you to gain twice the recommended weight you should.

My first pregnancy I ate whatever the crap I wanted, whenever I wanted (or pretty much all day long).  I gained sooooo much weight.  It sucked.  I got a ton of stretch marks... not all of which were on my stomach.  I had horrible swelling.  I couldn't get around very well at all....  People would ask me when I was due and be like, "OH, HONEY, YOU'RE NOT GONNA MAKE IT."  It was like a slap in the face every time.  Not fun.  It took my about a year to get back into my body afterward.

2nd time around, I was smarter with my food choices and didn't go hog wild.  And it worked.  I stayed in the recommended weight limit... and I lost the weight much quicker, I didn't have as much swelling, but I still felt REALLY crappy for a lot of my pregnancy.

Which brings to the third time around... and no. 2

2.  Exercise.

I kind of walked around some with my other pregnancies... but I never really maintained the habit.  3rd time pregnant, exercising and eating more healthy definitely helped me feel a ton better.  Who knew?  All the articles about eating right and exercising during pregnancy were right!   My second trimester energy lasted well into my third trimester... really about 34 weeks was when things started to decline, not too bad.

Here's the difference, I had a great exercise routine before I was pregnant with the 3rd... so it wasn't like I was starting from scratch when I became pregnant... or going from a lame regimen to nothing.

I have had to modify my exercise every couple of months... I started out running, that ended after my first trimester, then I went onto exercise dvd's, then prenatal yoga and walking, right now I'm down to the bare minimum... I'm only doing prenatal yoga and only every other day... but I'm still exercising! VICTORY!

3.  Water.  LOTS and LOTS of it.

Drink water.  A ton of it!  Way more than you think you need.  You will feel better and you will look better and you won't have so many freaking braxton hicks contractions.  I wish I would have done this with no. 1 and no. 2... I had so many BH contractions, and it drove me nuts.

4.  Sleep

Make it your no. 1 priority.  Don't stay up late, and any day you can take a nap... DO IT! Especially in your first and third trimesters.  Even just laying on the couch for 15 mins can really help.

Plus if you follow advice no. 1 and no. 2... you will sleep better.  I promise.  A little walk around the block and I sleep way more soundly.

5. Crazy = normal.  

Nesting, crying, impatience, irritability it's normal... and someday you won't be such a raving lunatic. So even after 2 other pregnancies I haven't learned to master the hormones, but I will say... at least I know I can be normal again... it might take about 6 months after the babies born, but someday I will be normal (kind of).

Harness your craziness... and it can work in your benefit.  All those crazy nesting ideas can really distract you from the "WHEN'S THIS BABY GOING TO GET THE H OUTTA ME?" feelings you may be having.

And somedays... you will HATE being pregnant.  You will HATE everything about it.  And that's okay.  Because tomorrow you probably will swing the other way and be like, this is pretty cool... I'm growing a baby.  And that's awesome.

So don't beat yourself up for being a little NUTSO.

Well, here's to 9 more days!  We're almost there.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Yeah, we did it! Lo hicimos!

Here's my super mom scrapbook of all the 'nesting' that's been going on here.  Just FYI, for every day of nesting (lest you think I'm just amazing all the time) there were at least two-seven couch days where I whined about wanting to die in between.  

Gum paste flowers (tutorial here)

Ruffle/Circle skirts (combined tutorials here and here)

Bean bag/potato stamped pillows (idea from here)

Crockpot freezer meals (recipe's from here and here)

I'm pretty sure my nesting gear is now set to low... I'm just too tired, but I am super happy with everything I've gotten done.

Monday, March 11, 2013

How to feed your chocolate addiction without all the sugar

Banana bread, with unsweetened cocoa thrown in :)

I love chocolate.  I know people say this and you're like yeah, yeah, we all love chocolate.  BUT YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW... or maybe you do.

Do you sometimes randomly open the unsweetened cocoa box and just inhale?
Do you place 80% dark chocolate under your tongue and involuntarily sway as it melts?
Will you do/eat anything to get your fix?

So I'm addicted to chocolate.  Problem is chocolate and sugar usually go hand in hand.  And I don't like that.  Especially right now...  it's the whole pregnant thing.  I have no control once I get started on the sugar train.  I  seriously eat the WHOLE batch of brownies.  Chocolate frosting in the fridge? I'm there every five minutes scooping it out with a spoon.  When the kids ask about the Rockie Road Icecream I bought two days ago... and I can't really explain what happened to it... it becomes a problem.  Not to mention the major sugar crashes you go through.

And then there's the doctor's office... you have to actually get on the scale.  February was a bad, bad month for me and the scale.

So I realized I need to do something about it.

I decided to not bake any cookies, cupcakes, or brownies (basically any dessert with an excessive amount of sugar) until St. Patty's day.  I also stopped eating ice cream.


So here's what I've been doing.  Me and the unsweetened cocoa are BFF's.

I make chocolate/peanut butter spinach smoothies.  I know you just totally cringed... but you should try it.

I found this recipe and tweaked it:

1 frozen banana
2 cups spinach
1 cup of milk
dash of cinnamon
dash of red pepper
1 heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder, sometimes a little more
1 tbs peanut butter

And then blend the crap out of it.

Also when the girls are eating ice cream, I eat plain yogurt with a banana cut up in it, some peanuts, and you guessed it a heaping load of cocoa powder.  I sometimes have coconut on top.

I make hot chocolate with cocoa powder and no sugar... and I love it.

We've also tried black bean brownies... I would add more chocolate to the recipe next time... but the amazing thing was that after 2 small brownies I was stuffed.  I didn't eat the whole pan.  Miracle of miracles.

These do have the consistency of like a dry pumpkin bar... so don't go into thinking it's going to trick you.  I mean, come on, if you really, really, really need a brownie and you aren't about to go over the recommended weight limit for your pregnancy... just make a real brownie. 

Another food I haven't had in a while, but seriously need to... is Mole (as in the sauce, not the animal) it's a Mexican chocolate/nut/spicy combo that goes over chicken. Sigh.

Anyone else out there addicted to chocolate??  Any good recipes?

Friday, March 8, 2013

How to be happy

This just keeps coming up in my life lately.

Maybe because I'm generally an optimistic person and I'm struggling with that currently... but I keep running into things that remind me I need to be happy now.

I need to enjoy life today, and not push it back to some kind of deadline. The "I'll be happy when..." thing isn't cool, because you just never know what's coming.

Some things I'm trying to remember right now are:

1. Be Grateful
2. Someone's having a worse day than you.

So the gratitude thing.  I've heard of a lot of people keeping gratitude journals* lately.

I've decided it's really important to constantly recognize what you're grateful for...  Grateful people are happy people.  They look at the good things in their lives instead of dwelling on everything bad.  And dwelling on the positive things will change your perspective.

So I'm going to start keeping a gratitude journal of sorts... but I kind of want to pull my family into it and talk about what we're grateful for at dinner and write it down in a little notebook--I'll have to report back to show you how it goes :)

Okay, so a little story about how being grateful can change you:

So I was at the grocery store about six months ago.  I was still in my first trimester and feeling really crumby, my kids were going crazy at the store, whining, crawling out of the top of the cart, wanting to be held, dancing in the aisles... I know, I know there were only two, but things were getting a little crazy.  I felt nauseous and tired.  And my husband was out of town... for 12 weeks... this was somewhere in the middle of it.

So I prayed, a really whiny prayer in my head in the grocery store.  Something to the effect of I'm soooo tired, I'm sick of this, I just want to be done with this trip... and I was literally on the verge of tears.

And an interesting thing happened.  An image of a third world country popped up in my head.  And all these things came to my mind:

You have food.  You have water.  You have money to pay for your food.  You have air conditioning.  All the food is here in one large store.

All these things just flooded my mind.  I thought about how women have to carry their children on their backs, get food from markets, some don't have money to feed their kids.

And it changed my attitude... I was grateful.  I could suddenly handle these goofy kids and my luxury life.  It was humbling.  

The other thing to remember is... Someone is having a worse day than you.

So I'm due at the end of the month.  I haven't been feeling well lately.  I had a really awesome, long 2nd trimester and then things kind of plummeted a couple of weeks ago.

I've been having a hard time.  I have super emotional, super cranky, super tired.  I'm ready to be done.  I've hit the point where I keep thinking:  I hate being pregnant.

But I've been trying to remember that it really isn't so bad... and that I need to look around me.  Everyone has something that they are struggling with, and if you can help someone, you might just feel a little bit better.

I recently found out a girl I knew growing up is having a really rough time.

She was pregnant and living in Germany with her husband when she broke her arm.  Breaking your arm would be difficult anytime, but when your pregnant and not feeling well... It would be worse. When she got it x-rayed they realized she has a rapidly progressing bone cancer.

They decided to deliver her baby a tiny, healthy, baby girl, and three days later the mom had to start Chemo.  She now is living in the US being treated, while her husband still has to finish his time in Germany.

She is grateful she broke her arm, so that they found the cancer.

Another friend's relative had a baby boy a month or so ago, just before they were about to leave the hospital the doctor checked him one last time and realized something was very seriously wrong with him.  Since then he's had multiple procedures and been in various hospitals.  You can read about his progress here.  

My sister-in-law and her sister (Hi Jenny :) ) have Cystic Fibrosis. Sometimes I need to remember what a blessing it is to be able to breathe.

I can't even imagine going through these things.  Here I am whining about a normal pregnancy, and all the "crazy" things in my life... when I should be grateful for what I do have.

Someone is having a worse day than you.  Go and find out how you can make it better.  You will be happier.

Any other thoughts out there?  What do you do to be happy?

*Random Rant:  I don't know why, but Oprah ruined this for me. I know Oprah does a lot of good things with her money/power/etc.  But I didn't like the show, I only watched it once or twice.  I guess it's the interview thing, where she's like digging into the souls of people on tv to millions of people and they are hurting about whatever they are going through and then she'd dissect them on television... it just seemed cruel and manipulative.  Plus people practically worshiped her... Anyway.  So anyway the fact that Oprah has plugged having a gratitude journal kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.  I'm getting over myself though :)