Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Thirtieth Week

Hey all!  I'm now thirty-one weeks pregnant!  I'm only about two months out from my due date (2/27) now, so it's starting to feel pretty real.

So I feel like at this point there's not a ton of new stuff to report.  Not too much is new or changing, I'm just getting bigger and waiting for the major stuff to happen.  I'll try and give the highlights anyway though.

Heartburn/acid reflux was pretty bad this week.  During the day I was fine, but when I laid down to go to sleep, it was really painful and awful.  Two nights I went to bed without taking anything and had to get up and take a Zantac in the middle of the night and wait about a 1/2 hour for it to kick in enough that I could go back to sleep.  Oww.  I think I may have to start taking one before bed if I have any inkling of it coming on.

I'm still getting back pain on and off.  I have this one spot on the right side of my back where I feel it.  I made an appointment for a pre-natal massage, but it's not til late January, so I'm debating making another one for sooner if I can get in somewhere, or even with a chiropractor maybe.

The baby is still pretty active, especially later in the day.  I've been doing my kick/movement counts, usually after dinner and it doesn't take long for her to move 10 times.  I definitely see little body parts sticking up on my belly sometimes and once in a while she'll kind of stay only on one side so my stomach is all uneven.  It's kind of amusing.

I did well with walks this week I think I got 5 out of 7 days in, which is the most I've done in a week in a while.

It was a good thing I got so many walks in because I had TWO cookie exchanges to attend this week, so cookie consumption has been at an all time high.  I'm hoping once the holidays are over and I don't have three containers of cookies sitting on my counter, my diet is going to be a bit more normal again.

I visited my friend Sarah and her new little boy this week and got a glimpse of the first week of motherhood. As much as I know my life is going to change drastically soon, I'm really excited to meet my baby girl and start loving her outside my body.

One thing I'm thinking about more lately is breastfeeding.  I kind of took notes and asked some questions while visiting Sarah, and also listened to a pregtastic podcast on the subject this week.  I have a breastfeeding class coming up in January as well.  I definitely plan to and hope to breastfeed, but I know it's not an easy thing for everyone, so we'll see how it goes.  Feel free to pass along any wisdom any of you might have, I'm all ears!

In other news, lately I'm marveling over how great Greg has been through the pregnancy.  He came to every ultrasound with me, and he was the one that teared up at the first one we had when we saw the heartbeat.  He was so awesome about painting the nursery and assembling all the furniture, stroller, etc...  Plus he has done a lot of other prep work we needed to do, including a lot of deep house cleaning lately (carpet cleaning and stuff like that). He recently ordered a special video monitor for the baby this week that he will be able to use from his computer remotely when he's on trips so he can see her.  He also got a digital picture frame he can fill with pictures of himself so that the baby can see him when he's not there.  So cute!  Also, he gave me two books for the baby for Christmas.  I can't wait to see how he is as a father.  I'm melting when I think about it already :)   It's awesome to see him so into having a baby.

How far along? 31 Weeks
Maternity clothes? Mostly maternity, except for cardigans and really big stuff.
Stretch marks? Nope.
Symptoms: heartburn, movement, back pain, frequent peeing
Best moment this week: Probably the night Greg and I did our Christmas (we celebrated early because he wasn't home on the actual day).
Miss Anything?  Sleeping well, not having heartburn, running.
Movement: Yup, she is rolling around in there!
Food cravings: cookies, fruit, gingerbread cake.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really.  I had shrimp tacos one night and after, when I was cleaning up, I had a moment where I had a wave a nausea, but it passed.
Have you started to show yet: Yes, duh.
Gender: Girl
Labor Signs: No, thank god!
Belly Button in or out? Ok, I'm going to say it's flat, but sometimes has hints of being out now!  Greg is very freaked out by it and won't touch it.  Haha!
Mood:  Good!
Looking forward to: Finishing the nursery, my baby shower (in January).
What I am NOT looking forward to: Feeling heavier, more tired, and more uncomfortable in the coming weeks.
Weekly Wisdom: Um, hang in there?
Milestones: I'm in the thirties!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

An Evening With Chobani

Do you ever sit around thinking, "I wonder what kind of recipes I could make using Greek yogurt?"  If so, this is the post for you.  Last week I was invited to a dinner at Chobani.  The mission?  Make a full dinner using all recipes that include Greek yogurt.  I loved the concept!

My family loves Chobani yogurt.  I've gotten my husband addicted to it, and even my dog, Clyde, seems to know the difference and prefers licking the remnants of the Chobani cups over any other type of yogurt.  My personal favorite flavors are the pineapple and mango, but I'll pretty much eat any Chobani flavor :)  I do sometimes sub yogurt for butter or oil, but if you really think about it, there's a ton you can do with it in almost every recipe.  I feel like that's what the the point of this event was- to show us all the possibilities!

Chobani has a swanky high rise office in uptown Charlotte, complete with an awesome test kitchen, where we all assembled for the event.

photo credit Chobani photographer

Of course before we got into cooking, there was plenty of socializing, drinking, and nibbling on an appetizer spread that included dips made with Greek yogurt.

I was especially addicted to the guacamole, and enjoyed dipping my veggies and pita chips in that :)  Chobani yogurt gives it a nice yummy tangy taste.

I may have been slightly jealous of Brittany's glass of red wine, but my ginger ale was good too.

Introductions were made and our Chobani contact Amy filled us in on what we'd be doing.

photo credit to Chobani photographer

Then we all partnered up and got to cooking a recipe for dinner.  I ended up with Kelly and we found ourselves at the smashed potatoes with broccoli station.

Each station had all the necessary ingredients laid out for us, along with a recipe to follow.

Oh, and a cute apron and pot holder, which they let us keep.  Excellent, maybe now that I have two glove pot holders I will not burn my wrists pulling things out of the oven anymore ;)

Kelly and I got to work on our recipe.  She chopped and sauteed onions and I peeled and chopped the potatoes and broccoli and got them boiling.

Looking around the room, everyone was engrossed in cooking and chatting.  It was really fun :)


photo credit Chobani photographer

Our recipe came together fairly easily.  I think one of the great things about the Chobani recipes is that they are not that complicated.  

photo credit Chobani photographer

I finished up our smashed potatoes by baking them with a generous layer of cheddar cheese spread over the top.  Yum!

The other dishes prepared included:  Gorgonzola crostini,

I gathered some of each on my plate, and it kind of reminded me of Thanksgiving!

The show stopper of the night came out in the middle of chowing down on everything else- the iced gingerbread cake.

If you make one recipe from this post, make THIS CAKE.  It's absolutely incredible.  It's moist and flavorful, and there is actually no butter in it, which is crazy!  I'm planning on making it for Christmas.

I was honored to be invited to the event since I'm not known strictly for my food blogging like many of my fellow bloggers that attended are.  I do love to cook though and am always on the look out for smart ideas in the kitchen.  Using Greek yogurt in recipes is a great idea and all of the recipes we made are on the easy side and took less than an hour to make, which are my kind of recipes.  Check out more ideas at the Chobani Kitchen.  Also look for the Twitter hashtag #justaddgood

I really had an excellent time socializing, cooking, and eating at this event.  Thank you so much for having me Chobani!

photo credit Chobani photographer

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Twenty-Ninth Week

I'm now thirty weeks pregnant!  Wow, only about ten weeks to go (or less)!  Crazy.

So, overall I still feel pretty good.  This week I got some pretty bad back pain on my lower right side and from about 6pm on Sunday til the time I went to bed I was pretty miserable and useless.  I think it might be time for either a prenatal massage or a visit to a chiropractor.  I am not even sure where it came from, because I wasn't even on my feet that much that day except in the afternoon when I made some Christmas cookies, but that was only like two hours of the day.  Weird.  My doctor advised to take Tylenol if it happens again.  I used the heating pad and my shiatsu massage pillow that night, and that was somewhat helpful.  I'm hoping I won't get a lot more of that in the next couple months!

Heartburn wasn't too bad this week.  I still take Tums or a Zantac if I feel it, but this was probably one of the better weeks I have had.  I think it's going to continue to come and go until the baby drops more, since she's just so high.

I had a check up at the OB this week and heard my baby's heartbeat on the Doppler again.  Still sounds strong!  I confirmed that I passed my gestational diabetes test, so that was good news!  I guess that means I'm clear to continue my Christmas cookie eating habit.  Nom nom :)  The midwife I saw measured my belly and I measured 30 weeks- right on track.  New this week, she gave me a kick count sheet for me to keep track of the baby's movement/kicks.  I asked if it was normal that I mostly just feel other kinds of movement, not kicking, and she said that it was.  Good- I can stop obsessing over my lack of "kick" movement.

After my OB appointment, I stopped in at the pediatrician's office we intend to use.  They are located right next to my OB office.  I found out that I don't really need to do anything ahead of time because the doctors at the practice have priveledges at the hospital where I am delivering so they just come when the baby is born and then you set up your first appointment.  I have several friends that use the same practice and all really like it, so I feel confident on using them as well.  Plus, I know they have some lactation consultants on staff, which will probably come in handy.

I'm still walking.  Probably about 3-4 times a week depending on how busy I am.  I hit the treadmill one night this week and again had the constant peeing problem, but I think I figured out why.  I was watching Jim Gaffigan, and couldn't stop laughing.  My bladder control is not what it once was so the combination of laughing/walking, made me have to run to the bathroom a bunch of times.  I think I'm going to have to watch something more serious next time on the on the treadmill- Law and Order anyone??  If you need a laugh, definitely check out his video called Mr. Universe.  I watched on Netflix and was dying laughing.  It even starts off with a segment about babies, so it's fitting for me!  Just remember, seven months pregnant on a treadmill and comedy don't mix!

To cap off the week, my friend Sarah went into labor Tuesday!  She was a little over three weeks early- eek!  Her labor started with her water breaking and slowly progressed into some contractions and dialation, but they ended up deciding to do a C-section last night, and she had her baby boy around 8pm.  He's healthy and they are doing well despite him coming so early.  I went to hospital to see her after work (before she gave birth), and got to see a little glimpse of the early stages of labor.

 Oh, and I owe you guys a link to my maternity photos!  Here they are:

If you read through Jessica's post, there's a link to all the pictures at the end.  I purchased one of the ones where we are all sitting together in the grass and used it as our Christmas card.

How far along? 30 Weeks
Maternity clothes? Mostly maternity, except for cardigans and really big stuff.
Stretch marks? Nope.
Symptoms: heartburn, movement, tiredness, back pain
Best moment this week: Hearing the heartbeat again and further confirmation that things are on track at the doctor's office.  That always makes me really happy.
Miss Anything?  I actually missed sleeping on my back this week.  I'm usually a side sleeper, but sometimes sleep on my back and miss having the option.
Movement: Yup, she is rolling around in there!
Food cravings: ice cream, cookies, fruit, smoothies, egg nog milk shake (I made one at home with vanilla ice cream and Silk egg nog and it was awesome).
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope.
Have you started to show yet: Yes, duh.
Gender: Girl
Labor Signs: No, thank god!
Belly Button in or out? In, but it's pretty flat at this point.
Mood:  Happy!
Looking forward to: Finishing the nursery, my baby shower (in January), having a couple days off for Christmas next week.
What I am NOT looking forward to: Feeling heavier, more tired, and more uncomfortable in the coming weeks.
Weekly Wisdom: Comedy and treadmills don't mix.
Milestones: I'm in the thirties!!.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Twenty-Eighth Week

Ah, this week has been crazy busy.  I actually wrote most of this post a couple days ago, but haven't had time to do pictures or publish it!  So I'm 29 weeks pregnant.  Hard to believe I'm almost to the Thirties!

I will say, I'm starting to feel BIG.  I mean, I know I've been mentioning, yeah the belly is growing every week and all that, but at this point, it's really noticeably large to me and apparently everyone.  The funny thing is, that I'm still not completely used to the fact that it's probably the first thing strangers notice about me.  A cashier peppered me with pregnancy questions the other day and I told my husband that sometimes I actually forget that I look so pregnant and am even a little embarrassed.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still totally excited that I have a big belly and the baby seems to be growing well in there, but I'm kind of a shy person sometimes and don't feel comfortable having tons of attention on me (My wedding ceremony was about 15 minutes long if that tells you anything, and I knew all the people staring at me).

My plan to watch what I am eating and try to move more went ok.  I think this is going to be a hard time of year with the holidays because it's busy AND there is tons of festive, delicious food around.  I still have cookies from my family's visit and felt compelled to make a fresh batch of cookies (snickerdoodles) for my in-laws this week while they were here.  So the cookie consumption is probably still not much better than last week.  I did try to aim for more salads and healthy food at meal times this week though.  I did a treadmill workout one night after work, getting in about two miles.

The biggest problem with the treadmill?  I had to pee about 3-4 times.  I'm not sure what the deal with that is, since I regularly walk my neighborhood without that problem.  I also did a couple walks in the neighborhood.  I think I could still stand to step it up with walks or workouts if I can fit them in.

Speaking of peeing frequently.  I am still up a couple times a night and was even up FOUR times one night this week.  I think that was a new record...  I'm also hot in the middle of the night.  Even though it's winter, I find myself peeling off blanket layers and turning on our ceiling fan to cool down at night.

I still have heartburn pretty frequently but a Tums or a Zantac usually helps.  I feel like my heartburn isn't too terrible so sometimes I wait a while before taking anything to see if it'll pass and if it doesn't I'll take something.

As for baby prep, my in-laws decided to get us tons of stuff from our registry for Christmas- a closet organizer, onesies, cloth diapers (for spit ups), a medical kit, a Boppy lounger, etc...  We spent a while the first night they came opening everything.  They loved our nursery.  All I have left to do in there is work on cleaning/organizing the closet, hang some paper lanterns I bought, and wait on our glider to come in, which is supposed to happen within the next couple weeks.  Once that stuff is done I'll give you guys a tour.

Maybe the highlight of the week was that we did a maternity photo shoot.  This is probably a little early to do them, but we knew Greg was off and kind of want to use a photo for Christmas cards, so I thought this was a good time to schedule it.  Greg and I have never had real professional pictures taken.  We didn't do engagement photos and didn't even hire a wedding photographer.  Greg's dad took our wedding pictures (he is an amateur photographer and does sell his work- mainly scenic pictures, but doesn't normally do weddings).  Even though I love our wedding pictures, there was always a part of me that has looked at the photo journalistic styled professional wedding photographer ones with envy.  Knowing what we went through to get pregnant and not knowing what the future holds (I don't know if we'll have more babies or not), I felt very strongly that we need to document this special time.  I asked Jessica Horton, who I have met before at a Charlotte blogger meet-up, if she'd do our maternity photos.  We went to Davidson, NC for the shoot and it was actually really fun.  I felt really comfortable with Jess and she was great at directing us on what to do and where to go.  We also brought Clyde so that he could be in some pictures.  I can't wait to see how they turned out.

How far along? 29 Weeks
Maternity clothes? Mostly maternity, except for cardigans and really big stuff.
Stretch marks? Nope.
Symptoms: heartburn, movement, tiredness
Best moment this week: I loved the maternity photo shoot.
Miss Anything? Running, I dreamed about running the other night.  Also wine, I would have loved a glass with dinner one night this week when I was out.
Movement: Yup, she is rolling around in there!
Food cravings: Cheeseburgers, cheesecake (I saw some on Food Network and wanted some), cookies, cereal, fruit.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Actually, I did feel slightly nauseated one or two mornings this week.  Nothing major though.
Have you started to show yet: Yes, I've even been told that I'm huge.
Gender: Girl
Labor Signs: No, thank god!
Belly Button in or out? In, but it's pretty flat at this point.
Mood: Pretty excited.
Looking forward to: Finishing the nursery, my baby shower (in January).
What I am NOT looking forward to: Feeling heavier, more tired, and more uncomfortable in the coming weeks.
Weekly Wisdom: Stay calm, carry on.
Milestones: Third trimester, last week of the the 20's.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Early Christmas With My Family

For a while now, we have been celebrating Christmas early in December with my family.  My younger brother lives up in New Jersey and we find that's easier for him (especially now that he has a daughter) to travel during non-holiday weekends, and plus it allows him to spend the holidays with his wife's family, who live near them.

This year it happened really early- the very first weekend of December, which meant that only a week after Thanksgiving, Christmas was happening.  This caused a little bit of panic in me since everyone was coming to my house this year (we did it at my parent's house last year), and I had a week to get our tree up, clean the house, and make some Christmas cookies before their arrival.  Greg got crazy with house projects too- like working on our kitchen grout, installing under cabinet lighting, putting a child proof thingie on our chemical cabinet (my niece is now mobile), and putting the icicle lights on the front porch.  It all ended up going off with out a hitch though, and the visit was really fun.

The other good news was that we are way more equipped than ever before to host guests with a baby.  My niece, Avery, was able to sleep in our crib, use our crib, our convertible car seat (Greg's sister gave us one), toys that we have, our stroller, and all sorts of baby stuff.

Everyone arrived in Charlotte around lunchtime on Friday.  After briefly regrouping at the house, we decided to head to lunch.  Our weekend plan was to have lunches out and dinners at the house because it worked better with Avery's schedule.  Greg and I had recently tried out a restaurant that I actually heard about via Twitter.  It's called Local Dish.  I actually didn't take any pictures on this visit, because I was too busy chatting it up with my family, but last time we got the pimento cheese fondue, which was amazing, so we had to get an order for the table this time too.

Like many Southerners (in our case transplanted Southerners), we've become addicted to pimento cheese, and we have a hard time not ordering it when we see it on a menu.  Local Dish's is really yummy.  We think there's some garlic or something in there.  It was a hit with the table.  My mom and I split a spinach salad with chicken and the sweet potato gnocchi and both were really good.  I will say that the burger I had on my last visit, topped with MORE pimento cheese, bacon, and spinach, was also really amazing.

My brother got chicken and waffles, and the chicken was crazy delicious.  I might have to get that next time I go.  Anyway, Local Dish is on our radar as a great eatery now.  We'll definitely be back.

After lunch we headed back to the house for a bit, before venturing out again for a little holiday tree lighting happening in the area.

We heard there were pictures with Santa, and my sister-in-law really wanted to get one of Avery with Santa.  We were among the first in line and she did great- no crying or freaking out, which is more than I can say for the kids after her!

Avery liked the band music playing, so we hung out for a few minutes so she could dance around, but didn't stay for much of the festivities beyond that.  We headed home to have dinner instead.

My mom made her shrimp with pasta with Hilton Head shrimp for us shellfish eaters, and my dad and Greg split a frozen pizza.  Mom also made these cute festive little Santa hats for dessert.  You just take those round brownies you can buy at the grocery store, top with white icing, a strawberry, then a little blob of white icing on top.  So cute :)

By the end of the day we all pretty much looked like this...

Saturday morning we got up and decided to do our Christmas morning then.  My mom made waffles and I made a huge bowl of fruit.  Yum!

We all gathered in the living room and the present frenzy began.

The best part was watching Avery open presents.  I think it's true when they say Christmas is more magical around children.

I got Avery a couple outfits, a book, and these mini Ugg-like boots, which were a huge hit with my brother and sister-in-law.

My mom gave her this super cute purple fleece hat.

I got so many great things- new Asics, baby outfits, diaper bag, and our Ergo carrier.  I decided to try it out with Clyde.  He actually seemed to like it!

We all went to Cowfish for lunch.  My mom has seen me feature it on the blog a bunch of times and wanted to try it.  After my last visit, I'm hooked on the Neon Dion Roll.  I like that everything in it is cooked so I can have it while pregnant.  The tempura coconut shrimp is crazy good.

After lunch we quickly headed to meet my friend Lindsay, who is awesome and agreed to take some family pictures of all of us.  My mom really wanted some good family pictures. We don't have a lot of all of us other than at weddings.  Check out her work...

They came out so great!  Lindsay is really talented.  My mom is planning to use one for a Christmas card this year.

Saturday night we kept it low key and order pizza for dinner- a veggies and a pepperoni.

Sunday, unfortunately, Greg, my mom, and my Dad all got kind of sick with some kind of stomach bug or something.  Luckily, Mark, Ashley, Avery, and I didn't get it, but it was still a major downer in our weekend.  I can't figure out how they got it, because I pretty much ate all the same things they at the day before, so I don't think it was food poisoning.  It must of been some germ they picked up somewhere.

The non-sick kids stayed close to home, but went on a lot of walks and checked out the local playground.


We also went to lunch at a local pub to get out of the house a little.

Clyde provided Avery with a good deal of entertainment in the afternoon.  They played fetch for a while, and she laughed hysterically.

Around dinner time, the crew decided they felt a lot better and were up for cooking up a holiday feast.  We made a filet of beef, green beans, mac and cheese, and butternut squash/leek/apple gratin.

It was a delicious end to a great weekend with my family.  Next year should be even more exciting with our little girl in the mix!
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