Tag Archives: maternity

Project 52 – Week 2 {Shadows}

12 Jan

36 weeks pregnant.

I have been wanting to attempt taking (and editing) an image like this for a while. Happy for the little kick of motivation to make it happen.

Week-2-Shadows

Freezer Meals

19 Mar

This post is very late in coming. And out of season now. But oh well. I’m posting it anyway.

Eating well is important to me. I am by no means the healthiest person on earth but I’ve worked really hard over the past few years to develop more healthful ways of eating. Most of my philosophy is centered on eating as much unprocessed food as possible. Though I certainly enjoy dining out, I like to do it as a treat and not just because I didn’t plan and cook a meal. In fact, how we’re eating has pretty much become a sign of how in of control I am of my life in general. When things get out of hand, I often try to re-focus by menu planning and grocery shopping.

When I was still pregnant, I worried about how we’d handle meals once the baby arrived. Knowing that I feel better when I eat better, I wanted to make sure we were prepared. A quick search on Pinterest offered many make-ahead and freeze meal options. But a lot of the recipes were just for chicken with some kind of sauce (which means it’s just as easy to sprinkle on some spices and throw it on the George Foreman grill…) or otherwise used ingredients I usually wouldn’t.

So, unhappy with those options, I embarked on the fun task (I’m being serious in case that isn’t coming across well in writing – ha!) of planning how to prep and freeze a few of our favorite fall/winter recipes plus a few new recipes that I thought would work well with this plan.

Here are the recipes I decided to try:

  • Lentil soup split into two gallon bags (which were 2 or more servings each)
  • Minestrone soup split into two gallon bags (which were 2 or more servings each)
  • Chicken tortilla soup split into two gallon bags (which were 2 or more servings each)
  • Chicken pot pie (ok, so maybe chicken pot pie is never *that* healthy…)
  • Veggie and rice skillet
  • Inside out stuffed peppers (from an old-fashioned cookbook! but one of my faves so maybe I’ll blog it eventually)
  • Beef stew (see my important note below about potatoes before you try this one!)

First, I made an Excel sheet (Yes! Excel! I told you this was fun! And again, I’m being serious…) of all the ingredients I’d need, the prep-in-advance steps for each recipe, and then the instructions for what to do once we wanted to unfreeze and eat the meal.

Menu planning in Excel

A few weeks before Claire was born, we went to Costco, stocked up on all of the ingredients, chopped up all the veggies (I kept everything sorted in individual bowls by recipe and had the freezer bags ready and labeled), sautéed, poured in stock, canned tomatoes, etc, added in spices, divided into the gallon size freezer bags, and froze. Whew!

Prep-ahead

Freezer meals

It was several hours worth of work and I nearly chopped off a finger at least twice while dicing onions. Yikes! I’m not sure it necessarily saved time overall (it did save time when it came to actually getting dinner ready though) except that we only had to wash the cutting boards, knives, and pans once. But, by the end of the day, our freezer was stuffed (maybe a little too stuffed!)

Freezer Meals 2

Given all of that, I wouldn’t necessarily plan on being this ambitious very often. However, having 11 plus meals ready to go was amazing. Between what we made and our kind and generous family and friends, Claire was over a month old before I even had to worry about what to eat.

But you might be wondering how things turned out. I was definitely a little worried since I hadn’t tried anything like this before. Here’s my quick recap:

Soups

All great. When possible, I’ll probably start doubling or tripling those recipes when I’m already making them as I think that will save time and cut down on wasted ingredients. I think this would be a more reasonable way of prepping in advance going forward.

Chicken pot pie & Veggie skillet

Both OK. A little runnier than usual. I probably needed to adjust something along the way to account for the freezing and did not.

Inside out stuffed peppers

A little mushy. Since this is one of my favorite meals, I’ll stick to making it fresh when I want to eat it.

Beef stew

So, apparently, you can’t freeze cut potatoes without doing something to them first or they turn black. Oops. Learn from my mistake. If you’re going to try to freeze potatoes, google it first and figure out the right way. I may be too scarred to ever try again or I’d figure it out for you.

It is important to us that we continue to eat well and prioritize family meals even now that Claire is here. I know that how that all comes together is going to need to change and we’re still trying to figure out our nightly schedule. I’d like to come up with some set weekly meal plans so I’m not starting from scratch each week but I just haven’t gotten there yet. And I definitely need to figure out how and what to prep in advance (frozen or not) so I can get dinner on the table quickly after work. We’ll see how it continues to evolve!

Pregnancy Journal: The End

9 Dec

It’s hard to believe Claire has already been here for over 7 weeks. I know everyone says it but it’s amazing how quickly the time goes by. I suppose when you’re repeating the same activities so often it really can just blur together. Before I get too far removed from my pregnancy though there is one more thing I wanted to write about. Consider this a PSA for those of you that don’t have babies yet because it goes in the category of “things I totally wasn’t expecting.” And for those of you who know me or have read many posts, you can probably already guess that I really prefer to be prepared for things. Advance warning is always nice. :)

So, here’s the deal. The books, doctors, and your friends will all tell you about Braxton-Hicks contractions. They refer to them as “practice” contractions. Everything I read or heard about them made it sound like something that just happened occasionally towards the end of pregnancy. Oh no. Not for me. I was getting them every day for the last several weeks of my pregnancy. They weren’t painful but they would increase in frequency and/or intensity throughout the day.

Once she was full-term, I didn’t mind them. I figured they meant labor would start any day. But after a couple weeks of that it started to feel like an emotional roller-coaster. I do not like roller-coasters of any variety. Every day I’d wonder if it would finally be the one where the fake contractions would turn into real ones. I’d leave work not sure if I was going to be back the next day and go to bed wondering if they were going to stop or get worse during the night. But every morning I’d wake up, not in labor, and go back to work again. It sort of felt like the boy who cried wolf.

Obviously, they eventually turned into the real thing. And I was pretty excited when they finally did! But now you’ve been warned in case the same thing happens to you. :)

Since I can’t have a post without a picture, and I had promised some maternity shots a while ago, let’s throw those in here too. Pete did a great job, don’t you think? Here I am 33 weeks pregnant.

20120903-9596 20120903-9602 20120903-9600

My very favorites are of my bare belly but I just don’t think the whole internet needs to see that.

Summer 2012

23 Sep

With fall officially here, I figured I better do a quick recap on where our summer went! I knew once we got back from Savannah the weeks would just fly by and indeed they did. As you might have guessed, a lot of our summer activities were influenced by the fact that our first baby is on its way – either because they were things that needed to be done to get ready for baby or things that we wanted to do while we still easily could. Sadly, a lot of things went without being photographed as I just didn’t have the time and energy to carry around my camera and worry about editing. But here’s a rundown –

  • Took a trip out to Colorado to visit friends and family. We have literally one picture from this trip that Pete took.

  • Took a trip to St. Louis for the very fun wedding of a college friend.
  • Bought a new car. Because I just didn’t think getting a car seat in and out of my 2-door 2003 Honda Civic sounded like a good time.
  • Had new carpet installed in the bedrooms (finally! Another one to cross off the 30 Before 30 list…even if very late.)
  • Turned our guest bedroom/office/craft storage room into a nursery. Which meant moving our guest bedroom furniture out of the condo and the office/craft storage into the living room. This has been a long, slow process but if we ever finish I’ll post some photos of both.
  • Bought life insurance. If that doesn’t make you feel like an adult I don’t know what will.
  • Celebrated our 5th anniversary! Our tradition is to go to our favorite Greek restaurant to reminisce about our honeymoon.
  • Went to the usual assortment of birthday parties, graduation parties, concerts, and dinners with friends.
  • Took a weekend trip to Michigan with three of my college girlfriends.

  • Showered three babies, including our own, with lots of love.
  • Learned that a Ukranian-Catholic wedding ceremony is not the same as a traditional Catholic ceremony. And that Ukranians are amazing dancers.
  • Splurged on dinner at Next.
  • Continued working with new and returning photography clients – including another wedding and a product photography project (which was new to me.)
  • Took some DIY maternity photos. I would have liked to have hired someone, I even reached out to a few people, but it just didn’t come together. Pete actually did a really good job with the ones I asked him to take. But it’s difficult to be relaxed when you’re either directing the shot or taking it (with a timer.)
  • Sat and watched in amazement as my baby did acrobatics in my belly. (Pete and I might just be easily amused, but she provides daily entertainment.)

And, often, I just rested. I didn’t clean enough. Or cook enough. Or organize enough. I didn’t even make as many to-do lists as I normally do. Everything took me longer to get done than I’d like. But it was a good summer. A very good summer. And now it’s time for fall. Which means it’s almost time for a baby!

Pregnancy Journal: Kick, kick kick

8 Aug

One of my favorite things about pregnancy is feeling the baby move around. It’s so reassuring to know she’s doing OK. People often talk about babies “kicking” which, for us, is a complete understatement of what’s going on in there. I’m not sure what other babies do/mamas feel but it sure seems like this little girl is an especially active one. I often get poked, jabbed, patted, or otherwise body slammed in ways that make me laugh out loud. They say a good way to track/check fetal movements is by monitoring how long it takes to feel ten movements at a time of day when you know the baby is most active. On average, you should get there in 10-15 minutes but it may take up to two hours. I haven’t ever actually done this but I’m fairly certain we could get to a count of 10 within 2-3 minutes most days. We’re in for some pretty funny/exhausting times if this continues once she gets out! Perhaps we’ll have to get her this onesie.

Source: originalmusicshirt.com via Jackie on Pinterest

Of course, when I first felt her move I wasn’t quite sure that’s what it even was. I think the earliest they say you can generally feel the baby is somewhere around 15 weeks or so. I thought I felt little popcorn like movements by then that might be kicks. I’m still not sure if that was really her but what I realized later was that I did actually feel her move but more often as something Pete and I call “surfacing.” All of a sudden she’ll just press on the front part of my belly like a scuba diver rising to the surface of the water and make a very hard lump from whatever part of her body it is. :)

Pregnancy Journal: Symptoms and Cravings

3 Aug

I mentioned before that I’ve been extremely lucky to have a pretty easy pregnancy so far (I keep hoping that repeating this will not jinx me!) Most notably, I haven’t had any morning sickness  or even food aversions (except for breakfast-type eggs, which I never eat much of anyway) which I am very very grateful for. In fact, my relationship with food has been just the opposite. I feel like I’m constantly hungry despite also feeling like I’m constantly eating. The good news is, I’m used to eating small meals and snacks throughout the day. The bad news is, I still have to eat those meals and snacks more often (and starting earlier in the day) than usual and if I don’t it results in dizziness and/or overall not good feelings.

The dizziness (which was especially bad up until Week 14 or so but I luckily haven’t had since then) is my least favorite pregnancy symptom. It tended to occur most frequently on my morning commute to work. Awesome. I’ve also had lower back pain, sometimes the sharp shooting kind, since about Week 6. I thought I just slept on it funny at first – I was so early in my pregnancy it’s not like there was added weight to cause pain. Oh no, my friends. That would be the pregnancy hormones kicking in and relaxing all kinds of things in my body. Fairly fascinating, no? I was worried this could mean bad things for my back once I actually had a big belly but at Week 29 (holy cow – how did that happen so quickly?!) I’m actually doing great.

Also in the column of please, God, do not let this become a frequent thing is heartburn. OMG is that painful and unpleasant. I was near tears from the pure shock of it all. For future reference, in case anyone needs it, a quick Google search indicated yogurt can actually be used as a natural remedy. I’m not sure if it really worked or if my pain had just run its course, but a tablespoon full did seem to do the trick. I’m not opposed to taking OTC medication if this is a reoccurring thing, I just didn’t know what I was allowed to take since I hadn’t discussed with my doc yet.

And another super funny thing? Leg cramps. They’ve only happened a few times but I wake up in a kind of shock/panic that I don’t understand at first. And then I realize my leg is completely cramped. They’ve gone away quickly so it’s really not that bad but what a weird thing for your body to do.

One of the questions I get asked most often is whether I have any cravings. I wouldn’t say there’s any one particular thing that I crave but instead (especially in my first trimester) it might change from week to week. Sometimes I’ll need to eat oranges and then the next week it’s watermelon. For the most part I think of it as my body just making sure it gets the nutrients it needs. Now, where that can’t necessarily be applied is to my current love of sweets. I’ve always liked dessert but I’m usually too full by the end of a meal to each much more than a few bites of someone else’s treats. My oh my how that has changed. Let’s just say I opened our freezer one day to see this and was very very happy. :)

At Home In: Savannah, Georgia

28 Jun

I can’t believe it has already been a month since our babymoon to Savannah! Before we head out on our next trip, I figured I should try to share a few details from that one.

We decided on Savannah somewhat randomly. Neither of us had ever been to any of the charming Southern cities so we were definitely interested in checking one out. Plus, this trip was going to be a little different than our others given that I was going to be 19 weeks pregnant. It’s funny to plan a trip when you really have no idea how you’re going to feel and what your body is going to be capable of at a future date. Savannah is small and walkable and, while there is lots to do, it was also somewhere we knew we could go and just rest in a cafe and be completely content. So Savannah it was.

Like a lot of our recent trips, we started our search for accommodations on HomeAway and VRBO. Through those searches I somehow came across the website for Luxury Savannah Living and eventually we decided on the Chippewa Square Suite in the Jones Street house. There are a ton of traditional B&Bs in Savannah but we really prefer the apartment rentals. I’m not an early riser, I don’t like to eat a lot right when I wake up so the breakfast part of a B&B is usually lost on me, and (if I’m perfectly honest) I don’t really go on vacation to socialize with new people. I’m much better off if I have a refrigerator where I can keep some yogurt and fruit and just eat it in some cute outdoor space by myself! The only downside to these apartments is that there’s no front desk to leave your bags at if you arrive earlier than the check-in time or don’t need to leave for the airport until long after your check-out time. Still, I like the charm and we just plan accordingly.

The link above has more pictures of the suite, but here are a few of my favorite things:

Master Bedroom – I will probably never paint a room this dark green and this is about as close to a canopy bed as I may ever get so it’s nice to pretend for a few days. And how about the picture rail? Love it.

Glass Door Knobs & Door Plates – I love love love glass door knobs. Hopefully one day we’ll live in a house with enough character to suit them!

Master Bathroom – Claw foot tub, huge beautiful gold mirror, pretty wall color, great floor tiles (sorry you can’t see them here), white pedestal sink. I mean, what’s not to love? It actually reminded me a lot of the bathroom from the Ritz-Carleton Sarasota (nice to see my photography has improved since then – ha!) which I was also smitten with. I really need to learn how to mix finishes like that. I love the feeling of something that seems casually pulled together instead of all matchy-matchy.

That mirror also happens to be very good for baby bump pictures so here is your classic, gratuitous blogger belly pic. 19 weeks, 4 days. I’m already much bigger than that! :)

Picturesque Neighborhood – My very favorite part about where we stayed, however, was the charming block where it was located. I love the buildings, the stairs, the live oak trees, and the secret little gardens you get to peek into as you walk by. And the beauty of the Savannah historic district is that every block looks just like this.

I know Charise is headed to Savannah in the fall so here are a few of my thoughts and recommendations for her and anyone else who wants to check it out! When we planned our trip we used a few resources to decide what to do and where to go: Savannah’s Official Tourism Site and Visitor Guide, Design Sponge Savannah Guide, and Garden and Gun’s Savannah City Portrait.

We opted for a one day tour bus to learn the city (and keep me from getting too tired) and then added on the ghost tour. It’s a little pricey and the ghost tour was a little theatrical for me (though I did like the stories) but I’m glad we did it. We liked all three of the Telfair Museums and it’s nice that they’re not huge so you can check out at least two in the same day. Given the history of the homes in Savannah, we really liked that the Owens-Thomas house and Telfair Academy gives you a peek inside what life was like for some of the original owners. We did an additional tour of the Juliette Gordon Low house too and, even though there’s a lot of talk about Girl Scouts, Pete was still able to enjoy the history of that one as well. Wormsloe Plantation is outside of the historic district (you’d need a car) but I loved the trees and actually learned a lot about the colonization of Georgia from the video in the visitor’s center. We didn’t really check out the trails but you do have access to them if you’d like to take a longer walk than we did!

Savannah has a ton of good food and we found it hard to go wrong. However, one we’d recommend not missing is the Crystal Beer Parlor. The portions are gigantic so we couldn’t finish all our food but don’t miss the Gawgia Cracka Nachos. Clary’s was also fun for a diner style breakfast, especially if you’ve read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. We thought Leopold’s ice cream was good but not amazing. I’m glad we had some but also glad we didn’t wait in the thirty minute line we saw one day! This last recommendation is funny but we also discovered a Parker’s near our place and proceeded to stop there multiple times during our stay. I think some of the stores are just gas stations but this one is a cross between and a gas station and a speciality grocer. What other gas station have you been to with growlers of micro-brew beer?! They also had Greek yogurt, sparkling juice, and desserts for the pregnant half of our group. ;)

There are also lots of great shops – many located close to one another, so I trust you’ll find what you like. However, if you happen to be near Whittaker and Jones Street, you should seek out One Fish Two Fish. I want to live in that store. Seriously.

This post has gotten long enough but if anyone has any specific questions let me know and I’d be happy to answer!