26 November 2012

On Pregnancy: HE IS HERE!

                     Raphael Francis Albano
                     November 20th, 2012
                            8 lbs., 20-1/2"

I don't have too many words to write yet (or rather I have too many, it would be a long post!) about the whole experience. Regardless, having a baby was one of the best days of my life. He is wonderful, beautiful and perfect. 

(I promise there will be some birth story post soon!)

Ok, back to the baby!

22 November 2012

Thankful: Pregnancy Edition

This is the post I need to write today. I am get very tired and frustrated. Pregnancy has been wonderful but I am ready to have this baby. And he does not want to be had yet. I need to remember what I am thankful for today.

Although I wrote this days before Thanksgiving (see the reason for doing so here!)the things I have to be thankful for this year are so numerous I hope this post doesn't go on forever. I apologize in advance.

The things I am thankful for this year (yes, they are almost all pregnancy related!):

  1. A loving and understanding husband. Even when hormones are high, he has been wonderful.
  2. A healthy me. 
  3. A healthy baby, to be born soon! so soon!
  4. A pretty "easy" pregnancy. No complications, no issues. (Ok, pregnancy is not that easy but having it go well really makes it seem that much better!)
  5. Maternity leave. Thank you work for being so generous in the time you allow mothers to have off.
  6. A really great doctor who is kind and understanding.
  7. A supportive family and friends. 
  8. A safe home to bring our baby home to.
  9. Naps. Thank you naps for making me feel better when I couldn't sleep a whole night.
  10. Chips and dip. Thank you for tasting so good every day the last 10 months. 

So what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Almost time for decorating the tree!

19 November 2012

From Pinterest to Practical

The onset of nesting has brought a few more house projects and de-cluttering attempts in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Thank goodness for Saturday afternoons!

My most recent Pinterest interest has been gallery/collage walls. They are wonderful for displaying various pieces of art, pictures or other pieces of eye candy. I was delighted to find some inspiration and show off what the practical looks like in my home.

First, the inspiration:


Next, the actual wall in my home:

Alright, ignoring the spaces that don't have photos yet because I am waiting on photos of baby boy (next week some time we should finally get some!!), I think it turned out well!

Here are some of the elements and where I got them:

  • I had the large floral fabric from another project. It is simply tacked to an old cork board. This works out perfectly as we don't have a mantle or other great shelving in this room. I can pin cards, decorations or what-not to the board and change the fabric when I feel like it
  • I had some of the frames lying around. Others I bought at Wal-Mart for $2-$5 each.
  • I had the floral wall stickers in the room before too. I am not sold on those and they might end up someplace else. I bought these particular ones at Hobby Lobby when we moved in.
  • The mustache framed artwork is a free printable I also found on Pinterst. I was excited to have one frame dedicated to a different print when the mood strikes me. 
  • I decided to go with black and white photos to keep a theme. I noticed that a few of the inspiration walls either had all color or all black and white photos. I think the consistency brings the wall together and makes it look intentional. 
It is not completely aligned or perfect, but I really like the collage look. I makes this once large empty wall really full looking. Since we are renting this townhouse, hooks in the wall are not allowed. I have used the velcro sticky back wall hanging devices, and never had any trouble hanging up to 5-8 lbs.  

I am sure the wall will evolve as time goes on, most of my home decorations do.

In all I spent about 3 hours working on the wall and about $20 in frames and sticky back hangers. Not too bad for a a do it yourself project!

17 November 2012

Pregnancy: Weeks 39 & 40

Looking big and incredibly tired. Almost done!

Weight:  203 lbs. (by the end of week 40 I have gained 60 lbs.) (and YES! for not gaining weight each week for the first time in 10 months!)

Weeks to Go: 0


And super whinny. I feel bad for being whinny. I know there are hundreds of women who cannot get pregnant and desperately wish they could. I am not trying to complain or be "one of those women who can never relish in the moment" but I have waited 10 whole months and just want to meet this wonderful bundle of joy!

As of 11/14, I started my maternity leave. By the time I refiled the paperwork, got my doctor to sign off and returned it to my HR department I might (hopefully!) have a newborn. I am enjoying my time off to relax, make some extra dinners, Christmas shop, get things ready for Thanksgiving, etc.. It is quality me time, which could be just the thing I need.  

What I look like:  Not many clothes fit now. I have a limited selection. All the more reason to have this baby!
I don't really feel bigger and bigger each day any more. I have maintained my weight the last few weeks as well. The nurse I see each week commented that I have "dropped" significantly, so let's go baby!

Oh Things I didn't know about pregnancy until now: Walking is my new best friend. I know they tell women on the onset of labor to get walking but even to get labor started walking is recommended. I have been thinking of places or things to walk to. Church, the store, the gym (to walk some more), the grocery store, the mall, parking far away in a parking lot; you name it I walk to it!

Timeline happenings: As I write this we have less than one week to have this baby naturally or else.

At my last appointment the doctor talked to me about setting up a cesaren section due to a couple of factors:
1. I have only dilated 1 cm so far
2. I am past my due date/
3. Judging from the last ultra sound where the baby was weighting 8 lbs. 7 oz., I might have a baby that is too big for me to delivery naturally. 

I am a little sad about this option. It was not the birthing plan I had wanted but in the end a healthy baby is all that really matters to me. I have been healthy for 10 whole months, so there is no reason to complain about having to change plans. 

We have the c-section planned for November 23rd (Yeah Black Friday baby!). I have a week to get my body to go into labor before then. I really do want to do this thing my myself but I am mentally preparing for the surgery. I know everything will work out the way it is suppose to, it just is a little sad knowing I might not get the whole "let's be in labor for 19 hours experience."

And we have started walking at least an hour a day, plus eating spicy food, plus anything else we can do naturally to get this baby moving!


Things for Baby: We have received additional gifts in the last few weeks, which is so very much appreciated!

We also got an early Christmas gift of a new camera so we can catch all the memories when our little on gets here. I can't wait to take a billion pictures of him!

Speaking of billions of pictures...I am not going to spend all my blogging time bragging about out little one (only about 60% of my time, maybe). I set up a website to share photos with family and friends who might not view the blog as often. If you want more pictures and updates head on over here.

And the Husband says:  We should walk more.

13 November 2012

Running 101: Cold Weather Essentials

Ok, not a cold weather running picture, but close!

It is snowing in Erie, Pennsylvania. it is wet snow, the kind that sticks until tomorrow morning at best, but cold weather is hear to stay!

With the weather turning colder a lot of runners realize it is time to turn shorts into pants and t-shirts into jackets. An unfortunate part of the year for some runners, I absolutely love the freezing cold Saturday mornings where running in one direction for 6 miles is all I can manage due to the wind and snow. I can't wait to run on top of that crunchy frozen earth. And breathe in that fresh cold air. (and perfectly, just about the time I will be back running it will be the coldest part of the year!!)

In anticipation for what I am sure will be a long, cold winter (last year was short and mild), here are some of my favorite winter running must haves.

Side note: the best kind of cold weather dressing is in layers. You might start out freezing your bum off, but realize 3 miles in you don't need gloves. I always think about dressing in layers and buying running clothes that are lightweight and stackable. 

A great jacket: I have a few actually! One for kind-of-cold-but-might-need-to-take-a-layer-off days and one for the really absolute freezing days.

I like this kind from Brooks for the light jacket. It is easily packable and very versatile. I recommend the neon color as it stands out, night or day. It easily ties around my waist when I am too hot to keep it on any longer. I have one of these from a few seasons ago and through many washings it has stood up very well.

For the colder weather days, I also prefer a Brooks jacket like this. I scored a gently used jacket like this at a second hand store once and love the way it fits, tight to keep me warm but not too constricting given I might be wearing layers of clothes. I find I don't like running jackets with hoods, but there are several hooded options out there.

Gloves and Hats:  Hands down the best every day running gloves are these from Nike. They are lightweight enough to wear on most days. I love that they have a key slot in the glove, because loosing a key in the snow is not ideal. I have two pairs of these gloves, I know running clothes hoarder over here, so I can have one pair in the wash and one pair for the day.

I also have a hand-made pair of mittens that are great for the extremely cold days. Mittens keep your hands warmer but letting your fingers "snuggle" for body heat. I haven't tried any commercial mittens, but almost every running clothing company has several options.

Most of the heat from your body escapes from your head, so do yourself a favor and get a good running hat or head band! I like this type from Sporthill. It washes really well and holds up through years of abuse. A good hat can be hard to find so try a few types. I have one I really like that is again homemade (something about it fitting better) but there are many options out there. 

Pants: Here is a running clothes confession: I have one pair of pants which I absolutely adore and will never get rid of no matter how many holes or worn out elastic parts they have. My Sporthills are my favorite running pants ever. Now I know they look a little unisex-y and unflattering BUT they are the most comfortable pair of pants. They are light weight, but when the weather really turns cold there is plenty of space to pair a tight or other legging option underneath. I cannot speak highly enough of these pants!

I also have a pair of Under Armour leggings similar to these, which I also like. They are not lined, but I know they make lined (think fuzzy fleece) for those awful cold days. My only issue with these tights are they don't have a great waist band. I have to wear a longer shirt to make sure we don't have any fashion disasters while running.

Long Sleeve Tops: Depending on your core body temperature, you might want a couple of long sleeve top options.

I like the basic Under Armour long sleeve for most days. Mine doesn't have the face cover but that looks like a nice new option (really those do help you stay warm!). Again, lightweight enough to be paired with a jacket for the really cold days.

Again, they make a warmer option with fleece like lining, which I also recommend. I have one of these tops and do need it on some days. I find I can wear just that top and no jacket in fact.

I know there are plenty of other accessories for cold weather, but a few good basics and you should be all set. Depending on the places you run during the winter you might also want some clip on no slip shoe coverings like these (yeah, I know they say seniors, but really anyone can benefit from them). Changing to a trail like show for the winter can also be a good idea if you feet can handle it.

Getting the right gear can lead to better runs. Less time spent worrying about what to wear and keeping you warm are keys to running success in the cold weather.

Any other suggestions for running gear? What are your favorite cold running accessories?

10 November 2012

Links from Around the Web

I was browsing the internet today and realized I haven't done a Friday week ending link post in a while.

How about a Saturday edition?

Sounds good! 

  • I know, I wish yoga pants were acceptable in work too, but alas. This article by Susan Wagner (a runner and fashionista!) makes me  think "dressing up" isn't so hard!
  • Some great running advice from local Erie blogger Heather Cass
  • Just as I think I have "it" all together, this article over at Tiny Twig reminded me it is ok not to.
  • I cannot get this song out of my head! I love the music video! Thank you The Lumineers!

Nothing like a good shared meal when the weather turns cold!

04 November 2012

My 3 Minute Rule

A Beautiful Mismatched Table

Keeping things around the house clean can sometimes feel like a HUGE chore. Especially while pregnant (really, bending over is hard!).

I have found that giving myself a simple 3 minute task not only helps me feel like I am keeping things straightened up but also helps boost my mood. If things are put away I feel a sense of ease and enjoyment, two things I always want my home to feel like.  

Here are a few of the things I can accomplish in 3 minutes (or less!)

Sweep the kitchen/bathroom floor. (we don't have a huge kitchen and just a half bath downstairs so this is a quick one for me!)

Make our bed. (somehow a made bed is even more comfortable to snuggle into)

Put away random things all over the house.

Clean and cut fruit or veggies to eat later (I learned this from my mother-in-law, if you clean it, cut it and put it where they will see it, they (my husband) will eat it!)

Start the dishwasher.

Put away laundry. 

Wipe down the sink (any sink).

Do my hair (ok, not a house thing, but it does make me feel girly)

What do you do for a pick me up? What tricks work for you?

01 November 2012

Pregnancy: Weeks 37 & 38

Weight:  202 lbs. (by the end of week 36 I have gained 59 lbs.)

Weeks to Go: 2. Really, 15 days until my estimated due date.

What I feel: Anxious, still. And tired. And big.

A lot of people at work keeping saying "you are still here?". Why yes, I am. Although I am wishing I was at home snuggling with a newborn. I can't say my coworkers aren't nice about it, they just sound really surprised when I am in the office each morning.

I am working from home in the afternoon which allows me to at least put on p.j.'s and put my feet up. Thank goodness!

We are just waiting now. And I am so excited I think I am terribly impatient. I have caught up with Downton Abbey so now there is really nothing to look forward to until he gets here!

Oh, also, does everyone at my work get sick this time of year? I have seriously cleaned my desk area every day to stop the infections I know are flying around. One of my co-workers has a nasty habit of taking pieces of paper into the bathroom on his way to the copier. Yikes! I am a germ-a-phob at this point and this does not help. I am hesitant to mention it to him as it might be a awkward conversation, but icky!

What I look like:  Very round! I think I have "rounded" out in the last few weeks. As a result of a still growing fetus, I am also still growing. Out mainly. But around the hip areas as well.

Oh, and I have a few stretch marks. Not pretty. I broke down and bought some coconut butter cream to reduce the appearance. I am hoping with some tough workouts and long runs in the future they will be reduced any further. Oh the joys of motherhood!

Oh Things I didn't know about pregnancy until now: Braxton Hicks contractions feel like real ones. Only difference is they go away after a while. And they go away if you lay down versus sitting up. What fun! Fake contractions!

I had a recent doctor's visit where they monitored the baby and found he is very active (yes, my bladder knows that too) and I have pretty steady contractions sometimes. Still just getting ready the nurse said. Oh boo. No October for us.

Timeline happenings: We have now reached full term! YA! 
Which means this little guy can come any day now. And I mean ANY DAY.

Things for Baby: We had a lovely shower at my work the other day and received a fun play mat toy for the baby. I am excited to have play time with him and use this cute play mat. It even has 20 minutes of music! 

And the Husband says: "Go ahead and lie down. I will make dinner."-Thank you. Those are some of the sweetest words known to a mother-to-be.

"Next year we can use our Zoo coupons!" -We buy a local coupon book every year from one of the kids around the neighborhood and it always includes several buy one get one free coupons for the zoo for kids under 12. Finally we can use it next year!