Monday, September 30, 2013

Not going to whine, not going to whine, not going to whine.

Total steps yesterday: 16,084
Exercise for today:  pathetic attempt at weights, followed by 1.5 mile walk

I've typed this post out several times in an attempt to not just use it as a platform to whine about the government shutdown. And what I've realized is that no matter where I start, all roads seem to lead me that direction.  I'm trying not to focus on the negative right now, so this is just going to be a short and sweet blog post.

Workout was pathetic today, my mood has been sour, and I blame most of it on lack of quality sleep last night.  I must get to bed earlier tonight in order to face tomorrow with better spirits.  On the plus side, I might get a house husband this week if this shutdown goes through and James doesn't have to work.  That's going to be my positive thought this week as we push through to tomorrow.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Donuts, popcorn, and a 40 minute run

Total steps yesterday:  8,968
Exercise for today:  3.5 mile run

Yesterday was an alright day.  Yoga was a bit of a let down - new substitute teacher and it just felt like she didn't know what she was doing with a prenatal class.  The hour mostly consisted of super gentle easy stretching.  I had to make up for the extreme lack of effort by taking Zoe on a 45 minute walk, a.k.a. talk to my sister and then fall in the river when Zoe pulled on her leash too hard.  It was a win, and while I came in shy of my step goal, I'm okay with that.

There are 9.3 million people in the metro area that I live in.  On my run this morning, I saw three of them.  I know I talk a lot about how I'm lucky to live next to a state park, but seriously.  Twenty steps from my doorways and I can play around for 40 minutes and only see three other people?  I am so, so blessed.  There are various things I will miss when we move out of this area, but being mere steps from isolated running trails is going to be pretty high on that list.

It was a good Sunday morning run.  Perfect temperature, pretty fall foliage, and a mostly successful run (minus one hill that I ended up walking since it was just proving to be too much).  Also, I ran by this field:

See that yellow about halfway up the picture?  Those are flowers.  Flowers that weren't there a few weeks ago.  What kind of plant blooms in the fall?  I'd google it, but I'm far too lazy.

Then I came home and played my new favorite game with Zoe.  I call it "try to stretch without Zoe getting in my way or being so utterly adorable that I laugh too hard to stretch".  Zoe inevitably wins this game:

Roly poly Zoe and a bonus baby bump shot
And then I ate a strawberry frosted donut for second breakfast.  Pink frosting on anything is the best.

James and I both were craving donuts yesterday and figured the best choice was probably to get a dozen so we could have plenty as breakfasts for the next few days.  I don't even want to admit how few are left, but suffice to say I have eaten a lot of sugary carby goodness in the past two days.

I thought this and other recent binges might be poorly reflected on the scale, so I was happy to see that I am still right on track for weight gain.  And at my ultrasound last week, they told me that Lil W weighs in at .13 ounces, which I figure I can round up and blame at least one pound on her now.  So I'll probably continue to eat a donut (or six) without apology, as long as I'm still getting in the occasional workout.

Now I should probably eat a balanced lunch, but I think I'm going to eat popcorn instead.  My diet is terrible this weekend.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pronoun problem resolved!

Total steps yesterday: 17,018
Exercise plans for today: absolutely none

We're having a girl!  No more pronoun fights!  I'm so excited!

My OB mentioned that she prefers the first trimester ultrasound to the second trimester, since you can actually see the whole baby and make out the different parts. Having now done both, I see what she means.  I was expecting things to be clearer second trimester, but if anything they were harder to see.  Lil W was also turned facing downward with her little face either buried against my stomach or hidden behind her hands, so we didn't get any good face shots.  Here is one of her feet in the top left of the ultrasound:

Also, the ultrasound took forever!  I don't know what I was expecting, but not an hour of being poked by the technician and then the doctor.  I know they needed to be thorough and am glad that they were, but I wasn't expecting it to take that long.  The good news is that all parts of Lil W, including her strong little heart (152 bpms), appear to be just fine.  Very good news.

For some reason I was imagining it being a super climactic moment when we learned the sex.  The technician even started up around the head and worked her way around the rest of Lil W first so that we ended with the sex check.  The entire time she'd been sort of quietly narrating what we were looking at:  "This is the head, and you can see the lips here, and here's the spine, and this view shows blood running through the heart" and so on and so forth.  And the big reveal was part of the same quiet narration:  "Here's the feet and toes, and you can see the rump here, and you're having a girl, and this is the belly button".  Just like that.  I looked back at James who was sitting behind me and we just looked at each other for a moment, then both turned back to the screen.

In the end, I don't feel super different.  I thought I'd be sad to bid farewell to Lil Boy W, but in that moment it just felt like one more little inevitable step on the road to who this baby will be.  I was worried  James would be disappointed since he'd been hoping for a boy - he's so surrounded by women in our house full of female pets and me - but he brightened up and started talking about the best type of shotgun to buy to intimidate her future dates.  So, there's that.

Overall, it's a good day.  No exercise planned, and I'm okay with that.  It makes for two rest days this week, but if anything was going to throw off my workout schedule, getting to see Lil W again was a great excuse.

Now we just need to figure out a name...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

20, 20, 24 hours to go-o-o

Total steps yesterday:  11,116
Exercise plans for today:  3 mile run

Well, little Zoe seems to be on the mend, and I've possibly found a slightly more affordable child care situation, so things are looking up a little bit from my previous post.  I've spent the last two days in a bit of a lazy funk and skipped my strength workout yesterday.  I don't feel too bad about it, and plan to get back on track today with a three mile run at lunchtime.

In less than 24 hours, James and I will be heading in to the doctor's for Lil W's 20 week (though actually 21 week) anatomy ultrasound, which includes a general check on how s/he is developing, along with hopefully finding out the sex.  It's funny to me because it feels like I'll know him/her just a little better once I know the answer to the boy/girl question, but that's also totally silly since it doesn't actually tell me anything about who Lil W will be.  Mostly I'll just be glad not to have to play the pronoun game anymore.

Have I mentioned that James and I have a boy name picked out but for the life of us can't come up with a girl name?  I'm really, really hoping for a boy just to make the name question easier.  Otherwise I think we'll spend the next five months in discussions and still not have a name once Lil Girl W arrives.  Or maybe just choose five names we don't hate and poll them with our friends and family.  It seems like outsourcing this decision is probably the best choice.

And finally, on my morning walk I saw this sign outside my office building, in an area next to the handicap parking:

I have thoughts:

1.  People still use the stork to signify having a baby?
2.  This sign is poorly written, since it presumably is for expectant pregnant women, but also allows for expectant adoptive moms to park here. 
3.  While I understand the idea, I feel like this somewhat furthers the image that pregnant women are disabled or ill, rather than just pregnant.  I doubt the people who put up the sign thought that way, but it's further evidence of this subconscious belief within our society that pregnant women have to be handled with kid gloves.  I mean, I try to walk 10,000 steps a day.  I think I can handle parking 30 feet further away from my office building than this.
4.  Despite point 3, I will totally be using these spots as it gets darker/colder/snowier/icier and as I get rounder and more off-balance.  And then maybe I'll stop being so annoyed at being treated like I'm going to crumble at the mere presence of any sort of effort on my body.
5.  Seriously, a stork?  Really?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Total steps yesterday:  10,573
Exercise for today: 3 mile run

I'm having a bit of a crisis today, and it all started with my dog.  This is my happy puppy Zoe:


Except last night she wasn't this happy.  At about 8 p.m., she started getting sick in typical dog style -- throwing up, then licking me and trying to eat it while I tried to clean it up.  She's always had a bit of a sensitive stomach, so this isn't exactly an unusual occurrence in our household.  Except it kept on going through the night.  I'm not sure if she ate something, had a reaction to the medicine she's on for a rash, or if there's something more serious going on, but my baby girl is not happy.

Now, I know my dog isn't a child.  But honestly, to those parents who say "It's not the same" when your childless friends compare their pets to your kids, please know that for us, it is exactly the same.  This isn't to say I won't love my future child more than Zoe - maybe I will.  But right now she is the most loving, most needy, most demanding thing in my life (and that includes my husband).  And it hurts a lot when she hurts.

It was the hardest thing leaving for work today.  Both James and I are having "can't miss" type of weeks at work, so it wasn't an option for either of us to stay home with her, but we would have if we could have.

As I said goodbye to her and prayed that she's sleep away the day and feel better at the end of it, it suddenly hit me:  I really can't have it all.  It was nearly impossible to leave my sick dog home alone.  If Zoe were a baby or a toddler instead of a pet, it wouldn't matter that James and I couldn't get out of work -- the sick child couldn't go to daycare, so one of us would have to stay home.  It made me very aware of how unprepared for a child we are.

Now to be fair, I really do believe it when I hear experienced parents say that "you're never really ready to have a child".  I think James and I are in a better position than many Americans in that respect.  But largely as a consequence of our choice to live in an area with a very high cost of living,  I'm feeling very unsure of how we'll do this.  Neither of us makes enough on our own to support having one of us stay home full time.  Taken together, we're at a comfortable salary level, but daycare in this area would eat up one of those salaries very quickly.  So as James and I drove to work today, we discussed options.

1.  Stay where we are and try to find ways to live more frugally / make more money.  James has been applying for more jobs like crazy, and I'm thinking it's time for me to do the same thing.  We currently live on the Virginia side of the DC metro area, and it could be cheaper if we moved to the Maryland side instead.  This is doable, but it would require me finding a new job and I think it would put our long term financial security in flux as our ability to save diminishes.

2.  Find new job(s) elsewhere where we can afford to either pay for daycare or live on one salary.  While I'm not opposed to this option, we just finished a cross country move and the thought of doing another one when our lease is up, with three animals and a three month old baby, is just terribly daunting.  Not to mention we'd actually have to, you know, find new jobs elsewhere from hundreds or thousands of miles away.

3.  Say "sod it" and move back to my hometown.  Pros: free grandma baby-sitter, best friend just a few miles away, all around lower cost of living and more support.  Cons:  small town with very few job prospects, James is generally happier on the east coast than out west.

It's not the end of the world, and I know that James and I can figure it out.  I also know that a healthy puppy and a full  night of sleep will go a long way toward assuaging some of these feelings.  Still, it's not easy to face the reality that I might not be able to provide my child with everything that I want to, and I only have about 20 weeks to figure out our next steps.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The most important thing in my kitchen

Total steps yesterday:  15,002
Exercise plans for today:  strength training

I love food, which is probably clear from the number of posts about frozen yogurt.  Fun fact:  the recommended diet for an endurance runner is almost identical to the recommended diet for a pregnant woman, other than I eat a lot fewer turkey sandwiches now.  It's one reason there aren't a ton of posts on here about how to eat while pregnant - it was already how I was eating, so other than giving up sushi and a few other things, it hasn't affected  my day to day life the way exercising while pregnant has.

It's a toss up on whether good exercise or good food is more exciting to me.  And while I enjoy an anniversary dinner at a Cajun/Korean fusion tapas restaurant as much as the next yuppie girl, it's cooking at home that really gets me going.  I love creating meals, whether it's figuring out new 15 minute recipes for weeknights, or executing multiple hour three course meals for a weekend dinner.  So today I want to talk about the most important thing in my kitchen.

There are the indispensable things I use daily and that I recommend every home chef get. A good chef's knife, always hand-washed and kept sharpened.  A set of good pots and pans in as many sizes as will fit in your kitchen (and in your budget).  At least one non-stick skillet for throwing together quick meals with easy clean-up.  A coffee maker with a time delay setting (and a french press and an espresso maker just for good measure). But none of these are the most important.

There are the items that I don't use every day and could do without, but they make life so much easier when you have them.  My rice cooker, which probably gets used at least once a week.  My stand-mixer, which is the only reason I ever bake and can also be used to shred chicken super fast.  My mandoline, every home chef's secret to successful homemade french fries.  All of these are amazing when I need them, but not my most important.

And there's the smaller day to day items that just make it more pleasurable to cook - ample spatulas and stirring spoons, one or more sets of measuring cups and spoons, the right tool for the right  job (shockingly, potato masher > fork when you need to mash potatoes).  All of these things make my kitchen fun, but only one makes it home:

The greatest cooking pot ever
Let me back up a minute.  I'm blessed to be married to another food lover who understands my desire to spend a large amount of money on kitchen supplies.  And further, we're blessed to have the funds to upgrade supplies as needed.  But a few years ago when I first moved out on my own, this wasn't the case.  I wasn't seriously in to cooking and just needed a few things to get me by.  My parents had recently upgraded their kitchen, and my mom offered me this old pot to take with me.

Now, this pot is smaller than the stockpot that came with my newest cookware upgrade.  The bottom is uneven, as is the heat dispensation.  The only area guaranteed to heat quickly are the handles, which aren't heat resistant.

But this pot was given to my parents as a wedding gift almost 41 years ago.  Many of my memories from my mom's kitchen are of meals simmering in this pot.  Spaghetti was my favorite dinner growing up, and to this day any time I make lasagna or spaghetti sauce, I insist on using this pot.  Additionally, it comes out to play whenever I'm trying a new liquid based recipe.  When James wanted Cajun food last winter after our New Orleans honeymoon, I used this pot to make chicken etouffee for the first time.  It always comes out when I make baked potato or chicken lime soup, two of our household's wintertime favorites.  It's not necessarily conducive to many summertime meals, which is why I'm always rather pleased to rediscover it when the weather turns cold and warm comfort food becomes the focus.  Somehow, the recipes always taste better when made in this pot rather than my newer, nicer stainless steel version.

I was doing the math last night while cooking lasagna for probably the 20th time in this pot.  As mentioned, it's been in my family for almost 41 years now.  Guessing conservatively that this pot has been used an average of once a week, it has nourished my childhood family of seven (and James' and my family of two) more than 2,000 times.   And it shows no signs of stopping any time soon.  While the uneven bottom and heat make it difficult to tackle more complex things like risotto, it's perfect for soups, stews, and sauces meant to simmer.  I will feed Lil W as many meals out of here as possible, and maybe one day pass it along when s/he moves in to a first kitchen of their own.  My child will really have no choice but to learn to cook, and I'm glad there are kitchen staples like this to aid him/her in their culinary journey.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Call of the Wild (Runner)

Total steps yesterday:  6,227
Exercise for today:  3.38 mile run

As predicted, I didn't even come remotely close to hitting my 10,000 steps yesterday.  I'd blame the storm that moved in late in the afternoon and continued all through the evening, which kept me from walking Zoe, but really, it was pure laziness.  But I'd had my good yoga workout, and think my body could use the day of more rest, so it all worked out.

I woke up this morning and decided to risk the muddy trails of the state park next door to get in a run.  First, though, I stuck my head out the window and called to the animals, Disney princess style:

La la la la la.
Because my run was lousy with wildlife.  I encountered not only the normal squirrels and birds, but several other forest friends as well:

Hello, deer friend.
Apologies for almost stepping on you.
It was an easy, relaxing 36 minutes of running which started the day out right.  I then came home and got to spend some time with my favorite animal friend.  Zoe joined me on the floor while I stretched from my morning run and she stretched from her morning nap.

I need to get started on making dinner.  I've been craving lasagna lately and am going to throw that together this afternoon, along with several other prep dishes for meals this week to make weekday cooking a little bit easier.  Then laundry, hanging out with James, and maybe getting some frozen yogurt to start the week off right.  We'll see how it goes.

In other news, the following things seems to make Lil W very happy and bouncy and I must do them more often:
  • Warrior 2 pose during yoga
  • Uphill running
  • Eating sour apple sour punch bites
  • Dancing while cooking
  • Playing in the sunshine
  • Getting in to bed (or getting back in to bed four times a night)
  • Showers
In other words, Lil W already has his/her priorities right in terms of bouncy happiness.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

To Do List

Total steps yesterday:  13,144
Exercise for today:  yoga


It was a miracle.  I actually didn't hate yoga this morning.  I actually kind of...liked it?  Part of that is because James woke up super early today (4:30) and I got several hours of blissful sleep with the bed all to myself before he woke me up at 7 to go get breakfast.  That's a great way to start Saturday.

I went in to class with a better attitude than normal and felt pretty good and strong the whole time.  It was my third week with the substitute for the regular instructor, and she's growing on me.  She still does silly things like ask us each to share a word we want to dedicate to our child (apparently "contentment" is acceptable but "energy" isn't), but for the most part it was a good class.  

James had made a mellow mix cd for me a few weeks back and it's the best ever after yoga when I can't handle the news or country music.  When I got in my car, this song started playing and I started crying like a crazy person imagining singing it to Lil W.  I've decided the best love songs probably apply to your kids as much as your partner:

I want to listen to this song after yoga always.

The day is starting to get blustery, so I think it will be pretty much a "hang close to home and bake" kind of day.  I did make James run out to the store with me so I could get the ingredients I need to make apple green chili with cheddar crust pie.  So good and my favorite thing to bake.  The grocery store happened to be near the frozen yogurt place, so I obviously had to get some peanut butter/banana fro yo with peanut butter cups on top for lunch.  So so good.  And I'm sure it had calcium and potassium that I need right now, right?

Making this salad for dinner tonight and I cannot wait.  It'll actually round out my day with relative health in comparison to my lunch.

And that's all that's planned for today.  Given the likely weather, it's unlikely that I'll hit my 10,000 steps today, but I'm okay with it.  I'm counting awesome yoga as good exercise for the day.

Friday, September 20, 2013

20 weeks, 20k steps, 5 nighttime push-ups

Total steps yesterday:  20,080
Exercise plans for today:  rest

Huzzah!  Today I am halfway done with pregnancy, give or take a few weeks.  Lil W is proudly 20 weeks old and has settled in around belly button level where s/he will hang out for the next little bit.  Hilariously, on the food comparison scale, W is a banana.  This is more a reference to the length rather than the overall size, because I guarantee that s/he is wider than a banana.  Also, this former English major cannot wait until next Friday when we find out the sex and I can stop having awkward pronoun fights every time I talk Lil W.

I really need to get James to start taking bump pictures so it's not always selfies.

For those keeping track at home, Lil Dubs and I have taken 1.3 million steps together, or about 597 miles.  That means I only have 403 miles to go to hit my "1000 miles to baby" goal.  This seems very doable, especially considering that I was pretty lazy on mileage accumulation throughout my first trimester.  While I don't necessary expect to keep up my same level of activity up through 40 weeks, I think I can do better than I did for the first 10 or so weeks.

Speaking of pregnancy and exercising, this woman is clearly the devil and "This is a good way to lose your baby".  Because everyone is either this woman or her doctor and clearly knows what is best for her.  For what it's worth, I think she looks awesome, and her current goal of limiting her weights to less than 65 pounds makes sense to me, especially if it's less than what she'd previously lifted (which, since she's a dedicated Crossfitter, I guarantee it is).

But that's just my opinion, and I'm sure there are people who would judge the 20,000 step day that I had yesterday (including *gasp* three miles running).  Man, it was a good day.  And it ended with James and I breaking our moratorium on frozen yogurt which was a delicious treat.  Me and fro-yo are friends again.  My favorite part of the night, though, was when James said, "You know, I saw a baby on the street today and actually thought 'Aw, how cute'.  This pregnancy is rubbing off on me".  Love him.

And finally, my movement abilities are still more or less what they always were, with a few changes, but getting out of bed is the hardest thing ever.  Between my pets, my husband, my bump, and my Snoogle, getting up to get water / use the bathroom / push my husband away from me because he's a furnace and I overheat easily these days is a giant pain.  Which is why I'm very grateful to Tony Horton and  Lou Schuler for making me do a million push-ups this last year.  The only way to successfully hoist myself out of bed is to roll on my side, do a sideways push up to sitting, and then stand up.  Go triceps go!  Between my lifting routine and my nighttime push-ups, I'm going to be totes ready to carry around my 8 pound bundle of joy in 20-22 weeks.

Lil W, on the other hand, has zero issues moving around, particularly at night.  I think s/he is going to be an Ultimate Fighting Champion based on the number of kicks and jabs I'm starting to feel.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gauzy brain curtains

Total steps yesterday:  12,895
Exercise plans for today:  3 mile run

I think I'm starting to see why I've heard rumors of both pregnancy brain and being super tired all the time.  For the most part, I still have plenty of energy during the day, but there reaches a point, usually around 8:30, where my body just tells me I'm done. It's a sudden onset of somnolence, too.  Last night I took Zoe out to the dog park at about 8, played with her for about half an hour, and then just couldn't anymore.  It took all I had in me to get her back to the apartment and go through my nighttime routine before collapsing in to bed at about 8:35.  It's not like I fall asleep then, though - I stayed awake until about 10, but I just didn't want to move at all.

This morning I can't seem to pull myself out of a daze.  Part of it is being tired from a weird night's sleep - I got to the office super early thanks to light traffic, and instead of starting work early like normal, I took a half an hour nap.  Since then, despite a cup of coffee, I haven't been able to pull myself out of mindlessly staring at my computer while getting very little work done.  I just ate some peanut butter banana toast (best thing ever) and I think that's maybe helping.  For the most part, though, I just want to stare at the wall until it's time to go home.

I feel like in some ways this is making me a bad partner right now.  James's job is one that could be furloughed indefinitely if the federal budget doesn't get passed, and he's pretty stressed about it - I'm stressed too, but can't quite seem to pull myself out of hazy brain enough to discuss it with him when we're home together.  He's definitely pulling more than his fair share of keeping us connected lately, and I appreciate that while also feeling some guilt over not being more present for him.  I guess this is just the first of many ways that having a child will interfere with our relationship, but I don't think it will get too derailed.

I remember having a writing assignment in high school where you had to write something in reverie, and then go back and edit it for clarity.  I feel like that's happening with this blog post.  It's all just another part of the hazy curtain I'm peering through trying to get through the day.  The difference is that, unlike in high school, I'm not going to go back and edit for clarity.  One of my goals for this blog is for it to be an accurate reflection of my experience with pregnancy, and this might be one of the most accurate posts yet. 

I just went back to title this post and decided I should probably google "Gauzy brain curtains" for an appropriate image to accompany the post.  If you never have, I highly recommend doing an image search for randomly combined words every once in a while.  Some end up being accurate:

How my brain really feels today
Some end up being accurate if you apply an English major's logic to them:

And some are total WTFs that lead to interesting webpages about adventurous food.  Women in early pregnancy struggling with nausea issues should probably not read that link.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Just another day of snacks and cat pictures

Total steps yesterday:  18,399
Exercise for today:  strength training

Ever have one of those days when life just doesn't feel very interesting?  Today is one of those days for me.  It's not a bad day.  Started out a bit early when Zoe decided at 4:23 a.m. that she absolutely had to go outside right that minute, but I was able to go back to bed afterward and get 45 minutes more sleep.  I got a pumpkin spice latte on my way to work and have spent the morning being pleasantly busy while also wondering what it means on the bottom of the Sundried Tomato & Basil Wheat Thins box when it describes them as having "Natural flavor with other natural flavor":


It probably means that they're overly processed, which also means they're overly delicious and I recommend them as a snack (though not necessarily as a healthy snack). 

I had a so-so workout.  Well, that's not true.  I had a great workout, but it was one of those where I just was in the zone and busting through strength training, so I didn't have any particularly deep thoughts during it.  And now I'm coasting to the end of the day and tentatively mapping out how I'm going to make the casserole I have planned for dinner seem less like a side dish and more like a real meal.  

But that's about all I got today.  No extremely deep thoughts, no reflections on pregnancy or the awesomeness of running, no urge to wax poetic on how beautiful Fall is.  All I have is this picture of Zebra all curled up next to James last night before bed:

I will add that our reverence to our bed sleeping kitty may be getting out of control.  It's so rare for her to want to be close to us that James and I have both gone out of our way not to disturb her when she's sleeping on the bed.  However, when Zoe woke me up this morning at the aforementioned 4:23 a.m., James, Zoe, and I were all basically on one half of the bed with Zebra peacefully sleeping on the other half.  Eleven pounds of cat probably doesn't need more space than 360 pounds of human and dog.  But she's precious so we'll forgive her.  And try to think through sleep brain to just move her off the bed if space gets tight tonight.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Schrodinger's Baby

Total steps yesterday:  14,044
Exercise for today:  three mile run

I should never write blog posts until after I exercise for the day, since the little mind adventures my brain takes during workouts lately are totally hilarious.  And every once in a while they're profound.

As any physicist / viewer of Big Bang Theory knows, Schrodinger's Cat is a thought experiment related to tortuously putting a cat in a box with some poison.  Or maybe you poison it and then put it in a box?  From what I've gathered, the actual theory is much more complicated, but the dumbed down version is that, until you open the box, you don't know if the cat is dead or alive.  And because you don't know, as long as the box is closed the cat can be considered both dead AND alive.  Because science.  Or something.

Classic: Didn't Even Know What Schrodinger's Cat Was! 

Anyway.  On my run today, I was thinking about  how next week we will hopefully find out if Lil W is Lil Boy W or Lil Girl W.  I'm starting to get really excited about that, but as I ran along this afternoon, I also felt sad.  Right now I feel like there are kind of two Lil Ws existing at the same time, one male and one female, and when I think of the future I can imagine both of them.  George Orwell would call this "doublethink".  Sort of.  Apparently this blog post is going to contain vaguely incorrect explanations of both science AND literature.
The point is, I got unnecessarily sad thinking  about how one of my Lil Ws is going to cease to exist after next Friday.  Which is silly, because obviously there is already only one baby and they are the only baby who does exist, so my imagination-baby isn't an actual thing that can be missed.  It's all just in my head and I have no control over it.

Which was, I think, the first moment of pregnancy when I realized how little control I will have over this person who I'm making.  Right now Lil W is all mine.  Well, s/he is 4/7 mine, and 2/7 James', and 1/7 our friends' and families'.  But from the moment of birth, Lil W belongs only to himself or herself.  Oh, sure, I'll still be responsible for feeding and caring for him/her, but s/he will be the one who lets me know when something is needed.

Right now I can imagine Lil W as anything - boy or girl, writer or physicist, angel or hellion, dog lover or cat lover.  It feels like I have control over the mental image, but in reality I have zero.  There is my image of Lil W, which will forever stay in a little box, neither alive nor dead, and then there's the reality of the small child currently inside me.  It is both humbling and awe-inspiring to realize how little control I will have over this life that I'm bringing in to the world.

And those thoughts, dear reader, got me through the last mile of my run today.  Thanks, Schrodinger!  Now go rescue that poor cat.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pregnancy and body image

Total steps yesterday:  12,528
Exercise for today:  strength training

In December of 2011, I went shopping for a wedding dress.  It was a wonderful experience and I was surrounded by my favorite people in the world.  I found an amazing dress and was so, so happy with it.  Until, that is, I looked at the pictures of the dress fitting.  The dress was beautiful, but I wasn't happy with how I looked.  And thus began the weight-loss journey that turned in to the health and fitness journey that I'm still on today:

December 2011:  186 pounds
Like many women, I had the ideal weight that I wanted to be at, which for me was 150 pounds.  This figure wasn't based on anything in reality, but it served as a goal, and one that I had almost met 8 months later on my wedding day:
September 2012:  152 pounds +3 pounds of champagne
What's telling to me, as I reflect on this, is that I remember so keenly my exact weight on both of those days.  While I wasn't particularly obsessed with that little number on the scale, I was obsessed enough that I remember my weight to the exact pound on two random days.

I've since transitioned to having other ways to track my fitness progress (and started thinking of it as fitness, rather than weight-loss).  I take measurements of different body parts, calculate my body fat percentage, and still weigh myself, but most of my progress is measured in adding mileage to my runs and pounds to the weights I lift, rather then the weight I've shed.

But still, I probably think way, way too much about my physical appearance.  It's been nice with pregnancy to not be so aware of it, but it's still on my mind.  Today, I stepped on the scale and weighed in at 164.  That's 14 pounds up from the beginning of my pregnancy, and I felt a little bit of that old judgmental voice creep back in.

Now let me say this:  I know, logically, that my weight gain is perfectly in line with where I should be at this point in pregnancy.  I know that part of that weight is, ya know, another human being.  I know that when my body told me to eat 4 breakfasts today, I did the right thing by listening to it.  But man.  Seeing that number on the scale again after working so hard to lose it was oddly demoralizing.

So, I've come up with a four part plan to regain some healthy body image:

1.  Pay attention to the parts of me that look awesome.  You know what's great about having a small honeydew currently taking seed around my midriff?  My thighs have never looked smaller.  Ditto my arms, which in comparison to my stomach look totally ripped.  And I was admittedly worried about getting puffy pregnant woman face.  There's still plenty of time for this, but for today, I'm going to appreciate my still slender face.

2.  Buy maternity clothes.  I'd kept some of my clothes from my heavier days and figured I could make it most of the way through pregnancy by just going back up in sizes.  I maybe could have done that, but I think I would have felt crappy about myself.  I went to Target over the weekend and bought enough maternity clothes to see me through a full work week.  And when I put on one of the shirts yesterday, I felt cute for the first time in weeks.  By nipping in at the waist before expanding for the stomach and going longer than regular shirts, maternity shirts actually fit my body correctly and help me look pregnant, rather than fat:

Regular shirt: looks like I ate too big a lunch
Maternity shirt:  look like myself, just bumpier
3.  Don't be afraid to ask James for affirmation.  Rocking my first maternity shirt yesterday, fresh off of a good run, I felt really cute.  And I mentioned that to James, who confirmed what I was feeling - I looked good to my husband, which feels good in its own way.  This is perhaps the most important step to remember, whether pregnant or not.  James doesn't see the number on the scale.  My parents and my siblings and my friends and my coworkers don't see the number.  No one actually cares, so if I feel good, am eating well and treating my body right, then people will see that.  The scale should be like my Fitbit - just one other way to measure a step on this lifetime journey toward better health.

4.  When in doubt, eat a pumpkin spice M&M oatmeal cookie.  Because they definitely taste better than skinny feels.  Just don't eat them all, because I'll want another one for tomorrow and who wants to bake that much?

I used this recipe and halved it to make a batch of dough, then halved that again to make half with pumpkin spice M&Ms and half without, because James doesn't like pumpkin spice and if it weren't for #3 in this list I would question why I ever married him.  I added half a cup of M&Ms which was a bit too much.  If (and by that I mean when) I make them again I'll only use a third of a cup.

I feel like the above list could apply just as easily to someone who wasn't pregnant.  We all have things that make us self-conscious, body parts we hate or something we can't change about how we look or how our bodies perform.  But by concentrating on our strengths, buying clothes that actually fit, asking for affirmation when needed, and occasionally treating ourselves so we don't go crazy, I think we can all be happier, healthier, and better able to tackle the world (or at least the daunting task of searching for childcare, but that's a post for another day).

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunny and 75

Total steps Friday:  9,101
Total steps yesterday:  9,868
Exercise for today:  30 minute run

I have not been sleeping particularly well lately.  I'm overheated frequently, wake up to pee every few hours, and can't seem to get in to a comfortable position.  On top of it all, both animals have taken to sleeping on the bed.  Historically speaking, Zoe will jump on the bed the last hour or so of the morning, which isn't a big deal.  And Zebra never wants anything to do with us in general, so she's rarely a bed cat, but for some reason has been all over it the last few days.  Awake Kathryn would probably just move the animals off the bed, but asleep Kathryn doesn't think that way.  And to be fair, when I did try to move the animals off the bed before going to sleep last night, I got these looks from them:
There will be blood.
There will be cuteness.

So, yes, I totally capitulated and let them sleep on the bed.  And that is the reason why I would never be a successful cosleeper with a baby - the animals already rule that particular roost.

It's been far too busy of a weekend with lots of errands to run, chores to do, and friends to meet for brunch.  Guys.  We went to a brunch place whose specialty was donut holes, so of course we had to order some, and they weren't good.  It's terrible to live in a world where specialty donut holes are not good.

But the good news is that I've at least come close to 10,000 steps a day each day this weekend.  And yesterday I only fell 140 steps short and I didn't wear my Fitbit to yoga, so I'm assuming that I hit my target - it just didn't record.  Yoga was at least decent yesterday.  The instructor didn't make us pause to giggle, at least, which is sadly an improvement from last week.

I've been really snacky lately and definitely indulged in too much crap food last night, and I think it gave me a food hangover this morning.  Luckily, the weather was perfect this morning and I hit the trails of the park next door for a 30 minute run.  Fitbit put me at about 2.8 miles for the whole thing, which tracks with the 11 minute miles I've been averaging.  It was my third run with the support belt, and I think I've finally gotten the trick to it down.

When I first wore it last week, I wrapped the band underneath my bump, but have found that it works better if I actually strap it directly over the bump.  This seems to eliminate both the post-run ligament pain and the during run "I need to pee every second" pain.  I am sad, though, that I can't seem to find an actual running belt for pregnancy support.  It'd be great to have a belt that would hold both my bump and a few water bottles.  Oh well.  Can't win 'em all.

And as my reward for actually running today AND dealing with not-good specialty donut holes, I'm going to make some oatmeal cookies with these included:

 Sometimes the universe (or Target) gives me the most wonderful gifts, and there is nothing to do but bake cookies with them.

Friday, September 13, 2013

19 weeks!

Total steps yesterday:  13,169
Exercise plans for today:  hauling a dog to the vet, vigorous house cleaning

Just a quick post today.  It's been a busy Friday.  I'd planned to head out on a run at some point today, but I've been going non-stop since 6:00 a.m. and still haven't had time.  Had to take little Zoe to the vet for a skin issue.  She's okay now, but it ate up a chunk of the morning.  And she is finally friends with me again after ignoring me for several hours, but is still giving me this skeptical look:

"Do NOT take me back there, Mom."
She actually didn't do too terribly at the vet, and even licked the vet's hand before leaving, so success?

The apartment is now totally clean, and I'm about to start meal planning for next week.  I don't think I'll get my 10,000 steps today, which means I'd better rock it over the next two days.

Today I'm at 19 weeks.  Only one week to go until I'm halfway done (ish, depending on when Lil W decides to come out), and only two weeks until we find out the sex.  Very excited!  I also noticed earlier that if I rest a cell phone, or whatever, on my stomach, I can see it moving from Lil W's bouncing.  Freaky, but also cute.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Toe touching - an unintentional copycat post

Total steps yesterday:  19,083
Exercise plans for today:  Strength workout

My best friend and I haven't always lead similar lives.  She graduated from an ivy league school, immediately started at a great job, and married a wonderful man.  By 25, she owned a house and had an adorable baby.

I, on the other hand, spent most of my 20s bouncing from job to job and place to place and wondering if I'd taken on too much responsibility when I adopted my cat.

Zebra says, "I've often wondered that too".
Nowadays, not much has changed.  She's on her second house and her second baby, and I'm still wondering if I'm taking on too much responsibility by having a child.

Lil W says, "Yes, you probably are".
We've managed to stay great friends despite having very little in common, and it's been super fun being pregnant at the same time as her this time around.  It was especially fun this morning when I clicked over to her blog and realized that I was about to write up a post on the exact same topic.

Toe touching.  And otherwise bending at the waist.  And sometimes squatting.  While in my mind my bump is huge, I realize it's actually not that gigantic yet.  So I was surprised in my strength training session earlier this week to realize that I could no longer do squats or deadlifts in the proper form because my bump was getting in the way.  I was using the squat rack and with each squat I kept moving my feet further and further out in order to make room for my growing stomach, before finally figuring out that it wasn't worth sacrificing form just to keep up with pre-pregnancy me.  So, I backed off, recouped, and revamped my weights workout.  

Today's gym experience was therefore more of an experiment in what I could comfortably do and what had to change.  I also found that there were certain moves I used to do with free weights that I no longer trust myself to do correctly, so I switched to doing them on machines.  I prefer  free weights and in general think I work harder with them, but it's not worth risking an injury right now.  So, for the next however many months of pregnancy, I plan to stick to the machines.  Today's newly revamped workout:

Two sets of each - I worked all the way through once and then repeated.
Push-ups, 15 reps (at a 60% incline)
Shoulder press, 15 reps
Step up, 15 reps (did just a small knee raise because belly was in the way)
Swiss-ball crunch, 15 reps
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown, 15 reps
Seated row, 15 reps
Static lunge, 10 reps
Plank, 30 seconds

One quick note on push-ups.  A lot of women aren't able to do a regular push-up.  We tend to default to "girl push-ups" where we rest on our knees.  This is fine for building up arm strength, but you don't engage your core or your legs as much as you should be.  A better way is to follow the steps outlined here.  It should feel hard, but you should be able to complete 15 using one of the variations presented in the link.

With these variations, I didn't have to bend over or otherwise work around my stomach.  The closest thing that came to being uncomfortable was the static lunges - at the lowest point of the lunge, my bump hit my upper thigh and it felt tight and weird, which is why I only did 10 of those.  I imagine that they'll eventually get dropped as my belly continues to grow.  There's a long way to go from where we're at today:

Toes are still visible, even if I can't touch them.
It's not that big of a deal to have to adjust my strength workout.  This is more frustrating in my day to day life - bending over to pick up a ball when playing fetch with Zoe, or trying to tie my shoes, or even pushing myself upright to get out of bed in the mornings.  So many things to look forward to as everything gets more complicated.

On another note, this meme is floating around the internet the last few days, and it is very, very accurate to my life in an almost embarrassing way:
Funny Seasonal Ecard: If you say “Pumpkin Spice Latte” 3 times in front of a mirror a white girl in yoga pants will appear and tell you her favorite things about Fall. 
I think I've had 7 in the 12 days they've been available.  If Lil W doesn't like pumpkin after all this, there's going to be trouble.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Attention Well-Intentioned Men of America

Total steps yesterday:  13,819
Exercise plans for today:  3 mile run

I've chosen to illustrate the difficult concepts discussed in this post with animal GIFs, in the hope that it might help get the point across.

Pregnancy is not a disease.  I am not an invalid.  I'm growing a child, which women have done for millenia, and most of these women had no choice but to continue working / growing food / raising other kids / generally being bad-ass for the 9 months of their pregnancy.  If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would keep being active and not just lounge around all day, because that would be boring.  I would not be this cat:

Though I totes want this cat.
I like being active and benefit a  lot from it.  One reason I like my job is because it allows me to be active and on my feet at least some of the day, rather than always stuck behind my computer.  I plan to continue doing my job as long as I can, even when I have a major bump and am moving at the pace of a polar bear:

Also called "glacier pace"
Sometimes in my job I have to lift boxes.  These boxes only weigh about 10 pounds, or about 5 pounds per hand. The weights I use in strength training weigh at least twice that.  My baby is going to weigh close to that amount.  Yet for some reason, some of the men that I work with don't want me to lift or move boxes anymore.  Not only is this insulting, but it makes me angry and I will chase you away from helping with what is my job:

Aggressive Tortoise
Slow moving mommas are still moving mommas
This is especially frustrating because at this point in my pregnancy, there is nothing that I can't do.  But I realize I have five more months to go, and according to those fruit to baby comparisons Lil W is going to go from the size of a green pepper to the size of a pumpkin.  And trust me, when Lil W gets to be the size of a pumpkin, there's a good chance I will need help.  We all need help sometimes.  But you know what?  I am an adult.  If I need help with something, I will ask:

Gimme a Hand With This
I promise, this request for help won't be subtle
I don't want my coworkers to spend the next five months getting annoyed that they "have to help" and take on more before it's necessary.  We will all be happier if you just let me do my job and don't try to coddle me like a baby.  I love babies, clearly, but I do not want to be one. 

This is also frustrating because it irks my inner feminist - it's only men who try to interfere in my work and think that they have to protect me and my fetus from the dangers of lifting a 10 pound box.  Combine this with pregnancy hormones and it makes me stabby:

You wouldn't like me when I'm stabby.
I know that this comes from the best of intentions, and that no one is consciously being condescending.  But for pregnant women everywhere, please, give us some credit.  We're still human.  We're still the same capable people we were before pregnancy.  My husband is the one man who has anything even resembling responsibility to take care of me during pregnancy, and he doesn't even coddle me this much (because he's seen my angry lioness face and knows not to mess with that).  Right  now, I can still probably run longer than you.  I might be able to lift heavier than you.  At this point in my pregnancy, you can pretty much assume I can everything this dog can do and more:

dog climbing fence
Okay, maybe not everything this dog can do
 So stop making assumptions and just back off a little bit.  I got this:

cat pushes dog away while eating
This GIF also shows how I feel when James tries to share food with me lately.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"You studied for prison?"

Total steps yesterday:  13,620
Exercise plans for today:  strength training

There are various things on my mind today, so I think this is going to be a bullet point kind of a post:

  • I got home early from work yesterday since I had an afternoon doctor's appointment.  I took the opportunity to give little Zoe a bath (sadly, no pictures of that adventure) and then took her on a really long walk.  It was good for both of us.  She got to dry off and work out her post-bath crazies, and I got to relax and clear my head a bit.  Growing up, I remember my dad taking a walk or run almost every day after work.  I didn't think much of it at the time, but now if I don't get my post-work walk, I definitely get cranky.  I am my father's daughter, I suppose. When I was unemployed and living at home for a bit after college (yay recession!), I would join my dad on those walks, and it was always a good chance to talk a bit (or just ignore each other and work on conquering the massive hills of the northern Nevada desert that we walked through).  James and I have found that the walks are probably the secret to a happy marriage for us.  He stays home while I walk.  We both get a bit of decompressing time after getting home from work, which is definitely needed for a couple of introverts.
  • This article was posted on Slate today and the article description literally said, "If you are pregnant, do not read this story".  So, naturally, I immediately clicked on it.  It's an interesting, if occasionally graphic, look at the history of maternal death during childbirth.  The most interesting fact, for me, was that it focused on the late 19th and early 20th century, when there was a spike in deaths related to doctors stepping in to take over childbirth from midwives, leading to a variety of unsafe practices.  It carried a lot of echoes of today's home birth debate, which the author gets to in the last part of the article.  I have various thoughts on home birth and other aspects of labor that I'm going to save for another post on my birth plan.  Suffice to say, I see both side of the question, and as long as you don't mind some rough imagery (related to the past, not modern childbirth), the article is an interesting read.  It also made me realize that I read everything ever about pregnancy because I can't just relax and enjoy the process - I  have to study every little aspect of it, which is pretty much how I live my life.
Everyone should watch Orange is the New Black.  Except my parents.  You guys wouldn't like it.
  • My body seems to be more pregnant in the last week than before.  My bump is definitely more noticeable.  According to the doctors the baby is almost to belly button height, where I guess it will hang out for the next few months.  I have to get up multiple times a night to pee, and tend to unconsciously make cliched pregnant woman grunts as I'm forced to enter and exit the bed.  I'm also slowing down just a bit more, and have started hearing from various other runners that they had to give it up entirely sometimes between 27 and 32 weeks.  That means that I could possibly only have 8 more weeks of running in me, which isn't nearly enough.  I'm starting to ponder what I'll replace it with, if anything, and thinking that this might be my chance to take up swimming.  Since I'm not racing right now, I've been living vicariously through my friend at The Trigirl Chronicles, who just completed her third triathlon of the season.  She called it her tri-fecta.  How cool is she?  Anyway, she's made me think that triathlons could be fun, but I desperately need to work on my swimming, and what better time to start than when I'm pregnant and can't run?  We'll see how that goes.
  • Lil W has been jumping around like House of Pain all morning (I think I just dated myself with that reference) and it's been awesome.  
  • I need to take more pictures so I have something other than a wordsy wordsy words blog.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Clean Eating: Or "why I'm going to be unbearable when it comes to feeding my child"

Total steps yesterday:  13,341
Exercise plans for today:  long Zoe walk, strength training if time permits

Big news!  I actually averaged 10,000 steps per day this weekend.  I consider that quite an achievement given my general lackluster attitude toward weekend workouts lately.

The other weekend development, which I would have considered both a logical and scientific impossibility before Saturday night, is that I think I  might have overdosed on frozen yogurt.  James and I went out for a cup on Saturday night, and after a few bites both of us were like, "Um, we need a froyo break".   It was still delicious, but apparently 6 visits to Sweet Frog in one week is too much.  It's good to know your limits sometimes.

The final big news from the weekend is that I found my favorite type of peanut butter at the grocery store.  I've been able to find this brand but not this specific flavor, and it was a great and happy discovery:

This is a particularly happy development because I'm apparently going to start being a lot hungrier in the next few weeks.  I thought the pregnant hungries had already kicked in, but apparently I was wrong.  If today is any indication, I'm well on my way to adding an 8th meal to my day.  And I believe that 8th meal will be reintroducing peanut butter toast.

For about the last year I've eaten peanut butter toast for approximately 80% of my breakfasts.  It was my favorite pre-long run fuel during half marathon training.  It's a great and easy breakfast that takes just a few minutes to prepare, has a good serving of carbs, protein, and fat, and you can take it and run out the door if you're running late.  I'd frequently add a banana to the mix and that would power me through the entire morning.  Or, right now, through the entire two hours until I eat again.

Peanut butter is hard, though.  The cheap store brand versions are packed with preservatives that aren't very good for you, and if you're not careful with serving size you can get easily eat way more fatty calories than you want to.  The first few times I made peanut butter toast, I measured out two tablespoons of peanut butter.  Since then I can more or less eyeball it.  The most simple peanut butters are the best for you - the ingredients list ideally will just have peanuts, or peanuts and salt. The best kinds will also have cinnamon and raisins.

Peanut butter is one of those areas where the idea of clean eating really becomes clear.  The basic idea is that we don't need the various preservatives, chemicals, and overly processed foods found in most of our grocery store items.  You should be able to read the ingredients list and recognize everything on it.  If you wouldn't buy partially hydrogenated corn oil to put in the cake you were baking from scratch, then there's no reason to get it in your peanut butter.

The book "What to Eat" by Marion Nestle provides a really good introduction to navigating our complicated grocery stores and bizarre nutritional labels.  I highly recommend it to anyone trying to figure out how to eat better without just eating organic quinoa from Whole Foods.

I've been trying to eat relatively clean for about a year now, and would say I do pretty well about 80% of the time.  James isn't always on board with all the clean eating stuff, and it can be hard to do when eating out, so I'm not too fanatic about it, but try to do my best.

This is going to sound really silly considering I talk and write daily about being pregnant, but I frequently don't think about the fact that there's going to be a living, breathing, hungry child at the end of this that I have to take care of.  It's really only been in the last few days that I've started thinking about life after pregnancy, as opposed to just pregnancy.  And this article about homemade baby food made me realize that one thing to start thinking about is how clean eating will work when feeding my child.  I figured I would probably try my hand at making baby foods just for fun, but as I read the article, I'm thinking I might have to be a bit more serious about it.

I'm planning on breast feeding and hoping that I'm able to, but I'm not opposed to supplementing with formula when needed or easier.  I think I'll be the same way once we start transitioning to solid foods.  But it's also exhausting sometimes to check labels and nutrition facts when I'm deciding what to buy for myself.  I can't imagine how much more complicated I'll make it when it's for a baby.  So I have to decide which will be easier for James and me:  taking the time out to make baby food at home, or double and triple checking labels and stressing over what I'm putting in my baby.  I'd like to think that Lil W will automatically love all the foods I love, and happily eat mango and avocado and tikka masala and never want anything processed, but that's probably too much to ask.  Oh well.  Baby steps, right?