A Weekend of Parties and Food! {Weekend Recap}

 Bah, Monday!

Monday’s always kick my butt. It’s like not matter how busy or relaxed my weekend is, no matter how much sleep I get, no matter how much I’m looking forward to the week, I inevitably sleep TERRIBLY on Sunday night and have the hardest time getting up Monday morning. What is it about Mondays????

The positive thing? I literally have maximum of 2 mondays left. 2 MONDAYS! $#(*#&!!! (<– that is my happy dance right there).

So on that happy note, let’s take a minute to look back on my weekend, instead of focusing on the fact that it’s Monday.

Friday

 Last week was actually an insanely stressful week at work. At one point, it actually sent me into having enough BH contractions that I had to start counting them to make sure it wasn’t real labor. Stress + 36 weeks pregnant does NOT equal good things, people!

Despite the insanity, I do still have some awesome coworkers who threw me a totally surprise shower on Friday afternoon. Complete with a desk explosion.

20150501_081318They also brought me breakfast, Starbucks (decaf for me, of course), and a potluck lunch, AND gave me some adorable and thoughtful gifts. It was definitely much needed after such a crazy week, and definitely makes me a little sad to leave this place.

After work on Friday, Chris and I had some exciting surprise plans for his birthday! Since we didn’t really get to go on a Babymoon thanks to all the traveling that I was doing for grad school interviews, I wanted to surprise him with more of an “experience” present for his birthday. Something that we wont really get to do once the baby gets here, at least for a little while.

So without him knowing where we were going, we drove up to National Harbor in Maryland, where I had bought us tickets for Bobby McKey’s dueling piano bar

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In case you don’t know, Chris and I are total music nerds (I mean, come on – we met in band in college. Serious nerd alert). So a night full of sing-a-longs, good music, impressive piano playing, and drinking is our idea of an awesome time!

 Drunk girl watching was also quite fun too, especially considering I obviously was not able to participate in the drinking part!

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It was our first time at Bobby McKey’s, but we had a great time and the music really was SO impressive. If you ever have the chance to go to a dueling piano bar of any kind, I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s literally like a giant sing-a-long, so what’s not to love?

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Bobby McKey’s was especially awesome because on Friday nights they have an “early bird” and “late night” package, so we could buy tickets that just went from 7-10:30pm (and then someone else came in and took our seats from 10:30-2am). Which was perfect for this preggo, because even 10:30 was pushing it for me!

Saturday

We were up early on Saturday morning to get a bunch of work done around the house. I’m still in serious nesting mode, so I went a little crazy vacuuming and organizing the house, and by the time I finished we had to run around like crazy people to get dressed up for our next event: A baby shower!

A good friend of mine is having a baby due 1 day after me, so it was so fun being able to celebrate someone who is literally going through the exact stage of pregnancy that I am right now!

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We had a great time hanging out with our friends, eating some delicious food (they had quite the spread!), and enjoying the amazing weather!

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By the time we got home on Sunday evening, Chris and I both decided that a relaxing evening was in order, and opted to hang out on the couch in our PJs watching Captain America: Winter Soldier. We are exciting people these days, I tell ya!

 Sunday

Sunday was another day of productivity! I was on a roll, apparently!

I managed to clean the house, run to 3 different stores to return duplicate items from our baby showers, clean my car (aka vacuum out all the dog hair, darn Laney!), and install the car seat in my car. Phew! I was pooped by the end of all of that!

I had HOPED to take a power nap somewhere in there (preggo girl was exhausted), but that didn’t end up happening and I finished up just in time to get cleaned up and ready for church and dinner with my in-laws. Which included a pre-Cinco de Mayo meal!

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Overall, it was a pretty productive weekend, but also one full of parties and food. In fact, my eating schedule was so all over the place that I had a minor freak out on Sunday afternoon when I realized that I hadn’t felt Baby Freckle move in a little while (he usually starts kicking me just before lunch time when he apparently gets hungry). Thankfully a few hours later he was moving up a storm, but that definitely shows how all over the place I was this weekend, even the baby was confused! haha.

I know we wont have too many more weekends like this left, so I’m definitely trying to make the most of them while I can!

Hope you all had a great weekend too!

So tell me: What did you do this weekend? Anyone else have bad luck with Mondays?

 

It’s BABY MONTH! {Five Favorites Friday}

 Happy Friday!!

Not only is it a Friday, which is awesome (this has been one hell of a week), but it’s also officially May. And do you know what that means?

IT’S BABY MONTH!!!!

Well, unless Baby Freckle decides to come more than 3 days late. But that’s besides the point. We’re going to pretend that’s not going to happen. And if you ask my office, they are all convinced I’m going to have this baby early anyway, so hopefully that WONT happen!

But yes, BABY MONTH! AHHHHH!!!!  

FFFoldSince I don’t really feel like anything can quite top that excitement, I think we should just jump right in to my favorites this week, what do you think? You may very quickly notice a baby theme around here!

Linking up with Clare for Five on Friday and Katie for Friday Favorites!

 

Favorite Weekday Celebration: Birthdays!

20150430_204619Not only did Chris celebrate his birthday on Monday, but my MIL also celebrated her birthday yesterday, so this was quite the birthday heavy week! Although we did dinners on different days (because everyone needs their own birthday celebration!), they had a joint cake that we got to enjoy last night.

Plus, Chris also got to enjoy a Washington Capitals win on his birthday (to take the first round of the playoffs), and then we got to celebrate another Caps win last night over the NY Rangers! Now that is a good way to celebrate a birthday!

Favorite Current Watch: Game of Thrones

(source)

 If you are not on the Game of Thrones bandwagon already, you need to get on that immediately. Like stop everything, and go binge watch. There are only 10 episodes a season. You can do it! 

But seriously. I love it. LOVE IT. I feel like I’m sitting on the edge of my seat every episode trying to figure out what’s going to happen (and who is going to die next). Eek!

Anyone else share my GoT obsession? Please tell me I’m not alone in my fangirlness.

Favorite Inbox Surprise: Maternity Photos

 So you may remember me mentioning a few weeks ago that we got some maternity pictures done by Amy at Little Fredericksburg Photography. Well I got an awesome surprise when I opened up my inbox yesterday and saw a link to our entire gallery! I LOVE them!

I am still going through the whole gallery trying to pick out favorites (super difficult – Amy did an AMAZING job!), but I wanted to share a little sneak peak with you guys here! I know maternity photos are not everyone’s thing, but I am SO happy we ended up getting them done, because other than bump pictures, I really don’t have too many images to remember this time by!

Also, if nothing else you all should go check out her newborn photos. I can’t WAIT to have Baby Freckle’s done. SO PRECIOUS!!!!

Favorite Recent Pinterest Recipe: Spicy Beer Braised Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Spicy Beer Braised Lime Chicken Enchiladas I howsweeteats.com

(source)

 I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but Chris and his buddy have been brewing beer for almost a year now, which means that our house always is well stocked. Which of course I can’t partake in right now, meaning that our stash moves a lot slower than it used to!

Well when I came across this recipe on How Sweet Eats, I knew that I immediately had to test it out. I mean, you all know my love of Mexican food at this point. But add in some beer? Hell yes.

And holy crap, guys. HOLY CRAP. Like 2 bites in Chris was already demanding that I make this again. Immediately. And on repeat. SO GOOD.

Favorite Thing About May: Baby Month!

You knew this one was coming, right? I mean really.

IT’S BABY MONTH!!! AHHH!!!!!

Ok, I’m done now.

 

Have a great Friday!

So tell me: What are you loving this week? Any recipes that you’ve tried lately that you’re obsessed with?

Body After Baby…?

Now that I’m less than a month away from my due date (AHH! How did that happen??), the questions have switched from “when are you due” and “how are you feeling” to more along the lines of “what are your plans after the baby gets here?” And I’m not just talking about what our nursery looks like or when I’m going to back to work.

I’m talking about what are my post-baby body plans. Yup, people actually ask this stuff.

But all of their questions have actually made me start to think about things. What ARE my plans? How do I feel about this whole “body after baby” trend? What are my post-baby goals?

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The reality is, I don’t have any exact goals for my “post baby body”. In fact, I feel a little bit weird just writing those words. I feel like as I approach these last few weeks of pregnancy, my focus isn’t on ME and how I look anymore – it’s all about baby now, and I’m sure I’ll feel that way even more so once he’s actually here.

But that doesnt mean that I haven’t thought about what I would like to happen in the weeks/months after he gets here, so today I thought I’d share those broad and VERY general thoughts. With a caveat that all of this might go completely out the window once he gets here. Every mom’s birth and healing situation is SO different, so I’m going in with zero expectations on that front.

So in the weeks and months that follow the arrival of Baby Freckle, here is what I’m (very tentatively) hoping:

Get back into running (at some point)

Throughout this pregnancy I have done my best to keep up my cardio as much as possible, through walking, elliptical intervals and spinning. Running, however, went out the window about month 4, and (though I never thought I’d ever say this) I honestly kind of miss it!

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So one of my goals is to get back into running, even though I know it’s going to be a slow and painful process to start basically from scratch. Especially since I’ve heard that after you’ve had a baby everything in there kind of gets all jumbled around, and it can be a little bit uncomfortable for awhile while your organs figure out where they belong.

That being said, I dont really have a time frame on this. In a perfect world, I’d LOVE to put a half marathon on my calendar in the late fall/early winter (especially since the weather stays nicer longer down south than it does up here in VA), but that’s such a “maybe” right now that I haven’t even LOOKED at any to schedule yet. I’m going to take things one week at a time, and make the call as I feel comfortable.

Up my strength game (and get some gunz)

While I’ve been doing a fair amount of strength training (hello BodyPump!) during pregnancy, one of my goals once I’m ready to get back to the gym is to focus on upping my strength training game.

More specifically, I really want to work on my arms/shoulders. They have always been an area of weakness (and self-consciousness) for me, because that is actually where I tend to put on weight easiest. My legs have always been easy for me to train and lean out, but for whatever reason my arms like to hold on to some extra somethin-somethin.

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So I’m making that one of my goals – work on my gunz! I have quite picked out a plan or anything yet, but I’m hoping to start doing research on some so that when I am able to get back to the gym I can slowly build up my strength training game again. And still keep up my beloved BodyPump, of course!

Feel comfortable in my skin

To be honest, I dont know how I’m going to feel about the scale once this pregnancy is over. While I was super stressed about weight gain early in my pregnancy, I realized by about 25 weeks in that our bodies are miraculous things, and as long as you take care of them and don’t go overboard with the junk, they are going to do what they need to do to put on the right amount of weight. At 36 weeks I’ve put on approximately 24lbs, and I really attribute that to staying active and eating decently for the past 9 months.

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That being said, would I love for all the weight to magically fall back off? Yes of course. Am I going to stress about it? No. Things have changed – my pelvis has shifted, my chest has gone up 2 sizes (at least temporarily), and at that point I will have pushed a bowling ball out my ladybits. I’m not expecting things to be the same!

So my goal is just to get to a place where I’m comfortable in my own skin, regardless of the number on the scale. Now we’ll see how that actually works in practice!

So will I do a “Body After Baby” series?

Honestly, I haven’t really decided yet. On the one hand, I love reading them because I love seeing how our bodies are able to adapt to a new normal after having a baby. It gives me hope that I’m not going to be walking around still looking like I have a basketball under my shirt.

On the other hand, I also dont want all my focus and stress to be on an image of what things SHOULD look like after X amount of months. Everyone is different. Everyone’s body reacts differently. And I think it can be so easy to fall into the comparison trap of “Look at her, she’s lost X number of pounds after 5 months, what’s wrong with me?”.

So I’m going to play this one by ear, and see how I feel a week, two weeks, a month postpartum. And if I DO end up doing a Body After Baby series, the focus is definitely going to be on how I’m feeling and what I’m accomplishing more than the numbers and measurements. Because I truly think that that is only half the story.

So tell me: What are your thoughts on the Body After Baby trend?

 

Linking up with Amanda for Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud

How to prep 8 freezer meals in less than 3 hours

 

Sharing my 35 Week Bumpdate and ideas for nurses gift over on Freckles & Fingerpaint! Check it out!

 

Good morning and happy Tuesday!

I’m coming at you a touch late today, because I had another baby appointment this morning! We are officially on to weekly appointments at this point, which is kind of crazy. The end is almost here!!! Eeek!

Everything with Baby Freckle is looking awesome, according to my doc. His heart rate is great, my blood pressure is great, and he is continuing to grow just like he’s supposed to. I also got checked for the first time today (amongst other blood and culture work), and I am already 1cm dilated and 25% effaced. So hopefully that means we’re moving in the right direction!

Anyway, enough with the baby talk! Let’s get on to something even more exciting!

This past weekend I took on a giant freezer meal endeavor, and I have to say that it turned out to be quite the success. I have never done anything quite on this scale before, so I put in a lot of prep work beforehand which I think really made it easy and painless. And so today, I wanted to share those tips with you!

8 Freezer MealsStep 1: Choose your meals

 The first thing to do is obviously to pick which meals you want to make. As always, I turned to the magic Pinterest for inspiration (you can check out my freezer meal board here), and selected 8 different recipes to make.

I wanted a variety (aka not all chicken, which many seem to be!), so in the end here are the ones I selected:

Mini Garden Turkey Meatloaves

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken

Crock pot Red Pepper Chicken

Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken

White Chicken Enchilada Bake

Cilantro Lime Chicken w/ Corn and Black Bean Tacos

Slow Cooker Beef/Venison & Broccoli

Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Pork

 

Step 2: Organize your ingredient lists

Freezer Meals Prep

Since you’re taking on a big project, it’s helpful to get organized. I first created an excel doc and listed out all the meals I was going to make, the link, and the number of servings. That way I could easily find them again if I needed. 

Then I listed out all the ingredients that I would need to purchase in another column. Anything that I already had on hand, I left out.

 

Freezer Meals Prep

I then created another list where I took ALL the ingredients from my original list and consolidated them into categories. For example, most of the recipes called for onions. So I was able to consolidate that list to 4-5 onions. Same with bell peppers and chicken breasts.

This not only made my list seem more manageable, but also made it easier to shop!

Step 3: Shop in bulk

 Speaking of shopping, once you have a consolidated list, it should be easier to see what items you need and how many you need. Then you can do some smart shopping.

Buy in bulk if you can! For example, I ended up getting 2 family packs of chicken breasts, which covered all 12 breasts I needed. Same with peppers and onions. Also shop several stores if you can for the best deals, or places like Costco or BJs. When you’re buying this much, save every bit you can!

Step 4: Prep all your ingredients at the same time

20150426_102542When I got home with my ingredients I printed out each recipe and laid them out on the table. I then went through each one and marked what prep I needed to do. For example, I would write (straight on the side of the recipe): “chop 1 onion”, “shred 2 carrots”, etc. Once you have this on all recipes, you can easily see what prep you need to do and can do it all at once.

I also went ahead and labeled my freezer bags, that way I was ready to go once my ingredients were prepped. I included the name of the recipe, anything that was missing, and the cooking directions.

From there, I went ahead and prepped my ingredients in bulk. For example, if 7 recipes needed chopped onions, I did all my onions first and put them in their respective bags. Next up were the bell peppers, etc. Try to save your meat for last, so your cutting board doesnt get contaminated.

Meanwhile, I also started preparing any ingredients that needed to be cooked (two recipes required minor cooking), so that I could fill the bags in between stirring.

Step 5: Assemble

 I did a three step approach to assembling.

First, as I was prepping any produce that needed to be chopped/sliced/shredded, I would add that into the appropriate bag. This helped keep my counters clean and kept contamination low. 

Once all the produce was done, I went bag by bag to add all the additional ingredients, except the meats. This included sauces, spices, or other produce that did not need to be prepared.

Finally, I added in all my meats. Again, this helped keep contamination down since I wasn’t constantly going back and forth between produce, sauces and meats.

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Step 6: Freeze Flat

Now all your bags are filled! At this point, it’s best to squeeze out as much air as possible (to help avoid freezer burn and take up less space), and then lay them flat. They are much easier to handle in your freezer if they are as flat as possible!

Step 7: Defrost and Enjoy!

Now when you’re ready to use them, all you have to do is defrost in the fridge and then cook according to the directions you wrote on the bags. Easy!

 

While this was definitely an endeavor, in the end I was amazed just how quickly the whole process actually went!

In the end I spent around $85 for all of my ingredients (including about 12lbs of chicken and 2lbs of pork!), and had all 8 meals assembled in under 3 hours. This should total approximately 36 servings, which should keep us quite full once Baby Freckle gets here!

Plus, almost all of them are crockpot meals, which makes them super easy to defrost, dump and cook! Definitely a win in my book!

Now once I eat them I’ll let you know how they taste, but I can definitely say that I am excited to try them!

So tell me: Have you ever done a large-scale freezer prep? What are your tips and tricks?

I’m kinda liking this nesting thing…

 Well hello there, Monday!

First of all, I want to start off this Monday morning on a cheery note (partially because I’m still trying to fully wake up this morning, 3 hours after getting out of bed… it’s going to be one of THOSE Mondays!).

I want to wish the HAPPIEST of 25th birthdays to my kind, loving, generous, goofball of a husband.

482336_10101526601694823_2067257595_nYou are 100x more than I deserve, and I am definitely blessed to have you in my life. You keep me sane, make me laugh, and never cease to amaze me. I am one lucky girl.

Especially when I’m a grumpy, tired 35-week pregnant lady at 6am on a Monday morning and nearly forget to wish you a happy birthday… #wifefail

Here is to an amazing year. It is certainly going to be a doozy! But Baby Freckle is already so lucky to have you as his dad, and I can’t wait to see the two of you together. It makes me heart melt just to think about it.

Happy Birthday, Chris!

20141231_234858How is that for some Monday morning cheer! :)

In fact, that kind of was the mood of our whole weekend. It was a great mix of productivity, relaxing, and celebrating Chris’ birthday a bit early. Although I have a very special surprise planned for him for next Friday that I’m enjoying torturing him with… I can’t wait! :)

But let’s take a quick look back at the weekend, shall we?

Friday

 Chris had to ref soccer games on Friday night, so I had the house to myself. So what did I do? Cleaned and organized, of course! Nesting is a serious thing, people. I spent several hours going through the baby/guest room closet (it’s serving dual purpose in this house until we move), organizing his changing station, and attempting to actually put together some of his stuff.

Eventually I decided to take a break and sit for a minute, and quickly realized that once I stop moving, I don’t want to start again. So I called it a day and spent the rest of the evening watching Hockey.

I live an exciting life, people! This is what a hoppin’ Friday night looks like at my house!

Saturday

Despite a late night watching Hockey (darn overtime, and darn Rangers for winning!), Chris and I were up super early on Saturday morning to get some errands done, including a trip  to a local nursery to pick up some plants for our garden, the farmers market for the first time this year, and a gigantic trip to Wegmans. Sadly it was quite the dreary morning!

After we got all of those out of the way we headed over to our friend Lindsay’s house, where she and her husband Charlie were hosting us for a wing-fry, hockey-watching party. Which of course had to start off with a pre-game jager bomb – and a juice shot for this pregnant lady. Hey, at least they made me feel included!

20150425_150837Can you guess which of these is not like the other?

The boys got to work frying up everything in sight in the garage (because we all need some artery-clogging fried foods in our lives sometimes!), and we loaded up our plates with homemade wings, nachos and a few veggies to balance things out. 

20150425_152830Sadly the Caps didn’t manage to pull out the win, which means we have to go to game 7 in the series this evening. But it was still fun to hang out with our friends and eat some delicious food!

20150425_152838By the time we left at 7ish, we were both stuffed and ended up skipping dinner entirely in favor of more cleaning and organizing of the baby room. So exciting! We did manage to get a whole bunch of his stuff put together though, finally, and got our hospital bags packed. So Baby Freckle, we’re ready for you! Or at least, as ready as we’ll ever be! 

Sunday

Once again we were up early on Sunday morning for more exciting cleaning and organizing. I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of going to miss this whole nesting thing when Baby Freckle gets here – it’s sure been productive!

First up was a giant round of freezer meal prep! I’m going to share more on all of my preparations in an upcoming post, but in about 3 hours I managed to prep 8 freezer meals, most of which were anywhere between 4-8 servings a piece. We wont go hungry, that’s for sure!

20150426_10254220150426_10434420150426_122953After a quick clean up (because boy did I make a mess of my kitchen), we headed off to my MIL’s house for more cleaning and organizing there. She’s in the process of cleaning out all of her storage rooms, and wanted us to go through a lot of Chris’ old stuff before we move. Including all of his childhood books, toys and various knick knacks, which was especially fun with our own little boy on the way!

Several hours later we called it a win, and headed off to church followed by dinner at Outback for Chris’ birthday. He was craving a steak and since we had bad luck finding any good pieces of meat at the grocery store, we decided to go the easy route and have someone else cook it for us!

Then it was back to my MIL’s house for present opening time, before calling it a night and literally falling into bed at 11pm. Hence the tired, grumpy pregnant lady this morning. 11pm is too late for this girl these days!

Anyway, overall it was quite the productive weekend, even if it made for a rough Monday morning! Hopefully this week keeps up the trend!

So tell me: What did you do this weekend? Have you ever done a giant meal prep?

 

Linking up with Erin for Weekend Snapshots.

 

All about the springtime {Five Favorites Friday}

Happy Friday!!

Guys, I officially have only 4 more Fridays of work. EEEEK! Let the countdown begin!

Which also means that I only have 35 days until my due date. Double EEK! Although truth be told, I’m ready for this baby to get here. After hanging out with my friend who had her twins two weeks ago, and seeing 2 other friends have babies in the past 2 weeks, I’m ready to meet this little guy that is constantly karate kicking me in the ribs!

FFFoldSince it’s Friday and I am in a VERY good mood (the sun is shining, I have fun and relaxing plans for the weekend, I finally have time to get some stuff done around the house), let’s just jump right in to Five Favorites Friday, shall we?

 Linking up with Clare for Five on Friday and Katie for Friday Favorites!

 Favorite Recent Obsession: Iced Coffee

20150420_081839Guys, my iced coffee obsession from my first trimester is back with a vengeance! Which is probably good, considering that my exhaustion from the first trimester is ALSO back! I seriously cannot get enough though! My local coffee guy (yes, that’s how bad my problem is – I have a coffee guy) just got in coconut flavoring too, and I seriously have dreams about coconut iced decaf coffee. Dreams I don’t want to wake up from.

And now I’m craving it again. Darn it. That’s what beautiful, sunny weather will do to you – make you crave some iced coffee!

 Favorite Baby News: Baby Freckle is getting ready!

 I had my 35 weeks appointment on Tuesday, and we learned a few things.

1) Baby Freckle has a big head and short legs like his mama. :) His head was measuring a few days ahead, but his femur was a few days behind. All within normal range, but I still found it funny that he may come out a shorty like me! Let’s hope he gets his dad’s height eventually!

2) Although measurements are not at all exact at this point, the tech estimated him to be at about 5lbs 6oz on Tuesday. Which will probably mean he’ll end up in the 7.5-8.5lb range at birth. Let’s hope for the smaller end of that, please!

3) He is already head down and making his way down into the birth canal (what a weird phrase to say…). My whole office is convinced he’ll come early, and he certainly seems like he is already getting into position, so we’ll see what happens!

Favorite Fitness Goal: Triumphant return to the gym

PhotoGrid_1429743879588After my run-in with food poisoning last week, my gym efforts started seriously slacking. But I was finally able to get back there this week, and although I missed my beloved BodyPump class thanks to traffic, I did manage to get in a solid arm workout (along with some cardio) that STILL has my arms feeling like jello.

 I also got a comment at the gym about how from the front you can hardly tell I’m pregnant if I wear a dark shirt, but from the side it’s like BAM! Hello belly!

Favorite Springtime Habit: Walking the dog

Back when it was just me and Laney living in Culpeper, I lived in a small apartment. Which meant that every morning and every evening (at least), Laney and I were out on a walk. And when the weather got nice, we used to take 2+ mile walks/runs around the neighborhood.

Well, fast forward 2 years and we have a giant, fenced backyard that Laney loves to run around it. It also means that I’ve gotten a little lazy with walking her, because she can wear herself out just running in circles around the fenceline! BUT, considering that walking has become one of my main forms of cardio lately and the weather has finally gotten nice, I’m excited to start going on daily walks with her again. Not only is it good for her, but it’s also good for me too. 

Plus, maybe it’ll get this baby moving sooner! :)

Favorite New Endeavor: Advocare

20150424_064458So if you’ve been around MFL for awhile, you may remember last May when I did the Advocare 24 Day Challenge. As skeptical as I was at first, I ended up not only really enjoying my experience, but also learning a lot about clean eating, supplementation, and how my body reacts to different things. I even crushed my half marathon time while in the middle of the challenge!

Anyway, I’ve been toying with the idea of doing another challenge post-baby to really get myself back on track, and when Chris mentioned that he would be interested in doing it with me, I decided to jump in head first. Yup, I’ve officially become an Advocare distributor!

Now, don’t worry, this isn’t going to become an “All Advocare, All the time” kind of blog. I’m not really that kind of pushy person. BUT if you are interested at all in trying the products or learning more about the 24 Day Challenge, please feel free to reach out via email (myfreckledlifeblog@gmail.com). I’d love to share!

 

Well there you have it – 5 totally random things that I’m loving on this warm, sunny Friday. So now it’s your turn to share!

So tell me: What are you loving lately? What’s your favorite thing about spring so far?

 

How my thoughts on pregnancy have changed

A few months ago, I wrote a post that shared some of the mental struggles that I was facing during my pregnancy. How I was having a hard time coming to grips with how my body was changing and has having a hard time mentally separating “fat” from “pregnant”.

In truth, at that time, I really didn’t love being pregnant.

Of course I loved everything that pregnancy was going to bring me and absolutely felt blessed to even be able to get pregnant, which I know is not something that happens for everyone. But I didn’t love my body and struggled a lot with my self-image. To be honest, it was a really hard time for me mentally, on top of all of the changes that my body was going through.

Well, it’s now been about 15 weeks since I wrote that post. And these days I’m actually FEELING pregnant. I’ve gone from an awkward post-holiday pudge looking bump to a legit bump.

accepting my pregnant body

So I thought I’d take some time to share how my feelings on pregnancy have changed since that awkward period 15 weeks ago, and how I’m learning to accept my pregnant body!

I have come to accept my changing body

This took me a long time. Like, a really long time. I went through a LONG awkward stage where I really didn’t feel (or look) pregnant. Just chubby. Awkwardly chubby. And I really, truly struggled with it.

Bumpdate 18-21 weeks

I kind of consider those the “dark days” of my pregnancy. Days where I tried not to look in the mirror, and had several good cries over how I looked in clothes. I didn’t feel/look pregnant enough to rock the maternity shirts, but none of the rest of my clothes looked right on me. I just plain felt fat.

However, once I hit about 23/24 weeks, all of a sudden my bump got a lot more round and baby-like. And people started to notice. I started to notice. It’s like somehow having a baby bump made me FEEL pregnant, and all of a sudden I didn’t mind it so much!

Now my bump is really out there, to the point that even strangers will ask when I’m due (you know you’re really sporting a preggo bump when strangers are confident enough to comment!). And I’ve found I kind of LIKE the way my pregnant body looks. It’s like a testament to all of amazing things that our bodies do as women to grow a human life, and it makes me a little bit proud.

10 20 30 week collage

Truth be told, I do still have some rough days where I really miss my pre-pregnancy body. Especially if I see an old picture and remember how “chunky” I thought I was at the time. HA! If only that me could see me now! But overall, I’ve come to accept my new body and all that it’s doing.

I have learned to take people’s comments in stride

Let me tell you, people have no filter when it comes to pregnant women. It’s like suddenly they think that they can say whatever they want!

I used to be really sensitive when people would say things like “look at that bump” and “you’re getting so big!”, as though they were commenting on how fat I was getting. But over time, I’ve learned to accept that what people really MEAN is “look at that adorable baby bump” and “you’re looking great”. They just dont think about how they are saying it!

The fact that I’m going to have a baby has become more real

Like I said, for some reason once I had an actual baby bump, it’s like this whole pregnancy thing actually became real for me. Like I was really, truly pregnant now. No joke.

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Given, due to the location of my placenta I also really didn’t feel Baby Freckle move until 20+ weeks, so this also made it significantly more real. But between movement and the baby bump showing up, it’s like all of a sudden reality hit and a realized that in just a few short weeks I’ll be holding our little man in my arms! And that has made it a lot easier to accept all of these crazy changes!

I have learned to channel my worry

Not going to lie, those dark days caused me a lot of stress and worry. Which is obviously not ideal while pregnant. Or in general.

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But over the last 15 weeks I’ve learned how to channel my worry into planning, which is what works best for me personally. I’ve made lists. I have google docs. I’ve read books and gone to classes. I’ve done what I can to feel like I’m prepared (as best as possible) for this new stage in my life, and that has made me feel significantly better.

I have realized that pregnancy is a journey

I guess I just kind of assumed that pregnancy would be one happy-go-lucky time. All rainbows and butterflies because YAY! You’re pregnant!!!

What I’ve learned is that you have to view pregnancy as a journey. One that is going to have it’s rough patches and moments of euphoria. It’s going to be scary, and exciting, and nervewracking and a bit crazy. And that any and every emotion that you’re feeling is totally normal. Even when you wonder if you’re the only pregnant person in the world who feels like this. You’re not. We’re all right there with you.

 

So as I come to the end of this pregnancy (5 weeks left!), I’ve dome to realize that while I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to say that I LOVED being pregnant – and I know some women truly do – I’ve been able to get to a much better place with all of these crazy changes that are happening in my body, and learned that being pregnant is so much more than just a 9 month period where you belly grows. It really is a mental, emotional and personal journey!

So tell me: Can any other mamas or mamas-to-be chime in on their thoughts about their pregnancy journey?

 

Linking up with Amanda for Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud!

Walking as exercise?

Make sure you check out Freckles & Fingerpaint this morning, where I’m talking Nursery Organization and sharing my 34 Week Bumpdate!

 

I’m not going to lie, I never used to think much about walking as an exercise. Sure, it’s great for people who are recovering from injuries or who are just starting their fitness journey. But for someone who already hits up the gym several times a week? Psh. What can walking do for me?

Well guys, I’ll admit it. I was wrong.

I don’t really know why I scoffed at the idea of walking as exercise. Probably out of pride. I had the snobby mentality that running > walking. Which may be true for some things (calorie burn, cardiovascular endurance, etc), but that doesn’t mean that walking is for chumps!

 About 4 months into my pregnancy, I realized that running just wasn’t going to be an option for me. The little man was hanging out right on top of my bladder, which basically meant that not only was it rather uncomfortable, it also meant that I had to pee about every 50ft. Which does not make for a very productive run, let me tell you! So instead of running, I switched to other forms of cardio, including elliptical, spinning, the stairmaster, and walking!

IMG_20150331_154610So today I thought I’d share a few ways that I have learned to make walking a legitimate exercise during pregnancy. Because sometimes running isn’t for everyone. And even if you are a runner, sometimes there are just days when walking is going to be a better option for you – you are recovering from a long run, rehabbing an injury, or trying to cross-train!

Here are a few of my tips to make walking a good exercise for anyone!

Embrace the hills!

Walking doesnt have to be a leisurely stroll. One of the best ways to get your heart rate up is to treat it like an incline walk. Find some hills around your area (or hop on a treadmill), and use those hills as a workout! Walking up and down hills uses different muscles than just your normal flat road walk, so you are really bringing in more glute and hamstring work.

Plus, hills will definitely get your heart rate up AND bring in some serious cardiovascular work. So don’t shy away from them!

Get your power walk on

You can also look at walks like interval training. Channel your inner 1980s power walker and get moving! You’d be amazed at how much speed walking, especially if you’re adding in hills too, can be an endurance workout!

It is also really great to change up your speed. Walk for a few minutes or a certain distance at a power walk, and then reduce your speed for 30sec to a minute. That change in pace can bring your heart rate up and down which can be great for cardiovascular health!

More distractions, more steps!

Not a fan of walking? Bring distractions (within safety reasons, obviously – you want to be safe if you’re walking outside!). Listen to music or a podcast. Talk on the phone. Bring a friend, or a pet with you. You’d be amazed at how easy it is to forget how far you’ve gone when you’re busy enjoying yourself! Those steps will add up quickly!

Little bits add up

Yes, walking can take longer to add up the miles than running. But you know what? You dont HAVE to commit to an hour walk every day to get in some benefits. Especially if you’re adding in some speed work and hills, little bits really add up!

So head out on a 10 minute walk during your lunch break. Stop throughout the day for a 5 minute power walk around your parking lot. Then take a 15 minute walk when you get home with your dog or husband. All of a sudden you’ve gotten in 45+ minutes of walking without even putting in extra effort! 

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I have to say that thanks to this pregnancy, I have a whole new appreciation for walking. Am I still planning on going back to running post-partum? Yes, of course. But you also wont see me turning my nose up at a good walk either!

So tell me: Do you use walking as a form of exercise? How do you spruce up your walks?

A very special weekend {Weekend Recap}

 Monday, we meet again.

I’m telling you – I’ve had some really crappy luck for the past 3 Mondays in a row. I dont know what it is about Sunday nights… but apparently we just don’t get along! Last night I had a serious case of pregnancy insomnia and after an hour of tossing and turning in bed (and waking Chris up), I gave up and headed out to the couch to toss and turn out there.

This morning I’m being a rebel and drinking a giant half-caf coffee to get me through the day. #necessary

So since I am severely under-caffeinated and have nothing profound to say, let’s just jump right in to the weekend recap, shall we? This weekend I was a terrible, horrible blogger and managed to take almost zero pictures. I know, total fail. So get ready for lots of WORDS! :)

Linking up with the lovely Erin for Weekend Snapshots!

Saturday

Despite a late night on Friday night, I was up SUPER dark and early on Saturday morning for a work event. Like it was legitimately still dark outside. Not cool.

I know I don’t talk about my work very much here on the blog, for a variety of reasons, but for those of you who don’t know I currently work with children with disabilities. Saturday was our annual Special Olympics event, which brings out several hundred people and athletes. It’s kind of insane!

I wasn’t able to take any pictures (for both privacy reasons for my clients, and to protect my workplace), but from 6-12 I was busy running around in the sun cheering participants, answering questions, and handing out medals. My boss TRIED to assign me to stay at the registration table all day, but I don’t sit still very well. haha. I wanted to be out there helping, pregnant or not!

Although I will admit, after 6 hours I was pretty pooped. I was fading fast on the ride home, and after stopping for a few errands, I passed out for an hour. Naps are good.

I did drag myself out of bed after an hour or so, because I had get dolled up for our maternity pictures! We met up with Amy from Little Fredericksburg Photography at a local park and got some great shots. I can’t wait to share them with you all when I get them back. Although I promise a sneak peak will be coming at you soon.

Chris and I then headed straight from our picture session to a BBQ at a friends house to celebrate the 80 degree weather! Although I 100% failed at getting a picture, I had a great time hanging out with friends and chowing down on some homemade fried chicken and sides. I’m definitely going to miss this group when we move!!!

Sunday

As much as I would have LOVED to sleep in, we were still up fairly early on Sunday morning to get some things done. But not without starting the day with some delicious chicken and waffles (with leftover homemade fried chicken from the night before). Seriously, to die for!

20150419_091130Also, look, a picture! :) I was a bad blogger this weekend…

After breakfast we had a meeting with our doula to start discussing birth plans and some of the logistics for the actual event. You all probably know by now but I’m definitely a planner by nature, so even though I obviously can’t completely plan for this whole birth thing, I like having some idea of how things are going to work. Thankfully my doula is totally cool with my neurotic planning!

Once we said goodbye to the doula, I headed out to Culpeper (my old stomping ground!) to meet up with another pregnant friend for lunch! We hit up my old favorite coffee shop, Raven’s Nest, for coffee and lunch. Although I couldn’t quite decide on what I wanted to eat, and ended up with a hodge podge plate of Italian orzo salad, kale & brussels sprout salad and fruit salad. 

20150419_123300We ended up chatting for nearly 3 hours about pregnancy, plans and life in general. It’s always so fun catching up with old college friends, especially when we now have this whole preggo thing in common too. Although let me say, in case you’re ever in this situation – if you ever see 2 preggo ladies in conversation, you probably should not try and eavesdrop. We have some really weird, really gross conversations, because pretty much nothing is off limits, including very specific bodily details. Just sayin’, you’ve been warned.

The rest of the evening was fairly chill – I headed home, washed some more baby clothes (#nesting), went to church, and ran home to cook dinner. By the time I got home at 7 to start dinner I was legit dying of hunger, so I didn’t even stop to take a picture of my meal. I just scarfed it like my life depended on it!

So there you go – a fairly full weekend that took serious advantage of the nice April weather. Sorry I didn’t get more pictures, I’ve been seriously failing on that front lately! I’ll work on it, promise.

And just to round out the week – how about a quick workout recap. This was not the best week workout wise since I was recovering from food poisoning, but I at least managed to get in a few walks and hit 10K+ steps several days this week.

Workout Summary

Monday – Rest (food poisoning)

Tuesday – Rest (recovery)

Wednesday – 30 min walk at work, 20 min walk with Laney after work, 30 min strength workout

Thursday – 30 min walk at work + Marathon cleaning session (yes, this should count as a workout – I probably squatted 100+ times!)

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Special Olympics Event – running around for 6 hours

Sunday – Walk around Culpeper

 

So tell me: What did you do this weekend? Any exciting plans for the week?

 

Emphasis on the “Random” {Five Favorites Friday}

 Woohoo! It’s FRIDAY!!!

This has been one weird week. Between food poisoning and rainy/sunny/rainy weather and horrible traffic and a huge work event we’ve been prepping for… I feel like I’ve just been all over the place this whole week. I honestly can’t even believe that it’s really Friday!

I actually do have a pretty full weekend planned. One of these days life will slow down, right? The weekend it does is probably the weekend that Baby Freckle is going to make his appearance, with my luck! But this weekend alone I have a huge work Special Olympics event to attend (although I think they are making me sit at registration this year), Maternity pictures, a meeting with our doula, and I’m meeting up with an old friend for lunch. Phew!

 Also on my agenda? Wash all of Baby Freckle’s clothes and towels and get the nursery under control (it looks like baby things just exploded everywhere), clean out my closet, and write all my Thank You cards from my showers.

So who is going to help me add more than 24 hours in a day? That would be awesome, thanks.

FFFoldEven though it’s been a really weird week, I thought I’d still share a few totally random things that I’ve been loving this week. And this week random should be in bold, because these are really, truly random.

Linking up with Clare for Five on Friday and Katie for Friday Favorites!

 

Favorite Recent Splurge: Tarte Brow Architect Shaper

(I told you these favorites were going to be random!!)

Even though I’m currently on a “No Buy“, one of my rules was that I could replace products that I’ve run out of. So when my brow pencil finally bit the dust, I was in the market for a new one. And guys, I’ve been on the search for a LONG time for a good eyebrow pencil. I have SUPER blond eyebrows (like you can’t even see them without them filled in), so doing my eyebrows is literally a daily routine.

I have a serious love of Tarte products, not only for their quality but also for their stance on using natural ingredients. So when my coworker suggested the Brow Architect, I was all over it. And I’m completely obsessed. If you are a brow person, I highly recommend checking this product out – it’s got a thick pencil, a spooly, AND a highlighter built in. It’s like 3-in-1!

Favorite Pregnancy Perk: Nesting

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t believe nesting was a real thing. I thought it was just something that pregnant women joked about because by the time you get to the end of your pregnancy you are bit limited in things that you can do!

But guys, it’s no joke! All of a sudden in the last 2 days, I am seriously obsessed with cleaning and organizing. Like, if I could stay up all night and clean/organize the entire nursery, I would. It’s like a NEED. I NEED to get things settled. I NEED to organize. I NEED to match every pair of his little socks and put them in the correct drawer.

But hey, at least my house is getting cleaned? I’ll take it, even if I feel a bit like a crazed pregnant lady!

Favorite Current Read: Me Before You

I’ve been on a serious reading streak lately! Wooo! Me Before You by JoJo Moyes is our latest book club book, and I’m not going to lie, I was NOT excited for it when we picked it. It really didn’t sound like something I was going to enjoy, but I skipped the last book (first one I’ve ever missed) so I was feeling guilty and decided to pick it up.

And I’m so glad I did! It is such a cute read. It’s the perfect light, happy/sad, easy read for spring. It is about a woman who becomes a caregiver for a young, unhappy quadriplegic man and their journey to get to know each other. It’s got a serious Nicholas Sparks-y feel where half the time you want to laugh, cry and smile simultaneously. But it’s really sweet, I promise.

 Favorite Pregnancy/Sickness Craving: Mac & Cheese

20150414_122301When I was recovering from food poisoning earlier this week, absolutely nothing sounded remotely appetizing. Chris convinced me I needed to eat SOMETHING, and the only thing I could even stomach the sound of was mac and cheese. Well…. now that is all I can think about. Seriously. Pregnancy cravings are weird.

LEAST Favorite Thing: Work Restrictions

I know, I know, this is supposed to be 5 Favorites Friday, not 4 Favorites and a Least Favorite. But it’s my blog and I do what I want. :)

So this week our IT department at work has apparently gone on a huge “security” spree and starting blocking every website known to mankind. Seriously. I feel like every single time I try to google something or check on a blog I get this nasty little “SITE BLOCKED” screen. And Bloglovin’? Forget about it.

Now what am I supposed to do with my day?? I can’t read any blogs anymore! Or search things on Pinterest. Or even fill out an email questionnaire for my Maternity Photographer. BAH! So annoying! Don’t you know that healthy living blogs aren’t a security threat? Sheesh!

 

Well I hope you all have a fabulous weekend and I’ll catch you on the other side!

So tell me: Any exciting weekend plans? What are some of your FAVORITE makeup products? Any good books you’ve read lately?