Monday, January 26, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 21 Weeks

One of the hallmarks of pregnancy is crazy dreams. With Thatkid I had vivid dreams of the birth, that he was she (which according to my PA is right, because we dream of the opposite sex...), and amazing dreams involving sex and the men in the television shows I watched.  Since this is Oppo-baby, it should come as no surprise that I am having absolutely no crazy dreams.  No dreams involving a baby at all, or being pregnant, or being a family of four, and no sex dreams. 

I'm having the weird dreams, but not any different than my typical weird dreams.  I've dreamt about taking Thatkid to Sea World, or airplane trips, or him throwing gigantic tantrums in the supermarket.  I dream about work issues, and all the things I dreamed about 5 months ago.

I had a really rough first trimester, and now that I'm in the "boring" second trimester I'm thankful for the movement I feel all the time, because otherwise it would be easy to forget I'm actually pregnant. 

Total weight gain/loss: +10
Next Appointment: February 2
Maternity clothes? Still top only - I tried to wear my black maternity pants this week and they're too big.  Sigh.  I was really hoping to save money on maternity clothes this time around by not having to buy new.
Stretch marks: nada.
Sleep: Not enough!  But mostly because I've been staying up to late.
 Best moment this week: I think it is far too early for the baby to have "responsive" movements as opposed to involuntary ones, even still it was kind of cool earlier this week to do what felt like a little call and response with the little one.
Movement: Yup, lots and lots.  My PA warned me I might not have consistent movement for weeks, but like with Thatkid, this one never stops moving around.
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Not really.
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But it never popped last time, so I'm not expecting it to this time.
What I miss: Running without pelvic pressure.  And it wasn't even that long ago!
What I am looking forward to: Nothing big this week, it's going to be a mellow one baby-wise.  Big one work wise which isn't so fun.
Contractions: Nope.  Last time around I didn't get them until they were induced through medication.  Part of me is kind of hoping to actually have those moments this time.
- Baby has been focused on growing organs and stuff up till now, now s/he's starting to store fat.
- Baby now produces red and white blood cells and platelets!  Earlier this was done by the yolk sack.
- Finger and Toe prints are forming.
- The sphincter muscle is fully functional, keeping meconium out of the amniotic fluid.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Runday: The Secret Conversations of Runners

I'm about to break the whole thing wide open - spill the deepest, innermost thoughts of all your running companions.

Or not.

One of the fantastic aspects of my running group is that it's more than just support, and people to run with, but we also get together socially too.  These little get togethers are always a little nerve racking for me, because usually the people I've never met outnumber the people I know.  I go through that whole anxiety thought process of - what if they don't like me?  What if it's awkward?

But the great thing about hanging out with other runners is that there is always an instant connection.  Always something to talk about.

So what do runners talk about?
- past races
- future races
- post pregnancy race plans
- their kids
- food
- strollers
- running get togethers

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Picnic Weekend Part 2: Salted Brazil Nuts

Because one day of hiking just wasn't enough for us, Thatkid and I met up with his friends for another day full of fun the very next day.  Horsewhisper has been frequenting Daley Ranch with her family recently and felt like it would be a good venue for the little guys to stretch their legs.

None of them were actually all that into the hike, but they did love spending time with each other.  They're all very into super heroes right now, so they spent a lot of time "flying" down the trail.

We headed all the way up to Ranch where we had picnic lunches, went on a snake hunt, and played with sticks.  This is one of my favorite pictures of the kids.  Juriskid did NOT want his picture taken, Little HW isn't paying attention, and Little Pirate and Thatkid obviously have no idea where the camera is, but know they're supposed to smile.

The grownups talked about how much these guys have changed since the beginning.  The first meeting was when the kids were 5 months old (before Thatbaby was even born!) And they just sat around staring at each other like babies.  Now they're running, playing, and interacting with each other.

Thatkid and I were definitely tired out from our hike and busy morning, but it's always nice to go for a walk with friends.  And since everyone there was a mom, we were prepared for everything.  No worries about forgetting sunscreen.  And snacks galore for the kids.  The Horsewhispers won the competition for best snacks.  They had pretzels AND trail mix with M&Ms.  We spoke about the biggest problem I have with trailmix - Thatkid eats all the m&ms and leaves the rest.  Which is why we tend to stick with just nuts as snacks.  But nuts are a great snack on their own.  Sure chocolate is nice, but it's not necessary.  Especially when the nuts are roasted and salted, and sliced thin to make snacking easy.
Salted Brazil Nuts
1 cup Brazil nuts
1 Tbsp butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Cover the nuts with cold water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.  Drain and cool.
  2. Slice the nuts lengthwise and spread on a baking pan.  
  3. Dot with butter, sprinkle with salt, and bake for 15 minutes.

Picnic Weekend Part 1: Raspberry Jam

I can't remember if I wrote about this or not, and I'm too lazy to check, but back in November we awoke to find the ceiling cracked and coming down in the guest bedroom. 

As upsetting as this was, it was compounded by the fact that we had plans that day to meet up with some friends for a hiking trip.  Because these friends were Thatboy's coworkers, I sent him and Thatkid out for the hike while I stayed home and met with contractors, contacted the insurance, and played point person.   The good news is that the work on the room is almost completed - the air conditioner that was the source of the problem was replaced, the mold which was found was removed, the heater which wasn't a problem but determined to be condemned was likewise replaced, the ceiling was put back up, this time with an access panel to reach our attic from the inside, and the room has been painted. 

And since we're almost back to normal, it was time for me to make up for the hiking I had missed.   We headed back out to Alpine for a hike in the Cleveland National Forest.   We got caught on the freeway for an extra hour on our drive due to a potential jumper on the overpass, and our little trooper was a bit over it by the time we got to the forest.  Thatboy found a nice, easy, hike for us and we trekked along to a near constant chorus of "I'm hungry."  So we found a nice rock to stop for a little snack.

Thatkid was much more energized after he got some food in his stomach.

For a little bit that is.  I swear this kid must be going through a growth spurt.  Because it wasn't long before we heard the familiar refrain again.  Luckily I had packed us lunches, so a picnic break was in order.
I don't know what it is, but I have a thing for picnics.  Something about eating outside amidst beautiful scenery just does it for me.  And I pack a mean picnic.  This one consisted of olives, grape tomatoes, apples, and of course, the main course - peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

PB&J is fantastic for a hike.  You don't have to worry about refrigeration and peanut butter is a great source of protein and energy.   But I'm not going to share a recipe for peanut butter and jelly.  Everyone knows how to make those.  There are children's songs written about it.  This PB&J had a very special ingredient, homemade raspberry jam. 

This may be the simplest jam to make.  A great introduction to jam making for the novice.  Only two ingredients - raspberries and sugar!  And it's a big hit here.  Thatkid now searches for it specifically in the fridge.  When I mentioned I was going to have toast for breakfast he headed straight over and suggested I use the raspberry jam.  I love when something so simple is so well received.

Raspberry Jam
2 cups raspberries
1/2 cups sugar

  1. Put raspberries in a pot and crush them.  Cook for 15 minutes over low heat.
  2. Add the sugar and bring to a boil.  Continue cooking until the mixture reaches 214 degrees (use a candy thermometer to verify).
  3. Let cool then pour into a hot, sterilized jam jar and seal.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Apricot and Prosciutto Thin-Crust Pizza

This is the noisiest pizza I have ever made.  Now I know what you're thinking - noisy pizza?  She must be doing it wrong.  Well, that is certainly a possibility my friends. 

You see, like any good kitchen, mine has a smoke alarm.  A smoke alarm that not only detects smoke, but also heat.  A smoke alarm that does not like when my oven is up at 550.  By the way, my oven doesn't like 550 either.  It got to 545 and started shaking it's head nuh-uh.  545 is apparently as high as it is willing to go.  And my smoke alarm didn't like that either.

Luckily this pizza only cooks for 9 minutes total.  The preheating time is still a bit of an issue, but I suggest you enlist someone tall and handy with a towel to stand and wave the hot air away from the smoke detector.  That's what I did.

Apricot and Prosciutto Thin-Crust Pizza (From Cooking Light)
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tsp dry yeast
8 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
6 oz bread flour
cooking spray
2 Tbsp cornmeal
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 apricots, pitted and each cut into 8 wedges
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp minced fresh chives
1 cup arugula
1 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
1/4 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
  1. Combine the water and yeast in a bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook and let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Add 4 tsp oil and 1/4 tsp salt to the yeast mixture
  3. Add flour to yeast mixture and mix 2 minutes.  Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4.  Remove dough from fridge and let stand 1 hour.  Punch down.  Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet.  Roll dough into a thin 12-inch circle.  Crimp edges to form a 1/2 inch barrier.  Pierce dough several times with a fork.
  5. Place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 550.  
  6. Combine 1 Tbsp oil, thyme, pepper, apricots, shallots, and 1/4 tsp salt and toss.
  7. Slide dough onto the preheated pizza stone.  Bake for 4 minutes.
  8. Top dough with goat cheese and apricot mixture.  Bake an additional 5 minutes.
  9. Cut pizza into 10 wedges and sprinkle with parsley and chives.
  10. Toss arugula with 1 1/2 tsp of oil and arrange over the apricot mixture.
  11. Top with prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 20 Weeks

I am firmly ensconced in the second trimester now.  I'm halfway through with the pregnancy!  Which means right now I'm feeling pretty good.  Except for the constant nosebleeds (another fun new symptom this pregnancy), and my sciatica is driving me nuts.  My running is even a smidge faster than it was first trimester! 

I've been photodocumenting this pregnancy, just as I did the last, but really no one wants to see weekly pictures but me.  But I'm officially showing right now as those who know me will agree, so it's probably time to share a snapshot of where we are now, at 20 weeks.  I've been taking pictures wit the corresponding size produce, this week the baby's the size of an artichoke!

As I was telling Horsewhisper yesterday, I don't have that pregnant woman glow.  I have that tired mama look.

Total weight gain/loss: +10
Next Appointment: February 2
Maternity clothes? I switched over this week with tops.  Still mostly wearing regular pants with the bella band.  Which is good, because I realized yesterday that I can't find my maternity jeans!  My super expensive big splurge from my first pregnancy maternity jeans.  I'm devastated.
Stretch marks: nada.
Sleep: Not enough!  But mostly because I've been staying up later.
Best moment this week: Ridiculous kicking.  All the time.  They make my night.
Movement: See above!  I can even kind of feel it from the outside!
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Not really.
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But it never popped last time, so I'm not expecting it to this time.
What I miss: Singing in the shower without getting breathless.
What I am looking forward to: Nothing big this week, it's going to be a mellow one baby-wise.  Big one work wise which isn't so fun.
Contractions: Nope.  Last time around I didn't get them until they were induced through medication.  Part of me is kind of hoping to actually have those moments this time.
- Halfway there!
- Baby is starting to lay down fat reserves.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Runday: Changing it Up

As I slogged through my runs this week I got to thinking about how far I came last year.  In so many respects.  First with the distance.  I used to dread anything over 6 miles, now when asked to run 10 I don't even blink.

But my biggest accomplishment was my speed.  I'm so proud of my sub-30 5ks last year, especially given that I never focused on my speed.  And I really think a lot of it has to do with the cross-training I added in to my routine.

I honestly have always dismissed the idea of cross-training in the past. I mean, I love running and the fact I can zone out, do it on my own, and in my own time.  But it's still challenging to find time for it.  Finding time to add something else in too?  What's the point.

But last year I added in pilates to my daily routine.  I noticed a change in my body, and I also noticed a change in my running.  Focusing on different muscles than get worked during your average run made me feel stronger during my runs, and in turn, I got faster. 

The pilates also helped with my flexibility, and I think helped me be less sore after runs.  Which allowed me to run even more!

There are various schools of thought behind cross-training.  Most recommend some aerobic, complementary workout such as swimming or cycling.  As I said, I liked pilates - the combination of strength training and stretching.  What are your thoughts on strength training?  Do you do it?  What do you do?

Friday, January 16, 2015

New Year, New Friends:

We started the first weekend of the month by visiting with old friends.  Last weekend we spent with some new ones.

First up was a visit to the Ks.  There's a brand new Baby K and I couldn't wait to get to meet her!  Of course, I can never go to visit a family with a new baby empty handed:

Is anyone else just going nuts for fruit lately or is it just me?  I packed her a big bag with some winter staples - citrus, pears, and apples.   Along with some individual shepherd's pies.  Perfect for a quick reheat for dinner or lunch.  I did both the classic lamb,

As well as a turkey version (with redskin mashed potatoes).

And for some easy lunches, a loaf of bread and some chicken salad.

Chicken Salad

1 chicken breast, diced
1 quarter red onion, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Dash of hot sauce 
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

But we couldn't stay and visit too long, because we had important places to me.  Thatkid had a birthday party to get to!  Thrown by one of his new besties at his new school, Kragle.
And this party also marked an important first for Thatkid.  His first time at Chuck E. Cheese.

He loved riding the rides and playing games with his friends

And I found out that Kragle and Thatkid would be Vegas's dream come true as I watched them slide token after token into a machine.

The one new friend Thatkid was not a fan of was the mouse himself.  He became hysterical at the mere sight of Mr. Cheese, breaking down into tears and trying to throw himself from his chair during the birthday show.  He even bypassed pizza and cake in an effort to stay away from Chuck.  He still talks about the fact that he did not like "the real Chuck E. Cheese guy."