Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Measuring Success and Bumpdate - 1/31/18

It's been a while since I've done one of these! My sporadic blogging has not been the best for keeping up with post schedules, ha.  But this will probably be the last bumpdate before Little Man gets here, so I thought it important to actually do it! I also have some fun photos with life updates.


How far along: 35 weeks + 6 days (Friday is 36 weeks, holy crap!)

Size of Baby: Canary Melon

Cravings: I haven't really had any cravings per se, lately. I'm all about the sugar and not about cooking, at all. I've eaten more fast food in the past two weeks than I probably have in a year. Sorry kid. My taste buds totally changed this week and foods that I've enjoyed before are totally revolting now. I have no idea why my body decided to wait the better part of 9 months to do this, but here we are.

Weird stuff: Where do I begin? Apparently, the third trimester is when it gets real for me. I have carpal tunnel in my right arm. Really bad. I'm sleeping in a brace and sometimes I can't even squeeze bottles with that hand. It's my dominant hand, so that doesn't help. Mostly, though, I just feel like I've been hit by a bus. Every. Single. Day. That whole, "get your rest!" thing apparently doesn't apply to my body. Also, I've lost a good three to four inches off my reach, thanks to my belly. It's highly entertaining to watch me try and put away dishes right now.

Fun stuff: We had our showers this past week! I had a surprise baby shower with some of my old co-workers on Friday at Nantucket Grill. I was supposed to be having lunch with my former boss, one of my favorite people ever, and when I got there, she led me to the back where about 5 ladies were waiting for me. It was so sweet and totally made my week! One of them even brought me a donut tree from my favorite bakery in Sanford!




I had my main baby shower on Saturday. My friends Hannah and Sarah planned a beautiful Curious George themed shower (our nursery theme!) with my mom, mother-in-law and sister-in-law helping out. Sarah made a ridiculous and amazing cake that tasted as good as it looked! And my favorite part was the Curious George book that they used as a guestbook. There were so many cute details! I loved every minute and I can honestly say that there are few times you feel more loved in life than in a big group of women that are excited for the next phase of your life and already love your kid, long before he's even here.

Me and my wonderful hostesses!

Deviled egg babies!

My Curious George cake made by my friend Sarah Schaefer.
I actually have my work baby shower today. Truly, it's hard to feel anything less than super loved and blessed at this point.

The other cool thing this month is that I was asked to speak to a MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group in Fayetteville. They asked that I speak about body image, food prep, etc. based on what I talk about on this blog. As a blogger and someone that has struggled with her weight and appearance, it was such a fun experience for me and also super flattering that someone wanted me to come speak to a group!

Weight gained: So, I looked at the scale last month. It was a terrible, horrible number that I won't even tell you. At that point, I hadn't gained 50 pounds. It was more like 38. That was depressing and I won't be doing that again.

Exercise: Up until about 33 weeks, I was doing just dandy. I could still do some spin classes, pilates, yoga and barre. And then, it magically went away. Spin became 45 minutes of pure uncomfortable hell. It hurt to sit (too much pressure) and hurt to stand (my feet went numb). I felt like all I did was kick the crap out of my kid when spinning sitting down, so I decided to just stop. Walking in general is a work out right now. So I'm down to yoga and barre, two classes a week. I do what I can. It's so modified it's not even funny. For example, I can't do down dog without getting massive acid reflux, so I stick to table top and child's pose. But, going back to that grace thing, I'm okay with it.  My friend Josh told me I was a beast to have made it this long, so I'm going with that. 

Endurance: It's gone. That's all.

About this time next month, Little Man should be here. The doctors don't want me to go past a certain point, but who knows the exact day of his arrival at this point. I will say that pregnancy has been a ride. Not a bad one, it's been fairly good to me, but I also never realized the things your body goes through to grow a human. I'm proud of what I've been able to do and keep doing and I hope that we both benefit from all that exercise! Happy hump day friends!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Baby Zinn Prep: Freezer Meal Recipes and Ideas!

Welcome to part two of my freezer meal posts!As I mentioned in last week's post, I've been working on this gigantic project of making a ton of freezer meals so I don't have to cook for the first few months of my son's life. In that post, I talked about my planning and supplies. Today, I'm going to provide you with the recipes I used and my plans for them!


Types of Freezer Food
First, let's talk about the types of freezer food I did. 

Casseroles - I have some casseroles in 9x13 pans and I have smaller versions of the casseroles in loaf pans. The 9x13 pans will feed us for multiple days and the loaf pans will feed us one dinner and one lunch. This way we don't get tired of eating the same things over and over!

Individual Packs - I packaged some items (like freezer waffles) in individual packs. This is more for my husband than anything. He's not always the best at portion control. So, I used my 2 quart ziplocs to make individual packs for breakfast to ensure that a) I made enough and b) he didn't eat all of them at once!

Meat Packs - I got this idea from the Pioneer Woman. She's a genius, I tell ya! In her cookbook, "Dinnertime," she lists a bunch of recipes for meats and fillings that you can then use for multiple recipes. These include beef taco meat, meatballs, chili packets, taco chicken filling, etc. 

Crock Pot Freezer Meals - While the crock pot is amazing on its own (no, I don't have an Instant Pot), there are times when you literally just want to dump some meals and go. So I made a few crock pot freezer meals that you literally just thaw and dump in the crock pot. 

Fillers - At some point along the way, I realized this was a ridiculous amount of work and that I probably wouldn't get to three months of food that I made. So, I started working on back-ups that I could buy that would still be food we wanted to eat and didn't require a lot of work on my part. 

Recipes!
Let's get to the real part of this post, shall we? The part you actually care about! The recipes! I'll share what I've made, how I've packaged each and some of what's still in the plan to be made.

Breakfast
Freezer Waffles (Against All Grain, Meals Made Simple)
I found this oh so amazing and easy recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks from our Paleo days - Against All Grain's Meals Made Simple. I also loved it because it helped clean out some of my frou frou flours that I hardly ever use anymore. I made these waffles in my Cuisinart Griddler and Waffle maker. While the recipe says you'll get 24 waffles, I got about 12 per recipe, maybe a little more. I packed these 3 to a pack and have 9 packs. They are super fluffy and really, really good. You honestly can't even tell they're gluten free!

I also plan to make some breakfast burritos and egg muffin frittatas for us. But, who knows if that's going to happen! I plan to package all of the breakfast items individually, though, so it's just a grab and go kind of thing.

Meat Packs 
Meatballs (Dinnertime, The Pioneer Woman)
The recipe that I have linked is not the exact recipe that I used.  My recipe comes from the Dinnertime cookbook (as do many others on this list!), but just in case you don't have a copy (and you should), this one is pretty similar.  It took me a good while to make these meatballs. Definitely give yourself two or three hours to do all the work and flash freeze in batches. It's not hard, just takes time. The recipe says 125 meatballs, I think I got about 110 meatballs total, which was fine for us.  I froze 22 meatballs per 2 quart freezer bag for a total of 5 bags. Here are some recipes I plan to make with these:
Taco Meat Packs (Dinnertime, The Pioneer Woman)
I didn't find a recipe to link to for this one,  but any type of taco meat would work.  Simply use ground beef and then season with either tomato sauce, chili powder, cayenne and cumin or use a premade chili pack. I froze two cups of the taco meat per 2 quart freezer bag for a total of 6 bags. I used 6 pounds of ground beef.


To store the taco meat, I pre-labeled all of my two quart bags with the contents, how much and reheating instructions.


Once the meat was prepared, I poured two cups into each bag. I use the stand and fill bags, which makes it easier to load!


Once filled, I then flattened them for easier storage. This is an art, you have to let some air out while flattening to get the extra air bubbles out.

Finally, I stacked them on my small cookie sheet and loaded into the freezer to freeze.  This method works great for any type of soup, stew, or meat mixture. 

Here are some recipes/meals I plan to make with the taco packs:
  • Tacos (duh!)
  • Mexican Pizzas
  • Taco Salad
  • Quesadillas
1 lb. cubed chicken breast packs
This is not a recipe, but something totally worth having on hand. When I buy chicken, I tend to either buy it at BJs or at Harris Teeter, both in large quantities. I go home and split some chicken breasts into two and package into one pound packs (see below) or I'll cube the chicken and put into one pound packs.  This comes in handy for quick back up meals like Marion's Kitchen meal kits or even pan grilling some chicken and throwing it in with.  But having it already cubed, you save  yourself a good amount of time!  I use my two quart freezer bags for this.  

1 lb. split boneless skinless chicken breast packs
I always like to have some boneless skinless chicken breasts that aren't cubed. These are great for seasoning and making with vegetables or even putting in the crockpot. You don't always want (or need) cubed chicken, but having portioned out in 3-4 oz. breasts also cuts down on prep time. I use the two quart freezer bags for this as well.

Casseroles
Casseroles are one of the easiest things to freeze. I love to have them on hand, but also get tired of eating the same thing over and over, so I solve that by having larger casseroles and some smaller ones in loaf pans. Thankfully, the freezer 9x13 pans are just a tiny bit smaller than your regular 9x13 casserole dish, so I always have some leftover to make a small loaf pan without having to do any extra work!

When I make the casseroles, I use disposable pans and I write the directions on the tin foil. This way, I don't have to look them up in a book and someone else can easily pop the food in the oven without my help. The less work I have to do, the better!

Here are some of my favorite casseroles that I've already made!

Mexican Tortilla Casserole (Dinnertime, The Pioneer Woman)
I was able to make a 9x13 casserole and a loaf pan with this recipe! The covers us for a couple meals one week and then lunch and dinner another.

Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce
This is one of my very favorite  freezer meals to make! I'm not a big fan of the regular stuff shells recipe because I like meat in my meals and that one just has cheese stuffed shells. This one, though, has the perfect amount of meat and cheese. I usually make two batches of these. One big casserole and then five small loaf pans. I estimate about 3 shells per person and a loaf pan holds six, so a loaf pan will either cover us for dinner or dinner and a lunch for someone, depending on how hungry we are.

Lasagna Roll-ups (Dinnertime, The Pioneer Woman)
I promise, I made more than just recipes from PW! But her stuff is so good! Lasagna roll-ups is my new favorite way to do lasagna.  Aaron has a small problem with portion control (he has none), so roll-ups are great. One normally does it for me while he definitely eats two. But it helps keep him from eating so much at once! I made two of these as well, doing a full 9x13 dish and opted to do the second set in loaf pans instead. I was able to get four loaf pans with four roll-ups each.

Lasagna Roll-ups packaged with instructions on top!

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna Rolls (Skinnytaste Cookbook)
Full confession, I can barely choke these down pregnant. The texture is not okay for this pregnant lady. However, the taste is wonderful and I'm excited to eat them again when my texture issues aren't off the charts (thanks Little Man!). I liked this recipe because it uses lots of veggies, which you don't always get when doing freezer meals. I made two batches of these, we ate one and then we froze one. The author recommends freezing these in a gallon size ziploc, so I did! They take up a lot less space than the 9x13 pans!

Crockpot Freezer Meals
I love my crockpot. I haven't been watching This Is Us, so my love hasn't been tainted yet. I also don't have an instant pot, though I hear they are magical. So, it's still me and the crock pot once a week. However, even those meals take some prep. I found this awesome graphic of easy, healthy crockpot freeze meals and I've made a few of them! I made the Glazed Carrots for dinner one night and it turned out pretty good, so I made two others for the freezer.  The link to these recipes is here.  Here are the ones I've made/plan to make:
  • Ginger Garlic
  • Spicy Orange
  • Seasoned Corn
  • Maple Potato
For us, this fed us both dinner and lunch the next day. I froze these in gallon size ziploc bags, as suggested by the site.

Fillers
I figured I wouldn't be able to get a full three months complete, so I also came up with a list of filler meals to have on hand.  Here's what I've got:
  • Marion's Kitchen meal kits - I did a post reviewing these meal kits a while back. I love that they are easy and have good ingredients that you actually know what they are.  They're pretty cheap at Wal-mart, but I've also found them at Harris Teeter.  These are great to use the cubed chicken breast with!
  • PF Chang's Meals for two - Hi, I'm Sarah and I love Asian-inspired food! The PF Chang's frozen meals for two are actually really good and easy to do.  We have a few of these in the freezer now. 
  • Stouffer's Chicken Enchiladas - This is by far my favorite frozen family meal. It's so good! I almost always have one of these in my freezer.
  • Pasta - I have a variety of pastas on hand - macaroni and cheese, penne, spaghetti noodles, etc. These can be used with the meats up top to make lots of meals!
  • Uncle Ben's 90 Second Rice packs - These things are a life saver in my world. I mostly use the Spanish, Jasmine and Basmati rice packs. They're great because they literally just take 90 seconds in a microwave and bam - you have a side dish. They pair perfectly with the PF Chang's Meals and the meal kits. 
To finish up my meals, I've actually signed up to do a Pampered Chef freezer meal prep party with one of my friends.  You choose a menu and make 10 meals to take home and freeze.  Hopefully, that will finish up my freezing because this lady is tired! I've also hit that point where I don't want to cook anymore (already!!), but I'm trying to be good and not break into those meals just yet. Here's what my freezer looks like right now (minus the girl scout cookies that we just added last week).


Have you done any freezer meals? What are some of your favorites?!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Baby Zinn Prep: Freezer Meal Planning and Supplies

I've hit that lovely spot in pregnancy where the nesting phase hits hard. Real hard. I want to buy all the things, organize all the things, wash all the things and reorganize all the things I just organized. Both of my baby showers are this month, which I'm super excited about, but that also means I can't really buy anything until we know what we're getting. And right now, for me, that's hard. Because of the crazy nesting need. So I've found other ways to nest and prepare.  My biggest project right now is freezer meals.



Two of my closest friends both told me that they wished they had prepared more freezer and crock pot meals when they were pregnant. And I read a lot of blogs that said the same. I don't particularly love cooking right now (hello, tired!) and can only imagine that feeling getting worse with a newborn. Or as I get closer to my due date. So I sat down and made a freezer meal plan.

The Plan
I determined that I wanted to have approximately three months of meals ready to go. That sounds like a lot, because it is a lot. Do I actually think I will have a full three months ready? Probably not. I'm at about a month and a half right now and hope to get to two months' worth. My goal is to have most of it done by February, when I'll be in my last month of pregnancy.  This gives me one month of pregnancy and two months post partum of having to do very little cooking, if at all. Aaron even volunteered for me to teach him so he could help me out when it came time to do any cooking. I love him.

I broke each week down based on the types of meals we would need:
  • One breakfast pack/casserole
  • One casserole or big meal or crockpot meal
  • Two mix and match meats (meatballs, taco filling, grilled chicken, etc)
  • 1/2 soup or stew
My biggest complaint with freezer food is that it's a bunch of pasta and casseroles and not a lot of good, healthy options. I also get tired of eating the same thing day in and out. But by doing one big meal and then mix and match meat options, we have choices. Choices are glorious. I could do ground beef and use that for tacos, spaghetti, or pizza. I could use frozen grilled chicken for salads, sandwiches, etc. 

Once I had the weeks broken down by meals, it was easy to see how much I would need to plan for:
  • 12 breakfast packs/casseroles
  • 12 casseroles or big meals or crockpot meals
  • 36 mix and match meats (2 quart packs)
  • 6 soups or stews
From there, I had to figure out how to store all this mess!

The Supplies

Freezer
Step one was finding a freestanding freezer. I abhor the freezer that came with my refrigerator. It has four buckets, which aren't conducive to freezer meals, freezing cakes or anything like that. I knew that if I was going to take this project on, I needed a separate freezer. Originally, I was just going to do a freezer chest, but then I found out about upright freezers.

Insignia 5.8 Cubic Feet Upright Freezer
This is the freezer we ended up getting. It's only 5.8 cubic feet, so it isn't huge, but it also has a ton of storage space! It doesn't have automatic defrost, but for less than $200 (we paid $180), I can handle that. I love that you don't have to dig around like you do in a freezer chest, everything is right there out in the open. The shelves are nice and deep. The top shelf fits a frozen pizza really well. The other shelves can hold three 9x13 pans. The bottom part also holds a 12 pound turkey quite nicely!

Freezing Supplies
I did a lot of research on what freezer friendly supplies I wanted to buy. We're talking a lot of food and, still, limited storage.  The Pioneer Woman (my hero) has a great post on all things freezing, which you can find here. This is one of the main resources I used when planning out my project.  Ultimately, I decided to use these products:
  • Aluminum 9x13 pans - I ordered a pack of 30 from Amazon for $16
    • These are also great for flash freezing meatballs, waffles, etc. in your freezer before packaging them up!
  • Aluminum 5x8 loaf pans - I ordered a pack of 25 from Amazon for $10
  • Freezer Gallon Ziploc bags - I also decided to use the stand and fill kind
  • Freezer Quart Ziploc bags - I also decided to use the stand and fill kind for these
  • Aluminum foil - for covering the pans
  • Sharpie - for labeling and adding directions
I had also planned to use plastic containers like PW used, but I decided that given the amount of space I had, the bags would be more efficient. 

Based on my freezer and the storage containers I'm using, here's my breakdown of what I (should) be able to get in my freezer:
  • Skinny top shelf - pizza, because sometimes you just want something that will take 20 minutes or less
  • Second shelf - mix and match meats. These will mostly be in 2 quart freezer bags, so I estimate being able to do at least 24 meat packets (three stacks of 9 packs)
  • Third shelf - I'm going to use this shelf for my large meals that I'm storing in gallon size bags. I also have some loaf pans for single night meals. I should be able to do 6 gallon size bag meals and 3 loaf pans. 
  • Fourth Shelf - I'm going to use this shelf for a combination of 9x13 pans and gallon size bags. I can fit three 9x13 pans on these larger shelves, so I should be able to get at least two 9x13 pans and two gallon size bag meals, for a total of 4 meals. Possible 5 depending on what is in the gallon bags. 
  • Fifth shelf - the same as fourth shelf, another 4-5 meals
  • Open space at the bottom - this is for whatever else I need to store, but haven't had room for.
Tomorrow, I'll share the recipes I've planned to use. Some I've already made, some are going to be brand new! I've looked long and hard for a good variety of meals, so be prepared to be excited to eat what's in your freezer! 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Influenster Review - L'oreal Elvive Color Vibrancy Hair Mask and Pure Sugar Scrub

It's been a while since I've gotten products from Influenster to review and then all of the sudden I got two! I have had fun trying out the Elvive Hair Repair and the Pure Sugar Scrub over the past few weeks and figured I would do one post since they're both L'oreal products.

Elvive Color Vibrancy Hair Repair Mask


I'm going to start with the hair mask. I have color-treated (highlights) hair that is fine, but there's a lot of it. I'm also pregnant, which apparently makes it harder to make the color last. And yes, I'm still putting color on my hair while pregnant. My hair is normal to oily. I condition it every day and wash it every other day and on the days that I have a serious sweat session at the gym, which isn't very often these days! Most hair masks tend to make my hair greasy and heavy, so I pretty much shy away from them. However, I was honestly pleasantly surprised by this product!

I've used the hair mask twice a week for the past two weeks and I've noticed that it leaves my hair super soft and bouncy. I haven't had any trouble styling after using it, my hair doesn't feel greasy or heavy. I also like that the scent is really light.  I received another product from L'oreal earlier last year and the smell was so overwhelming that I ended up throwing the product away after testing it. There was no way I could make myself keep using it.  The hair mask, though, I'll definitely continue using. I think it will be a great way to help my regular (much more expensive) conditioner last longer.


As for locking in color, that's a little hard to tell at this point. My highlights were updated on December 17, including red highlights. Those normally like two to four weeks in my hair before fading from a vibrant red to an auburn that just blends with my natural hair color. It's been three weeks and you can still tell I have the red highlights, but that's not quite out of the normal time frame yet. The color does seem to be holding on a bit longer this time, though, but that could just be wishful thinking on my part!

Pure Sugar Scrub

This product came right when I ran out of another sample exfoliator I'd been trying out. I've been on this tear of trying to use up all the freebie samples in the house before buying new full size products lately. The timing was perfect! I'd enjoyed using the exfoliator, but wasn't quite ready to commit to a full size product, so I was happy to receive this one to try.

I use the scrub in the shower. I wash my face in the shower. It seems to be the only way I can actually keep up with washing my face on a daily basis. I like that the scrub is all natural. It leaves my skin nice and soft, but I wish it were a little more paste-like. Maybe it's because I'm putting it on already wet skin, but it slips off my face pretty easily and doesn't go on as thick as I would like. I haven't tried it on my lips yet, but the lack of paste-like texture worries me in trying to use it on my lips. Overall, it's not a bad product, I just don't like it enough to replace a scrub I already have or to add it into my fairly minimal routine. However, if you're on the market for a scrub, I think it is good for the price point.

I enjoyed using both of these products, but I will probably be more likely to use the Elvive Hair Mask than the Pure Sugar Scrub. What did you think? Are you excited to try either one of these products?!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Prenatal Workouts by Trimester

Let's talk working out while preggo. I'll be super honest and tell you that it's the one thing that has helped me keep sane and feel like myself during this time. I feel strong even while feeling like a whale.  To still be able to do stuff, even though it's limited, has been such a blessing for me.  So today I'm going to talk about working out in each trimester and what worked, and didn't work, for me. 


Disclaimer - Because this is important. I am not an expert. I am not your doctor. This is simply a "what worked for me and might work for you" post. Talk to your doctor before starting or continuing any exercise routine when pregnant. Every body and pregnancy is different. Be smart about it and listen to your body. And your doctor.

Pre-Pregnancy Routine
So before getting into what works and doesn't work, I thought it would be good to discuss where I started. Most people will tell you that what you're doing before baby you can continue doing while pregnant with baby. You'll just need to modify. But there are exceptions to this. Hot yoga being one. Most doctors will also tell you that it's important to keep active while pregnant. It helps with a lot of pregnancy symptoms and also makes for an easier delivery (I'll let you know how that one goes!). Pre-pregnancy, this was my schedule (mostly):

  • Monday - Hot yoga (1 hour with an average 300 calorie burn)
  • Tuesday - Spin class followed by Hot Yoga (1 hour 45 minutes with average 550 calorie burn )
  • Wednesday - Boot camp or Barre (45 minutes - bootcamp averaged 400 calories and barre average 250 calories)
  • Thursday - Spin (45 minutes - average 350 calorie burn)
  • Saturday - Barre followed by Spin (1.5 hours with average of 550 calorie burn)
That's 5 days a week and 7 classes. To give you an idea of now, I'm doing 3-4 days a week, 3-4 clases. 

First Trimester (0-13 weeks)

August 2017 - 11 weeks
I was super lucky.  My first trimester wasn't bad. I was really tired, but only really nauseous in the morning and as long as I ate breakfast immediately, I was fine. This is not the case for most women. The first trimester is hard for most women with morning sickness and fatigue. Because of this, most of my routine didn't change. I actually did a blog post about my first trimester workouts, which you can read here. But, here's the quick and dirty overview.

Changes:
  • No hot yoga. The rationale for this is extreme heat and inversions basically equals you falling down. The way I realized I was pregnant, or something was off, was when I spent the last 15 minutes of my favorite yoga class trying not to pass out and/or puke. 
  • No deep twists. You don't want to hurt your baby.
  • Not as much energy. This means that it's hard to do what you used to be able to. Running? Turned into jogging and for much shorter periods of time. 
  • Reduction in weights. My doctor told me no more than 15 lbs on my weights. I was around 12-15 lbs for boot camp classes for my arms, so I went down to 8-10. 
  • No jumping or anything that could cause a fall. You're tired, so you're more clumsy. So no box jumps or, for me, stadium stair runs. Oh darn. 
Workouts and Modifications:
  • Bootcamp - I started doing more bootcamp classes. My bootcamp classes are like HIIT circuit training. We do a lot of body weight exercises and high reps. These were actually really easy for me to modify and still be able to do most of the work.
    • Modifications
      • Less and slower running. Typically, a warm up starts with 2 to 3 laps. I took it down to 1 or 2 laps and took my time. It was more like something between a brisk walk and a jog. 
      • No jumping. It just felt weird. 
      • Lower weights - I went down to 8 and 10 lb weights from my 12 to 15 lb weights. My very tired self didn't mind this change at all.
      • Less core work - my doctor told me not to worry about the core as much because my muscles would separate. Between that and not being able to twist a lot, meant that I did less core work. No bicycles, I did planks regular or on my knees, depending on how I felt, and did a lot of cat/cows. 
  • Spin - Spin was one of the few classes I didn't have to modify. This was really easy for me to just continue as is.
    • Modifications - I only did spin class. Away went the two a days!
  • Running/Walking - On the days that I felt really tired, I would cancel class and go on a walk. This was something really easy to do. I would try and jog at least 1/4 of a mile to keep up my endurance, but only if I felt like it. I tried to do 3 miles when I just walked. 
  • Yoga/Barre - Yoga went away, sadly. My studio only did hot yoga for the longest time, so I didn't have many options.  I could have created a flow for at home, but it was hard to know what I could and couldn't do. And, let's be honest, I'm a terrible at-home exerciser. I need people around me to keep going. I kept up with barre. Like bootcamp, there were very few things to modify, if any.
    • Modifications - No deep twists.  
Second Trimester (14-27 weeks)

September 2016 - 15 weeks
The second trimester is when exercise starts getting tricky.  Your belly starts showing, even though you just look bloated or fat half the time, and you swing between feeling fabulous and can take on the world to wanting to sleep for 12 hours straight. The center of gravity also starts changing. 

Changes:
  • Still no hot yoga. I asked my doctor this every time I saw her. She got annoyed, don't keep asking your doctor.  Just because someone else can, doesn't mean you can. Or should. 
  • No twisting. Fewer crunches. 
  • At 20 weeks, no lying flat.  A bosu or bolster is super helpful at this point (I'll show you below what I'm talking about).
  • Fluctuating energy. Seriously, it comes and goes. You just have to go with it. And don't overdo it.
  • Still a reduction in weights. I stayed at my 8-10 lb weights. At about week 22 or 24 weeks, I stopped doing boot camp and was just using my 3 lb weights in spin class for arms.  
  • Definitely no running. I couldn't do that. Others can, but I'm not a runner and was down to just walking by about 18 weeks.
  • No or modified crunching.  It gets really hard to crunch at a certain point. You can still do crunches, but they are different from what you're used to.   
Workouts and Modifications:
  • Bootcamp - While bootcamp was great in first trimester, the larger I got, the harder it was to do classes. I couldn't run and then I was having to modify everything to death, so I took this class out of my routine at about 22 or 24 weeks. 
    • Exercises to do instead
      • Arms - My instructor was telling us the other day that if you have an epidural, you actually have to hold your legs up during birth, so keeping your arm strength is really crucial. Plus, you're going to have to lug a baby and a car seat around so start building those muscles and/or keep them! 
        • High reps with low weights - I did most of my arm workouts in spin. We do a lot of reps with 3-5 lb weights. Biceps, triceps and shoulders are the main focus. 
        • Use an isometric resistance band - One of my instructors started using these in spin instead of weights and I love it! I even ordered one off Amazon for at home! This is a great way to work your muscles without having to use weights and they take up a lot less space.  You can do bicep curls with them (hold in one hand and pull with the other or put the band around your wrists and pull tight and then do curls), tricep work (arms behind back, band around wrists and lift arms), etc. 
        • Push-ups - At about 18 weeks, I moved to doing push-ups on my stairs. You can also do them on a wall. You aren't having to hold up your increasing weight or hurt your knees and, if using the steps, can give your belly some more room. 
      • Legs - Legs are still really easy to do! Also, my butt still looks awesome. So keep up the booty work, you need something to look awesome. Ha!
        • Squats - this is really easy, low impact. You can do regular squats or sumo squats (angle feet out and pelvis goes straight down, not back).
        • Mountain climbers - I just did these really, really slow. But you can still do them.
  • Spin - During the second trimester, spin got interesting. At about 22 weeks, sitting on the bike for long periods of time started to hurt. Too much pressure, I guess. It also got harder to do quick moves like tapbacks and jumps (sitting to standing every 4-count).
    • Modifications
      • No sprints. You run out of breath really quickly. The rule of thumb is that you should still be able to carry on a conversation when exercising while pregnant. Sprints pretty much make that impossible. If I did one, it was more like a run than an all out sprint. And I did it sitting down.
      • No jumps. I would sit through the first half of the jumps and ride standing the next half. I still do this.
      • Baby tapbacks. One of my instructors (who also did spin while preggo) likens it to a baby twerk. Just barely touching the butt back and to the seat. 
      • No crunches on the bike. The larger you get, the harder it is to lean forward. This makes push-ups on a bike hard. I did little arm movements until I couldn't lean forward anymore (3rd trimester). 
      • Sit when you need, stand when you need. When you hit that point that it's no longer comfortable to sit or stand, just move as you need. Sometimes I stand when the class is in the saddle, other times I sit when they're standing. You have to do what works for you. And no one is going to say anything to the pregnant lady.   
  • Running/Walking - Running is non-existent.  Walking is a good go-to when you don't have a lot of energy.
  • Yoga/Barre - At about 24 weeks, my gym brought back warm yoga (84 degrees) and one of the instructors did a prenatal yoga class. If you can find one of those, do it! It's so helpful and worth it! I've been doing the warm yoga class once a week, when my schedule allows, and it's such a nice break in the middle of the week. You can only do about half of the moves, but just stretching out your muscles is huge. 
    • Modifications
      • At 20 weeks, start using a bolster or bosu to prop yourself up. You can also use big pillows. You just don't want to lie completely flat. If you use a bosu, just flip the hard side down and lean against the half ball.  If using a bolster or big pillow, use blocks to angle it up so you're leaning back at about a 45 degree angle. 
Using a bolster. Photo courtesy of www.yogajournal.com
      • No twisting. No spinal twists, no prayer twists, etc. You can cross one leg over the other and then take them down to the floor. That's the only twist you can do!
      • Take a wide stance. This was such a simple thing, yet a huge game changer for me! You have to start giving your belly some room. So when doing sun salutations, go wide. Instead of hopping or jumping up from down dog, step your feet out wide to the edge of the mat. Leave them wide when doing forward folds. Use a block if you have trouble reaching the ground for your forward fold or just grab opposite elbows. Side note - at some point, your boobs will get bigger and grabbing opposite elbows will eventually get you a face full of cleavage. I've always had this issue, but pregnancy just makes it more fun.  Keeping a wide stance in Warrior I and Crescent will also help with bending. 
      • Instead of doing a chaturanga (it gets impossible at some point), come down to all fours and do a push-up from there.
      • Instead of updog or cobra (cause you can't lie on your tummy!), you can either do some cat cows, take a breather, or do a pushup. Whatever feels best. 
      • Abs - there isn't much core work you can do, but there are a few things that are still available!
        • Modified crunches - hand behind your head and gently lift. Your belly will stop you from overdoing them. For a harder crunch, lift your legs off the ground when you lift your head. Do this on the bosu/bolster/pillow. Make sure the bosu/pillow is angled up when doing these!
        • Cat/cow - These are really great! Low impact and still work those core muscles!
    • Favorite moves/poses - Yoga has some great stretches to help with those pregnancy aches and pains!
      • Pigeon - Hips have been a big sore spot (quite literally) for me. They get so tight! Pigeon is a really great hip stretch/release. You can do pigeon on your back (figure four one leg over the over and then lift up at the knee) or you can take pigeon on the floor. At a certain point (it's different for everyone), it helps to have a bolster or big pillow under your hips when doing pigeon. You can also roll up a fluffy towel and use that. 
      • Frog - I hated frog pose for the longest time, but man does it feel good when you're pregnant! I sometimes get in this pose and just lay there for a while on a pillow or blocks (or three, cause I'm huge). It's also great for your sciatica if that's bothering you.
Frog pose. Photo courtesy of www.upwave.com
      • Butterfly pose - while laying back on the bosu/bolster/pillow at an angle, roll a blanket or large towel up long ways and wrap it around your ankles, then let your ankles fall to the side. Another great hip opener that's a little less intense than frog or pigeon!
Third Trimester (28-40 weeks)

January 2017 - 31 weeks + 5 days
This is where I am now! I'm 31 weeks and 5 days.  You're huge at this point (at least that's how I feel). Center of gravity is off, it's hard to do anything quickly and baby is sitting quite squarely on your bladder and giving lots of pressure. But you're in the home stretch!

Changes:
  • I do about half of what I did in the beginning. Half the classes, half the types of classes, half the calories (I'm really proud if I break 300 in spin now!).  
  • Lots of swelling, so it's hard to put on my spin shoes. I'm pretty close to not being able to wear my shoes anymore. My feet go numb about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way through class. I'm just going to rent as needed.
  • I do spin, barre/pilates and yoga almost exclusively now. 
  • Spin is getting interesting. I'm starting to hit my belly with my legs sometimes and I'm almost always doing my own thing (sitting or standing) for comfort.
  • Moves now are more about strengthening muscles for labor and are more static     
Workouts and Modifications:
  • Bootcamp - No more bootcamp for me! 
    • Exercises to do instead - Most of these from 2nd trimester will still work!
      • Arms - My instructor was telling us the other day that if you have an epidural, you actually have to hold your legs up during birth, so keeping your arm strength is really crucial. Plus, you're going to have to lug a baby and a car seat around so start building this muscles and/or keep them! 
        • High reps with low weights - I did most of my arm workouts in spin. We do a lot of reps with 3-5 lb weights. Biceps, triceps and shoulders are the main focus. 
        • Use an isometric resistance band - One of my instructors started using these in spin instead of weights and I love it! I even ordered one off Amazon for at home! This is a great way to work your muscles without having to use weights and they take up a lot less space.  You can do bicep curls with them (hold in one hand and pull with the other or put the band around your wrists and pull tight and then do curls), tricep work (arms behind back, band around wrists and lift arms), etc. 
        • Push-ups - At about 18 weeks, I moved to doing push-ups on my stairs. You can also do them on a wall. You aren't having to hold up your increasing weight or hurt your knees and, if using the steps, can give your belly some more room. 
      • Legs - Legs are still really easy to do! Also, my butt still looks awesome. So keep up the booty work, you need something to look awesome. Ha!
        • Squats - this is really easy, low impact. You can do regular squats or sumo squats (angle feet out and pelvis goes straight down, not back).
        • Mountain climbers - I just did these really, really slow. But you can still do them. I can still do these at 31 weeks!
  • Spin - As I mentioned above, spin is very different for me now. It hurts to sit for any length of time thanks to pressure, but it's also a lot of work to stand. So I'm pretty much off from everyone at this point. I stand when I need, sit when I need. I do side crunches (you can still do those), but I can't do any pushups on the bike. I'm also really slow, so I do one tapback for every two they do in class. At this point, your goal is to get your heart rate up and keep moving, nothing else. And really, you should feel like a badass for even still working out. That's what I tell myself!
    • Modifications
      • No sprints. I can't even do one if I tried. I just double my speed (which isn't saying much) and I do it in the saddle. Try to keep your speed steady while standing. It will help with balance and your endurance while standing. 
      • No jumps. I sit through the first half of the jumps and ride standing the next half. I still do this.
      • Baby tap backs and much slower. One of my instructors (who also did spin while preggo) likens it to a baby twerk. Just barely touching the butt back and to the seat. Again, I do one of these for every two that everyone else does. 
      • No crunches on the bike. You can do side crunches! I do those while everyone else is doing pushups or crunches.  
      • Sit when you need, stand when you need. When you hit that point that it's no longer comfortable to sit or stand, just move as you need. Sometimes I stand when the class is in the saddle, other times I sit when they're standing. You have to do what works for you. And no one is going to say anything to the pregnant lady.   
  • Running/Walking - Walking is a good go-to when you don't have a lot of energy.
  • Yoga/Barre - Everything that I said in the second trimester, but with some changes.  
    • Modifications
      • At 20 weeks, start using a bolster or bosu to prop yourself up (see above). You can also use big pillows. You just don't want to lie completely flat. If you use a bosu, just flip the hard side down and lean against the half ball.  If using a bolster or big pillow, use blocks to angle it up so you're leaning back at about a 45 degree angle. 
      • No twisting. No spinal twists, no prayer twists, etc. You can cross one leg over the other and then take them down to the floor. That's the only twist you can do!
      • Take a wide stance. You have to start giving your belly some room. So when doing sun salutations, go wide. Instead of hopping or jumping up from down dog, step your feet out wide. Leave them wide when doing forward folds. Use a block if you have trouble reaching the ground for your forward fold or just grab opposite elbows. Side note - at some point, your boobs will get bigger and grabbing opposite elbows will eventually get you a face full of cleavage. I've always had this issue, but pregnancy just makes it more fun. 
      • Instead of updog or cobra (cause you can't lie on your tummy!), come to your knees. You can either do some cat cows, take a breather, or do a pushup. Whatever feels best. 
      • Abs - at this point, you're getting your body ready to push a baby out. You can start as early as 30 weeks (that's when my instructors had me start doing these). 
        • Cat/cow - These are still really great and help get your baby in position! Low impact and still work those core muscles!
        • Instead of doing crunches, hold your legs up in a static position like you would for birth (slightly wide, bent at knees).  This will help build those arm muscles and your lower pelvic muscles. 
        • You can do a double crunch. While gently lifting your head and shoulders off the bosu, lift your knees at the same time. This will work those lower pelvic muscles. 
        • If doing crunches, while reclining on the bosu/bolster, curl your head and shoulders up while squeezing a block between your knees. This engages those glutes and pelvis muscles.
        • Bicycles, leg lifts, regular crunches, etc. do nothing for you at this point.  
      • Modify whatever! Again, be proud you're still moving! Most aren't at this point! So modify whatever you need. If you can only do half a class or ten minutes at a time, then do that. Listen to your body!
I hope this helps! It's been an interesting journey, but I really am so proud of myself for still working out and finding ways to keep making this work for me. I can't overstate how much this has helped me keep my sanity and also helps me feel better about myself. Whatever you do, talk to your doctor first. Be smart about it and just go with whatever works that day. Every day is different, so don't beat yourself up if you can only do half of what you did before. You're growing a human and that is hard work! 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2018 Goals and My Word for the Year

I've never been a huge "resolutions" person. I also don't really subscribe to that "new year, new you" mantra. I'm still me. Who me is will shift over the years, hopefully, cause who wants to stay the same, but at my core, I'm still Sarah. The core values and beliefs aren't changing any time soon, especially not just because it's a new year. That being said, I do like to set goals. I don't always make them, but it's nice to have some to look forward to.


My 2017 Goals were pretty simple:
  • Keep up my gym time and eat better
  • Travel to a new place
  • Save more money
  • Get more involved at our church
  • Keep this blog going (verbatim)
Overall, I think I did pretty well with them. I have kept up my gym time, even while pregnant! That whole eating better thing went out the door with my energy, but I do try and eat some vegetables or fruits every day! We traveled to two new places this year - Tennessee and Cape Lookout! We did okay with saving, but also had some big expenses, so I'm giving myself that one. And up until the last month or two, I've done pretty well with this blog. That whole get more involved at church thing? Failure, big, fat failure. We should probably work on that. 

This year, 2018, is going to be a whole new world for us. It's exciting and terrifying. If you don't admit to both as a soon-to-be parent, I'm convinced you're lying to yourself. Learning how to keep another human alive while still keeping some semblance of yourself, your marriage, work and friendships is pretty daunting when you think about it. Which brings me to my word for this year.

Grace.

When I started writing this post, it was going to be about my goals for 2018. And I kept coming back to this one thing: grace. Grace for myself, for Aaron, heck, everyone. I want this to be the year of grace.

Grace for me. In about two months, we're going to have a baby boy. Our world is about to implode. I'm aware of this. But I'm also a control freak, type A, perfectionist. You can say, "oh that will go out the door with the baby!" Obviously, you haven't met the other women in my family who are also the same way even after having babies. This means I'm harder on me than anyone else. I've had to learn to give myself grace in this pregnancy. Grace for not working out as hard, not eating as well, not blogging as much, etc. I can only imagine how much more grace I'm going to need when this kid is here. 

Grace for Aaron. I don't know who has a harder job in this - new moms or dads. There is so much that falls on women as the mother - carrying the child, birthing the child then all the feedings, etc. But if I think about it and think about the guys, the dads, it's got to be hard to not be able to do much. Or to feel like you're always doing the wrong thing. Like there isn't anything that you can do right, which I imagine is how we can make them feel thanks to the surge of hormones and sleep deprivation. Physcially, there is no comparison, but mentally and emotionally, I think it can be a toss up. I hope that this year I remember to give grace to Aaron. That he gives me grace. We're going to screw up, we're going to say the wrong things, but I hope that we always remember we're in this together. 

Grace for everyone else. If there was a ever a time that this world needs grace, it's now. There is so much division, so much hurt, I pray that we can all put aside the politics, the fear and give each other some grace. Because God gives it to us each and every day and we sure don't deserve it. 

Keeping in mind my word, here are my goals for 2018:

1. Survive. The closer I get to having this baby, the more anxious I get. Excited, yes, but also anxious. Anxious about finances, about going back to work, about what life will look like this time next year. It's going to be an adventure and I am excited for it, but I also know there are going to be some rough patches. It's life. I know that. Which takes me back to that word - grace. 

2. Keep blogging. When I started this blog, I set a goal of 3 days a week. I mostly kept up with it, but the past few months, I've been consistently doing one post a week, sometimes two. And I'm okay with that. As long as I keep it up, I'll be pretty proud of myself. 

3. Be healthy. I very specifically did not include weight in this goal, just healthy. I'm really proud of myself for keeping up with my workouts during pregnancy, even if my overall eating has gone to crap. I've told Aaron that I want to keep working out even after the baby is born and I'm going to make that a priority. And he's agreed to help me with that. It's such a big part of me now and I don't want to lose that. I also want to get back to eating healthier. I've been working on making freezer meals, so I'm hoping that will help.  If things are already prepared and I don't have to do any work, I'm hoping that means I have a better shot at not eating like crap. 

Only three goals this year, but I think that's in line with giving myself some grace, some leeway in this new world. This sounds like a downer post, but honestly, I'm excited and we have a lot to look forward to! But I also feel that it's important to be real, to be honest with where I am and what I'm feeling. Otherwise, why would you want to read this blog?!

What about you? What are you excited for in 2018? Do you set a word or goals for yourself each year?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Shopaholic on a Budget: One Year Review

In January of this year, Aaron and I went on a budget. Last year was a big year and we spent all of the money! And at the end of December 2016, the day before we got paid, we had $24 in our checking account. We both have good jobs and we really don't have that much debt, so it shouldn't have happened. But it did. So we got a budget.  It's been a year (mostly) living on that budget. Here's how we did!



You can read the original Shopaholic blog post that started this series here.  Overall, I think we've done pretty well. About mid-year, our focused changed when we found out we were pregnant. Nothing makes you more budget concious than when you start daycare shopping! Trust me! Aaron was a little sad because we only saved $4,500 this year. We planned to save a lot more than that, but we also did a lot. Here's what all we accomplished this year:
  • Made two extra payments on our house. This will be our second year doing this. We spread those payments out equally over twelve months and just add it to our bills. 
  • Started tithing. We were really bad and didn't tithe at all for the first few years of marriage. This year, we made a commitment with our church and met it!
  • Went on two vacations (not including wedding travel!). We went to the beach for a week and to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, TN with our friends. 
Us, the Great Smoky Mountains and Baby Z!
  • Survived 5 weddings in one year! Two of them were overnight travel.
Aaron as a bromaid at our friend Joylynn's wedding in New Bern, NC
  • Survived $1,500 in taxes.  We won't even go there. 
  • Paid off our TV. Our TV died (or so we thought!) at the end of last year and we bought a gigantic new one. Turns out the TV didn't die (we gave it to our friends to see if they wanted to try and fix it and bam! it magically turned on), but we paid it off in about three months. We are still paying off the couches.
  • Paid off all our credit cards and will finish Christmas with almost no debt. This is huge! We had so much debt at the end of last year. It took us a good three months to get the credit card paid down. There will be about $200 left on the credit card at the end of this year, but that will easily be paid off in January and won't really cut into our savings. 
  • Started baby prep! We have painted the room (which isn't cheap), bought two car seats through store and consignment sales, two strollers and a few other items. We've also started a diaper stockpile. It hasn't been a huge amount of money, but it's been a good investment that we won't have to make later.
  • We're doing one last house project before baby comes: backsplash and under cabinet lighting! Everything is bought for that, but we've asked our parents for help with the project for Christmas. 
When I look at that list, I'm pretty darn proud of us. Don't get me wrong, we have strayed from the budget from time to time. The summer was pretty rough with all the weddings and vacations. We've also made some changes to our budget this year. We paid off my cell phone, so that bill went down $35/month and we got rid of cable. That alone is a savings of about $70/month. With daycare and (hopefully) a new car purchase coming up in the next year, those will definitely help out!

Here's our plans/what's coming up in 2018:
  • Saving for a big downpayment for my new car! And car repairs, boo! This was on the list last year and is still our main focus. We thought we would be able to save more and get more car, but that's not looking like reality. We're still planning to have a hefty downpayment so we can make sure our car payments are around $300 or less. And no, I will not be buying a minivan. 
  • Having a baby. We just got the contract for the doctor. That's not even the hospital or anything else. Yay baby!
  • Trip to Colorado. Aaron's cousin is getting married and we had talked about making it a big trip before we found out we were pregnant and we're still going to make it happen. Get the traveling in while we can!
Obviously, our budgeting won't be slowing down any time soon. It's not always been easy. I'm always out of spending money by the end of the month (sometimes, by the beginning of the month...), but it's so rewarding when you see what all you can do with a little planning! Here's to next year, new goals, new babies and new challenges! 

What about you? Do you budget? What big things did you do this year?!