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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Happy New Year!

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Happy last day of 2011! I for one am very excited for 2012: there’s so much going on next year! So I am determined to celebrate, even though I can’t “celebrate” like I usually would with my yearly glass or two of real, honest-to-goodness, straight from France Champagne. Instead, I will trick myself into debauchery with one of these tasty, guilt-free “champagne” cocktails.

I’m also going to (really, really try to) dress up as if I was going out and sit with Mr. Handsome and Kiddo1, playing games and waiting for the ball to drop in NYC – promptly at 9pm as we live on the West coast – followed by glorious sleep. Mmmmm.

Bellini
(courtesy avalonwine.com)
2 or 3 white peaches puréed (you can use yellow peaches, if white are not available)
1 teaspoon raspberry puree or Grenadine
1 bottle sparkling juice or non-alcoholic “champagne”

Place the ripe peaches in a small blender and purée until totally smooth. This can be done well in advance and then kept in the fridge. Spoon one and a half tablespoons into chilled glasses, along with two or three drops of the raspberry purée and slowly top up with the bubbly, stirring as you pour. The raspberry purée adds a delightful blush to the drink.

Choose Your Own Adventure (pictured at left)
PhotobucketA little bit of your favorite juice cocktail (like cran-apple)
1 bottle sparkling juice or non-alcoholic “champagne”

This one is cool because you basically just mix some non-sparkling juice into your sparkling juice. It adds color, flavor and overall excitement. Mix until your heart’s content or the balance of sparkling/non-sparkling is to your liking. This is a good one for kids too because my son doesn’t like a lot of “spicy bubbles,” as he refers to carbonation, and you can control just how much “spicyness” they get.
Garnish with something pretty like a raspberry, a small slice of apple or a teeny orange wedge. Cheers to your creativity!

Finally, if you want to make your own non-alcoholic champagne, here’s how you do it:Photobucket
Non-alcoholic Champagne
(courtesy babycenter.com)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1 cup grapefruit juice
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons grenadine syrup
28 ounces chilled ginger ale (about 2 1/3 soda cans’ worth)

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil and boil ten minutes. Cool. Add sugar syrup to grapefruit and orange juices. Chill thoroughly. Add grenadine and ginger ale just before serving. Makes about 1½ quarts.
Best wishes in 2012!

Friday Update: Week 12

Photobucket Baby is the size of a billiard ball this week! I chose the #13 ball because Baby2 is due on lucky Friday, July 13th! When I pointed that out to the midwife (that the 13th is a Friday, that is), she said, “Oh well we can make it the 14th if you want.” Yes, let’s do tell the baby when s/he is allowed to make her/is arrival.  That would be awesome!

I don’t put too much stock in due dates. Kiddo1 was a little early himself. I doubt Baby2 will arrive right on time, and if the 13th is our day, then that’s cool too because it’s usually not such a bad day for me, as far as luck goes.

What HAS been pretty unlucky in the last week or so are the headaches. After I published last week’s update (about how awesome not having morning sickness is, natch) I started getting these looooong-lasting headaches. I had one that started on Christmas Eve, lasted all through Christmas Day and finally ended… well I’m still sort of waiting for it to end. I woke up with it again yesterday, it came and went throughout the day and I’m hoping that means I’m almost at the end of it? I hope…

Through my research I found a few helpful hints that I hope will keep the headaches away:

  • Eat lots. Not just lots but good food. Usually I eat a ton (also noted in last week’s update post), but that tends to be while I’m at work. This week I’ve been at home for holiday break so I’ve been keeping myself busy with cleaning, laundry, projects and, of course, lounging on the couch trying to rid myself of the headache-that-will-not-end. So eating hasn’t been on the top of the priority list. Big no-no! No wonder my head ached so much – I wasn’t eating my normal copious quantities of good food.
  • Drink lots of water. I usually get in at least 60 ounces a day, but I’m trying to increase that to 90. “They” say pregnant women need at least 64 ounces of water each day plus an additional 8 ounces for each hour of light activity. So drink up.
  • Sleep. Mmmm glorious  sleep. At least 8 hours a night. This usually isn’t hard in the first trimester as exhaustion usually is a symptom of pregnancy, but shoot: ladies are busy (pregnant ones included) and between work, out-of-the-uterus kids and other domestic obligations it can be tough getting those 8 hours every night. In order to keep productive throughout the day, though, sleep needs to be a priority every night.
  • Caffeine withdrawal. I don’t drink coffee, soda, etc. so I don’t think this is a factor in my headaches. But sometimes I do find that a few sips of Mr. Handsome’s soda does help somewhat. Caffeine thins the blood a bit and allows it to flow more freely through the brain. Don’t overdo it though, for multiple reasons: mostly that it can thin the blood too much and over 200mg of caffeine is not a good idea for baby. I can just see the little fetus bouncing off the ute walls in there, all jacked up. Probably not cool.

Sometimes preventing doesn’t work. In that case, here’s what I’ve tried and each have helped a little (although nothing works as well as my old, now forbidden, stand-by, Advil. Sad face):

  • Lay down in a mostly dark room (especially if light makes the pain worse).
  • Quiet.
  • Cold packs to the forehead for tension headaches, hot packs for sinus headaches.
  • Hot shower or bath with some steam action.

Thanks to americanpregnancy.org for the info listed above. For more on triggers and when to call your health provider, follow this link.

The weekly standards:

  • Total weight gain: still 4 pounds
  • Cravings: scrambled eggs
  • Coolest symptom: When I lay on my stomach I can feel an “expansion” where I believe my uterus is. My bloat is also getting a bit harder so it feels like the uterus is at last taking over some of the “bump” I have!
  • Lamest symptom: the aforementioned headaches

Science Time, courtesy of babycenter.com:

The most dramatic development this week: reflexes. Your baby’s fingers will soon begin to open and close. His or her mouth will make sucking movements. Toes will curl, and eye muscles will clench. Meanwhile, nerve cells are multiplying rapidly, and in your baby’s brain, synapses are forming furiously. In fact, if you prod your abdomen, your baby will squirm in response, although you won’t be able to feel it. Your baby’s intestines, which have grown so fast that they protrude into the umbilical cord, will start to move into the abdominal cavity, and the kidneys will begin excreting urine into your baby’s bladder. Your baby’s face looks unquestionably human: His or her eyes have moved from the sides to the front of the head, and the ears are right where they should be. From crown to rump, your baby-to-be is just over 2 inches long (about the size of a lime) and weighs half an ounce.

Tie Tuesday Pre-Prologue: Taking a Cue from the Pretty People

Tie Tuesday will be a weekly post about maternity style. I’ll explain the nomenclature next week, but for now let’s get on with the fun stuff… Because let’s face it, the most fun thing about being pregnant is dressing the bump! Sure there are more important things: growing a person, nurturing a person, naming said person, practicing your swaddling (aka baby burrito) technique, blah, blah. But showing off the bump is still the most fun!

While I don’t necessarily consider myself a “person of fashion,” I think I do all right. I mean, I think I do well enough that you won’t find me on an episode of “What Not to Wear” anytime soon. (However, I would certainly give up my entire wardrobe THIS INSTANT if it meant that Stacie and Clinton would dress me for a couple days.) I seem to think that I have a fairly set “style:” I like my basics and my neutrals, some fun/cute shirts here and there and overall easy-care fabrics. Nobody LOVES to take in the dry cleaning, or iron, whether or not you’re dressing for two.

But you know what? Maternity clothes suck! The vast majority of what you find in the stores seem to be stuck in the 90s or something – big, frumpy, bad fits, horrible fabrics, etc. They are very few pieces (other than jeans and tanks) that you can rely on as staples. It isn’t easy to build a solid maternity wardrobe… one that you only wear for maybe six months!

So while I’m still able to rock my current rags, I’m looking to some knocked-up celebs for influence on how to translate my everyday “look” into a maternity style I can hang with. From what I gather, success in this realm is a careful mix of maternity and, get this, NON-maternity wear. Yep, just ’cause you have a bump doesn’t mean everything has to have a “maternity” label on it. So let’s get to the pretty people already:

The Look: blazer + jeans

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Blazers are sweet because you can use your non-maternity stash plus some accessories to jazz up your maternity basics! Adding a blazer makes the whole outfit more professional (for casual Fridays at the office), it pulls everything together, and it emphasizes the belly! Right now I use the blazer to actually cover/disguise my bloat a bit though.

I dig Ali’s simple look – jeans, white tee and blazer action. Victoria’s (yes, she is pregnant in that photo) is a bit more “rock ‘n roll” with the leather jacket/blazer and sky-high Louboutins. Jennifer’s is all pulled together with the burnt orange pashmina topping everything off (I picked up a similar accessory on Amazon for like eight bucks! Score!).

The Look: a belted dress

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Loose non-maternity dressess work will even up to the very end of pregnancy. To enhance the fit, just add a belt above the belly like Jessica Alba! The well-paced belt emphasizes your waist to remind yourself that you do have some shape (because I swear traditional maternity clothes are made to make you think you are now shapeless). Dresses are also great because you can dress them up or down with accessories alone.

The Look: simple denim

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For me, maternity denim is a must-have in my pregnancy wardrobe. I am lucky enough to get to wear jeans to work every day so I need a few choices that I can wear often. I like the range of denim on these three actresses. January has a nice straight leg going on; a straight leg is great because it creates a straight line from the hips, making your expanding frame a little more balanced. I really, really love the Kelly green bag, too! Halle is rocking a skinny jean, which not all of us can pull off but if you can, pregnancy is the time to do it. I think they really balance the hips as long as you wear a tunic or jacket (like pictured here) to keep the hips from sticking out like a sore thumb. And Jennifer, oh how I love her pregnancy style, has a simple bootcut which looks good on everyone. We should all have a little bootcut in our closet to pull out at will. Shoot, with my first pregnancy that’s the only cut of jeans that I had!

The basic rules for denim are 1) keep it dark, 2) wear it fitted (not too tight, not too loose) and 3) accessorize to dress it up.

The Look: maxi dress

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So technically Tori’s outfit is a long tank and skirt, but it all flows together so whatever. Maxi skirts/dresses are another piece from our pre-KU wardrobe that can be used all through pregnancy. They’re so roomy! You can wear it super relaxed like Tori or Jessica with sandals and a loose cardigan or scarf for a lounging or light shopping day. Or add one of those belts again to cinch it up and pull it together like January. A long belted dress with a cute fitted cardigan (a little less loose than January’s) or blazer would even work for the office!

The Look: cardigan

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I didn’t feel like I needed any more examples of this look because everything about this is cute! A pop of color, a pop of belly, a pop of leg. It’s also super easy to put together and comfy, comfy, comfy. Keep those non-maternity cardigans in rotation!

So take a cue from these celebs: you don’t need a ton of maternity clothes, just some basics and well-places accessories! Not only will this save hard-earned dough but it will also allow for continuity of your current look throughout pregnancy.

Merry Christmas!

Yay, it’s Christmas! I made myself this present. They’re for the baby too! Hehehe…

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Friday Update: Week 11

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Yep, that’s my baby: the size of a house key. Week 11 has officially begun!
They say 75% of pregnant women suffer from some form of morning sickness. All of my close friends have had it with their pregnancies and I have nothing but sympathy for them. I literally can’t imagine what it would be like to have constant sickness for which there is no cure but patience, for I am a member the 25%: we are very lucky women who have nausea-free pregnancies.
I’m not intending to gloat whatsoever; on the contrary in fact. I am *almost* jealous (I said almost!) of the 75% because their sickness is at least a reminder that yep, there’s a person growing in there. All I’ve got to reassure me is ravaging hunger: baby must be growing because s/he is sucking the nutrients from me at a vigorous pace!
Most of the day I can’t stop eating: here’s my consumption on a typical day of week 11:
  • A bowl (or two) of cheerios
  • Two pieces of wheat toast with jam
  • Yogurt
  • Crackers if needed (they’re always needed)
  • Cottage cheese
  • This week lunch has consisted of lots of pasta: leftover spaghetti, spinach lasagna or some whole grain pasta bianca.
  • A salad (I make my own with romaine, baby spinach and kale leaves tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette dressing – raw kale is not all that tasty). Two solid cups of leaves usually do the trick.
  • Dark chocolate. There are antioxidants in it! And chocolate makes for happy babies! I’m sure of it!
  • For dinner this week I’ve had a few chicken Caesar wraps – mmmm more greens.
  • A veggie such as green beans or asparagus
  • Ice cream or more chocolate
That’s all me folks. Other than consuming far too many grains (at least they’re whole grains!) I think I’m doing pretty well!
Some standards:
  • Total weight gain: 4 pounds in 4 weeks (given that I eat like a teenage boy and don’t puke, I guess that’s about right)
  • Cravings: pasta and salads
  • Coolest symptom: my love for chocolate is back with a vengeance (during weeks 4-9ish it was not appealing)
  • Lamest symptom: frequent, room-clearing gas. Another similarity to a teenage boy. Huh.
Finally, it’s science time: here’s the dish on week 11 according to babycenter.com.
Your baby is now almost fully formed! At just over 1 1/2 inches long, he or she is about the size of a fig. Your baby’s hands will soon open and close into fists, tiny tooth buds are beginning to appear under the gums, and some of the bones are beginning to harden. He or she is already busy kicking and stretching, and these tiny movements are so effortless they look like water ballet. Movements will become more frequent as your baby grows, but you won’t feel the acrobatics for another few months. You also won’t notice your baby’s hiccupping, which may be happening now that his or her diaphragm is forming.

“I’m pregnant!”

Oh such a wonderful phrase to be spilling to people lately. After lots of planning and what seemed like a lifetime of trying, our bun is finally in the oven and we’re having a blast telling everyone!
Telling has been so much fun that I thought I might share the “top 9” reactions I’ve had to the announcement thus far:
9. My team at the office: high fives were given all around. I’m the fourth on the team (of seven) to be part of a pregnant duo (the three predecessors were spouses so I’m the first pregnant lady on the team), so I’m joining the team bandwagon! The other ladies in the office are a little weary of getting to close to us now, though. Apparently our group is quite fertile!
8. Besties from high school: a “SQUEEE,” a “YIPEEE” and request for baby photos. I don’t get to connect with them often, but I love them all the same!
7. Work besties: screams and squeals all around during our Skype session with the bestie who is living in Paris. I’m so happy that we were all able to get together (regardless of me getting to share my news).
6. My boss: he just kept repeating, “That’s so exciting!” (To be fair, his first baby was less than a month from being born at the time). Even after the conversation switched to business he still kept saying how exciting it was! Made me feel good.
5. My beer connoisseur besties: Total excitement, of course, but they already knew. I hadn’t had any beer at our last two or three get-togethers and that’s a dead giveaway when you love beer as much as I do!
4. Early college besties: a suggestion to come visit me and the fam! Wooohooo! I love having visits with my ladies! I hope they can make it!!
3. The in-laws: “Woohoo!” from the MIL and some shocked silence from the FIL followed by, “really?!” Further followed by questions regarding what baby gear we had kept (answer: none! We’re not lugging that stuff around for nine years!).
2. My parents: “WHAT? Are you really?” They must have been shocked because they didn’t ask ANY more questions!
1. Our son: hands high above his head and a big “yay!” followed by, “this is the best day EVER!” In the conversations that followed, he referred to Baby2 as “the child” and is apparently quite interested in showing him/her the “ways of being a kid.” This should be fun!