27 Week Pregnancy Update

Friday, March 24, 2017

I am now in the third trimester of my pregnancy and am so excited to meet our baby. One of my favorite things about this later stage is feeling the baby's constant movement. He twists and kicks and flails around practically nonstop, and I enjoy the reminder of his presence. It feels like this wonderful secret between me and him, the fact that he is letting me know he is there but no one but the two of us knows it. Pregnancy is really a fleeting time and I'm trying to soak up the experience of him on the inside before I meet him on the outside.

While I could go on about the good parts, there have also been some less-than-pleasant realities lately, such as:

-I've had four nosebleeds so far. The first time it happened this go-around (it happened once my previous pregnancy) I was very thrilled with the drama of it all. Anything bleeding feels very important! But now I'm so tired of them and am praying I don't get any more.

-My tailbone is always easily irritated when I'm pregnant. Going to church and sitting on hard metal chairs for multiple hours pretty much does me in. I'll sometimes end up standing (in heels) in the back of the room because it is easier than trying to make myself comfortable on those death traps. This week at the library, I opted to sit on the floor because it felt better than the tiny wooden stools that seem to pierce straight through my tailbone.

-I've already grown out of a maternity shirt. How? Why? I still have three months to go and since it won't be winter like my last pregnancy, when I could wear a coat every time I went outside, I actually need to look decent right up to the end!

-This one is not pregnancy related, but our apartment building is going through some construction that makes many aspects of my life miserable. We knew about the construction when we signed our lease and we're getting a break on rent for it, but I didn't fully understand what the construction would mean. I wish someone had held my hand and gently said, "Workers will be jackhammering along your front door and on your patio, always during your son's nap time, which will cause him to wake up and ruin your own nap and the only bit of respite you get during the day." Maybe then I would have been more prepared.

Overall, this pregnancy has been so much more of a trial than I anticipated. My hormones have not treated me kindly and there have been so many times I've wished for it to be over. Now that it's finally getting closer to the end, I'm trying to remember the good parts about being pregnant (especially sleep) and take all the hardships in stride. Obviously, this is easier said than done but that's okay! I'm a work in progress.

Seven Healthy Recipes I Love

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

This pregnancy I am committed to being healthier than I was last time and so far I've been feeling fairly successful at it. I'm eating a lot more vegetables and have been consciously seeking out healthier meal options.

Here are seven healthy recipes that I love and have made multiple times. Of course, I'm not a nutritionist, so I don't know exactly how healthy these are, but in general I look for recipes with lots of vegetables and without anything too fatty.

1. Chicken Sausage and Roasted Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner from Our Best Bites
This recipe is so easy and so good. You just chop up the sausage, sweet potato, and Brussel sprouts and then roast them in the oven. I've never used the pomegranate seeds, which I imagine would taste delicious, but it's been so good without them that it's definitely not a necessity.

2. Honey Lime Tilapia from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Tilapia is such an easy thing to cook and I've found a few recipes with it that I really enjoy. My favorite is this honey lime tilapia. It has to marinate beforehand, but if I start it around lunchtime then dinner time is so easy- under twenty minutes until it's ready!

3. The Best Chicken Fajitas from Iowa Girl Eats
I've posted about these before, but they really are the best homemade fajitas I've had. There is no marinating, plenty of vegetables, and everything tastes amazing. I'll usually make a bit of homemade guacamole to go along with it and it is heavenly.

4. Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry from Kraft Foods
Just a fun, easy stir-fry. I love the flavor the pineapple gives (I buy canned) and this is simple and filling. It's actually on the menu for this week and I'm looking forward to it!

5. P.F. Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps from Damn Delicious
This meal is a wonderful treat for me. I only get ground chicken from Walmart, and I only go to Walmart about once every two months, so whenever I go I motivate myself with the knowledge that we get to eat chicken lettuce wraps. They are SO good and it's easy to change the spiciness level since Brock and I need everything to be super mild.

6. Roasted Sweet Potato Chicken Quinoa Salad from Our Best Bites
Big salads are some of my favorite things to make for dinner. This one has everything- quinoa, chicken, sweet potatoes, avocados, red onion, and feta cheese. I love it every time I make it and it's great to have an excuse to buy bacon dressing.

7. Broccoli Quinoa Casserole from Damn Delicious
This casserole is easy and loaded with cheese and broccoli. I love being able to dump everything in a pan and then have time to clean the kitchen while it cooks. It always tastes amazing and gives plenty of leftovers, which is a definite plus.

Honorable Mentions:
1. No-Bake Healthy Granola Bites from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
I made these religiously before I got pregnant. I would eat the batch in about 4 days and then immediately have to make more because I loved them so much. I never used the rice krispies and would add in slivered almonds when I  had them on hand. For some reason, they just haven't sounded good to me since I've been pregnant but I wish they did, if that makes sense.

2. Roasted Broccoli from The Amateur Gourmet
Hands down, this is my favorite way to eat broccoli. I've never liked steamed broccoli so I thought I just didn't like broccoli, but then I tried it this way and I was hooked. Since I found out I was slightly anemic this pregnancy, I've been trying to eat broccoli at least once a week and this recipe is always the one I use.

How Brock Has Changed Me

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Sao Paolo, Brazil in 2014—a place I probably wouldn't have visited if it weren't for Brock

I am always interested in hearing people tell me how their significant other has changed them. For example, a friend told me that she wasn't interested in music before she married her husband and now, because of his interests, music is a big part of her life. The fact that your small of everyday things can change because of the spouse you've chosen is so intriguing.

Being married to Brock has affected me in a million ways, from where we've lived to our children's names. Here are a few of my favorite ways that he has changed me.

Everything animals
A few months ago, Brock, James, and I drove an hour and fifteen minutes to attend the North American Reptile Breeders Conference (NARBC, for those in the know). We spent hours looking at all the animals and debating if we should get a crested gecko or red-footed tortoise (spoiler: we didn't get either). All day, I kept thinking that I was there because of Brock. It was something I never would have done on my own but after being married for a few years, I now enjoy those types of activities.

Brock's love of animals is why our first (and so far, only) pet was an orange corn snake we named Susan. It's the reason why there are terrariums in our Amazon wishlist and why I can name way more dog breeds than before. It's why we've gone to zoos in five states and why we've watched multi-part documentaries on Netflix called "Life of Mammals" and "Life of Birds." It's a small thing, but learning to appreciate animals through Brock has enriched my life.

At the zoo with 2 week old James

Being on time

I'm now on time more than I used to be. Brock is effortlessly early to everything, but I am definitely not. Before I was married, it was normal for me to be about 2 minutes late to everything (maybe that's positive thinking; it probably was more than that). I would take only the exact amount of time I needed to get ready, without any buffer, so if I had to run back and grab my wallet or if I missed all the lights during my commute, I would be a few minutes late. It always slightly annoyed me but not enough to do anything about it.

But Brock's habit has rubbed off on me and now I'm much better about being on time—even with a kid in tow! I'm still not perfect at it but I haven't been late to a single doctor's appointment this pregnancy, nor have I been late to the weekly music class James and I attend. Being on time makes me feel more put-together and overall like a competent adult.

The area where I have changed the most because of Brock, and the one I like the most, is in how neat and clean I am now. Growing up, I was NEVER neat and I think I went years without making my bed.

It never bothered me enough to make the effort to keep things clean, but Brock has different philosophies about neatness. He is very neat and tidy. On days off he'll clean the entire apartment, and back in law school, he would relax after taking finals by organizing our living room closet. I can't even type that out without smiling because of how adorable he is.

Before we were married, I used to leave my book lying around wherever I finished reading, and every morning I would try a bunch of clothes on and then just drop them on the floor of my closet. In general, I didn't think to put things away. There was an adjustment period where I learned that leaving things out really bothers Brock and I saw how happy he was when things were put away.

Surprisingly, I discovered that keeping things clean to make Brock happy was a huge motivation for me. I really wanted him to feel loved and comfortable, so I made a huge effort to reform my previous messy habits. And it's worked! I tidy without much thought these days and have discovered that I actually feel more relaxed and calm when things are picked up. Living in a tidy home has been an unexpected joy and I definitely owe it to Brock.

What are some ways your significant other has changed you? I was thinking about what Brock would say to this question and one that instantly came to mind was sleep habits. He goes to sleep so much earlier now than he used to because of my need for an early bedtime.