Sunday, August 31, 2014

Non laboriuos labor day. Hopefully.

I like my labor day weekends as non-laborious as possible. I'm really taking a big jinx risk typing this the day before actual labor day, so hopefully the baby doesn't decide to take me up on the challenge and turn my labor day into a REAL labor day. It's still just a tad too early.

Coming home from work on the Friday starting a three day weekend is one of the best feelings there is. Even better, I had a package waiting for me. My good friend from college, Nikki, made L'4yeous this amazing blanket and hat. She started it when I first told her I was pregnant!

So talented I can't even deal.
Finally figured out how to turn off the time stamp on our camera.
Friday night we just took it easy and hung out and watched part of Jurassic Park on TV, but I couldn't even stay awake for all of it and was dead to the world by 10pm.

Saturday I had some particularly relaxing plans. Two other generous friends gave me a gift card for a prenatal massage for my birthday in June. Although I was tempted to use it immediately, especially with the many, many hours we spent in the car in July, I held out and waited for when I would truly need it: after the first week of school. It was so wonderful and well worth the wait.

Creepy after rub down picture. They let me cuddle up with a body pillow and this table was shockingly comfortable.
After that, I went to another one of my happy places: Wegmans. The only way to do Saturday afternoon grocery shopping and have it be enjoyable rather than stressful.

I returned to find that my husband had spent the time I was gone cleaning and everything was spic and span. I've been a little lazy with that lately (nesting.... not happening around here) so it's almost like I didn't recognize the place.

Another thing I've been slacking on is pool time. Even though it hasn't been THAT hot this summer, I'm always like "yeah I could cover myself in sunscreen and walk to the pool.... or just lay here and read on the couch in the air conditioning". I just get really bored in the pool by myself, so I usually just sit and read and get really hot. I used to read IN the pool, but with the kindle I refuse to chance it. Then I drive by the pool to go somewhere and it looks so beautiful and I regret my life choices. So I finally adjusted my priorities and made it happen.

Bonus - strangers got to enjoy the sight of my large ghost white belly.
I'm obsessed with the Timehop app. It shows you everything you've ever posted on social media on that date, so every morning I get to take a little walk down memory lane. Here's what happened 5 years ago Friday.

Turns out a lot can change in 5 years. Like the fact that I realized that it's not necessary to include the length of a run down to the hundredth place. There's definitely no way I could run 7 miles now, in fact, that morning I literally made it one minute running before abandoning ship and doing the elliptical. I do have a vague memory of a time, not that long ago, when 7 miles was a normal weekday run.

Later on Friday, my fellow knocked up friend sent me this article about a woman who ran 9 miles to the hospital to deliver her baby (via planned C-section, but still). Which sounds like the result of some sort of horrible emergency situation, right? No, she just decided it sounded like fun. She also did a full ironman while pregnant. Personally I find that to be 110% psychotic, but to each their own I guess.

I also finally checked out the new TV series, Outlander.
I was really into the books a few years ago, but somehow petered out and never finished the third one (and there's like, 8). So maybe I wasn't really into them, but I did love the first one. When I found out it was a show, I started to reread the third and now I'm determined to finish the series even if it takes me two years like Game of Thrones (or more). I liked the first episode of the show a lot too.

What's the biggest change in your life in the past five years?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Technology conspires against us all

Now that we live in the digital age, using a "chalkboard" to teach is tantamount to kicking puppies, or at least I believe that's an appropriate comparison for people who don't hate all members of the animal kingdom. These days all your instructional material will be presented via smartboard and laptop, which in my opinion is infinitely better.

However, as we all know, technology comes to life after hours like in Toy Story and conspires against us humans. Despite the fact that yesterday afternoon, I tested out all my lessons with my smartboard and laptop, I arrived this morning to find that neither one of them would turn on. As a backup plan, I tried to print some stuff off, but none of the printers in the building would work either. So that was a nice, fun, calm way to start off the year.

 Despite all that, I had a pretty good first day in fifth grade. I'm not going to elaborate on that though, because good things are boring and I can't get into it for privacy reasons anyway. Instead, I'll focus on the complaints I have. The obvious problem was that it was hotter than the depths of hell and I was seriously 100% soaked in sweat before the bell even rang. If you know me, you know that I drink water like a 300 pound man marooned in a desert constantly, but when you're sweating that much, staying hydrated is an uphill battle. That brought on Braxton Hicks all day, and my legs and feet were throbbing the same way they do the day after a marathon all evening. I was also really spoiled last week because I didn't have to get to work until 9am, so returning to a 7:30 arrival was a rude awakening. Literally.

All in all, about par for the course for 9 months pregnant and temperatures over 90 degrees. Only five weeks and two days more, at the most. Totally not counting. I just want someone to explain why I wasn't allowed to do 90 minutes of hot yoga with my sister last spring (not Bikram, just 85-90 degrees in the room) but being on my feet for 8 hours + in the same temperature is just fine.

#proof. The temperature at dismissal.

That concludes my session on whining like a little bitch, because overall my baby is healthy and I enjoyed seeing my kids again so everything is really A-ok. Also my husband rubbed my sore feet and legs and they feel much better now. I did have a slightly different perspective this year. We always send home a billion emergency type forms on the first day for the parents to fill out, and I never really thought twice about it, it's just policy. This year I felt really bad about it and was like "god, I don't want to fill out all this crap after a long day of work, why are we punishing all the parents for sending their kids to school?".

I "ran" this morning and I set an important goal for myself to complete during pregnancy. I think I can finish Buffy, season 4. I "save" this show and only allow myself to watch it on the treadmill, for motivation and all. I began when I got the treadmill almost a year and a half ago, so it's been quite a journey (and re-watching seasons 1-3 of Game of Thrones on the treadmill set me back). I only have two episodes left, so I think can reach season 5 before baby. Aim for the moon, even if you miss you'll be among the stars.

This kind of looks like she's clutching her uterus so I felt it was appropriate.

How has technology conspired to screw you the most? I feel confident everyone has a story.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The children are coming!

This happened.

And now I've officially gone from "need to stay pregnant, need more time!" to "it's been fun, bring on the baby". Like a light switch the second the car seats were in (we have an upcoming appointment at the hospital to get them checked).

I'm grateful not to be at the "GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME" phase just yet, though.

In non baby news, it's time. The kids start tomorrow.

Seriously not loving that.

We had back to school night last night, so I got to see a lot of students, which helped to focus on the excitement part rather than the intense anxiety part. I'm moving up with the same group of students, per my request, again this year - I had them in third grade, fourth grade, and starting tomorrow, fifth grade. I'm pretty happy about that. Hopefully my sub doesn't let things run wild while I'm on maternity leave.

Tomorrow is the start of my tenth year of teaching, which I'm having a lot of trouble getting my head around. That's a third of my life. Or a third of the way to retirement, depending on how you want to look at it. Either way seems to signify that I'm no longer a crazy young gal.

Other fun numbers (just kidding, numbers aren't that fun, I don't even teach math and couldn't be more thrilled about that): today I am 36 weeks pregnant. Which means tomorrow I can officially complain that I am 9 months pregnant and teaching with no air conditioning in this lovely forecast.

Yeah. Should be as comfortable as it sounds. You won't hear me whining or preaching about how I'm 9.5 months pregnant or pregnancy is actually ten months, though. First of all, its not ten months, especially if you only count the time you actually know about the fetus. Second of all, we get it. It's a long time. Adding the .5 doesn't impress anyone.

In the interest of focusing on the positive, you know how those bones on your ankle make it tough to shave that area, ladies? Well, good news, if your ankles and feet get swollen enough, those bones no longer stick out, and shaving your ankles is a piece of cake. Side note - I'm a psycho and have to shave my legs every single day even in the dead of winter. I HATE how they feel otherwise and it drives me crazy if I skip it.

We met a pediatrician today and loved her and signed right up, which was really the last thing on my list. So we're "ready". Much like setting up my classroom, which I've been doing for the past week and a half, there really is no "ready" because you can always think of more things to do to get even more "ready". Still, the car seats being installed means the hospital will, in fact, let us leave with a baby.

My plan is to continue teaching until the last possible second so that I can spend every second of my maternity leave with my kid, so let's all cross our fingers for that. If you want, you can also cross your fingers for some crazy super fast exciting yet all positive and no danger delivery story, especially since I'm going on two field trips in September. I'm not gunning for that outcome but it would make for a good blog recap, and I'm always willing to take one for the team.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

My push present will be no more cankles (hopefully)

Well, it's been officially confirmed, I have cankles. My husband is a wise man and would just dodge that question with various versions of "you look beautiful!" but luckily I have people at work that I can count on to tell me the truth. My doctor was all impressed at my last visit that I had no swelling. It's amazing what a life of leisure where you sit in air conditioning and put your feet up 90% of your day will do. But now I've rejoined my fellow working suckers who failed to be born/marry rich, and as I expected, my ankles grow to ten times their normal size. It's good because I've missed out on a lot of classic pregnancy symptoms, and this one is painless and essentially not problematic (unless there's something I don't know), so I'm cool with it. This weekend, I had my first time thinking "I could be pregnant for another six weeks. Wow, that's a long time." As opposed to "IT'S NOT ENOUGH TIME WE NEED TO GET READY". So that's a change.

Saturday was Eric's birthday, and also marked exactly one month before the due date. That means it was time to pack the hospital bag. I've been putting it off since it seems to me like that's giving the universe permission to bring on labor.

I had a Braxton Hicks contraction the other night (par for the course, been having them for like 3 months now) and Eric was like I'M GETTING THE HOSPITAL BAG. Aka the empty suitcase in the closet that we previously decided to bring. But since I have at least two friends that had their kids five weeks early, and that's like.... now, I thought maybe it's time to fill that bad boy up.

This actually took so much longer than I thought it would.

As usual, every time I go on Pinterest for anything except a recipe, it screws me. A while ago, I foolishly pinned a bunch of "what to bring to the hospital" type things. The hospital bag post is another popular pregnancy HLB one. Maybe I've just been spoiled by living in a really urban area for nearly a decade now, but I don't understand why people pack like they're heading off on an excursion with the peace corps to a remote location with no western luxuries. I keep thinking I'm missing something, because I just assumed that if I was truly desperate for my own shampoo, or something, I could just send Eric on the 10-15 minute drive home and he could get it (after the baby is born, obviously). Or, at least Target. Fathers must leave, since other people having babies have older children and pets and jobs that they can't take off from and other responsibilities.

Furthermore, and I hate to even say this because I don't want to jinx myself, but, fingers crossed, if everything goes relatively smoothly, I'll basically be in the hospital 1-1.5 days after delivery. That's not very long. The only things I truly can't live without for a day are coffee and chapstick, and there's a Starbucks around the corner. If I end up with a C-section, that's still just a 3-4 day stay, so also not that long, and, once again, we live like 5 miles away.

My point is that as usual Pinterest took something simple and made it infinitely more complicated with long, drawn out lists separated into like 6 categories. I'm aiming for pajamas, sweatshirt and warm socks, going home clothes for all of us, toiletries, phone charger, camera, and that's about it. I offered my DD services to my friend the other night, little did she know that since she recently delivered at the same hospital, my secret plan was to get my hospital bag list approved. All the many, many pins also have a whole section telling pregnant women how to pack "for dad". I'm a little concerned about why that's necessary, but luckily I married a big boy who was capable of throwing his own change of clothes and toothbrush in the bag.

We never exchanged wedding gifts with each other, because we thought the honeymoon we were about to go on was a pretty sweet gift. We also won't be doing "push presents" because I don't even know why that's a thing, and I've read you are supposed to get the father one  now? I certainly appreciate his support and all, but get real, when it comes to the birth, I'm doing the heavy lifting. Anyway, we're both really looking forward to the natural push present, you know, THE BABY.

Other major accomplishment this weekend include getting my photo count on my phone from 1000+ to under 200. I fully expect it to be back up towards the 1k mark within like 10 days of delivering. I got really obsessive about organizing my pictures on my hard drive and that's why I devoted an entire Saturday afternoon to this task. I stand by my choices.

I also stayed out until the late, late hour of 10pm on Saturday (Eric was working, I didn't ditch him on his birthday). My friends Jackie and Dan recently moved to St. Louis and they were in town for the weekend.

I had this foolish thought that my pregnancy brain was improving but no, that's not the case. When I left, I had a $100 parking ticket on my car. I don't even have a good excuse, I just apparently fail at reading signs. After four years of living in the city and the following five of parking there quite frequently, this is a first for me. So I consoled myself with the Popeyes drive through on the way home. I don't even know me anymore.

We still need to install the car seats and meet with the pediatrician on Tuesday, but other than that, I guess we're about as "ready" as we're going to get.

Did you exchange wedding gifts/push presents?

How many pictures are currently on your phone?  I can't be the only one who hoards them obsessively.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My week of many accomplishments

My fantasy turned reality of the most wonderful, relaxing summer break is over. I'm now knee deep in setting up my classroom. It involves mainly lifting, climbing, cleaning, and sitting on the tile floor for long periods of time. It's normally a great time in August with no AC, and it's just as improved as you might imagine 35 weeks pregnant. My coworkers are amazing and constantly offering to help, but everyone is stressed and crazy busy and I feel like a jerk standing there impotently while other people do my heavy lifting instead of their own jobs. I'm saving it for only the essentials (ex. climbing up a rickety ladder to put away a heavy box of books) and trying to do as much as I can myself, like making 35 light trips to carry books to the closet halfway across the building. Fun times.

Our freezer is now chock full of ready to eat meals, carefully labeled with cooking directions. I spent about 3.5 hours Sunday on that project, plus making lunch for the week. Even though this is the one week teachers can technically enjoy the luxury of going out to lunch. Trying to be responsible, save a few bucks for diapers, you know.

I have no idea how it will work out, but in case anyone wants to SWF me or prepare for a baby or upcoming busy time, here's what I made.

Turkey Tetrazzini - never heard of it before, but it has bacon, cheese, and wine in it, so it sounded like a winner. I omitted the wine because I didn't want to buy a whole bottle to use a cup and then not be able to drink the rest, but then I realized that it's possible that the baby could arrive before the wine goes bad. Mind. Blown.
Stuffed Peppers
"PF Changes" lettuce wraps (just the filling)
My mom's spaghetti sauce

Huh, doesn't seem like a lot written out, but most of the recipes serve 6-8 so hopefully it will feed us for a hot minute.

I originally had this plan of making healthy stuff but recipes loaded with cheese and carbs are just significantly more appealing. The only problem is it backfired and Breyers is on a great sale that ends today and I didn't level any extra room for ice cream.

It's ok though, because this now exists.

I'm addicted to candy corn, and I don't think I've ever seen it this early in the year, much less in this glorious form. Also, my fellow prego friend brought me this amazing caramel corn.

I've complained about the dumb fruits and vegetables that the What to Expect app compares your baby to. It's supposed to update every Tuesday. Apparently, they got wind of my dissatisfaction and just gave up.

No more produce
We finally finished season 2 of Orange is the New Black. The ending was a little contrived, but overall I loved it.

According to the interwebz, this isn't happening until June or July?? Unacceptable. I mean, fine, take a year to film Game of Thrones. They film all over the world, they CGI dragons and giants, there's all sorts of complicated battle scenes, etc. What exactly is the hold up here though?

Not trying to brag, but I received two degrees in one week. I have now completed graduate school AND childbirth class. I think I'm a little more excited about completing childbirth class, since it's really not a given. Two of my friends at our baby shower (a small sample) were childbirth class dropouts (their babies arrived before they could complete the series), so it's kind of a big deal.

No cap and gown here either, but you do get nursing pads and a sample of diaper rash cream!

We did the hospital tour as part of our final class last night. It looked pretty much like it does on TV, but now I have a visual of where I'm getting a giant needle shoved in my spine or possibly getting cut open.

By far the most exciting part of my week so far is that I actually ran yesterday! Granted, it was on the treadmill, extraordinarily slow, and involved a significant amount of time devoted to walk breaks, but there were definite intervals where I was officially running. I had to abandon my last two attempts to run, so it started off my day/week/school year on the right foot. I did a total of 3.25 miles (including my walk breaks, duh).

Now I'm going to attempt to go to kickboxing even though there is a Boy Meets World marathon on. It's a tall order.

What's your least favorite job related task? I seriously hate doing bulletin boards.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

The ice bucket challenge put me over the edge

Since last weekend was action packed and wild, I wanted a low key weekend this time to rest up for the beginning of the school year on Monday. Apparently that meant watching lots of movies, now that I think about it.

We watched Neighbors together (it's about a frat moving in next door to Seth Rogen and his wife and new baby). It wasn't really much to write home about, but if you are looking for a mildly amusing movie with no real plot that you can watch while browsing Instagram and occasionally look up to stare at Zac Efron, this is for you.

I'm on this weird kick of reading memoirs of prison/concentration camp survivors. I got really mad because Eric was watching some dumb movie where a guy had a choice between biting off his own fingers or being killed and I was like THAT IS DISGUSTING, turn it off. And he was like "you are really going to tell me that's crossing the line with the books you read?".  Anyway, in that vein, I've wanted to watch Schindler's List for years now, but I haven't because it's hard to get mentally ready. I finally tackled it this weekend, watching half Friday and half Saturday.

I also plan to finally watch Gone with the Wind, because I like to watch it at least once a year, and had planned to watch it this summer but time got away from me. I could probably watch that movie every day, if I had three hours of time with nothing better to do (actually I did have that, all summer, so I'm not sure how I'm just now watching it, or why I never learned to crochet or wrote that novel). I should have reread the book.

I took another Facebook break. I really enjoyed the break I took in the fall when trying to conceive was making me insane. This time, it was the ice bucket challenge that put me over the edge. Obviously donating to a charity that researches how to stop a debilitating, awful disease is a great thing. So why am I being subjected to all these videos of people who would apparently rather douse themselves in ice water than give like ten bucks? The vast majority don't even mention ALS, or if they do, it's very brief and I feel like it hasn't actually raised awareness that much, other than the fact that there is a disease called ALS that nobody wants to donate money towards. Please, post a video of yourself in a wet tshirt instead and see how many likes you get. Plus, it's August. If we really want to make it a challenge, let's do it in January, and then maybe I'll be slightly more impressed.

I finally saw one too many "look at my boobs oh yeah ALS" videos and immediately de-activated. It's a good time to anyway, because the first week of school turns into a contest of "who can work the hardest" and "who has the cutest most pinteresty classroom" and I seriously don't care that you painted your file cabinets or are leveling books at 9pm. If you were really working so hard, you wouldn't be posting to Facebook.

That's my rant, I realize that these are very minor things especially in contrast to my reading material, but everyone gets annoyed over dumb stuff and I'm happily not annoyed at all anymore because I'm not seeing it. I'll probably be back in a week and get just as annoyed, but feel free to give a sister a shout out if the ice bucket thing finally dies down. In the meantime, I'll briefly enjoy having one less way to waste my time.

I generally just find replacement time wasters, but I did have a few moments of attempting productivity this weekend. I folded and put away baby clothes in the new dresser (and based on this five pound thing, included clothes up to 3 months). I also bought ingredients to make a few Pioneer Woman freezer recipes for some post baby dinners, so that's my exciting Sunday afternoon plan.

I keep saying I'm going to get back on a grown up schedule of going to bed and waking up early, as opposed to my summer schedule of sleeping from around midnight - 9am. That's been a major fail so pretty much I've screwed myself and I'll most likely fall asleep at midnight tonight and then have to be up at 5:15 tomorrow morning. And don't tell me it's practice for the baby, there's no advantage in "practicing" sleep deprivation, I'm not in the army. Last night I couldn't remember where we stored the Wubbanub and couldn't sleep until I got up and found it, because the baby clearly needed it IMMEDIATELY.

Here it is. You can see why it was an essential item for a fetus.

One more thing that happened this weekend, I was officially approved to graduate and now, after four long years of pointless papers written in APA format, I have a master's degree. The ceremony is in December, and as much fun as it sounds to pay for an overpriced cap and gown that I'll wear for three hours of my life and bring a two month old to a long, boring event, I'll be skipping that, so posting on social media is the extent to my celebration. Believe me, not having homework to do after a long, exhausting day at work fills me with more happiness than walking across any stage ever could.

I forgot to even tell Eric until I was writing this post. Clearly a proud and significant time for me.

I'd also like to toot my own horn because I had a solidly decent week of workouts. Two spin classes, two Body Sculpt classes, and two days on the elliptical. Not terrible. I still take a rest day each week. It's likely it's not really necessary to take a rest day from a week that includes modified non impact gym workouts that are mostly under an hour, as opposed to a tough marathon training week, but I'm used to it and I like my rest days.

Thoughts on the ice bucket challenge?

Is your workplace a major contest over arrival/departure times, who's working the hardest, etc? I'm so over it. If I'm actually at work late or early it's because I'm actually busy and I don't have time to police the parking lot to see who's arriving when.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Size matters

After my 20 week anatomy scan ultrasound, I just figured the next time we'd be seeing our son (trying to get used to saying that.... weird) would be the delivery room. I was pleasantly surprised that my doctor ordered an ultrasound when I saw her this week. She said I was measuring on track, as I have been all along, but wanted to check the baby's size as a routine procedure. No arguments here!
You can sign up for various pregnancy apps that compare your baby to some sort of fruit or vegetable every week. I found it really helpful in the beginning to know if the baby was the size of a blueberry or apple or carrot or whatever. At that point, the only proof I had that a human was actually growing in there was hearing the heartbeat every four weeks at the doctor's office, so it still seemed pretty unbelievable. It was cool having something concrete to connect to. Now, it kind of seems like they've run out of the bigger produce items and are really stretching. Plus, I can just look down and see him move all the time, so it's easy to connect without fruit comparisons.
I swear he's been the size of a pineapple before. Also 5 weeks left OMG.
Even though people say ultrasound weight estimates are notoriously inaccurate, I was still eager to see what they said he weighs. We went this afternoon, and even though I've been able to feel him moving every single day for months now, it's still surreal to actually see a person inside your body.

The ultrasound tech was really nice (they all have been!) and tried to get us a good face picture, but he had his arm in front of his face the whole time. I wasn't too concerned, since we will be seeing him 24/7 soon enough! There were some exciting findings though.

1. He's head down

I had no idea until I was pregnant how much of a big deal this is. Basically, babies are supposed to come out head first, so if his head was up by my ribs, I'd be en route to a scheduled C-section. Not the end of the world, but I'd be happy to avoid it. The tech said it's possible for him to still turn around, but unlikely. I've long suspected that he was in this position since something has been hitting my ribs for weeks, but I'm a first timer and know about as much as Jon Snow, so it's good to have actual confirmation. I've read in multiple places that 1/3 of babies are delivered by C-section, so obviously I realize it's still a decent possibility. That's fine with me if that's what it takes to deliver a healthy baby, but I'm still pleased he's head down.

2. He has hair! Who knew you could see this on an ultrasound? Not me, that's for sure. But the tech pointed out the hair on the back of his head to us! Crazy! I've been picturing him born bald for no particular reason, so I'll have to amend my mental image.

3. They estimated his weight at five pounds. This blew my mind. Even though the app says 4.9 pounds, even though I've seen a pineapple, that all seemed a little abstract to me, and it's just based on averages and not my particular baby anyway.

However, I do have a pretty solid perception of what a five pound baby looks like. My nephew was under five pounds when he came home from the hospital.

So we have this situation.... except imagine the child is INSIDE ME.
I've included more pictures so you can get the idea and because I love them and never get tired of looking at them.


My baby could be this size RIGHT NOW.
I definitely remember holding Harrison on that first day home from the hospital and it's just really throwing me for a loop that my baby is the size of an actual human baby that I have held and rocked and burped.

I also read this in a magazine this weekend. Again, not really new information, but the visuals help make it suddenly real.

Also, he's five pounds already, and he has up to seven weeks to continue to grow in there (and they can grow half a pound a week!). My plan today was to get his clothes unpacked into the dresser, and it's looking like I need to make sure to include some bigger sizes! I've had it in my head that he will be on the smaller side, I guess because of wishful thinking, but it's time to face facts and it's just as likely that I could be cooking up a 9 pounder.

In other news, I haven't run in about two weeks. I've made two attempts, and both times I stopped because of pain all along the outside of my lower right leg. I mean, it wasn't anything concerning or that I couldn't run through, but I didn't see the point and just did something else pain-free instead. I did realize that since I'm not training, I've abandoned all I've learned about the importance of shoe maintenance and have been running on long dead shoes. At some point I'll try out new shoes (I got a pair right before I found out I was pregnant and have been "saving" them for some reason). In the meantime, I've been having much more fun at spin class, a strength training class called Body Sculpt, kickboxing, and the elliptical. All comfortable and non-torturous, so that's working for me.

Gratuitous spin bike belly shot. This was one of the days I originally attempted to run, and was therefore not in bike shorts, so that was a bit painful.

Today is, very, very sadly, the last day of summer. I'm working at my school the next two days, and then our district officially starts on Monday (teachers only). I can't say I'm thrilled to introduce the alarm clock back into my life, but it was a pretty fantastic summer, and the fact that it's over just means I'm closer to meeting this kid! We are having one last hurrah at Five Guys tonight, because it's delicious and even though it's across the street, the first and only time I've ever been there was last July after the Endless Summer 6 hour race, and that's just a crime.

I know most of you are in real careers where you don't get a summer break, but pretend you do and share your perfect last summer day. I'm pretty psyched to fold teeny tiny baby clothes, stuff my face with ridiculously greasy food (it's cool though because I just had sliced cucumber and dip as a snack so it evens out), and watch the last two episodes of season 2 of Orange is the New Black (which is also sad because I'll miss it).


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My triumphant post partum plan to return to running. Spoiler alert -I'm not

When I was first pregnant, it kind of felt like I would be pregnant forever. Obviously I knew it meant a baby was coming, but nine months is just such a long time. I never thought it was before, but when your baby is the size of a poppy seed and you just want to fast forward and meet him or her immediately, you suddenly realize it is LONG. Thinking about the future meant like... the third trimester.

Now, the end is actually in sight. I can conceive of a time in the near future where I won't be pregnant. Of course, this means I'm also pretty close to the process involved in getting to that point, but we'll ignore that as best we can (you probably are better equipped than I am). That means I'm starting to think about another popular blog topic: my post partum body/recovery/fitness.

I'm not going to lie, if there was some magic pill I could take that would allow me to come home from the hospital in my pre-pregnancy jeans, looking great, I would take it in a heartbeat.  I don't want to hang on to my baby belly once the baby is out any more than anyone else. I don't own a single pair of maternity pants (only shorts/dresses) so if I can't fit into my regular pants by Christmas, I guess I'm screwed. I feel this is a pretty strong possibility, so, my coworkers can look forward to seeing me wearing tights all winter.

A common blog theme is the "omg I totally don't care about losing the baby weight! But here is a detailed list of my weights and progress pictures from every week post partum and you can friend me on my fitness pal where I dutifully log every one of the 900 calories I eat daily while breastfeeding." I really, really hope I can fight the sleep deprivation enough to create a post to mock these posts. I actually have a trick up my sleeve that gives me an advantage over these obsessive bloggers though: a job. Something to think about other than exercise and counting calories! Imagine that!

I have two post partum goals - care for my baby, and do my job. That's it. I'll reevaluate in June when the school year ends. I'm not planning any races. Racing isn't going anywhere, and I have no desire to push myself to the brink just so I can say "I did such and such race at only x weeks postpartum!". In fact, I have no interest in doing any fitness event at a time when I'm still measuring the post partum period in weeks.

It's all relative, and there are tons of careers that are WAY more demanding than mine. I seriously hate teacher martyrs that whine and post articles on social media about working 15 hours a day and grading papers from dawn till dusk every weekend. No. If that's your life, you are doing teaching wrong, and no one is impressed. (I will continue to complain about my lack of bathroom breaks.)

However, it's also not like when I worked at Starbucks, for example, and you punch in and punch out at assigned times and when you punch out, you're done for the day. You do generally have to devote some evening and weekend time. Personally, I find teaching to be a huge emotional investment. I feel like it's draining to do my best normally, and I'm fairly concerned about balancing that with being a mom.

Obviously, caring for the baby and work are non-negotiable. I just can't see adding anything else on top of that in the early stages. Plenty of women are able to balance infants and challenging jobs and train for races, so it's clearly do-able. But that would require a ton of dedication, and something would have to be sacrificed (I'm guessing it's sleep). I'm certainly not saying it's impossible, in fact, I think it's really impressive. I'm saying it sounds too hard for me and I don't want to do it.

Here's my post partum "plan" 6 weeks before my due date.

1. Sadly, it doesn't go without saying in the blog world, so I'll say it: I won't be doing any exercise before I'm cleared by my doctor. Hopefully we will take some walks, since a huge advantage of a fall baby is supposedly nice weather. That's it though.

I can say that much definitively, and the rest of this post is just my na├»ve musings from this side of the delivery room. Maybe I'll follow it, maybe I'll laugh at myself.

2. I won't be making a paper chain like the kind kids make to count down for Christmas to count down to when I can run/exercise again after delivery. I'll start when I feel ready. That might not be until 2015. Right now, I just feel like my 12 week maternity leave is going to fly by, and soon I'll be handing my baby over to someone else to spend the majority of his day with. I just want to enjoy the time I do have with him. Of course, that's super easy to say now when I'm living in an idealized mother/baby dream world and not actually sleep deprived and caring for a crying infant. Maybe I will be chomping at the bit to get outside for a run, in which case, I'll go for one. But I'm not putting some arbitrary date on it, aside from waiting till it's medically safe.

3. Once I return to work, I'm hoping to do some type of workout 5 days a week, because health/fitting in to pants/etc.  We have Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and Insanity T25, which are both 25 minute exercise DVDs. They pretty much make you feel like you are about to die for 25 minutes, so I'm thinking they might be the way to get the best bang for my buck with limited time. I don't relish the idea of waking up several times a night to nurse, then getting up at 4am to do an 8 mile run before getting myself and a baby ready for the day and being at work by 7:30 or 8.  Maybe this kid is going to be a phenomenal sleeper right off the bat and I can easily train for a marathon this spring, but I can barely even type that without laughing.

4. Eating. I actually have no plan here except that I definitely plan to continue doing it. I've only made two freezer meals so far. I should probably make more. They are both dairy free though, just in case. If I'm still really fat and it's getting towards summer, I'll probably try to limit desserts or use My Fitness Pal or do something. You'll know if this is the case because I'll only post pictures of the baby or myself from the neck up.

I apologize in advance to anyone who was hoping the nonstop baby talk was coming to an end and I would return to blogging about running soon. Not likely. But, my running buddies and I do have very, very tentative plans of meeting to do the St. Louis marathon (one of them moved there recently) in October 2015, so there is that.

Tl:dr version: duh I want to get re-skinny after baby, but I only have room in my brain to obsess over so much, and being a good mother and teacher at the same time has prime real estate.

If there's one thing I value, it's strangers opinions on the internet, so let's all weigh in. You don't have to be a runner, mother, or #motherrunner. Anyone who has a keyboard can participate!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Who wants to shower with me?

Diapers in the lawn can only mean one thing. 

Saturday was baby shower time.

My mom, sister, and stepfather arrived Friday night. They put forth an amazing amount of time and effort planning the shower. My dad, mother in law, and aunt-in-law? (Eric's aunt) also spent half their weekends in the car coming down to celebrate baby L'4yeous. I don’t know if it’s the hormones or I just don’t remember my wedding shower emotions that well since I’m an old, long married lady, but I got choked up all day with gratitude just thinking about it.

Not to mention that my BFF Carolyn just had her own baby barely two months ago, and was gracious enough to host the shower and allow tons of strangers to infiltrate her house.

I would seriously love to look that good when my baby is only two months old.

Just in case all that wasn’t enough, my sister was kind enough to give a pedicure to a lady too pregnant to paint her own toenails.
That's true sisterly devotion.

We also prepared for the shower by finishing up favors and making cookies as big as our faces. My mom found a recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies, and she thought that might be something that would interest me. The really were the most amazing cookies (I’ll post the recipe when Comcast isn’t ruining my life with no internet).

Cookies give me crazy eyes. I THREW MY PIE FOR YOU.

The favors. Homemade pickles, to eat with your ice cream. How cute is that? And my sister hand made all those labels!

My one request was that our baby shower be actually fun and not stupid (and also no unnecessary touching of my belly, which falls right in line with that request in my opinion). I knew the organizers wouldn’t disappoint, and hopefully the guests would agree. This young lady, famous among some blog circles, did beg to return the next day.

Do you recognize this child?

Here’s the three main components of any baby shower and how we kept them all intact yet improved.


This one you really can’t go wrong with unless you serve a bunch of healthy stuff or don’t provide enough. Since the main party planners were coming from out of town, we decided to go simplistic yet indescribably delicious, and bring some of the local cuisine I grew up with to my current city.

Rochester delicacy – the garbage plate. You just need to trust me and try it. Except you can’t fully experience it without meat hot sauce which you can only get in Rochester, so just go there.

My garbage plate – cheeseburger, mac salad, home fries, mustard, onions, meat hot sauce, pure heaven. Wegmans brand mustard, not French’s, FYI. The fruit and veggies are from the farmer’s market so we could all feel smug while eating them.

Because everything is better in bar form.

We can all agree no one wants to smell diapers smeared with candy that looks like poop. We can also all agree that everyone wants to participate in drinking games. So we had a beer baby bottle chugging contest instead.

Don’t get your panties in a wad, I was just posing with this incredibly dangerous two ounces of beer. I was actually going to use lemonade and participate in the second heat, but after seeing the pain on people’s face the first time around, I decided watching and laughing was a better bet.

Yes, Eric participated twice.

That was the only “organized” game, the rest were just lawn games set out for people to particpipate in at their leisure. We replaced the bean bags normally used in Corn hole with diapers filled with beans (or lentils or rice when I ran out of beans from my pantry).


Another thing we can probably all agree on is that receiving gifts as equally as wonderful as watching someone else open a ton of presents is terrible. Also, I know you can’t fully appreciate this over the internet, but I am really awkward and horrible at being the center of attention. I would much rather use my words to express myself from the safety of my keyboard. Eric’s quite the opposite and was born with the gift of being a natural entertainer and is just ridiculously charismatic and never gets uncomfortable and creepily chugs water to avoid eye contact like I do. I really hope the baby takes after him socially. I loved the co-ed shower idea the whole time, but it was especially fantastic when I could sit back and eat my s’more while Eric opened gifts and entertained the crowd. We were also able to tag team and got through the gifts pretty quickly, or at least it seemed that way to me, so our guests could get back to drinking and eating.

My main takeaway was that I need to up my gift giving. I knew we have awesome family and friends, but they really went above and beyond and blew my mind. Some highlights were an already packed, ready to go diaper bag, complete with butt paste from Kara, and a “New Mom Survival Kit” all labeled with personal notes from Carolyn (you know, the person who was also letting me take over her house to even have the party).

He’s good at entertaining, I’m good at closing my eyes in pictures and sitting in an unladylike fashion.

When I’m the center of attention, people look like this:

When Eric is the center of attention, people look like this:

Thanks to some incredible generosity, we are now pretty much set with gear. I guess now all that’s left to do is….have the baby. 

What's your skill/comfort level with being the center of attention?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Labor includes my fear landscape

This week in childbirth class we learned all about the epidural, including, but not limited to, passing around a sample catheter and watching a video of one being inserted. I had to use the labor breathing techniques to get through the video, and I'm not even kidding.

I've mentioned this before, but it really grinds my gears that my needle phobia is not taken seriously. Oh, sure, you're terrified to ride in an elevator, or can't touch anything cotton (I have actually known someone with this phobia), it's ok, we're here to help you through it. But fear of needles? Pull it together you big fat baby.

I recognize that it doesn't make sense, but it's not any less logical than any other phobias and most people suffer from at least one illogical fear. I'm not sure if maybe people think that us needle-phobes are primarily concerned about the pain, and that's what gives us a bad rap? I don't even see what's wrong with that, but that's not it anyway. It's the idea of the needle entering my skin, ugh, I can barely even type that. It's like how on our honeymoon we tried snails. They tasted fine, but the idea of what I was eating made the experience gross.

Also, if I ever said anything about my fear, people are always smugly like "just wait until you get pregnant". Um, ok? Yeah, there's more needles than normal when you're pregnant. I subject myself to it because I'm an adult, and there's really no other option. I still hate it just as much. I'm not sure what I was supposed to "wait" for.

I'm under no illusions about my pain tolerance and have accepted that I want an epidural, but just because it's the lesser of two evils doesn't mean I'm happy about it. (Accepted in terms of the needle being shoved in my spine, not in terms of OMG I won't have an all natural I am woman hear me roar birth). I'm willing to bet most first time moms (or maybe pregnant women in general) have some anxiety about giving birth and I don't think adding a major element from your fear landscape is something anyone would seek out. Imagine if claustrophobics had to survive a room that shrinks around you like Four, or if people who have a fear of heights had to bungee jump off a tall building into their hospital room. Not laughing now, are you?

If you haven't seen the movie, this room continues to get much smaller.
Side note - when we practiced the labor breathing they suggested having an object to focus on and immediately I was thinking of a picture of John Stamos or Theo James (above). Then the teacher was like "lots of moms use one of the baby's toys". Call me selfish, but I'll take Uncle Jesse over a teething ring. But let me know if that idea is total crap anyway.

I'm finding it easy to maintain my denial about labor because I've never done it, and have no context to imagine it. All the ways people have described it on the internet or in person are totally foreign to me and I still have no idea what they feel like. "It's like all your organs are being squeezed out of you" or "It's like your body is about to split apart". Yeah, I'm sure that hurts, but I've never done anything remotely similar.

Here's what I mean. Let's take this scene.

If for some reason you STILL haven't taken my advice and watched/read Game of Thrones, he's about to get his hand cut off.

Sure, I've never had a crazy man in the woods cut my hand off with a rusty knife because he didn't care for my choice of vocabulary (and subsequently been forced to wear it around my neck for weeks on end), but I've accidentally cut myself with a knife. That allows me to take that much smaller pain and extrapolate to at least cringe because I have some idea Jaime's experience.

Example 2.

The lady on the right is basically screwed.

I've also never been burnt to death for using blood magic, but I've burnt my finger on a hot pan, so again, I can extrapolate.

My point is, I can live in calm denial about labor, but I KNOW I'm going to hate the epidural no matter how it actually feels, so I'm nervous about it. Apparently they give you a numbing agent, but turns out that's a shot too, so, thanks for nothing.

Some happier news is that this weekend is our baby shower! We have a bunch of family members coming to town starting tomorrow night. I'm quite a purist when it comes to bridal showers/bachelorette parties, and firmly feel they should be single sex. I thought I felt the same with baby showers, and wanted the traditional type. I was concerned because I go for quality over quantity in friends, and also all my friends are super successful and many have moved to various cities around the country. I didn't think I had enough girl friends in one city to have an all girl shower.

Then I realized that typical showers are boring and I would hate one. I don't like being the center of attention, or touching, so the thought of everyone watching me open gifts and say "it's so cute!" a million times or, even worse, playing that dumb game where you measure the mother - to - be's belly is right up there under the epidural. Eric is just as much of a parent-to-be as I am, and pregnancy has made me really weirdly clingy, so we're doing a co-ed shower. Plus, this way the grandfathers can attend too, so it's a win win win all around. I don't know all the details, but my mom is amazing at planning showers, so it will actually be really fun and not at all stupid. And I apparently have more friends than I thought, so it's almost like I feel popular, or at least what I imagine being popular would feel like (that's another one I really have no context for).

What would be in your fear landscape - and if you are on the reproductive train (past, present, or future), what fear would you least want to add to the delivery room? My husband actually has no phobias and it's the most annoying thing ever.

Where are my fellow needle - phobes - do you feel you are not taken seriously?