Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Big Reveal

I've been lucky enough this pregnancy to be (almost literally) surrounded by friends who are pregnant, including some of my closest friends in the Chicago area. But, I've been particularly lucky to be expecting at the same time that my sister is expecting.

My sister is due in early October, and while she and I have always been close, being able to talk about pregnancy symptoms, baby gear, maternity leave, and names has provided us with yet another source of material to bond over.

Back in December, MM and I had the opportunity to surprise our families with the news of the pregnancy. My sister and her husband, who live on the East Coast, didn't have that opportunity so this past weekend, they decided that they would wait to find out if they were having a boy or a girl while we were all together visiting my mom and her husband over Memorial Day in Ohio.

Gender reveal parties are apparently totally a thing now. My sister had her 20 week ultrasound and had the tech write down the gender of the baby and seal it in an envelope. Somehow they managed not to look (I don't know that I could have done that) and handed the envelope off to a friend who called a bakery in Ohio.

The cake was totally adorable: 
He or she? What will I be?
 Here comes the big moment:
My sister and her husband cut the cake.
The baby's gender is revealed through cake filling:
It's a boy!
My sister and her husband are having a boy! My mom is having a grandson! MM and I are having a nephew!
The happy parents-to-be.
Oh, and the cake was really good too, and I'm not even a cake person.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The List: A 30 Weeks or So Pregnant Update

OMG. Less than ten weeks and the big D date will come and go, and most likely, I will still be pregnant. But regardless, I can hardly believe that I’ve entered the part of pregnancy where I have to see the doctor every two weeks. Yep. That’s what I do now.

No Complaints
I went to prenatal yoga on Tuesday for the first time in maybe eight weeks. The class I like is a little later than I prefer for weeknight working out, but now that Zumba is ending, I feel like I need to get back to yoga for the remainder of my pregnancy. At the beginning of class, the yoga instructor often asks if any of us have any complaints or areas of the body we’d like to focus on. I racked my brain to come up with something--not so much because I wanted complain about something or even participate--but because I wanted to check in with myself and be aware of my symptoms, what was making me uncomfortable, etc.

I came up with... nothing...

So it’s not like I’ve had no symptoms, but since the first trimester, I’ve had little to complain about. I’ve had some minor acid reflux... maybe four times total. There was one day when my back was bothering me, but that was gone by the time I woke up the next day. I have no problem getting comfortable to sleep, but sleeping through the night depends on managing my water intake in the evening. I am usually able to do this, but because I typically work out in the evening, I’m noticing that if I over-compensate, I am prone to cramping in my legs. I blame it on working + misjudging my hydration, but this is a common pregnancy symptom, and so far this has only happened a handful of times. SO FAR. Unfortunately, charlie horses and leg/foot cramping is something I experienced semi-regularly before pregnancy, so we’ll see if this persists as I become pregnant-er.

Adios Zumba
I want to write a longer post about this, but I said good-bye to teaching Zumba this week. I am relieved. Leading up to this, I had more mixed feelings, but by the time I finished my class last night--pushing 31 weeks no less--I am thrilled to be done. Plenty of fitness instructors teach until they are full term, but I am pretty convinced at this point that I could not have gone six more weeks. Maybe I’m just not as fit, but I think being a fairly new instructor with exactly one year of teaching under my belt, I just do not yet know how to instruct a class without doing every single thing they do. It’s a skill that I believe comes with time, and I’m hoping someday I master it. But for now, I’m done, and I could not be happier that I can workout at my own (slow) pace, without being responsible for several other people’s experience.

Tackling the List
Meanwhile, back at the ranch... my husband and I have kicked it into high gear when it comes to tackling our “pre-baby” to-do list. We’ve installed bookshelves, moved around furniture, set up the baby’s room, and cleaned out and organized several closets. There’s still more to do, but the progress we are making has kind of surprised me. It’s like we finally realized, oh shit, time is running out. For real. Think about it folks... May is nearly over, June is jam-packed, and then, well... that’s the when the real countdown to July 29th begins.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Tale of Tex Mex and BBQ: Our Austin Babymoon, Part 1

After nearly three years without a just-the-two-of-us vacation (we've traveled plenty for family get togethers, destination weddings and races, but no vacations for the sake of vacation since our honeymoon), MM and I decided that since our "just the two us of" time is running out, a vacation was in order.

Enter: The Babymoon
Lucky for us, the hubs and I are on exactly the same page when it comes to what the word "vacation" means, and it means L-A-Z-Y. Forget museums, monuments, and other tourist attractions, vacation means sleeping late, eating good food, parking it at the beach or pool for hours on end, reading a book or two, napping, partaking in a spa service, and, indulging in one of my favorite hotel luxuries: watching television while lounging in bed. We will usually schedule an activity or two, and we typically like to rent bikes, if that's available, so it's not like we do absolutely nothing. We do some stuff, just not a lot, and it's not the priority. And in my opinion, it's the only way to have a proper vacation.

Even though a city vacation suggests that you have to do stuff, we chose Austin for several reasons, and we made it work. First we agreed on a domestic vacation. It seemed easier with the whole pregnancy thing to not worry about navigating a place with a different language and unfamiliar food. Second of all it was more cost-effective--we used reward points cover the flight and rental car--which meant we could splurge on nicer hotel rooms and other fun extras.

Beyond that, weather was key. If you're going to leave Chicago before June for a vacation, you might as well go somewhere that can provide you with a solid dose of sun and heat. We also wanted a place that was known for its cuisine. It didn't have to be fancy, but good food options were important. Beyond that, we just picked a place that we had heard was cool. And, if you've heard anything about anything ever, Austin is cool.

Austin City Limits: Day 1 and 2
After the two-and-a-half-hour flight from Chicago, we checked into our first hotel. I found Heywood Hotel on TripAdvisor. It was a highly rated, boutique hotel, which we tend to prefer, basically brand new, so I went for it. I would say that the only downside to this hotel is that it was a little bit farther from the Austin action than I realized, and the area it was located left a little to be desired. Luckily, we had a rental car and the hotel loaned out bikes for free, and the location was not an issue. And really, once I saw this in our hotel room, I knew we had made the right decision:

The thing that has been missing from my life.
Other than the beautiful bathtub, which I used multiple times over our two day stay, the bed was extremely comfortable, the room was adorably furnished, and the hotel offering nice amenities like fancy coffees and teas and a nice patio. Really, it was perfect.

Did I mention that we did leave the hotel room occasionally?

Congress Avenue is main drag in Austin. This is where you'll find the majority of shops, restaurants, bars, trailer parks filled with food trucks, and live music. We spent a fair amount of time wandering this street and eating Tex Mex. Our first night we had Guero's, which sold me at the mention of a "salsa bar." And the second night, after our sunset bat sightseeing cruise (see we do stuff), we had Freebirds, which is Chipotle on steroids, but 10 times better, and now that I'm thinking about it, it makes me sad I can't have it for lunch today.

Maybe I'll open up a Freebirds franchise.
Oh, and I did I mention the bats? Austin has the largest urban population of bats in North America. There's literally millions of them living under the Congress Avenue Bridge, and they all leave at sunset to go hunting. We watched this. It was pretty cool.

Let's all wait for the bats to come out!
 We also spent one morning/afternoon on the bikes that Heywood Hotel provided for free. This is a great way to get around Austin because is a bike friendly town. In fact, if you're into running or biking or training for endurance events or just want a place to leisurely walk, Austin is amazing. Our second morning there, we biked to a cute restaurant for lunch, which happened to be close to Zilker Park, a 350-acre park in the middle of downtown Austin, with tons of recreational activities.

Activities like this train that is clearly meant for kids and families, but we went on it anyway.
The most amazing part of Zilker Park is Barton Springs. You can swim in it, but I had failed to bring my bathing suit on our ride this morning, so mostly we just admired the water and the many triathletes who were swimming laps.

My photo really doesn't do it justice.
After we hung out at Barton Springs (OK, after we hung at Barton Springs and then I got some ice cream), we headed back to the hotel so I could nap. Biking up those Austin hills really did me in. But seriously, by day two, MM and I were in love with Austin and ready to become permanent residents. That changed (at least for MM) when we traveled 20 miles outside of the city to our next destination: Travaasa Austin.

More to come...

Monday, May 07, 2012

Running for Two (A "Race" Report)

For about two weeks now I've been pretty convinced that my pregnant running days are coming to an end. Since my little episode, every run has felt hard, I have mild cramping in my side and/or abdomen, and I'm uncomfortable. The last run I did I made it 17 minutes before I said to my running buddy that I had hit my limit. After that, I figured I'd give run/walking a try before I gave up altogether, but I my last few runs have definitely been discouraging.

It turns out that I might have spoken too soon.

Every year, my husband and I do the Run to Remember 5K, which raises funds for the families of fallen officers. There's always a big group from MM’s police department and after three years, it feels a bit like tradition. Plenty of people walk the entire course, so I planned on participating regardless of whether or not I was able to run, but I had hoped that I’d still be running when this race came around.

The morning of the race, I felt good—good enough to give running a shot. Several people gave my huge-ish bump the once over and assumed I would be walking or standing on the sidelines. I took a lot of pleasure in telling them that I’ve been running my entire pregnancy, and while I wasn’t sure I’d make it all 3.1 miles, I was certainly planning on running part of the course and walking the remainder.

Ego much?

And we were off… 
I started at a pace that I thought was slower than my already slow ass, not pregnant pace of about 12 minutes per mile. I figured I was somewhere between a 12:30 and 13 minute pace. In other words, S-L-O-W, but hey, I was running, and it felt good. To my surprise when I hit the first mike marker I looked down at my watch to see that I had just passed 11 minutes and 30 seconds—not bad. I still felt good, so I kept running and resisted the urge to speed up.

I did decide that I would walk through the water station and drink a full glass of water just to play it safe. While it was a cool morning, it was reasonably humid, and I didn’t want to take any chances with dehydration. My water/walking break lasted approximately 1 minute 30 seconds, and as soon as I tossed my cup, I started running again. I finished with an official pace of 12:12, total time of 37:54. I went into this thinking that anything under 40 would be pretty decent, and while this was certainly not my “fastest” race, it wasn’t too shabby for the officially-in-her-3rd-trimester-pregnancy-lady.

Maybe more importantly, running this race made me feel like maybe it isn't quite time to hang up my running shoes. Maybe I have a few more weeks of running left in me. We shall see…

Thursday, May 03, 2012

There and Back Again (An Almost 3rd Trimester Update)

There seems to be some debate about when the third trimester actually begins (week 27, week 28, who knows, really?), but the fact remains, at 27 weeks, I’m gearing up for the final round. We’re officially back from our last hurrah as a freewheeling, childless couple (more on that in another post). And after a fairly low-key winter socially, every weekend in May and June seems to be spoken for with weddings, showers (both bridal and baby), and family commitments--not to mention the hours we’ll log at baby classes.

Pregnancy Pains
I really can’t complain about anything seriously, symptom-wise, though knowing me, I do/will anyway. One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed over the last few weeks is that I get winded very easily now. In Austin, we took the hotel’s bikes out for about five or six hours and rode around the city. My body is not acclimated to riding up and down hills anyway, and these days, I can’t make it up a flight of steps without huffing and puffing. I walked my bikes up several hills (which was not easy). Kind of embarrassing for someone who still has four more weeks of teaching a fitness class, but what can you do?

Though I still think I have it pretty easy, everyday stuff is definitely getting harder. I grunt a lot to illustrate the difficulty in performing normal tasks like sitting up, laying down, rolling over (and apparently my normal tasks have been reduced to a repertoire of simple dog tricks).

Thing I Still Do
Everyone likes to ask you how you’re feeling when you’re pregnant. I generally feel good, and since I like to talk about myself (see: this blog), I usually give people the rundown of what I’m still doing. This includes: sleeping through the night (for the most part), sleeping comfortably on my back (this is kind of surprising, and my doctor didn’t exactly give me her blessing on this one, but based on my own research, it seems like as long as I’m not getting lightheaded, short of breath or experiencing numbness, this is OK), and teaching Zumba and working out four times a week. And... yeah, that’s all I got. The “still teaching Zumba” things seems to be the most impressive, so I’ll take it.

Reality Bites
Minor panic that we’re in the home stretch--a long-ish home stretch, but the home stretch nonetheless. I can easily rattle off our commitments for nearly every weekend between now and early July, which makes it feel like there’s very little time for all the pre-baby to dos I have on my list. But slowly and since being back from Austin, MM and I have been trying to use our available free time to get shit done.

Pregnant and Running
In the last few weeks, running has become significantly harder, there’s no denying that. However, this weekend I am running a 5K--my first race since the fall. This race will basically determine whether I can keep running (or even run/walking) or if it’s time to back off and focus on other forms of exercise.

Le Bump
I don't know why I keep taking early morning, pre-workout photos of myself and posting them. They are basically the worst. Oh well...

27 weeks and counting...
I have minor bump hysteria from time to time. I often look in the mirror and am horrified by how huge I am. I am convinced that people must think I'm due in a few weeks, not a few months. But then I take a photo and realize that maybe I'm not as huge in reality as I am in my head.

Momentary Lapse
It's been a stupid busy week getting back into real life again. I actually started this blog post four days ago. Hopefully I'll be more consistent now that things are settling back into normal life again.