Friday, August 16, 2013

25 Weeks and I can't see my feet...

Well, I am officially 25 weeks pregnant!  Things are really starting to come together, I couldn't be happier!  Here's what's been going on...

Physically:  My belly is huge!  (see pix below)  I think I'll bypass that 25-35 pound weight gain recommendation.  I recently read, however, that the average weight gain is between 40-50 pounds...that makes me feel a little better, but I also carry it worse since I'm only 5'3".   I have finally been feeling Stella move!  Everyone kept saying "oh, you'll just know when you feel a kick"  Well guess what?  I didn't just know, which made me feel like a bad mom.  It was more like- is she moving?  am I hungry (again?)  do I have to pee (again?)  But then one day the movements were stronger, and by then I was sure it was her!  Mark has yet to feel her kick.  I think it might be because she was sitting farther back in there than normal (not a concern, just harder to feel her move).  I thought I might have been having some Braxton Hicks contractions this week, but wasn't sure.  Nothing strong enough to be concerned about.  Speaking of being concerned, this is a time to be very tuned into your body.  My insurance sent me a copy of the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy book in the mail, and I consult that (and also What to Expect when you're Expecting) every time I feel like something's "off" with my body.  They provide such comfort and let me know when I should call the doctor and when it's just my new "normal".  I'm trying to find that fine line between being safe and cautious and just plain crazy!  I purchased some of the new Tums mints to help with heartburn on the recommendation of one of Mark's co-workers.  They are fantastic!  They work instantly, are not chalky, and leave you with fresh breath too!  The only other symptom I've had was last weekend on Food Prep Sunday...after doing some veggie freezing from our garden, making 2 loaves of bread, a dozen oatmeal muffins, dark chocolate brownies, oatmeal cookies, and fruit dicing and washing, my feet were really swollen!  Guess I can't keep up like I used to...  Otherwise, I feel great-eating better, getting in some cardio and yoga, and got my energy back...let's hope this carries into the 3rd Trimester (which is just around the corner already).

Emotionally:  I feel like my old self again, gone are the random crying outbursts (for now)!  A few weeks ago I was feeling really overwhelmed...there's so much to prepare for and I am so clueless!  I found a few checklists on Pinterest- one I consult weekly (view it here ) and one I consult monthly (view it here).  There are certainly more lists out there, but I chose just 2 so I don't lose my mind!  I also read What to Expect While you're Expecting, The Pregnancy Countdown Book (Susan Magee), and Preparing for a Healthy Baby (Kendis Moore Drake-my doctor gave me this book).  I also recommend reading Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy.  It made me laugh, cry, and I also consult it with symptoms from time to time!  In addition to all this reading, I keep a daily log in The Pregnancy Journal (A. Christine Harris).  My sister-in-law gave me this book and I love it!  It's also packed with good information.  Now, that may be too much reading for most, but I LOVE to read so I think it's great!  These sources of information help me feel prepared, like I won't miss something important as I get ready for Stella to arrive.  I also made a checklist of the things I want to accomplish (both for Stella and in general) before my due date.  What can I say, it's that OCD/organization kicking in again!  I like to feel prepared, it helps me relax.  So with all that under control, I don't feel overwhelmed anymore.  Even if that's too extreme for most people, I suggest taking baby steps (hehehe) to feel prepared for your little bundle of joy...more work up front always helps you feel less stressed in the future!

What I've been up to:  Major headway in the nursery!  Once it was cleared out and cleaned, Mark painted it and cleaned the carpets.  We ordered a crib and glider and got them set up.  My sister loaned us her changing table, so that's in there now as well.  I decided on a "theme" (although my sister Abby laughs at me because I'm not a typical theme/pink kinda mom) and began some basic decorating.  I'll post a picture of the nursery in a bit, just waiting on a few other finishing touches before I do.  Abby and I also attended a class on cloth diapering last weekend.  It was very informative and overwhelming at the same time!  It was run by a stay-at-home mom out of her home.  She has a shop in her basement that carries countless diapers and related products.  She also offers help setting up a diaper registry and is available for questions.  She has a wonderful website!  I still have a little more research to do before I set up my registry but I am looking forward to this journey!  Yes, it will be a little more work and more money up front.  And while I would never push my beliefs on anyone, to each their own, I am personally excited about going the cloth diaper route.  It is better for the environment, cheaper in the long run, and safer for your baby.  All things I value highly!  The last baby activity in my world was being interviewed for the local newspaper.  I went in last Monday to give my opinions on the Harmony Test we had done back in May (see this post to read more).  Basically I just filled her in on why we chose to have the test done, how we heard of it, and how it worked.  She also interviewed a midwife for the article, which is being published to inform pregnant women about this new genetic test available to them.  I was excited to be a part of it because I don't see the point in doing the 1st Trimester Screening if the next step is the Harmony Test anyway.  It was nice to save money and time and skip the first test, and I hope that is an option to other moms as well in the future.  Looking forward to reading the article next week!  (hopefully I can post the article onto the blog for those wanting more information).

And finally, the latest prego pictures:

Going for my diabetes test next week, so I'll post again after I find out how delicious that drink is!

Monday, August 5, 2013

All-Natural Homemade Dog Treats

Mark and I used to talk about getting a dog all the time after we graduated college.  I wanted a small dog, one who was cuddly and would sit on my lap.  He wanted a German Shepherd.  We put off getting a dog because we couldn't agree on what kind.  Well, knowing my weaknesses he started showing me YouTube videos of German Shepherds playing with bunnies, kitties, and babies.  I was sold!  We found a guy in our local paper who was breeding his pet dog and wanting to sell the puppies.  We picked out our boy 4th of July weekend in 2008.  Kaiser is a wonderful dog.  He is very disciplined, listens well, was potty trained in a week and taught how to sit, stay, shake (with both hands, using the proper one of course) and high-five all in one day (speak came later)!  And much to my surprise and delight, I got my cuddly lap dog.

We have been feeding Kaiser Science Diet since we got him and have been happy with it.  We started with the puppy formula and moved to large breed dog when he turned 1.  We usually buy it in bulk (6 or 7 bags) when it's on sale.  It's a little more expensive, but the better quality is worth it.  He loves the food, and he is very healthy with a beautiful coat.

Until recently we've been feeding him whatever dog treats were on sale.  As part of my "going homemade" switch I decided Kaiser is worth the switch too!  I began by making a homemade "doggie birthday cake" this year when he turned 4.  I used this recipe, but instead of putting carrots on top I crumbled up a dog treat and used it as "sprinkles."  Kaiser approved of his cake!  (Note:  This cake lasted a few weeks, he didn't get it all at once!)

Today I gave Kaiser his last packaged dog treat.  I baked him some homemade treats using this recipe.  I only had vegetable oil on hand, so I subbed that for the canola oil.  Also, I recommend only using 2 cups of flour, because you'll need to keep sprinkling some on the dough each time you roll it out.  The dough was so easy, I whipped it up in about 2 minutes (with no mixer!).  I wanted to cut the treats in a bone shape, but my bone cookie cutter was huge and I didn't want to mess with breaking the treats each time I went to give him one.  So I selected a small star from this mega pack of cutters I found at Wal-Mart for $10.

Quite the steal!  One batch made all these treats:

Kaiser only gets 1 treat a day on an average day, so I estimate one batch will last about 3 months, give or take.  Since the treats are all-natural, they won't keep like packaged ones will.  What I did was put about 2 weeks worth in his treat jar and stashed it in the fridge.  I put the rest of the treats in a freezer Ziploc bag and stuck it in the freezer to re-stock the jar every couple of weeks.

Kaiser had a very successful taste-test after his dinner tonight!  I will never buy treats again, these are all-natural, easy to make, and very inexpensive!  Give the recipes a try, you won't be disappointed!