30 Weeks and My Prenatal Exercise Routine

Hey greenies, I'm in the process of being "snowed in" as we speak! They're calling it "The Blizzard of 2011" here in the Midwest. The snow was pretty light this morning, but it has been steadily increasing as the day's gone on and they're predicting that we may get 18 inches or more! With that in mind, school has already been cancelled for tomorrow- woo hoo! B is home with me as well, and we're having a nice relaxing snow day with our two dogs...it would be way more fun if Avery was here too, but I'm sure we'll get to experience that next year! One of my favorite things about snow days is getting caught up on my blog posts, so here's a little update for you! I'm in my 30th week of pregnancy now and things are going great. As you can see from the pic to the left the students in my class (which range in age from 3-5 years old) have had a fun time watching my belly grow and feeling Avery move around and kick. You can see more pics of my 30 week belly in the exercise pics that follow. ( :

Last night we met with our midwife and that went great. She checked my blood sugar for gestational diabetes and my number was right on target at 95 (I wasn't fasting or anything and had a green smoothie about an hour beforehand) . She also measured my belly (or the more official term is measuring the "fundal height") which is the length in centimeters from my pubic bone to the top of my uterus when I'm lying down. Usually you want the measurement to be around the number of weeks you are pregnant (give or take 2 cm) and I'm at 30 weeks and I measured 30 centimeters. Way to go Avery! It's kind of fun because she uses the same paper tape measure each week, so we can look back and see what I measured back in November (when she started doing these measurements) to see how much I've grown since then and at the first measurement I was 20 centimetres. Keep on growing Avery! The last thing she checked was her heartbeat which sounded nice and clear. We will see our midwife again in 2 weeks, as our appointments are now 2 weeks apart instead of 4 since I'm getting closer to the end of my pregnancy! He he! ( :

Moving on, something I've been interested in posting about for awhile now is my prenatal exercise routine. Before I was pregnant, I would work out for about an hour and a half each day (1 hour-long workout in the morning before work, and then 30 minutes of yoga when I got home) and I feel very grateful to say that I've been able to keep that up throughout my pregnancy. Obviously my workouts have changed a little bit in how they are much lower-impact, and with more of an emphasis on stretching, but I still try to keep with that same amount of time. In fact, I can't imagine my pregnancy without my workouts! On those days when I feel lousy, large, and uncomfortable, I workout and I feel 10 times better! I feel like it helps with my mood, my overall energy level, coping with the common aches and pains of pregnancy, and the way I feel about my growing and changing body. There have been many interesting studies done on the benefits of exercise during pregnancy, one of which I will mention below, and another you can find here which found that a 20-minute exercise bike ride was found to be as effective as insulin given to pregnant women with gestational diabetes! Seriously, a 20 minute workout instead of taking insulin? Rock on prenatal exercise!

Let's get our workout on!

Let me share some details, resources, and pictures of my prenatal exercise routine. I will mention several workout DVDs below, all of which I tried out first on Netflix. I highly recommend you do that as well with any exercise DVD, because it gives you some "trial" time with it, so you can see if you like it before you end up spending your money on it. All of the DVDs I'll mention can be found on Netflix.com. Don't have a Netflix account? Try your local library or at least get them used on Amazon.com if you feel inclined to buy them first. Now on to the workouts...

Time to walk.
Walking: So one workout that I do every other day is to walk on the treadmill. Back in my pre-pregnancy days, I would run on my treadmill, but that stopped around month 2 or so of being pregnant because it just didn't feel comfortable and my energy was kind of low in the first trimester. Now I walk...but I do it for an hour. To challenge myself in this workout, I try to raise the incline every 5 minutes, so I end up at about 8.0 or 8.5. I used to increase the speed a little as well, but around week 28 or so, I started to get a little tightness in my abdomen when I did this, so I took it as I sign that I need to chill it out a little bit, so lately I've been keeping the speed a little lower. I love having a treadmill in my basement for a number of reasons: I can go workout anytime, I can watch tv (usually I'll pop in one of my favorite documentaries or shows I've "Tivoed" which currently include: The Biggest Loser, The Bachelor, or just some old episodes of The Office), or I read...I know reading on the treadmill is kind of weird, but I like it! Nearly all the topics I've posted about on this blog have come from books I've read while working out on the treadmill!

Fan, book, treadmill...and a bathroom near by, perfect for
a pregnant mama!

Here's my little treadmill set-up to the left featuring my "ghetto-rigged" fan, something I am infamous for (what can I say, I love air blowing right on me when I work out- lol!). This fan works great and it just sits on a chair, and although it's not exactly the best decorating feature of the room, it works for me! As you can see I usually have a book set up on the "dashboard" of the treadmill, and I alternate between reading or watching TV. One more benefit of working out at home is that I have a bathroom nearby at all times, which is a good feature when you have a baby pressing on your bladder when you're trying to workout!

Pilates time!
Pilates or Strength Training: The other workout that I alternate with walking is to do pilates. I found a great DVD in my early weeks of pregnancy that I do often called 10 Minute Solutions Prenatal Pilates. It is 50 minutes total and it has 5, 10-minutes segments: standing pilates, core pilates, pilates for buns and thighs, total body pilates, and pilates for flexibility. One of my favorite sections is "Core Pilates" because I figured that once I was pregnant, I couldn't do a single ab exercise for nine months, but that's not the case! In this section you do a variety of exercises (all with the support of a large pillow...I use a small couch cushion as you can see with the pic to the left) that help strengthen my abdominal and back muscles. Another feature I like about this DVD is that the pace is very quick. Since there are only 10 minutes allotted for each section the instructor, who is 36 weeks pregnant herself, goes very quickly through each exercise, which I love! Sometimes pregnancy workout DVDs go slow stinking slow it drives me mad...just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean I need to move as slow as a turtle, come on! So I love that this DVD doesn't waste anytime.

Still working those abs!

Before I was pregnant, I would alternate my treadmill workouts with a strength training workout, something I just created based on a number of workout DVDs I'd used in the past, taking a lot from Core Secrets (with an exercise ball and some free weights) as well as some Winsor pilates, and P90X. But since I'm pregnant, I tend to stick with this Prenatal Pilates DVD, and luckily it utilizes some strength training in two of the sections for which I use 3lb. weights, and it works well for me. Here I am to the right doing some more of the pilates DVD, a lot which takes place on your hands and knees...a common theme in prenatal workouts, but I don't mind. Pilates' emphasis on stretching and flexibility has really helped me feel great throughout my pregnancy and I think it's kept my body feeling strong and lean, despite the use of mega dumbbells or a heavy impact workout.

Here is a preview of the 10 Minute Solutions Prenatal Pilates DVD I mentioned above:

Yoga: The last workout I do on a daily basis is yoga. I love the way it feels as I stretch, practice deep breathing, and relax from my day. As if I wasn't sold enough on yoga as it is, I came across an interesting study that found if pregnant women did yoga for an hour a day (as compared to walking for an hour a day) that they were: less likely to have preterm labor, less likely to develop hypertension, and more likely to have an ideal-weight baby. Go yoga mommies!

As I mentioned before, I used to do yoga for about 30 minutes a day after getting home from work and since I've been pregnant this has continued...only now I do prenatal yoga! Granted some days when I'm feeling really tired, I just take a nap instead of yoga...but on most days, I try to do both. Back before I was pregnant, I posted about my favorite yoga DVD series: Namaste Yoga, in this post. And although I still love it, it moves a little quicker for me now and I find myself having to modify nearly every exercise so that I can comfortably do it. So, it wasn't long before I began searching for a good prenatal yoga DVD to take it's place. I believe I've found it with, "Anna Getty's Divine Mother Prenatal Yoga Series" DVD. I've scoured the Internet to try and find a video clip that best shows this DVD, but none were available...grrr, so I'll settle for a picture of the DVD I suppose! I love this DVD because it utilizes Kundulini yoga, a practice that I hadn't had much experience with in the past, but I've found that it feels extremely good now that I'm pregnant.

When I first started doing this DVD, I would finish and feel so much more energetic and more connected to my baby...probably because the movements are tailored to increase blood flow to your abdomen and baby, as well as stretch those areas that get tense and tight (back, hips, etc.) during pregnancy. Although there are additional sections on the DVD, I primarily do the "Floor Exercises" and "Standing Exercises", which together total about 45 minutes. Despite the old looking, retro-DVD cover, the DVD is actually very modern and features great music and a beautiful background...see note below about alternate DVD title. I also love that Anna, the instructor, has a voice-over narration during the workout, so that she isn't trying to lead the workout and talk at the same time (a yoga DVD pet peeve of mine). There are many exercises in this DVD that I feel help me prepare my body for labor and delivery, and some that I may even utilize during my labor so I love that! I highly suggest you try it out! *Just a note if you have a Netflix account, it is listed under the DVD title: "Anna Getty's Pre and Post Natal Workout". There are two discs included and the one with the workout I describe above, is on Disc 1. Not sure why there is a change in the title of the DVD, but this is the DVD I use for this workout.

Another yoga DVD that I like is: "Living Room Yoga with Eva Barash: Prenatal Workout". This workout is one hour long, so I usually don't do this one after work, but I do sometimes throw it in my morning workout rotation when I'm tired of treadmill, pilates, treadmill, pilates! I didn't think I would like this workout much because it seems kind of low budget, but the instructor does a good job of keeping the pace going and having a good balance of stretching and strengthening exercises that feel great for my growing pregnant body!

Here's a preview of her Living Room Yoga DVD Series (which does feature a few scenes from the prenatal yoga DVD):

The last yoga DVD I use often is "Yoga Journal's: Yoga for Your Pregnancy with Kristen Eykel". Although this DVD could be turned into an hour-long workout routine, I typically do the "Energizing Practice" which is about 30 minutes. I like using this DVD because it provides some variety to my yoga practice, the stretches feel very good as my belly continues to grow, and it helps me to relax. Two things I don't like about this video are: the slow speed, and the fact that the instructor takes forever to talk about each pose. As you can see from my discussion of the pilates video above, I like my workouts to flow right though from one exercise to another so when I have to pause for a minute or two in between each yoga position, it gets a little annoying. I try to just relax during those "talking breaks" and focus on my deep breathing, instead of trying to rush things along. All in all, it's a decent yoga DVD that gives me some variety, but it can't quite compare to the Anna Getty Yoga DVD to me.

Here's a preview of this DVD:

No matter how you workout when you're pregnant,
just make sure it's fun! ( :
So that's a nice long review of my prenatal exercise routine and some of my favorite workout DVDs that I use on a daily basis at this point in my pregnancy. I'm interested to see if I continue with the same workouts as my pregnancy progresses, or if I need to modify things a bit more as I get closer to the end. Either way, I'll keep you all posted! Feel free to post any questions you may have about my workout routine, or if you have any good prenatal exercise tips or favorite DVDs that you've used in the past. I'd love to hear about them!

And the winner is...

Commenter #16...Ashley L!  I'm delighted to give this gift certificate to another mommy who works hard and loves her little boy to pieces!  Ashley, since I know where to find you, I'll be contacting you shortly for your prize :).

Again, thanks to all who read these little ramblings of mine, and thanks to those who decided to be part of this giveaway.  I'm hoping for more in the future!  I had so much fun reading your comments and even found a few great blogs to add to my reading list.  A special shout-out to the Spencer 'stalkers!'  It's been fun hearing Beau reminisce about the 'glory days!'  It really is a small world, after all.  

Happy Sunday.  We're slowly recovering around here, and happy to have found some time to wash bed sheets, clean out the fridge, and get groceries.  It's looking like a snow storm might be heading our way soon; maybe a snow day will be in the stars...

Refueling the Engine

It's been quite a week to say the least.  I'm testing the waters on my 'low fuel' light, and as I slowly trudge my way up the hill, I can slowly see the destination, the ever-so-important 'refuel' weekend, in sight.  I know I can make it; however, it seems so long and never-ending.  I think Cruz and I need some Little Engine that Could tonight.

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.

I didn't take any pictures this week.  I didn't update Cruz's baby book, or make the bed, or change our poor, neglected cat's litter.  We did, however, figure out what smelled like death in our fridge, manage to dirty every single wash cloth in Cruz's drawer, and bond as a family over chicken soup, Vitamin C, and American Idol.  Our house currently looks like a sick clinic, and I'm starting to see mucous in my sleep.

Before having Cruz, I remember looking at the lengthy class listings new parents could take to prepare for their bundle of joy.  Classes on changing a diaper and soothing a baby.  Classes on breathing during labor and latching a car seat.  Classes on stork bites, baby baths, and breast pumps.  But one thing they do not prepare new parents for is the first time their sweet little baby gets sick.

It's been a tough week, but I've never felt more like a 'mom' in my life.

...A mom who types lesson plans with one hand in a dark living room at five o'clock in the morning, while cradling my baby in the other arm, all in order to hold him upright so his little nose can drain the utter yuck that's filling it.

...A mom who trades dress pants and a day at work for pajamas and a much needed sick day.  A day where long naps meet warm baths, Goodnight Moon meets whispers of 'mama's here,' and chicken soup meets soft kisses on mattery eyes and a runny nose.

...A mom who waits in an endless line of hacking, coughing, and sneezing Cedar Fallians, ready to purchase about every baby cold and flu product known to man.  Saline wipes, saline drops, Vick's vapor rub, vapor bath, and vapor night lights. 

...A mom who forgets to buy something for supper, as well as something for her own fire-like sore throat, and goes back to wait in an endless line of hacking, coughing, and sneezing Cedar Fallians.

...A mom who wants to literally take her baby and run after seeing an 'RSV Warning' sign posted on the day care room door.

...A mom who thinks she has every right to demand that her son is held and cuddled with every minute of the day care day, regardless of the other sweet babies who need attention and love. 

...A mom who calls the sweet nurse at the doctor's office in tears, desperately seeking to purchase a button that will make Cruz's cold disappear, and getting a prescription for reassurance and encouragement instead.

...A mom who would give anything to take Cruz's runny nose, helpless cough, and teary eyes for an entire year if it meant he would be cold-free. 

...A mom who is learning from her baby, who continues to smile while getting snot sucked out of his nose, that this really isn't too bad.   His Look Who's Talking voice is saying, 'Yo, Mom.  I'm fine."

We're fine.  The weekend is in sight.

Have a good one!  The giveaway winner will be announced on Sunday :)

Petunia Bud Fairy Giveaway

I love all my customers and friends.....and I want to say thank you for  almost  a year of  making these little dolls.  I feel so fortunate to have found something in my life that gives me so much pleasure.

The little doll will be a 10" Petunia Bud Fairy made with a soft thick boulce with pink highlights and a little fairy dress/leggings and wool felt fairy wings.

Please just leave me a way to get in touch with you if you would like to enter. Everyone is invited to enter. I will have Brodie eat a name,  pull a name on Wednesday 2/2. LOL  Some of my longtime readers will remember Brodie's way of picking names.
Here are some pictures of my fairies:

Take care,

Shopping for Shoes

My life is a lot like shoe shopping.
In October, I found a pair that
I never wanted to take off.

A perfect fit,
A perfect love,
I wanted to show them off to everyone.

And just when these shoes were beginning to
break in,
it was time for a new pair.
A stiff pair of stilettos.

Take a deep breath,
Walk slow,
Be steady not to trip.
And balance.

Balance this new life of motherhood,
and wifehood.

I'm walking slower and missing that old pair so much,
but slowly, surely,
finding my feet again.

I've Got the Blues (and I Love it).

Blue, for now, is the most common color that I have in the inks and pens I own. It is one of the few colors that I can use in a professional setting, and I often select a variation of blue depending on my mood. I will be doing reviews of some of these pens/ink individually, but I wanted to get this posting up to show how great these colors are. 

One surprising finding was that the Uniball Vision Elite Blue-Black was remarkably close to the Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo. The Uniball even had similar shading, which is far less common in rollerballs. Some of blues look way different than I expect them to when they are compared side by side. 

For brighter blues, the Waterman South Sea Blue and the Pentel Slicci .7 Sky Blue are really fantastic.
For darker blues, I love the Sharpie Pen Grip Blue, the Pilot Blue (Pilot Varsity), and the Private Reserve American Blue.

I was not as big a fan of the Zebra Sarasa 1.0 Shiny Blue or the Uniball Jetstream Light Blue (I prefer the regular Jetstream Blue). The Noodler's Blue-Black was also quite similar to Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo and the Uniball Vision Blue-Black. 

So, what are your favorite blues?

Charmed Whirlygig Quiltalong Fabric Needs

Thank you to Jacque for posting on the flickr page the fabric requirements when my internet connection was being wonky.  
Here is what she posted:
***So...here's what you need to make a whirlygig quilt...
2 charm packs. Yes, two. Of the same fabric collection. Two charms makes one whirlygig. If your charm pack has 42 charms, you'll finish with 42 whirlygigs...for a 6 x 7 square layout.
You'll also need about 1.5 yards of background fabric. 
You'll need more fabric for the borders (if desired), backing, and binding.****

Here is my fabric just waiting to be cut into....I am so excited about using the "Bliss" fabric. 
I have a yard of the blue  for my border and 1/2 of a yard of the red for the binding.  I always say this quilt is a "cheap but cheerful" one to make. :-)
Looking forward to seeing you on the 6th of February,

Church, Cheese Dip, and a Third-String Quarterback

182 games and only 2 playoffs.  The last time the Bears and Packers played in the post-season was in 1941.  Now, 70 years later, the Bears were looking for their first Superbowl win in 25 years.  And while Jay Cutler decided his knee hurt too bad to finish the NFC Championship game, Caleb Hanie, the Bears' THIRD string QB nearly pulled it off.   

The positives?  We can actually watch the Superbowl with our friends instead of couped up in the house so Beau can 'focus,' and Cruz no longer has to wear his Bears jersey to church for let's see, the 18th Sunday in a row.  How many weeks do I have until baseball season starts???

Much like the Bears game this afternoon, this weekend was filled with a roller coaster of ups and downs.  Cruz woke up Saturday morning with his very first cold.  I found him face first in a puddle of snot-slobber and his little head was so congested.  Poor baby.  He had no idea what was going on, but I could tell he didn't feel like himself.  We spent the majority of Saturday holding him, and I became pretty good at the whole nasal aspirator thing.  He was so sweet, still trying to smile and play, but usually settling for a head on our shoulder instead.  I felt helpless and desperate for my little one most of the day.  

I guess a lot of snuggling and cuddling is the best medicine for a baby's first cold.  By Saturday night, the Cruz Man was starting to act like himself again.  After a warm bath, some fresh pjs, and a snot-free blanket on the floor, Cruz played with his toys and we cooked in the kitchen.  One of my favorites, chicken tetrazzini.  We had a carpet picnic on the living room floor, watched TV in between puppet shows and plastic cup towers, and enjoyed a nice night inside.  

Sunday morning, Cruz once again woke up with a plugged nose and watery eyes.  I thought it seemed like a good idea to stay in, but Beau insisted we head to church.  I think he wanted to pray for his Bears.  

I guess Cruz was as nervous about the game as his father was.  Today was the first morning I had to take him out during the sermon.  Not because he was fussy, though.  He pooped.  Or so I thought.  It ended up being a false alarm, so, as I lugged my baby and baby bag back to our pew (no pun intended), five minutes later, we had the real thing.  This time, however, I made the decision to barrel through the last ten minutes of church with a stinky baby.  Cruz didn't seem to mind a bit; however, his father made quite a scene.  Instead of take part in the last song, Beau decided it was a better idea to make gagging faces at me and stand about two feet away from me and Stinky.  Needless to say, I didn't catch a whole lot of the sermon this morning ;).

After a bottle and more importantly, a fresh diaper, Cruz was ready to party.  Let's just say his game face looked a little bit different than the Bears' starting lineup.   

The first half was far from entertaining for this family.  So, while the offensive line decided not to block and Jay Cutler decided not to play, we decided to make our own fun...
We had some tummy time (notice the drool)...

Conversed with the creepy baby face toy during the second quarter...Cruz was mesmerized.

Practiced our touchdown dance...

And took a nap during half-time.  By the time we (Cruz and I) woke up, Cutler was chillin on the sidelines and Todd Collins was getting his first ever field time (we should have kept napping)... 

At least we had cheese dip.

At Wal-Mart yesterday, I came across a pack of Bears napkins.  I couldn't resist, and not only left with the napkins, but groceries for deviled eggs, hamburger cheese dip, bacon wrapped smokies, and ham and swiss slammers.  Sunday's spread was made complete with a couple of Bud Lights, a bag of M&Ms (which were ironically missing the yellow and green ones), and a perfect tailgate feast for two (or twenty).

The Bears couldn't quite get it done, but Cruz was able to see a pretty great and unexpected season football for his first season of life. I guess the best things are worth waiting for!  And Mark and Janet...Cruz sure got some good use out of his little jersey! 

Bring on some warm weather and Chicago Cubs baseball! 

29 Weeks and Hypnobirthing Classes

Hey everyone, I am officially 29 weeks now and just starting out my 3rd and final trimester (started last week). It's hard to believe that there's only 11 weeks left! It has gone by so fast. Things have been going great, and really I was struggling with what to blog about this week because there really isn't much going on with my pregnancy...which I think is a good thing!

29 weeks

No frantic phone calls to my midwife, crazy uncomfortable symptoms, or other medical issues. What can I say, I love my "boring pregnancy"! I've had a little bit of lower back pain that has comes and goes every once in a while, probably just from my growing belly. Usually I can prevent the backache by doing yoga daily, and going to my chiropractor every two weeks. Using lots of pillows to support my belly and back when I sleep seems to help as well.

As you can see, Avery has been growing quite a bit and my belly seems to be starting to grow OUT now, rather than UP, so that's been kind of fun to see. Needless to say, mostly all of the shirts I wear nowadays are maternity shirts...this one is a pre-pregnancy one though- still making it work! I think it's days are numbered though as you can tell from the way it sticks out and rises up where my belly is...LOL!

One thing we have started lately is our birth classes. I fell in love with the Hypnobirth book featured below by Marie Mongan before I was pregnant, and when my midwife mentioned that there was a Hypnobirthing instructor in our area, I knew I was game! Why Hypnobirthing you might ask? When I say "hypnobirthing" the image most people get in their mind is that someone will hypnotize me with a some funky crystal and then put me in a trance for the birth. This is not the hypnotizing state that hypnobirthing refers to.

The goal of hypnobirthing is to enter a calm, relaxed state where the mother's body is able to do what it does naturally and best...give birth to her baby...without the help of drugs or other outside influences. Hypnobirthing is also about releasing fear and negative images/thoughts associated with birth like: "It's going to hurt like crazy!" or "The only way I'll get through it is if I have an epidural!"

Don't get me wrong, this birthing perspective may not be for everyone, and by no means am I trying to convince you to go the hypnobirthing route. I think that every woman should do what feels right for herself and her baby. If you feel comfortable with another birth philosophy or with more medical interventions, then by all means go for that. I just love envisioning Baby Avery's birth with the hypnobirthing strategies, where it be calm, peaceful, private, and I will feel confident in my body and my ability to give birth naturally.

Our amazing instructor's website is called, Superbirth.com and basically we meet once a week for 5 weeks. Our class takes place on a Sunday and lasts for 2.5 hours. The cost for the class is about $300 and it comes with a copy of the book, and a notebook with additional articles and relaxation scripts. There are two other couples in our class, though B and I are the only "first time" parents. During our first class session we reviewed some Hypnobirthing history, the importance of choosing a care provider who will support your "birth preferences", changing the language associated with birth (switching out words like "surges" for "contractions" and "birth companion" instead of "birth coach"), and we tried out a few relaxation techniques. During our second class session, we watched a few Hypnobirthing births, talked about different settings in which you can have your baby (hospital, home, birth center), and tried out some of the deep-relaxation techniques mentioned in the book. Boy, was it one relaxing class!

If this philosphy is something that you like and can see working for you in the future, feel free to check out the Hypnobirthing website here. Here's a section on the website that explains the philosophy. My instructor also has some great descriptions of Hypnobirthing as well as a list of the many benefits associated with this approach listed on her website here, which I highly recommend checking out.

Now if you like to learn by watching, rather than reading (which I like to do!)- check out these YouTube videos that help explain Hypnobirthing a little bit more and allow you to see it put into practice.

This first video is 2 separate news stories that explain hypnobirthing, take you inside a hypnobirthing class (somewhat similar to the one I'm currently taking), and follow a couple that used HypnoBirthing with their babies. What I love about this video is that they show real people using Hypnobirhting...and having success with it!

Next up is a video of an actual birth (beware, if this freaks you out, stick with the clip above because it's not as graphic as this one!) in which the mother utlized the Hypnobirthing practices. What I love about this video is how calm and relaxed the mother is. Also, you can see how her husband/birth partner takes on a very supportive role in the birth by encouraging her and helping her to go deeper into her relaxation. Start taking notes Brandon! ( :

This video is basically the cliff-notes of the video above in how it shows the Hypnobirthing strategies being used, but in a shortened way. Still a good one though!

So, that's just some of the highlights of the Hypnobirthing approach, and as my classes continue I will post more information about this childbirth method and how we are preparing to use it in Avery's birth. Have a great week!

A Mug every day keeps the Paper Cup waste away!

by Katy Green

Did you know that if you use a mug for your coffee or tea instead of a paper cup you are saving much more than trees? 

Paper cup recycling is not NEW to most people but the paper cup love affair is still strong in America and worldwide. In addition, most fast food and coffee shop retailers still serve beverages in paper cups.

To make matters worse, there is a ton of conflicting statements about paper cup decomposition and recycling on the internet - so to quench my thirst for paper cup facts, I scoured the web for several hours.  I discovered a couple things I did not know about paper cup recycling and a few questionable statements. Here goes:
  1. The paper cup was invented in 1907 (knew that)
  2. According to the Ministry of Environment, paper cup manufacturers use 20 - 25 year old trees to produce paper cups. (Ministry of Environment)
  3. The United States is the largest consumer of paper cups out of 220 billion cups worldwide the USA consumes 130 billion cups. That is a lot of paper people. (Eastern Europack)
  4. Over 6.5 million trees were cut down in 2006 to make 16 billion paper cups in the USA which is a lot less than what we consume but other countries like China produce paper cups for US consumption. (Korea Today)
  5. Most paper cups are created with a resin or glue to help with holding liquid. According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, it is very difficult if not nearly impossible to recycle a paper cup because of the resin. (RSC)
  6. The RSC states, that paper cups produce 93.8 percent greenhouse gas - methane and C02. (RSC)
  7. According to many sources, paper cups do not biodegrade easily because they are made of wood pulp and resin and it take between 5 - 20 years to recycle depending on climate - moist is better than dry. (too many sources to list)
  8. It is not true that a Styrofoam cup is any better (many sources state that because production of a Styrofoam cup uses less energy than a paper cup) because it is compressed air and although it may disintegrate it will never fully biodegrade and there is no service available for recycling Styrofoam. (Biodegradable Institute)
  9. Styrofoam cups are created using a polystyrene manufacturing process which is the fifth largest creator of hazardous material in 1986, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  10. The primary chemical, styrene according to the EPA is listed as a possible carcinogen which can cause depression, headaches, damage to nervous system and many other alarming ailments.(EPA)
  11. Recycled plastic cups or recycled paper cups are better than non- recycled. (Katy's opinion)
  12. Starbucks is famous for promoting their post consumer fiber (PCF) paper cups that can be recycled into new cups according to an SBUX November 2010 press release.
  13. Starbucks has ambitious goal to make 100% of their paper cups reusable and recyclable by 2015. 
  14. Starbucks offers a 10 cents discount (not 10% as posted on other sites) on any beverage anytime for anyone that brings their reusable travel mug.
To remedy the paper cup debacle you can use a mug or reusable travel mug instead:
  • Vintage mugs are great
  • Recycled Glass Mugs
  • BPA Free Mugs
  • Non Toxic Cups
  • Handmade Mugs
  • Recycled Plastic Cups
You can start your No More Paper Cup Campaign by using a mug at the office and at home and STOP buying paper cups at the store. If you go to places like Starbucks bring your travel reusable mug instead (like the stylish double walled glass therm-o mug below). Take action by asking your neighborhood coffee shop to fill your mug instead of giving you a paper cup? 

I encourage all mug virgins to buy vintage mugs because not only are you helping the environment in many ways and but you will own a piece of history that you can pass on to your loved ones.

Information Resources:  Ministry of Environment, Royal Society of Chemistry, Livestrong.com, Europack, Environmental Protection Agency, Korea Today, Biodegradable Institute.

Peachy Kale Smoothie Recipe (Video)

Let's get some kale into that smoothie of yours!

Peachy Kale Smoothie
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-2 leaves of organic kale (pull the leaves away from the stem and then put only the leaves in the smoothie)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 5 slices of frozen organic peaches (3/4 cup)
  • a few chunks of frozen pineapple
Blend and add more frozen fruit if still tastes "too green" for you. Enjoy!

Just a note...I'm 28 weeks pregnant here! Also, if you're wondering why I giggle a few times in this video, it's because my two chow chow dogs kept scratching my camera man (aka my husband) to go outside while we were trying to film this. Silly doggies...don't you know it's green smoothie time! 

The Vintage Pearl...and a Surprise!

Here goes nothing...

For over a year now, I have been documenting some pretty important, life-changing parts of my life on this blog for the world (or my 20 followers) to see.  It started as a place for me to explore.  A place to practice a craft that is a daily part of my life as a teacher, and a place to start living the sermon I preach to my students every day.  

Write. Write.  WRITE.

Write down the good, the bad, the ugly, the sad.  Write down the moments you never want to forget.  The lessons you want to pass on to future generations.  The big and small moments that impact your daily existence and make you better.  Whatever those moments are.

It's true that this blogging obsession of mine is in large part for Cruz, for him to someday have documentation of his life through the eyes of his mom.  But, along the way of writing about a growing belly, pregnancy cravings, and poopy diapers, this blog has become my outlet.  My place to piece together the puzzles of this multi-faceted life and attempt to make some sense of it all.  So to all my readers, followers, and friends, wherever you are, thank you for being my audience and continually reminding me that everyone has a story to tell.   

As a thank you to YOU, I am about to embark on my first giveaway.  For Christmas, I received a bracelet from an online jewelry company called, 'The Vintage Pearl.'  I love it for its simplicity, its daintiness, and most of all, the sweet little name etched onto a tiny piece of silver, strung next to a perfect little pearl.  I wear my 'Cruz' bracelet every where.  It's become a daily reminder of what's waiting for me after a day at work, and has become a topic of conversation with friends, co-workers, and other moms.


The Vintage Pearl is known for their unique, simple, and sentimental jewelry.  Their pieces are hand-stamped, and can include names, initials, birthstones, and their signature, pearls.  Most of all, I love The Vintage Pearl, because it started with Erin, a simple, ordinary mom of four, some ambition, and of course, blogging!  Check out her blog here.

So in honor of Erin, her pearls, and the wonderful world of blogging, I'm giving away a gift certificate to The Vintage Pearl.  In order to be a contestant, follow these simple rules:

1) You must become a follower on my blog.  If you are already, move on to step 2!

2) You must leave a comment under this blog entry.  

There is one condition.  I need a substantial 'pool' of contestants, and will not pick a winner for the certificate until I get 40 FOLLOWERS!  It's a long shot, but if my mom can figure out how to become a follower, so can you!

If I can get 40 Followers by next weekend, the last weekend in January, I will use random.org to generate our winner.  

Happy Blogging and Good Luck!  

Noodler's American Eel Gruene Cactus + Noodler's Piston Filler

As always, the Noodler's ink comes filled to the brim. My girlfriend wanted to make sure this bottle hadn't frozen in the mailbox, so she opened it up and nearly repainted our counter-top green - or "gruene," as it were. 

I did not mean to get this sort of shimmer off the clip, but at least it wasn't rendered in Adobe Photoshop. 

As advertised, this is a very classic looking pen. I like classic styling. I like the look of this pen, even if it feels a bit cheap, which it should at $14.00

I have to say I love the combination going on here: Rhodia paper, an excellent Noodler's ink, and a very nice economy-level pen. As I note in the review, the pen does smell, but I can overlook it for the price it lists at. The review makes the ink appear almost black, which it is not. The color is quite green, but it can appear pretty dark at times. 

I hope you can see the color variation. At times, the color is nearly a green-black. Sometimes the color is almost approaches a lime green. The ink takes forever to dry, but I don't write quick enough to worry about smearing the ink with rapid turning of the pages. I am very happy with these offerings from Noodler's. I received my order very quickly from Goulet Pens, which cost about $3.50 in shipping. They have a lot of great inks and paper, so I will certainly be doing more orders in the future (no affiliation whatsoever). 

The Goulet Pen Company: Noodler's Piston Filler (Burgundy)
                                                Noodler's American Eel Gruene Cactus

Note Booker, Esq. Review of Noodler's Piston Filler (More detailed than my review. But hey, I have grad school.) 

Long Live Long Weekends!

It probably had something to do with my first week back to work, my yearning to rekindle my old Friday night flame of nothing but a pair of sweats, a good movie, and some take-out. It probably had something to do with our new series of professional development at school, learning the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, of how to live and let go, take charge of my life, and get ‘first things’ done first. It probably had something to do with the fact that both Beau and I have felt a little run down this past week, in and out of colds, Kleenexes, and Carmex. And it probably had something to do with Cruz starting day care and being away from him more in five days than I have in the first three months of his life. It was a weekend to stay in, to hibernate, to forget the to-do list and listen to all the new noises Cruz has been making without any interruptions. And with MLK day today, I get an encore.

Cruz has been sleeping through the night since he was five weeks old. I’ve gotten very used to going to bed when he does at 10:30 and waking up when he does at 7:00. Of course, the week I go back to work, Cruz has decided he doesn’t need his typical nine hours of shut-eye. No, this week, he’s been up around 4:30 every morning. So, what do the three of us do at 4:00 in the morning?

We play.

Beau thinks it’s hilarious to unload every single stuffed animal and toy that Cruz owns onto our living room floor, then one by one, place them on top of Cruz after reciting each of their stories in a number of different voiceovers. My personal favorite is the bat/flying squirrel/hippo. It flies over Cruz’s head, telling him of his twisted identity, then dive-bombs onto Cruz's face. And the little man loves every minute of it. I guess he’s making sure he gets lots of family time before we take him to day care.

Saturday night, the three of us went on a date night. We celebrated our first week of ‘real life’ with some steaks at the Texas Roadhouse, and coffees and books at Barnes and Noble. We sipped caramel lattes, read Cruz But not the Hippopotamus, and laughed as he showed off his mad burping skills to the peaceful group of readers at the cafĂ©. I could’ve stayed there forever. Forever as in go-home-grab-a-pair-of-pajamas-and-sleeping-bag and sleep in a pile next to the cookbooks and self-improvement collection.

Cruz loved Texas Roadhouse. He loved the peanuts and the people, the crowds and the big screens. He loved the middle aged women who made googly-eyes at him, and he especially loved the cute waitresses that played a little hard to get. His car seat fit just perfect in our snug little booth, and he smiled at us as we devoured steaks, sweet potatoes and of course, the famous Roadhouse buns.

How else did we spend this wonderfully long weekend? We stacked plastic towers in between Cruz and a warm fire. We warmed our toes by the space heater, cuddled with Cruz during church, and cheered on a Bears win against the Seahawks. Beau was a lot more relaxed after that! We’re not superstitious people, but when it comes to the Bears and Cruz’s sleeping habits, we become a little voodoo. I am not allowed to talk about the Bears in the Super Bowl for fear I might jinx it, and Beau is not allowed to say anything along the lines of Cruz ‘sleeping well.’


Like father, like son.

Today is a day of naps and playtime, books and baths. Watching the snow fall outside and being thankful for a day off, a warm house, and a very cuddly little baby.

Happy Monday!  And more importantly, a short work-week!