Happy birthday to me, now I’m off to the DMV!

Surprise! It’s my birthday! I came into work today and found this lovely little surprise waiting for me. Did I mention that I love my coworkers?

After I scarfed the cookie I got sucked into work, and I’ve been so busy lately that due to a combination of stress and baby brain I completely forgot it was my birthday. Not only did I forget that today is my birthday, I forgot what day it is. I literally could not remember the date of my birth.

Solution: eat a cupcake to remind myself that it is, indeed, my birthday.

Another joy of having a birthday roll around is that my license expires today, which meant that I needed to make the dreaded trip to the DMV. I hate it there. Sitting in icky chairs surrounded by sick people coughing on you while you wait to get a photo taken of you that can only be described as terrible, even under the best of circumstances. Now add in the fact that I’m 8 months pregnant and my face is puffy and swollen (although I seem to be the only one who notices this), and you have one unhappy Jenny.

In the end, my photo turned out looking sort of like an alien. My hair and makeup are weirdly perfect since I was trying so hard to make up for the puffy face, and the angle at which the took the photo makes the top of my head look skinny and my chin look fat, so my head is sort of triangle-shaped. Super cute.

Solution: eat another cupcake and remind myself that calories totally don’t count on your birthday.

Pumpkin CheesecakePlus I have tonight’s dinner to the Cheesecake Factory to look forward to. Geoff and I don’t go on too many sit-down dinner dates, so it will be fun. Plus I’m totally getting the pumpkin cheesecake (don’t judge me – calories don’t count today, remember?).

Doesn’t it look amazing? I only get it once a  year since it is seasonal, but it is well worth the wait. Go get a piece while you still can!

Baby brain strikes again!

For those of you who don’t think that baby brain is a real thing, consider the following.

I’ve been so busy at work that I am just now getting to eat lunch (it’s 2:00), so I heated up some soup with what I thought was boiling water from the machine in the kitchen. As I quickly found out when I took my first bite, that was not the case. I had accidentally selected the  ice cold water button when I filled up my bowl.

All was not lost, so I grabbed my almost-overflowing soup bowl and started the treacherous climb up the stairs to the floor of our office that has the lunch room so I could heat it up in the microwave.

I get to the top of the stairs before I realized I forgot my keycard, which allows me to access each floor of our building. So I had to call someone on the floor to come and let me in while standing in the hallway with my soup.

I finally made it to the lunch room, heated up my soup, and then began to navigate back down to my floor. It sounds easier than it actually is, since it requires going through five sets of doors – really hard when you are carrying extremely hot soup!

Luckily at the third door I ran into a very helpful co-worker who actually followed me to my office with her keypass to make sure I didn’t have to open any more doors or get locked out of my floor.

What I learned from this: soup is stupid. Order lunch instead.

Week 21: Baby is getting bigger and kicking up a storm!

Week 21: Carrot

I decided to post this ahead of our mid-pregnancy ultrasound so that I can save that big piece of exciting news for a separate post (which will probably have to wait until after we tell our friends this weekend). That means you have a few more days to vote in our poll if you think we’re having a boy or a girl! As of this posting, the results are 13 for girl, 12 for boy.

The baby has really “kicked” up the acrobatics – it feels like it is doing somersaults in there! Sometimes it actually kicks so hard that I can feel it with my hand on the outside of my belly. Geoff has felt it kick a few times now, and I’m hoping that sometime soon I can share that with the rest of my family and friends.

I’m doing my best to ward off the stretch marks that I know are coming. I have armed myself with Palmer’s Cocoa Butter and Bio-Oil, and have been trying to put it on every night before I go to sleep. I don’t love the feeling of having either of them on so I’ve avoided putting them on in the morning, but I probably should. I think the reason why I don’t have any yet is because right before I got pregnant I lost 30 pounds. Maybe my body was stretched from all that fat and now I have some room to grow!

After a week on vacation and then a week back at work I was feeling so drained I could barely move by the time I got home at night. I was working through lunch and staying an hour or more after the office closed every day. By the time Friday rolled around I was SO READY for the weekend.

Luckily, I got some much needed sleep and had a blast at my sister-in-law’s bridal shower and bachelorette this weekend. The nice thing (for me) is that the bachelorette was not centered around drinking, but instead consisted of fun activities. We started out with a belly dancing class and learned some moves for the wedding, then headed to Milwaukee’s Third Ward to Splash Bar, where we painted some super awesome artwork in Brittany’s wedding colors. Hopefully they turned out okay and she can use them as decorations on some of the tables at the wedding.

This week according to What to Expect:

Your Baby in Week 21 of Pregnancy

How big is your baby? About the size of a large banana [note: my “How Big is Baby?” images are based on the timeline from The Bump, so they are slightly different] — and speaking of bananas, if you eat one this week, there’s a good chance your baby will get a taste, too. That’s because he swallows a bit of amniotic fluid each day (for nutrition, hydration, and to practice digesting), so he eats whatever’s on your menu — and gets to put those developing taste buds to good use. So go ahead and nosh on those nachos (or crunch those crudités): Your baby may develop a taste for them when he’s older.

Your Body in Week 21 of Pregnancy

You may start to notice some stretch marks as your body expands and your belly and breasts just keep on growing. These pink, red, or purple streaks appear when the supporting tissue under your skin gets torn as skin stretches (and stretches and stretches) during pregnancy. Not every woman gets them, though you’re a likely candidate if your mom had stretch marks during her pregnancy or if you’ve gained weight rapidly. So go ahead and slather the cocoa butter — at least it’ll keep your skin from drying out, even if it won’t keep those marks at bay.

WIAW Weekly Recipe: Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Paninis

Another yummy recipe from Weight Watchers that my sister made for me on our weekly get together to watch The Bachelorette (I still think Brooks is going to be the last man standing). These yummy grilled cheese sandwiches have a great flavor from the “dressing” you make and brush onto the bread. The cheese gets all gooey and melty and the tomato just tops it off. SO GOOD.

From WW: We give these sandwiches extra flavor by rubbing the bread with a cut garlic clove. Swap basil for the arugula if it’s too peppery for your taste.

Ingredients
1½ tsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp olive oil
¼ tsp dried oregano
⅛ tsp table salt
⅛ tsp black pepper
4 oz Italian bread
2 oz whole milk mozzarella cheese
1 cup(s) arugula
1 medium plum tomato(es)
4 spray(s) olive oil cooking spray
1 clove(s) garlic clove(s)

Instructions
Step 1: Preheat outdoor grill (or grill pan or skillet – we used a George Foreman).
Step 2: In a small cup, stir together vinegar, oil, oregano, salt and pepper until blended. Brush mixture onto 1 side of each slice of bread.
Step 3: To make each sandwich, layer 1/4 of cheese over brushed side of bread and then top with 2 tomato slices and 1/4 cup of arugula. Top with another slice of bread, brushed side down and then coat sandwiches with cooking spray. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Step 4: Grill, lightly pressing with a spatula from time to time, until bread is toasted and cheese melts, about 1 to 2 minutes per side; rub grilled bread with garlic clove.

PointsPlus® Value: 7
Servings: 2

Week 20: Halfway there!

Halfway!! Most of the sites say that baby is the size of a banana this week, which is totally weird. No one wants a banana-shaped baby! (I realize that the measurement is based on length, but still.) And no, the baby did not grow several inches in one week. Apparently the baby is measured from head to rump until week 20, when the measurements switch to head to toe. This is because the baby’s legs are curled up during those first 20 weeks and are hard to measure.

Baby Bump (Week 19)I cannot believe I’m already halfway through this pregnancy. It still doesn’t seem real sometimes, but then the little one will give me a nice kick to show me that yes, it is most definitely real. The baby bump is also a good reality check. Here’s a photo of me from the 4th of July barbecue our friends hosted. I am clearly not on top of things with these bump photos, sorry.

Only one more week until we find out the gender! I’m debating about doing a mini gender reveal with our friends just for fun (nothing crazy). We’re going on a camping trip soon so I might tie something into that. Any ideas would be appreciated!

How did you reveal your little one’s gender/are you planning on doing anything fun? Or did you wait to find out until they arrived?

This week according to What to Expect:

Boy or girl? You can find out this week through a routine ultrasound!

Your Baby in Week 20 of Pregnancy

Curious about whether that melon-sized belly contains a boy or a girl? Now’s your chance to take a peek! Your second trimester ultrasound, scheduled for anytime between 18 and 22 weeks, gives your practitioner a chance to see how things are going in there. And, wow, are they going! If you’re having a girl, her uterus is now fully formed and her ovaries are holding about seven million primitive eggs. If you’re having a boy, his testicles have begun their descent from the abdomen to their ultimate destination — the scrotum. And while your baby is definitely getting bigger (weighing in at about ten ounces and measuring six and a half inches), there’s still plenty of growing room in there, which allows him to twist and turn (and allows you to feel his acrobatics!).

Your Body in Week 20 of Pregnancy

Now that you’re at the midpoint of your pregnancy (20 weeks down, 20 more to go!), that little cantaloupe (aka baby) you have in your belly is becoming more of a reality as you feel his movements and draw smiles from passersby who see your baby bump. You might also be noticing that your nails are stronger (though they could also turn dry and brittle) and your hair is thicker and fuller than usual — all thanks to pregnancy hormones and increased circulation, which furnish extra nutrients to hair and nail cells.

WIAW Weekly Recipe: Summer Tomatoes, Corn, Crab and Avocado Salad

Courtesy of Gina at SkinnyTaste.com

This is a fresh, easy “salad” that doesn’t require much prep. I used imitation crab meat and only one jalapeño, but I could’ve definitely added the second one in and it would have been fine. We also just bought a bag of frozen corn and “roasted” it in a dry pan – definitely makes a big difference (if you don’t want to do it yourself, Gina says Trader Joe’s sells roasted corn). It says the recipe serves 7, but between me, Geoff and my sister we polished off the whole batch. Other ideas from Gina: Serve over mixed greens or tostadas as a main dish or you can put this in martini glasses as a fancy appetizer.

Ingredients
12 oz lump crab meat
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 hass avocado, diced
2 hot peppers such as serrano or jalapeños, diced fine (seeds removed for mild)
1 1/2 cups roasted corn kernels
1/3 cup chopped red onion
2 limes, juice of (or more to taste)
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
salt and fresh pepper to taste

Instructions
Step 1: In a small bowl combine red onion, lime juice, olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper. Let them marinate at least 5 minutes to mellow the flavor of the onion.
Step 2: In a large bowl combine chopped crab meat, avocado, tomatoes, hot pepper and corn.
Step 3: Combine all the ingredients together, add cilantro and gently toss. Adjust lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Servings: 7 • Serving Size: 1 cup
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 3 pts
Calories: 130.8 • Fat: 6.1 g • Protein: 8.8 g • Carb: 11.7 g • Fiber: 4.0 g • Sugar: 2.6

Week 19: Mini Summer Vacation

I’m on vacation this week! Geoff and I headed up to Minnesota to visit my family at the lake, and I gotta tell you, it doesn’t get more relaxing than this. Reading on the porch, “putt-putt” tours of the lake on the boat, catching a few fish off the dock, riding along while everyone surfs behind the boat (so fun, but preggies have to opt-out).

I’m not ready to go back to reality yet, but I figured I should at least post my weekly update since we’re now at 19 weeks! Basically, I feel like I’m not pregnant except the baby is moving around a lot more (at least once a day), I have had a few really awful leg cramps, and people are definitely noticing the bump.

I really can’t believe that I’m only one week away to being at the halfway point in my pregnancy, and we only have two weeks left until we can find out the gender! Have you voted in the sidebar poll yet? Since my last post the “boy” votes have taken the lead… I guess we’ll see!

This week according to What to Expect:

Your baby’s skin now has a protective coating, while you might be hoping for something to protect you from painful leg cramps.

Your Baby in Week 19 of Pregnancy

Have you ever seen a mango dipped in cheese? Well, that’s what your baby looks like this week due to a little growth spurt (she’s about a half pound in weight and six inches long) and a substance called vernix caseosa. This greasy white stuff covers your baby’s skin, protecting it from the surrounding amniotic fluid. (Without it, she’d look totally wrinkled as she entered the world.) The vernix sheds as delivery approaches, though some babies still sport a bit of the coating at birth.

Your Body in Week 19 of Pregnancy

One minute you’re lying peacefully in bed and the next your calf muscle feels like it’s about to explode. Leg cramps during pregnancy are pretty common (no one knows exactly what causes them, but muscle fatigue or compressed blood vessels are the likeliest culprits) and tend to strike at night. You might also be wondering about tingling and numbness in your fingers and toes about now. It’s a weird sensation but totally normal, probably a result of your body’s swelling tissues pressing on nerves.

WIAW Weekly Recipe: Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Courtesy of Monica at The Yummy Life

This is a yummy overnight oatmeal that you can make in your crockpot. My mom made it for us while we were visiting, so I’m including her variations here. I like my oatmeal a little sweeter, so I added a tiny bit of maple syrup to it and it was delicious!

Ingredients
2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped)
1-1/2 cups fat-free milk (or substitute non-diary alternative like almond milk)
1-1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or substitute maple syrup or other desired sweetener)
1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground flax seed (we used chia seeds)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, maple syrup, additional milk or butter

Instructions
Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for approx. 7 hours (slow cooker times can vary). Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.

To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Nutritional Info (per 3/4 cup serving): 149 calories, 3.6g fat, 27.3g carbs, 3.9g fiber, 4.9g protein; Weight Watchers Points+: 4