Week 18: New wardrobe, showing off the bump and pizzas on the grill

This week’s fruit/veggie is not very fun… Can’t they think of something better than a sweet potato? Anyway, I tried to find the most attractive photo I could for this week’s cover photo.

There are only THREE WEEKS remaining until we can find out the gender of the baby!! Get your votes in using the poll in the sidebar before our big reveal (current results show that most of you think it will be a girl)!

If you have been following me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that I went on a crazy shopping spree this weekend, and basically bought myself a whole new wardrobe of maternity clothes. I wore one of my new dresses to Wicked for our two-year anniversary (the blue one in the photo), but I also got tank tops, camis, work shirts and pants, shorts, jeans and a few more dresses. I’ll try and post photos every time I wear a new outfit. And look for a bump photo this week too – I am seriously slacking in that area.

I also inherited some new books from one of Geoff’s cousins (From the Hips, The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy and Eating Well When You’re Expecting), and I can’t wait until I have some free time to sit down and really read them. I’ve actually contemplated buying each one of them at one point or another. Have you read them? Did you find them worthwhile?

This week according to What to Expect:

You might start to feel your baby moving around anytime now, which is a great way to take your mind off your bothersome back.

Your Baby in Week of 18 of Pregnancy

Your pregnancy back pain may have you tied up in knots (see below), but your baby’s getting ready to bust a move. At five and a half inches long and five ounces in weight, he now may be large enough for you to feel him twisting, rolling, kicking, and punching his way around the womb. Plus, he’s developing yawning and hiccupping skills (you may feel those soon, too!) and his own unique set of toe and fingerprints.

Your Body in Week 18 of Pregnancy

Oh, my aching back! If you’ve uttered those words more than once this week, here’s why: Your uterus, now about the size of a cantaloupe, is causing your body’s center of gravity to shift, pulling the lower back forward and pushing the abdomen out (so now everyone can see that you’re pregnant!). On top of all that, joint-loosening pregnancy hormones are wreaking havoc on your muscles and ligaments, adding up to one big ouch!

WIAW Weekly Recipe: Grilled Pizza with Sausage, Onions and Peppers

Courtesy of Weight Watchers (6 Points+)

This is a great version of a healthy pizza that you can make on the grill (or on a panini press), so it’s perfect for the summer! Feel free to swap out the toppings if you prefer other veggies or meat, but keep in mind that it will change the Points+ value if you are doing Weight Watchers.

6 oz cooked chicken sausage(s), about 2 links, halved and thinly sliced
1 small uncooked red onion, cut into thin slivers
1 small yellow pepper, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup store-bought pizza sauce
4 medium whole-wheat tortillas
1 tsp dried oregano
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Step 1: Preheat an outdoor grill to medium (or a grill pan over medium-high heat). Place sausage, onion and pepper on grill in a grill basket; cook, flipping once, until sausage is golden and vegetables start to brown, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from grill and set aside until ready to use.
Step 2: To prepare pizzas, spread 2 tablespoons of sauce on each tortilla. Sprinkle each with 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano and then top each with 1/4 of sausage-vegetable mixture; top each with 3 tablespoons of cheese.
Step 3: Place pizzas on grill (or as many as will fit on grill pan at one time) and cook until edges begin to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes; rotate pizzas. Continue cooking until cheese is bubbly, about 2 to 4 minutes more. Yields 1 pizza per serving.

Week 17: Feeling Baby Move, Baby Bachelor and Gourmet Grilled Cheese

To celebrate hitting the 17-week mark, I signed Geoff and I up for some classes at the hospital where we are planning to have the baby. We signed up for “Labor, Birth and Beyond,” “Bringing Baby Home,” “Breastfeeding Your Baby – The Basics” and “Breastfeeding Your Baby – Beyond the Basics.” The only one I wanted to take but couldn’t get into was the Infant CPR and Safety class (it was full). Hopefully they will add more dates soon. The classes are spread out in August, September and October, so I’ll post about each one as we go.

I forgot to mention in my last post that when we listened to the heartbeat at the doctor’s office it was in the upper 150s, which (if you believe in these things) means that the baby might be a girl! Four weeks until we can find out for sure, so don’t forget to let us know which one you think it will be using the poll in the sidebar!

I am also very excited to announce that I definitely felt the baby move (and yes, that was it moving around last time)! We went to a choir concert and I was so tired out that I basically sank into the chair and let my entire body relax to the music… and all of a sudden I realized I could feel the baby. It moved around quite a bit for the first half of the concert, but after I got up and walked around during intermission I didn’t feel it again. I think the key for me to feel him/her is to be completely and totally relaxed. It is also very light/faint right now, but I’m assuming that will get stronger as the baby grows.

For those of you who know me well, you’ll know that one of my guilty pleasures is watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette. Every week my sister and I will make dinner and watch the show together and we have so much fun together. I’m calling it right now – Brooks is totally going be the last man standing.

Apparently this has been around for awhile, but I had to share it since it is so adorable and awesome: Baby Bachelor. You can’t help but smile watching it! What do you think – will Wesley choose Jessi or Gabrielle?

This week according to What to Expect:

Your baby is practicing sucking and swallowing as she gets ready for the real thing: a breast or bottle! As for Mom, you may be warding off some unwanted belly touching.

Your Baby in Week 17 of Pregnancy

My how your baby has grown! She’s about the size of your palm, weighs about five ounces, and is developing some body fat (join the club, baby!). Her heart is now regulated by her brain (no more random beats) to beat 140 to 150 times per minute — about twice as fast as yours! What else is up? She’s practicing the survival skills she’ll need at birth — like sucking and swallowing.

Your Body in Week 17 of Pregnancy

Now that you’re starting to show, chances are that friends, coworkers, and even strangers may feel the urge to reach out and touch your belly. If you don’t mind, that’s fine. But if you do, speak up kindly but firmly. More new developments with your body: a greater sensitivity to allergens these days and the appetite of a truck driver now that the queasy feeling is (probably) gone.

WIAW Weekly Recipe: Grilled Ham and Havarti Sandwiches

Courtesy of Weight Watchers Online

This is a super easy grilled cheese sandwich that tastes gourmet! So delicious, but we have made a few variations since the first time we made these: I don’t care for mustard, so I leave that off, but Geoff loves it on his. We also swap the rye bread for whatever looks the best at the bakery (usually some sort of french or focaccia bread). The onion really adds to the overall flavor of the sandwich, but if you do one or two thin slices it helps to not overpower it.

4 tsp stone ground mustard
2 tsp Dijon mustard
8 slices reduced-calorie rye bread
8 oz cooked lean ham, sliced
2 oz Havarti cheese (4 slices)
4 slices fresh tomatoes, 1/2 inch thick
4 thick slices uncooked red onion
Cooking spray

Step 1: Combine stone-ground and Dijon mustards. Spread mustard mixture evenly onto each of 4 bread slices. Top each evenly with ham, cheese, tomato and red onion. Cover with remaining 4 bread slices.
Step 2: Place a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add 2 sandwiches to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 sandwiches. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich).

Week 16: Singing to Baby, a Little Pampering and Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Hello, week 16! Time sure is flying. I’m pretty pumped about the idea that baby can hear me this week! I’ll have to come up with a good lullaby to sing to my belly every night since the little one will recognize it once it is born. Any suggestions on songs would be great!

I had some trouble sleeping the other night so I was just laying still in my bed with my eyes closed and I swear I felt the baby move. Since I don’t know what it feels like it is hard to say, but it was very light and I almost convinced myself that I imagined it (which is a real possibility). It hasn’t happened since, but when it does happen I’ll know for sure if it was real or just wishful thinking.

I’ve also started having baby dreams. They are all just normal things happening after the baby is born, like me holding the baby, or Geoff putting the baby in the carseat. It makes me want to keep dreaming, so I’m sort of disappointed when I wake up, but I’m getting so excited for when she/he finally arrives!

In non-baby related news, I got a finally got a haircut! If you don’t already know, I haven’t had the best luck with salons in the past few visits, so I put the appointment off as long as possible (if you can tell by my last bump photo I could barely see through my bangs when Geoff took the photo). Anyway, I just got a trim, but I changed up my color. And before you get all judgmental on me, I got the all-clear from my doctor to go ahead and color away.

I  had ombré in my hair for almost a year, and the last time I had it touched up the hairdresser totally messed it up (completely uneven color, way too blond/orange looking for my hair color). I actually had to go back in a few days later to get it “fixed,” though it was still extremely blonde on the ends compared to the rest of my hair.

I put up with that look for awhile since I didn’t want to damage my hair anymore than it already was, but I thought it was time for a change, color-wise. I went a shade lighter and a lot richer for the main color and I kept a tiny bit of the ombré in the ends, though it is so subtle it is hard to see unless you’re looking for it. Here’s a before and after for comparison. What do you think of my new ‘do?

I also got a mani-pedi this week, which felt amazing. I go to Polished Nail Bar which I love because it is well ventilated (no nail polish smell), and they have so many gel colors! Plus they always do an awesome job and don’t charge you extra for fancy stuff (like what you see on Pinterest). What I didn’t realize was how much more I would love letting my feet soak in bubble bath since I’m preggo – super nice for swollen tootsies! Anyway, I went with a standard red for my toes, and an off-white for my fingers (actual name: “My Vampire is Buff”).

This week according to What to Expect:

Here’s an eye opener for you: While you’re packing on the baby pounds, your baby’s eyesight (and eyelashes!) are developing rapidly.

Your Baby in Week 16 of Pregnancy

yourbaby_week16Tiny bones in your fetus’s ears are in place this week, making it likely that the baby can hear your voice when you’re speaking (or singing in the shower) at 16 weeks pregnant. In fact, studies have found that babies who are sung to while they’re in the womb recognize the same tune when it’s sung to them after they are born (so choose your baby Muzak with that in mind…). And baby’s busily boning up in other ways. For one, the backbone (along with the back muscles) is stronger now — strong enough, in fact, to enable your baby to work on straightening his or her head and neck even more. Baby’s crown-to-rump measurement is between four and five inches in length, and weight is hovering around three to five ounces.

This little one’s a looker — with a face that has both eyebrows and eyelashes — but a skinny looker since there’s no baby fat yet. And here’s the skinny on baby skin: It’s practically translucent now, so if you took a peek inside your uterus, you’d be able to see your baby’s blood vessels under that thin skin. Thanks to his developing facial muscles, your baby is capable of making a few expressive frowns and squints, even at this early stage. (Don’t worry, those frowns have nothing to do with the sound of your voice!) And his eyes are finally working, making small side-to-side movements and perceiving light (although the eyelids are still sealed). Peekaboo!

Your Body in Week 16 of Pregnancy

It’s hard to watch yourself gain weight during pregnancy, even when you know there’s a wonderful reason for it. The challenge, though, is to try to embrace your body’s new shape and think of every pound you put on as a sign of good health for you and your baby. As long as you eat right during pregnancy (minimize junk and maximize nutrient-dense foods) and get regular exercise, you’ll be fine in the long run. Remember, every woman is different and gains (and loses) at her own pace. One way to show your changing shape some love this week and feel better about yourself in the process: Buy a garment (or accessory) that makes you feel pretty at your new size. Another part of you that’s swelling — the membranes in your nose, leading to congestion.

WIAW Weekly Recipe: Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Recipe from: Feed the Belly

This is the easiest chicken pot pie I have ever made, and it was really yummy! I made the mistake of buying the extra large, fluffy crescent rolls. Don’t do that. They won’t cook all the way through and they will leave your pot pie a little gooey and gross. Buy the regular ones for a perfectly cooked, buttery, flakey crust.

Baby Bonus: With 23g protein per serving, this recipe helps form baby’s growing body.

Momma Must-Have: Each serving has 10 percent of your daily iron needs to keep you and baby going strong. When you’re not feeling like eating your veggies, this is a great way to sneak some in.

1 Tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tsp
1/2 yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup diced celery (I left this out)
1 lb organic or natural chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1-lb bag frozen organic mixed vegetables, defrosted and drained
1 1/2 8 oz packages refrigerated, reduced-fat crescent-roll dough (such as Pillsbury)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until onion is translucent and slightly golden, about 4 minutes.
Step 3: Turn heat down to medium, add chicken to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, turn the pieces of chicken, then cook for another 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Transfer chicken to a plate.
Step 4: In the same pan, add the remaining teaspoon of oil and heat over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until pasty, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and stir until mixture becomes smooth. Stir in the nutmeg. Increase heat and bring to a boil; turn down heat and simmer 15 minutes, until mixture thickens.
Step 5: Add the chicken and defrosted mixed vegetables back to the pan and stir until well combined. Transfer to a 9-inch pie dish.
Step 6: Lay the crescent-roll dough over the top of the dish in an overlapping pattern until the filling is entirely covered. Put in oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until crust is golden and crisp. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then serve.

Calories 386g; Fat 14.5g (Sat 3g, Mono 3g, Poly 1g); Cholesterol 42mg; Protein 23g; Carbohydrate 38g; Sugars 9g; Fiber 4g; Iron 3mg; Sodium 607mg; Calcium 36mg; Folate 25mcg; Beta-Carotene 160mcg.

Week 15 Update: WIAW and a Cheesy Quinoa

WOO! Made it to Week 15! Only six more weeks until we find out if we are having a little Geoff or a little Jenny!! If you haven’t already, take the poll to make your predictions.

Luckily, I just had my 6-month dentist appointment and I’m not experiencing any of the dental pregnancy symptoms mentioned below in the What to Expect section. Other than feeling a little larger than usual I feel basically normal. I have regained a lot of the energy I lost in the first trimester (I can stay up past 9:00 now!) and I hardly ever feel queasy. I’ve had a little lower back pain, so I’m going to ask my doctor about it at the next appointment, but it seems like it is pretty normal.Fit Pregnancy Magazine

I recently picked up an issue of Fit Pregnancy, and I actually really like it. I’m sure all the information in it can be found online, but then I’d have to search around for it. I like having it all in one place. Plus, all the information is really helpful! I actually read it from cover to cover (which I never do with magazines). It also has info for preconception and after the birth, so I will probably continue reading it.

On the exercise front, I have been going on tiny bike rides (usually just around the block since it has been so cold/rainy) and I’m planning on checking out a prenatal yoga class tonight. I’m pretty nervous about it since I’ve never done yoga in my life, but everyone I’ve talked to has said it is amazing and that they would highly recommend it. So wish me luck! I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’m going to start doing a new thing that a lot of other blogs already do: WIAW. This stands for “What I Ate Wednesday,” and (for me at least) it will be a weekly recipe and possibly some other food-related stuff.

And so, without further ado, here’s my first WIAW:

Pretty much every lunch since that fateful day (when I had to order a bridesmaid dress in a size 18W) I have eaten a simple salad for lunch. That includes a bowlful of fresh spinach leaves, half of a tomato and some of my favorite Greek vinaigrette dressing (seriously, it is so good). Since I’m lucky enough to be able to have a mini fridge in my office, I’m able to bring a container of spinach leaves with me to the office and just leave it there so I don’t have to pack a lunch every morning. In my opinion, the best containers for storing any type of veggie are Tupperware’s FridgeSmart containers. There are two vents that allow airflow to whatever is stored inside, and there is a chart on the side of the container that tells you to keep both vents closed, open, or one open and one closed to keep your food fresh longer.

I know I should have some protein along with my spinach salad, but I am never in the mood for chicken/other meat at lunch. I usually opt for a Greek yogurt instead. These little babies are so good, and I love the Yoplait kind that have fruit on the bottom and granola on top.

I have a fruitbowl at my office that I’m able to keep fully stocked thanks to our subscription to Fruitshare, so I usually grab some type of fruit to have along with my salad and yogurt. I also have fruit for my two daily snacks, sometimes along with a granola bar, or something similar.

WIAW Weekly Recipe: Parmesan Garlic Quinoa

Courtesy of Laura at Beauty & The Beard

This was a really delicious, filing dish. I’m not sure I’m going to give up Mac & Cheese like Laura claims in her recipe, but I will definitely make this again! Both Geoff and my sister really liked it too, but we were all surprised at how spicy it was! I’d recommend only putting in half the amount of red pepper flakes and adding a bit more cheese. For those who are interested, my sister added this to the Weight Watchers recipe builder and found out that it is 7 points+ for about a third of the recipe.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white onion (cut in 1.5 inch strips)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 cups water
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I recommend half this amount)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (I put in more)

Step 1: Rinse quinoa in cold water.
Step 2: Heat up your olive oil in a large sauce pan and saute your onions for 4-5 minutes. Throw in your garlic for a minute, stirring so it doesn’t burn.
Step 3: Add in your water and quinoa and cover the pot, bringing the water to a boil.
Step 4: Bring down to low and allow to simmer. Quinoa should take about 15 minutes to cook or so – but you’ll know when there is a ring around the outside and the center is clear – plus about all of your water should be absorbed.
Step 5: Mix in your salt, basil, black & red pepper, and 1/3 cup of your cheese.
Step 6: Dish it up while hot and sprinkle with pepper and cheese for garnish!

This week according to What to Expect:

You might not yet be feeling it, but your baby is kicking those little legs and flexing those elbows, while — higher up — you may be coping with some dental weirdness.

Your Baby in Week 15 of Pregnancy

One way to deal with the havoc of pregnancy hormones: Focus on how much is happening with your baby. She’s about the size of an orange this week, her ears have migrated to the sides of her head, and her eyes are moving to the front of her face. Plus, your little smarty-pants can now wiggle her fingers and toes and make breathing movements in preparation for life outside the womb.

Your Body in Week 15 of Pregnancy

Pregnancy hormones are pretty rough on your body, especially the teeth and gums, causing inflammation and making them more susceptible to plaque and bacteria. Your formerly healthy gums may have become super-sensitive and prone to bleeding. In addition, you might be coping with a chronic stuffy nose or even nosebleeds during pregnancy, also brought on by progesterone surging through your system. Fear not — it’ll all pass.

Bring on the baby weight

I mentioned awhile ago that I needed to go in and get re-measured for my bridesmaid dress for my sister-in-law’s wedding in September. By then, I’ll be 28 weeks pregnant, which means I need to plan to get a larger dress size to accomodate for my soon-t0-be-huge bump.

I had planned to get measured last weekend, but they told me I could wait another week (like that will make a difference) before we would really be pushing the deadline for rush orders, so I waited. I making the trek to Sheboygan where we purchased the dresses with my other sister-in-law (the maid of honor), who was picking up her dress since it had already arrived.

I was completely shocked to learn that I have gained an INCH around my bust, waist and hips since the first time I was measured (in March). I’ve only gained five or six pounds, so I didn’t think it would be so much! It freaked me out. So I did some research, and found out that weight-wise I’m right on track to where I should be (according to every site and app I could get my hands on).

They they dropped this bomb on me: I had to order a size 18W.

I’m not even sure what to say about that except that it is my worst nightmare coming true. I totally understand the reasoning behind it – making room for the bump in the underlining, which is the skinniest part, raising the waist line to go over the bump, etc. – but COME ON. From size 8 to 18W in 28 weeks? Talk about hitting me where it hurts. Oh, and by the way, you have to pay extra when they add that nice little “W” on the end of the size for all the extra fabric they have to use to make the dress. They say it means “women’s” but in my mind it means “wide.”

I know, I know, I shouldn’t worry about gaining weight while I’m pregnant, the size shouldn’t matter because they are going to alter it… but UGH. Just go along with me here for a second and feel my pain.

My totally rational response to the size 18W news: eat better and exercise more so that when that size 18W dress comes in they will RUE THE DAY they told me to get a size that large.

I think I’m doing pretty good on the fruit front, but salads will help me get some more veggies. I also have work on getting some more protein in my diet, but I figure that will pick up with grilling season. All in all, I think I’m doing pretty well so far.

I currently only have four doctor-approved methods of exercising (walking, biking, swimming and prenatal yoga), so I decided I have to get out and do one of those things everyday. Geoff and I try and go for walks, but it has been incredibly rainy here, so I need a backup. Swimming for exercise is my least favorite thing ever, so that’s out. I’m seriously looking into prenatal yoga, but I’ve never done yoga before so I’m nervous to just show up to a class. And (until this weekend) I didn’t have a bike.

Solution: Buy a bike. I came straight home from my measurement appointment, grabbed Geoff and told him we were going to buy me a bike. He was a little confused since it was so out of the blue, but went along with it, and we came home with this cute little cruiser!

I’m not a big bike person, but you cannot keep me off this thing! It is so comfortable (“a little too comfortable,” according to Geoff), and makes me feel like a kid again. It is a fixed gear, and you have to push back on the pedals to brake, but the best part is that it doesn’t feel like exercising to ride it. Now I just have to get a wicker basket for the front and I’ll be all set to bike to and fro around the neighborhood, to the beach, mall, etc.

Back to healthy eating for a second. I wanted to share two Weight Watchers recipes that I’ve continued to make since I left the program because they are incredibly easy and super delicious. I did make a few adjustments for personal taste, so follow the link to the recipe if you want the exact points+ values. Let me know what you think if you try them!

WW Spinach, Tomato and Feta Pizzas

4  focaccia flatbreads (found in the deli section)
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1 large fresh tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tsp oregano

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Arrange pitas on a large baking sheet.
Combine ricotta and garlic powder in a bowl; spread mixture over pitas.
Top with spinach, tomato and feta. Sprinkle with oregano.
Bake until edges of pitas are golden, about 12 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

WW Tomato, Basil and Smoked Mozzarella Pasta Salad

1 lb fusilli, or other spiral pasta
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup fresh cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 package mozzarella pearls
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and transfer to a large bowl.
Add vinegar, oil and oregano; toss to coat.
Fold in tomatoes, basil and mozzarella; season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve warm or chilled. Yields about 1 cup per serving.