My Third Trimester

It has finally arrived. The start of the last trimester… the home stretch, the “transition” from being pregnant to becoming a mother.

The countdown has begun.

And I couldn’t be more excited.

After a whirlwind weekend in Nashville (where we postponed our trip a day due to tornadoes), we flew in at the crack of dawn on Saturday, where my parents threw me a “non” baby shower, replete with Mimosas, coffee, scones, muffins, quiche, fritattas, some vegan fare, healthy salads and lots of raucous behavior (anytime my Mee-Maw is involved, it’s always raucous – I had to tell her to keep her hands at 10 and 2 when hugging my husband).

An eclectic mix of people poured in, and it was wonderful to see so many smiling faces; to see the support and love that Sophie already has, even before she has taken her first breath.

As we didn’t register for gifts, we requested gift cards and asked that people bring a children’s book to add to Sophie’s library. I am happy to report Sophie now has a huge stock of all my favorite classics, and I am dying to find a cheap bookshelf to display them.

On Sunday, my best friend (and amazing photographer) Nikki McFadden came over and took pregnancy photos (I literally cannot wait to get them!). Alex and I posed for a lifestyle shoot, brushing our teeth, lounging in bed, and then I did some nude profile shots in front of a window. It’s no secret I am quite shy about my body, but as I stood there, with life moving inside me, I somehow felt more beautiful than I ever have.

I cannot wait to frame a series and hang them in the nursery, so Sophie can see where she came from; so she can see how happy her parents were, even before she was born. I want her to look at them and to know how loved she was… how absolute our feelings were, are, and will always be.

That night, we went to a cool, divey place called The Pharmacy and feasted on falafel burgers and sweet potato fries. We celebrated my mother’s birthday and rose at 4:45a.m. to hop on a plane back to Chicago.

Our first baby purchase.

As I get back into the swing of things, I purchased our very first item for the little one: the Babyletto Modo 3-in-1 crib.

I unloaded her books and adorable yellow, black and white onesies that my parents got her; a natural wood comb and brush, and the cutest little shoes I’ve ever seen.

It dawned on me that we have a lot to do before her arrival, unless she is going to run around naked the majority of the time (which is a strong possibility with the cost of baby clothes these days).

I then looked at the hilarious composite constructed from The Bump with mine and Alex’s pictures (THIS is supposed to be what our child will look like?!) and laughed for about fifteen minutes straight.

I returned emails. I cuddled my dog.

I changed the sheets and did laundry and adjusted to yet another wacky day in the land of temperamental temperatures in Chicago.

And I thought about love. Something happened to me this weekend, as I protectively rubbed my belly and let others feel my daughter as she moved and rolled inside my body. I fell more madly and deeply in love with her than I ever thought possible.

I realized that when she comes, we will not own her. She will not even be extensions of us really, but a mere reflection of our genes and sensibilities. We will guide and shape her the best we can, but her decisions will become just that: hers and hers alone.

I am excited and privileged to get to know the little one inside of me. Whose sense of humor will she have? Will she be active? Will she be as loving as her father? Will she trample our puppy and have lungs the size of Texas? With every day that passes, I get closer to meeting the little girl I am so desperately in love with.

From a condo in a little segment of Chicago, it feels like the only thing consuming me. And for this moment, here and now, I am so grateful.

WORKOUT OF THE DAY: TABATA CONDITIONING

I get a lot of questions about how to “rev” up your fitness or shred certain body parts or just increase heart health. One of my favorites (and something I am dying to get back to) is TABATA. Tabata is performing an activity for 20 seconds at maximum intensity and backing off or resting for 10 seconds. Then repeating that cycle 8 times through  (which is equivalent to 4 minutes).

You can do it with running, burpees, lifting weights, yoga… the sky is the limit. One of my favorite little circuits is below. I am counting down the months until I can do this again!

TABATA:

Perform each exercise for 4 minutes and then move on to the next exercise. Take a 1 minute break if necessary after each Tabata interval. Make sure you are thoroughly warmed up.

Rowing (or running if you don’t have a rower)

Push-ups

Jumping lunges

Burpees

Plate push (Get on a carpeted area and grab a heavy plate. Drive the plate across the carpet for 20 seconds. Rest for 10. Repeat for 8 cycles. Don’t have a plate? Change it to bear crawls.)

This 20 minute workout will INCINERATE calories and exhaust you. Combine with any exercise you like for a quick, effective workout!

And follow it up with a green smoothie within an hour!

Inspire Me Mondays

Taken from Nikki McFadden's blog post, Inspire Me Mondays

As another weekend winds down and we are thrust back into Monday, I stop to ponder what I really think about this day of the week. Traditionally people look forward to Monday with about as much enthusiasm as a root canal. Gone are the errands and lazy meals and sleeping in that are the golden rules of Saturday and Sunday. In their place? Business as usual…

My best friend, Nikki McFadden, recently started a series on her blog, INSPIRE ME MONDAYS, which allows us all to take a moment and really ponder what we find beautiful, what we think of as meaningful, and how to shift our perceptions once that dreaded “M” day comes. Bookmark it. Share it. And refer to it each time Sunday ends and your alarm strikes M-O-N-D-A-Y.

Today, I woke early to that dreaded alarm, rolling over to my left (as for some reason, I keep ending up on my back while sleeping – something I have never done pre-pregnancy!) and cradled my gently swelling belly. As my feet hit the floor, I took a moment to stop the cacophony of thoughts already blasting my brain:

MONDAY’S TO-DO LIST:

1. New workout today

1. Send birth plan to doula

3. Promote Cheeky Eats article

4. Write two articles for Cheeky for this week

5. Make a baby budget and find a way to purchase $900 El Greco low-rise crib

6. Get at least 20 pages written for my POWER EATING book

7. Clean

8. 2:30 conference call

9. Take the dog out for some fresh air

10. Write a My Veggie Baby post

11. Prep dinner

Instead, I halted that to-do list and took a moment to come into my body. I let my eyes naturally open and my senses awaken to the day. I felt my feet, firmly implanted on our hardwood floors. I let my ribcage expand and contract. Instead of padding directly to the bathroom, I fell into my husband’s arms and gave him a lingering hug. I kissed my puppy and then nibbled on some delicious coconut oat bars while getting dressed.

At the gym, I did a new workout – which, for 25 weeks full of baby, isn’t half-bad:

Back/Bi’s/Legs

10 minute elliptical warm-up

8 reps X 4

Sumo weighted squats

Resistance band reverse flies

Rotational seated biceps curls

5 reps for 5 rounds

Inchworms

2 minute high interval stair stepper

8 reps 6 reps 4 reps (for each exercise) with a 6 second hold (X4)

Weighted lateral lunge

One-arm row holding stability ball for support paired with plate swimmers

DB biceps curl

8 reps 6 reps 4 reps with a 6 second hold (X4)

Side step-up with leg left into curtsy lunge

One-arm lat pull-down

DB incline hammer curls

5 reps for 5 rounds

Lower back alternating arm and leg reach

2 minute high interval stair stepper

8 reps 6 reps 4 reps with a 6 second hold (X3)

Front lunge

Wide grip cable row

Overhand cable biceps curl

While this wasn’t “intense” by any means, it was still adequate. As I longingly watched Alex destroy his legs and do 10 sets of 10 pull-ups sprinkled throughout his workout (the same thing I used to do) and then finish with his 10 sets of 100 m row and 10 burpees in between, I was beyond envious.

But, all in due time…

When we returned, we feasted on our breakfast and both headed out for the day, him to his graphic design job, and me to Lovely, my favorite little cafe, to tackle that to-do list (and sneak brought from home snacks).

Now, it’s back home to indulge in a healthy salad topped with homemade hummus and take the time to not get too lost in the drudgery of the day.

Because Monday is here, and it is perfect. The air is fresh and cold, I have love in my life, and another heartbeat inside me. I am full of ideas and happiness and creativity.

I couldn’t possibly ask for anything more.

But if you need a little coaxing, indulge in these delicious coconut oat bars that my hubby and I have devoured in less than 24 hours! Happy Monday!

Coconut Oat Bars (derived from YumUniverse’s Caribbean Coconut Oat Bar recipe)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 organic banana

1/2 cup shredded coconut (plus a bit more for sprinkling)

2 Medjool dates, pitted

1 Tbsp. raw honey (or agave)

juice of one lime

1 tsp. fresh organic lime zest

1 Tbsp. cold-pressed coconut oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. After lime is zested and Medjool dates are pitted, pop all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until well mixed.

3. Spread mixture on a parchment lined cookie sheet and shape into a rectangled with a spatula.

4. Bake for 30 minutes (or until golden brown) and remove from oven. Slice into bars. You can store in an airtight container on your counter for a week or pop in the fridge for up to two weeks (they seriously will not last that long). Enjoy!