Monday, November 24, 2014


I love finding new recipes online and then I save them on Pinterest.

So, if you're looking for a new recipe, here are my 3 boards of recipes I want to try:

Main Dishes to Try

Baked Goodies to Try

Other Recipes to Try

Or, if you want a new recipe but are feeling less adventurous, here are my 3 boards of recipes that I have actually made, with my verdicts after the *:

Main Dishes: Made

Baked Goodies: Made

Other Recipes: Made

Pregnancy and the Body

Will your body ever be exactly the same as it was? Probably not.

Your feet might get bigger (mine were a 7, now they're in between a 7 and a 7 1/2).
Your rib cage might expand.
You might shrink a tiny bit (height wise. I shrank about 1/4 of an inch).
Your breasts might end up permanently smaller if you were bigger to begin with.
You might end up with a lot of stretch marks (I have them on my stomach, and new ones on my hips, thighs, and butt).

Even if you think you've done enough kegels to strengthen up your vaginal muscles, the first time you get a cold after giving birth, you will probably pee yourself whenever you cough or sneeze. It's extremely gross and annoying. I recommend wearing a pad, just in case.

The First Trimester: Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is a misnomer, since most women that get it have it all day. Some women might be sick just in the morning, some women might be sickest in the morning. And some might not. And some women are incredibly lucky, like my mom, and never have morning sickness at all. Those are probably the same women that feel fantastic their whole pregnancy and love being pregnant. Those people are lucky. And they suck.

I was lucky in that I only threw up a few times a week for the first 3 months or so. I was nauseous most of the time, but I could keep food down. I had no desire to eat, but protein shakes worked pretty well. Some women are sick their entire pregnancies, but for the most part, morning sickness doesn't last past the first trimester.

At this point, you usually don't look pregnant, or even really feel pregnant. It's more like a permanent bloaty feeling/look, like when you're on your period. You also might be extra emotional and extra tired, all the time.

The Second Trimester: The Best Part (or least worst, if you're a pessimist)

At this point, your stomach starts to grow, so that you look actually pregnant and not just like you have a food baby. Your energy comes back, at least a little, morning sickness subsides, and you'll probably start feeling little movements from your baby.

Sleep starts to get uncomfortable, but for the most part everything is pretty nice.

The Third Trimester: Almost Over

You start to swell. Your stomach becomes huge, people begin touching your stomach, asking you when you're due, etc. On the plus side, this can also be a fun time to buy pregnancy tests and stage fights with your husband about whether or not your pregnant (my husband wanted to do this at Wal-Mart. I thought it was funny, but I was tired and  my feet hurt).

Sleeping is impossible. They have pregnancy pillows, which help a little. You can also use regular pillows. I slept between two body pillows, which helped a little. But you can't sleep on your back or your stomach, and switching sides is a lot of work. Plus you have all that extra weight, so my shoulders and my hips usually felt like there had been bags of cement sitting on them all night.

There's a good chance your feet and ankles will swell. Not only is this uncomfortable, but your shoes won't fit anymore. Flip flops are your friends. Your fingers will also swell, so take off any rings if they feel like they're getting tight. Swelling can occur rapidly and you don't want to have to cut your wedding ring off. Just take it off and wear it on a chain around your neck.

You are hungry all the time, but you can't eat very much at a time, because your baby is hogging all of your stomach room.

You also have to pee constantly. Case in point, here was my bedtime routine: Wash my face. Pee. Take out my contacts and put on PJ's. Pee. Wait a few minutes, pee again just to be safe. Go sit down on the bed. Decide to get up and pee just one more time. Get in bed, lay down, position body pillows, wiggle around, finally find a semi-comfortable position, sigh in relief. Then mutter angry things because you realize you have to pee again.
And no, I'm not exaggerating. Ask Eric if you don't believe me.

Stretch marks appear. If you don't think you have any, they're probably hiding under your belly where you can't see them. Stretch marks are mean like that.

You tire more easily because you're carrying lots of extra weight. You can't bend over, putting on shoes, shaving your legs, and picking up things from the floor is not so fun.

On the plus side, the baby is now moving quite a bit. You can feel them kick, and as your due date nears, you'll be able to see them move and kick as well. It's awesome. Often they will respond to familiar voices or to touch. Again, awesome.

Making it Better

Exercise and Diet

Being in good physical shape BEFORE you get pregnant and maintaining a regular exercise routine and healthy eating habits will make a huge difference in your pregnancy. You will feel better, be healthier, and it's also better for the baby. That being said, I did  not do that. Though I hope I will be better next time.

Some of the best exercises for pregnancy are yoga and belly dancing. Yoga helps a lot with strengthening muscles and stretching; belly dancing was designed to strengthen the birthing muscles. It also helps quite a bit with lower back and hip pain. Swimming is also delightful, because you're weightless and less cumbersome. 

Have Someone to Help

I honestly don't know how single women do it, because I don't think I could have handled pregnancy without my husband. He was amazing. He massaged my hips and lower back, he rubbed my feet,  he cooked, he cleaned, he went yardsaling with me to find cute baby clothes (that was probably my favorite part of being pregnant--finally an excuse to buy cute baby stuff!), and he was just generally supportive. That being said, having people who have had babies to talk to helps a lot as well. One is good, more is better, simply because everyone is so different that you'll be able to identify with different people on different things. 

Get a Pregnancy Massage

Massages are expensive, but I figure if you buy your baby stuff secondhand (that will be another post), you can afford at least one. It was the best hour of my third trimester. Chiropractors can also do wondrous things for your back, and some insurances cover one or more visits during pregnancy. 

Let me know if there's anything else you want to know about how pregnancy affects the body. 



If you don't really want to know all the sordid details of breastfeeding, you should probably stop reading right about now. 

If you do a Google image search for "breastfeeding," you will come across many pictures like this one. They usually depict a smiling or peaceful looking mother gazing down at her baby, and it is obvious that they are experiencing a delightful bonding experience. This also always seems to happen in a pristine, white environment for some reason.

This image is slightly more realistic, but other than the surrounding mess, it still looks pretty peaceful. 

Some women love breastfeeding, and describe it as the most peaceful, beautiful bonding experience there is between mother and baby. 

For others, breastfeeding is painful, whether due to infants that bite, slap, or claw, chapped/sore nipples, engorgement, or various other issues. 

Breastfeeding was rarely painful for me, but it was also rarely a peaceful/relaxing bonding time. My daughter had a hard time latching on correctly at first, which was painful for me and frustrating for her. Once she did figure it out, things got easier. However, I think my daughter was the slowest eater on the planet. She would lay there, mouth in place, and just kind of chill. Then siiiiiiiip. swallow. Chill a few minutes. siiiiip. savor the milk in the mouth for a few  minutes, really enjoy that flavor....aaaaand swallow. Don't get me wrong, she was adorable. Just excruciatingly slow. This probably wouldn't have been as big of a deal if my only responsibility in life were feeding my child, but, like  most mothers, I had a million other things that needed to be done. Once she got big enough that I could prop her in place with a boppy/pillow and have my arms free to do homework, grade papers, etc., life got slightly easier. 

Of course, the slow sleepy nursing was only a minor annoyance. The main headache when it came to nursing for me was the crying. Sometimes, my milk would come in too fast and my daughter would start gagging on the milk, so she'd pull back, and then milk would be spraying her in the face and up her nose and she's wailing and flailing and milk is spraying her and the pillow and the couch and her clothes and my clothes and everything else within a three foot by the time I get the fire hose pressure tamped down and my daughter latched back on, she's giving me this reproachful glare like "I'm wet and hungry and you tried to KILL me. You suck." And we're both wet and smell like breastmilk and I'm frazzled and just feeling like, "Just drink your stupid milk. Bonding, ha!"

Granted, nursing does get easier with practice. By the time my daughter was 6 months old, we had breastfeeding down and she was quick and efficient. (So, naturally, she had to do something to liven things up--that's when the whole "Let's use mom as a percussion instrument" thing started. Also, the experimental pinching and biting.) 

However, certain things could definitely have been avoided and I will avoid them next time around. For instance, my sister, who also has fountainous milk, recommended expressing some milk into a nursing pad prior to breastfeeding, to avoid the whole drowning-in-milk thing. Once I tried that, things got a little less dramatic. 

Other things, like slow eaters, pinchers, etc., have more to do with the baby's personality and you'll just have to adapt to each other. 


Keep in mind, this is all just from my experience. Everyone is different, in case you hadn't already noticed. 

When my milk came in, it hurt. My breasts were huge and swollen, and not in a good way. There is nothing sexy about breasts that are constantly leaking milk and that are so tender that even a simple cotton bra hurts them. (Side note, I've always been smaller chested and kind of wished to have a bigger chest. Having had one now, I much prefer my smaller chest. Big breasts hurt, they get in the way, they're a pain to exercise with (literally and figuratively), and they're overall just annoying.)

The following things can  help with engorgement: 
Keep in mind that painful engorgement usually only lasts for a day or two when your milk first comes in. Once your body figures out how much milk it needs to make, it slows down milk production and things get a big more normal. That being said, I had overly large breasts (though not painfully swollen past the first few days) that were prone to leaking for the first 3 or 4 months. 

Nursing Covers

This is a hugely, and stupidly, controversial topic right now. Every baby has the right to eat when they are hungry. Whether or not moms should cover up or not is another issue. Honestly, unless you're pulling off all of your clothes to nurse,  you generally can't see much more of the breast than you would if someone is wearing a skimpy top. 

 That being said, do I cover up if I'm nursing with people in the close vicinity? Yes. Why? There are a number of reasons, but I think the main one is that I am a private person. I don't like people in my space and I like to cultivate my personal space. And, even though nursing wasn't always a beautiful bonding moment between me and my daughter, I wanted it to be one. Having a barrier between us and the rest of the world made that a little more possible for me. Plus, my daughter rarely seemed to notice or care that there was a blanket draped around us, and if anything, as she got older it kept her from being constantly distracted and jerking her head around to try and identify random noises. 

My other, more  minor reason for covering up while nursing, is that I'm aware that not everyone is comfortable with seeing my breasts. I think it's horribly rude of people to openly stare or glare at someone who is nursing in public, and far worse to say something rude to them about it-- it's always inconsiderate not to care about other people's feelings. Me covering up while nursing doesn't hurt me or my baby and if it helps the person I'm talking to to feel more comfortable, then I'm fine with that. 

*Keep in mind that there are many reasons why people feel uncomfortable with seeing someone nurse, whether it's identifying breasts as sexual organs, discomfort with the human body in general, guilt because they aren't breastfeeding, pain because they can't breastfeed, frustration that nursing seems to be so much easier for you than it is for them, differing cultural/moral/personal viewpoints on privacy, etc. (If you prefer to nurse without a cover and you feel like someone is uncomfortable with that, instead of assuming that they're a narrow-minded jerk, try asking them if they're uncomfortable, and if so, why. Then listen to their answer. You both might learn something.)

All of that being said, if someone ever glared at me for breastfeeding (honestly, maybe people did and I just didn't notice. I'm not terribly observant), I would probably do something cranky and violent, because I don't appreciate rude people. But that's another topic. 


When you choose to wean is up to you. Pediatricians recommend breastfeeding til at least 1 years of age, but some moms need to wean sooner or their baby just self-weans sooner. Claire started self-weaning around 10 months, and I weaned her a couple weeks before she turned one, because we were going to Disney World without her and I didn't want to try and pump while we were there. Plus I was afraid that even if I pumped my milk would dry up. Plus I was just sick of wearing ugly nursing bras. Claire showed zero signs of noticing or caring that she was being weaned and instead was all "Oo, my sippy cup has milk in it! Cool!" Which, I'll admit, eased my guilt over weaning her tremendously.

Anyway, remember how I was worried about my milk drying up over a period of a few days? Apparently some women can have their milk dry up really quickly. And apparently some women take weeks, or even months, to dry up. I weaned Claire over a month ago and my milk is still there. Really annoying, but hopefully it will go away soon. 

I can't think of anything else to say about breastfeeding, but if you can, let me know. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pregnancy and Clothing

If you are pregnant, you've probably noticed that your clothes don't fit anymore. And though it may be tempting to go out and buy a bunch of cute maternity clothing, maternity stuff is expensive, and I'd rather spend money on cute regular clothes.

Maternity clothes:

You can get by wearing regular, non-maternity shirts. Just find shirts that are longer and stretchy. I think I only bought one maternity shirt, the rest were ones I already had.

Some tiny people don't gain weight anywhere other than their stomach and can get by with not buying maternity pants. I was not one of those people. Maternity pants are great, as are sweatpants and skirts.

If you're on a budget, secondhand thrift stores are a great place to buy maternity pants (as well as baby clothes and anything else you need). Yard sales are even better, but they might not be an option for you depending on where you live or the time of year.

Nursing clothes:

Yes, that is correct. If you are nursing, you still might not be able to go back to your normal wardrobe (which, let's face it, if you gained extra weight, you wouldn't be going back to your normal clothes for a while anyway).

Again, there are a lot of fancy nursing tops that you can buy, all of which are really expensive. The easiest thing to do is just to wear looser tops that are easy to lift up.

A great option to keep the rest of you covered while your top is pulled up is a nursing cami. You can buy them for around $20 a piece at most department stores, or you can make your own.
I am not gifted when it comes to sewing--I can't even sew a straight hem--but I managed these. Each one took me about five minutes. Here's a link if you're interested: DIY Nursing Cami Tutorial
(You can get cami's at Walmart for less than $5 each. Look for long, stretchy ones.)

Nursing bras:

Most are ugly.

You can, hypothetically, get cute regular bras and convert them to nursing bras (I haven't tried it yet, mainly because I don't even have any cute regular bras right now).

You will need at least two (one to wear while the other is in the wash. *If you leak a lot, you will be washing them more often than you'd think).

There are special nursing bras for night time/sleeping. I didn't get one, but I will next time I have a baby. I leaked a lot, which meant I needed to wear a bra at night to keep nursing pads in place. Regular nursing bras aren't terribly uncomfortable, but they're not meant to be slept in.

*If you do leak, get some nursing pads! I tried several different washable ones--they all leaked. It was just one extra layer of material, so it didn't really help. Of the disposable ones, I liked the Lansinoh ones the best--they have sticky tape on the bottom so they stay in place better, which is especially helpful at night. If you get them on sale/with a coupon, they're also one of the cheapest disposable nursing pads.

Leaking usually lasts a month or two after your milk comes in, until your body figures out how much milk it needs to produce and when. Some women leak a lot, some hardly at all. If you're having a baby for the first time, I'd recommend getting a box of nursing pads just in case.

**If you are LDS, there are maternity garments. 

I, personally, hated them. For me, one of the worst parts of being pregnant was wearing garments. They recently came out with some new maternity garments, which look like they might be slightly better, but they still have the weird kangaroo pouch. So still awful.

I ended up just buying some bigger sizes of bottoms and folding them down so they were under my belly. Some women like the maternity bottoms, so you can try them (buy one and try it before you commit to a bunch). Other women buy men's bottoms and wear those, since they're looser. I think that the next time I have a baby I will buy men's bottoms to wear at night.

The maternity tops aren't quite as bad, but they are fairly voluminous until you reach a certain size. Again, I just bought bigger tops and wore those (the Carinessa ones are stretchy, so they worked well).

There are also garments for nursing, which I never bothered to try. Since the Carinessa garments are stretchy, I just pulled the top down to nurse, and that worked fine.

Try a few things out and discover what works best for you.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Claire Turns One

Well, we kept Claire alive for a whole year, which is more than I can say about any of the goldfish or plants that we've had (after our last fish miraculously survived us being gone for over a month, we decided he deserved a new home, so we gave him to my sister. He is doing quite well, and has even stopped his uncontrollable twitching, likely due to regular food and clean water).

As usual, Claire failed to be impressed. She just stared at us while we sang and blew her candle out.

She wasn't excited about her tambourine (even though the last time she saw one, she loved it). And though her favorite game is opening boxes destroying mail, she didn't seem interested in opening her presents.

She seemed mildly interested in her animal train, and stood her ground as it came towards her, singing manically. Even when it started to try and run over her foot, she didn't budge. Her rocking giraffe was her favorite present--well, the bow on its head was, anyway.

The present that got the most excitement from her was....nothing. She was literally staring at the carpet when this picture was taken. We'll pretend it was her cake or her rocking giraffe, though. I love her rocking giraffe, and I'm determined to have her love it, too. Since I've already successfully brainwashed her into loving her stuffed giraffe, I know it's possible.

Claire liked her ice cream, but hated how cold it was. 

We also went to a corn maze, where Claire loved traipsing about in her new sparkly shoes.

Claire didn't want us to hold her hand or pick her up--she's very independent. But since she's also really slow (we traveled about a foot a minute), we finally gave up and carried her in spite of her squalling protests.

It's hard to believe that Claire is already one. She's beginning to look  more and more like a little girl instead of a baby. 

Stay tuned for Halloween!