Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Favorites

I'm not sure what to say about 2013. It turned out quite a bit differently than I expected and it was not without it's challenges. But, there was a lot of good as well, so here are some of my favorites from the year: 


Day Trip to Portsmouth

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Portland Maine

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Washington DC

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York, Maine

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Iceland, Austria, Germany

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Cape Cod

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Sprint Triathlons, SWIMMING (especially outside at Walden Pond) and Prenatal Yoga :) 

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Things Accomplished: 

So much decluttering/organizing

2 Sprint Triathlons

Surviving 2 + trimesters of pregnancy 

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Tell me a great trip you went on this year, something you accomplished or a favorite book you read :) 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Week 32 and 33: Expect the Unexpected

Weeks 32 and 33

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As you all know, I am no stranger to children. I am under no illusions that any part of parenthood will be easy and I'm also under no illusions that I will be able to plan how things will go. 

I guess then I shouldn't be surprised that this pregnancy has taken a complete 180 turn from the time when my doctor declared me her healthiest patient to… where I am now. In this case, I can't even blame Max. He has continued to do everything he is supposed to do as expected (hopefully this is what he will be like out of my tummy as well, please?). 

This past week I was diagnosed with Cholestasis of Pregnancy. I fortunately caught it quickly thanks to some crazy middle of the night itching I was complaining about on twitter and in my last update. It's basically a liver disease that, in my case, is brought on in pregnancy and will disappear afterwards (yay!). In the meantime, it could cause a lot of stress to Max and has been shown to increase the chance of stillbirth or preterm labor. Not yay. 

Fortunately, last week I had a Non Stress Test (checks baby movement and heart beat) and ultrasound to confirm that as of now, the baby is doing very well. I will continue to be monitored twice a week for the remainder of pregnancy, which incidentally will be MUCH shorter than I expected. In order to decrease the stillbirth risk, this will be dealt with by inducing the baby between 36-37 weeks before my liver can bother him too much (hopefully) which is in… about 16 days. AH. 

Since all of this occurred during Christmas week, there was a lot of craziness with the doctor and I just didn't feel comfortable going to Florida in the midst of this chaos. Okay, what actually happened was that I literally packed everything (actually not everything because I forgot half of what I actually needed), went to the airport and had a complete and total meltdown for over an hour before deciding not to get on the plane. Full disclosure. It was a bad day. But in the end, I think I made the right decision because I am now relaxing at the Cape and not a three hour plane ride away from my own doctor and hospital. Max has probably enjoyed enough travel for now and hopefully it's only the beginning of his many travel adventures. 

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So. That's the biggest news of Week 32 and 33. Other notes include: 

- I did get a prenatal massage. It helped my back A LOT. I do not find massages to be super stress relieving, but they do seem to work wonders on my back. 

-Only a few days after fixing my back, I managed to hurt the back of my pelvis (which is basically my back/butt) and could barely walk on Christmas Eve morning. I decided to go swimming anyway (but Caroline had to bring me a towel because walking upstairs to get my own was too hard). By some stroke of luck, swimming ended up being exactly what I needed and all back, pelvic etc pain has been pretty minimal since then. I don't know how many times I can say it, I would not have survived this pregnancy without swimming. 

-Max continues to take after his dad and be a night person. He is predictably quiet in the mornings and CRAZY active in the afternoon. At my appointment last Monday they had to wake him up with an alarm clock (not joking) to get him to move so they could measure things properly. This is because it was 9 am. Lol. 

-The silver lining of being a "high risk" pregnancy is I now get a weekly ultrasound. The one on Friday was fun and even though he looks like an alien on the 3D machine, at least he looks like an alien with my nose. Score. 

-Max currently weighs 5 pounds, 6 ounces which is exactly what I weighed when I was born :) He is at the 64 percentile for weight, which I think is a perfect place to be. Hopefully he will be about 7 lbs when he is born. If all turns out well, this will be a blessing in disguise because he may have been REALLY big by February, ha. 

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I may do weekly updates now, since I'll probably only have 2 or 3 more. Crazy! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Friday Favorites

It's been a pretty blah week in these parts. There are so many things I'm currently over: snow, being pregnant, darkness, winter (which btw technically has not actually started, just kill me), and crazy kids who need a vacation. BUT, who wants to hear me whine? Not me. Plus, a 13 day vacation begins this afternoon at 3pm. So, let's get positive. Here are some of my current favorites: 

Books: Just finished two great books- gave them both 5 stars. 

Thestoryteller     Morningglory

Podcasts: I've been loving listening to podcasts lately. My current favorites are: The Art of Simple and Stuff Mom Never Told You. 

Dessert: Christmas cookies


Snack Food: Goldfish crackers… not only do they taste good, but adding this extra salt each day has completely cured my pregnancy dizziness. Amazing! 


Moment this Week: Gingerbread House decorating with some of my favorite kiddos.

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On the Web: When You Let Your Kid Play Ball In the House


Blog Post: the everyday: morning and night edition


Christmas Song: Christmas in Dixie, Kenny Chesney


What are some of your current favorites? Send some recommendations my way! 


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Week 30 & 31

It's time for another week of pregnancy updates. These are a bit reminiscent of my negative first trimester thoughts, so I'm sorry in advance for that. I will preface by saying I know I have been lucky in many ways. As far as we know, this baby boy is healthy. I am not having any major issues and I'm not on any version of bed rest. Thank goodness. I had another doctor's appointment last Thursday. The baby's heart beat sounded good, I'm measuring on schedule (just according to bump size, I may not have any more ultrasounds as long as everything seems fine), and my gestational diabetes test came back with no problems. I do truly know how lucky I have been. That being said, I just can't bring myself to be someone who loves being pregnant. I don't know if I'm going to love having a newborn either. But I already love the baby, that's what really counts, right? 

Week 30

It's weird to hit the number 30, knowing there is approximately 10 weeks to go until we really meet Max. I can't decide if that feels short or long. It feels too short when I think about actually taking care of a newborn, but it feels too long when I think about continuing to deal with pregnancy for 10 more weeks. As for Max, he continues to show off his hyperactive personality. He no longer limits his crazy movements to nighttime and now is just all over the place at all times of the day :) He particularly loves to hang out on the right side of my tummy, and I occupy way too much time at night watching him stick different body parts out and trying to guess if that's his head, elbow or foot. 

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Week 31

I've been told many times that the second trimester is the best of pregnancy. I tried to tell myself that after the not so fun first trimester I had that the third trimester would be kind to me. I didn't just wish it, I've stayed active and healthy hoping that I wouldn't be super uncomfortable come this time of the pregnancy. Well, I don't know what it would be like if I didn't do that so I have nothing to compare to. But, I'm still uncomfortable. A round little heavy basketball attached to my front may LOOK cute, but honestly at the end of the day, OW. Forget the end of the day, by 9:30am. My lower back absolutely hates me right now. You should see the ridiculous pillow set up I have on the couch and I've now been carrying a pillow around at work too for the rare times when I sit down. The only real relief seems to be swimming, yoga (sometimes) and sleeping. My other complaint is being SO ITCHY. Who knew this was a pregnancy symptom? Last night I was lathering myself with lotion and Benedryl Spray at 3am. I'm starting to think cuddling/feeding a newborn at 3am will be a major step up in my life. Perhaps that is the point of all this? Max, you best be cute is all I can say. 

I know it's a goal free month, but I'm going to make some for Week 32: actually take a bump photo, eat slightly fewer Christmas cookies, and maybe get a prenatal massage… there has to be something out there that will fix my back, at least temporarily? 


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Simplify #3: The Internal Struggle

In 2013, I decided I wanted to simplify. Like any good blogger, the first thing I did was start reading minimalist blogs. Then, I took action in the form of a major declutter. I have cleaned closets, sold and donated clothes, and I even spent basically a whole month not buying anything. I researched my baby registry extensively with the glimmer of hope that I would have what I need for the baby, and a few conveniences, but not a house full of things I don't use. I cleaned more closets. I tried to say no more often. 

The idea of simplifying appeals to me for many reasons. The first is, I don't really like cleaning. My mom says that no one does, but I maintain I like cleaning less than the average person. But I do like things being clean around me, and so I am left with the idea that by having less stuff, perhaps I will have to clean less? The second reason I would like to simplify is that my life is about to change a lot. I will soon have sleepless nights and diaper changes and a tiny little boy who depends on me for everything. I will have to get rid of some things- things I worry about, things I do- to make room for Max. Like all new moms, I hope to not lose what is important to me in this journey and I think the only way there is any hope for that, is if I get rid of what does not matter. The excess. 

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But guess what? Ironically, simplifying is not simple. It's actually hard. Not matter how much I have decluttered, I still spend a lot of time cleaning up what I still have left. Sometimes I just want a new outfit… or three. Sometimes I go to a cute local store and I want something, maybe a shiny notebook, or a new bag. I don't need either. I'm still not great at putting everything in it's place, even if it has a place. I vow that having the guest bed downstairs won't mean that I'll pile things on it and well… there is some stuff on it. I still pack my weekends with things, some of which I probably should have said no to. I have gotten a lot better, but I still probably do more at work than I need to. 

I don't have any grand illusions that this will get easier. I know babies don't NEED a lot of stuff, but I'll be honest if it takes 16 different swings, jumpers, vibrating chairs etc to quiet my screaming little boy… I'll buy them all. I'd like to say that after a bad day (and I anticipate a few ahead) I'm not going to go online and buy myself a new shirt (when I fit into them again) but I don't know. I hope that having a baby will help me say no to things in my personal life and at work, but really I have just no idea what to expect on this little adventure, how it will change me and how I'll stay exactly the same. 

But I'm not going to give up on simplicity. I think that every bag of clothes I donate, every time I say no, every time I don't buy something matters. In 2014 maybe I'll do better and maybe I won't. But I'll keep trying. Even if it just means one less thing I have to pick up off the ground. 

Do you strive to simply? Does it come easy to you? 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Five Things Friday

I'm not sure where this week went, but my mind was too jumbled for a coherent post. Instead, you get some random thoughts. 


#1- I don't know how people survive their lives without exercise. It doesn't matter how much I fight/delay/almost don't do a workout, it always makes me feel better. Specifically, thank you yoga for saving my sanity on Monday and swimming for saving my extremely sore back on Wednesday. 


#2- Max's due date is exactly 2 months away. We "celebrated" this (without realizing it was happening, thanks Caroline for reminding me ha ha) by doing our hospital tour and having a doctor's appointment. I learned a lot about the process and the baby sounds good (based on heart beat, I don't do much else at appointments these days!). 


#3- Since there is pretty much no leaving early/coming late in teaching, we had to take the day off for our baby adventures. We spent the time in between killing time in Boston. It was ridiculously cold but I still just love Boston. Plus we got some Christmas shopping done at cute local stores in Beacon Hill. I officially recommend venturing off the Boston Common to check out some of the cute stores along Charles Street. On a slightly warmer winter day, you could throw in a little ice skating on the Frog Pond first. 

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4. As I mentioned above, winter is in full force here right now- as it is in many other parts of the country. We've had some snow all week so the kindergarten kids have needed all the gear. Sigh. Please never buy your child tie boots. Why do these even exist? 


5. This weekend we were originally thinking of a quick Cape Cod trip, but a forecast for a blizzard Saturday night changed our plans. My new plans include brunch with Katie & Teddy, reading as much as possible of my book (The Storyteller- so good!) and hopefully getting a pedicure. I'm not really a big spa treatment person but I really just cannot reach my toes comfortably at the moment. 


What are you up to this weekend? Do you think you could survive without exercise? 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Simplify #2: Simple Holiday Season

I love Christmas, but I do not love the craziness that often comes along with it. I don't want to waste my entire holiday season sitting in traffic on the way to the mall or spending a ton of money to clutter up the homes of my family and friends. I want to choose my presents wisely, support local businesses where possible and just enjoy spending time and energy with the people I love rather than ON them. Here are some ways I am trying to have a simpler holiday season. If you are doing the same, please share your tips. 

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Event Gifts: Give your family the gift of experiences rather than items. For kids, do a trip to a museum, farm (if you can stand the cold!), or holiday show. For adults, maybe visit a winery or brewery, go see a comedy show or a play, or take a weekend trip. I highly recommend this article from Slow Your Home on "The Ultimate Clutter-Free Gift Guide." 

Homemade Gifts: If you are the crafty type, make presents yourself. Even if you are not, you can always support a small business by purchasing something homemade. Check out Becky's series on homemade gifts for some great ideas. Shutterfly is also great for turning photos into presents: calendars, mugs etc. 

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Event Advent Calendars: I've seen this idea in a couple of places but I've never tried it myself. Basically, instead of taking an ornament or chocolate out of an Advent calendar, instead you take out something fun to do. You have to be careful with this because if you put this together with a bunch of event gifts you are participating in, you can end up with the opposite of a simple holiday season. But, you get to make up what you want to do, so you can keep it super low key. Some ideas I like include taking a drive to see Christmas lights, listening and dancing to Christmas music, watching a Christmas movie, and making cookies. Remember, this is YOUR Advent Calendar so you don't have to have an "event" every night. 

Say No/Do Less: This is a great article about how moms of little kids should do less, but I think everyone should do less. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you, but you don't have to say yes to every holiday party, volunteer to bring extravagant dishes to a dinner party or even send out Christmas cards this year. Choose only what you most love and/or need to do, and say no to the rest. This is a work in progress for me. 


How do you simplify your holiday season? 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 27, 28 & 29

Well, hello 3rd Trimester. Now that you are here I not only forget what week I am on, but I also forget to do updates. Oops. I'll catch up with 3 this week. I really have nothing that interesting to say about each week individually other than, I'm getting bigger- yay baby is growing, boo I hate tying five year old shoes. So, I'll be picking a random pregnancy related topic and addressing it instead. Ready, GO. 


Week 27

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Things That Have Really Surprised Me About Pregnancy: Everyone is different, but I had a lot of thoughts about what I would be like in pregnancy. I thought I'd be an emotional mess, but in reality I've been much more angry than teary. I had never given much thought to Pregnancy Brain, but oh boy is that real. I thought I'd want to read lots of books about pregnancy when in reality, I hate the books and love just reading bloggers updates and other resources online. I expected to have a ton of food cravings and be sending Eric out for random things I wanted- in reality, I still want cupcakes and ice cream, so… nothing has changed on that front. I have had a couple of food aversions, but nothing crazy. There were other things I was right about: I do pee constantly, I will never ever say I love pregnancy, I'm  staying as active as I hoped to be, I am just as scared and unprepared as I thought I would to actually have a child… someone save me. 

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My Pregnancy Essentials So Far: I refuse to invest in a $80 pregnancy pillow but I have found that I could not have survived pregnancy so far without: lemon drops, mints, Trader Joe's golden round crackers, insane amounts of water, prenatal yoga, swimming (so therefore my bathing suit, my wetsuit, my Y membership and goggles), walks with Eric, google (I am probably the only person out there who feels calmer after googling things), cute maternity clothes and one king bed pillow for my back and one small pillow for my front… works as well as any pregnancy pillow I am convinced. 

Week 29

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Baby and I were reunited with the Cape this week, yay. He continues to love vacation, or 4 day weekends. We did have one big moment this week due to the fact that the baby is moving just SO much these days. On Thanksgiving, Eric's grandmother put her hand on my stomach and felt him move. She is the first one besides obviously Eric and I who has felt him. This is particularly impressive because he tends to stopping moving right about the time that anyone tries to feel him ha ha. 

Other Random Things You Might Be Wondering About: Yes, the baby boy has a name- he will be called Max. He won't have a longer name, just Max. I clearly don't care at all about surprises and secrets- let's just get it all out there. No, I will not have a "birth plan" and in all likelihood I'll be having an epidural. Yes, I'm planning to work up until my due date (possibly two days longer if I haven't had the baby yet and I can survive it- that will get me to February break). Of course I know I have no control and I may not be able to, but I plan to. I also plan to return to work in late May and my most amazing mother will be watching the baby, which let's face it- is probably way better/safer than him being with me anyways. Plus it will only be for a few weeks before summer. 

If you are wondering about anything else, ask in the comments! :) 



Sunday, December 1, 2013

Music, Miles, Books and Looks of November


I enjoyed a late birthday present (my fault- it took me that long to decide on what I actually wanted) this month from Eric, a waterproof iPod shuffle to enjoy on swim workouts. I haven't fully figured out the headphones yet, but I seem to be able to listen to blasting music for the moment. I downloaded the Florida Georgia Line cd so that is the inspiration behind my first favorite song of this month. 

Round Here, Florida Georgia Line

Everybody's Got Somebody But Me, Hunter Hayes

Sweet Annie, Zac Brown Band



I set a goal to swim 5 miles this month total. I finished up on the last day of the month with 5.22 miles. Wahoo! It actually wasn't much of a challenge to get myself to the pool or yoga this month, I just need it or everything starts to hurt and I become more grumpy. 



Novemberbook1 5 Stars. This is a great mother/daughter story that takes place in New York and Iran. 

Novemberbook2 4 Stars. A great story that begins in 1962, with some fantastic characters. 

Novemberbook3 3 Stars. The setting of this story had a lot of potential, but the characters did not draw me in. 

Novemberbook4 4 Stars. A young adult novel set in World War II Hawaii. It makes me wonder yet again why I had to read such crap books in high school. 


I really like maternity clothes better than regular clothes. They just fit me so much better. We can add this to the very short list of things to love about pregnancy. However, I think you see enough photos of me in maternity clothes because of my weekly updates. So how about I show you a WAY cuter look? Baby clothes!

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November Goals Recap

1. Buy Nothing November. You can read more about what I did and why, and how I did with it. I was slightly less successful in the Black Friday madness (just online shopping, I am not one to deal with the stores), but overall it was a pretty successful month. It also helped me to see why I was shopping so much more than usual, and I think I've concluded it's because so many of my stress/bad mood relievers, like a quick run or bike ride, a glass of wine, planning a trip etc have all been taken away from me. Sigh. This is why I will not be giving up cupcakes in the month of December… though maybe I should. 

2. Throw out, donate or repurpose one thing per day. Not exactly. I learned this month that I cannot commit right now to doing something every day. Some days, things just are not going to get done. Preparation for motherhood? That's okay. I did throw out/recycle some serious bags of things, repurposed some other things. Just more on the 2013 Decluttering Spree

3. Read 4 books. Yes, thank goodness. See above. 

4. Swim 5 Miles. Yes, total 5.22 miles swam this month. Wahoo! 


In December, I won't be setting any goals for the first time in a long time. To be honest, life feels very overwhelming to me at the moment. I'm tired, not in that first trimester I must nap right now kind of way (thankfully-please let that not return), more just tired in a I-can't-possibly-fit-anything-else-into-my-life-right-now kind of way. I know this is not going to get any better in 2014, so I'm just preparing myself now but saying let's just hope I accomplish what I need to this month. Not going to aim any higher than that :) 



Sunday, November 24, 2013

Simplify #1: Buy Nothing November

One of my lofty goals for this month was to Buy Nothing in November (apparently I was also doing 30 days of gratitude this month, oops?). I thought I'd check in about how it's going and share some tips in case you want to take on your own "buy nothing" challenge. 


Check In: 

With only a week left to go, I'd say Buy Nothing November is going very well. I have not bought a single piece of maternity clothing. Huge accomplishment. I have not been to Starbucks at all. I've taken far less trips to Walgreens for last minute things I need. I technically have only purchased one item for the baby, which is a cute baby book on Etsy. I know I should've waited until the end of the month but I already feel like I'm forgetting important dates/milestones, so I just went for it. It was only $30, so my bank account will survive. I also exchanged one item for another that ended up costing slightly more, which I think is cheating but Eric technically paid the difference and it's not his challenge. Ha. For the most part I've been really happy with not buying and only once or twice have thought "woe is me, I can't do anything, I should at least be able to buy things!" That passes quickly :) 

Here is what I did so far to be relatively successful with this challenge: 


Step 1: I identified what I was buying that was not necessary. 

I first identified what I was buying that I really wanted to stop buying. No, it wasn't toothpaste or groceries. It wasn't gifts for others. It was maternity clothes, accessories, tea at Starbucks, impulse food purchases, things for the baby, books, items for my classroom etc. The list helped me know exactly what I was going to avoid buying for the month. 


Step 2: I thought about when and where I was buying these things.

Most of my shopping that I wanted to avoid was happening online. I mentioned I was not always a big online shopper but since maternity clothes are basically only available online, I got into a habit of looking at the sales and websites on almost a daily basis and then inevitably wanting something. It really helped me to just avoid looking at online websites. I have no idea what Old Navy is selling these days and this is for the better, because I'm sure it's a great deal. 


Step 3: I found some different mindless activities to do online so I didn't shop. 

Sometimes it's 8pm and I'm too tired to read or do work so I just do something mindless online. This has become a larger problem because I'm really trying to take time at the end of every day to rest. I was in a habit of looking at Old Navy and H&M online during this time so I broke the habit by doing some other mindless things. 

- I cleaned and organized the apps on my iPhone. I totally download apps and then never use them. Every once in awhile it's essential to delete some of the apps I haven't used since the day I downloaded them. 

- I cleaned out of my Feedly feed. I never have time to read ALL the blogs I subscribe to and I like to keep extras that I enjoy in case I have some free time. However, sometimes I just find myself NEVER reading a blog and then it obviously should just stop cluttering up my feed. 

-I deleted e-mails. In particular, I deleted sale e-mails immediately. This stopped the inevitable "oh, but it is such a good deal" justification.  

-I spent lots of time on Pinterest instead, looking for teaching ideas, gift ideas, recipe ideas etc. 


Step 4: I tried to plan ahead when possible.  

I am definitely a planner, but sometimes when I end up spending money is when I failed to plan ahead. Its 6:30am and I need a science lesson for that day. I come up with something by 6:40, but then I need to stop at Walgreens to get some of the materials necessary to do the project. If I planned ahead, I could ask the parents for some of the items or I could find them for free elsewhere. This month, I just went by the theory that if I didn't have the materials, I could not do the project. This forced me to plan ahead a bit. 


Step 5: I planned other fun things to do other than shopping. 

Even though I need to rest as much as possible, I still need to get out of the house sometimes and do some fun things that don't involve shopping. I tried to return to my tourist planning self a bit this month because that entertains me online and gives me something more fun to focus on than shopping. 


Later this week I'll be talking about having a simpler holiday season, which I'm even more motivated to do now that I've curbed the spending habit. 


 What are your tips to stop yourself from buying unnecessary items? 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Birthday Gifts: Cake!

I don't know about you but I love cake. I also love cupcakes, ice cream and cookies. There is really not too many desserts I don't love. But I don't frequently make cakes. I just enjoy eating them. 

However, in the last year or so Pinterest has inspired me to make a different kind of cake: the teacher supply cake! 

I made my first one in April of this year for my classroom special education aide who was hoping for her own classroom (and got one, wahoo!). 

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In order to make a teacher supply cake, you need to gather lots of teaching supplies first. Obviously the best time of year to do this would be at back to school time when there are lots of sales. If you plan to keep your cake circular, you have to put some thought into that when purchasing supplies. For the cake above, I used a paper towel roll in the middle. Then, I used elastic bands to wrap mechanical and regular pencils, post it notes, kids birthday crowns, erasers, binder clips, and cute cupcake stationary pad. I used a giant post it pad as the base of the whole cake. The elastic bands hold things together pretty well, but I did just some tape between the layers. Then, I covered the elastics with ribbon and some scrapbooking stickers! 

I just made another one for my classroom assistant who's birthday is this coming Thursday. I'm telling you, teachers love school supplies, we have problems :) 

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I decided to make this one a bit more stable by using a toilet paper roll as the base. I wrapped the top of a shoe box to put it on. Then I used markers, pencils, index cards, tags, glitter pens, post it notes and again the fun cupcake stationary :) I really should have got some thicker ribbon so you can see the elastics, oh well! 

If you like the cake idea but don't know anyone obsessed with office supplies, don't worry- you can still make these fun cakes with other items. How about a 30th birthday "cake?"

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This cake was made using two recipe card packs attached together as a base, and then the center is one of those tumbler cups I got at Old Navy- it's silver and sparkly! Then, I attached some items using elastics again- this time goldfish crackers, gum, candy, and lollipops. Since I'm no stranger to the 30th birthday celebration, I had the "celebrate 30" in my house already, ha. 

Clearly, you can make these cakes with basically anything! They can range a bit cost-wise depending on what you want to include, but they can be a pretty inexpensive gift if you plan well :) 

What is your favorite go-to birthday gift? Have you ever made a unique cake? 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Week 25 and 26

I can't believe how fast 2 weeks pass when it comes time to writing my updates, somehow I am always caught off guard! I started Week 27 today. Some people say that's the third trimester, but since I am in no rush for THAT to come I'm going to take advantage of the stupid indecisive we can't agree on anything in pregnancy and say it's next week :) 

Week 25

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Week 25 was an important turning point for me as far as realizing that I just cannot do everything I used to do before I was pregnant. This may seem obvious, since I gave up biking months ago and running a few months later. Not too mention drinking, of course. However, during Week 25 I somehow found myself with a super busy week at work, followed by a super busy weekend, followed by another busy week at work. And guess what? It did not go well. I was stressed the entire time, had more than 1 stand up for too long dizzy spells, and just felt overall grumpy by the end of it. I did have some unexpected things pop up during the week, like a sudden chipped tough that meant a dentist trip but I want to be able to handle these unexpected things a little better. Fortunately, I took a serious look at what I could handle right now and decided that I am now limiting myself to one weeknight commitment (only on weeks when I don't have a doctors appointment- those count as a weeknight commitment) and one weekend commitment. This is in addition to work outs, which occupy time as well obviously. I'm hoping having a concrete rule for myself will help me say no more often. As things go on, I may find that I have to adapt these rules, but for now I think they will keep me a bit more sane. Meanwhile, the baby seemed to not even notice his mom's craziness. He was bouncing all over the place all week. Or perhaps he thought that was just the norm, since clearly I was doing it too! 

Week 26

This was a very exciting week for so many reasons. First of all, life settled down a bit. I finished parent/teacher conferences and I began to limit my commitments. Plus, it was time for my Baby Shower! I wrote all about it already, so I'll spare any further details but it just made having a baby that much more real. Plus, I feel much more prepared for the baby's arrival now that I have almost all of the things we will actually need for him. 

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The baby also continues to move like CRAZY these days and finally Eric was able to feel it too, which is super exciting. I also continue to be able to see him move (if I lift up my shirt). I swear I've been writing thank you notes but then I decide to look at my tummy for awhile. Ha. 

Other notable parts of Week 26: I continued to love yoga and swimming. I submitted my official maternity leave paperwork. I started my maternity leave plans…sigh. So much realness. I have no idea how I got here. Really. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Baby Shower

The perfect solution to my grumpiness of last week? How about… a 3 day weekend, 2 college roommates coming to visit, 1 baby shower for a super spoiled not-yet-born baby and his super lucky parents? Yup, it worked like a charm. 

I started the weekend by picking up my college roommate Ashley from the airport and visiting one of my favorite North End Italian restaurants, Trattoria Il Panino, followed by a delicious chocolate cannoli from Modern Pastry. There is really no better way to start a weekend and celebrate the end of parent/teacher conferences than that. 

On Saturday, it was baby shower time! I have to admit, I was a little nervous about the whole baby shower thing. I didn't have a bridal shower, so I kept having dreams last week that I got presents and I didn't know what they were, or it took me like 17 hours to open presents and everyone was yawning. Ha. Luckily, none of this actually happened. My family and friends gave Eric, the baby and I the perfect shower. I was able to recruit my cousin, Eric's cousin and my friend's kids to help me open presents so there wasn't as much focus on me and I could move through it a bit quicker! Sorry in advance, but I had a hard time choosing between the many wonderful photos all taken by Caroline, of course. 

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My best friend Katie put together the adorable centerpieces. 

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My mom and Eric's mom made this amazing diaper cake! It's filled with lots of our favorite things, and at the top is a blue Snuggles. Snuggles is a bear that my aunt gave me when I was 1, and I proceeded to sleep with for the next 18 years of my life. The original Snuggles was lost during a weekend trip in college (yes, I still brought him everywhere at this point, probably a sign that he was lost…), but I still have many different colors and sizes of Snuggles around to this day. He is my go-to present for all my friend's babies and I am sure my son is going to have more Snuggles than he knows what to do with! 

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I decided to embrace the boy and wear blue instead of pink, but don't you worry- I totally have this same dress (in non-maternity) in pink. Ha. 

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The biggest surprise of the day was a present from Lisa, Amber and Anais. I cannot wait to dress the baby in this because it is so true, hahaha. They are such wonderful friends to send me presents to open before and during my shower!

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The best part of the day was really all the love, and not all the gifts, but there were many great gifts as well. I tried to be very picky about what I actually registered for. By that I mean, I did not visit a store at all where I knew they would just try to convince me I need a lot of crap I don't. I did a lot of research on what I need and don't need, and got a lot of advice from friends. I'm not saying I was a minimalist by any means, but I tried not to go crazy. I was rewarded by the fact that we got almost everything on our registry, yay! We also got two beautiful blankets- one knitted by Eric's grandmother and the other made by Eric's mom's friend and it's a BC blanket. Speaking of BC, my BC friends got me an amazing toy chest which I didn't even know I needed but seriously helped in the organizing process! Two of my friends from high school got me a spa gift card which I plan to use when things get even more uncomfortable either for a prenatal massage or a mani/pedi when I can no longer see my toes. Yikes. 

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It was a great day. I always feel so very loved after events like this but I think this is a very special feeling because it is so clear just how much this baby will be loved too, and what is better than that? 

I spend the rest of the weekend relaxing, doing yoga and organizing all the presents. We seriously have almost everything we need now, and I've organized all of it, believe it or not. That doesn't mean there is not still a ton to do, but the more productive I am, the better I feel about it all :) 

I hope you had a great weekend too! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gratitude, Take 1

Thank you for the many positive comments on my grumpy post the other night. I think because I read so much about teaching when I first began, I just assumed I'd want to do the same for pregnancy/parenting, but I just haven't found the selection to be nearly as much up my alley! Perhaps I am going to find more of my information online and through word of mouth and that is okay. Hopefully work will start to ease up on the stress and that will help my mood as well. I was supposed to be done with conferences yesterday but I had a cancellation and a no show, so who knows when I will be done now. Sigh. I'm choosing not to think about it as much as possible. 


Nilsa and Lisa did the 30 Days of Gratitude last month, and I really enjoyed reading their posts. I decided to play along this month in preparation for Thanksgiving at the end of the month. Plus, clearly I need to do some appreciating for all the many great things I have right now. 


Day 1: I'm most grateful for my ability to find wonderful friends. 

Day 2: In this moment, the thing I love most about my family is how much fun I have when I am with them, from my immediate family (aka Eric… and hopefully future baby haha) to larger family of our parents and siblings. I also love how much they support me in everything I do. 

Day 3: Something that made me smile today was Eric running a 5K and crossing the finish line looking strong :) 

Day 4: The best thing I smelled today probably one of the few pieces of Halloween candy I enjoyed… Milky Way Caramel, anyone? 

Day 5: One of the memories I am most grateful for is all of my trips with Eric. 

Day 6: Thank goodness someone taught me how to swim. I don't know what I would do without it these days! 

Day 7: The strongest part of my body at this moment is most of it! My hips, legs and feet for holding up this giant tummy. My arms for compensating for my least strong body part, which is my abs.  My body is doing a lot these days and I'm grateful for it. 


What are you thankful for this week? 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Super Grump

Sigh. I know I've made it no secret on this blog that I'm not really a baby/pregnancy/wedding, rah rah yay type of person :) Believe me, I wish I was. I despised basically every moment of wedding planning (remember the wedding meltdowns?) and I've basically dreaded being pregnant since I first realized that some day I probably would have to be (seriously, can someone please invent a way for men to do this? I'd be a great dad!). 

Now that I'm at Week 26 (what?!) I can officially say there have been many surprises for me in this process. In some ways I have hated it more than I expected to, but in many others I have enjoyed it more than I expected. There are moments where I'm actually enjoying researching what car seat and baby carrier I want (but not the stroller, that brings back angry wedding planning Kelly), pinning nursery ideas and even the zen of prenatal yoga. I enjoy every moment that involves this little boy kicking all around and making himself known. The other day I discovered I can SEE him move and this brought about a whole new round of entertainment and giggling. 


But sometimes I just get grumpy. I guess everyone does. This week, I am grumpy. It's a combination of problems most of which cannot be blamed on this baby. I've done all my parent conferences in the last week (finish today, wahoo!). I like meeting with parents, but it's exhausting especially because I am still expected to be teaching as normal throughout all of this. Then, I somehow ended up with a super over scheduled weekend, that was fun but not at all restful. Just for fun, let's combine this with daylight savings, which I enjoy in the morning but just makes the nights long, cold and dark. So dark. Also, am I getting sick or does this scratchy throat thing just like to return every few weeks to freak me out? 

I was looking back at pictures from earlier this year (as I start to put together Christmas presents) and I was just getting sad looking at all the fun things I used to do. I visited breweries and wineries and ate yummy dinners that I really enjoyed (for some reason I really kind of hate eating out now…). I took a lot of pictures, and I had energy and I went on beautiful runs and bike rides. I know, I know, it's only 9 months… but really, my energy, freedom, workout ability is not going to return with a newborn, so it's not just 9 months. I have no idea what the future holds as far as what social events I'll be able to manage, what wineries I'll be tasting from, how many dinners out I'll really be enjoying. I know, I KNOW there is so much more to look forward to. I know that no mom in the world would care about a brewery over her baby (nor will I). I know that many would give up wine for the rest of their lives if it meant a healthy baby at 26 weeks. I know all these things… and yet. I am a super grump. I am tired. I want to sleep and read and suddenly like food again and have no one bug me for multiple days. Unless it's to bring me a grilled cheese. Even you, kindergartners who just CONSTANTLY need their shoes tied and coats zipped. 

But alas… I'm approximately 14 weeks away from having a baby, which pretty much guarantees I will never have another day without someone bugging me again. Sigh. 

And for my final rant… I just despise any and all pregnancy books. I haven't made it through a single one, which is unlike me because I am usually happy to read about basically anything. I can't stand the negativity (ironic- I know). Yes, I know I'm not going to sleep for the rest of my life, stop reminding me! Then I started trying to read what I thought would be an informative book on breastfeeding and I wanted to tear it up instead… all I learned was that the author is going to JUDGE JUDGE JUDGE everything I do. Go away, I'm returning you from the library and I'll figure it out when the baby comes. The end. 

I promise my next post will be filled with so much cheer you will forget this grumpiness even happened. I promise. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Buy Nothing November

It's been in the back of my mind to do this a few other times. I knew Ashley did it, and I thought it seemed like a good idea. I don't think it's a coincidence that I decided to really take the plunge in the middle of my pregnancy (well, slightly past the middle, yikes). I can say this with certainty because the first time that Ashley did it, she was also in the middle of pregnancy. My theory on why is because having a baby makes you buy stuff. Too much stuff. Ironically I have not bought a single flipping thing FOR the baby, except for a pair of girls shoes that we used to take pictures of the "baby's first trip" in Europe this summer. Obviously, we are not having a girl- so I passed those along to a friend who has a girl and I am back to: have not yet shopped for baby. Oh wait, I did buy a stroller the other day, that's kind of for the baby, kind of to keep me sane during maternity leave. Win-win. 

So if I haven't bought anything for the baby, what have I been buying? Well, it started at the beginning when I felt like poop every day. I turned to my old friend Dr. Google and then bought every POSSIBLE "morning sickness fix." I'm talking 15 different kinds of tea, ginger gum, motion sickness bracelets, lemon drops, B6 vitamins… I can't even remember what else because the vast majority of it didn't really work. 

Then I started to feel better but the tummy started growing and so the maternity clothes shopping began. I resisted it for awhile, then discovered that the clothes are actually much cheaper than I thought and Old Navy is ALWAYS having an online sale. And suddenly there was no more resisting and lots of packages showing up at my door every single day. Oops. Then I signed up for two prenatal yoga series… and bought myself a new swim suit. If I'm buying a maternity sweater… I might as well get a matching scarf? No? 

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In the grand scheme of babies, I probably really have not spent that much overall… except maybe when you include that stroller. I am very thankful for all the help we will have actually purchasing the things the baby needs. But I have found that just clicking a little button on my computer and having things appear at my door is really just more addicting than I ever knew it was (because to be honest, I just don't online shop that much normally). So, I'm going to break the cycle and save a few dollars in the process, I hope. 

I know everyone has to do Buy Nothing November their own way, so here is mine: 

1. I can obviously pay bills, buy food, and essentials. By this I mean, I am about to run out of toothpaste. I won't be going without because it's "No Buy November" but I may steal some of Eric's (yes we have our own toothpaste) until I can find a good sale. I will only go to Trader Joes with a specific list and will not buy any additional impulse buys while I'm there. Last time I was there I swear I left with pumpkin everything… tea, muffins… who knows what else. 


2. I can start Christmas shopping, as long as I stick to ONLY gifts for others. It will stress me out too much to wait until December, so I will probably buy a couple of Christmas presents, hopefully nothing crazy. Like every year, I am trying very hard not to over-do presents. 


3. We will still go out to eat, but use restaurant gift cards whenever possible. Eric would probably try to end this marriage if I enforced a no eating out policy three months before we brought into the world a tantrum thrower that will make restaurant eating a thing of the past. So, I won't :) But I will try to use a couple of restaurant gift cards we have to save a few dollars. 


4. Just a brief list of things I cannot buy: maternity clothes, scarves or other accessories, just the cutest outfit ever for the baby (just say no), books (for me, the baby or my classroom), tea at Starbucks (I do currently have some gift cards but I may try to just hold off and use those in December), impulse food buys, anything for my classroom at all, presents that are not a good deal, salon services of any kind (not that I do this often anyways) and probably many other things I am not thinking about right now.


5. I will avoid reading sale e-mails or visiting websites "just to look" but if i do find myself wanting something, I will write it down. I think it would be fun to see if I save any money doing this. 


Would you ever consider going a month or more without buying anything? What would be the hardest thing for you to give up?  


Thursday, October 31, 2013

October --> November

I feel like I always say it, but how do the months fly by so fast? October was a busy but good month. Highlights of the month were definitely all about swimming, whether it was our chilly swims at Walden or my dolphin swims in Florida. The month was pretty busy and I'm hoping things will slow down in November, both at work and in life. I can always hope, right? Here is how I did with my goals: 

1. Say No to 3 things. Check. I actually said no to closer to five or six things. Some made only minor differences in my life, but at this point any obligation I can rid myself of seems to be a really positive thing. 

2. Read 3 books. Check. I was much more into reading this month and I read three great books. They are: 


Time Traveler is a book I've been meaning to read for years and maybe the only book ever where I saw the move (on the plane home from Iceland) before I read the book. It was a great book, and I'd definitely recommend it. Life Sentences was our blogger book club read this month and I'm thankful I was reading it at the same time as Lisa because there were some confusing parts and overall it was not my favorite book, not terrible, but not great overall. I think I might have been even too generous in my review on goodreads, ha. Becky sent me Tiny Beautiful Things and it was great. There was a lot of wonderful advice and I'm convinced that everyone can relate to something in this book. 

3. Yoga one time per week. Spin once. Check. I did make it to spin once :) It was okay, but I'm not jumping up to go again at the moment. Hopefully I will go a few more times in pregnancy. I mainly just don't want to get on a bike in the spring and have my body be like, and what would this be? It's probably hopeless anyways! I also have been going to yoga faithfully and I just signed up for two more classes so I know I'll be going about twice a week in November. 


November Goals

1. Buy Nothing November. I got the idea from Ashley (she has been giving me a lot of ideas lately). I'm stealing it. I'll do a post explaining this in more detail once I get the fine print worked out. 

2. Throw out, donate, repurpose one thing per day. Also known as: Simplify, Take 300 or Get Rid of Crap Before Baby Stuff Takes Over. Sigh. This might actually be a pretty big challenge since I just sold some more clothes to Twice and brought 3 giant trash bags full of stuff to Goodwill last weekend. 

3. Read 4 books. I need to read 4 in November and 4 in December to meet my year goal. It's hard to believe last year I read 10 more books than this. Somehow I must have known in January that I wouldn't be able to keep that up because I didn't aim as high this year. Next year I may have to aim even lower, unless reading kids books will count. Ha. 

4. Swim 5 Miles. Not all at once :) Just total in the month. I know I will keep up with yoga so this is just a little extra swimming motivation now that I am restricted to boring lap swimming again. 

What are you hoping to do this November?