Monthly Archives: April 2016

36 Weeks Pregnant

Today I’m officially 36 week pregnant and baby is the size of a large cantaloupe. Nothing like feeling gigantic and then being told you are carrying a gigantic fruit-sized baby within you. Baby boy weighs 6 pounds and is 18-22 inches long (approximately), and this is how I feel:
Most days, I still feel pretty good but a few days a week I wake up knowing I’m not going to be able to do squat all day. These days usually follow a restless night of tossing and turning due to continuous Braxton Hicks contractions and crampiness, which my midwife assures me is normal (they don’t get worse or time-able, they just exist and cause discomfort). Apparently, my uterus is irritable after being pregnant the first time around and is doing these things in preparation for the baby’s birth. The muscle memory is strong with this one because even on good nights I have a ton of BH and crazy movement. I’m taking a Natural Calm Calcium-Magnesium supplement which is supposed to help with muscle relaxation and make these false contractions more bearable. It also assists with replenishing these vitamins that that baby is usurping from me.

I’ve also had some hip and back pain from carrying an additional 30 pounds or so, and from my joints relaxing in preparation for labor. Needless to say, I’m ready to have this baby, but know he has to stay on the inside at least another week so I can birth him at Breath of Life (at 37 weeks), and would prefer him to stay a little longer so he can get fatter with greater brain development. I have 28 days until my due date, and I’m officially counting down each day (singing “It’s the Final Countdown” Gob Bluth-magician style).

I’m also struggling with how I’m going to be a great mom to two kids, and this hypothetical can drive a person crazy. Obviously, I’m going to do my best, and love them both, and eventually I’ll figure out a rhythm to parenting two, but it’s going to be a challenge at first. I get sad when I think how Henry and I won’t be a two-person team during our days, because I love him too much, but he is such a caring kid I know we will be fine and we will both love his baby brother so hard.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed with all these pregnancy emotions, I try to make a list of all the ways this pregnancy is awesome so I’ll leave you all with my non-comprehensive list:

  • My hair, nails, and skin look amazing – definitely my best ever, and I don’t even have to do anything. 
  • I’m still Body Pumping at the gym, with much lighter weights. I feel incredibly strong and capable of having this baby naturally because of it (in part).
  • My feet and ankles are not swollen.
  • I don’t have any stretch marks.
  • Most people (the kind ones) tell me I’m all belly, meaning the baby weight isn’t all over my body.
  • My baby boy kicks and moves so often, he’s always letting me know he is doing well so I have little anxiety over his well-being.
  • Prenatal yoga calms me despite being the hardest yoga I’ve ever done. I’m never taking my natural flexibility for granted after trying to do yoga while pregnant.
  • I’m able to become pregnant easily, and remain pregnant until full-term with no complications. I realize not everyone is so fortunate.
  • This is my last pregnancy, and soon my body will be my own again. I’m doing my best to savor these last few weeks of pregnancy despite disliking the alien-feeling inside. Keith tells me I’ve completed 17 out of 18 months of being successfully pregnant, and this helps (for some reason).
  • I have an amazing husband and son who love me. For this, I’m eternally grateful and happy.

Sunken Gardens

Not being a native to the Tampa Bay Area, I mostly use Groupon to discover some of the more touristy places at a discounted price. That way, I feel justified if the place I’m visiting is a trap or pleasantly surprised if it is awesome. Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg falls into the latter category. Originally owned by a private citizen who created the gardens around and inside a drained lake, and operated as a roadside attraction starting in the 1920s, it’s now owned by the City of St. Petersburg. 

Winding paths take visitors through some of the oldest tropical botanical gardens in Florida. Henry loved watching the fish and turtles swim in ponds connected to beautifully flowing waterfalls. He also enjoyed trying to make the birds talk to him, and running through the butterflies in their garden. 

As members, we not only have access to its many horticultural programs, many of them specific to Florida gardening, but also to various gardens around the state and country at a free or reduced rate. Sunken Gardens also has a deal with the Florida Aquarium for 50% off admission anytime, and free admission to MOSI certain months of the year. I’m excited to return with Keith, who as a Clearwater native has never been before. I hope he likes it as much as we did.

We finished our morning with lunch from the Fourth Street Shrimp Store, and it was delicious. They have options for people like my mom who do not like seafood, and the food came out quickly. So good.


Playground of the Week – Ridgecrest Park

Henry has been asking to go to new parks lately, and we really lucked out when visiting this one – Ridgecrest Park (12000 Ulmerton Rd, Largo 33774) for our Playground of the Week. It was fenced in, shaded by beautiful trees, had bathrooms nearby (one only open on weekends, the other set open daily), and overlooked lovely ponds. There were a couple of playground structures, a climbing turtle, and swings, plus a baseball field that will be fun to play on when Henry gets older. It also had two big covered picnic areas, perfect for parties or family reunions, and several other tables spread out in the shade with adjacent grills. We will definitely be adding this park to the rotation.

What’s Better Than a Baby Shower?

A whole weekend relaxing and hanging out with friends from college (Go Gators!) In lieu of a second shower or sprinkle, I opted for a relaxation weekend away in Orlando since we are planning on reusing most of Henry’s baby gear for baby boy number two. There’s just something about being around old friends who know you so well you can pick up right where you left off without skipping a beat. That’s how these ladies are to me, and it’s simply lovely.
Official plans for the weekend included a pedicure (with a mini massage), dinner at the Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and a trip to Harry Potter at Universal (since I hadn’t visited the Diagon Alley part yet, a travesty, I know). Those were the only priorities, anything else that happened was bonus donuts. So I was so happy to see Tina Fey’s new movie, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” because I so rarely go to the movies anymore and it’s one of my favorite things. I enjoyed the movie, and I think the ladies enjoyed getting food and drinks at AMC Disney Springs’ Dine-In Theaters.

Now back to my favorite part of the weekend – visiting Harry Potter! I love the books (and movies) so much that I try to re-read the series each year. So when Lisa volunteered her free employee tickets to whoever wanted to use them that weekend, I said yes (even though I was allowed to go on one total ride at both parks; don’t go to Universal if you’re pregnant and have to pay for your tickets (or if you don’t like fast rides).) it was so much fun geeking out in London, Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley, and Hogsmeade. I loved the design details, and the way it all came together to make it feel like I was in the HP universe. The Hogwarts Express ride was really cool, even if it wasn’t a train with real windows to the outside (you get to watch a fun movie instead). Next time, I’ll have to take the Gringott’s ride, so I’ll have to get back someday. It is totally worth it to go, especially if you’re a fan.


all the butterbeer types
headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix
                We relaxed, chatted, caught up on our lives, and had fun! I love my family, and my friends who have become family. I’m so lucky to have awesome people in my life, who will love this little guy just like they love me, Keith, and Henry.


Cooking with the Hen – Sweet Potato and Coconut Milk Soup with Brown Rice and Lentils

I don’t know why I decided to make a new soup recipe on a hot day in April, but oh my goodness am I so glad I did. It was filling, flavorful, and hit the spot for whatever randomness my pregnant body was craving (not to mention it’s nutritious). Henry was very interested in its creation, probably because I used a million and seven dishes to make it, and there were a lot of things to dump (two year olds love to dump anything). It took me about an hour and half of combined prep and cook time, but the end result was totally worth it.

The recipe below was slightly adapted from Katie at the Kitchen Door

Sweet Potato and Coconut Milk with Brown Rice and Lentils

Serves 6.

  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 TBS coconut oil, divided
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 tsp Penzey’s Sweet Curry Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Penzey’s dried ginger
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 3/4 c. orange juice
  • 1 c. coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 c. cooked lentils
  • 3 c. cooked brown rice
  • plain yogurt, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread out on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

  2. Melt 2 TBS of the coconut oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the curry powder and ginger and saute until fragrant, 2 minutes more. Add the roasted sweet potato and broth and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes, then remove from heat and carefully transfer to a blender. Add the orange juice and coconut milk and blend until very smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set soup aside.

  3. In a small frying pan, melt the remaining 1 TBS of coconut oil over medium heat. Add the cooked lentils and saute until crispy, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  4. Scoop a 1/2 cup of brown rice into each bowl. Pour soup over the rice, then top with lentils and yogurt.