Pregnancy #2 Almost Over!

I’m two days away from being 39 weeks pregnant! When did that happen?

IMG_6852This pregnancy has just flown by. Second time around has been a completely different experience than the first. With a toddler running around, I just haven’t had the time to think about being pregnant.

IMG_6842My days are busy caring for Jude  and it’s only been in the past few weeks that I have turned my mind to preparing for this baby. There hasn’t been to much to do since we have all the gear already, including a ridiculous amount of baby clothes. It was just a matter of washing, folding and finding places for everything.

IMG_8237Having the experience of a giving birth and caring for newborn under our belts certainly makes us a lot more confident. I’m not nervous about giving birth like I was with Jude. Having been through it, I know it’s totally doable (especially with the help of an epidural). It’s still going to be painful as all heck  – especially contractions and the days following birth. But I’m not really nervous about things like breastfeeding or settling the baby. Of course, there is always the unknown – I could end up with an emergency c-section or a baby with colic!

What we are nervous about it when exactly this baby is going to come. My due date is 7 Oct and my parents will be arriving on the 3rd. I just cross my fingers that baby boy stays put until then. It would be really tough if he decides to come early and we don’t have them here to take care of Jude.

IMG_7174This time round, I have had two showers! I really didn’t want one for the 2nd as we didn’t want any gifts but our friends insisted. The first shower was a joint one, shared with two other pregnant ladies, all of us due within a few weeks of each other.

IMG_6912We played a few games, ate a lot of food and were all given a ton of diapers (including in the above diaper cakes).

IMG_6909My second baby shower was thrown by my other mommy friends.

IMG_7928We attempted a few games but soon realized it was pretty impossible with all the toddler chaos!

IMG_7942Everyone brought a dish so we spent the afternoon snaking and playing.

IMG_7931My other pregnant friend (with her first), came around and we chatted about pregnancy and birth stuff.

IMG_8097I asked for no gifts but was given more diapers! The most useful presents to give expectant  an Mom!

IMG_7950Apart from showers fun, Jude and I have continued getting out and about several times a week to play. I know that once baby arrives it will be awhile before I can take him to play so have been keen to do this with him, even though it’s been pretty exhausting for me.

IMG_8096Because of all this daytime activity, I have pretty much stopped doing dedicated workouts. The last time I went to the gym was three weeks ago. I swam once since then but have otherwise just been too physically exhausted at the end of the day to do anything but put my feet up. I feel like I am going into birth not nearly as in shape as I was with Jude. At 39 weeks with him I was climbing 18 flights of stairs, now I huff and puff up one! I know it will take sometime after birth to regain my normal fitness level  – especially as it will be even harder to find time. I am hopeful though that I can start training for a half marathon or some other sporting event to motivate me once I’ve been cleared for exercise.

IMG_7410I’ve managed to get a little bit of ‘me’ time thanks to our nanny. One day when she came to help out with Jude I decided to go out for a big breakfast. It was so nice and relaxing as usually I scarf down my breakfast while helping Jude with his. It was especially nice not to have to share with anyone!

IMG_7641I decided to order a slice of banana pie and just about licked the plate clean!

IMG_7644Once again I have had a rough end of my pregnancy. With Jude I got horribly itchy skin in the last week before giving birth. This time round, I got it again, only earlier. It gets especially bad at night and so has really affected my sleep. I’ve bee averaging 3-4 hours a night. It’s really, really awful. My doctor has given me some medication to help reduce it but it won’t go away completely until after I’ve had birth. I suppose I won’t be sleeping much anyhow once the baby is here so what’s a few extra weeks?

IMG_8227So far I haven’t had any labor signs apart from Braxton Hicks contractions which I get all day long. They were measured at my last appointment but still not regular enough to count as early labor. My cervix is also still shut tight. I was happy about this as it sounds like he will stay put until my parents get here.

IMG_8213I still can’t believe sometime in the next week or so we will have another baby. We will be a family of FOUR. It sounds so big! We are all so excited to meet baby brother.

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Summer in Ohio: Week 2

Our second week in Ohio has flown by. Jude has again spent most of the week outside.

IMG_4231He spent a lot of time down at the pond throwing rocks, blowing bubbles,

IMG_4236Watering plants with Grandma,

IMG_5975And wagon rides.

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IMG_6009In between these adventures we chat with Dada.

IMG_6196Boy, we sure miss him.  (He still gets lots of hugs and kisses through the phone).

IMG_6197Of course, it’s not all fun, play, and Facetime, Jude’s also been going into work and helping Grandma out.

IMG_6017The weather has been great so we were able to cook out one night.

IMG_4315Steak fajitas and corn were a real treat.

IMG_4316On Wednesday we got another treat- Aunt Natalie arrived! (And came bearing Elmo-themed gifts).

IMG_4332Things got a little crazy her first night in.

IMG_4335The next day we were up early and Jude and Nat spent some time catching up and cooking.

IMG_6044And then cleaning up after.

IMG_6049It’s been great having more helping hands around. At 29 weeks pregnant (!) it’s been nice to have a break to put my feet up, or fit in a work-out.

IMG_5974We’ve attempted taking Jude out to eat a few times and it’s always a challenge. He’s not really into sitting in high chairs these days and would prefer to sit on Grandpa’s lap and make a mess.

IMG_6033We found a place way better than any restaurant to take him – a splash park.

IMG_6052It’s a free, outdoor, splash water park, located not too far away. It’s the most amazing thing! Jude loved it!

IMG_6060Next to the splash park is a playground so we went up and down the slide after to dry off.

IMG_6061On Saturday we threw a little baby shower for Jen. We left Jude with Grandpa and went out for a bit of pampering.

IMG_4396We had pedicures,

IMG_6068and then went out for a nice lunch.

IMG_4395Back home we met back up with Grandpa and Jude and soon after Rob arrived. We showered the parents-to-be with presents.

IMG_6084And then had cake (which Grandpa and Jude were in charge of picking up earlier in the day. Note that it is a little lopsided due to a little incident where Grandpa claimed he had to choose between dropping the cake or dropping the baby…).

IMG_4399Come August these two will have a little baby boy!

IMG_4398And Grandma and Grandpa will have their second Grandson!

IMG_4397On Sunday we had another family gathering this time at Jen and Rob’s. They cooked a beautiful Italian feast in honor of my Grandma, who passed away last October. She was born on July 19, 1921, so we thought it was a fitting time to celebrate her life.

IMG_4402After dinner Jude took a spin around the yard in the wagon.

IMG_6125It’s been a great second week,

IMG_6127And we still have a few more days left here to play outside.

IMG_6103To be continued…

 

Pregnancy #2

I am more than halfway through pregnancy #2 and so far have failed to document it as well as I did for #1. My belly is growing but it’s sort of happening in the background to our everyday busy life. While my first pregnancy was certainly very special (the first time I felt the baby move, the nervousness/excitement around the birth, wonderment at growing something inside of you, and the sheer awe at how my body could so drastically change its shape ) this pregnancy has been an absolute breeze and is flying by.

(taken around 16 weeks:)

IMG_3318With Jude I Googled some pregnancy-related concern almost everyday. This time round I have Googled one thing ‘how long can I carry my toddler in a front-pack while pregnant?’. We recently had our 20 week scan where they have a detailed look at all the baby’s bits and pieces. We passed it with flying colors, which was a huge relief given we experienced so much grief during our scans with Jude. It is a wonderful feeling not to worry and to just feel relaxed and excited for #2.

(taken around 20 weeks:)

IMG_3986The boys are going to be close in age. Jude will be 17 months when the baby arrives. We have thoroughly discussed the pros and cons of having them so close but in the end have decided that the benefits outweigh the costs – I’m not working for the remainder of our time here, we already have all the baby gear, and Jude probably won’t remember life without his brother, nor should he have any big issues with feeling like his territory is being invaded. And as probably all parents hope, we hope they will be best buddies.

(taken yesterday at 23 weeks:)

 

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Walking and Waiting

With just two weeks to go until my official due date I’m getting pretty anxious.

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My Doctor encouraged me to start walking a lot more- outside, on a treadmill, and up stairs. Apparently this can help push the baby down into my pelvis in preparation for labor. I’ve been dutifully following her instructions.

I’ve been taking the stairs at least once a day up to our 18th floor apartment.

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And hit the park most days for a long, vigorous walk.

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Yesterday, I decided to join Luke and his language partner for a trip to a fish market and outdoor wet market at I knew there would be lots of walking involved.

It was pouring rain but that didn’t stop us.

IMG_4912The fish market we went to is called Addiction Aquatic Development. It’s pretty flash as in addition to a fish market it sells gourmet food items, has a fresh sushi bar, restaurant and other bits and pieces. It’s quite expensive but definitely fun for browsing.

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IMG_4910After the market we headed to a cafe to sit down and grab a drink.

IMG_4917Once I finished my chai milkshake latte concoction I left Luke and his language partner (so they could do their exchange) and headed to the wet market to buy our fruits and veggies for the week.

IMG_4918When we got back home I got the news that my parents had adopted a new kitty named, ‘Oz’.

IMG_4921They have been thinking about it ever since one of their dear cats, Clarissa, passed away last month.

IMG_3131They still had another cat, Banshee, and didn’t want him to be lonely as he was their only cat after Clarissa died.

IMG_3133Oz seems to be very sweet and affectionate just like Banshee. I can’t wait to meet him someday.

Full Term

I’m 37 weeks pregnant  – officially full term! My actual due date isn’t until April 28th but he could come anytime. He’s done all his major development and is now just adding weight. The past month has been all about preparing for his arrival.

IMG_4515We took birth classes to help us get ready for labor and delivery.

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Sterilized baby bottles.

IMG_4680Finished organizing the nursery.

IMG_4537Spent time together.

IMG_4666Ate pork tonkatsu,

IMG_4665and lots of mochi.

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Then spent time at the gym trying to burn some of it off.

IMG_4699Did some  baking and put it in the freezer for easy postpartum snacks and meals.

IMG_4606Hung out with the cats.

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Took lots of photos of them,

IMG_4573and of course, of my gigantic belly.

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Keeping Fit

I’ve been trying my hardest to stay active during the third trimester. It’s certainly been tough as I’ve been getting bigger and a lot more tired. I find myself dozing off at various times during the day. It’s a terrible curse that pregnant women are not advised to drink coffee!

(Here I am this week at 33 weeks:)

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I always thought I would be a pregnant runner. I knew other women did it, and made it look easy, so why couldn’t I? I’ve been running fora good ten years and was keen to keep it up. I gave it a good go too, running a few times a week in the second trimester (my first trimester I was recovering from my knee surgery plus my nausea/tiredness ruled running out). But as my tummy grew running just didn’t feel right. I was obsessively thinking about how the baby felt inside there while I was bouncing around. I know doctors have come out and said there is no harm to the baby  but you still can’t help but think about it. Plus my body had changed so much that it made my form really awkward. And I just felt heavy – which made it really, really hard.

So without running I had to turn to other activities to keep active. I bought myself a new bike –  a cruiser rather than a mountain bike so my knees don’t hit my belly when I ride. I have  found it much easier to bike than walk. I’m also a lot more careful when I ride – sticking to the sidewalks and avoiding and sharp turns.

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I’ve also been trying to get to the pool at least once a week. To do so I had to buy a new swimsuit as I had stretched my speedo to its limit. I was unable to find a maternity suit in Taipei and the only thing I could find to accommodate my belly was this two piece in XL. I wouldn’t be caught dead in this if I wasn’t pregnant but it does the trick for now.

IMG_4271I’ve also been doing some walking here and there when my back feels up to it. On the treadmill:

IMG_4301And at the University track.

IMG_3938But by far, the best preggo activity I have been doing is yoga. I go two times a week and always notice the difference after – it really helps to ease my aches and pains.

I’m going to try to keep up this routine as long as I can. My Doctor wants me to cease all activity apart from walking when I am full term at 37 weeks. It will be tough especially if baby comes late but I suppose I should use that time as an opportunity to rest up before baby comes.

Cooking Up A Storm

The weather in Taipei has been very strange. Last week, for most of the week, the weather was hot. On Friday it was really warm all day and then around late afternoon the sky started changing color and we could feel the storm brewing. This didn’t stop us from getting out for some exercise. We headed down to the riverfront on our bikes and once at the bike trail, Luke got off and ran while I trailed behind him on my bike.

IMG_4171He ran for what seemed like forever.

IMG_4172Thankfully I had my headphones so was able to catch up on ‘This American Life’ podcasts.

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After the run we came home and after making a batch of healthy-ish cookies, we went out for pizza. The cookies, which had oatmeal and carrots in them, turned out really well. I will definitely make them again and possibly add some walnuts next time.

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Oatmeal Raisin Carrot Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside.
3. In the bowl combine the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Using hand blender, blend approximately 2 – 3 minutes, on medium speed. Add the egg, and mix until fully incorporated. At this point you will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir in the vanilla.
4. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add to the butter and egg mixture, and mix until just combined.
5. Strain the water from the raisins, ensuring that you remove most of it. Add the carrots, rolled oats, and raisins dough and stir.
6. Using a  melon-baller or small spoon, scoop each cookie and place it on an ungreased baking sheet 4 inches apart. Flatten each cookie slightly with a spoon. Place the baking sheet into the oven on the middle rack and bake for 10 – 12 minutes.  Cool for 15 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. Cookies can be stored in the fridge or the freezer.

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Our Saturday turned out to be really busy filled with a few social engagements. So busy that we didn’t really get to have a proper dinner. So Sunday we both woke up pretty hungry. I was going to make pancakes but then I started thinking about scones and so decided to make them instead. Served with fruit and hard-boiled eggs and of course coffee.

I used an old recipe of mine: Cinnamon Sugar Scones

IMG_4200I rolled them out and baked them on my Silpat, (which I got for Christmas from my parents and absolutely love) and they turned out beautifully.

IMG_4202Sunday afternoon I went out for some bread and stopped in a department store close by. I was browsing in the kitchen appliance section when I noticed they were having a big sale on Kitchen Aid appliances. I have had my eye on a 3.5 cup Kitchen Aid food processor for a long time and finally it was at a price I could happily justify!

I tried it out as soon as I got home. First I used it to make dinner – chopping first an onion, then carrots, then peanuts, then coriander for my chicken lettuce wraps. And after dinner I used it to make us dessert. A recipe I have long been itching to try – Banana Soft Serve.

IMG_4228Basically you chop up a few frozen bananas, throw them in the food processor, and puree for 3-5 mins. Done.

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I went a step further and melted some chocolate and poured over top. Words cannot explain how delicious and how much like ice cream this simple concoction tastes.

IMG_4231And finally my belly at 32 weeks.

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For a bit of fun, here is my belly at 17 weeks. Incredible!

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Recovering From Our Busy Weekend

We had a really busy weekend over here and are in need of another weekend to recover!

We’ve been trying to go out at least one night every week on a date and so on Friday night we started with a drink and appetizer at a bar and then headed to a Szechuan place for dinner.

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At the restaurant we chose the two person set menu and asked our waiter to recommend which dishes to have for each course. The menu was all in Chinese as was everything our waiter said  and we weren’t familiar with some of the dishes he recommended. The first dish that came out we knew was going to be pork based but neither of us were quite sure what exactly it was.

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I tried it but wasn’t a fan. The sauce was nice and the texture was chewy but I couldn’t help but think that it might possibly be pig intestines. The remaining dishes were thankfully all familiar to us.

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We slowly scoffed them down in between big gulps of water as Szechuan food is mouth-numbingly spicy!

Saturday I was up early cleaning the house and making carmel corn. My friends were throwing me a baby shower, held at my house, and the carmel corn was to put in favors for the guests.

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We had a great time and I will post about it as soon as I get the photos my friend took of it.

Then on Sunday we had our first birth class. We’ll be doing four in total over the next few weeks. The first class in the series covered the ins and outs of going into labor. We both found the class really informative and are glad to have signed-up. It certainly makes us feel as though we are a bit better prepared for the big day. After class I was ready to collapse from exhaustion but couldn’t as we still had one more engagement plus a night of Chinese study ahead.

Our Taiwanese friends wanted to take us out to a hot pot lunch to celebrate the Chinese New Year and  the pending arrival or our new addition. They both can speak pretty darn good English but Luke and I are always keen to practice our Chinese so I spent the lunch exhausting myself even more as I searched for the right words and grammar patterns to use.

The food at the hot pot restaurant was excellent. We’re both big fans of this style of interactive eating.

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IMG_4093This week I plan to take it easy. I’m 31 weeks pregnant and feeling the effects of carrying around the extra 20 pounds. ‘Pregnancy brain’ is also starting to kick in (I think mostly due  to being so tired!).

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Third Trimester

I have finally entered the third trimester of my pregnancy.  My stomach has undergone an incredible transformation over the past seven months.

Here I am at the start of the first trimester (not believing anything is really in there):

IMG_7299The second trimester (and thinking my bump was huge):

IMG_2866And finally, the third (now that’s a belly):

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I’m about 29.5 weeks today so 10.5 weeks away from my due date of 28 April. Time goes slow at the start of pregnancy but now it is really starting to fly. It’s amazing how big I am now and that I will get even bigger!

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And with the growth has come all the not so fun aspects of pregnancy. Sleep has been difficult. I have a lot of back and hip pain which I try to ease by doing yoga 2-3x a week. I’ve also just recently started to get some heartburn. I haven’t had any swelling, stretch marks or leg cramps but there is still time! I have also slowed right down. Apart from yoga and the occasional swim, I walk everyday and try and do light weights here and there. But I am finding that during activities I need to take frequent rests.

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Perhaps one of the most amazing things about being pregnant is being able to feel the baby inside of you. I started feeling movement around 19/20 weeks pregnant and over the weeks the movement have gotten sharper more frequent. And now it feels like the baby is playing soccer or has a punching bag inside of me all day long! I can feel and see his legs/arms pushing on my stomach. It’s incredible but sometimes can be a tad uncomfortable – especially when it takes you by surprise in the middle of the night.

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I am also really starting to feel like we have a lot to do in such a short amount of time! Luke and I this week have been getting stuff together for the nursery. We cleaned out the room the baby will be in and headed to Ikea where we picked up the crib/mattress and a new set of drawers for baby. This weekend we are starting birth classes, which we will attend for the next four Sundays. I just hope now that he doesn’t decide to come early so we can get these things done!

Family Baby Shower

After Christmas my family threw us a little baby shower to celebrate the upcoming arrival of our little guy.

IMG_7753Luke and I knew something was up but were mighty surprised to see the amount of effort that went into the set-up.

IMG_7750My eyes were immedietly drawn to these beauties:

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The food for the shower included stereotypical pregnancy cravings, so Kool-aid and fried chicken were served!

IMG_7757This made my husband a very happy man!

IMG_7758We played several games, including guess the baby food flavor. I struggled my way through it.

IMG_7770Rob, on the other hand, quite enjoyed the challenge and was remarkably good at guessing.

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Jen and Rob put together this great game to test our knowledge about birth and baby care. We played against seasoned veterans in the area (my parents) and surprisingly we won!

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Gifts were also given. We received so many adorable and thoughtful things.

IMG_7779Our little man is going to be well dressed.

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And have lots of furry animal friends.

IMG_7784(We got some other really neat stuff which I failed to capture on film, so will capture once I get the nursery together).

After gifts we took some photos around the tree.

IMG_7818Sadly, I couldn’t get one with both my sisters as Jen had a nasty stomach virus and had to keep a distance from me to ensure I didn’t get it too.

IMG_7820The night was toped off with one last game, a baby obstacle course.

IMG_7823It was me vs. Luke. We had a number of baby-related challenges to complete from changing and swaddling a baby,

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to folding clothes and folding up the stoller.

IMG_7827It was a very close race and I only just won! Phew…

Thanks again to Mom, Dad, Nat, Jen and Rob for putting this together. We had a blast!