Pregnancy Advice

Everybody love unsolicited advice, right? Uh, no. Not really. But if you’re like me, you appreciate hearing about what worked/didn’t work or what should be done differently.

I have a few pregnant friends and I’ve been thinking about what I remember learning during my pregnancy.  I present to you my advice for first-time pregnant women.

  1. Keep moving. Seriously. There will be so many days where you are just too tired/too refluxy/too whatever to get in your workout. Go anyhow. You don’t have to push yourself hard, but move, even if it is just a walk. You will feel better then and the exercise will help you in countless ways in the future.
  2. Tums. Not just Tums, but Tums “Smoothies” which are not a drink made with Tums but rather a variety of tums that dissolves more easily and is less chalky. These were key for me and I had bottles at my desk, at my bed, in the kitchen and in the car. Oh, and I had a stash in my gym bag. Along the same lines, if Tums are necessary don’t be afraid to try Zantac or Prevacid, which are pregnancy safe and can be very helpful.
  3. Don’t listen to people who tell you do X, Y or Z more now because you won’t be able to do it later. Yes, it would be nice to sleep more, go out more, or whatever more now because you won’t have the ability later, but unless you are eating more to store up fat for winter, it isn’t going to help you much. Cherish these days but you can’t bank sleep. If anything, I think that you’ll get spoiled by so much sleep or fun now and miss it more in the future.
  4. Buy things that will make your life easier. If you can afford it, there are little things you can get that will make your life better. I am a bargain hunter and well, I’m a little cheap sometimes. I didn’t want to buy a Belle Band that I was only going to use for a short time. A friend loaned me one and I was amazed at how helpful it was. This applies to pregnancy stuff and baby stuff (which I plan to cover in a future post).
  5. Save money where you can. I’m a big believer in consignment sales. I know some people have an issue with used clothes. Baby clothes can go through the washing machine. I don’t think of it as all that different from sleeping on hotel sheets or using hotel towels. I am operating under the assumption that washing machines actually clean things. If you know otherwise please don’t tell me.
  6. Eat what sounds good. While I think it is important to keep in mind that pregnancy is not a license to eat whatever the heck you want you should listen to your body. Heck, pregnancy is hard. If eating a chocolate donut will make you a little happier, do it. Don’t go nuts, but indulge yourself a little. You’re making a little human. That’s hard stuff!
  7. Laugh at yourself. You’re going through some big time changes. You might be a little wacky. You might be a tad hormonal. Learn to laugh about it. This skill will come in handy when the little one has a serious diaper explosion at the least opportune time (not that there’s an opportune time for diaper explosions).
  8. Write things down. I never did a pregnancy journal but I did blog. I can tell you that in the process of writing this post I went back and read by previous blog entries and really enjoyed reading how I felt when I was pregnant.

New Recipe: Crock Pot Black Bean Soup

I have mentioned before that I want to love my crock pot. It is just that so many of the recipes leaving me totally dissatisfied and disappointed. It is such a bummer when you invest the time and effort into a dish and it doesn’t come out how you hoped. Still, I occasionally give it another try and hope for the best. I am pleased to announce that I just finished a big bowl of this black bean soup and I declare it a WINNER!

This recipe, unfortunately, does require a little bit of advance prep. I am okay with that if it is minimal work and results in a good meal.

I was very skeptical about not pre-soaking the beans. I have not had luck with this in the past. Somehow it worked and I am so excited!

Black Bean Soup with Chipotle Chiles (Crockpot)

Bon Appétit  March 2004 Cooking for Health

A dollop of yogurt adds a creamy richness and cuts the heat of the chiles.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium-size red onions, chopped
1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 16-ounce package dried black beans
1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles*
7 cups hot water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup chopped seeded plum tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and both bell peppers and sauté until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cumin; stir 1 minute. Transfer mixture to 6-quart slow cooker. Add beans and chipotles, then 7 cups hot water. Cover and cook on high until beans are very tender, about 6 hours. Transfer 2 cups bean mixture to blender; puree until smooth. Return puree to remaining soup in slow cooker. Stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Spoon dollop of yogurt into each bowl. Sprinkle with tomatoes and cilantro and serve.

Test-kitchen tip: Add richness to slow-cooker soups by using a mixture of half broth and half water instead of only water.

Makes 6 main-course servings.   Per serving: calories, 314; total fat, 4 g; saturated fat, 1 g; cholesterol, 1 mg; fiber, 18 g

My notes: Instead of pureeing in the blender you could give it a brief whirl with an immersion blender if you have one. I skipped the yogurt and topping and just enjoyed it plain. I used 2 cups of chicken broth and 5 cups of water.

18 months – can you believe it?

Little Prince climbed up here all by himself!

Little Prince climbed up here all by himself!

Just wow. My baby is a year and a half old. Fabulousness.

My little guy is so fantastic and we are thrilled with the little man he is becoming. I am seriously smitten – can you tell?

I continue to be amazed at the most mundane accomplishments. You know that your friend’s kids grow up and start talking, walking, and developing but when you see your own little bundle of joy transition from an adorable little blob to a little person who has preferences and, personality and actually *does* stuff it is a miracle every day. Everything he does is astonishing – from feeding himself oatmeal to putting garbage in the trash can. It is so ridiculously awesome.


Max is a little bundle of energy.  That’s nothing new. What is new is how quickly he moves. He is running now. Yeah. It is awesome and terrifying at the same time.

IMG_6271Max’s favorite activities currently include reading, helping, and general mischief. Balls are his favorite toys and bubbles are a close second. Anything that isn’t a toy is one. Kitchen utensils and just about anything that he shouldn’t have is a toy.

He still loves books. He has a few favorites that he loves which the Knight and I can mostly recite from memory. This includes two books his Aunt Es and Uncle Dude gave him for Christmas (My Favorite Things and the Peekabo book) as well as Dr. Seuss titles.

As for helping, Max wants to do everything we do. He is involved in whatever we’re doing from making a fire to getting dressed. He loves to help clean. I could see how some might not find this endearing but I love it. Yes, it makes things harder and getting out the door can take forever, but it is so ridiculously cute.

Max is an outdoor boy and will grab his coat and bring it to you and tell you he wants to go out. It doesn’t matter if it is dark out or he is in his pajamas. He loves to be outside.


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We knew it was coming and it is here. Max’s stubbornness/determination has arrived. He is also big on order. None of this really comes as a surprise. He likes things to be where they belong and for everyone to follow proper procedures. His daycare teacher told us that Max has become the class informant and reports on his classmates. Yes, he is a tattle tale. Oops. Ms. Claire says it is actually helpful. Haha!

Along those lines, Max will shut containers, doors or anything which he thinks belongs closed.  He loves putting stuff away and is delighted to oblige a request to put something in the trash. He does not like it if you do things out of order or mess with a system. The other night I went to wash his hair and put the shampoo in my hand instead of in the washcloth as I usually do. Max let me know that was not how we do it. He didn’t get too upset but he did let me know he noticed.

Where he does get upset is with getting dressed. It must be a control thing. Either that or he just doesn’t like some of his clothes for some reason. Getting dressed in the morning can be a big battle. He gets very upset and seriously protests certain articles of clothing. It is heartbreaking how upset he gets. We just try to work with him and sometimes just let him pick his shirts. It seems early to me for this kind of thing but friends say it is normal for this age.

On a happier note, in general Max is a fun, playful and affectionate little dude. He smiles most of the time and is a little clown. He loves to do things to make us laugh. He loves to play chase, mostly when it is time to do something he doesn’t want to do. In other words, when it is time to put on his coat he thinks is hilarious if he runs and I chase him. I’ve tried to cut down on this by not chasing him but then I’m just standing by the stairs like a dummy waiting for Max to come back. He thinks it is hilarious. I see the humor, but….

As you can imagine, Max is very good following instructions (other than in situations like above). He will carefully pay attention and then retrieve the cat food dish you requested or put away his books. He loves to be involved and be part of the action. We give him lots of praise when he listens well.


Max continues to be a good eater, though he is still getting pickier. I follow the saying that it is our job to give him healthy options and it is his job to eat them. He still eats a pretty wide variety of foods. I still find it absolutely fascinating to watch him eat. He has gotten really good at using utensils and seems to really enjoy the reaction he gets from doing so. His morning oatmeal has gotten much less messy and he manages to get most of it in his mouth.



We have made some process in the weaning process. We’ve dropped all but the before bed (and weekend before nap) nursing sessions. As I write this I realize that I’m weaning because I feel like other people expect me to – not because I necessarily want to or think I should. In any case, I don’t think the benefit of the morning nursing session was worth the cost – which was the time it took to do it. I am certain it was more for comfort at this point and during the Knight’s last trip we really needed that extra time in the morning. There was a little protest but nothing that a little distraction didn’t take care of.


Max is talking up a storm. Most of it is unintelligible but he actually has many clear (to us) words now. I would estimate he has about 20 + words. Some of them are clearer than others. Mama is the most used word which is used for just about everything and is often expressed with urgency.

When he wants something he will sometimes say “more” which sounds a lot like “ma.” I will ask him if he wants more and he nods yes or says “da” because apparently we speak Russian in our house. Then I suggest he say “more peas please”  and then he will say “ma ppppe” and sign please. I will then say something like “Say ‘May I please have more peas’ ” to which I will get a whole bunch of sounds that are probably Max’s very special version of whatever I just said. So, we’re working on it. He gets the idea of repeating but just hasn’t formed the words yet.

As far as we can tell, Max is right where he should be. I think the Knight believes he is a little genius. I’ve heard him say he is scary smart. I think he is amazing but from what I can tell he is just a normal, wonderful, bright 18 month old who has both of his parents head over heels for him. We are so very thrilled to be his parents. I don’t want time to keep flying. Before we know he is going to be one of those teenagers that wants nothing to do with his uncool parents. Now, if I lay down on the floor, Max will climb up on top of me and give me kisses. I never want that to stop!


Hanging out in the closet in his sporty clothes




Tonight I am feeling the need to express some gratitude. Facebook just didn’t seem like the right place so I am writing here. You know, on my equally or more public blog.

Listing my good fortune is a regular habit for me. I don’t know how it started but whenever a negative emotion hits me I automatically start listing all of the things I have to be grateful for. It is overwhelming, actually. I mean, if you real get down to the basics, how about breathing, running water, electricity. Then there’s freedom, love, my abilities, etc. I could seriously list about 1000 things without a bit of effort.

Well, it has been a hard week. The a Knight is away and the stress of the past two weeks has taken a serious toll on me and apparently, my immune system. Not only did my period come over a full week early (TMI, sorry) but I developed the beginnings of a head cold shortly after my long run Saturday morning and then a stomach bug hit me some time yesterday. Fortunately I am successfully winning the fight against both things but let me tell you, solo parenting while sick is the pits!

That’s a lot of complaining for a gratitude post, I know. So here is what I am especially thankful for tonight:

1. My solo parenting is short-term – and voluntary.
2. The Knight will be home Saturday (or in 3 sleeps, as we would explain to the little Prince).
3. My immune system is pretty awesome. Not only have I not succumb to the full sickness that could have gotten me (my sister has the full-blown stomach thing) but also I don’t ordinarily get sick.
4. I have a job that provides me sick leave – and the ability to use it. I don’t have to worry about not being able to pay my bills when I get ill. I also feel free to use my sick leave when I need it.
5. Daycare. For the first time today I took Max to daycare and then came home and slept. Blessing!
6. The little prince is healthy. My biggest wish right now is that he not feel even a bit of what I have felt this week.
7. Support. I haven’t needed to call in reinforcements but I know that they’re out there if needed. Thank you, friends!

I am already on the mend. I had six tortellini and some applesauce for dinner tonight. Progress.

Think healthy thoughts and be grateful everyday!