Limbo + Real Food Prenatal Giveaway

>> 10.17.2014

Before I get to anything else, I wanted to express my gratitude. You guys are the reason I continue blogging -- and I very much appreciate all your sharing and support in response to the Two Week Wait post. Though I won’t be sharing every minute of our TTC journey, it’s helpful to know we aren’t alone in the ups and downs and all-arounds.

Today, I thought I’d touch on a few questions I’ve received related to TTC and this whole way of life that I call being in limbo. It’s like, you’re not pregnant . . . but you’d like to be . . . but you’re not in control. It’s up to the universe and, frankly, luck. It makes life difficult in a number of different ways. It changes the way you regularly go about the day’s tasks. Etc.

Exercise


I think the most frequent question I’ve been getting concerns how I’ve changed running throughout this period. I had been running over 30 miles a week with a long run typically between 10-16 miles. For me, this is higher mileage, especially considering I decided against the marathon -- so when we started TTC, I cut back on mileage and pace considerably.


Honestly, this part of trying for a baby is extremely difficult for me. Running releases tension and gives me a much-needed break at the end of the day. No other exercise quite compares, so now that I’m trying to keep running to 4 days a week -- 3 to 4 miles each time with a possible “long run” of around an hour . . . well, I get cranky. My usual easy run paces were between 8:10-8:30, faster workouts were usually sub 7:30. Now my paces stick around 9-10 minutes per mile. At least I think. A decision I’ve made early on is to stop tracking mileage and pace in real time and to go entirely by feel.

To supplement, I’ve been walking (our neighborhood is quite hilly, so I still get a nice challenge) and doing some Barre and toning workouts that I find on YouTube. I try to exercise at least 30 minutes to an hour everyday with maybe one day of true rest. I don’t know if it’s helping or not, but I figure changing my routine certainly cannot hurt. I’m also just trying to be more active overall.

Eating + Drinking


I have opted to stop drinking entirely at this point. Well, except when I get my period and need that ice cold beer to wash away the misery of beginning another cycle. Though, I may stop that soon, too. I had an entire week of spotting last month before my period (I’ve never, ever . . . EVER had spotting) and -- as some of you saw in the comments of my last post -- it ended up being a chemical pregnancy. So, it's all too confusing sometimes. Is it implantation bleeding? Is it a miscarriage? Is it a messy cycle? Is it ketchup? You never know at our house.

I’ve been trying to eat a balanced diet, but I’m having trouble eating the right amount for my activity level. I’m still on crazy-runner Ashley who can put away half a loaf of bread without blinking and then slam down 5 cookies for good measure with no repercussions.


Though I’ve stopped weighing myself, I can tell that I have gained weight through this process, which is frustrating since what I’m trying to accomplish will mean packing on even more pounds. So, I’d like to reevaluate my eats to make sure I’m getting all the nutrition I need (fruit and veggies more than bread and goodies) without eating for 2 and an endurance athlete that isn’t really doing much endurance anymore.

Testing


I’m one of those POAS addicts.


If you don’t know what that means, it’s likely you don’t need that info. I started doing OPKs this month because I thought my cycle might be strange after the chemical, and I was right. However, those cheap drugstore tests are sure confusing. If I choose to do them again, I do think I’ll invest in a bit of a digital no-nonsense kit. Otherwise, I try to follow all my body’s natural signs for fertility.

As far as HPTs, I think going forward I’m going to resist the urge to test early. It’s annoying. It’s expensive. It’s kind of heartbreaking and stress-inducing. Instead, I’ll maybe do it the day I’m supposed to start my period and go from there.

I’ve tried the Dollar Store pregnancy tests, and honestly -- I do know that they work, so I’ll probably stock those if I have a POAS emergency (and you know it’ll happen). Otherwise I do the First Response because they’re the most sensitive -- and PS: buying them online is WAY cheaper than in the store, even with those piddly coupons. I swear I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on sticks, and I hate it.

Oh, and blue dye tests are notoriously awful, so skip those.

Other Stuff


I don’t really do any of those funky tricks to increases chances of conception. Everything I read is contradictory and I didn’t do anything special with Ada besides staying in bed for a while. I really wish there was some tried-and-true thing that makes babies stick. If you know of a pill or potion, please let us all know.

I’ve been taking prenatal vitamins like it’s my job. I have tried so many different brands by now that I have a pretty good idea of what works for my body and what does. A lot of them make me mega-sick. Especially if I don’t take them with food. So, what I’ve learned is that my stomach is mega-sensitive -- and I started cutting my pills so I wouldn’t get such a huge dose (mostly of iron, I think) at once.


So, when Country Life offered me the chance to check out their Real Food Organics Prenatals, I was excited to see if a raw food-based, 3x a day dose would be better for me. And -- honestly -- I haven’t been nauseous taking these vitamins even once. Score! You don’t even need to take them with food because -- well -- they are food. The only other vitamin I’ve tried that hasn’t made me feel ill is the VitaFusion Prenatal Gummie, but they don’t have iron.

I think a big part of it is taking them three times each day, which can be hard to remember, but I just get one in with each meal. Additionally, they have high levels of B-vitamins, which are known to help combat nausea. They're also vegan and gluten-free. And -- honestly -- if you’d like to try them, why not enter the giveaway!

GIVEAWAY


That’s right. I have a bottle of these vitamins to give away! Just leave your name, a way to contact you (very important!), and the words REAL FOOD in the comments and tell me about your experiences with prenatal vitamins. (Which ones do you like, which ones make you sick, etc.).

I’ll choose a winner on Wednesday, October 22nd.

Happy Friday!

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The Two Week Wait

>> 10.15.2014

Wow, guys. I forgot how much the two week wait sucks. I try my best not to analyze every pinch and twinge. To stay off TTC boards. To carry on with daily life trying to forget what may or may not be going on inside my body. But I usually end up testing a gazillion times, convincing myself I’m either totally pregnant or totally not, usually alternating with ups and downs every other day. And the whole cycle begins again with each month.

Admittedly, we haven’t yet been trying for long. However, it sure feels that way when you’re counting days -- even minutes on all those little tests. I almost wish we lived in an age without OPKs, early result pregnancy sticks, and other ways to obsess and monitor. At the same time, this stuff is helpful. I’ve been following the Fertility Awareness Method for the last several years in place of hormonal/etc. birth control. For the longest time, my body was like clockwork . . . and then we decided to flip the way we used it (from avoiding pregnancy to trying) and everything is much more confusing.

Or maybe I’m just making it that way -- who knows!


With Ada, we got pregnant in our first month of actually trying and understanding how the rodeo works. Talk about shocking. Definitely some luck involved there, I’m sure. I didn’t think much about prepping my body or DOs and DON’Ts. I just sort of lived life and let things happen. This time around, I can’t help over-analyzing.

This small part of me wonders if something I did in the early stages of pregnancy caused Ada’s condition. Maybe I took too hot of a bath one day. Maybe I ran just a bit too far or didn’t eat well enough or didn’t take the right prenatals. (Her surgeon says it’s impossible.) I can’t live life in a bubble, but I guess this sentiment might explain all my lengthly posts on the matter of preparing for pregnancy.

Regardless,
Here I am . . .
Waiting.

It's strange writing about TTC on my blog. In some ways, it feels nice to share bits + pieces of the adventure that so many of us are silently on together at this very moment. I wish the path to the end was more universal with fewer potential potholes. In other ways, though, I know I sometimes sound nutty and that talking about this stuff before it’s a done deal is almost taboo. That it’s over-sharing. It’s all life, though. I write about life. (And -- yes -- occasionally crazy methods for getting pregnant.)

So, if you’re in your TWW -- hey! Let’s shake out of it. I’m going to go paint my refrigerator (with chalkboard paint -- I know, I know) for some mental respite. That pinching feeling in your general uterus area is probably gas anyway!

Or is it? Hmmm . . .

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White Kitchen Cabinets

>> 10.14.2014

I must apologize in advance because the title is misleading. There isn’t a gratifying before/after shot in this post. Instead, I wanted to share what we did over our long weekend because painting kitchen cabinets isn’t an instant gratification type of job. No. It’s annoying, frustrating, and just plain difficult. At the same time, I can already tell it’s work well worth the effort.

It started with a lot of searching around on Pinterest. Then I progressed to actually surveying the paint options. Should I go with latex or oil? A paint sprayer, brush, or foam brush? It seems everyone online has a different “best" method. My mom has been a great resource, too, since she’s now painted like 3 or 4 sets of cabinets herself.

I decided on . . .


I know, I know. But hear me out. I have painted so many different pieces of furniture using spray paint. Same brand, same finish . . . just different color. And our cabinets are sort of strange. They are homemade. Or custom, if you want to sound fancy. The hand-slapped varnish from years gone by was so beat up that it was like they were parched. Rough like a 5 o’clock shadow. So, I thought spray paint might be a good solution for the best, smoothest results.

I still don’t know if I made the best choice -- only time will tell. But I set up my work area in the very well ventilated garage, slipped on a cheap ventilator mask, and proceeded to coat each cabinet with around 4 layers of this stuff on each side over a couple days.

Boom!


I’m already forgetting one of the most exciting steps! Taking all the hinges and hardware off. What a treat that was. After doing it by hand for 30 minutes, Stephen brought out the power tools so the rest were a quick release. We separated everything into marked bowls. We probably should have labeled which cabinet goes where, too -- but I like puzzles. Don’t you?

Here is what stuff looked like later on. Some look splotchy, but they’re just wet.


I guess you call this the point of no return. I had a dusting of paint on my slippers, in my hair, drips on my hands and face. But -- thankfully -- everything is looking quite good. You can still see the grain in a lot of the pieces because we didn’t fool with grain filler or anything like that. I guess you could say we decided to keep them rustic. Or just be lazy. They look bright + clean, though, and ready to hang.

Except! We still needed to paint the framing indoors. Since I’d rather not breathe in any more fumes, we decided to go with a satin finish paint/primer by Behr at the hardware store. We got it custom color matched to the Heirloom White, emphasis on the H. And we’re using foam brushes for a smoother finish. It is working quite well. We just need one more coat until we’re finished.

It looks somewhat convincing.


And here’s where my impatience gets me.

My mom is urging us to resist putting the doors back on the hinges because we need time to let the paint cure. She’s right, but wow is it hard to wait. We thought maybe we’d screw on a door front and we did get a little scrape that needed touching up. So, that’s why I’m not sharing the after with you today.

What I can tell you is that the kitchen is already brighter, and despite how hot white kitchens are, I was mostly after this functional benefit versus style. The backsplash looks kind of weird now. Too much white, so I want to do something hand painted. Maybe like this one or maybe this one but with earth tones.

MONIES:

14 cans spray paint = $45
1 gallon high quality satin paint = $40
Mask = $20
Foam brushes = $5

Total project cost to date: $110

I’ll be back soon-ish with the final results, as well as some more info about best practices (as I’ve learned them and some from my mom, the veteran cabinet painter). It’s certainly been an adventure, but not quite as difficult as I thought it would be. So, if you’re on the fence, I’d say just go for it!

Have you painted your cabinets? What approach did you use?

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