What’s on your bucket list?

Do you have a bucket list? Either an annual bucket list or a decade bucket list or even a life bucket list? I’ve been thinking about bucket lists for a few days now. I usually have annual goals and of course JP and I have life goals but with the twins coming, I’ve put a lot of those personal goals on the back burner (for obvious reasons). As we inch closer to their arrival, though, I keep thinking about all of the things that we have to do, buy, prepare for … and coincidentally the things that I want to get done {personally} before they arrive and take over our household.

Here are some of mine:

//learn how to sew//  I’m not a natural Susie Homemaker and learning how to sew has always been something I’ve been interested in. I feel like as a soon to be mama, I would love to be able to hem pants and sew buttons for the girls. I’m debating on signing up for a class at our local craft store…

//learn to work our camera//  I bought a new Sony point and shoot before our wedding last year because I knew there were a lot of big life events coming our way … and that I wouldn’t have the time, and interest, patience to learn how to work a manual camera. But ours is really nice and took some amazing pics during our honeymoon to Jamaica and of course, I want to document every breath the twins make …

//enjoy the weather//  This may be silly but rumor as it that as I get bigger, I’ll not want to go anywhere… especially in June and July. So while the temps are moderate (in the 70s) and the sun is shining, I plan to try and soak up that good-feeling-weather as much as possible, plus I have a feeling I’ll be trapped in the house those first few weeks after the twins arrive so better get in my sunshine now …

//read and write//  I love to read for fun and I plan on reading as much as I can before I won’t have much time to do so. Of course, there’s also writing and whether that’s via this blog or in a journal, I plan to continue to get out my thoughts and feelings as much as I can. It helps be get my wits together and keep me sane :)

//fine tune a passion//  I have many passions in life, but nothing that’s really “me”. I’m not a health nut, a gym rat, an environmental pioneer or even a strong activist for anything. There are things that drive me, that motivate me and I hope to figure what out what that is and fine tune the hell out of it … it’s always good to stand for something, right?

//learn to relax//  I’m not a person who is super great at taking a deep breathe and letting something just pass. I think it’s partly because I’m a Gemini – I feel super strong emotions and I’m also a sucker for justice. There are a ton of things in life that we cannot control. Whether that’s at work or in our personal lives … what’s the point of getting stressed out about things that aren’t worth stressing out over? I’m hoping to learn to develop an inner peace via my prenatal yoga classes that I can continue to use after the twins arrive.

What is on your bucket list?

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Favorite Pregnancy Products

Anyone that’s ever been pregnant can tell you that it’s no joke. Your body changes so fast over those 9 months that and along with that comes a lot of aches, pains and sometimes horrifying things that morph your body into this human incubator. There are tons and tons of products out there geared towards the expecting mother and all aimed at making things a tad bit easier (and sometimes more bearable). I’m officially 22 weeks along and with carrying twins, aches, pains and baby bumps grow a lot more rapidly than with a singleton pregnancy. I’ve been very lucky to have had an easy pregnancy so far (knock on wood) and have mainly been having lower back pain, some shoulder pain (random), hip pain, and I found my first stretch mark! Argh. Here are some the products that I’ve been using that have been helping, though. Remember everyone (budget, interests, aches/pains) is different!

//body pillow//

There are pregnancy pillows out there aimed at curling around your pregnant body and helping to relieve the joint pain in your hips and lower back. As your belly grows, those aches and pains become harder to handle and can disrupt your sleep. Almost every expecting or new mommy I’ve spoken with has sworn by using some form of pillowy comfort when sleeping. Some opt for a basic pillow, some for a special pregnancy pillow and some for a body pillow. I really didn’t want to dish out $40+ on a special pillow and scored a body pillow from Target for $8.99 at the beginning of my pregnancy. It’s served me well and I won’t feel bad tossing it in a few weeks when the girls arrive.

//cocoa butter//

Stretch marks are bound to happen and you’re one of those lucky b*@!% that doesn’t or didn’t get them … well, you’re lucky. Rumor has it that nothing can stop the stretch marks from happening .. if they are going to come, they will come. I spotted my first stretch mark last week and my belly has been feeling a tad bit itchy as it stretches to accommodate two little babies. There are a ton of oils and lotions aimed at helping to relieve the itchiness and stretching for the pregnant belly. I opted for simple cocoa butter that you can get at any corner pharmacy or big box retailer. It’s thick enough to feel like I have a nice coating of protection and it smells heavenly.

//neutrogena naturals face wash//

One of the many things you’re warned about during pregnancy are chemicals! In addition to watching the types of food you eat, you also have to be wary of the things that may seep into your skin that could impact the baby. Now, I’m not normally a worry wart that will switch over to a product out of fear. But if there are things that I can do here and there – I’ll try it out. I ran out of face wash two weeks ago and read that Neutrogena has a Naturals line that’s pregnancy-safe. It’s a natural product with no harsh chemicals and literally with a list of only 10 ingredients in this product … all derived from a natural source. I love the smell and it helps  contain the oily mess that is my face (thank you hormones).

//full panel maternity pants//

There is nothing better than full-panel maternity pants. I’m measuring about 4 weeks ahead of how many weeks prego I am (thanks girls!) and the half panels were great when I had a smaller bump but as my bump has grown – the half panel will flip over on itself and cut into my lower abdomen. Not comfy. I love the full-panel pants because they pull up over your belly and are snug, secure and made of comfy material. My two maternity work pants are both full panel and make long work days bearable.

What products made your pregnancy easier? Anything to keep in mind as I get further along? I’d love to hear about what helped you (or didn’t help you) during your pregnancy!

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All opinions are 100% mine. I was not compensated in any way to provide a review on the products mentioned in this post. 

Book Review: The Witch’s Daughter

Paula Brackston’s The Witch’s Daughter had the unfortunate privilege to be the first book I read after I was pulled out of my Divergent coma. Not to say that this book was bad, but it was definitely no FourTris love affair …

The book first takes place in the 1600′s where Elizabeth Hawksmith and her family of farmers live a normal life in their small community in England. Her mother is a known “healer” in the community and aids those that are suffering and also assists as a midwife. The plague then strikes their village and wipes out many people in their community and fingers begin pointing that the plague is driven by witch craft. Elizabeth’s mother is fingered as a witch and is sentenced to death after she and Elizabeth are the only one’s in their family that survive the plague while many other people perished. Upon her death, Elizabeth’s mother tells her to seek out Gideon Masters – a peculiar man that lives in the woods, that can help her.

After her mother dies, Elizabeth does seek out Gideon who she finds out to be a Warlock set on making Elizabeth his lifelong companion. She then spends the next 300+ years of her life running from his grasp and in fear of her soul/life being taken by Gideon and his evil ways.

The book moves from time period to time period and takes the reader on Elizabeth’s voyage of re-defining herself and making a new life when she can, all on the heals of Gideon who disguises himself in pursuit of her. Sometimes raunchy and disturbing, I think the author did a good job of developing Elizabeth’s character but failed at providing back story to Gideon and his motivations. It also wraps up pretty quickly at the end with minimal explanation of what eventually happens to Elizabeth or Gideon. It’s an easy read with some rough chapters to get through – in terms of the actions that Gideon’s character partakes in. So, if you’re game for a wild and raucous ride, you might want to give this novel a chance.

3 Hour Glucose Tests Are For the Birds …

This past weekend I had to take a 3 hour glucose test since I failed my first one. All pregnant women take a glucose test to monitor how their body handles sugar and to determine if there’s a risk for gestational diabetes which can cause a boatload of issues during pregnancy including an increased weight for baby called “macrosomia” which can lead to child obesity and risk of type 2 diabetes for your newborn … no one wants that and it’s good to track how your body’s blood glucose is processing while there’s still time to adjust your diet or take medication, if needed. Mom’s pregnant with 1 baby usually have their first glucose screen between 24-28 weeks but like all things – if you’re pregnant with multiples, you need to have the screen earlier. Mine was scheduled for my 20th week and was a non-fasting test. You go to the doctor’s office, down a nasty super sugary drink and wait an hour to have your blood drawn. No news is good news and I thought I was in the clear until the next afternoon when I received a call telling me that my glucose was 164 and I needed to come in for the 3 hour long test. Bummer.

I scheduled by 3 hour appointment for Saturday and dragged JP along with me. I was really nervous and worried leading up to the appointment because no one wants diabetes and the fact that it doesn’t just affect me but also affects our girls made me even more nervous. We arrived a little early for our appointment (as usual) and quickly checked in – I wanted to down that nasty sugar drink as soon as possible. This time I had to fast so I was starving and knew that I wouldn’t be able to eat until that afternoon. We checked in and had a seat and quickly saw a lot of other patients start to funnel in after us which was strange because the office is usually quiet during our normal visits. One of the ladies behind us was there for a weekly MRSA swab which is insane … and she was pregnant.

They did my first blood draw as soon as I got there and then gave me the choice of lemon lime or fruit punch glucose juice. Both are nasty choices. But the lemon lime last time tasted too much like flat sugary sprite so I opted for the fruit punch and guzzled it down. I was pleased to learn that I only had to drink 1 of the drinks and not 1 every hour. They then drew my blood every hour for three more hours. To say my poor little veins went through the ringer is an understatement. The three hours went by fast, though, and I think it’s because my lovely wife accompanied me to the appointment. We read our books/magazines and chatted most of the wait time which made time go by much quicker. I’m happy to report  that I passed the three hour test, though!! I’m extremely relieved and excited about that! They said I may be retested again at 28 weeks but we will just see what the doctor wants to do as I move further along in my pregnancy. High five for no gestational diabetes!!

nursery progress ... the purge

nursery progress … the purge

On Sunday, we woke up to some beautiful weather. It was warm and sunny earlier in the day – so we woke up, had some breakfast and then both of us seemed to be in the mood to clean our apartment. I think we are starting the “nesting phase”. JP hit the nursery and cleaned out the closet and just purged the room. I hit our bedroom and did the same thing, mainly focused on dusting and gutting all of the clothes that needed to be cleaned and put away from the winter season. I also scrubbed my bathroom but had to stop after about 95% of the way through scrubbing the tub because my wrists were hurting. We still have a ways to go but are getting there … I can’t wait until the nursery furniture is all put together and in it’s place! It’s crazy how priorities and activities take such a huge change when you’re pregnant. We are so focused on our girls’ arrival in the next few months that all of our weekend activities usually revolve around them or preparing for them. We are so excited!

That’s a Wrap on Week 20!

We are getting spoiled with the weather today and tomorrow – yes, Spring has finally Sprung in Chicagoland and we may get to see the mid-70s this Saturday! What! I’m excited.

I just finished Week 20 of my pregnancy and I think the babies had an overnight growth spurt. My belly has been sore and I’ve been pooped all day … it gets like that every few weeks, especially when the girls are adding some length to their frames.

I’m still the outcast at prenatal yoga since I’m the only one that is totes down with a planned c-section delivery. Our doctor recommended it (profusely) since I’ll be a first time mom and because one of the girls is breech. We were told that unless I go into labor early, the girls will be in this world by my 37th and a half week. I’m absolutely fine with that and probably would prefer a c-section delivery because as much as 12 hours of hard labor sounds amazing, it does not sound amazing that I have to safely get two little lady turtles out of me. Plus, what if the epidural wears off. Nightmare. (not to say that you can’t deliver naturally and it be amazing … it’s just not my preferred cup of tea)

I’ve had some mini-panic attacks this week with JP has had to calmly “talk me off a ledge.” It’s just that with 16 weeks until the girls are here, we have a ton of stuff to do and plan for … and it’s hitting me hard. From finishing the nursery, to finding a pediatrician, to ordering a breast pump, to adding the girls to our health insurance and about a billion other things we have to do – it’s catching up with me. I know we will get there and we have plenty of time to continue prepping and working on things, but there’s a lot to do.

I’m excited for our twins to arrive but some days I’m SUPER excited. Like I just want to hold them and meet them now. I realize now is a bit unrealistic as they are not even a pound yet … but I just can’t wait until they come into the world and complete our little family.

We are still waiting to find out if I’ll be on a modified bed rest starting in week 24. That’s coming really fast and I’m not excited if I have to go on it. So we will see. Our OB has brought up bed rest a few times but her colleague from the same practice told me that I might not have to go on it. She said it can sometimes have the adverse impact on a mother than not being on bedrest. Only time will tell on that, eh? It’ll be a pretty lonely summer if I’m stuck at home. Have any of you had to go on bed rest? What did you do to pass the time?

 

Gender Reveal

I’m excited to share that our twins are:

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We had our 20 week ultrasound over the weekend and were able to see all of the anatomy of the twins – the technician checks everything from their growth, to their bones, to their internal organs and make sure everything is in tip-top shape. One of the most memorable moments of the 20 week ultrasound is of course, the peek at baby’s gender (for those of us that want to know!). JP and I have been dying to find out – along with our families – so we were super eager to see what our little turtles are. JP has been calling them turtles since we first got pregnant and it kinda stuck. I hope they enjoy that because I’m pretty sure they will be “the turtles” even when they are grown adults! :)

Since our appointment was bright and early on a Saturday – we were riding the baby high all day long. Of course, we couldn’t wait to share the news with our families and closest friends that our turtles were both “lady turtles” and instead of doing a big Facebook announcement – opted for an Instagram pic (do you follow me? @shlee528) instead.

We are over the moon and so excited and have already talked about how fun having two girls will be! 17 more weeks until we get to meet these pretty ladies!

Finding Your Yogi

This blog has kind of turned into a baby blog – my apologies – that’s my life right now. Hopefully, you still find it all very entertaining :)

I had my first prenatal yoga class on Wednesday night after work. I signed up about a week ago to help with stretching, preparing for birth, exercise, and to help alleviate some of the back pain and stuff I’ve been feeling. Growing babies are no joke and the havoc they are wreaking on my body are just the beginning. I’m hoping that weekly yoga classes paired with chiropractor visits and back massages will help this mama make it through the next 17 weeks.

Let me preface this with letting you in on a not-so-secret secret – I’ve never done yoga in my life. In fact, one cardio class I did once had a cool down where they incorporated some yoga techniques at the end and I nearly fell asleep. But since I cannot do much exercise, I figured that yoga would be a great way to stay limber and tap into my zen. I arrived at the class about 5 minutes before they were set to start and after checking in, took my shoes and socks off and placed my belongings in the cubbies in the front of the studio (I figured that’s where they went because there were about 5 other rando pairs of shoes there). Then I walked behind the wall to find 5 or 6 women balancing themselves on exercise balls waiting for class to begin. It was eerily quiet and for not having been to a class before – I wasn’t really sure all of the materials I needed. It seemed like there were a lot of things these ladies picked up and brought to their little stations. Luckily, two women came up to me and asked if it was my first class and then helped me find all of the items I would need for my session. I’m very thankful for “nice  girls.”

When class started, our yogi started off with some advice around eating dates to help get labor started … there are several women in our class that are in their final few weeks of pregnancy and they are ready to pop! We then did introductions for my newbie self – and I do not remember any of their names – with me going last. I’m the only one having twins and am a bit bigger in the belly than the moms that are a few weeks ahead of me. Lovely.

We started class with some breathing and I had to keep poking my eyes open to see what our yogi was instructing us to do. Eventually we got into some poses where I eventually realized how :

a) not flexible I am      b) how much arm planks are done in yoga    c) how much my belly really truly makes it hard to move

Once the class was done, we had a doula come in to talk about hyno-birthing … which in theory sounds like a great concept to me. You are practicing some natural calming techniques to get your mind, body and spirit completely calm and in tune with labor. There are books, CDs and things that you do to truly zen out and it’s supposed to help with labor and allow  you to labor longer at home so that you’re not faced with having a long labor at a hospital or being given intervention (ie. epidural) when you do not need, want or require it. As for me and hyno-birthing – I think I’ll pass. I’m just not on-board with laboring at home for 15 hours and would rather do it where I’m surrounded by medical professionals. But that’s just me and I’m not dissing anyone’s decision to natural, water or hyno-birth. You go girls!

I was so pooped after class that I passed out – which is awesome because I’ve been having some pregnancy insomnia. I have a lot to learn and practice over the next 7 weeks and really need to get this flexibility/stretching thing under way if I want to get these babies out when they are ready!

Have you tried prenatal yoga? Are you a hypno-birthing pro? I’d love to hear your opinion!