‘Boning Up’ on the Bone Broth Trend (+ DIY Recipe)

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“We are indeed much more than we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.” – Adele Davis

If you’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about bone broth recently, you’re not alone. But what exactly is the difference between stock, broth, consomme, and bouillon? And why are people raving over bone broth, in particular, for its healing and nourishing benefits?

With those questions in mind, I popped into the ZOOM+Performance lab last week to learn more from the first of their lunchtime classes. Local expert Tressa Yellig from Salt, Fire & Time was on hand to educate us about this savory elixir and how she believes it’s one of the simplest and most powerful food remedies you can have at your disposal.

According to Yellig, bone broth stands head and shoulders above other stock-type liquids because it’s cooked for a long time (up to three days) over a low heat (roughly 180 degrees) in order to extract all the good stuff — gelatin, nutrients and minerals — from bones.

So what else makes bone broth so special? Well,  for starters it’s rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, silicon, phosphorous, sulphur and other trace minerals, meaning it’s nutrient-dense. Plus, it contains a host of other unique and powerful substances, including marrow, cartilage, glycine, proline, collagen and gelatin, which are thought to help support the immune system, reduce inflammation and promote healing.

What I found most interesting, however, is when Yellig talked about bone broth also being a “protein sparer,” which means that it helps create adequate nutrition in the short-term absence of protein (read: when you’re sick and the last thing you feel like eating is a hunk of meat). Not to mention it hits the spot on these cold and dreary Portland winter days…

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Bone broth can be enjoyed as it is (with a little salt to enhance the flavor). Yellig also suggested experimenting with it as a base for soups, stews, sauces, gravy, cooking grains, vegetables, savory baked goods or with beans.

It’s pretty simple to make, so if you’ve got the time or inclination she shared this recipe to help you get your bone broth on at home:

Basic Bone Broth

(courtesy of Salt, Fire & Time)

Ingredients: 

  • About 1 pound of mixed bones per quart of purified water
  • Splash of vinegar (cider, red or white wine, rice or lemon juice)
  • Vegetables and herbs for flavor (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Place bones in a medium to large stock pot and add water to cover.
  2. Mix in the splash of vinegar and allow to sit at room temperature for about an hour. Note: If there’s a lot of meat on the bones, roast them first for flavor. 
  3. Bring the pot up to a gentle simmer (about 180 degrees) and allow to continue for 8-72 hours
  4. Add the vegetables and herbs in the middle of your cooking time.
  5. Strain out he bones, vegetables and herbs, and allow to cool.
  6. Package in glass containers for refrigerator storage (2 weeks) or plastic freezer bags or ice trays for freezer storage (3 months).

Or if the prospect of babysitting a simmering pot on the stove for a few days is too daunting, you can always swing by Yellig’s Broth Bar here in Portland. She offers a bunch of condiments, stir-ins and add-ons to customize each steaming cup to your liking.

Not local? You’re in luck. Salt, Fire & Time also has an online shop that ships all kinds of delicious goodies ’round the country.

Are you on the bone broth bandwagon? Why or why not?

Baby H: 28-Week Update

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The third trimester has arrived, and it’s sure making its presence known. I’m starting to slow down a bit as I enter the seventh month with Baby H, but we’re still hanging in there…and both growing by the day! Here’s our 28-week “bumpdate”…

Month Seven: Weighing in at a whopping 2.5 pounds and almost 16 inches long from end to end, Baby H is (hopefully) getting ready to settle into the proper position for birth (head down) soon before s/he starts running out of room. Fingers crossed. Until then, it’s a dance party in my belly — both day and night — while new skills are being added to the repertoire of movements, including blinking, coughing, sucking, hiccuping and taking practice breaths.

Weight Gained: Right around 20 pounds (!), which is starting to feel a little cumbersome because bending over is no longer an option. I’m not so much concerned about the number as I am keeping my daily eating habits consistent — or, rather, trying to keep them reasonable during the holidays. This is NOT the time for dieting or being super strict; believe me — I’m definitely having fun. But if I hear one more time the, “But, you’re eating for TWO!” excuse, I may start carrying a sign that says, “Just because my belly is starting to rival that of the jolly man in the red suit doesn’t mean I need that fourth helping of cookies.”

Workouts: The type fluctuates depending on my mood…but the frequency is consistent! I’ve even managed to do a few short jogs here and there — which is much needed both mentally and for fresh air when we get a break in the rain. Some things (cycling, yoga, anything where I’ve got to bend over or twist) are starting to feel more uncomfortable since Baby H is riding low, but others feel great (Pilates, swimming, elliptical, bootcamp, barre), so I’m doing what I can while I still can because I know this will likely be a moving target. Also, per my ZOOM+Performance recommendations, I’ve been experimenting with Gyrotonic, which is great for posture, alignment, flexibility, breath/body awareness and more.

Symptoms: Ugh. As someone who can usually eat whatever she wants, I’m no longer taking an efficient digestive system for granted. Everything’s fine while I’m eating, but a full meal now hits me HARD 15-20 minutes later and then takes what feels like hours to process through my stomach. And it usually leaves a lovely parting gift of heartburn and acid reflux. I’m learning to eat smaller portions more frequently, though, which helps.

The belly is now front and center, too, which requires more thought when maneuvering around. It feels so odd to have to think about my approach to simple tasks like putting on underwear, shoes, socks, etc. (basically anything requiring bending over) rather than just acting out of habit. Basically, there’s a lot contorting and heaving myself around once I’m in a good position so I can give gravity some of the workload…and I still end up completely out of breath in the process.

Food Aversions: Nada. But God help you if you get near me with a lit cigarette. Every time I walk through a cloud of irresponsibly-exhaled smoke (PSA: If you insist on slowly killing yourself, that’s your choice. But please blow those toxic fumes upward or downwind so it doesn’t boomerang back and hit other people in the face!), I have to hold my breath and am starting to dole out the dirty looks pretty liberally.

Food Cravings: Does ‘nesting’ count when it happens in the kitchen? I’ve been having fun experimenting with new recipes, and I’m trying to make sure they’re a good balance of nutrient-dense and delicious. Other than that, I’ve been putting my egg scramble in heavy rotation for extra protein, and I can’t pass up dairy. I also can’t seem to say no to the leftover holiday treats that Ben’s bringing home from the office…but I’m trying to limit myself to a sensible serving or two instead of a whole box or bag.

Sleep: What is that, and where do I get some? Between regular bathroom trips, worrying about work details slipping through the cracks (I don’t care what people say — ‘baby brain’ is a real thing!) and prepping for the impending arrival of our little one, sometimes it’s tough to get back to sleep when I wake up in the middle of the night. And other times I just wake up HUNGRY, so I choose to believe that s/he must also be going through a growth spurt (versus the alternative, which is that my rear just going through a growth spurt, LOL).

Looking Forward To: Setting up a dedicated space for Baby H, washing tiny clothes (i.e. smelling that delicious newborn detergent) and putting together all the related gear. Since I work on my computer for a large part of the day, it’s probably part nesting and part me craving some non-screen time. I’m also anxiously awaiting our next ultrasound, which I’m not sure when will happen — but the curiosity of what this kid looks like now (versus our last one, which I think was around 19 weeks) and what the heck s/he is doing in there when I’m feeling certain movements is killing me!

Boy/Girl Suspicions: I don’t have a clue one way or another, but if I were to hazard a guess right now, I think I’d be more surprised if it’s a boy. It’s fun to have other people guess, though; everyone who looks at my belly seems to have a strong opinion one way or another — although the responses for Team Pink and Team Blue have been split pretty evenly!

Any Fun Stories? Ben and I recently attended our first official baby class: an all-day seminar on Newborn Care & Breastfeeding. It was informative, worthwhile…and eye-opening! Although I have some experience from helping with my nephew a few years back, it was good to have a refresher. Ben especially liked the swaddling competition. And, if you follow me on Instagram, perhaps you’ve seen that he’s been practicing his technique? I’d say he nailed it.

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Stay tuned for the month eight update in a few weeks…

Taking ZOOM+Performance for a Test Drive

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Most of us think about going to the doctor when we’re sick in order to get better. But what about checking in with your doctor when you’re well in order to enhance your health and actively try to prevent some of those acute illness or chronic injury visits in the future?

That’s exactly the concept behind ZOOM+Performance, one of three primary care platforms offered by ZOOM+Performance Health Insurance, a company right here in Portland, Ore., that’s committed to revolutionizing the American healthcare system. What started in 2006 (under the name ZoomCare) as state-of-the-art neighborhood urgent care clinics in Oregon, Washington and Idaho is now called ZOOM+ (as of 2015) and has transformed into a complete healthcare system with health insurance built in.

What’s brilliant, though, is that it goes beyond what is traditionally offered in healthcare delivery systems to play a critical role in preventing chronic illnesses that require costly interventions down the road. ZOOM+Performance, in particular, caught my eye because it’s geared toward people who want to optimize their human performance using food, movement and relationship as medicine.

ZOOM+’s mantra is “Twice the health at half the cost and 10 times the delight.” So when they invited me in last week for one of their signature wellness assessments, I decided to put that mission to the test.

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After checking in and filling out a few forms, Dr. Natasha Kassam whisked me off to a private room to get my vitals and take my health history. She white-boarded my information as we walked through current conditions, concerns and goals together (i.e. have a healthy baby and resume my normal level of activity when it’s safe!).

She explained that ZOOM+Performance’s assessment is aimed at helping people improve athletic performance, mental-focus and creative energy. After doing some deep brain, cell and body tests, including VO2 Max, Neuroagility and Body Comp (typically there are some labs, as well, but not for the purposes of this visit), we’d regroup and she would prescribe food and movement to help me achieve my potential.

Brain & Nervous System Function

First up was Heart Rate Variability testing, which measures the balance and function of the two branches of the autonomic nervous system. A balanced system, meaning both the “fight or flight” and “rest and digest” sides are responding equally well, supports optimal cognitive and physical function.

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I sat down in a big, comfy chair while Dr. Kassam hooked me up with a monitor that attached painlessly to my ear lobe. Math problems and puzzled flashed on the screen for a few seconds each, followed by a breathing exercise which helped set a baseline for measuring the ebb and flow of my two branches.

Body Composition

From there, we moved to another room with an alien-looking egg-shaped vessel in it called the BodPod. The BodPod is considered the Gold Standard in body comp tests because it delivers a highly-accurate measurement of body fat percentage using air displacement and body density as markers.

British Olympic diver and television personality Tom Daley testing his body composition (courtesy of BodPod)

British Olympic diver and television personality Tom Daley testing his body composition (courtesy of BodPod)

Although we knew my results would be skewed, it’s completely safe — even for preggos — so I decided to give it a shot to get a feel for the experience. After stripping down to my skivvies and donning a swim cap, Dr. Kassam locked me in (don’t worry; there’s an emergency release in case you get claustrophobic) for two rounds of measurements.

It was quick and painless, although I will admit it takes some getting used to! Expect to hear a rush of air and some thumping, plus you’ll feel a bit of pressure in your ears; but just sit still, stay calm and relax — it’s over before you know it.

Neuroagility

Next up was my favorite part of the session: Neuroagility. Thanks to infrared sensors, you get to interact with the neuroagility wall, which is an experimental assessment of neuromuscular coordination and gross-motor ability.

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Step one is to stand in front of the wall to get everything calibrated. Step two is a short practice run; it takes a moment or two to get a feel for how the system responds to your movements. And step three is the actual test where you’ll have a few seconds to “touch” orbs that appear in different positions on the wall.

You feel like you’re in a video game, and as the orbs appear and disappear more rapidly toward the end, you’ll be running back and forth like a crazy cat trying to follow a pointer on the wall. Now try doing this while pregnant — i.e. carrying extra weight, off balance and out of breath — and, well, you get the picture.

VO2 Max

For the final test, we went over to a bike that was wired up to a machine for the VO2 Max assessment. ZOOM+’s cycle test is a quick way for them to get the calculation, which is an indicator of aerobic efficiency and endurance.

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Dr. Kassam instructed me to pedal slowly and steadily on the bike while keeping an eye on one of the metrics (I forget which one it was — most likely cadence — but my instructions were to keep it around 60 despite changes in resistance). Meanwhile, they’d be tracking my heart rate and other stats to come up with a final score.

My Results & Recommendations

Brain & Nervous System Function: Although I was able to bring my system into equilibrium during the breathing exercise, the “stress” of the first part of the test threw me more into the “fight of flight” mode, so Dr. Kassam recommended daily meditation or mindful breathing to bring more awareness to my breath.

She recommended some useful apps and exercises, in addition to trying out rhythmic breathing while walking, running and biking in order to raise my performance threshold when under stress. As far as I’m concerned, she nailed this right on the head because it’s something that I currently neglect as part of my training regimen, but could help me perform better going forward.

Body Composition: Dr. Kassam warned me that this measurement wouldn’t be valid due to me being pregnant, and it was. I guess the machine doesn’t account for all things baby because I fell into the “Excess Fat” category, whoops!

But even though these results were skewed, it was well worth the experience so I know what it’ll be like next time around. I’m planning on going back post-baby to check in again so I can get some baseline metrics and make a game plan for getting back in shape.

Neuroagility: Oddly enough, despite having to lug around 15-20 extra pounds which left me feeling less than agile, I was able to score in the “Good” range here. I’ll be interested to see, though, if I can make it into the “Excellent” category post-baby when I feel a little less inhibited with my movement.

VO2 Max: Yes, I know I’m pregnant. And, yes, I know my heart rate is elevated, my lung capacity feels like it’s decreased and my endurance is lower due to these factors, as well as not being able to work out as hard or as long as I’m used to.

But I’ve got to admit that the “Average” rating here was, personally, a bit of a bummer. Of all the metrics, I figured it wouldn’t be too far of from my normal range…but I keep reminding myself that it’s all about the big picture right now.

And it just goes to show you how much of an impact pregnancy has on all of your systems. Don’t get me wrong; I’m more than happy to be able to divert any extra oomph toward Baby H, although I’ve got to admit that I’m excited to get back to work on this when I’m able to safely start training again!

The Verdict

After my tests were completed, Dr. Kassam and I met back up in the first room to discuss results, as well as her recommendations for moving forward. Of course, since things are a little out of whack at the moment, I wasn’t expecting anything revolutionary in terms of next steps; however, her insight really impressed me.

In addition to the mindfulness and breathing awareness exercises, she suggested that I try alternating in a high-dose probiotic with my usual probiotic supplement. The ideas is to flush and re-populate my GI tract — not only to aid with digestion, but also to keep my system in tip-top shape prior to delivery.

Dr. Kassam was also enthusiastic about the idea of adding gyrotonic workouts to my regimen. Gyrotonic utilizes three planes of movement for exercise sequences that are composed of spiraling, circular movements. These carefully-choreographed sequences are designed to create balance, efficiency, strength and flexibility — not to mention improve posture, regulate breathing and strengthen the core and pelvic floor (super important for moms-to-be!).

If I were on the ZOOM+ plan, the next steps would be for Dr. Kassam and I to set some measurable goals and design a 90-day sprint in which we’d make a game plan for how to go about reaching those goals. We’d meet monthly to check in on progress and tweak the approach, as needed.

This kind of accountability, along with the thoughtfulness and relevance of her suggestions, would no doubt produce some great results. In fact, even though I’m not doing the traditional sprint-and-follow-up format with ZOOM+, I am following through on her recommendations and look forward to going in for another assessment to get a more accurate baseline after Baby H comes this spring.

If you’re in the Portland area, it’s something I’d advise checking out because it’s both empowering and enlightening to be able to take your health into your own hands. Not to mention that getting ahead of the curve when it comes to healthcare is no longer something any of us can afford to ignore.

For more information about ZOOM+, visit ZoomCare.com.

Disclaimer: I received a complementary performance assessment to try. All opinions (and geeking out over the associated metrics) are my own, however. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Kinetic Fix!

10 Second Trimester Life-Savers

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On Monday, I shared a few favorite first trimester essentials, and today we’re doubling down with my must-haves from over the past few months.

While the initial few weeks of pregnancy might be more about survival, the second trimester is typically the light at the end of the tunnel. This is when things start to get real. It’s the “sweet spot,” so to speak, where energy has returned, appetite is up and girth is, well, growing.

Again, each experience is different, but there are just a few of the things that have helped get me by while Baby H is hard at work building him/herself!

1. Maternity Undies

I’ll never forget the first time I ventured into a maternity store and saw the ‘Mommy’ panties (I’ll refrain from calling them Granny). Slightly horrified, I backed away and vowed not to go there.

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But then I got curious and tried them on. After months of my body slowly expanding, this new frontier is women’s underwear is, quite simply, a revelation. I happened to find a few pair that were made of silky-smooth technical material — on clearance, no less — and they’ve been on heavy rotation ever since.

2. Protein Shakes

Getting enough protein when all you want to do is crash on the couch and eat carbs is always a struggle. I was bemoaning this fact when my friend Corey introduced me to the Arbonne Daily Essentials line, which has a lot of good stuff (20 grams of vegan protein, plus more than 20 essential vitamins and minerals per serving) with none of the crap (i.e. chemicals) found in some protein products.

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Since it’s also got a low glycemic index, which has little effect on blood sugar levels and does not cause a spike in blood sugar, I feel way less guilty about using a quick shake as a grab-n-go meal on busy days. Or, more often than not, a snack between meals. Because, who am I kidding?

3. Belly Butter

Ah, yes, there’s nothing quite like slathering some Booda Butter on that itchy, stretched-out belly post-shower. Sharlene, my Team LUNA Chix Portland Run teammate and a fellow mama-to-be, shared a tin with me and I’ve been raving about it ever since. Mostly because it works, but also because it smells like chocolate. 

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Another favorite? The Spoiled Mama’s Tummy Butter for Stretch Marks, which came in the mail as another prenatal gift from my wise sister. Between the cocoa butter base and the 11 nourishing oils, it feels heavenly on…and — surprise, surprise — the rich orange-chocolate scent isn’t too bad, either.

4. Nursing Sleep Bra

Trust me on this, even before you’re nursing it’s nice to have a little help wrangling the ‘ladies’ at night when you’re tossing and (laboriously) turning. Especially when the number of comfortable positions available in bed are rapidly dwindling.

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A quick Amazon search landed me on the VEAMI Nursing Sleep Bra, and it’s been love at first wear ever since. Silky-smooth and breathable, with just the right amount of support, this will quickly become your new ‘breast’ friend for the next few months…and beyond.

5. Full-Panel Pants

Take the advice of pretty much every pregnant woman ever, and start wearing these before you think you need ’em. Sure, you need a little bit of a bump to hold up the elastic panel, but once you make the switch, you’ll wonder why you waited so long.

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Test the waters with a reasonably-priced pair from Old Navy, or take the plunge with my favorite full-panel workout pants from Ingrid & Isabel (recommended by my friend Anabel). Not only are they great for hitting the town and breaking a sweat, respectively, but I’m also considering tossing all of my other pants, even after Baby H is born. Just kidding…kind of. 

6. Body Pillow

Ok, so I might have been a bit overzealous when I bought my Leachco Snoogle pillow about a month into pregnancy (and I thought I was uncomfortable then – HA!), but ever since I started using it regularly this trimester, it’s treated me well.

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The c-shape design is helpful because you can contort yourself into multiple positions without using a gazillion pillows. Because, let’s face it, it’s all about supporting  hips, back and tummy for a good barely adequate night’s sleep at this point in the game.

7. Stability Ball

Even if you’ve never played around with one at the gym, it’s well worth investing in a stability ball for use during pregnancy and labor. Not only does using it help ease back pain and open the hips, but you’ll also (fingers crossed!) start working the baby into the proper position come delivery day.

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The great news is that they’re relatively inexpensive, considering all the potential uses (I found this one on Amazon for about $25); I use it during evening TV watching, for example. And I dare you to keep a smile off your face as you bounce up and down on this thing!

8. Portable Snacks

Hell hath no fury like a hangry preggo. Whether you get stuck in traffic, an appointment runs late or you just need a pick-me-up between meals, it’s smart to carry around a few snacks to keep satiated.

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I bought my first Grab & Go packet of Sahale Snacks while hunting around at the grocery store for different options, and they’ve been a staple in my purse, gym bag and glove compartment ever since!

9. Supportwear

When I first started having round ligament pain, my doctor suggested I try some options for helping to support my growing belly. After taking to the internet for some research, I ran across Blanqi’s BODYSTYLER® Maternity Underbust Belly Support Tank and was instantly intrigued.

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Designed for maximum support, Blanqi’s tank offers varying degrees of compression for a great combo of lift, stability and comfort. I layer it under pretty much everything and plan on using it post-baby, as well. Wanna check it out? Use my referral link to get a code for 20% off!

10. Prenatal Classes

If there’s one thing that’s proved invaluable — not just for learning about all things pregnancy, but also for creating an unofficial support group of women who are going through the same thing — it’s weekly prenatal classes.

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Anabel introduced me to MYMA Mama (which has slowly grown in size as more of our friends get knocked up!), but I’ve also taken a local Mod-Mama class that was terrific. These types of classes are designed to rejuvenate the body during pregnancy while preparing for birth with an “open mind,” which has become a mission as I approach the third and final trimester!

What are your must-haves for the second trimester of pregnancy? Any other tips to share?

10 First Trimester Life-Savers

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With the third trimester now looming, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite must-haves from the earlier stages of pregnancy. Of course, what worked for me may not work for you, so take this advice with a grain of salt and embrace the need to experiment until you find something that does the trick.

Whether you have morning, evening (or all-day) sickness or if your body immediately starts changing or takes its time getting the message, remember that every pregnancy is different. Despite what I initially anticipated, I didn’t really need a whole lot at this point in the process…however, there are a few things that I found helpful for coping with the usual suspects during those first few weeks with baby on board.

1. Sound Probiotics

In addition to prenatal vitamins, I’ve been taking Sound Probiotics since day one of my pregnancy (actually, long before – use code KINETICFIX for 10% off your order) and I truly believe that these magic little capsules are responsible for keeping me happy, healthy and regular throughout.

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Why, you ask? Well, studies show that probiotics help reduce upper respiratory tract infections and gut complaints, are vital in nutrient production and absorption, aid in the production of B-vitamins plus enhance amino acid uptake in the gut — all conducive to keeping me active and healthy for baby, which is a win-win.

2. Hydro Flask

Just a few days after I broke the pregnancy news to my sister, a box arrived in the mail with one of her very favorite staples for staying extra hydrated: a HydroFlask.

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Made of 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel that’s both BPA-free and phalate-free, these bottles are designed to keep cold beverages for 24 hours or hot beverages for six hours. It really works, too — during the late summer months, my morning’s ice water would still be cold in the evening!

3. What to Expect When You’re Expecting

After falling down the internet rabbit hole several times during a few well-intentioned Google searches early on, I opted for a safer resource for all of my subsequent pregnancy-related questions: the tried-and-true manual, What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

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Dubbed the “pregnancy bible,” this iconic New York Times bestseller has all the information you need without any of the scary stories or wacky opinions you’ll find lurking on all those online pregnancy message boards (trust me; avoid them at all costs).

4. Oyster Crackers

They may not be especially fancy, but Premium Soup & Oyster Crackers sure do the trick when you wake up starving in the middle of the night or in the morning with a sour stomach.

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I kept a bag of these by my bedside for a good four months; not only are they nice and bland, but they’re also conveniently bite-sized so you don’t get too many crumbs between your sheets!

5. Gap Inset Panel Pants

There aren’t many left in stock, but if you can get your hands on a pair of Gap’s inset panel jeans, I’d highly recommend ’em because they’re perfect for that bloaty, in-between stage of the first trimester.

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I tried belly bands over my pre-pregnancy jeans, but preferred the inset panel for the barely-there-bump stage; it has just the right about of “give” to allow for a swelling midsection, but still feels like you’re rocking your regular pants.

6. Coobie Bra

Consider yourself warned: There Will Be Boobs. Even if your cup never runneth over before, be prepared to watch your girls grow…and grow…during the first few months.

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My solution? A Coobie bra — not only for practical reasons (one size fits all!), but also because it comes in cute colors, is supportive and really does live up to its claim of being the “most comfortable bra.” Ahhh. 

7. Zensah Sports Bra

Sensing a theme here? Well, in addition to a new everyday bra, I quickly learned that first trimester’s growing, ahem, “assets” necessitated a revamp of my workout wardrobe, as well.

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Enter the Zensah Gazelle Sports Bra, which offers seamless high-impact support for larger cup sizes and a design that utilizes both encapsulation and compression to keep the ladies happy — and bounce-free — while you’re breaking a sweat.

8. Acure Bath Products

Typically, when it comes to natural beauty products, I’ve learned not to expect much because I’ve found they’re rarely as effective as the chemical-laden ones we’re all used to. That is, until I found Acure Organics.

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The night cream was my gateway product…followed by the body wash. In two different scents. By the time I was buying the shampoo and conditioner, I knew I was hooked — and doing something better for my body, my baby and the environment.

9. La Croix Sparkling Water

Don’t get me started on one of the major bummers of pregnancy: “Mocktails.” Sickeningly sweet or nauseatingly sour, they simply lack subtlety — so, more often than not, I’ll turn to La Croix, my new go-to beverage.

LaCroix

Between all the fun flavors and the fact that there’s no bad stuff on the ingredient list, a can of every now and then feels like a healthy indulgence. I know I’m not the first to jump on this bandwagon, but I certainly won’t be the last.

10. Monthly Massage

Finally, if there’s one “nice-to-have” bordering on a “need-to-have” during the first few months, it’s regular prenatal massages — as often as your budget and/or schedule will allow — with a properly-trained licensed massage therapist.

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Trust me, there’s nothing better than giving your weary body a little TLC as it’s spiraling from all the physical, emotional, hormonal and mental changes happening at once.

Any time on the table is well spent, in my book!

What are your must-haves for the first trimester of pregnancy? Any other tips to share?

Baby H: 24-Week Update

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And just like that, this little wiggle-worm and I are starting the sixth month of pregnancy. Here’s where we’re at for the 24-week “bumpdate” for Baby H…

Month Six: Probably TMI, but here’s a fun fact: Apparently my uterus is now the size of a soccer ball and s/he is as big as an ear of corn, weighting about a pound and a half and measuring roughly a foot long if it were stretched out from head to toe. I’m pretty sure I’ve officially “popped,” although people don’t seem to feel quite comfortable/confident enough yet to ask if I’m pregnant…ha!

Weight Gained: Between 14-15 pounds, and my doctor says I’m right on track. She did issue one warning, though, that it’s a lot easier to pack it on in the second half of pregnancy, so I should be extra careful to not overindulge too much over the holidays (I won’t talk about Halloween’s candy-fest…oops). We don’t own a scale, so I don’t monitor my weight in between check-ups. Honestly, I thought I would feel the extra weight a lot more that I do, but I’m not sure if that’s because it comes on so gradually or if it’s just all the other bodily changes that are more distracting!

Workouts: I’m still keeping up my weekly cardio and cross-training sessions, as I’m trying to make the most of the energy I have while I have it. Of note this month, though, is that running is looking like it’ll be off the table for the immediate future. Following an incredible-feeling six-miler earlier this month with friends, I strained a round ligament on the left side of my groin and could barely walk. I’ve alternated rest and a few attempts at slow jogs since then, but frankly it’s becoming more trouble that it’s worth. My current plan is to give it a week or so of complete rest, and then my doctor said I could try doubling up on the support before making the final call to call it quits for the time being. It’s been an emotional process letting go of certain expectations, but I’m grateful for what I am still able to do, plus I’m taking the advice of this article to heart and keeping things in perspective.

Symptoms: Thanks to the bump making it’s official debut this month, it’s been all about the round ligament pain as my midsection stretches. Oh, and frequent bathroom breaks throughout the day.

Food Aversions: None. But my sense of smell is still super sensitive; I can’t stand the scents of cigarettes or any kind of alcohol on people’s breath.

Food Cravings: My sweet tooth has gone into overdrive, thanks to Halloween and the upcoming holidays. So I’m really trying to limit the treats and make sure I’m filling up on nutrient-dense foods and good fats first. Other than that, hot soups have been my jam now that Portland’s been cold and rainy for the past few weeks.

Sleep: I get up once or twice to hit the bathroom, but if I can MacGuyver a fort of pillows around myself each evening, I’ll usually stay relatively comfortable while dozing on my side.

Looking Forward To: The holidays! It’s always been my favorite time of year…and having our (very active) little jumping bean along for the ride is making 2015 even more special. What am I not looking forward to? The dreaded glucose test and a few shots at my next appointment. But you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

Boy/Girl Suspicions: Still no clue! But can’t wait to find out come March.

Any Fun Stories? Baby H’s movements (i.e. flips, kicks, flops and flutters) have become stronger, more frequent and even a bit more predictable. I can’t help but wonder if there are any early indication of his/her personality. Baby H always seems to be up right as I settle into bed, after my middle-of-the-night bathroom trip and again when my alarm goes off in the morning, so it seems like s/he doesn’t want to be missing out on anything!

Stay tuned for the month seven update in a few weeks…

Portland Fit Fix: Strengthening ‘Mommy’ Muscles at Mod Physique

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Entering into a new phase of fitness has taught me a lot these past few months, not the least of which being that there’s a serious lack of attention paid to prenatal programs for women who want to work out — thoroughly, safely and effectively — while pregnant. From what I’ve seen, most of the options out there seem to fall into one of two camps: Either wing it in your usual classes, trying to modify and keep up where you can, or hit up a prenatal yoga class, which ends up just being a lot of slow stretching.

That feels lovely, yes, but I can’t help but wonder about the functionality beyond learning to control breathing and practicing relaxation techniques. Both are important tools for labor, sure, but what about properly prepping the body and strengthening those special muscles to aid in getting Baby from point A to point B on delivery day?

This is something I’ve been especially focused on during my weekly MYMA Mama prenatal movement classes; both the exercises we do and don’t do come with the specific purpose of helping to ease our bodies into the idea of labor. So when my friend, fellow blogger and LUNA teammate Tiffany mentioned she’d heard about a new series of similar prenatal workouts in the area, we both jumped at the chance to check ’em out.

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Tiffany’s about 19 weeks along, and I’m 24 weeks, so we’ve both hit what I’ve been calling the “sweet spot” of the second trimester where workouts are fun again — and not just an energy suck like those first few months where our bodies were working overtime to turn a tiny ball of cells into something! We both also enjoy a good workout; so when Jessa Freeman, founder and owner of Mod Physique, invited us to her studio last weekend to take a Mod-Mama class, we hoped it’d hit the mark when it came to expectations.

The first thing I noticed when we stepped into the room was a lack of mirrors. This is by design, as Mod Physique prefers that students gain more body awareness by able to “feel the movement” in their bodies versus being distracted by their reflections.

Fair enough, especially now with an expanding belly — once in a while I’ll catch a passing glimpse in a mirror and have to to a double-take because I don’t recognize my shape-shifting self!

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Instructor (and soon-to-be-new-mom!) Kerri Maskol started the class by explaining that we’d be addressing some of the alignment and postural changes that occur during pregnancy. That means strengthening the core to help support the lower back and getting those glutes firing to help balance things out as the pelvis starts its forward tilt.

In layman’s terms, this means ballet barre and Pilates-based mat and resistance training with props — all of which are done with the philosophy that “just because you can’t do crunches doesn’t mean you can’t keep your core strong and your body healthy.” Amen to that. 

After leading us through a gentle, cardio-based warm-up to help loosen up our muscles, Kerri wasted no time in getting us into some of the more advanced (read: challenging!) moves. Think upper body strength work for holding baby, core and pelvic floor work to prepare for pushing and recovery, hip stabilization from fine-tuning surrounding muscles, as well as some soft stretches in between.

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This was no walk-in-the-park prenatal class by any means, though. Both Tiffany and I were laughing as we found ourselves doused in sweat and grunting as we felt the burn of the isometric holds and floundered our way through the stability work while trying to navigate our now-changing centers of balance.

Kerri kept a keen eye on form throughout, slightly adjusting us during each exercise for maximum impact and safety. And at the start of each exercise, she’d remind us to “hug baby in” in order to keep our cores engaged and lower backs out of the equation. This turned out to be a really helpful cue!

We ended class with a 90-second squat at the barre, which she reminded us would be the length of a contraction during the more intense part of labor (Huh?! Cue slight wave of panic). It’s not only a thigh-burner of a stretch now, but it’s also a great position to practice for later when we want to help open up the hips so baby can more easily pass through.

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I appreciated the variety in class, as well as the fact that “prenatal” didn’t translate to “we’ll just sit and stretch.” And I’m even more excited to have found another fitness option to add to my pregnancy repertoire.

The lesson in all of this? It is possible to get an awesome workout that’ll challenge your body, as well as help prepare it for what’s to come in just a few short months.

And despite not getting down on the mat to do traditional ab work, my core was pleasantly sore the next day. They’ve also got a post-natal series, which I’m looking forward to checking out once Baby H makes his/her debut in the spring.

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Oh, and the only responsible thing for two preggos to do after burning a bunch of calories during a weekend workout is to re-fuel, right? At least this was Tiffany’s and my reasoning when we stopped off at Pip’s Original on the way home…

Pips’ has earned the reputation of being one of Portland’s best doughnuts shops; I usually don’t buy into the hype, but after trying them I’d wholeheartedly have to agree. Made-to-order, these mini bites of heaven are perfectly spiced and crispy on the outside with a nice, fluffy cake-like center.

They remind me of my favorite cider mill doughnuts back home in the Midwest. Totally worth the wait (and there usually is one) if you’re in Portland anytime soon!

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Have you found any good ‘prenatal’ workouts? And, more importantly, what’s your favorite way to refuel afterwards?

Navigating a Changing Pregnancy Body and Preparing for Birth with an Open Mind

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Courtesy of MYMA

In my last post, I introduced Angi Purinton McClure and her longevity-based workout program, MYMA Movement. Today I’m posting the second part of our chat, which delves deeper into her work with mamas-to-be — yours truly included! — from exercises to help avoid injury to self-massage techniques to relieve common aches and pains.

Angi believes that pre-natal maintenance is important during pregnancy because it helps bring the focus inward and discover a new, changing body. Her MYMA Mama classes connect the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ to movement during such rapid change.

Not only does she develop a pre-natal movement routine that will rejuvenate her clients’ bodies during pregnancy, but she also helps us prepare for birth with an open mind. Something easier said than done, in some cases, I’m sure!

I’ve been working with Angi for a few months now, and I can’t say enough about how great it is to have someone to lean on who is both super knowledgeable about the body, as well as focused on long-term, sustainable results. Here’s her take on the ins and outs — and do’s and don’ts of pre-natal fitness.

5. Whats your overall philosophy on pregnancy & fitness?

While many women hear “make sure you exercise” during the pregnancy, many are misguided in wondering ‘what type of exercise’ and ‘what is right for my body?’

Unfortunately, there aren’t many smart, safe, and balanced Mama pre-natal classes. So what happens is that many women continue exercising they way they have been, not knowing how to listen to their changing body until there’s pain — or many women will jump into a pre-natal yoga class thinking this is their only option.

It’s not true. There’s a balance. If you work out, you need to know that you have to predict how to soften your routines while your body changes. You need movement, but it has to be kind movement that will help your body feel open, loved, and prepared for the birth.

6. We hear a lot about “body after baby,” but you emphasize pre-natal movement. Why’s that piece so important?

We need to move. We need to mentally, emotionally and physically connect before we give birth. This is the time in a woman’s life when she learns more about her body in a nine month period than most do in a lifetime.

Moving and maintaining the body during pregnancy will not only help you during the labor experience and help you heal faster postpartum, but it also benefits the body during the pregnancy. Exercise during pregnancy will help fetal development, connect you to you baby, and it will also aid in a healthy pregnancy and lessen aches and pain.

Besides, what a fun time to get to know your body while you’re growing a baby! So exciting and empowering.

Courtesy of MYMA

Courtesy of MYMA

7. Walk us through what goes on in one of your MYMA Mama classes.

In a MYMA Mama class, we exercise with corrective exercises to keep your body strong and loose. We address aches and pains and move through some self-massage exercises that you can take home to use whenever you need. We also open up the conversation of how the body is changing and how you can adapt through: sleeping positioning, partner massage, self-massage, acupressure points, mantras, pre-birth education and more.

We move, we roll, we laugh, and we share stories. It’s a beautiful time in a woman’s life to learn the life-long skills for body care and body awareness. It’s always an honor to meet women and learn their stories, fears, questions, hopes and, of course, meet their baby later on!

8. What are the most common misconceptions you’ve run across when it comes to pregnancy & fitness?

A common misconception that I witness is to ‘take it easy’ and ‘don’t exercise.’ You should always listen to your body (and some have doctors order for bed-rest) and know that if you don’t feel like exercising that day, fine. However, don’t make a habit out of it; walking is good, stairs (going up) are great for opening up the pelvis, and dancing is great, too.

Our bodies are changing and getting tighter, so don’t allow muscles to get weaker at the same time. Move in moderation, move within a time frame that doesn’t fatigue you. Movement should invigorate you. Be it a quick dance with a song you love or choosing to take a 15-minute walk with a set of stairs, you should feel like you got a breath of fresh air and you don’t ache as much. It’s minimal but so, so important to keep moving.

9. Which exercises are the biggest no-no’s that make you cringe when you see pregnant women doing them?

Well, crunches make me cringe but for many who feel their womb grow, it becomes a no-brainer. So the other no-no is over-exercise. People sometimes like to start a new fitness routine while pregnant. It may seem bizarre but it’s true.

I had a client who came to MYMA Mama after a terrible injury while learning kettlebells at 26 weeks pregnant. Yes. They are out there.

If you have been running, weight lifting, biking, etc. before you got pregnant, keep going! Just do it in moderation and listen to your body. Know that you won’t move the same while pregnant, but allow yourself to exercise your mentality by slowing things down. If it feel enjoyable, continue.

Courtesy of MYMA

Courtesy of MYMA

10. What should all moms-to-be be doing more of in their pre-natal fitness routines?

More maintenance work. Those who come to my MYMA Mama class leave with tools for at-home self-care, and they need it.

My moms always thank me as their back pain lessens from the MYMA Mama classes. Their swelling went down because they knew the methods to calm the body. Their labors were more empowered due to faith they restored in their body as they learned how their body has the power to heal (and give birth).

I also feel that pre-natal fitness needs more mental preparation, such as mantras to soothe the mind and open the body.

11. If nothing else, what’s the one exercise moms should be doing during pregnancy & why?

First I have to say, that you should always consult your doctor because certain exercises won’t be good for certain bodies.

That said, my main exercise that women forget to do is Kegels. Yes, even during the pregnancy, you want that Qi (“chee”) or energy of intention to move upward to hold the baby and pelvic floor. If you have pubic symphysis, you’ll love this even more because you want to keep a strong pelvic floor.

Don’t worry — you won’t get so tight that the baby can’t come out! This is the beauty of our bodies. They adapt. Balanced, our bodies are to be loose and strong.

Kegels can also help with breathing: Breathe out and let go of the body, then with the next inhalation, feel the pelvic floor lift. (It’s as if you are going to the bathroom and then you stop the flow of urine.) As you inhale, keep the body relaxed as you feel the ‘lift’. Hold the lift as you exhale, then slowly and gently let it go until the next inhale. Don’t ‘drop it’ — you would never just collapse after a squat, so don’t just ‘drop’ the pelvic floor. Think of it like an elevator lifting and taking time to go down as you release.

This is such an amazing time for a woman. These exercises are so important in our later years and to begin them NOW is a head start on living a long, healthy, happy life!

To learn more about Angi’s MYMA Movement and related classes, visit MYMAMovement.com.

Have you added smart, safe balanced movement as part of your workout routine?

Learn How to ‘Make Your Mind Aware’ with MYMA Movement

Courtesy of MYMA

Courtesy of MYMA

“Ok, can I tell you something?” I said between labored breaths mid-run with my friend Anabel a few months back.

It was before I officially broke my own pregnancy news, but she was already a few months along herself. And since we’re both pretty in-tune with our bodies, I figured it’d be nice to commiserate with each other about our usually-predictable systems going somewhat haywire while growing tiny humans.

Since then, we’ve swapped stories, traded tips, and I’ve listened to her advice with all ears since she’s got a few months’ heads up on how this whole thing works. Sharing this experience together has created a special bond, but having a “pregnancy mentor” who isn’t afraid to show you the ropes and call it like it is has proved invaluable.

Case in point: Early on, Anabel introduced me to Angi Purinton McClure, creator of MYMA Movement here in Portland. Like me, Anabel’s eager to get back on the proverbial “race” horse post-baby (her: triathlon, me: running), but we both know that it’s going to take some planning and preparation ahead of time — not to mention some recovery, rehab and ramping up after.

Luckily, Angi’s come to our rescue. Not only is she a licensed massage therapist, fitness instructor and trained doula, but her use of Chinese Medicine, evidence-based exercises, and self-massage techniques also translate to a more innovative and balanced approach to fitness.

But best of all? This ain’t your mama’s prenatal workout; while Angi does work with new mamas and mamas-to-be, what she really specializes in is working with people through every phase of their life in order to make them more aware of their bodies and help them learn how to properly move so they can move forever.

Angi calls it ‘body longevity,’ and I wanted to pick her brain more about the topic, so we sat down to chat about her approach in a two-part interview. Read on for more on the importance of adding safe, smart and balanced movement into your fitness routine!

1. Tell us about MYMA and your mentality towards fitness.

MYMA is an acronym for Make Your Mind Aware, it’s a movement-based education service that focuses on body longevity. Based around fitness theory and Chinese Medicine, MYMA offers classes, workshops and online programs to help empower your body awareness so you can move in a smart, safe and balanced manner.

I feel that there’s a gap when it comes to long-term movement and fitness. We see 21-day results as a natural outcome from dedicated fitness efforts; however, no one is looking into the future wondering, how can we continue to move well as we age?

We need to learn balance in our movement and maintenance within our fitness routines. And MYMA is here to offer the tools and knowledge to set you on the right path. What we do today shapes our future, so let’s move now to move forever.

2. Your work blends Eastern and Western modalities; what’s the benefit to that approach?

I love to talk about balance, and Chinese Medicine is the root of how we move and care for our bodies. Within the fitness industry, many people can better relate to science-based methods; however, it is important to understand that the individual cannot be measured as a whole, so it’s vital that we learn how our minds and bodies may benefit from ALL perspectives of both eastern and western philosophy.

Besides, Chinese Medicine is the missing piece towards healing movement. Many use Chinese movement methods throughout the world, yet it’s not incorporated in our western fitness society. Until MYMA.

Courtesy of MYMA

Courtesy of MYMA

3. In a world of quick-fix gurus, why did you choose to focus on things like longevity, self-care and maintenance?

Working with seniors for over a decade now, I have ‘seen our future’ or so I like to say. If we are short-sighted in our approach to health, we’ll expend all our energy in our youth. Over-exercise, burnout, adrenal fatigue, injury, wear and tear, etc. are just a few instances of where we are headed in our bodies. I tell my clients, I want to continue standing to put on my underwear (a task that is not easy in your later years!).

Balance, suppleness, strength, proprioception, foot health, back health, etc. all apply to the ability of putting on underwear while standing, and yet many of my 30 year-old clients are sitting to put their shoes on after a session. This gets you thinking…you realize how in the ripe age of thirty people are already on their way to sitting down while dressing.

We have to think long-term in our movement and self-care.

4. You’re a holistic movement therapist, licensed massage therapist and doula — how did your MYMA Mama program come about?

While I was attending Pacific College of Oriental Medicine I was also teaching as a fitness instructor. While training to become a bodyworker I was also training in my own time to become a holistic movement educator because I realized people were not balanced in their ideas of fitness.

MYMA was the base I needed for people to have access to self-care tools, workout tips and mental guidance for those who knew that they needed to alter their current fitness habits and rethink how they want to continue to move in their later years.

Courtesy of MYMA

Courtesy of MYMA

Stay tuned for part two of my interview with Angi — in Friday’s post, we’ll be talking specifically about her recommendations for mamas-to-be with pre-natal prep and post-natal maintenance.

And if you’re interested in more information on Angi’s MYMA Movement in the meantime, check out MYMAMovement.com for details.

Are you thinking long-term when it comes to your health and fitness? 

Baby H: 20-Week Update

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Welcome to my five-month “bumpdate” for Baby H. First things first: How the heck are we at the halfway point already?!

I’ve heard that the first half of pregnancy goes a lot more slowly than the first, and right now I’m totally ok with that (although I’ve also heard I’ll be eating these words later). When I think about how much we’ve got to do in the next five months to finish getting physically, mentally and emotionally prepared for adding another human to the household, the gestation period for an elephant suddenly doesn’t seem so bad.

Then again, between my frequent nightly bathroom breaks, shortness of breath and ever-expanding waistline — not to mention finally getting to meet this little person who’s been the frequent topic of our conversations — I’m sure I’ll be more than ready to trade in my maternity jeans for mom jeans in just a few short months. Well, maybe not “mom” jeans…but you get the point.

So here’s where things stand at the 20-week milestone:

Month Five: Baby is the size of a mango, measuring roughly 6.5 inches from crown to rump and tipping the scales at around 10.5 ounces. I’ve heard it’s about 10 inches long from top of the head to tips of the toes, but I still can’t wrap my head around that part!

Weight Gained: I’m up a good 10-12 pounds based on estimates from my last weigh-in. I was momentarily horrified when they used a scale that looked more like one they used to weigh large animals than your typical doctor’s office sliding bar weight scale, but I’m trying not to get too caught up with the whole weight gain aspect. I trust that my body will do what it needs to for the baby, and after hearing about all the other “fun” stuff I have to look forward to later (i.e. the ring of fire, cracked nipples, etc.), it’s the least of my concerns.

Workouts: I think I’ve hit the sweet spot of the second trimester because I’m doing all kind of activities in moderation and with modifications, of course. Running doesn’t feel awesome, but I try to aim for at least two jogs a week: a shorter one of 3-4 miles, plus a “long” weekend 10k. And ab exercises look a lot different because I’m no longer able to do a traditional “sit-up.” But I’m still doing all kinds of cardio cross-training (hiking, indoor cycling, walking, swimming, elliptical and stair stepper), along with supplementary weight training, yoga, barre and Pilates. Shortness of breath keeps me from doing anything too crazy, but it finally feels good again to get out and have a good sweat.

Symptoms: Besides my body growing in all kinds of new directions, the biggest symptom has been round ligament pain as my uterus is trying to figure out its new job. As Babycenter says, “You may feel round ligament pain as a short jabbing sensation or a sharp, stabbing pain if you suddenly change position, such as when you’re getting out of bed or out of a chair or when you cough, roll over in bed, or get out of the bathtub.” It can also come in the form of a dull ache after activity. At first, this was alarming — I kept thinking I was pulling something or pushing too hard — but I’ve gradually gotten more used to it. While it’s still somewhat disconcerting, I try to work with it and just listen to my body by backing off if something truly doesn’t feel good (like most traditional ab work at this point!).

Food Aversions: Unfortunately, none? I’ve got a huge appetite, and there’s no mistaking (or delaying a meal) when hunger strikes. And it hits hard, fast and with a vengeance. There’s no thinking, “Hm, I’m getting hungry. I should eat soon.” It’s more like you’re going about your business one minute, and then you can pinpoint the exact moment that something shifts and your body says, “Must. Eat. NOW.” If I have any aversions at all, it’s to smells. My sniffer is super sensitive, and I’ve got zero tolerance for things like body odors, bad breath and street smells.

Food Cravings: Nothing too crazy, but still some patterns going on in terms of increased dairy intake and an obsession with all kinds of fruit. I’ve always had a bit of a cereal fetish (when my husband met me, he couldn’t believe I lived alone and had 7-10 boxes in rotation at any time), and it’s become my snack between-meals meal of choice again. The childhood throwbacks are a favorite — you know, all those cringe-inducing sugar-filled ones — but I’m trying to keep it under control.

Sleep: I’m slowly losing out on acceptable sleep positions (sadly, stomach is no longer an option), so between struggling to get comfortable and getting up to pee once or twice, I can’t remember the last time I had a full night’s sleep. Sigh.

Looking Forward To: Honestly? Just enjoying this moment where I’m feeling good, I’ve got the energy and motivation to work out and we’ve still got enough time to leisurely take childbirth classes and casually toss around baby names (we’re taking suggestions, if you have ideas!) before we have to settle down and get serious in the home stretch.

Boy/Girl Suspicions: We managed to make it through the anatomy scan without finding out, and I’m hoping we can keep it that way until D-Day. But when I was home in Michigan, a high school friend who said she’s got a success rate of more than 50% said she thinks it’s a boy. My sister’s convinced it’s a girl, however, so it’s exciting to think about both. I’d love to hear what your guess is, if you want to leave a comment below!

Any Fun Stories? Earlier this month when I was home, my sister and parents threw me a surprise baby shower for family and friends in the Midwest. I got to see old family friends, as well as best friends from grade school, high school and college, so it was pretty incredible. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed by the love and support from this amazing group, and it got me excited for my West Coast shower later this winter with more friends and family.

Most recently, however, we not only had the anatomy scan where Baby H passed with flying colors (and we got to breathe a big sigh of relief), but I’ve also been feeling his/her first movements. Thinking back, I probably felt the initial faint stirrings in week 17 or 18, but it wasn’t until the middle of week 19 when they became more frequent and recognizable. The closest thing I can think of describing it as is a small goldfish doing a flip in your bladder. Weird, right?

It was startling at first, but now that I’m getting used to it, I love feeling it. Especially because I feel like I am learning his/her personality — i.e. when I try to sneak a few winks on my stomach, I’ll promptly get kicks just under my belly button telling me to flip over.

And we’ve apparently got a pretty active baby on our hands (my sister said this should come as no surprise; I guess my years of running have been less about racing and more about just preparing me for this) — not only did my OB have trouble getting the heartbeat on Doppler because it was busy “doing cartwheels,” but it had the ultrasound tech at our anatomy scan laughing, thanks to its creative breakdance moves.

One thing is abundantly clear already, though: This poor child has already inherited Mom and Dad’s lack of rhythm!

Stay tuned for the month six update in a few weeks…