Week 18

How Far Along: 18w

Weight Gain/Loss: -.5lbs.

Sleep: I’m still sleeping a lot. I love my pregnancy pillow though!

Best Moment This Week: I think I felt the baby move!

Movement: I’m feeling some random bubbles/gassy moves in my lower stomach here and there!

Food Cravings/Aversions: I got my shaved ice machine, but I’ve only used it a few times. No major cravings or aversions.

What I Miss: wine! I had a work party with homemade sangria! I was so bummed to miss out on that.

Stretch Marks: a few on my left side :(

Belly Button: Innie but I can feel it getting tighter.

Wedding Rings: Fits.

Mood: Up and down. Mostly loud.

Labor Signs: Nada! Hopefully not for a few more months!

Milestones: None of my pants fit anymore!

Upcoming Appointments/Events: Week 20 Anatomy Scan is on August 27!

What I look forward to: rounding out my belly. (ditto the same)

Weekly Wisdom: Get as much sleep as you can! Keep the kitchen clean because it smells a lot more while pregnant.

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DIY Earring Hanger

Last July, we moved into our first apartment off campus. Yes, I’m in my late 20′s and this is my first time actually paying rent. After high school, I lived in the residence halls for 9 years– starting as an ordinary resident, then became a Resident Assistant, then Graduate Hall Director, then Community Director. I finally realized I was no longer interested in working in Housing, so I got another job and moved out.

I’ve been wanting to make this DIY project since getting married. My husband hated how I hung my earrings on a string and tacked the string on the bathroom wall. He got me a jewelry tree to hang my earrings and necklaces. It works, but it was too small for all my adornments.

While at Michael’s looking for yarn for my next crochet project, I found this wooden frame on sale for $14.99, plus I had a 20% coupon for frames.

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I bought a black metal screen from Home Depot. The employee cut the screen so it would fit behind the frame. The 12″ x 24″ screen was pricy at $18.98.

I had a few bottles of acrylic paint at home, so I polled a few friends and decided to go with white considering my metal screen was black and my walls are grey.

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I made a few rookie mistakes that could have easily been prevented if I had actually been thinking.
- I didn’t sand the wooden frame (because I didn’t have the supplies and didn’t want to spend any more money). I put two coats on the frame, but it could use a third one. Patience isn’t my strength, so waiting for the paint to dry to add another coat was challenging for me.
- I decided I would nail down the metal screen to the back of the frame. I already had nails at home, so I hammered in two nails before realizing that the nails were too long for the frame. You can see the nail poking out of the wooden frame, but I covered it with white paint and it’s hard to see now!

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- I used blue painters tape to keep the metal sheet attached to the frame. Let’s see how long that stays! :)

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I’m very happy, and even better, my husband likes it! Now I can see all my earrings at once. I was even able to use the left over metal screen to attach my “behind the ear plugs” earrings!

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Color Run: Take 2

2012 and 2013 was filled with running races for G & I. We completed our first half-marathon in April 2013. I’m not even quite sure if I wrote a blog post about that. Guess I’ll have to make one soon!

Anyways, one of my friends is graduating with her Masters this spring and will be moving out of STL very soon. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with her, so she invited me to join her Color Run team. Sure enough, I did! It was the perfect way to celebrate a very lazy year of not running, also the one year anniversary of my big chop.

PS Check out my awesome shirt.. It says ‘run’ in American Sign Language!

All white and squeaky clean!

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After we walked 3.1 miles while carrying two young boys.

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The kids wanted more, so we got color packets and had our own color fest!

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Christmas in Lake Tahoe

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G & I were fortunate enough to spend Christmas with my family. My immediate family consisted only of me, my older sister and my mom until my mom got married when I was a young teenager. We don’t have any major traditions, other than making paella and sangria for Christmas. With that being said, my family is always up to traveling for holidays, so we chose to go to Lake Tahoe this year!

It was truly a GREAT vacation. We all got to relax, catch up, explore Lake Tahoe (and Reno, Nevada), and enjoy each other’s company. My sister and I only fought once, so that’s a record. Greg got to see a new part of California, and he skied down a mountain almost three times the size he’s used to in Pennsylvania.

South Lake Tahoe

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I know you can’t really see, but I’m still sharing. There is a baby bear climbing up the mountain across from Emerald Bay. It was an awesome sight to see! (the baby bear is right in the middle of the picture, between the fallen tree and tree stump.)

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Truly lucky to have S as my sister!

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Our typical vacation day– jamon, cheese with homemade fresh sangria! That’s my amazing mommy!

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The family at the middle observatory of Mt. Heavenly

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We went snow-shoeing. That’s hard to do when there’s no fresh snow!

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I got up a few times to watch the sun rise.. Totally worth getting up early on vacation!

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My Cali family forever.

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I love paella as much as the next Spaniard, but that was one of the worst paella we’ve ever cooked. It was undercooked. HAHA. Probably drank too much sangria.

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Best husband ever!

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G & I even skied at Squaw Valley, where the 1960 Winter Olympics were. PS If you want to ski a large mountain, be sure to exercise for WEEKS before then. I fell down so many times, and was very sore the next two days.

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Now what?

People have been asking me now what?

I’ve been living the last twenty-one days on a rigid schedule. Today marks my LAST day of the Beachbody Ultimate Reset (BUR) program.

As a non-type A personality, this was challenging but FUN! I learned a lot about my body, my thinking and addiction with food, and the impact of food on my life.

There are three phases to this program, each lasting a week. I will write a blog about each phase and my experience. This post will be about my final thoughts and feelings.

Yes, I lost weight. Yes, I lost inches. Yes, my clothes fit better but that’s not all. People say that I am glowing. There were some tough days but at the end, I feel great. I’m not taking any more naps. My energy has soared to incredible levels but I feel like I’ve plateaued now to the point where I’m functional at 8am without any caffeine until 11pm without being cranky.

Beachbody Coaches encourages participants who completed the program to go “backwards” on the program after the end. Many people have negative reactions to eating meat, dairy, wheat again if they quickly add it to their diet. BUR is also a great way to identify triggers to your body– stomach pains, headaches, tiredness, etc.

I plan to follow this advice. I will continue to eat vegan meals for a week or so, while slowly adding different food into my diet. I will start with almond milk, almond/peanut/PB2 butter, and adding a few fruit that are higher on the GI list. I will watch how my body reacts to certain things so I can avoid any future stomach pains (which I got often before doing BUR). I miss my daily Shakeology very much so I look forward to having that every morning!

I was never a big fan of steak, tri tip, heavy red meat. However, I do (or perhaps did) enjoy cheese hotdogs, hamburgers, pork, etc. I learned how dangerous sodium nitrite can be to your body. These are found in packaged meat such as bacon, pepperoni, sandwich meat, hotdogs, sausage, etc. I aim to not eat these meat, unless they are from grass-fed farmers (local restaurants committed to sustainability). I also aim to not eat meat any more than once a week, if possible. Through BUR, I learned a lot about getting protein from other sources such as legumes and certain vegetables. Chicken and most fish are still considered safe for human consumption.

I learned a lot of new cooking techniques. Many of you know the motto in my house, “G cooks, M cleans.” This was NOT the motto for the past 21 days and I was mostly okay with that! I found cooking to be relaxing. It gave me a sense of ownership over what I was putting in my body. There were a few times where I REALLY did not want to cook so I learned about the benefits of PREPPING in advance and cooking my food a day or two in advance. I hope to continue some of these practices so I’ll be an expert when we have little ones running around our home. :)

I highly recommend you try BUR if you are struggling with your health, eating the right food for yourself, and have body aches that might be caused by food. This gives you an opportunity to really clean out your body and start fresh.

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Go Away Debt: Part 2

This will be a series of blog posts about how we plan to pay off our debt. This part will give a background of what debt we have. I write this in hopes to have YOU, my readers, hold us accountable as we grow in our marriage and prepare our lives for our future.

G and I went to university out of state– him in Ohio (from Pennsylvania) and me in New York (from California). We both went to 4-year private institutes. I received two scholarships that paid for all of my tuition. I also was an Resident Assistant for three years and worked a part time job for all four years. This helped pay for my housing and meal plan. On the other hand, G received a couple of small scholarship and his parents agreed to co-sign for loans to pay for college. His parents contributed a little bit, along with some scholarships, and got loans to pay for the rest.

When G and I went to grad school, we both worked 20-30 hours assistantships that paid for our tuition, housing and a meal plan along with a $8k stipend. Our stipend went to buying ridiculously expensive books, school supplies, professional organization membership fees, conference fees, buying professional clothes, etc. Of course, being in graduate school, some of our money went to alcohol and a little bit of traveling on the side. G did a study tour in United Kingdom and paid for that with cash. I wasn’t able to save any money and G saved some of his money for my engagement ring. I took out a student loan for one year in grad school to pay for my job search (site visit, interviews, suits, etc) and my study tour class to New Zealand and Australia.

G and I also both bought new cars the summer we graduated with our Master degree. We were in a long distance relationship at this time and could not consider carpooling or sharing cars. Both of our cars were falling apart and the repairs were more than the value of the cars. I realize we both do not need to buy new cars but very viable options were available. G purchased a brand new Hyundai Elantra for a very good price. I bought a used 2 year old car from a dealership after hours and hours of negotiation. Naturally, we both took out loans for our cars.

So, we have a total of four loans at this moment. We are fortunate enough to not have any credit card loans or mortgage.

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New Year Resolutions

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Happy New Year!

I’ve never been one to create New Year Resolutions. I never stick to them. It’s in my blood, seriously, my Myers Briggs type indicate that I am not good at sticking with long-term goals. This is anti-climatic in everything I do– work, life, school, etc. I’m not saying I don’t have any goals or not get anything accomplished. But in order for me to meet my goals and expectations, I need to create mini-goals. These mini-goals help me take baby steps and prolong my motivation for the bigger picture.

My big picture for 2013 is RESULT. This word will serve as my #oneword, as an over-arching theme to help me stay focused all year long. With that being said, I have a few mini-goals this year to get me results in 2013.

1. I want to run a half marathon as a result of my training. I recently started running (about 3 months ago). I am learning proper running form and trying different tips to improve my pace and distance. However, my mini goals are to run at least 3x a week. I would like to run at least 35 miles this month, increasing by 5 miles every month (without injury or sickness).

2. I want to have at least 6 months of expenses saved up. My husband and I are in our mid 20′s with a few debt and a small savings account. I really want to get ourselves into a comfortable place financially before we consider a home or having children. Specific goals about money will be covered in my Go Away Debt series, which will result with a bigger savings account.

3. I want to read more and update my blog more often. I purchased a nook in 2011 and only started using it more this past year. While I didn’t count how many books I read, I believe I read about 15 books in 2012. I would like to continue this habit. I also started this blog to keep people updated about my wedding, which has since passed. I want my blog to indicate a growth in quality and quantity of blog posts. As a result of this action, this blog should serve as a journal of all the things Greg and I accomplished together but also help me become a better writer.

4. I want to grow my professional network. This past year I spent a good amount trying new things and planning events. However, I really lacked in developing working relationships with my colleagues. I want to spend some lunch meals with colleagues, supporting them in their efforts in their positions, and getting to know them professionally and personally. I result to spending some time with colleagues at least twice a month outside of work.

5. I want to be a stronger wife. Being newlywed, G and I are still in our honeymoon phase, enjoying each other, gaining better understanding of our good and bad habits, etc. I know I am not the perfect or the best wife, regardless of what G says. There’ve been times when I yell at G for no reasons because I’m stressed out or I’m looking for someone to blame. I want to become more supportive, kinder, and more positive with my husband to result into a stronger and happier everlasting marriage.

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Go Away Debt: Part 1

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This will be a series of blog posts about how my husband and I plan to pay off our debt. This part will give a background in how we started this process. I write this in hopes to have YOU, my readers, hold us accountable as we grow in our marriage and prepare our lives for our future.

What 26 & 27 year old college graduate (each of us twice) doesn’t have debt? Debt can be from excessive spending or buying something beyond your original means. Our debt is from buying things beyond our means. We chose to go to universities that cost us more than what we could afford to pay upfront. In the USA, many people can’t afford university on their income or even their parents’ income(s) if they have any or are willing to share. This all brings us to the beauty of loans. Loans can help you obtain something that will hopefully bring you to a better place– education, a home, a car, a business, etc. However, I believe we have way too many loans for our lifestyle. These loans are inhibiting us from saving more money to prepare for our future. So, my big goal is to pay off our loans to increase our savings account and give us more flexibility in our monthly budget.

There are a few steps I believe that need to be done in order to eliminate our debt. These steps will help me reach one of my 2013 goals in becoming more financially stable.

1. Recognize that we got ourselves into debt. This is the first step we need in order to be committed to paying off our debt.
2. Outline what debt we have, how much we owe, interest rate, and the deadline to pay off our debt.
3. Develop a budget that allows us to live within our means but also pay off our debt, quicker than just the minimum.
4. Execute the budget and review frequently.

We made the choice to get loans in order to purchase things out of our means. In the next Go Away Debt post, I will outline the debts we have and why we have them.

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