Archives for category: Healthy Living

Sometimes when I am feeling a little overwhelmed I stop what I am doing and make some kind of apothecary product. It is Monday and I am already at that point this week. If I am being honest, it is just carrying over from last week (I have/had pneumonia) and the weekend. I am on the verge of turning in my first draft of my research paper and well, that is just stressful.

So, when I am feeling like why am I even studying herbal medicine….I definitely cannot do this….no way…I am not smart enough…graduate school with two kids, a home, a husband, volunteering, etc is way too much….how will I get everything done….I should NOT register for next semester….I stop, and I make something. It brings me back to why I am doing this. I am doing this because I love to make products and use herbal teas to treat illness. I am doing this because I want that knowledge behind creating things.

Today I whipped up some lip balm! It has been Jackson approved. My children love chapstick and lip balm. Both boys. Alex wouldn’t try it because it was in a tin and not a tube and he is 2 and 2 year olds are detail oriented. “It doesn’t look like lip balm because it is not in a tube, therefore, it is definitely not lip balm and that is a hard pass, I want some cheese.” That is basically how it went down.

Without further adieu, here is the recipe. Also, family/friends, if you would like a tin for the holidays, please let me know!

Peppermint Jojoba Lip Balm

  • 1 Tablespoon beeswax pellets
  • 1 Tablespoon refined shea butter
  • `1/2 Tablespoon Jojoba oil
  • 6 drops peppermint essential oil


Using a double boiler, heat the beeswax, shea butter, and jojoba oil until melted. I used a whisk to whip them together once the pellets were completely melted. Use can also use an electric mixer if you want. I couldn’t find mine.

Add the peppermint oil, and continue to whisk. If it starts to harden, you can put it back over the boiling water as you whisk it. You may need to use an oven mitt if the metal is hot.

Then pour the mixture into small tins or lip balm tubes.


Still warm, so it is a bit translucent

These are 1oz tins. You can double, triple, etc the recipe to make larger batches. This made almost two full tins. For larger batches, the electric whisk may be a better option. I think the hand whisk worked well with this small batch. Peppermint can be overwhelming as an oil. It is powerful! I erred on the side of caution with it. You can play with the drops, one or two more if you want it stronger, one less if you want even more subtlety.


Cooled and ready to use!

Winter is coming! It brings with it, dry air, harsh winds, and freezing temps. Those bring with them dry skin!

Lavender is probably my favorite herb, essential oil, scent, and color. I love love love everything about it. I have actually considered it for my next tattoo. Getting a lavender sprig on my right arm. I have been going back and forth on if I want it colored or just black. All of my other tattoos are black and I kind of love that. But I digress. Lavender is the bees knees.

I was inspired by putting lavender and vanilla essential oils into one of my diffusers. I decided I wanted to make a body butter using that lovely fragrance. This recipe was born. It smells rather heavenly. Cocoa butter, almond oil, lavender, and vanilla. It is like a delicious piece of pie all over your body.

Beyond smelling so yummy, it is really very moisturizing. I tested it out on myself. From toes to shoulders. It leaves your skin feeling soft. Your nails even get some hydration. My tattoos even looked refreshed after applying. It is a multi-use butter. You smell and look good.

Cocoa butter is rich in vitamin E, which is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help keep you young! It does have a strong scent that can overpower other scents. I am going to try making a version of this with a fractioned shea butter. Fractioned shea has a more subtle scent to it.



Lavender Vanilla Body Butter

Cocoa butter comes solidified, if you did not know that. I ended up shaving it basically, into the measuring spoon. You have to heat it a bit and melt it down. You can use the double boiler option. Once that is liquified, add to your container. I use amber glass jars. Add the almond oil and essential oils. I emulsified with a tiny whisk. I was very thankful for my son’s passion for helping me cook. He picked out this very little whisk as one of his cooking tools. I borrowed it.

You will have to let it sit for a while before you start to see it solidify. It took mine overnight. Approximately 10-12 hours. I made it around 7pm and this morning around 7am, I noticed it was finally solid again! I applied it generously after my shower.

I included links to the specific items I used for this recipe. However, you can use whichever brand you prefer. I enjoy several brands of butters, oils, and herbs. I hope you get a chance to make this and if you do that you enjoy it as much as I do!



Being a mom is one of the most adventurous things I have ever done. I have traveled. I have gone all over. I have had adventures close to home. I have seen some crazy things living when living in downtown Chicago. But I will say being a mom is still the most adventurous thing I have done. Every day is something new. The moment you feel like you have everything figured out, things change. That doesn’t mean in a bad way either. Life is just always evolving when you have kids. Your kids are always evolving, growing, learning, and changing.

I LOVE to have adventures. I love doing things with Jackson and soon with Alexander as well. I do not think there is a week that goes by where Jack and I don’t leave the house and do something, anything, just enjoy the world. We stay busy on a regular basis. Last week alone we made a trip to the park, Navy Pier in downtown Chicago, a local fest, and a Chicago White Sox baseball game. Spending time with him is truly one of my favorite things to do. I miss him if I go to the grocery store by myself. He loves to help me and is a fantastic helper. I know I see a lot of sarcastic things out there saying something along the lines “you know you are a mom when going to the grocery store is a vacation” I don’t really follow that motto deep in my heart. Sure, there are moments where I need a breather, but give me 20 minutes by myself. Even quietly sitting on my couch, and I am usually able to reset.

We have had so many adventures together in the 3 and 1/2 years he has been my little partner in crime. I had so much fun downtown this week. He is getting to the age to finally understand the city. He was so observant. I have taken him down there before, all over. In fact, he has been to Navy Pier many times already. This time though, he had a million questions!

We went to the Dinosaur exhibit. It was a temporary thing going on. It was not our favorite part of the day. I don’t think it will be something we jump at going to next year if it comes back, but we made the best of it. Then moved on to other cool things at the Pier.

IMG_6683 IMG_6677

As you can see in the top photo, he was not impressed! Ha! Mostly he didn’t want to stop for a quick photo. We really didn’t spend much time here. It wasn’t as cool as the commercial made it seem.

We went and ate our lunch. I was the only crazy (smart?) parent who packed her own lunch. There are so many restaurants to choose from that people usually eat at those places. We love our picnics though. I even offered to skip our packed lunch after he saw all the places to eat, and as always, he picked my lunch! Then we made our way to get some ice cream for Jackson. In a waffle cone! It was messy and delightful for him. I don’t eat ice cream, but I enjoy watching him eat that special treat once in a while. He loves it so much and the delight on a child’s face when the eat a big ice cream cone is something you can easily get lost in.



We made our way to the carousel and HUGE ferris wheel. That ferris wheel is so big! I was proud of him for being brave enough to want to try it. He was so excited. We talked about how we could see all the different things over the city. He was pointing out different boats he saw zipping around Lake Michigan. I had to keep prepping him for the exit, because you have to get off while it was still moving. That was a little tricky for him but mostly because he was in his own world still wanting to observe everything. Ha! IMG_6692 IMG_6702 IMG_6695


Our plan was to next head to Build A Bear to make a Ninja Turtle. They recently started carrying them to promote the new movie. We saw the display when we arrived that morning. We made our way behind all the action and ended up walking through the Crystal Gardens. It was nearly empty and very quiet in there compared to the rest of the Pier and to the rest of our day! Jackson was enamored with what he called “the jungle!” He wanted to see the plants and wanted to see all the cool different water fountains they had. We were in there for quite a while. I know where we will eat lunch next time. They even had tables and chairs for meals set up and they were nearly all empty. He sat watching this one fountain for quite sometime. I asked if he wanted to take a photo with the cool fountain and he said yes. Then instructed me he wanted it like this:


He is such an old soul. I had a hard time getting him out of there. He probably could have spent an hour in there. Next time, I know we will hang out in there a bit longer.

Eventually we made our way to Build A Bear and he made his Turtle. Raphael. He hasn’t slept without him since that night last week. He thinks it is the coolest thing ever. He has made animals there before, but again, something about 3 and 1/2 makes a difference. He gets it now. He is excited. He is inquisitive. He remembers.


Our plan that day had been to just go to the Dinosaur adventure. I figured on a lunch break, then we would head back inside and keep doing fun Dinosaur things. My plan didn’t include many actual Navy Pier attractions. But, life is an adventure! I was so happy that we just went with the flow and ended up having a blast all day long. Doing all the cool things we wanted to do, even if the initial thing wasn’t as cool as we hoped.

I have been getting out and about with him since before he was a month old. I started mommy and me classes when he was 7 weeks old. I love keeping active and busy. I know things won’t change once Alexander comes along. We might get out the door a little slower at first, but I know we will still be getting out the door on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, Alexander will be born smack dab in the middle of Jackson’s fall soccer time!

What does this week hold for us? I am not sure yet. We might go to the park today. Possibly go see Planes tonight. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays are usually our adventure days. But today I have a Dr appointment and tomorrow night we have a Natural Childbirth class (I hope to write about that!) So Thursday will have to be our big day out, but what shall we do? All I know is, I will be spending time with that little man. Holding his hand and being adventurous together.


It’s the 3rd Trimester! I am one day into it, actually. Yesterday was the official 28 week marker. I have said this about 100 times this pregnancy, I cannot believe how FAST it has flown by. I should probably stop saying it. Ha!

I am still keeping up with all my fitness. I am still running. As a matter of fact I celebrated the start of my 3rd trimester with my fastest run since probably early on in the 1st. I even managed to go for an outside run yesterday. Instead of my treadmill.

On Thursday I ran over 2 miles, went to the Children’s Museum for the better part of the day, then swam in the pool before dinner. I did a Prenatal Jumpboard class on Friday. It was amazing. That is one Reformer accessory I don’t have yet and I will be purchasing one this week I think. Yesterday I ran and swam. Needless to say, today will be a rest day. With a swim, though, I am sure. I rarely get away without swimming almost daily. When you have an indoor pool and a 3 & 1/2 year old who has been swimming since he was 3 months old, it is hard to skip a day of swimming. I am not complaining though!

This was from the 4th of July. So I was just shy of 7 months.


July 4th. I am clearly pregnant!

July 4th. I am clearly pregnant!

You can see the 3 & 1/2 year old swimming his heart out in the background! My little sweetheart fishy. I am assuming this one is going to be the same, since he won’t know life without a pool to take a dip in. I plan to introduce him into the pool as early as I did Jackson, if not earlier. We are swimming people in this family.

I am still maintaing my clean eating. With occasional cheat moments. Which is kind of normal. By this I mean, I allow our family to have pizza night from time to time. Or I will indulge in some kettle corn. But for 98% of the time I am making my own meals and keeping it nice and fresh and healthy.

My husband is about done with painting the baby’s room. Today he will put together the crib. I have to order a mattress and a dresser. We are waiting on the glider to be shipped. It is all coming together.

Jackson keeps me busy as ever. He loves to do things and go places. And when he has had enough of our activities he will tell me he just wants to stay home for the day. I love being able to communicate with him so easily. Preschoolers are great that way. They are so honest and can tell you exactly what they are thinking. Sometimes it makes life interesting but for the most part it makes life a little easier. He is so excited to be a big brother. I didn’t really want a second child for the longest time. I planned on him being an only child. But now that I am 12-13 weeks away from having a 2nd, I know this was the right choice. Our first was born to be an older brother. He kisses my belly and rubs my belly daily. Here is he is giving me a check up, another thing he does all the time . “I want to check your baby”


A few weeks ago on a walk to the park he said “I just wonder what his face will look like mom.” I think that every day! What a mature thing for a 3 & 1/2 year old to be thinking about. His heart is so warm and big that I feel we are giving him one of the greatest gifts. The chance to be a big brother and have that sibling relationship. I am aware not every moment is going to be sunshine and butterflies. I have two younger brothers of my own. I remember the brawls and fights between the 3 of us. Heck, sometimes we still go at it, but overall, that is a good love. Jackson is always thinking of Alexander. He wants to buy things for him. He gets worried if we have enough blankets for him and other baby items. Recently he asked me if we had any baby diapers. When I said we didn’t yet, he was very adamant that “We need to get some baby diapers!!!” Out of nowhere he asked me that. We were not even talking about diapers. These are the things his mind thinks of.

I mentioned I did my fastest run in months and trimesters. The time is not what I would consider fast on a normal run. As a matter of fact, if I ran a mile that slow while not pregnant I wouldn’t even talk about it. I was in the 12 minute/mile range! Yikes. I am normally in the 8:30ish range. So accepting how much I have slowed has been hard. I actually don’t talk about my time much anymore. I even turned off the voice update on my running app yesterday. When I am on the treadmill I usually have my iPad over the screen and just slide it over to see how far I have run. I know once I have the baby and start retraining myself I will get my times back to normal, since I have done it once before. So I try to not overly focus on my current snail’s pace. My trainer asks each week how much I run. Whenever I tell her I usually say something like “Oh only 2-3 miles each run” The other day she said “You say that like it is no big deal, but it is because you are 7 months pregnant!” I hadn’t thought much about it that way. I am 7 months pregnant and STILL running multiple miles a week! That is a great achievement, no matter how slow those miles end up being.

Before my run at 28 weeks exactly

Before my run at 28 weeks exactly

I am looking forward to the rest of this trimester and eventually holding my sweet baby boy in my arms. And eventually cuddling on my couch with my two little sweethearts.

Today it is pushing 90 degrees where I live. I am not complaining! After the terrible, long, brutal, 50 below 0 winter we had, I welcome the sunshine and warmth on my face! But being pregnant in summer is far different than being pregnant in winter. Jackson is a February baby. I was in the nitty gritty of pregnancy in much cooler weather with him. This time I get the joy of a summer pregnancy. Both have their perks I think and both have their challenges.

I wanted to share some summer (and not necessarily summer) pregnancy essentials that I am obsessed with.

1. I used this with my first pregnancy and I escaped stretch mark free! I swore by it, I swear by it, and I share it with most new preggos I know. Bella B Tummy Honey Butter.
photo 3 (1)It always soothes an itchy belly for me. I usually use it twice a day. It can be a bit greasy feeling initially but the way I see it is, it soothes the itching and I was stretch mark free. So far I am as well. Greasiness is a small price to pay for both of those! You can find it on their site or Amazon. I am a fiend for ordering it from there. This is my current tub and I have two or three more stored in a cabinet. Just watch the price on Amazon. I have sometimes noticed it to be priced higher than their retail price.

2. My Gap Maternity jean shorts. I have two pairs that I love. They are so comfortable. They are the same pair but different dyes of jean. Unfortunately it appears that the darker wash I own is no longer anywhere on their site!

photo 4I am wearing the lighter wash in this photo. I was 16 weeks here. I am a few days into 24 weeks now and I am comfortable wearing them today. They are still loose but comfy! I also like that they are a panel at the waist and not a full panel. I wore full panel shorts one hot day recently. We walked to the park. That was a mistake. I was so hot, sweaty, and itchy that as soon as I walked in the door off they came. Never again!

3. Three goes hand in hand with the above photo. I am obsessed with any kind of ribbed tank. The one above is also from Gap. One of their Essential Tanks. I also have the white one I linked to. I am again wearing this tank today at 24 weeks and it is still way comfy and fitting. I have ribbed tanks from A Pea in the Pod too.

IMG_5657This was Memorial Day. Also, note the shorts 😉 These kinds of tops are just so comfy and keep me cool. Plus they show off my shoulders and arms. They are fitted so I don’t feel overly billowy. Tank tops are just a must have summer pregnancy staple for me.

4. Be Maternity BeBand. I know I said I hate full panels, and that is true, unless I am running! I need the belly support. I have found that two of these or one with a full panel maternity running capri keep me supported enough to not have any ligament pain in my low abs during runs. I have 4 of these. Two white and two black. Not that colors matter for me because I wear them under a fitness top. I have tried another band, a more elaborate one but right now, at this stage, it was more cumbersome than helpful. Perhaps as I get bigger in the next 3 months I will be switching. But for now, these rock my running world.

5. Pacifica Kona Coffee Sugar Scrub. This stuff smells so good I could almost eat it in the shower! Ha! Just kidding but really it smells fantastic, if the smell of coffee doesn’t bother you. I find it 2 (2)

This product leaves my skin so fresh and smooth. It is the last thing I use in the shower. I go through it quickly because I use it all over my body. So, it can be a bit of a splurge. But it is so relaxing and refreshing to start my day with this. I initially found it at Ulta. I have also ordered it directly from Pacifica. I also have read that Target carries this brand. I keep forgetting to look for it when I am there, so I cannot confirm or deny if they have this specifically.  Like I said, it is a splurge that it is worth it for my pregnant self.

6. On the same brand note, I am loving their Coconut Crushed Pearl shimmer 4 (1)

It gives a nice sparkle to your skin. It is also very moisturizing. I was playing in the pool with my husband yesterday and he kept trying to grab my arms and legs. I was swimming away. Each time I was able to slip right from his hands. I bragged about how I can get away because of all my lotion! Ha! It leaves me glowing and moisturized. It smells lovely as well!

7. Ok, this is the last Pacifica product…..for now! Indian Coconut Nectar hand cream is a must for bedtime for me. I put it on every 1 (2)

I will also use it in the morning after getting ready and before I put on my rings. It keeps my hands soft and smelling lovely. I wash my hands so much between a 3 year old who is potty trained, but sometimes needs help, and the washing of the dishes or cleaning in general, that they get dry even in summer. I also have the Tuscan Blood Orange. It smells lovely too!

8. This is by far my favorite foot lotion, pregnant or not! I have been using it for years. It feels especially nice before bed after a long day. H2O Softening Mint Foot 5 (1)

It is cooling and moisturizing. I will usually sit with my feet up on a pillow in bed for a few moments after and the cooling feeling is so refreshing. That is especially important as a pregnant lady in the summer! I usually buy it at Ulta, but you can also order it directly from H2O or go to one of their stores.

9. A reusable water bottle of your choice. I am on the go so much with the little man. I have an assortment of water bottles I can fill and take with me. Especially if we are walking to the park. You have to stay hydrated while pregnant and even more so in the summer heat.

10. Pilates/yoga/birth ball. Ahhhh!! Again, one of your choice. I love to do pelvic tilts and circles on mine at the end of a workout. It is also a great way to stretch. I am planning a medication free labor/delivery and I will be bringing it to the hospital as a birth ball as well. It is so versatile. It is not just for pregnancy either. It can easily be used for anytime workouts! I have had mine for a few years. I love it.

11. A good swimsuit of your choice. I have played around with a one piece and several tankinis. I was so miserable in them! I always felt puffier than I am sure I appear to everyone else. I am just a bikini kind of gal. I love them for swimming. I feel so much more free in the water when I wear one. photo (6)

I actually found a non maternity top that fits me nicely. On the clearance rack at target. I am normally a small but I bought a medium for my much larger chest (two freakin cup sizes!) Those bottoms are maternity bottoms from Target as well. I happened to buy them to go with the aforementioned tankini tops. A bikini during pregnancy may not make you feel more comfortable, and that is fine! That is why you just need to find one that makes you feel sexy and beautiful. Getting in the pool while pregnant, any time of the year, is so wonderful. You feel weightless. You can float on your belly! You can get in a workout. You can cool off. It can even help with water retention. I usually have to pee a ton by the time I get out of our pool. So if you don’t have one, check your local Y or gym for a prenatal swim class. I did that with my first pregnancy. This one, we have an indoor pool so I lucked out. I just train myself in there.

Do you have any pregnancy essentials? Anything you could not live without during your maternity time? 


Saturday will bring me into my 6th month of pregnancy. I continually say this pregnancy feels like it is going much faster than my first. I am just far more busy and active than the first time around. I already know what having a child is like. I already have a million child raising tasks to complete each day. My sweetheart keeps me distracted. It is easily the best distraction possible.

I always make time for myself. Part of my parenting motto is that you have to take care of mom to teach your kids that self care and respect is important. I especially make time for my fitness. Jackson knows that mommy has to get her workout in. He is so great about me fitting these times in. He often hangs out with my in my Pilates room. He even tries a few things himself. I am happy to take a moment to help teach him a move or snap an adorable photo.

My fitness has taken no break since becoming pregnant. Certain techniques may have changed over time, but I still workout nearly every day. If I take a rest day I am sure to be active in some other manner that day. I walk to the park or deep clean the floors. I keep on moving. I have even started working with a private Pilates instructor once a week. I know I am a certified instructor, but it is nice to take a break from having to think about what I need to do that day. It is nice to get suggestions from another instructor. It is nice to have someone else correct my form and imbalances.

My diet has remained very clean and healthy. I have little to no cravings for anything junky. I crave limes, vinegar, fruit, carrots, all sorts of healthy things. My first pregnancy wasn’t the same. I loved junk! My husband has been so disappointed this time. He was certain he was entering another 9 months of me approved junk food runs. No such luck. Which I am thrilled about! It is much nicer to satisfy a craving for limes.

I did prenatal swim classes with my first pregnancy. I had a nice purple tankini that billowed around me. This time around I bought a few tankinis again. We have an indoor pool, so we are swimming quite often. I felt pretty miserable and gross in these swimsuits. I really enjoy bikinis. I finally decided to go ahead and get a bikini. I found a size medium cute bikini top on the clearance rack at Target. I had some bottoms from the tankinis I already had. I feel SO much more confident now. I don’t feel sloppy or frumpy. I have decided to embrace my round belly in a bikini this time around. My husband likes me in a bikini, pregnant or not. He prefers it to the tankinis I was wearing! Plus, I do Pilates almost daily! I swim. When I am not battling the worst cold of my life (have been for over 2 weeks) I run, I walk to and from the park pushing a 36lb preschooler in a stroller, I run/play/dance/move with that preschooler, and often I carry that preschooler. I do a lot of physical activity and I eat very clean. So why not accept my pregnant healthy body?

photo (6)

So there you have it. 6 months of baby belly in a bikini! Baby #2 that is. I know I still have a bit to go and this belly is going to get larger but I am feeling pretty good right now. As a matter of fact in the past week and a half I have counted 8 people who have been in shock that I am as far along as I am. I will take it all as compliments. I would rather hear that than people saying they swore I was ready to pop at this stage.

How do/did you stay fit during your pregnancy? Did you wear a bikini if you happened to be in a situation that called for swimming?

This month has brought so much joy with it! Mother’s Day was wonderful. My husband really went out of his way to make sure I felt special and appreciated. I was showered with 3 bouquets of flowers! One from each of my boys. I got several wonderful gifts, including a book with 50 reasons why Jacky loves me! Jason asked him all the questions and then filled out his 3 year old answers. It was easily the most precious thing ever.

We had our anatomy ultra sound, which confirmed the DNA results, we are definitely having another boy! His gender image was as clear as Jackson’s. I saw the penis before she even pointed it out. Everything else went well with that check up. My mom came with us and was able to get a real time sneak peak at her youngest grandchild. The kicker? He was waving at us. His little tiny hand waving back and forth near his face at one point. It was so sweet.

On the same day I reached 20 weeks, half way through, my sister in law was induced! The following morning at 3:03, my sweet pea niece was born. Oh my goodness! I am so in love with her. It is ridiculous. I have my boys at home, but to have a sweet little girl I get to spoil and send back to my brother and sister in law, oh that is just wonderful. I am over the moon with her. It is too funny because cause was born at 6lbs 3oz, and my child has literally never been that small outside of my uterus! I couldn’t believe how much of a difference a pound and a half and one inch makes in a newborn. I remember how little Jack was, but I could immediately tell she was so much smaller than he was. Babies are so incredible.

Jacky was a little afraid of her at first. He has never seen a baby that little. He didn’t want to hold her, but he was ok with touching her arm and face if someone else was holding her. When we got home we were looking at photos and he said “I love her!” They are going to be best friends! Our family is going to have three little cutie pies running around causing mischief. I cannot wait.

As far as this pregnancy, it is still far different than my first. My cravings are all healthy. I love limes, lemons, fruit, rice, more fruit, leafy greens, all natural almond butter, and so much water! It has been nice to not be craving junk 24/7. I move a lot as well. Having a 3 year old will do that to you. Life is different with a second pregnancy, but not bad. Just more to do and take care of. Less time to sit around eating and not moving! Ha! I will take it! On that note, today is a rest day. Mostly because My body is so sore from my workouts the past two mornings. But I will clean my home and move around.

20 weeks

20 weeks

This was yesterday morning. The middle of 20 weeks actually, but still in that half way point week. In all seriousness, I believe that 21 weeks will be the halfway point. Jacky was almost a week late. I have no misconceptions this time about my baby arriving on his actual due date. Ah, you learn so much the second time around! Two days ago also brought one more surprise. For the first time, we were able to feel Alexander kick by touching my belly! Jason was able to feel it as well. I know for certain we didn’t feel Jacky this early on. I know I was feeling movements, but Jason couldn’t feel them yet. I was totally shocked by it. Definitely happy, because it was an unexpected surprise!

I hope everyone is also having an awesome May! Here’s to the rest of the month being so wonderful.

I have heard that each pregnancy is often very different and unique. I have to admit, I stubbornly thought that was ridiculous until I experienced it myself. Regardless of the fact that I am having another boy, this pregnancy has been a lot different. I won’t go into each detail though. I do want to focus on one super cool aspect.

I felt this baby, Alexander, move MUCH earlier than I ever felt Jacky move. I am 18 weeks pregnant and I have been feeling him wiggling around in there for weeks now. It started off very faint. To the point where I wasn’t even convinced that is what I was feeling. As the days passed I began to understand exactly what I was feeling again. Now I feel him move every day, multiple times a day!

One of the coolest things I can do is actually make him move with some Pilates. It all started with a prenatal mat series I did on my vacation.

It starts with a series of half roll downs with bent legs. Roll halfway down, then all the way back up. You continue to build on that. You move onto rolling halfway down, holding, then tiny pulses up. The next part of the series is rolling halfway down, holding, then twisting to the right (obliques!) for several counts. Coming through center, hold, twist left for several counts, come center, roll up. Repeat.

Immediately after that you lie down for bridging. Once I articulate up into a bridge the little man moves to the very front of my lower abdomen. I can actually feel a little ball of a baby. I can feel him shifting around as an entire unit in there! It becomes so pronounced that my husband was able to feel the little baby ball (as I call it) as well! It never fails. I have done this series multiple times now and I can always count on him to wiggle his way to the front of my body and say hello to me!

It is no secret that I love fitness (um my blog name!) So when I find something even extra cool about it, I am overjoyed. I would do that series regardless of finding baby Alex in there, but the added bonus is a few moments of utter connection with my sweet unborn son. I love having this body awareness that Pilates (and proper fitness) provides you. Sometimes it feels like I am walking through this world with an extra sense. Or a more intense sense of feeling. Not emotional feelings, but a the actual physical sense of feeling within my own body and person.

Prenatal fitness is so important to me. Not just for myself. I advocate it to all women I know. I am probably annoying to those who don’t enjoy working out (which that concept is beyond my ability to comprehend, haha!) I truly feeling that staying active is vital to a long and healthy life. It gave me a nice healthy pregnancy the first time around. I didn’t know what I was doing then as well as I do now, with my added education in this field, but I found classes and videos. I searched for the answers then. The day I went into labor (past my due date!) I attended my prenatal swim class. I know every body is different and some women are severely restricted while pregnant, but if you are not, get up and move. Groove, dance, run, walk, find a class, do some planks, swim, just move. It is good for you. It is good for baby. And maybe, just maybe, your little one will poke to the front of your belly and say “hey momma! Thanks for moving and grooving this morning!”

On that note I will go up to my Pilates room and move myself. Tonight, we have plans for a swim in our pool. On top of chasing around a 3 year old boy! Moving is all I do. Ha!

Happy May! It has nearly been a month since I last wrote. Yowza! In all fairness we were on vacation for almost 2 weeks out of that month. I was hard pressed to sit down and write when I had lots of fun things to be doing with my family. Like playing in the ocean, sailing, or exploring the Smokey Mountains.

photo 5

photo 3



photo 2

photo 1

Tomorrow will mark 18 weeks of pregnancy. I cannot believe that I am about 1/2 way through this adventure! It seems to be going by much faster than the 1st. I am sure that is because Jacky keeps me busy busy busy every day. He is such a wonderful and full of life 3 year old! He still talks about his little brother Alexander daily. He asks me a ton of questions and always wants to buy new things for his little brother. Yesterday, he informed me that our cat had a fuzz hanging from her mouth. He was very serious about me getting it out. He is going to be one helpful eye around here with a little one toddling around.

I am over the moon that I am having another boy. I have always wanted two boys and my wish has been fulfilled. Yesterday was my birthday. Alexander spent the day being an extra wiggle worm. It started with my Pilates Chair/Reformer workout and continued all day. It was the most I have felt him move in one day! Definitely and extra special birthday treat. He is going to be one active little boy, just like his big brother!

As fat as this pregnancy goes….


Still running, several miles each time I run. Usually a couple times a week.

Pilates. Mat, Chair, Reformer. I just modify my work based on how far along I am. I also sometimes watch some Prenatal videos on PilatesAnytime. I mostly do Chair and Reformer.

Swimming. I also incorporate water aerobics/Pilates into my swims. I have some equipment for that

Barre. I am going to be starting some Barre classes tomorrow. I miss Barre!!! I incorporate it at home, but I haven’t been to an actual class outside of my home in a while.


Limes! I love lime juice on everything. Rice. Fruit, grapes, bananas, apples, honeydew. Shrimp. Oh my gawwwd. If I could eat shrimp every day without worrying about mercury, I would. I have to limit myself and that is hard. Cottage cheese. Spinach, cilantro, arugula, veggies!!! I cannot get enough veggies in my dinners.

This is all much different than Jackson as well. I wanted to much junk with him. Or maybe I have learned how to eat better with pregnancy after going through it once. Either way, I am not complaining!

This was last week. I haven’t take one this week because we have been busy getting home and unpacking and celebrating my birthday. Plus, what’s a better background to a belly photo than the Atlantic Ocean?

photo 4

Now I am off to workout. Debating a run or Pilates. Choices are hard 😉 Just wanted a fast update, since it has been so long. I didn’t vanish again. I swear! I was just busy enjoying life outside of blogging for a bit. That happens and is good.


It’s a few days into April here in the Chicagoland area. You wouldn’t think it though. It is still very cold and windy on a regular basis. I am not entirely sure summer will ever arrive for us. I am starting to accept that. (Ok, maybe not. I still long for warm sun and playing outside without shivering)

I am into my 2nd trimester. I have a 3 year old that is as active and hilarious as always. I also know what this second baby is as far as gender! We got our Panorama test results back earlier this week. My family is coming by on Sunday for us to tell them. I didn’t do anything cutesy with Jack and I decided I wanted to do something cutesy this time around. I am over the moon about what we are having!

My energy levels have been way up. As a matter of fact, today is my first “rest day” in over  a week! I have been running and doing Pilates. It feels great to not feel like total death on a regular basis. I feel slightly like my normal not pregnant self. Jack hasn’t asked me to “not be cranky anymore” in a while. So, he too has seen the improvement. I felt bad every time he said that to me, but hormones man, hormones. I always apologized to him and explained sometimes having a baby in my belly makes me cranky and it will get better.

The checkout girl at Whole Foods yesterday asked me if Jack was a “helper or a hinderance” as far as grocery shopping. He is a chatty kid and I always speak to him like he is an adult, so I answer his questions and have conversations with him. He was being his chatty self in line. Helping me put all the food on the belt. Talking about each item and asking me questions. I was answering them. Telling him no to more candy and reusable bags (the kid has probably 50.) The comment took me aback. Obviously he is my little helper. Even on days where I wish I could just do it all myself, I always think “one day I will want him to help and if I always deter him now, he may not be interested in helping at all” I wanted to tell her that. To give her my insights on how to parent, but I just smiled and said “he is my little helper!” I really try to avoid making him feel like he is in the way. I would certainly never tell a stranger, right in front of him, “oh, he hinders all of my errands. We never get anything done!” I am convinced that often, people do not think before they speak. I don’t think I would ever ask that of someone. And as a matter of fact on every other errand we have ever been on and someone sees his utter exuberance for life, they always say “You have a little helper on your hands!” They smile and usually tell me how cute he is.

My kid isn’t a hinderance. This second one won’t be either. Sure, sometimes it takes longer to get out the door than I would like. Sure, sometimes we have to stop in a public bathroom, which I hate because they are gross. Sure, sometimes he wants to put the jam on his toast and I am thinking we have to eat now so we can get out the door for school by 8:30. Sure, sometimes he spills food or drinks during dinner. But that is part of it all. That is part of childhood. That is part of parenting. That is part of this whole adventure together. It is my job to build him up, not tear him down. It is my job to teach him how to put the jam on his toast and to cheer him on as he does so. If he thinks I will scold him for those small unimportant mistakes, then what will he think when he makes a big one? I don’t want him to keep big things from me. I want him to know that he can come to me and sure, I may be upset, but I won’t hate him. I will help him. I will love him.

Don’t tell you kids they are a hinderance. Just don’t And certainly don’t ask someone that in front of their child.