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Pregnancy \\ Second Trimester Recap

Second Trimester Bumpdate

It’s hard to believe I’m in the third trimester of pregnancy. On the one hand, I feel like I found out I was pregnant in another lifetime. On the other, it feels like it was only just yesterday. Time is bizarre. It passes both so slowly & so quickly. I’ve continued to journal pretty often, which is pretty much the only reason a post like this is possible. There’s no way I’d remember many of these details otherwise. I’m so glad I’ve kept it up – I’ve always loved reading recaps like this.  Hope you enjoy this little second trimester recap!

Second Trimester

Weeks 13 to 28
Important Milestones
  • Week 13 – Jan 15, 2018: Nuchal Translucency/First Trimester Scan. N had to fly out that afternoon, so we got there early in hopes that N might get to see baby for the first time. It did seem to work, although they somehow didn’t have my bloodwork so we didn’t get any results. It was so cool to see how much babe had grown though & seemed to be flipping around & covering its face with its arms. So cool to see!
  • Week 14 – Jan 22, 2018: Calgary Midwife Collective appointment. First appointment with CMC. I met one of my two midwives, Jamie, & we got my file transferred. She also checked baby’s heart rate, which was still a pretty big novelty for me. It measured around 150 bpm.
  • Week 14 – Jan 23, 2018: Announced to both work & social media. I emailed a photo to the ladies in my department after telling my boss & it was fun to watch them figure it out. They were really excited & happy for us. We also got so many congratulations from social media, & a few surprise revelations as well.
  • Week 14 – Jan 25, 2018: We got the FTS report in the mail & even though I had talked to my GP earlier in the week & knew the results were fine, it was reassuring to see it in writing.
  • Week 18 – Feb 20, 2018: Felt some tiny baby movements for the first time! It was hard to know for sure at first since they’re pretty subtle in the beginning, but this was the first time I felt certain it was the baby.
  • Week 19 – Feb 26, 2018: Anatomy Scan. We were able to book a morning appointment this time so N didn’t have to rush off to the airport, which was nice. Baby looked much more human this time around, aside from its lack of body fat. Ten fingers, ten toes, a stubborn personality like its mom & dad. They weren’t able to get everything they needed, so I had to schedule another appointment (I ended up having two more to get it all). Heart rate was 144 & we got a CD of photos as a keepsake.
  • Week 26 – April 19, 2018: Glucose Test. Given my newfound love for all things carbs & sugar, I was a little worried about this Gestational Diabetes Test. The orange drank didn’t taste as bad as I expected, but made me feel a bit nauseous. It’s mostly just an odd consistency. Everything came back normal at my midwife appointment the following week, so I’m in the clear for GD, it seems!

 

Bachelorette party at 26 weeks

26 weeks

4 pregos go to a Baby Shower

It’s fun being pregnant with a bunch of friends!

Changes

It seems funny now to think about how felt like there were so many physical changes in my first trimester. The second was definitely filled with significantly more changes, especially in terms of baby bump. Mine really seemed to pop around the halfway point, but others really took notice while I was visiting N in California at 22 weeks. Now, at 28 weeks, it’s now impossible to deny I look pregnant, as expected.

22 weeks

22 weeks: visiting N in California was the first time others took notice of the bump.

Workout Gear Progress: 19 weeks & 26 weeks

Grey Dress Progressions: 21 weeks & 27 weeks

For the most part, I’m just incredibly fascinated by all the changes. It’s by far the strangest experience of my life. Seeing the baby grow with each checkup & feeling its kicks get stronger from week to week – it’s hard to put into words how magical it all seems. Baby is getting so active lately. I can see my stomach moving sometimes now. It’s all very strange.

Odin & Mom: 25 weeks

16 weeks, 19 weeks, & 27 weeks

Symptoms

The second trimester feels like a bit of a free pass in terms of symptoms. It took a bit longer than I expected for the exhausted phase to pass, but once my energy returned the whole pregnancy thing seemed pretty fun. There are definitely mild annoyances here & there, but overall I feel extremely fortunate to feel so good. I’ve had a really easy pregnancy so far, & I know that’s not the case for everyone so I’m feeling extra grateful.

Energy: My energy levels returned to mostly normal a few weeks into my second trimester. I still find I’m more tired than my pre-pregnancy self ever was, but I’m not accidentally dozing off at my desk every afternoon like I was in my first trimester.

Lower Back Pain: I’ve never really had back pain, & luckily it’s super mild. I can’t really complain too much. I’m loving my heating pad & find I’ve made extremely good use of the Runner’s Relief roller oils I’ve gotten for finishing the last two SeaWheeze runs. That Peppermint Halo is addictive!

Foot Pain: I haven’t had much real foot pain from running in years, but it seems to be back in this trimester. I first experienced it while training for my first half & ended up getting orthotics. They helped the issue to a point, & I got through training, but afterwards, I looked for some other solutions. I found strengthening my foot muscles really helped me to run pain free for the last 5 years. I think if I were more diligent about keeping up with those strengthening exercises now, it wouldn’t be as much of an issue for me, but I also think with all the other changes in my body, some discomfort is to be expected. Luckily, it’s pretty mild & I’m managing ok by wearing slightly more supportive shoes than my usual minimal choice. Overall, I’m happy to still get out for runs!

embarrassed Odin

Embarrassing Odin pre-workout

Leakage: This definitely falls under the category of things I never thought I’d share with an online community, but wish I’d been a bit more aware of before. So, TMI, but I’m sharing anyway. Buy some kind of pad/panty liner when you get pregnant. As things progresses, there’s significantly more going on & it’s just awkward otherwise. For you, for others, for your pants. It’s so much easier to swap out a liner than your pants.

I’m not usually very sneezy when I get sick, but I caught a cold in March & was sneezing excessively for about a week. Like upwards of 20 times a day. It was bizarre. & I was so grateful I’d started wearing liners. They come in handy when you’re not sick though too. The joys. 

Food: Aversions & Cravings

I’ve gotten better about eating more veggies in the second trimester, but I still primarily crave sugar, whether in the form of carbs or treats. I guess baby wants that quick energy! I’ve been loving anything with melted cheese, bread, cupcakes, & ice cream. Nutritious! I try to balance it out with veggie bowls or smoothies, but I try not to worry too much about it.

Excessive Ice Cream consumption continues

Decisions

As I mentioned in my First Trimester Recap, we decided to do the First Trimester Scan. This non-invasive scan combines an ultrasound with bloodwork to determine your baby’s risk for a few specific chromosomal issues. Depending on the results, more invasive testing may be warranted. While this test is just a screen & doesn’t guarantee these chromosomal issues are not present, it does help ease some of the worry, & is much less invasive than a diagnostic test like the CVS or amnio.

Due to a mix up with my bloodwork, I didn’t actually get my results at our ultrasound, like you’re supposed to, & had to redo my bloodwork. Our doctor also always says no news is good news, which I had a hard time with since I didn’t know for sure when she’d actually get my lab results (or if she’d get them at all given that they’d already screwed up once). I called a few days after & was told that everything looked good, but it was still a huge relief to get the results in the mail another few days later. Since our results showed a low risk, we decided not to do any further testing.

More bloodwork

This trimester we also started thinking about some fun things, or at least I think they’re fun! My mom & my best friend are planning a baby shower for me in June, so I got to make a few decisions about that before they took over planning. I’m excited to see what they’ve got up their sleeves.

I also spent a significant amount of time researching baby items. There is so much stuff out there. I’ve mostly decided to start with a lot of good quality basics & go from there. It seems like there are many “nice to have” things that take up a lot of space & are only useful for a short time. I’m trying to avoid those.

baby box

Odin approves of free baby items

Favourite Part of the Trimester

Feeling kicks & movement scores high on the list here. It’s reassuring and wonderful, while also being the strangest thing I’ve ever experienced, especially as their strength & frequency has increased.

I’ve also loved getting to a stage where I had a real bump & didn’t just look like I’d been eating too many crave cupcakes (although I 100% have been. Cravalicious if you’re wondering.)  I seem to be in a bit of a sweet spot where my bump still looks mostly cute & I don’t feel too huge yet, so I’m trying to embrace that before things get uncomfortable. I’m so glad the weather has been warmer & I can wear more dresses. I’ve just never really been a pants girl. 

H & A baby bumps

H is due 3 weeks after me. It’s so great having a close friend pregnant at the same time as you.

27 weeks & 5 days

27 weeks & 5 days

Least Favourite Part of the Trimester

The unwanted advice or negative comments. This hasn’t been terrible, but I knew it was going to be my least favourite part & they definitely ramped up once we announced I was pregnant. There are so many comments about why you aren’t ready or how big you’re getting. I mostly just try smile & shrug, but it definitely gets on my nerves. No, our nursery isn’t ready. Yes, we’ve decided on a stroller, but we don’t have it yet. Yes, I know babies come early sometimes. No, I’m not worrying about the possibility of going into labour during our road trip. & no I’m not going to entertain your questions about my weight gain, size, diet, etc. Sorry (not sorry)!

Bumpin in SFO at 22 weeks

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a little insight into this stage of pregnancy. Thanks to Cassy Joy from Fed + Fit for the great idea – I so loved following along with her recaps. You can expect a final recap for my 3rd trimester (& maybe the 4th?) & I swear I’m still working on many non-pregnancy posts as well. As usual, I have far too much to write about & not nearly as much time to do it as I’d like.

xo,

A

Pregnancy \\ Place your baby bets!

Are we having a boy or a girl?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been adamant that I wouldn’t find out the sex of my first baby. I’ve personally never felt like I wanted to know beforehand. I understand why so many people do choose to find out, it just never seemed like the choice for me. I want the moment I find out whether it’s a girl or a boy to take place when I meet this little one. I’ve also never really felt like I need to prepare any differently for a boy or a girl. The more anyone contests my decision or defends their own, the more stubbornly resolved I feel.

As with anything pregnancy-related, there are all sorts of opinions here. I love how differently everyone feels about this & think it makes our pregnancies so unique. Many have expressed that they never could have waited, or they wouldn’t have felt prepared, or they wanted more of a connection to their baby. Those are all fair feelings, albeit incredibly personal to each peron. & I just don’t feel that way myself. With technology making it so easy to find out now, it seems like most do, another factor in my not wanting to. I’m a stubborn Leo & like to be different.

N probably would have found out if it were totally up to him. Once we decided to make a game of it and take bets, he came around to my side though. Nothing like a little game or competition to make things more exciting!

So, I’ve set up an online pool on Baby Bookie. It’s free to place a bet, but we’re open to setting up some more serious gambling too if there’s enough interest. In order to help you make your decision, I’ve combed through all the Old Wives Tales & compiled my answers. Let’s break it down!

Chinese Gender Prediction Chart

There are two different charts you can use. Lucky for me, both the Chinese Lunar Calendar & the Ancient Chinese Gender Chart say girl. This chart is supposed to be the more accurate of the two though, if you’re looking for results yourself.

RAMZI Method

I read somewhere that this one is said to be 95% accurate. It’s based on an early ultrasound. The idea is that you can tell the gender based on what side the placenta is forming on. I used my 9 week abdominal ultrasound. Story goes that if baby is on the left, it’s a boy and if it’s on the right it’s a girl. (It will be reversed for a transvaginal ultrasound, from what I’ve read.) From what I could tell, baby is a boy. I’m not sure I read my ultrasound correctly or that 9 weeks is early enough for this one.

9 week ultrasound photo

9 week ultrasound photo

Skin Changes

There are a few different predictions here. Firstly, boys are said to give you dry skin, whereas girls bring out the oil in your skin. My skin has been drier than dry all winter (like everyone’s in Calgary, I suspect) so we’ve got another vote for boy. They also say that if you’re getting a lot of compliments that you’re glowing, you’re having a boy. No comments? Girl. I can’t think of any comments of this nature, so another girl vote. Lastly, girls are said to “steal your beauty”, leading to more breakouts. I’ve definitely had a lot more breakouts than normal (I generally have pretty clear skin, aside from psoriasis). So there’s a girl vote again.

Linea Negra

Some moms get a dark line that runs down the center of their baby bellies. At first, I didn’t think I was going to get this, but then one day it suddenly appeared. My line continues above my belly button, which is supposed to mean we can expect a boy.

Hair

If your hair is thick and glossy, they say you’re having a boy. If it’s dull and limp, it’s a girl. I have seen no real change in my hair, aside from it growing slightly faster than normal since I started taking prenatal vitamins. I’m not sure I can attribute any change to pregnancy though, so I guess we’re having a puppy according to this one. 😉 Neither.

Baking Soda Test

This is another one touted as having a pretty high level of accuracy. 80% this time. I almost didn’t do it since it just seemed a little too weird & intimate, but then I cut a weird (wasteful) cabbage water one from the list so I figured I could do this one. You take 2 tablespoons of baking soda and mix it with your urine. If it fizzes, you’re having a boy. If it remains flat, you’re having a girl. Mine fizzed: BOY.

Body Hair

Yeah, I know, a few of these are maybe a little TMI. I’m sure the Internet doesn’t really need to know about this. Too late now! Lucky for me, my body hair is growing normal, which is supposed to mean girl.

Weight Gain

If you are carrying all your weight out front (like you’re smuggling a basketball), baby is likely a boy. If the weight piles on all over, it might be a daughter. I decided not to use my own judgment on this one, since my own weight gain seems significantly more noticeable to me than it does to anyone else. Everyone I asked said I seemed to be all bump so far. Maybe they were just being nice, but we’re going with it. Boy.

Baby’s Heart Rate

Many people swear by this one. It’s said that girls have a faster heart rates than boys. The normal range is between 120 bpm and 180 bpm, but over 140 bpm is supposed to signal a baby girl. Baby dB’s heart rate has averaged 144 bpm, & has never been below 140 bpm so far. Girl.

Cravings

The good ol’ salty vs sweet. Sweet foods are linked to girls and salty to boys. I’ve always had a major preference for salty foods. Even the sweet treats I enjoy best err on the side of salty (salted caramel all day every day!). That is until I got pregnant. Now I’m always craving candy, ice cream, chocolate…basically all things sweet. It’s been a bizarre change for me. I guess we’re predicting girl thanks to this one. (Or it’s just one of many signs that this is truly N’s child. He loves his sweets!)

Headaches

Extreme headaches are said to signal a baby boy, while no headaches are said to mean girl. I’m happy to have been relatively headache free throughout my pregnancy so here’s another girl vote.

Sickness

Baby girls supposedly trigger nausea with vomiting whereas a boy will only cause nausea. Again, I was really luckily to have very minimal nausea. I was mostly able to control it by eating regularly, which I don’t generally have a problem with. 😉 BOY.

Clumsy vs Graceful

I would never describe myself as graceful; however, I saw no real change in my level of clumsiness since getting pregnant. Supposedly that means we’re having a girl.

Wedding Ring Test

I think everyone is pretty familiar with this one. You’re supposed to dangle your wedding band over your belly on a string and wait for it to start moving. Back and forth means boy & in a circle means it’s a girl.

I think this one has more to do with what mom thinks babe might be than anything else, but maybe that’s good for accuracy. When we did this it started out moving back & forth, & then went to circles. N said that we should go with boy, since that what it did first. I think this is a clear indication that I have absolutely no idea what we’re having. 😉

TL; DR

We’ve got 7 votes for boy, 8 for girl, & 1 for neither (or puppy, are we getting another puppy?!). As far as the two supposed “most accurate” tests, they both predict we’re having a boy. You can decide if you believe they have more merit.

Our pool will also allow you to predict baby’s birthdate. My due date is July 23, 2018 (my birthday!). Some say you can look to dad for whether babe will be early or late – N & I both came early. They say you’re usually late with your first, but we’re both first born. Will babe follow his parent’s lead & come early, or will be add a third Leo to the family?

That’s all I got! Check the site, place your bets, & let us know if you bought into any old wives tales!

You can follow along with the rest of my pregnancy bumpdates here.

Pregnancy \\ First Trimester Recap

I’ve been meaning to do a first trimester recap since we announced we were pregnant. I love reading pregnancy recaps, especially now, & hearing about how things went for different women. Every pregnancy is so different & it’s so fascinating!

I’ve been keeping track of my thoughts & feelings in both my bullet journal & on the Nurture App, although I’ve fallen away from the app more recently. I’d still much prefer to write things down than log them on my phone.

In order to keep some sort of order to my thoughts, I’m going to answer the same questions for all three recaps. If you’re curious about something, leave me a comment or send me a message. If I’m getting a lot of the same questions, I’ll think about adding an FAQ or something. Let’s get into it though!

First Trimester

Weeks 1 to 13
Important Milestones
  • Week 3.6 – Nov 11, 2017: Positive test result on a home pregnancy test! As I mentioned in our announcement post, N was down in California so I told him over skype. This would have been the first day of my cycle & I’d held off taking a test as long as I could. I felt like I’d been on an emotional rollercoaster all week (think crying on the bus listening to TAL) so I had a strong suspicions that the test would come back positive, but I still had butterflies as I waiting for the result.
  • Week 9 – Dec 18, 2017: Dating Ultrasound. We weren’t originally going to have this ultrasound, but when I booked our 14 week one, they suggested I do it. It was so cool (& such a relief) to see the little heartbeat on the monitor.
  • Weeks 9 – 12 – Dec 2017: We started telling people just before my dating ultrasound. We told our parents the weekend before & let friends figure it out as they noticed me not drinking at various Christmas parties.
  • Week 12 – Jan 8, 2018: First appointment with the Low Risk Maternity Group my doctor referred me to. I didn’t really know what to expect from this appointment, but it was great. We went through medical history with the nurse and then she found baby’s heartbeat (152, if you’re curious). I wasn’t expecting it to work since my GP hadn’t been successful the week before so it was the best surprise!
  • Week 12 – Jan 8, 2018: The day got even better when I got an email from a Midwife group about setting up an initial appointment for mid-January. I had applied as soon as we’d found out we were pregnant, but hadn’t heard back yet. They’re in high demand here. We still plan to deliver in a hospital.

A very high quality photo of our dating ultrasound photo

Changes

Unsurprisingly, I took a lot of photos of myself throughout the first trimester. I felt  silly taking them at first, but they’re really nice to have now. I wouldn’t have thought there was much change otherwise, especially in those first couple months. I wasn’t showing, by any stretch of the imagination, but when you compare photos, it’s easier to notice slight changes. I also thought it might be nice for N to have these photos, since he isn’t here most of the time.

Of course, I feel like I progressively filled out everywhere, but the most remarkable changes were in my midsection & boobs. The only word I can think of to describe my torso is “thicker”. Although that seems like a negative description, I don’t mean it that way at all.

As things progress, I’m more & more fascinated by all the changes my body is going through. Towards the end of the first trimester, I found it became increasingly frustrating to find things to wear. & since I hadn’t told my boss yet, I was trying to keep anyone from guessing I was pregnant. It really amplified my perception of how different I looked.

Subtle changes from 4 weeks, 6 weeks, & 12 weeks

Symptoms

I feel pretty lucky to have experienced very mild nausea in those first months. Mostly, I’d just feel off. It seems funny that everyone refers to it as morning sickness – I felt nauseous maybe twice in the morning. If I did feel slightly nauseous, it was most likely in the afternoon or before bed.

The biggest change for me was how much sleep I felt I needed. I was exhausted! I’m used to feeling great after 6 or 7 hours of sleep, but found myself needing at least 8 hours to even function. I also unintentionally napped all the time. I’d literally fall asleep sitting up. I found it frustrating – I just wanted to go to my usual early morning workouts or make it through the day without falling asleep. I’ve finally gotten some energy back now, but it was a tough adjustment for this night owl.

As for food aversions & cravings, my likes & dislikes have shifted significantly. I usually reach for salty snacks over sweets, but I’ve been loving the sweets since day one. I also crave melted cheese in all forms: pizza, nachos, grilled cheese, all the really healthy stuff. Surprisingly, the hardest thing for me has been vegetables. I have a bit of an aversion to them, which is so bizarre since I love veggies! I’ve been tricking myself into eating them by hiding them in smoothies & making delicious veggie bowls (with lots of sauce). In general, I’m reaching for bland carbs (bread, potatoes), cheese, & protein. It has certainly not been my most nutritious few months, but I’m trying not to overthink it too much.

Decisions

We haven’t had to make a lot of decisions yet, however, we did decide to do a First Trimester Scan. I’ll talk more about it in my Second Trimester Recap though since I did mine pretty late in order to accomodate N’s schedule.

As I mentioned above, we also decided to go with a midwife practice. I think the decision to go this route, or not, is extremely personal. For me, I like the more personal feel of my appointments & that I will meet both of the two potential midwives who will be there at my delivery. With the maternity group, there were 17 possible doctors, so the likelihood of meeting the one who would be on call was pretty slim. This midwife practice also does three at-home visits after delivery, in addition to the usual check-ups in their clinic. There are many factors that go into this decision, & I don’t think there is a right answer. This is what I decided was best for us.

Although we’re going the midwife route, I am still planning to deliver in a hospital. Again, this is an extremely personal decision, & everyone should do what they feel most comfortable with. I wanted the reassurance that we were in a facility designed to handle a scary complication (heaven forbid). I know there are great birthing centers, & have many friends who have gone that route, but I think this is the best decision for us.

Favourite Part of the Trimester

Telling friends & family! It was so honestly so fun. My two best friends knew as soon as I did, but otherwise, we kept it a secret until 9 weeks in. We had two Christmas events with friends where we let them figure it out & I won’t forget their reactions any time soon. There was so much excitement from everyone we told – it was so heartwarming to see how loved this baby will be.

Christmas gifts

First little onesie gift, & my fav Montreal bagels & a new book. <3

Least Favourite Part of the Trimester

The exhaustion! I’d heard it could be bad, but I still wasn’t expecting it to hit me quite as hard as it did. It was so frustrating.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a little insight into my first few months of pregnancy. Thanks to Cassy Joy from Fed + Fit for the great idea – I so loved following along with her recaps. You can expect another recap for my 2nd & 3rd trimesters, but I promise there will be non-pregnancy posts in the mix as well if that’s just not your thing.

xo,

A

Secret’s out! We’re having a baby!

I'm pregnant!

Surprise! I’m pregnant! My birthday is going to be a little bit different this year. 😉

N was down in California on the morning I took a pregnancy test. I only had the one test & remember wishing I had a few more on hand so I could take another one. Once I realized the little line wasn’t going anywhere, I skyped N to share the good news. Of course, he immediately knew why I was calling since we don’t usually skype each other unexpectedly. I had toyed with the idea of surprising him with the news when he was home next, but there was no way I could keep it a secret for that long. It was the best phone call I’ve ever made.

Pregnant

You’re going to be a big brother, O.

The first few months have been filled with more emotions than I ever thought possible (heyyyyy hormones), but I’m overwhelmingly grateful & excited for everything to come this year. We can’t week to meet you, baby!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Odin de Boer

Happy Thanksgiving! I feel so lucky to have more than I can begin to list to be thankful for. Most importantly though, I’m thankful for my wonderful friends & family. I only go to spend the day with one of my boys, but my family more than made up for it with a fabulous evening together.

I headed over to my parents house early in the day yesterday to start dinner. They were driving back from the lake that afternoon & joined in to help with dinner around 4. This was my second time cooking a turkey all on my own, & holy it’s a big job. I have to admit, I’m also thankful that my family is a once a year turkey family. I love to cook, but I don’t find turkey dinner a fun meal to cook. It’s a lot of waiting & basting, & hoping it all comes together well.

My parents have an amazing Viking range, which makes cooking a total joy!

My parents have an amazing Viking range, which makes cooking a total joy!

Playing with Odin while Tom the Turkey cooks!

Playing with Odin while Tom the Turkey cooks!

It wouldn't be fall in Calgary without a little snow.

It wouldn’t be fall in Calgary without a little snow.

Thankfully, my skills held up well & dinner turned out fabulous. I also made a delicious butternut squash sage soup (from the Practical Paleo cookbook I’m always going on about). My parents took care of the mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, yams, & onions. Everything came together so well, & we were joined by my brother’s girlfriend & her father.

Table's all set!

Table’s all set!

Bringing out the nice china

Bringing out the nice china

My turkey masterpiece

My turkey masterpiece

First course: Butternut squash sage soup

First course: Butternut squash sage soup

Dad carving the turkey

Dad carving the turkey

With one of my boys

With one of my boys

Dad & his pal, Odin

Dad & his pal, Odin

Belly rubs from Uncle Adam are the best!

Belly rubs from Uncle Adam are the best!

I hope your Thanksgiving was equally lovely, wherever you are (or will be, if you celebrate American Thanksgiving in a few weeks). From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Giving Thanks

Our one Turkey holiday of the year (at least for my parents) is over & done with. We roasted an impressively large bird for five people last weekend & now we’re into leftover season. I’ll definitely be trying to take advantage of all that turkey & stuffing (my mom’s turkey stuffing is off the charts).

We spent Thanksgiving out at the lake this year. My parents headed out Friday & then N, my brother, & I drove out on Saturday. The whole weekend was filled with delicious food & family time. N & I brought out a bottle of wine & Lemon honey from Cinque Terre & picked up a wedge of pecorino to pair with it. Mom set out our usual cheese & appies (including some pickled carrots I’d made a couple weeks ago) & we dug in. This is definitely a family tradition of ours & I love it. How can you not enjoy such a spread?

Dad had made homemade pappardelle & lamb ragu for dinner that night. It was fantastic. He makes great pasta homemade pasta that we are always happy to devour.

Saturday morning, the boys went golfing while Mom & I stayed home & prepared our friend Tom the Turkey. Yes, we name our turkey & yes, his name is always Tom. We’re weird like that. This meal is such an all day affair so I don’t blame my parents for keeping it for Thanksgiving. I always enjoy the meal & it’s great to get everyone together in the kitchen as it all comes together in the end, but it is truly an all day affair. Not to mention, I love trying new things so our plan to have duck for Christmas is right up my alley.

The next day, I prepared an Egg & Meatball Tagine for everyone for brunch. It was delicious, if I do say myself. While not the most conventional of breakfast dishes, the flavours will make you forget what that even means.  & sometimes it’s fun to break the rules, right?

Monday was the perfect fall day so N & I took a walk down to the lake before packing the car for home. We even ran into a few deer on our way down.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share a few things I’m personally thankful for this year. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday & have many things on your list as well.

I am thankful for:

  • My family, my husband, & my friends. There isn’t much more to it really. We had a great weekend at the lake & returned to more family time with N’s parents. We also just received our wedding photos & they are a beautiful reminder of how lucky we are to be surrounded with the best people. 
  • You. Those of you who read this blog & keep me from feeling like I’m talking to myself. I’m grateful that I have this space to write & share & be creative. Thank you for reading! 
  • First World Problems. Yeah, I’m grateful that they are really the only problems we face on a regular basis. We both have good jobs, a roof over our heads, minimal debt, & our own cars. We’re lucky to be able to afford to do most of the things we want to do. 
  • Our health. N & I are both quite healthy people. That seems rare these days. 
I’m sure I could go on about the many other things I’m grateful for, but these are my big four. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Family Weekend

My dad’s birthday fell on Family Day this year so we’d planned to head out to the lake for the weekend for some skiing & hanging out with the fam. Unfortunately, N injured his ankle in soccer the weekend before, so skiing was no longer an option for him. We decided to head out anyway & enjoy a relaxing weekend with my parents.

My parents still ended up skiing, while we stayed back at the house. I love being out at the lake. It’s relaxing & beautiful. My parents designed the house themselves & it’s one of the best layouts I know. Columbia Lake itself is also gorgeous. The Rockies run down one side of the lake & the Purcells the other. It’s one of my favourite spots. 

We spent most of our time eating, hanging out in the hot tub, enjoying craft brews, reading, & playing board games. Not a bad weekend if you ask me.

Sunday night we celebrated Dad’s birthday. Mom had picked up a sparkling rose from the Winery hosting out wedding this summer while she was out there, so we started things off sampling that. It was delicious. 
Mom is also the master of cold appetizers. She put out a beautiful assortment of cheeses (including blue cheese with Branston pickle), crackers, olives, pickles, & dips. It’s one of my favourite ways to start a meal. 

We sat around chatting until we’d polished almost everything off, when we sat down for the main event. Mom had made coq au vin, a delicious slow cooked, chicken recipe from France. I followed it up with a new desert recipe from Practical Paleo: a frozen berry tart.

It was a simple, delicious weekend to celebrate another year.

Happy Birthday Dad.

noël

The new year is in full swing. We’re back at work & I’m finally getting back into our routines. Even though I had plenty of time to edit photos last week, they sat on my camera until tonight when I realized it was about time I posted about Christmas!

I don’t have a whole lot to say. We had a lovely Christmas; we got crazy spoiled as always. N & I spent Christmas Eve until Boxing Day at hiss parents house this year: eating everything from lobster & chowder to turkey & stuffing. We went skating, taught his siblings a new board game, & watched lots of movies.

After N finished work on Boxing Day we loaded up the car & headed out to Columbia Valley. We stayed overnight with a friend of mine in Invermere so we could ski Panorama in the morning. I always enjoy staying in Invermere overnight; the drive up to Panorama is so quick. Not to mention we were served a lovely breakfast & coffee before hitting the slopes. My girlfriend has this great new place near the lake & we weren’t in a huge rush to get up the mountain so we took our time catching up over eggs, bacon, & hashbrowns.

The skiing itself was pretty good – nothing spectacular, but nothing to complain about for December either. That night we headed out to my parents’ place further down the valley. My dad make his incredible pizza & we exchanged gifts with my family. The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying the country: skating, relaxing, reading, & enjoying each other’s company.

It was great to spend time with each of our families & get away from the city for a bit. It always feels like a bit of a holiday even if it’s just for a couple days.

Happy New Year all!

December in Instagram

It’s been a bit of a slower month for blog posts, but I think overall I’ve been more consistent than ever before. It wasn’t a real resolution to post more, but I did mention that it was a goal for this year and I think I can successfully check that one off. My other resolutions were a little more hit or mess, but I’ll talk about that more when I make this years’.

Like all years, this one has its ups and downs. When I think back though, there were so many great moments. It’s hard to trump our engagement, but we also made some great memories in the states, spent lots of time out at the lake and in the mountains, and ate our way around the city. I can’t complain. Thanks, 2013. I think 2014 should be a pretty great year too. We’re off to Mexico at the end of January, we’re getting married this summer, and we’ve got plans for a pretty fantastic honeymoon. I hope you all can look back on 2013 with a smile and I wish you all the joy and happiness for this brand new year. Here’s a little recap of what December looked like for us.

1. N participated in Movember again this year. It was his best mustache showing to date, but he still looked like a bit of a creep at the end.
2. N’s family dog, Lucky, celebrated his 15th birthday. They let him lick the icing off a cupcake. When you’re 105, you get to do whatever you want.
3. KC & I at the hockey game. It was me & the boys that night. Things got rowdy, as all hockey games should.
4. Fitness at work continued. We did a squat challenge this month & sometimes these types of ridiculous outfits make an appearance. Always need to be prepared for squats.
5. My company Christmas party was a blast. We had the best time and took a lot of great photobooth photos.
6. The snow this December has been pretty great so far. We spent the weekend before Christmas in Banff- skiing, drinking, snowshoeing, and hitting the hot springs.
7. We stayed in Calgary for Christmas this year and spent the holidays with N’s family at their house. His mom’s fireplace is just adorable.
8. Skating on Christmas Day with family and friends.
9. We skied Panorama after Christmas and then headed out to spend some time with my family in the Columbia Valley. It was beautiful!

See you in 2014, blog friends! Happy New Year!

a proposal

Kelowna was the final leg of our vacation. We’d planned to meet up with some friends and run the inaugural Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon on September 7th.

When we’d first signed up for the half marathon, N’s parents, his sister, and her boyfriend booked flights out to Kelowna for that weekend. At the time, I didn’t think much of it since N’s brother also lives in Kelowna. N explained that they thought it would be nice to spend the weekend together as a family vacation of sorts.

Race morning, I woke up not feeling so great. I’m sure the ridiculous amount of vacation type food had nothing at all to do with it. Planning to run a half marathon after 10 days of wonderfully rich food and drinks was not my most brilliant plan. We’d eaten more wheat in that week than we probably had all year. I’m sorry, tummy. You were understandably upset.

Nonetheless, we grabbed breakfast in the hotel, met up with our friends, and got in line for the bus to the start line. It was a long wait to get on the bus, but we all nervously chatted and jumped around to keep warm. We were the only veteran half marathoners in the group. Their nervous anticipation reminded me of my own before I ran Montreal. We finally got on a bus and made it to the start line with all the other runners. It was by far the smallest race I’ve ever run but our friends’ excitement, coupled with that of it being the inaugural race, was contagious.

It was the perfect day for a half marathon too – overcast and cool with a little rain. N and I generally run together for the first 12 km and then he takes off on his own. He’s a faster runner than I am, but I’m better at pacing so I reign him in and he reminds me that it’s supposed to be fun, at least that morning. I had some serious doubts that I was going to finish that race. My stomach was angry and my legs didn’t feel ready for the constant pounding from the huge amount of downhill in the race. In hindsight, he was probably pretty worried with all my talk of not finishing.

At 12 km, I was still going though and we parted ways. He reminded me that I didn’t need to run a best time and also mentioned that I should look for his family near the finish. He said his sister had made signs and his mom would have a surprise for us at the end. I was doubtful that his sister would be awake and slightly confused about what his mom would have for us, but I still didn’t think anything was going on.

As soon as he left me, things got much worse for my stomach. I started worrying that I really wasn’t going to finish the race and desperately needed to find a washroom. Of course, there were none to be found. I had switched to from 20 min of running and 1 minute of walking to 10 minutes of running. Every time I took a walk break, people encouraged me to keep going. All the people cheering along the half marathon routes are doing such an incredible thing for the runners. I’ve often wondered if I’d have made it through a lot of my races if it weren’t for them!

At 15 km, I gave in to my upset tummy and made a pit stop. It was definitely something I should have done earlier since I felt so much better afterwards and the rest of the race was a lot of fun. It finished along the boardwalk so for the final kilometer I could hear the announcer naming the finishers. I heard one of our friends finish and got pretty excited, considerably picking up my pace. I still hadn’t seen anyone from N’s family as I approached the finish line though.

A couple hundred meters out, someone unexpected caught my eye, waving a sign with my name on it – my mom. I had no idea she was going to be there so I waved excitedly and then took off for the finish line as fast as I could. She was standing right before the finish line so I didn’t notice much else besides the key to the end of my run.

As soon as I crossed I saw N standing at the finish with a rose. He gave it to me and probably said a few other things. I was pretty out of it from my final all out spring and exhaustion from the race itself so I don’t remember exactly what either of us said. I do remember, however, that he asked me if I’d seen the signs. I started telling him that I’d seen my mom holding a sign and had no idea she was going to be there.

N: “So you didn’t see the other signs?”

A: “The other signs? No? What?”

N: “Well you need to see the other signs.”

So I turn around and our families are holding signs that read: Alanna, will you marry me?

As I turned back around he got down on one knee and pulled out a ring. I can’t honestly remember what he said besides “will you marry me?”. I’m told I said yes pretty quickly afterwards. Tears, hugs, and laughter followed (on top of a lot of people asking if they could take our picture). It was pretty surreal.

It turns out both our families had been in on it the whole time. My parents and brother stayed in BC after our friend’s wedding so they could be a part of the proposal and N’s family had planned this weekend trip around it. He’d picked out the ring months earlier and had everything planned out so it would be a total surprise. I’m so impressed that not even a whisper got back to me or any of my friends.

I couldn’t have asked for a more thoughful proposal. He totally nailed it. While we waited for another friend to finish, we re-enacted the proposal so the rest of the family could get photos. That’s the photo the wound up on instagram and facebook a few hours later.

There was also a wine tasting for the runners so once everyone had finished up the race, we headed over to that. We enjoyed a few samples of wine, took some more pictures, and then headed back to our room to clean up. Both of our families met up at Earl’s for lunch and some drinks. It was nice to talk some more and hear stories from the few months previous: N and his sister picking out the ring, his mom keeping it at their house, N secretly driving out to my parents’ house to ask their permission. There were a lot of great stories.

The rest of the weekend involved a lot of great food with N’s family and lots of drinks and toasts and typical Kelowna things. We spent Saturday night celebrating with far too many drinks at Roses’ with his siblings and their boyfriend/girlfriend. It was an amazing weekend.



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