Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tracy Anderson - Pregnancy Project (Months 1-3)

I was a little hesitant to purchase pregnancy-specific workout videos, but it did not take me too long to realize that I would prefer to not have to think up "safe" variations each time I do a video.  I had seen a lot of Tracy Anderson videos online while researching barre stuff, so I thought I'd give her "Pregnancy Project" a try.

The fact that it had 9 DVDs was intriguing (although later I realized you're only supposed to do one per month, so not much variety at all), and I figured it wouldn't just be one of those too-easy videos since she seems to be known for results.

My initial impression of the cover was like O__o -- basically, WHY is she wearing only a lacy bra on the cover of a workout DVD?!  Well, you know what they say about books and their covers...

I was doing/still do some of my normal workout DVDs, skipping anything that feels odd and the ab portions.  So these videos were just part of my rotation throughout the first few months, though I admit I only worked out 4, maybe 5 days a week during that time instead of the more usual 5-7 that I've worked my way back up to now.  And usually, I didn't go much longer than 30-40 minutes versus 50 before.  Generally, these videos seem to fit in my time/energy constraints.

Here is a brief overview of the first three videos:

Month 1 - I'm not sure who knows they are pregnant in "month one," and if they do, why they would want to do something pregnancy-related already, I don't know.  I did this for the first time just after I passed the end of the second month.  It starts with stretching/arm work.  There aren't weights (even body weight) involved in the arm part here, but the arms are held up for SUCH a long time that I could not hang.  Then, there were a series of leg lifts done on all fours/on your side.  I actually found it painful to lie on my side due to my hip bones feeling the hard floor, so I'd recommend a thicker mat if you don't have carpet.  Finally, there is a weighted arm segment with the 3-pounders.  Although this was supposed to be tough since it was at the end, it was not as bad as the beginning part!

Month 2 - I did this for the first time during the third month.  Once again, it starts with stretching/arm work.  I was able to hang in there better this time, probably because it was shorter.  This was followed by arm work using the 3-lb weights.  It was a lot of micro-bending of the arms.  My arms are one area that I am very self-conscious about since I tend to store fat there and shoulders that cause me to hold my arms right up against my body, so I am all for this arm work!  The leg work section involved the chair, and a lot of leg lifts on all fours as well as standing.  I actually did feel the burn in my glutes on this.  Some of the movements are hard to follow along, at first.

Month 3 -This workout threw me off, because it just kept going and going.  I had to stop it in the middle so I wouldn't be late for work, only to notice it was nearly an hour long.  My first thought was, "I'm sorry, but what first-trimester pregnant person has the time/energy to work out for an hour?!"  Anyway, this video started with more arm work, and the bulk of the video was focused on leg-lifts, many done on all-fours.  Actually, you have to keep lowering to your elbows and maintain the coordination of the movements, which was tough.  It was at this point where I was getting bored of the repetition (20 reps per exercise!), music, and the same outfit she keeps wearing that makes it look like she's making some sort of inappropriate film instead of a workout DVD.  There was also an odd section where you needed a towel for some reason.  I did not come back to this video often.

Overall Review:

I think the exercises are pretty effective, though it takes a while to get used to her pace and form, especially if you are already slowing down for energy or other reasons.  Definitely get a thick mat, as you spend a lot of time on your knees/side!!  I have been throwing in these first few workouts in during the second trimester once in a while, because I don't really feel there is anything on there specifically not allowed in the second trimester (since that's where she is upon filming these!).

Stay tuned for my review of the rest of the series!

FTC Disclaimer: I purchased these discs on my own, and the opinions posted here are my own.

Monday, July 21, 2014

My First Pasta Party

Many years ago (as in, more than 5), I tried to make pasta using a manual roller that my parents had sitting around.  It was one of the first things "The Ukrainian" and I cooked together. While I don't have a picture of it handy, let's just say it was kind of thick.  Whole wheat on your first attempt is not something I recommend.

Years later, when we were registering for our wedding, the lady was pressuring us (as she is employed to do) to add more stuff to our relatively small registry.  To satisfy her, we decided to register for a KitchenAid pasta roller to go with the KitchenAid mixer that we also added but did not think we'd get.  Well, we ended up with both.

I know that I don't use the KitchenAid mixer enough.  I was using it to knead bread a lot until the smell of yeast started to get to me, and hot weather makes the thought of turning on the oven a terror.  I had planned on using the roller on the Valentine's Day after we got married, as I was going to make ravioli and had the filling almost ready and everything... finding out later that "The Ukrainian" had made reservations someplace.  In retrospect, I would have probably had a hard time using it for the first time myself.

Ironically, the couple who gave us the roller was considering one of their own and wanted to play with ours, so we scrambled to get the house ready for a little pasta party of sorts.  We used a simple recipe from Aida Mollenkamp, whose cookbook I mentioned in another post.  "The Ukrainian" and I did most of the dough rolling/cutting, and my friends were on sauce duty.  This worked out well, because the sauce was, well, awesome sauce *whomp whomp whomp* corny joke.

The beginnings of sauce.

Laying out to dry.

I don't know how people do this solo, but I'm sure it comes with practice.

Magical.  Probably should have kept it to a "2" and not a "3" for more spaghetti-like texture...

Leftovers our friends took to go!

Someone's plate.  Pasta had a nice, wholesome, buttery taste to it.  Best spaghetti I've ever had!

Finally, I had picked up some cupcakes because it was almost my friend's birthday: dulce de leche, watermelon, pistachio, cookies and creme, black forest, and red velvet.  I hadn't had cupcakes in a while, and these were pretty middle-of-the-pack... but visually fun!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mid-Point Update

Much to my disbelief, I'm more or less at the halfway point of this pregnancy.  Okay, so part of my disbelief is that I will have another 19-21 weeks of being in this state, but of course, I am celebrating this numerical milestone anyway.

This is me at what was later declared 18 weeks and 4 days by a technician.  Terrible selfie, I know, but I wasn't about to post the bare-belly photos that I've been bugging "The Ukrainian" to take every few weeks.  At this point, the size of my stomach was largely (hah!) dependent on what I've eaten in the previous day (um, maybe a Pizookie and such) and this was definitely no exception.


For kicks, this was taken about a week later.  I have bad posture.  Also, things really took off in the stomach department at this point, so I feel/am much more huge (huge-r?) now.

Now, here are a bunch of random thoughts:

I toyed with the idea of writing up a "first tri recap" post, but it never came to fruition.  I think this is partly because if I ever label a post "first tri," it had better be about swimming, biking, and running. =D  In all seriousness, though, I just had a hard time summarizing a very nauseating and worrisome time, even though I've thankfully been having a completely normal and boring pregnancy so far.  If anyone reading is currently in their first trimester of pregnancy, my advice is to stay off of the Internet, period.  That's like saying not to breathe, but oh well...

Truthfully, we pretty much don't have anything ready yet, although there is kind of a rough plan of what we need to get and from where.  I'm pretty sure we'll get going on that before the end of the month, though.  I'm also pretty sure this is just one of those things that I will find overwhelming until I start, like packing for college, or planning a wedding.

Speaking of overwhelming, we don't know what to name our baby.  We agreed that we wouldn't even have a conversation about it until sometime in the third trimester, and even then, probably closer to the due date.  Meanwhile, I think both of us are supposed to be independently brainstorming, but I secretly hope that "The Ukrainian" has picked magical names that I will instantly like so that the discussion can be over quickly.  Of course, I am so picky about names even in my own "short-list" that I don't think that will be the case.  I also somewhat worry that when I DO come up with some, he won't like them.

That last paragraph implies that we don't know the baby's sex.  The ultrasound tech seemed to be thrilled that she didn't have to make a determination, so I think it's a win-win-win.  Except now I have to come up with more names.  I've been looking at so many name lists that I almost saw "man whore" when looking at the below.  I'm sorry if that is your given name -- it actually sounds nice, but blame my eyes:


I was named after a teacher that my father had at the time, and my younger sisters were pretty much named after random people that happened to be present or on TV around the time they were born.  Maybe the same thing will happen for us??

This is the busiest time of year at work for me, so I haven't been able to take time off besides for my prenatal appointments, which I already kind of feel bad about even though everyone is understanding.  My provider doesn't have weekend appointments, but given that it gets me out of work, I don't mind!  However, this HAS put a damper on our daycare search (childcare plans still up in the air).  Like the medical offices, the darn places are only open on weekdays, so "The Ukrainian" and I are planning to take a "staycation" and look at local daycares, as early as I can take a day off for that.

As for how I'm doing, well, I'm just happy to be not be nauseous all the time.  I'm not really craving food or eating like a mad person like I thought I would.  I haven't wanted sweets as much as I used to (wow!), but I did learn that I can't eat too many of them after dinner like I used to, lest my already uncomfortable sleeping time be interrupted by sugar fits, which never happened before.  I miss casual encounters with coffee, raw and smoked fish, and random egg or tuna salad sandwiches that are kind of questionable to have right now.

Also, I'm definitely more relaxed that I can feel the baby move now and the tests have come back without any flags.  As of this half-way point, I finally stopped riding the train into work.  This was a decision that definitely will increase my transportation costs but one that "The Ukrainian" and I decided was best due to physical challenges and concerns about stress and immunity.   I admit that after a year and a half of riding the train almost daily to work, I mentally celebrated on the last day when a series of issues made my 12-mile ride back lasted two hours.  My stress levels have definitely evened out a bit.  You're welcome, little baby.

Finally, here a link to a random YouTube video ("Fancy" parody) my friend showed me when she found out about the baby.  How did I not know about this before?  LOL