Monday, June 12, 2017

How Do You Like Your Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes. For many, it's another gross baby food. For others, it's a Thanksgiving staple. It took me until I was 21 years old to figure out that you could have sweet potatoes in months other than November. Nope, not even lying. It seems as though in recent years it's become a popular menu item in many restaurants and households. Lucky for me!

At my last OB appointment my doctor asked me about additional testing, which I declined. I've never done it, and I figure my baby is my baby either way. Because I have a history of miscarriage, she recommended that I change my diet just in case, since I didn't want the testing, and gave me an order to eat sweet potatoes every. Single. Day. The first thing I did was drag Shon to Hy-Vee and buy fresh sweet potatoes, canned sweet potatoes, and sweet potato fries. I'm going to be honest, I like sweet potatoes, but I've struggled with this task. Right now I'm trying to get them in a few times a week. Next I reached out to my North Iowa Blogger friends for recipes. Kristen, of Make The Best of Everything, shared these sweet potato brownies and sweet potato fries! Val of Corn, Beans, Pigs, and Kids shared her favorite Pinterest recipe for sweet potato noodles. Thank God for good blogger friends!

I started doing a little research of my own when I realized that I wasn't going to be able to bring myself to eat sweet potatoes every single day, even with the great new recipes. Knowing that the desired goal was to increase my body's levels of progesterone, I found a great blog that shared more foods than just sweet potatoes for promoting the body's natural process of producing the hormone. While no foods are an actual natural source of progesterone, there are many foods that help your body produce more on its own. After discovering that foods I eat on a regular basis including whole grains, spinach, oranges, and olive oil all made the list, I feel confident that I can maintain a healthy diet with plenty of exercise for my little Flash!

Do you have other sweet potato recipes to share? Have you had to get creative with your diet for pregnancy health reasons? I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Peace of Mind with Ultrasound1

I have been extremely paranoid about this pregnancy. It may be number four, but that hasn't made it any less unnerving during any ache or pain or headache. Part of that comes with pregnancy after a loss, and I think, honestly, part of that comes from just being older now. I know 30 isn't the "end of times" in terms of child birth, but I do know that as you get older risks can increase, and I also know that my body in general doesn't bounce back from things as easily as it used to. On top of everything else, while my head told me it was still early, I started to get nervous that I wasn't really feeling the baby move much yet.

Our little zombie looking baby
After spending weeks worrying from appointment to appointment (and we all know that stress isn't good for me or the baby) to hear the heartbeat, I did some research online, and came across a service that I actually used once long ago when I was pregnant for the very first time. I connected with Joyce from Ultrasound1 in Mason City. Joyce has been doing ultrasounds in and out of hospitals for decades, and was SO easy to work with for scheduling. I made my appointment when I was at 18.5 weeks and while yes, we did find out the gender, it was really important to me just to see that my baby was okay, had the basics like two arms and two legs, and hear a heartbeat again. We got to take home a DVD of our session, several pictures, and an offer to come back at a discounted rate (I did the $119.50 internet special) for a second ultrasound if we choose to do another one for ourselves or with the kids.

I love this sweet, snuggled in pose
Ultrasound1 is a really cozy space located on the backside of Willowbrook Mall. I sat in a recliner chair with Shon next to me holding my hand, and we watched as Joyce talked us through the different things we were seeing on the screen. She was *awesome* at keeping a secret when we said that Shon wasn't going to find out what the baby's gender is (of course that lasted about 5 minutes after we walked out the door), and showed us all the comparison pictures of the 3D/4D images and baby pictures that former clients had shared with her. She made it an incredibly special experience for both of us, and I hope we do get the chance to go back later in the pregnancy.

While Ultrasound1 is a non-medical ultrasound, Joyce was able to help me see that the reason I probably hadn't felt a ton of movement was because of an anterior placenta. Basically there is a giant pillow between me and the baby. In fact, "Baby O53orn" was pretty content to just snuggle into that "pillow" the entire time we were there - yet another indicator that it is my child (Shon hates my pregnancy pillow ;).That was pretty much all the reassurance I needed. If you're looking for some peace of mind like me, a way to bond with your baby during pregnancy, or a special experience to share with loved ones, I highly recommend visiting Joyce at Ultrasound1!

Stay tuned for the details of the gender reveal party that the princess is planning for us!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Summer STEM at Home

One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to explore new facets of education. One of the BEST things I've seen come to education lately is the emphasis on student creativity, making, and STEM.

One of the biggest complaints parents seem to have about summer is that they don't want their kids sitting inside on electronic devices all day. However, it's not always easy or feasible to keep kids entertained on your own. Especially kids who can't drive somewhere.

This year as part of my personal professional development I worked with one of my kids' teachers to create opportunities for families to learn more about how easily household items can become fun, educational learning experiences. As part of that work, I wanted to share with you a few resources from my "Making at Home" Pinterest board!

You can check out the projects, books, and resources for parents to use at home, or you can try connecting with your local extension office or 4H group. I found a lot of Hamilton County summer 4H opportunities on their Facebook page!

Friday, June 2, 2017

And Baby Makes 4 (or 6?)

I wanted to show the front and back, but Shon quickly
pointed out that I should clarify we are *not* having twins!!
I promised you new adventures from The Gym Mom in 2017... We're going to be a family of 6! Four kids will be quite an adventure, but we think we're up to it, and I'm sure I'll have some fun "first time dad" stories to share on the blog as Shon adds "dad of newborn" to his new "step-dad" role. ;) For our "Facebook official" announcement we wanted to include our love of football and the Midwest Rampage in our excitement, so I had Alyssa Noss of Noss Photography and Designs make up an AWESOME replica onesie for our new little one! I know I'll be following fellow North Iowa Blogger, Val of Corn, Beans, Pigs, and Kids to get some pointers on being a mom of four, but I'd love to hear from you as well! Share your best advice in the comments!