I went off birth control last March 2016 after only being on it for nine months. My doctor told me it would only take one month for the birth control to basically stop working and be out of my body completely. A couple months later I was told by my naturopath that it can sometimes take up to three months before your body's normal cycles start working again (with no birth control). But apparently, the hormones from the pill are gone within a couple days. Once I stopped, I had a very slight "withdrawal bleed" and then started my period a month later.
Three months ago I started using these little babies right here- the ovulation predictor strips. They help me to know when I'm ovulating so we can get this baby thing on a roll. : ) They come in a pack of 20 and include a little plastic pee cup. Sounds fun right? Well, not really but I think they have some accuracy.
The strips test for your LH Surge. This is when the body produces a large amount of the luteinizing hormone (LH) right before ovulation. This LH surge will tell your two most fertile days that pregnancy is most likely to occur. Basically, I have been looking for two dark colored lines and then tell my hubby it's time to get it on. He thinks I'm not getting pregnant because I'm stressed about these dumb strips - he has a point. : )
Each month has been slightly different, so I've had a bit of a hard time reading when I'm ovulating. I'm now beginning to see a little consistency on average the third and 4th days after ending my period.
I recommend buying a kit on Amazon (SEE HERE) if you are wanting to know when you ovulate! Woohoo!
Happy ovulating and baby making, mamas!
So today we have our *VERY first* guest blogger. I am super excited and thankful for this particular person for many reasons and couldn't think of a better mommy/friend/wifey/boss lady to kick off our first Cate + Ila mama feature. Lishele and I are high school friends turned mommy friends. Not only is she the sweetest and most beautiful person inside and out, but she is also freaking hilarious. Some vivid memories (among many) that stand out thinking back on Lishele is the day that she showed up to my house with homemade chicken noodle soup after she found out that I was sick. Or the time she dressed up in ketchup and mustard full-body costumes with her bff, Kimmy, while all of us other girls were in sexy costumes. I mean, seriously, she is the best. Anyways, we hope you enjoy reading her story, hearing about her pregnancy journey with baby number three, and her tips on how she keeps her relationship with her hubby strong + sexy.
Enjoy! xx, ILA
Ask your kids for forgiveness. You WILL mess up. A lot. You will lose your temper. You will hurt their feelings. But be humble and show them how to say sorry.
Name: Lishele Wigand
Brief Intro About Family: I married the love of my life, Sean, 7 1/2 years ago. I feel very blessed to be a stay at home mom. We have a 4 year-old boy, Braxson, and a 2 year-old girl, Brynn. We are expecting another baby in March.
Background: I'm a Christian. A writer, a food lover, an adventurer, a Christmas fanatic, a fun chaser, a girly girl, and a softy. I just started a blog, www.Lishous.com if you want to know more about me!
This is your third pregnancy... Congrats! Can you tell us what your emotions are bringing a third kiddo into your family?
Well, this baby was a complete surprise for us. We have been told by 4 doctors we wouldn't be able to have kids, and look at us now-we can't stop having them! God had bigger plans! So shock would be my first emotion, then it turned into excitement! We always wanted a big family and the kids are both so excited which makes it even more fun. There's definitely a little nervousness, going back to diapers and sleepless nights sounds rough but I love so many things about having babies and raising kids.
How has your third pregnancy been different than the others? What do you think is contributing to this?
The exhaustion! With the other two pregnancies I napped a lot more and now I'm chasing after a 2 and 4 year old so napping isn't an option. I have been able to eat healthier this time around. With both other kids, all I could stomach was meat and bread and cheese. If I ate a salad I would be puking all day! This time I'm a vegetarian! I can't even look at meat and if I eat it I get really sick, it's the total opposite. It amazes me how every pregnancy is so different.
Can you share any fitness tips you undertake during your pregnancy?
Fitness tips, gosh, I just say listen to your body. Some days I am so up for a long walk or a workout, while other days I'm too tired to think about any physical activity. I haven't worked out much this pregnancy but I am active. I walk or bike the kids to the park, or play soccer with them, or do some sort of outdoor activity to stay semi-fit. But if I need to rest, my body usually tells me and I listen! I struggle with body image so I have spent my whole life working out and stressing out about my body. But, during pregnancy, I focus mostly on feeling peace and accepting where I am. If working out becomes something I'm stressing out about, I take a step back and give myself a break. I used to get all upset if I missed a workout or ate a bad meal, now I just try to give myself grace and enjoy this season. It's not always easy!
Can you share any nutrition tips you are practicing during this pregnancy?
I have been a fruit lover! Here's some interesting facts: 2 cups of broccoli has about 6g protein, 1 medium watermelon has about 20g of protein! Who would have thought? I was worried about my protein intake since I was eating vegetarian but when I calculated it I was well over what I needed.
I always recommend food that has no ingredient labels! Whole food: fruits, veggies, beans, rice etc. If i eat this way most of the time, then I don't feel bad about some indulgences. If I crave a Taco Bell tostada, or ice cream, I get it! When I'm pregnant, my cravings are so strong-I will literally dream about a food until I have it, so I give in. I just practice portion control! I have a gluten allergy so a lot of things I crave, I can't eat, so I'll make a gf version.
Do you take any special prenatal supplements? Or swear by any prenatal products (stretch mark creams, oils, morning sickness remedies, etc.)?
Nothing cured my morning sickness! Eating a ton of watermelon and ice pops helped temporarily though. I swear by drinking tons of water-it helps everything! I love the body pillow-I wouldn't get any sleep without it! My husband hates it because it takes up half our bed but I can't live without it when I'm pregnant! As for supplements, I was really constipated in the beginning so a magnesium and vitamin D supplement helped (sorry TMI!) I take rainbow light prenatal vitamins, they were the only ones that didn't make me feel sick. I eat a colorful diet and lots of greens which nourishes my body too. I'm obsessed with shakeology (vegan chocolate flavor). I drink that almost every day with bananas and pb and that feels like a treat but it has plenty of protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Do you have a favorite/go-to meal or snack you love during pregnancy? Cravings?
Gluten free everything bagel with avocado, tomato, sprouts and lemon pepper on top. Oh yum. I love lemon pepper.
Mexican food-particularly chips with refried beans and guacamole
Watermelon, oranges, apples, mangos...all fruit!
Chocolate shakeology shakes with pb and banana. Or with cherries and almond milk.
Peanut butter and honey sandwiches on gf bread
Taco Bell tostadas with extra beans and tons of sauce!
Flax 4 life brownie bites (these are heaven, you have to try them!)
Gluten free pizookie from BJ's!
What has been the most challenging part of your pregnancy?
PG answer-being tired and not getting to nap. I'm basically narcoleptic and pass out at 3pm but I'm forced to peel my eyes open and take care of my babes.
X rated answer-I get really bad cramping after sex it sucks so bad, but I deal with it.
Can you tell us how you plan to deliver your third child (hospital, any tips, medication or natural)? How does this compare to the first two deliveries?
Hahahah I love this question because labor isn't something you can plan but it's such a sweet idea to think we can. I plan to pray the whole time, possibly get an epidural (still debating). I had an epidural with both kids and loved it, I had such easy labors and wonderful experiences but the natural birth does intrigue me a little. I'm not big on medication and I never take antibiotics or other meds. I'm really not big on pain though, so the epidural is an option for me.
The only plan I have that I am adamant about is that they don't cut the umbilical cord right away. You can read about it, you want all that fresh blood to flow into the baby and wait for the cord to shrivel up before you cut it. It's called natures vaccine because it's soooo good for the baby to get all that pure blood.
Are you finding out the gender? And how do you plan to come up with the name?
It's a girl!!! We have a boy name Braxson and a girl named Brynn so we're trying to stay with the "B names." Oddly enough, Brook is one of our favorites. If we were having a boy I wanted to name him Beckham.
Do you have any general tips for mothers balancing two to three children?
Get them outside!!!! The days we stay inside, I lose my mind and find myself picking up messes and breaking up arguments all day. My kids are so much happier and easier when I keep them busy and outdoors. Walks, parks, playing ball, running around...anything outside.
Can you tell us how you keep your relationship with your husband strong?
Date nights every week or two. We need to connect one on one, without the constant interruption of kids. Laughing and having fun together is a huge priority for us.
Also, sex. And lots of it. It's sad to me when couples stop having sex after having kids. Sex is a way to connect and share your love with each other. If we've gone a few days without sex, I feel much less connected and I don't like that at all. There's so many things that make it harder to have sex: pregnancy nausea, exhaustion, crying babies, babies that don't sleep, headaches, busyness etc. But sex actually helps with all of these! It can relieve headaches, and nausea. It slows us down from our busy schedules to enjoy our spouse. It can help us sleep deeper and get great rest. Ok, it doesn't help with the crying baby...shoot, just turn the monitor off!
What do you think is the foundation of being a "great mother"?
Love and attention. Putting down your phone to play, stopping a workout early because they need you, getting on their level to play, listening when they are trying to tell you something. The way you interact with your kids teaches them how to love. Giving them attention and respecting them shows them they are important to you and gives them a sense of confidence and belonging.
Any other takeaways for our readers?
Ask your kids for forgiveness. You WILL mess up. A lot. You will lose your temper. You will hurt their feelings. But be humble and show them how to say sorry.
HOW FAR ALONG: 24 weeks
TOTAL WEIGHT GAIN: I’m currently 138 pounds or I was at my 23/24 week appointment, which means I have gained 8 pounds. This is on the lighter side of an average weight gain, but I am 100% sure that my weight will shoot up over this next four week period. My girlfriend that I normally see weekly, who I hadn't seen in two weeks, said my belly had finally popped! I'm still eating very healthy but my diet seems to be off given that my stomach continues to shrink. I am much more full at meals eating quantities that normally wouldn't make me so full so quickly. Like I said, this is more of a mind trip because I am used to eating a decent sized lunch and still being hungry for dinner. Nowadays if I eat a bigger lunch I am not at all hungry for dinner.
WORKOUTS: I have officially given up on my runs at this point in my pregnancy *tear*. Similar to my first pregnancy, I recently developed sciatica, which is a shooting pain in my lower back. Normally, this is caused from the baby being positioned on a particular nerve that causes this shooting pain either in your back or leg. Pairing that with my decreased ab strength and constant need to pick Lincoln up - a 25 pound tank - my back isn't feeling so great. During my last two runs, my back started hurting and I also had intense cramping in my uterus. As a result, I thought it would be best to give up my runs for the time being. If I really wanted to keep my runs up, I would consider investing in some sort of belly band or belly sports bra to help relieve the pressure of my growing belly. I just don't want to waste money if these products don't actually work. You know what I mean? Any recommendations are welcome! Over the last week or so, I have gotten more into yoga. I prefer running but at least feel like I'm getting a bit of a workout if I do yoga over nothing. Like running, yoga has also presented some challenges at this point in my pregnancy because I am limited in my types of movements I can do. For instance, stepping up from a plank into Warrior II, my belly gets in the way of my lunge position. But hey, at least I'm getting a workout in and that is all that counts!
MATERNITY CLOTHES: My old maternity clothes that I wore during my pregnancy with Lincoln are still a little too big for me, but I am sure that they will fit soon. Leggings and dresses are still my faves.
STRETCH MARKS: None yet, crossing my fingers not to get any! I didn't get any with Lincoln, so hoping this pregnancy will be the same.
SLEEP: Sleeping like a champ still. This pregnancy I really haven't had any sleep problems (knock on wood). Some mornings, I wake up early (even before Ryan which is abnormal), and am ready to start the day. Generally, I would sleep way past when Ryan wakes up. Maybe I am just excited or have that sort of pregnancy restlessness - although it is not affecting my nighttime sleep, just the morning wakefulness.
BEST MOMENTS RECENTLY: Finding our new home in Nashville!, having Ry feel the baby move, feeling baby hiccup around 5 1/2 months and having Lincoln kiss my belly.
MISS ANYTHING: Missing my runs big time. I thought I'd be able to run all through my pregnancy, but it's okay :) Trying to stay positive. I am starting to miss DC and Georgetown and our friends even though we have not yet left.
MOVEMENT: Yes! Felt hiccups twice. This baby is very active, constantly moving throughout the day. Lincoln was more of a sporadic mover - he would move like crazy but at only certain times during the day. This baby seems to be in a constant state of motion - I am always feeling those cute and crazy little kicks! If this baby has more energy that Lincoln, I am in for a ride...
FOOD CRAVINGS: Not so many cravings this time around, although I do crave peanut butter or almond butter at night before bed. It's a comfort thing..
ANYTHING MAKING YOU QEASY OR SICK: Nope. I can eat anything and everything, which I believe is why I have been able to stay so healthy this pregnancy. My first pregnancy, I had some food aversions which made it a little more difficult to stay healthy.
LABOR SIGNS: I've gotten Braxton Hicks twice. The worst was on a date night with Ry, we were walking around Target together and my belly felt so tight, I felt like I could barely catch my breath.
MOOD: Very positive but a little overwhelmed. Apparently, moving is one of the most stressful life events after divorce. How crazy is that? While I don't feel 100% stressed on the surface, I am starting to notice my mind is wandering and heart is racing at certain parts of the day. I am worrying a little bit more than normal. While I know that everything will end up the way as it should, I have stresses about selling our condo, getting the right price, ensuring our property is move-in ready, ensuring that we have the right furniture, trying to find the best prices on furniture, trying to pick the best/most economic refrigerator and washer/dryer, trying to create a budget for home fixtures and furniture, trying to stay within that budget but not purchase cheap stuff, etc. etc. etc.... All of these silly thoughts run through my head. I am grateful they are first world problems and nothing that I should truly be stressing about. I need to remind myself of how lucky I am and that everything will fall into place.
LOOKING FORWARD TO: Everything that is going on already and about to happen over the next few weeks/months. Phew!
You know how picky Cate + I are about certain products, especially products containing unnecessary chemicals and toxins. This week, we are partnering with bloom BABY, a health conscious + sustainable baby brand, and are thrilled to be showcasing their wipes (one of our favorite products!). bloom BABY Sensitive Wipes are made from the purest ingredients, including actual water from a glacier, using their trademarked technology 100% HydroPure water as a base. This process creates fewer impurities and bacterial organisms than normal processes. How cool is that? The wipes are also infused with plant derived vitamins to create a softness for baby's sensitive skin. A few additional and important C+I-friendly features include:
Not only do these amazing wipes contain simple and pure ingredients, but you can also find them just around the corner at your local TARGET. Hooray! We are thrilled that we came across bloom BABY products for our sake and for our baby's sake. We hope you will enjoy them just as much as we do!
C + I
This is my 23 week pregnancy update. I am still feeling amazing; maybe a little less energetic, but this might also be due to the fact that our family has so dang much going on right now. Between a new baby, a new house, a new city and a new president, life seems a little overwhelming. With all of that said, I am so happy to be pregnant at this momentous time in history and in our lives, and can't wait to carry on my pregnancy journey to finally meet our little baby boy or girl. Only 17 weeks left to go! Check out my stats below.
Current Disposition: feeling SUPER thankful and a little bit overwhelmed. It's no surprise that America is going through BIG changes right now. Bringing a baby into this world requires great leadership and a strong sense of community not only on a micro (family) level, but also on a grander macro (political and environmental) level. The hate and disdain being spewed as a result of the election makes me sad. I can't help but think that we as Americans are better than the way we have been behaving. I myself am guilty of reading into the media and social media gossip, and as a result feel pain, sometimes vengeance and sometimes shame. Yuck. This is not who we are as a country, and this is certainly not who I am as a person. The below quote comes from one of my favorite books and helps to remind me of how to behave in times of such calamity - and which feeling to choose, that of love or that of fear. I hope to be this for my babies, for my husband, for my family, for my friends and for our country.
"Every action taken by human beings is based in love or fear. Decisions affecting business, industry, politics, religion, the education of your young, the social agenda of your nations, the economic goals of your society, choices involving war, peace, attack, defense, aggression, submission; determinations to covet or give away, to save or to share, to unite or to divide—every single free choice you ever undertake arises out of one of the only two possible thoughts there are: a thought of love or a thought of fear. Fear is the energy which contracts, closes down, draws in, runs, hides, hoards, harms. Love is the energy which expands, opens up, sends out, stays, reveals, shares, heals. Fear wraps our bodies in clothing, love allows us to stand naked. Fear clings to and clutches all that we have, love gives all that we have away. Fear holds close, love holds dear. Fear grasps, love lets go. Fear rankles, love soothes. Fear attacks, love amends. Every human thought, word, or deed is based in one emotion or the other. You have no choice about this, because there is nothing else from which to choose. But you have free choice about which of these to select."
Aside from the election, which I pray turns into something beautiful, strong and wonderful for our country, we officially shared that we are moving to Nashville... Ah!!! Not only is Nashville our new "home", but we also found and put in an offer on a home! Ryan, Lincoln and I flew out to Nashville last week with my parents to go house hunting. We had an amazing broker, Keith Merrill, who showed us nearly 40 properties. At times, I felt helpless and a little lost but also knew that we were sure to find the perfect home eventually. And that, we did. She is a beauty! And will be the best new home for our growing family; a place where we can create beautiful memories. Ah. I can't wait to share more. I have taken full reign in handling the interior design of our home (I finally get to decorate an entire home AND a nursery!), and it is so much fun. I can't wait to share more on this, as well.
Energy level: feeling a little less energized but still feeling great overall. I think with all of the commotion (election, new home, new baby, new city), I have had the energy sucked out of me. For being a pregnant mama, carting around 40 properties with a toddler in a new city, trying to find one to call your home, I'd say I'm doing a decent job keeping my energy up. It's been a little more challenging to keep a consistent workout routine. I wasn't able to find a running trail in Nashville and got a little lazy with my runs when we were there. I think I ran four days our of seven (not too bad, but not amazing). The day we returned home, I went out for my first run and couldn't wait to do so -- only to be stopped 1.5 miles in by lower back pain and major cramping in my uterus. I stopped and decided to walk home instead. Today will mark the second attempt at my run. Will let you know how it goes. I talked to the doctor about this at my 23 week appointment yesterday and he said that there is no way that exercising could force me into pre-term labor - so not to worry. He encouraged me to keep exercising but also told me that I may have to switch to a more lower-impact routine. I'm going to try out my run once more today and if the pain persists, I will switch up my routine. Update: I just finished my second run and had the uterus pain creep up again around 1.5 miles. Determined to continue and finish my run for the last 1.5 miles, I held my uterus for the remainder - ha! It actually helped to have some support down there and the cramping subsided. I may invest in one of those belly sports bra bands...
Diet: I had been eating super clean prior to our trip to Nashville keeping with my warm lemon water in the morning, Glowing Green Smoothie or Smoothie Bowl for breakfast, hard boiled eggs or hummus and chips for a snack, a salad for lunch and a light dinner with a light dessert. And then we got to Nashville - OMG the food is amazing. There are so many fun and trendy restaurants, we had to try them all! We went to Burger Up, Bar Taco, Taqueria del Sol, Proper Bagel, Butchertown Hall, and the list goes on... we didn't stumble across one bad meal. Yum. To say the least, my belly (and I'm sure my baby) were full and content the entire trip. Getting back to DC, I shaped up and cleaned up my diet, and am feeling a lot healthier and lighter on my feet.
Maternity Clothes: once again, dresses and stretchy leggings all the way. I'm pretty sure that baby and I are about to experience a big growth spurt. I remember during my last pregnancy that at 6 months I was only slightly showing but by 7 months I was BIG. Months 8 and 9 I proceeded to become huge. Now that I am approaching 6 months, I feel like this will happen once again since I am relatively small at this point. I'm loving the lose fitting dresses that you can buy at BP for super cheap. Plus PinkBlush had sent me those cute, cute dresses that I've gotten a lot of fun wear out of.
Weight Gain: at 23 weeks pregnant I weigh 138 lbs, which means I've gained 8 lbs since the start of my pregnancy. This is on par for me to gain (hopefully) 25 lbs. A 10 lbs weight gain at this point is very very normal, if not on the lighter end of weight gain. So between my 19 week appointment at 23 week appointment, I gained a solid 3 lbs! I'm pretty sure I enjoyed all of that Nashville southern food a little too much, but luckily it didn't translate to the scale. That said, I am very happy with where I'm at with my weight gain. Now that I am home and in my routine I expect to be a bit healthier with my food consumption while still eating nutrient dense food.
Doctor's Visits: I had my 23 week doctor's appointment yesterday and all is well. I was weighed, had my blood pressure taken, and heard baby's heart beat. Doctor said everything looked great. Two issues presented themselves during the appointment. The first was that I needed to get a follow up anatomy scan due to my abnormal scan I had 4 weeks ago. I am doing that today. They just want to make sure that baby outgrew the things that they saw in the scan, despite the fact that my two test results came back very very normal. The second issue he had was that I am moving to Nashville. With that, he said, sometimes come missteps with the new doctor, specifically because I am a Rh-negative (I think because I am a negative blood type) which requires a Rhogam shot. Generally, you get this shot around 25 weeks, if needed. Because we are moving to Nashville in my 25th week and the doctor doesn't want the new physician to forget (or not know) or me to forget to get the shot, he suggests we get the shot during week 24. Not a huge deal, but again, something to consider.
All in all, I am feeling great and am looking forward to the new adventure ahead - including that of our country, and in a new city, new home and new baby!
Hi all! We made it back from South Africa a little over a week ago and are almost over the jet lag. It's been brutal! I don't ever recall having such a hard time adjusting to the time difference! : ) Our trip was absolutely incredible though.. We flew out of Orange County and had a five hour layover in Atlanta. From there we had a 15 hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. We then spent the next few days in Pretoria with friends who run an organization called Kerus Global Education. I've had the privilege of being involved with them for the past 10 years. My first trip to Africa was seven years ago and then again two years after that. It's been 5 years since traveling on African soil, and let me just say it felt good to be back!
We spent a few days in a township called Soshanguve just outside Pretoria. Soshanguve is estimated to have around 4 million people. It was an incredible experience just as before. However, this time it was especially my favorite trip because I got to see my husband with the kids and watch them love on each other; it made my heart smile big time! The moment we arrived, we could see the kids line up to greet up. Once we parked, we could hardly get out of the car because we were bombarded with hugs from all the little ones! They just couldn't wait to say they love us, play with our hair and squeeze us to death! I immediately recognized some of the kids from the previous years - what a blessing it was to see their shining faces again!
On one of the days while in Soshanguve, we went on "home visits" where we went to some of the family's places of residence whose children come to the orphan care center. We prayed with the families and brought them a few food items. We saw only one father present while out and about. In fact, you rarely see families with men (or fathers), and a good portion of the children at the center live with their 80-year-old grannies and are "double orphaned", lost both parents (mostly from Aids). Even some of the children, as young as four-years-old (Kai's age), have been affected by the epidemic of Aids/HIV which was passed down from their parents at birth. I remember the first time I met "Cuvvey" (Kevin) seven years ago. He was HIV positive and was the sweetest little thing. Little Cuvvey didn't make it long enough for me to see him again this time. He passed away a couple years ago, and I'll never forget receiving the news. I wept... for his family and for the countless other innocent lives affected by this horrible virus. My eyes have been opened, and I am forever changed.
SIDE NOTE: The orphan care center is called the Kerus Go Amogela Orphan Care Center. It is not a typical orphanage where children live full time; rather, it is a place where children come after school to receive love, encouragement, support, a meal, etc. The below describes the purpose of the center:
"The orphan care program is now being led by the newly formed NGO, Go Amogela, and is led by key professionals from the township. The primary goal of the orphan care strategy is to inspire and equip the local church and schools to be a beacon for compassionate care for those in great need and a trumpet for courageous actions that will stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Soshanguve area. The orphan care programs seek to provide the following:"
We also had the privilege of getting to know the staff at the center. All of them are truly incredible human beings who have a passion for God's children and a love for this orphan care work. They work tirelessly and go above and beyond for one another, for the children and their families, and for their community. I felt honored to pray with them, sing with them, and listen to their beautiful stories - not to mention their accents. : ) The words I would use to describe the staff at the Kerus Go Amogela Orphan Care Center are heroic, selfless, influential, loyal, hard working, gracious, giving, enthusiastic, and godly. They are one rockstar team!
Another unique experience we had was when we attended a funeral for the granny of one of the boys at the center. His name is Bongani and he is also one of the boys I got to meet seven years ago; I actually met his granny, too! Bongani is now 18 and such an incredible young man. Although he is HIV positive and has his major struggles with his health, he is positive and trusts God. I am very proud of him! We were honored to attend his granny's memorial, along with the other 500 people. We were the only white faces in a sea of black - it was an incredible sight! We were treated like family, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to experience Soshanguve culture and witness the love they had for this amazing woman. Please be praying for Bongani's family as they mourn the death of their beloved granny and also for his health that he will grow strong.
After Soshanguve, we drove about four hours to Madikwe Game Reserve (just on the border of Botswana) to a safari lodge called Rhulani. The staff and everyone there was so friendly, accommodating, and on their A game. Our ranger, Sean, was amazing as well! Rhulani definitely spoiled us! Prior to arrival they asked us for specific nutritional needs, so I requested a few gluten free options. And oh my goodness... they made some of the best gluten free goodies I've ever had! So not only was the food amazing, but the company, setting, and animals were over the top! We went on two game drives a day - one in the early morning at 6am and then another at 4pm. We were only there two nights and saw the BIG FIVE! One morning, we were abruptly woken up by the loud roar of a lion!!! We later found out by the staff that he (Pretty Boy) had passed right by our room! If you have not yet been on a safari, I HIGHLY suggest adding it to your bucket list!
Once safari came to an end, and we were all on a ridiculous high from seeing so many amazing things, we got back in the car, drove back to Pretoria, unpacked/repacked, headed to the airport and flew down to Cape Town! We weren't messing around! lol. While in Cape Town we visited the wine country which is only a short 40 minute drive outside the city. There we went wine tasting at a couple different vineyards and enjoyed the incredible mountain view and gorgeous landscape. Our favorite winery was Babylonstoren. I strongly advise you check it out HERE! It is truly a breathtaking and magical place in Franschhoek. We then proceeded to end our day in the wine country at the picturesque and ultra charming MONT ROCHELLE with a lovely dinner at their restaurant Miko - it was divine! This beautiful boutique hotel and winery is now owned by Richard Branson. I also love that they are committed to sustainability! Check out how they have gone from plastic to glass to eliminate single use plastic effects:
Ditching the plastic
"Some of the properties in our collection are in parts of the world where the local water supply doesn’t always inspire confidence, so we previously made bottled water available to our guests. As the result was a lot of discarded plastic bottles we worked with a supplier to source branded glass water bottles which are washable and can be reused again and again. A filter machine sits on site and the team is trained in how to operate it hygienically. The result is a complete elimination of plastic bottles used on the Mont Rochelle estate with similar results elsewhere." Can we all catch on! I just love this so much! : ) Thank you, Sir Richard Branson for your efforts, vision, and commitment to reduce the plastic footprint! Together we can make a difference!
Ok, moving right along....We spent four nights in Cape Town and had delicious food, cruised around town, visited local beach towns and the penguins, and hitched a ride on the "red bus" to catch a bird' eye view of the city and of Table Mountain. It was the trip of a lifetime, not to mention we had THE BEST crew - my lovely mother Cate, and Jennie and Marcia (the founders of Kerus Global)- there was never a dull moment. And applause to Duke for hangin' with the ladies for two whole weeks and for being oh-so-very patient with us! You're a gem!
I hope you enjoy this visual story and take a journey through South Africa through our eyes!
If you'd like more information about Kerus Global Education, would like to donate or find out how to get involved, please visit the website at KerusGlobal.org or email me at email@example.com SUBJECT: Kerus. I'd love to hear from you!re to edit.
This is my combined 20 and 21 week pregnancy update. I can't believe I am halfway there!! For all of you mamas that are with me - no matter your stage of pregnancy - congratulations on being an incredible mother to your precious child and for being such amazing women throughout your pregnancy journeys. You have done one of the most beautiful and sacred things in life by caring for and carrying your baby. Wow! Thank you for supporting our site and this adventure - we hope you keep on sharing and keep on reading :) Check out my stats below.
Current Disposition: lately I've been feeling SUPER excited but also a little anxious. I am so excited for our upcoming move. We just flew out to our new "home" destination last night (we are here now!) in which I will share a fun post about where our adventure is taking us next. I am so excited to have a HOME. It's so weird but I've always had this vision and dream about what my life would be like. And right now, I feel as if I have everything I've dreamed of - my husband, my baby (and baby-to-be), and the type of lifestyle (simple yet fulfilling) that we will have when we make the move to our new location. It really is a dream come true. It wasn't what I (entirely) expected, but almost feels like something more than what I could have ever envisioned or asked for. At the same time, I look back on our experience in Washington, DC - a place I would have never ever have imagined that I would have ended up in. That said, I can't imagine my life without this place and it will forever hold one of the dearest places in my heart. I moved across country, following my husband and his job in hopes of getting accepted into Georgetown (and potentially spending the rest of my life with this guy!). A few weeks after my move cross country, I was accepted into Georgetown and not only that -- with almost a full-ride scholarship. What?! After that, my husband proposed and we spent our engagement in DC planning the wedding of our dreams. We bought our first condo in the heart of Georgetown that's been filled with the foundation of our marriage, the birth of our son, and several other fond memories. I went to business school at Georgetown University and had my precious little baby at Georgetown University Hospital in between my first and second year of school. We raised our baby in Georgetown and spent mornings walking to coffee shops and onto campus, driving out to Virginia or Maryland for new adventures, and enriching ourselves in the DC culture. We did runs along the C&O Canal. We've shared the most rich and fulfilling relationships with the most wonderful people; our friends have made this journey what it's been. I cry thinking about the prospect of leaving this magical place but also welcome and share excitement in the prospect of our new journey ahead. The perfect way to describe my sentiment towards the move is "bittersweet." What does all of this have to do with having a baby?! I don't know. I think welcoming our new child into our new home location really signifies a new chapter and change in our lives. In this new place, we will have an entirely new dynamic as a family of no longer three, but four. We will have new adventures, new cross country drives, new running trails, and new coffee shops to spend our Saturday mornings in. Not only that, but we will develop new friendships that will never replace the old, but will enrich our lives in a different way. All of this is exciting but also creates a strong, strong sense of nostalgia because what we had here in DC - what we have right now - is something that is so special and sacred to me. It almost seems like nothing in the future can top what we have today. But I know that it can and I know that it will. I know that adding a new baby to the mix will create a beautiful new family dynamic. Our family is four will be as precious (and hectic!) as ever. And I know that our new home will have new and special memories as did our old. And our adventure in this new location is something that will etch a new memory on my heart just as strong as DC did.
Energy level: After pouring my heart out -- I'll say that my energy is awesome. Well, during the day my energy is great, however, at night I have been falling asleep on the couch. Usually at night, I relax and watch a TV show, and then I have to make myself go to sleep. Lately, I've been too tired to turn on a show and will find myself dozing off on the couch, and quickly rush to bed. When I wake up, it's the morning! It's the deepest sleep I have felt so far in pregnancy. My running has been great! My pace is just as it has been since the beginning of my pregnancy and I notice that my stamina has been increasing. They say you may start to lose your breath around this time given that baby is taking up more of your space, but I haven't found that to be this far. The other day I did a Core Power Yoga class. This felt amazing - to do a new workout and also to sweat a lot of toxins out of me. The yoga class was a little challenging because my belly limits that types of poses I can do - aka no baby cobras. All in all, I'm feeling great physically and mentally.
Diet: it feels as if my belly is growing but my stomach is shrinking. There is no mistaking that I am pregnant at this point given the size of my belly. People would think that means there is more room for food, but in my experience there is actually way less room for food than when you're not pregnant. I've noticed that it's key to eat small and frequent meals throughout the day - hello snacking. If I eat huge meals, I get heartburn and feel that nasty, bloated feeling. Because my diet is so healthy, full of fruits and vegetables and whole foods and I try to limit any overeating, my heartburn is wayyyyy better than it was last pregnancy. This time, I really think my heartburn is less because of the foods I am eating and their alkalinity they are creating in my stomach. I also think that having warm lemon water first thing in the morning really helps to reset my system and puts my body on the right track for the day. You'd think that drinking lemon water would create more acidity but it actually has the opposite effect. In general, I've been eating really healthy - especially when Ryan is out of town (ha ha). Some nights I just snack on hummus/dip and vegetables after eating a huge, late lunch. Then I'll have a little peanut butter and honey for dessert and that is honestly all I need. When he is home, I feel the need to make us a nice big dinner because I know he needs and deserves it. But given the shrinking size of my stomach, eating a huge meal never makes me feel good neither at night nor the next morning. In terms of weight - I haven't weighed myself since my 19.5 week appointment in which I had only gained 5 lbs since the start of my pregnancy. At this point, I guarantee that I have packed on some pounds, just given the growing size of baby and the way that I feel. Cate's nutritionist said that I would gain the most weight between weeks 17 and 18 - I believe. This is actually when I lost 2 lbs - but I think that my body probably has gained the most weight at this point (the midpoint). Will keep you posted on my next appointment in two weeks.
Maternity Clothes: PinkBlush sent some cute maternity dresses to Cate and I - check out the image above and this post if you didn't see it. Be sure to check out their site and also to participate in the $75 giveaway - the winner will be announced on Friday. Just tag 3 friends in one of our PinkBlush posts and you will be eligible to win!
Weight Gain: ditto to what I said above. Will post how much I weigh as soon as I step on a scale next. I found it very helpful to read how much other pregnant ladies have gained during both pregnancies and I hope to share the same with our followers - just for comfort sake. Remember that at my 19 week appointment I had gained 17 lbs in my first pregnancy!! In this pregnancy, I only put on 5 lbs at 19 weeks. Yes, I am watching my diet more but I really believe that every body and person handles pregnancy differently. There is no competition to gain the fewest amount of pounds or to pig out and eat whatever you want. Just do you - and do the best that you can working towards your highest and greatest self!
Doctor's Visits: doctor's visit will be for my 23 week appointment and I will update everyone at that point on the status. I believe I posted that all of my blood tests came back normal for the Down Syndrome and infection test that I had done because of the abnormal anatomy scan. The doctor's thought that everything was fine and after the testing, I was informed that everything IS fine. Praise Jesus! All in God's hands..
Until next week!!