Monday Bump: 18 Weeks

2nd March 2015

*Note: I am actually 19 weeks today. All posts will be a week behind*

Bump pictures are so awkward.

I’m always sitting there posing for Derek like,

“Does this look normal?”

“Should I hold my belly like this or does that seem weird?”

And he just responds,

“All you need to do is stop talking so that your mouth isn’t open in every single picture.”

….

My bad.


AWESOME:

My sister-in-law who is a month behind me in pregnancy was in town from New York so we got to have her over last week.

Everyone I know personally that is currently pregnant lives so far away which is a total bummer.

It was really nice to be able to talk with her about our pregnancies and share in that together before she had to go back home.


AWKWARD:

During one of my stroller stride classes I suddenly NEEDED to pee.

So I asked the instructor if she could keep an eye on my babe while I ran to the bathroom.

After running about 50 yards I find out that the bathroom is locked.

I see another building about 50 more yards away so I decide to bolt over there in hopes that it is another restroom.

By the time I reach it, I am out of breath and about 30 seconds away from peeing my pants.

So naturally since it was a pregnancy emergency, this building was in fact NOT a bathroom.

In a panic I did what any logical pregnant woman would do:

Squat, drop, and peed.

I ran all the way back to class just in time for everyone to be getting ready to run to our next destination and laughed out loud the entire way.

Hey, you do what you’ve got to do.


AWESOME:

I went to my first ever Mom’s Night In with our Fit4Mom group and it was such a blast.

I really didn’t know what to expect and I can be the most awkward person of all time when it comes to things like this but I immediately felt comfortable with all of the other girls and it was so nice to get out of the house without Declan and talk to some other mothers.

I almost didn’t go but I’m so glad I did and I can’t wait for the next one!


CRAVINGS:

Lemon flavored Luna bars and sweet potatoes.

THINGS I MISS:

Sleep.

Totally not Bennett’s fault but Declan has been bringing back the 4:30 am wake up calls and this mama is tired.

THINGS I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO:

We get to see baby B today at the anatomy scan and I can’t wait!


Fit Pregnancy

27th February 2015

When I was pregnant with Declan I had no clue what being healthy truly meant.

I was under the impression that eating an entire carton of strawberries in one sitting was totally fine and that if something came from Fresh and Easy it was automatically good for me.
I ate wheat bread, salads, and fruit like any normal “healthy” person.
But the wheat bread and salad dressings were filled with added sugar and I was consuming over 4 times my daily recommended fruit intake.
I binged on ice cream, cookies, and brownies, convincing myself that it was fine because I was making “smart” (see above) choices for most of the week.
It’s not wonder I gained 40 lbs. and lost almost all of the little muscle tone I had to begin with.
It wasn’t until three months after D was born that I started to eat the right foods and incorporate more than just a simple circuit at the gym into my life.
By 6 months postpartum I had lost over 50 lbs. and I have kept it off ever since.
Okay, maybe I have gained 6 lbs. but I’m pregnant so I’m supposed to!
I hate the word diet and I never use it because eating clean is not one, it is a lifestyle change.
When I deprive myself of things like pizza or a slice of chocolate cake I end up failing with my diet every single time.
So I made a choice NOT to diet ever again.
Instead, I live by an 80/20 rule.
And since this was a lifestyle change and not a fad, I have been able to continue throughout my pregnancy so far.
When I have a craving I satisfy it and move on.
I don’t go on a five-day cheeseburger binge but I don’t sob while eating celery, trying to pretend that it is french fries either.
Food shouldn’t make you feel guilty and if it does you need to reevaluate your relationship with it.

Via Fit4MomLB

Pregnancy is not a free pass to stop caring about your health.
In fact, if there is anytime in your life when you SHOULD care about what you’re consuming it is while you are pregnant.
Eating for two doesn’t mean eating double the calories; it means that everything you put into your mouth is being passed on to your growing baby.
I try and remind myself that as often as possible which is why even on the days where I give into pizza or chips I make sure to drink my Shakeology so I’m still passing nutrients on to Bennett.
I am incredibly passionate about health and fitness because they have completely changed my life.
I have more energy, I feel better about myself, and I’m a happier person when I’m fueling my body with the right foods and getting a good workout in daily.
Still, I will never pretend that pregnancy cravings are not a real thing nor will I deny that I had four slices of pizza on Monday night. (Oops!)
So I’m calling on you guys, my friends, my readers, to help keep me in check.
I’m going to start with a declaration:
I am going to have a fit pregnancy. I will fuel my body with the right foods and I will exercise regularly. 
I will not hold myself to a strict diet but I will try to find healthier alternatives to the intense cravings that may present themselves. 
I am not doing this because I want to be skinny, I am doing this because I KNOW that I feel better all around when I make healthy choices for myself and my baby. 
I will not food shame myself, count calories, or be the crazy lady at the Italian restaurant that denies a slice of complimentary bread. 
I WILL take pride in my growing body, nourishing my child, and choosing the best foods to do so. 
I hope you will help hold me accountable for all of these things and call me out if you see me body-shaming or over binging on my posts on any of my social media.
This is my last pregnancy and I want to fully enjoy it.
Thank you in advance for helping me to do just that!
 

Monday Bump: 17 Weeks

23rd February 2015

You’ll have to forgive me because I had intended to start my weekly bumpdates last Monday but I forgot to snap a photo of the belly.
Chasing a busy toddler around while being pregnant definitely adds a whole new dynamic to things but that’s a story for another time.

Unfortunately Declan is feeling under the weather today with a pretty bad cold so while he is snuggled up on me resting I am taking this opportunity to hop on here and talk to you about my other baby boy, Bennett.

*Note: I am actually 18 weeks today. All posts will be a week behind*

ROCK N’ ROLL:

Though far and few in-between, I have started to feel Baby B kick and roll around.
This is by far my favorite thing about being pregnant so I can’t wait to start feeling the movements more frequently.


WORK IT OUT:

I joined a mommy & me stroller strides class and I am so in love with it.
During my first trimester I barely worked out because I was nauseous all day long, so I was anxious to get back into my routine of exercise once the sickness subsided.
I love doing my home workouts and still do them too, but I knew I needed to get more socialized with other moms and let Declan meet some new kiddos.
At our 3D/4D appointment I was given a pamphlet for Fit4mom.com and I decided to give it a go.
First of all, these classes are WAY more intense than I anticipated.
I was always hesitant to do a stroller stride because I honestly thought that you just walked your kid around in a stroller.
But it is an hour of cardio, weight training, and core strengthening and it’s amazing.
I’ve met some really sweet mamas, Declan is making new friends, and I leave sore everyday.
I hope to be able to continue these classes throughout my entire pregnancy.


FEED ME SEYMOUR:

(Please tell me you got the Little Shop of Horrors reference)

Maybe it’s because I’ve been working out so much more, maybe it’s because baby is going through a growth spurt.
I can’t be sure, all I know is that I am SO hungry all of the time now!
Fortunately, I’ve learned A LOT about proper nutrition since being pregnant with Declan so the choices I make when I am craving food are much better this time around.
I like to think that if I can stay true to that I won’t end up gaining 40 lbs. in this pregnancy but I really love pizza so we shall see.


IS SHE PREGNANT?

Oh, the glorious awkward stage of pregnancy.
To me, I look very pregnant but I know that people still aren’t sure.
So I find myself doing the weird belly rub every time I catch someone looking, just to help them out and let them know that there is indeed a child inside of me and not an extra plate (or 3) of food.


CRAVINGS:

Pizza, dark chocolate, and apples.

THINGS I MISS:

Sushi.

The hardest part about being pregnant for me is going without my beloved sushi.

THINGS I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO:

The anatomy scan and our Eastern Caribbean cruise in March!


Goldilocks and The Three Valentine’s

17th February 2015

Admittedly I’ve never been huge on Valentine’s Day.
While I enjoy the idea of showering the one you love with affection, I don’t believe that overpriced chocolates and teddy bears are the way to do that.
I worked in the restaurant industry for 4 1/2 years and I can remember turning all of our 4 top tables into 2 and overcrowding the space just to accommodate more couples for the day.
I can’t wrap my head around why on a day of romance you would want to be elbow brushing the couple next to you, but to each their own.
For me, I prefer a quiet, romantic evening.
But alas, I am a mom and thus our Valentine’s Day plans were more family based, at least until Declan’s bedtime.

I’m lucky because this year I had three men in my life to celebrate with.
Only thing is, as the day progressed I began to realize that my Valentine’s were a lot like the three little bears and I was beginning to bear (pun intended) a striking resemblance to Goldilocks.

My first and newest Valentine of course, was baby Bennett.
My heart was so giddy on our way home from breakfast when I felt three kicks from him.
I eagerly anticipated more all day long but was left disappointed.
Baby Bennett was just too cold.

Then there was my little man, Declan.
Since it was such a beautiful day we decided to go on a hike.
But Declan didn’t like the fact that we refused to let him fall down the steep hills to his death, so he began a tantrum that did not end for over two hours.
Pair that with his decision to continue his 4 day nap strike and Declan was just too hot for this mama.

Lastly, was my oldest, truest Valentine Derek.
He surprised me with tickets to go see one of my favorite comedians, complete with a sleep-in pass the next morning since he got overnight babysitters (Thanks mom and dad).
Then he made me the most delicious dinner from scratch.

But the best gift he gave to me happened when he didn’t even know I was watching.
As I explained, Declan was on a good one all day.
When Derek went to put him to bed it ended up being quite the task.
I could hear Declan screaming from the other room and so I went to try and help.
I crept down the hallway towards our bedroom door, my ankles cracking with nearly every step and as I approached I heard a soft voice singing: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are grey….”

A calm came over our fussy grumpy babe and a fire roared in my heart.
A burning that seems to grow stronger with every passing moment for the man I call husband.

We chose to build this life together and it’s not always easy.
Fierce personalities all around make the Franklin bunch a force to be reckoned with.
But this life, this love… It’s so GOOD.
And in that quiet moment when he didn’t know anyone was watching, I fell in love with Derek all over again.

He is kind yet firm.
His hands are strong but they grip mine ever so softly.
He is realistic and idealistic all at once.
A lover and a fighter for that love.
He is just right.

Let’s Catch Up, Shall We?

12th February 2015

Thank you so much everyone for the enormous outpour of love yesterday!

It’s been seriously difficult to keep this little babe a secret and I am so glad I can finally talk all about my pregnancy.

So let’s catch up, shall we?

Back in November I thought I might be pregnant.

I literally had no real reason to think so, I just felt like I was.

So I took a test and it was negative, but I still wasn’t convinced.

I waited three more days and took another one.

Still negative.

I brushed my feelings of being pregnant off and decided that clearly I wasn’t.

But then Monday came rolling around and I still had no period (making myself a week late).

I decided to buy another test and take it the next morning, just in case.

Spoiler alert:

It said pregnant!

I took another one because at this point I was convinced that all pregnancy tests were just trying to play one big, elaborate trick on me.

When I saw the two pink lines on the second stick I knew that what I had been feeling all along was true and I was elated.

It was 7 am when I found out and Derek doesn’t get home until 3 pm.

Not telling him all day was the hardest thing ever but I wanted to see his reaction so I patiently waited for him to get home.

When he walked into the house he was greeted by a trail of candy leading out into our backyard.

Outside was a chalkboard sign, the two pregnancy tests, “I’m pregnant!” written in sidewalk, and Declan in a shirt that read, “Big Brother, Bigger Trouble”.

I think Derek spent the next 24 hours in shock which is funny, considering this was a planned pregnancy.


We thought pretty early on that I was having a girl.

This pregnancy has been a night and day difference from Declan and I spent the first trimester nauseous all day long and more sensitive than ever before in my life (Sorry babe).

Symptoms have included:

Eating an entire bag of potato chips (with dip) by myself.

Sobbing uncontrollably at the song Pandora chose to play.

Depression over Declan throwing an entire bucket of popcorn that I desperately wanted only minutes after buying it.

And saying things like:

“Stop it memories!”  as I began crying because Derek brought up an old Glee episode.


Some highlights have been as follows:

Watching Declan listen for “baby” in his own belly and mine.

Finding out that the baby we thought was a girl was actually a little man. (We were genuinely, but happily shocked!)

Having Declan pull up my shirt and blow raspberries on the baby daily.


And this wouldn’t be a pregnancy post if I didn’t talk about the bump.

They aren’t kidding when they say you show sooner next time around.

Holy cow.

That’s what I feel like, a cow.

But in all seriousness the bloating was real in the first trimester.

One day I would look normal and the next I would look 5+ months pregnant.

I finally have a permanent little bump that doesn’t go away when I wake up in the morning and I am so in love with it!


A little about Baby Bennett:

 -He is a mellow yellow. Every time we have seen him he is just sort of kicking back relaxing, which is a huge change from Declan who never stopped moving in the womb.

-He HATES Mexican food, ice cream, anything fried, smoothies, cookies, and pretty much anything sweet except for dark chocolate.

-He LOVES cheeseburgers, Cobb salads, pizza, greek yogurt with peanut butter, and homemade sweet potato fries. Basically give us allllll the carbs!

-So far he looks just like Declan but with my cheekbones.


I plan on doing weekly bump dates like I did with Declan so get ready for pregnancy overhaul!

(Just kidding, not really).

Being pregnant while chasing a toddler around is definitely a different experience.

Some days I forget that little Bennett is growing in there until Declan is in bed and I have a moment to breathe.

But I am so excited for his arrival in July and I can’t wait to watch my two boys grow up together and (hopefully) be best buds.

Hope everyone is having a lovely afternoon!

Date Night Just Got a Little Harder

10th February 2015

There’s something about getting all dolled up and spending a night on the town with the one you love, am I right?

Strolling hand in hand, gazing into one another’s eyes, and breathing in the romance of the evening together.

Simply put, it’s magical.

I relish in being able to laugh the night away getting drunk on one another’s love in a fancy outfit and a dimly lit restaurant.

But date night just got a little harder over here as we have decided to trade in fancy clothes and live jazz bands for something even more magical:

A growing family.

It is my distinct honor to announce to you that, Bennett Lee Franklin, will be joining our family in July, 2015.

That’s right lovelies, we’re having another baby BOY!

My heart is bursting at the seams and I am so thrilled to finally be sharing this little blessing with all of you!

Rachel from SisterLee Photography took all of these incredible photos of our growing family.

Not only is she arguably the sweetest person on the planet, she also has the most remarkable way of catching the essence of love and joy in her photos.

The minute she sent these teasers over I hopped on to Shutterfly and ordered prints of every single one.

I can’t wait to get the rest back so I can make a photo book too!

I’m so excited to share this incredible journey with all of you,  we’ve got a lot of catching up to do!

Valentine’s Day Gifts For Him That Don’t Suck

6th February 2015

One thing I will never understand is when I see men going all out for their ladies and the woman doing nothing in return.

Get it together girls!

I know that finding something for him on Valentine’s Day is hard but this is a day dedicated to the love you BOTH share.

So I’ve decided to help make it a little easier on you this year and save you from hours of Pinterest scanning trying to find something that isn’t totally lame to do for your man.

You can thank me later.

Here is my list of Valentine’s Day Gifts For Him That Don’t Suck.


LINGERIE:

But for real.

Flowers seem to be a go-to for guys and this should be your go-to as a woman.

I cannot fathom a man that would be disappointed to receive this gift.

In fact, I don’t think he exists.

You can also get really creative and fun by making him a Sensual Valentine where each box entices one of his senses.

(Get an idea of what to put in each box here)


FOOD:

Did your grandmother ever tell you that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?

Well homegirl was spot on with that one.

Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year which is awesome because it gives you the opportunity to wake him up with an incredible breakfast straight from your heart to his stomach.

Start his day of sweet with this Nutella and Strawberry Stuffed French Toast (Recipe Here).

Or if he’s the savory type like my husband try out this Eggs Benedict Casserole from Chew Out Loud.

(Recipe Here)

Rather do a romantic homemade dinner for him instead?

I’ve got you covered girl.

How about this Garlic Rubbed Steak with Blue Cheese and French Fried Onions?

Pair it with these adorable Roasted Heart Potatoes and you’ve got the ultimate man meal.

(Steak recipe here) (Potato recipe here)

Or you could go with a classic pizza in the shape of a heart.

(Learn how here)

And if you’re a super overachiever you can top the night off with some decadent dessert!

These No Bake White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecakes look divine (Recipe here).

Or you can pull at his heart strings and arteries by making these Chocolate Dipped Bacon Roses.

(Recipe here)


MAN STUFF:

(Derek titled this category for me)

I highly recommend scanning Ticketmaster to see if there are any sporting events or concerts he may enjoy.

Two years ago I got Derek tickets to a hockey game and we had an absolute blast!

………….

Is your dude the outdoors type?

This is a fire starter, compass, can opener, snare wire, fishing line/hook, and paracord all wrapped into one little bracelet band.

(Get this Survival Band Here)

These beer chillers will keep his beer nice and cold from start to finish.

(Buy here)

You can’t go wrong with a heart shaped box filled with his favorite golf balls.

Unless of course he doesn’t golf…

(Source)


And there you have it.

I hope my hours of research (Okay, I just asked my husband) helped you get into the Valentine’s Day spirit.

And if all else fails, just strip down to your skivvies and slap a bow on your head!

Tackling Mommy Guilt

27th January 2015

Can we just take a quick moment to talk about this commercial that has had me ugly crying for a week straight?

Did you watch it and are you sobbing?

Mama hearts everywhere can relate to the overwhelming pressure to fit into a category of parenting.
We all disagree about something whether it’s what we feed our babies or how soon to teach them long division and cursive.
But we all have the biggest thing of all in common: We love our kids fiercely and we’re just trying to do our best.

I just started reading this book that my coach Jenny got me called Confessions of an Imperfect Mom and in the very first chapter the author talks about another thing we all have in common:
Mommy guilt.

People around us feel the need to tell us how to parent all the time but our harshest critic is usually ourselves.
I know that I have found myself experiencing mommy guilt on more than one occasion and when I’m focusing on everything I think I’m doing wrong it clouds my ability to see everything I’m doing right.

Have you been there?

She has her readers do an exercise that I would like to encourage you to do as well today.
Make a list of things that ARE NOT on your guilt list as a mom.

Here’s a sample of my list to help you out:

WHAT ISN’T ON MY GUILT LIST AS A MOM

- Saying “I love you” a million times a day.

- Breastfeeding as long as I did AND stopping when I did.

- Holding Declan when he cried as a baby instead of letting him cry it out.

- Dancing like a fool around the house with him.

-Forcing him to take naps.

- Quitting my job to be a stay at home mom.

- Smothering him in kisses all day long.

- Co-sleeping

- Reading the same story over and over again on command.


What’s on your list?

Take your time to write it all out and then read it aloud to yourself.
Pretty powerful, right?
There is so much goodness in what we do on a daily basis but it’s easy to only highlight the mistakes.

I hope you take a moment today to rid yourself of whatever mommy guilt has had a grip on you recently and instead focus your energy on what a wonderful job you are doing.

I promise you will be a better mother, spouse, and person for it.

And if you ever need to vent or trade mommy guilt stories with someone in order to let it go, I’m here for you.

Comment, email me, FB message me, etc.

I’ll laugh and cry right along with you as we share about our shortcomings and celebrate our triumphs.

Crispy Parmesan Kale Chips

23rd January 2015

If Declan could eat macaroni n’ cheese all day long he would.
I know this because there have been days where that is literally all I could get him to consume.
Variety is a daily struggle but my main concern is trying to get enough veggies into his diet.
I sneak spinach into our morning Shakeology and on a good day I can get him to eat zucchini with hummus, but generally speaking this kid hates vegetables.
I once tried to mix them in with his macaroni and he just ate around every single veggie in that bowl.

I know I’m not alone in the struggle and I’ve talked to a lot of other moms that are desperately trying to get their picky little eaters to get enough nutrients.

Now to be honest, I was VERY hesitant about making these at first.
I really love kale but it’s kale… not potatoes.
The idea that you could make something to replace my beloved potato chips out of green leaves seemed preposterous to me.
But today I found myself with a head of kale that I needed to use before it went bad and decided that I really had nothing to lose by trying it out.

Much to my surprise this recipe is good.
Like, crazy good.
I got a little brave and decided to see what Declan thought and he DEVOURED them.

I’m not kidding.
He just kept saying “Mm!” and grabbing handfuls.
My only caution is that if you are giving these to your little one make sure they are in their high chair.
These chips can be super messy at the hands of little ones!

CRISPY PARMESAN KALE CHIPS

What You’ll Need:
– 1 head of organic kale leaves
– 1 1/2 Tbsp. Olive oil
– 1/3 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
– Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.
2. Rinse and dry your kale very well. Cut each side of the leaves off of the thick center stem so that you are left with only leaves. From here, you can cut the leaves in halves or fourths (depending on how large you would like each chip to be).
3. Place the leaves in a bowl and coat evenly with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
4. Lay leaves on a baking sheet and top with Parmesan cheese. (Feel free to add more or less Parm here!)
5. Bake for about 18 minutes or until leaves are crispy and cheese has lightly browned.
6. Devour and enjoy!

When I told Declan these were a healthy vegetable snack he was like, “say what?!”

Then he proceeded to eat almost the entire bowl by himself.

So if you’re iffy about kale I totally get you, but do yourself a favor and spend the $3 to give this recipe a shot.

Happy weekend, lovelies!

Row Your Boat

20th January 2015

I had an interesting moment the other day.

I was driving to the park and all that could be heard was the road beneath my tires and the faint

hum of my radio.

It was there in the stillness that a thought popped into my head and fear crept into my heart.

Has this all been a dream?

I jolted my head around and saw the bright blue eyes and rosy cheeks of my son.

His growing hands were clasped together and he was grinning as though he had been reading my mind the entire time.

Calm came over me and I let out one audible laugh at the thought that I had doubted his presence in my life, even for a blink.

Sometimes my world seems so good I wonder if it is real.

It is always in the effortless moments.

The ones that most would consider mundane.

As I gently row down the stream of my life I can’t help but marvel at each glorious scenery I pass.

The profile’s of my son and husband as they watch a show together.

A distant whistle from Derek in the other room or the quick stamper of Declan’s dancing feet.

The beating of my husband’s heart as I lay on his chest after a long day.

These microscopic, humble happenings consume a colossal space in my heart.

It makes me think of a classic nursery rhyme that we’ve all heard a dozen times but have probably never actually listened to:

I want to encourage you to move through your life gently.

Take the time while you row to marvel at the little things which often are the most forgotten, yet the most breathtaking.

Life is not a race; it’s a dream.

It can be whatever you want it to be but it is gone in the blink of an eye.

So be merry.

Be kind.

Be observant.

Don’t miss out on the sweetest moments because you’re trying to race to the next major milestone.

It is the stepping stones in between those milestones that define our journey and who we are.