Emerging out of the dark

The fog is finally starting to lift and thank tha lawd I am beginning to feel like myself again.

The past 6 weeks were unpleasant to say the least. I can’t even fully describe what it was like.  Having never really had much experience with morning sickness or nausea before, the closest thing I can ascribe it to is having motion sickness…ALL.DAY.LONG. And nothing you do fixes or changes that feeling. Most days I wouldn’t bother eating. I just felt too gross to stomach anything. Sometimes I get down some toast around, but then couldn’t handle even the idea of anything else. Foods I normally love have been off limits. Not in the extreme aversion “i’m gonna puke if you make me eat that” kind of way. But just, I’d rather eat nothing than eat that. And that ran the gamut of all vegetables, most proteins, really sweet stuff, and just about anything in my kitchen. Bread generally was safe. Maybe bread with butter or peanut butter. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches became pretty routine. I felt like I had the palate of a 5-year old. My nose turned super sensitive and would pick up fowl smelling odors from all over the place. The garlic in that person’s salad dressing. Or the side of brussels sprouts from two tables over. The curry in that person sandwich. Ugh! The smells made everything worse.

And energy levels! Hah! I’m thankful I have a super flexible schedule that allows me to curl up on my couch in the fetal position for extended periods of time because that’s where I lived. I never blogged much because usually I only blog in the evenings and I could barely stay awake past 8pm. I usually had enough physical energy for one big task. A load of laundry for example. And once that was complete I had to lie down and rest. Walking up stairs or escalators usually resulted in heart palpitations and light headedness. It was bizarre. As someone who generally stays in pretty decent shape, feeling that kind of physical weakness was something I haven’t had to deal with before. I don’t know if I had a more extreme case than others, but the thought of having to feel that way while still juggling the demands of a full-time job and/or a current batch of little rug rats…I don’t know how others do it.

It seems that part of the pregnancy is nearing the end though. At 11 weeks 1 day, I woke up this morning to hear my stomach growling (and not churning in disgust). I hopped out of bed and felt energized and well-rested. I still have two weeks left of my semester, so knocking out my final few papers/projects is going to be top of the priority list followed by cleaning up this poor house which I’ve neglected over the past month, much to my husband’s displeasure. Then it’s on to figuring out how to (slowly) clean the diet back up and get back into regular exercise.

Oh but it feels SO good to be back!

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Race Recap: Cherry Blossom 10-Miler

I’ve been wanting to run this race for over a year now. I heard about it last March when I was on the lookout for more races, but didn’t realize that because of its popularity, the lottery to get a spot is held back in December. Okay, I thought. Next year! So when December rolled around, I was fresh off of my dual-marathons and looking for some spring races. I entered the lottery and luckily got a coveted spot. Hooray!
Then I got pregnant. And my energy levels plummeted. And my training came to a screening halt. And my appetite disappeared. Hmm. Well, I obviously can’t back out of a race… I mean, it’s paid for, I thought. So clearly I’ll still run it, just not that fast. It’ll be fine. Those were my thoughts yesterday as I went to pick up my race “packet” (which only consisted of my bib and my t-shirt: ZERO free schwag). I continued to think that this morning as I got dressed and got myself moving before sunrise and even as I was standing in front of the start line, adrenaline pumping with all the other runners.
20140406-210515.jpg It was after all a beautiful day in the Nation’s capital. Blue sky. No clouds. Sun beaming down. A little bit of a chill to the air but not frigid. Let’s do this.
The gun goes off and off we go! The course is unique in comparison to most DC races as it stays almost exclusively around the monuments. Starting by Washington, we head around Lincoln, down the memorial bridge, around Lincoln the other way, past FDR and MLK before heading off towards Jefferson and then back to finish at Washington. Pretty straight forward. Unfortunately, my body was not nearly as into the idea. I tried keep an easy pace but somewhere around mile 4 I started to not feel so hot. Then my stupid shin cramp started happening again. Then I had to pee and wait in a long line. (But a line with a view)20140406-211106.jpg At mile 5 I was thinking “really??? Only half way??” I wanted to give up by mile 6. My pace slowed down (which was fine) but I had basically lost any kind of motivation to finish strong. The last few miles I slogged through as best I could. I eventually kicked into a higher gear towards the very end, but even that effort was pretty sad. The finisher’s chute was chaotic and unorganized which didn’t make the accomplishment feel particularly celebratory. Eventually I found some water and the medal tent, where I received my prize.

20140406-211604.jpg After taking my finisher’s selfie, I headed home and that’s when the real fun began. It’s not uncommon for me to feel tired post-race but today I was feeling all new levels of exhaustion. I almost fell asleep in the shower. At several points later in the day I felt so light headed I thought I was going to pass out. I kept feeling like my heart was racing even when I was standing still. I was straight OUT OF IT. My guess is a combination of dehydration+low blood sugar cause by the nausea/low appetite, but needless to say I’ve felt not awesome. So, that all being said, I feel like I’ve finally learned my lesson. No more racing during the pregnancy. Other people might be able to handle it. I cannot. So no more. I’m putting myself into temporary retirement. So long running…for now.

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Hello April ’14

Wow. March is over. March went by much much faster than February or January did. Perhaps it was the schizoid weather? Or maybe because I slept through a lot of it? But I’m happy it’s over. Generally I don’t have a big seasonal preference, but this year I’m really really looking forward to summer. Maybe it’s the being back in school thing. Don’t know. Anyway.

** March’s Monthly Challenge**

Keep a daily journal. I calculated my entries last night and out of 31 days in the month, I wrote 16 times. That’s certainly far more than I normally would, but also way less than once a day. I blame the fatigue. It’s hard to feel particularly into writing about your day when your eyes want to close on you by 8pm.

March Goals

1) Read: Mansfield Park. One of the Austen novel’s I know nothing about. Certainly had to slog through this one, but I did finish it. A review will be along shortly. Not my favorite Austen. Doesn’t help that there are NO good (and accurate) film adaptations. Boo!!
2) We just switched health insurance plans so: Find a good doctor! And by doctor, I mean midwife. Because that’s how I am.
3) Clean out my closet AND the guest bedroom closet – eek! Nope.
oreo truffles4) It’s Birthday month in our house: plan a delicious Birthday dinner and bake a yummy Birthday Cake for the hubs  I’m counting this even though it didn’t really happen. The hubs is on a health kick and requested no cake. So I made a few oreo truffles just to have a little something. And instead of a nice dinner, he wanted to go out with just the boys, so I was off the hook.
IMG_05725) Plant some seeds! Spring is around the corner! Check! And spring certainly is around the corner, provided it doesn’t snow again. Until I can be sure of that, I’ve had to just start some seeds indoors, and hope they germinate. Most of the seeds are for various herbs, but there’s also some tomatoes and peppers in there. Fingers crossed!

** April’s Monthly Challenge**

Knowing now what my energy levels will likely be for the next month, and also knowing what I have still to finish for school, I’m going to go very easy on myself in April. The goal? H2O. Just drink a lot of. I think the midwives told me I need 10 glasses. So that’s the goal for now. 80oz of water…everyday.

April Goals

1) Read something fun
2) Craft project: fix my earring display system
3) Get the garden ready for seedlings
4) Do something on the DC-list
5) Apply for volunteer position

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I did it!

Today seemed like it was going to be another bumpy day. I had a meeting in the morning, but by the afternoon, my energy levels were pretty low. I didn’t have much hope for doing anything productive, save for maybe trying to get myself to eat a vegetable.

But as it’s Thursday, and on Thursday’s my gym has a back to back yoga class combination, I decided to drag my butt off to the gym for some gentle stretching. The first yoga class is a vinyasa style which while not super gentle, isn’t nearly as intense as a power yoga class which is not something I can handle right now.

So we go through the poses, I’m trying to focus on just breathing and elongating, as I haven’t been to yoga in a couple of weeks and just need to stretch out a bit.

And then – it happened. We moved into our inversions so I grabbed a spot by the wall and decided to test my tripod headstand.

I somehow managed this:

What?? Please note that in the video, there is no kicking up of the feet into a vertical position, which is generally how I have to manage. Nope. Somehow I did the whole contract your core and slowly raise your legs up. I couldn’t believe it. I did it! I would have been jumping up and down if I wasn’t being all namaste.

I just checked something off my yearly list AND my bucket list without even trying  hard. YESSSS.

Now I’m going to treat myself to a delightfully bland dinner of plain pasta. Because that’s all my stomach will tolerate right now.

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(Not so) Wordless Wednesday: Life Changed

So maybe you had figured it out. Maybe you took the various sporadic puzzle pieces of information and put 2 and 2 together and figured things out. I mean, even i can admit there have been some serious changes around here. Infrequent posts. Lethargy. No workout recaps. No food posts. Few updates in general save to mention that I have no motivation to do anything.

But not having motivation and not having energy could be attributed to any number of things. Poor diet. Hormones. Thyroid issues. Depression. Stress. Any one of those things could have been the cause of what was and is currently going on with me.

But they are not.

There’s a different cause.

It’s a parasite about .97cm long and is causing me to turn into someone I barely recognize.

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Yep…I’m preggo. For the last month I’ve been doubting whether or not it could actually be true and whether all these crazy physical symptoms are real or just figments of my imagination but yesterday I had my first ultrasound and received positive, irrefutable proof, that there is in fact something growing inside me, something that supposedly will arrive as a little baby sometime in early November.

Talk about some life-altering news. Don’t get me wrong, excitement is definitely on my emotional forefront as planned as such things can be, but there are a lot of emotions swirling inside me. I still haven’t fully processed what this all means and just how different life will be a year from now but I imagine that just takes some time.

So with this new found knowledge, I feel like my goals for the year and upcoming months will likely change. I don’t foresee me breaking any 1-mile PRs. My ability to try out new recipes is hampered by my constant nausea and current preference for bland foods. And until my energy levels settle themselves, I’m going to take it pretty easy.

 

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Baking Project (TWD): S’mores Brownie Cake

My birthday was this past Saturday so I was pretty happy that our 2nd TWD assignment for March was a cake. But here’s the thing- if a cake is going to be my birthday cake, it’s got to be a little bit over the top. I have pride and ego riding on this. So how could I tweak a rich, chocolate almost-a-brownie cake with a rich ganache coating? Well, for one I’d take out the mocha flavor. Because coffee is not something I’m really into these days. And two- something has got to be done about the double chocolate. I like chocolate, but chocolate cake plus chocolate frosting just screams ‘overly rich’ to me. So I started looking up alternative frosting ideas.
I stumbled on this:

S'Mores Cake of the Month (2)
Hmm. A chocolate cake with a s’mores twist. This could work. At first I tried looking for a marshmallow ganache but had trouble so instead I settled on a marshmallow buttercream. I could even keep the prescribed ganache, add in some graham crackers some how and call it good!

So with my plan set, it was time to make the cake. The cake itself was pretty easy, though I admit a technique I’ve never used before in cake-making. Or brownie-making for that matter. Instead, the egg-sugar mixture is whipped up into a meringue-like substance before adding in flour. Reminded me of the macronage in macarons.IMG_0517IMG_0523

Anyway. I divied my batter into two 9″ cake pans since I don’t have any other kind of cake pan and baked for about 30 minutes. I may have over baked a little as when I pulled them out my toothpick came out super clean.

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After letting the cake cool down in their pans I then began the process of trying to get them out of said pans. Didn’t work. I was kicking myself for not putting parchment paper on the bottom. I looked up some tricks on how to remove a stuck cake. IMG_0529One suggestion recommended not cooling your cake in its pan. Thanks. I first tried letting the pans sit in hot water to supposedly loosen the greased bottom. That didn’t work. Then I wrapped a damp dish cloth around the pan and jostled it to and fro. Somehow that did work? I don’t know why but I was saved! I quickly transferred the cake to the fridge for a deeper chill.

Then I was bad. And I left the cakes in there. For over 24 hours. I totally meant to Saran Wrap them up but I got busy and forgot. By the time I remember they already started to feel a bit dry, though not horrifically so. I continued on.
It took me three days to finally get around to frosting and assembling that cake. Poor thing. Probably thought I was neglecting it.

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I eventually got around to melting down the chocolate into ganache and whipping up some marshmallowy frosting. Assembling the cake was somewhat tricky. The graham crackers in the middle created a gap in my layers which my frosting had trouble covering. So I used more graham crackers on the sides of the cake as decoration. And then, because no s’mores can be complete without some char, I whipped out my hand-dandy kitchen torch and flambéd the top portion. Et voila!

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The result?
A very very rich dessert. The good? I rarely make layer cakes so I was pretty pleased with how the cake look aesthetically. The bad?  The “cake” tasted more like a dry brownie which is my fault likely. I had hoped that the frosting would have helped that, but It didn’t really. The ugly? I used salted butter when making the buttercream as it’s all I had on hand and the salt was WAY noticeable. The frosting didn’t really taste like marshmallows at all to me so that would definitely be an improve. And also, charring marshmallow fluff buttercream doesn’t create a burnt marshmallow flavor like you’d find in a s’mores.

So even though I know the dryness is my fault, the whole thing was just a bit too much. Maybe that’s a sure sign of entering adulthood – when desserts officially become *too* sweet. Then again, my appetite has been off this week, so maybe I just wasn’t into the cake this time. My husband devoured his slice, so it clearly wasn’t terrible.

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You can check out the rest of the TWD bakers’ creation here.

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MIA

I can’t believe it’s been two week since my last post.

I’ve tried. I swear I’ve tried. But by tried I mean I half-heartedly thought about it.

Things have been funky with me to say the least. Energy levels are at an all time low. My appetite has gone completely wonky. Motivation to do anything is shot. Save for maybe curl up and take a nap. Didn’t help that last week was my Spring Break from school so I had no major tasks to accomplish.

I have such low energy/motivation/appetite I didn’t even finish making myself a birthday cake. Wait, what? But it’s cake! Yes. It is. And the two fully baked cake halves are sitting in my fridge just begging to be assembled and topped with frosting, but even that task seems too much.

I need to get over this. Or at the very least, learn how to still get on with my day. I don’t know if I’m doing what I should be doing by listening to my body and resting, or taking the easy route and completely submitting to ever lazy whim that goes through my head. I’d guess it’s some sort of mix.

So I vow to do better. Still have half the month to go. I can do better.

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