Pregnancy Update: 35 Weeks Pregnant

Good morning and happy Saturday! Today, I am 35 weeks pregnant and love feeling baby angel’s fetal movement! She is always super active! Little baby angel is 5lbs 1 ounce  =) This pregnancy flew by, and I am so excited for labor! Seriously =)

At 35 weeks, I have gained 24 beautiful pounds so far. As I experienced with My first pregnancy, my appetite has drastically decreased. I get hungry less often and I become full a lot quicker. The four main symptoms that I am experiencing is exhaustion, leg swelling and pain, a swollen and very painful vericrose vein, and consistent acid reflux. The doctor officially advised against my routine workouts due to the swelling, and I am grateful that I was able to continue my workouts until 32 weeks as opposed to 17 weeks in my first pregnancy. He approved me to continue walking and stretching, so I plan on attending a prenatal yoga class to learn what is safe at this stage in pregnancy.

Here is a picture of my body at 35 weeks =D

Thank you for reading! I hope you have a happy Saturday =)

Pregnancy Update: Hello 8 Months!

Good evening and happy Monday! It is hard to believe that I am 8 months pregnant and that we are officially at the 8 week countdown. We are all so excited for baby angel’s arrival! =) I posted a 30 week update two weeks ago and there has since been some changes. Mama Bear is experiencing extreme exhaustion these days. Extreme. I also am having pain and swelling in my right calf, which I found out could indicate a blood clot. Luckily, through a extremity ultrasound, my doctors concluded that my muscle is swollen and no clots were detected! I also have some other very manageable third trimester symptoms. I have a decreased appetite, I get full very quickly, I have acid reflux, and I am experiencing difficulty breathing both because of shortness of breath and because I feel very heavy on my tummy. I am struggling with how heavy I feel because I am getting tired out quickly which contributes to how exhausted I feel. Despite these symptoms; I still love being pregnant and growing a life inside of me. I am exhausted because my body is growing another beautiful baby angel; and I would gladly welcome these symptoms over and over again to grow a life that Matt and I created.

During week 30, I decided to take a full week off from exercising due to the level of exhaustion that I was feeling. The need for resting allowed me to take a step back and really relax and feel just how strong my daughter’s strong and constant fetal movements have become =) On week 31, I resumed working out four days a week–but had to completely modify my leg and glute workouts. Up until this point, I was doing two supersets of three circuits that each had three or four exercises embedded in them. Now, I do one circuit consisting of four exercises twice. This week, I have to wait until the pain and swelling subside before I could continue exercising; so week 32 will be another rest week and hopefully I could resume exercising next week.

Now that I am in week 32, baby angel is moving all the time; my stomach shifts and jumps and it is just beautiful. The third trimester is definitely my favorite part of pregnancy because I get to feel every moment of this beautiful life growing inside me. Eight more weeks until we finally get to meet this baby angel =)

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a happy Tuesday!

Pregnancy Update: 30 Weeks

Good evening and happy Saturday! Today, I am 30 weeks pregnant. Matt and I had our 27 week ultrasound and I am so happy to share that everything is going well; baby girl is 2 lbs and is in birthing position. We absolutely love going to ultrasound appointments =)

The experience of pregnancy is so incredible and it makes me so happy to be able to experience it again for a short 9 months. Baby girl is moving so much, and her movements are so strong. I love feeling this little baby angel grow inside of me; and I am really looking forward to the next 10 weeks of feeling her fetal movements grow stronger. It is so exciting that we can officially see her movements. =)

Reading through my posts during my pregnancy with Paul made me realize how different both pregnancies have been. With this pregnancy, the third trimester symptoms that I am experiencing are chronic heart burn, exhaustion, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, skipped heartbeats, and a swollen vein. While these symptoms are incredibly difficult–it is a beautiful difficult.

Body

I have gained 18 beautiful pounds during this pregnancy so far; and I expect to gain up to 10 more. I am someone who feels absolutely beautiful during pregnancy; I think that I even stated in a post while I was pregnant with Paul that I have never felt more beautiful than I do when I am pregnant. This remains true with this pregnancy. The duration of pregnancy is so short; so I embrace every second of ALL of the experiences it brings.

I am still able to workout and it is a regular part of my routine. I do a 45 minute workout for my lower body two days a week, a 30 minute workout for my upper body with weights two days a week, and lots and lots of walking. I really want to incorporate yoga into my daily routine, specifically for flexibility (and take advantage of that relaxin hormone!), but I am unsure of what is safe for me to do. Keeping up with my workouts are a priority for me; I have been able to maintain as much muscle mass as possible and I think this is going to make my postpartum fitness journey easier this time than it was the first time.

I have not been excessively hungry during this pregnancy. With Paul, I would wake up starving in the middle of this night; but with this pregnancy, I have a snack right after dinner and that’s all until the next morning (unless Matt and I are snuggling up and watching a movie and fall down the snack hole). The days that I am constantly hungry are the days that I work; my job is physically demanding so I stay physically active during the entire work sessions and I also walk a lot on these days. Overall, I am really happy with my food consumption and fitness journey during this pregnancy.

Thank you so much for reading and coming on this journey with me! =) I hope that you have a happy Saturday! <333

Maternity Recommendations: Sleep/Nursing Bras

Good morning and happy Wednesday! After having tried various maternity bras, these are my absolute favorites! These six affordable bras provided me with maximum comfort and support throughout my first pregnancy, during the first 14 months of breastfeeding, and now through my second pregnancy. I hope you that you enjoy the durability, comfort, and support that these six bras provide =)

My Favorite Plastic Toys from Green Toys

I have been buying plastic toys from Green Toys since 2016, and I am so excited to share some of my favorite products from this company. I absolutely love that these toys are made from non toxic plastic! My current favorites are:

Dump Truck

School Bus

Fire Truck

Ferry Boat

Play-Doh Set

Jet Plane

Submarine

Car Transporter

Shape Sorter

Tool Kit

Why I Choose Green Toys for Plastic Toys

Why I Choose Green Toys for Plastic Toys

Green toys is a company that creates plastic toys out of recycled milk jugs. There are seven types of plastic; and milk jugs are made from type 2 plastic. Type 2 plastic is made from high density polyurethane, which is considered safe because it does not contain bisphenol A nor phthalates. Polyurethane is considered toxic only when inhalation occurs due to off gassing–usually from products containing Polyurethane foam (such as sofas and mattresses); but off gassing does not occur with polyurethane plastic. Not only does this company use a safe type of plastic to create their toys, the functionality of the toys are incredible. I choose to buy plastic toys from Green Toys because I love that the toys are made from a non toxic plastic, the toys are affordable, and my son absolutely loves every item that I have ever purchased from there! If you are looking for a company that sells affordable non toxic plastic toys, I would highly recommend purchasing them from Green Toys.

My Favorite Toys from Maple Landmark

I have been buying wooden toys from Maple Landmark since 2016, and I am so excited to share some of my favorite products from this company. I absolutely love the quality and educational value of these toys! My current favorites are:

Shape Sorter Bench

Leaf Puzzle

Building Blocks

Oval Train Track

Name Train Letters, Caboose, and Engine

Monster Car

Pick Up Truck

Made By Me Train

Wooden Railroad Village

School Bus Puzzle

Why I Choose Maple Landmark’s Schoolhouse Naturals Line for Wooden Toys

Why I Choose Maple Landmark’s Schoolhouse Naturals Line for Wooden Toys

As a mother who has researched the toxicity found in wooden baby products, I was so happy when I discovered Maple Landmark. I reached out to the company and asked them my typical questions; and I was so pleased with the honest, detailed and prompt email responses that I received in return. This is a company that genuinely cares about the quality of the products that they sell and provides an honest explanation about any possible toxicity that may be present in their wood. Here is my initial email to the company:

Good afternoon,

I am interested in your sorting bench and block sets. I would appreciate if you could answer the following questions:

  1. Are the products made from certified sustainable wood or hardwood; or pressed or engineered wood?
  2. Does it come unfinished?
  3. Is it completely lead and phthalate free?  or does it contain little amounts?
  4. Is this toy binded with adhesive that contains formaldehyde; what type of glue is used?

Thank you so much and I appreciate your response!

I received this detailed email in response:

Sandra,

Jill passed your email on to me to respond. We thank you for your interest in our products. Any answers we supply are written in an attempt to give you the full, honest case as we know it.

So, for example, we do not claim that our wood is “lead-free”, which you would interpret to mean it has zero lead. We do not guarantee that since wood is a natural substance and lead is a naturally occurring background element. We have never had lead detected in our wood (and yes it has been tested for lead), but there are also limits to what can be detected. In this respect you will find that our wood is no different than any other domestic supplier.

You do have to know that virtually all Asian logs are chemically treated with insecticides and fungicides. They generally are not on the list of reportable chemicals at the consumer level. We recently had problems shipping our product into Asia because it was not chemically treated.

We source our wood locally and it is not chemically treated at any stage in the process. It is not sustainably certified, which doesn’t mean it is harvested with a lack of concern for sustainability. Our local / regional mills have been in business for generations and there is more forest land in Vermont than 100 years ago. https://www.maplelandmark.com/infocenter/responsibility/foresthealth.lasso

In our area, there is a lack of certified material readily available, the cost of certification is too great for smaller companies. I would rather deal locally than haul in lumber from hundreds of miles away.

We do use some plywood in our puzzles and other products that require wide, thin, flat pieces. It comes from the Baltic region of Europe and meets CARB II (California) standards, including no formaldehyde glue, etc.

There are no phthalates in our raw material. We have worked with our finish suppliers to reduce / eliminate phthalates in the rare cases where they might have been used. For the most, they are not part of our product. There are some chemicals that we buy where we have little or no control over the chemical makeup and there are no alternatives. In those cases we make sure the chemical levels are under federal and state standards.

As Jill mentioned, we developed our Schoolhouse Naturals line https://www.maplelandmark.com/schoolhousenaturals/sn.lasso to offer options for people who have the greatest chemical concerns. However, all of our children’s products meet federal standards and are regularly tested for compliance.

I hope this helps.

Mike Rainville
Maple Landmark Woodcraft
1297 Exchange St.
Middlebury, VT  05753
(802)388-0627 / Fax (802)388-0761
www.maplelandmark.com

I then responded with this email:

Thank you so much for the very detailed message; it was very helpful and I look forward to supporting your business! I am also interested in your puzzles.

  1. Are these puzzles made with hardwood, plywood, or fiberboard? Does it contain formaldehyde?
  2. What are the puzzles colored with? Does it have any VOC’s?
  3. I am also very interested in your Name Train products. What are you trains and tracks made from? (hardwood, plywood, fiberwood)
  4. What are the trains colored with? Does it have any VOC’s?
Thank you so much!

I received this email in response:

Sandra,

The puzzles are made from plywood. We do not use fiberboard for any product. As I said before, the plywood meets the CARB II standard regarding formaldehyde.

Our finishes are low or no VOCs. VOCs are how solvent based chemicals dry. There are exempt VOCs, which are not anthropogenic and non-exempt VCOs which are. Generally, where necessary, our finishes use exempt VOCs.

The water-borne dye stains on the NameTrain letters do contain some VOCs. The clear top-coat does not.

Our print inks (like the puzzles) are UV cured which, I believe, is non VOC.

Our track is solid hard maple.

Thanks,
Mike

I purchased some toys following these email exchanges and I am so pleased to say that my experiences with the products from Maple Landmark’s Schoolhouse Natural’s line have been exceptional. I have been buying wooden toys exclusively from Maple Landmark Schoolhouse Natural’s line because I love the quality of their products, the toys are affordable, and my son absolutely loves every item that I have ever purchased from there! If you are looking for a company that sells high quality wooden toys, I would highly recommend purchasing them from Maple Landmark.

My Career and Educational Choices since Becoming Pregnant with my First Child

My Career and Educational Choices since Becoming Pregnant with my First Child

Happy Monday! When I found out that I was pregnant with Paul, I immediately knew that working full time was not something that I was interested in doing for the foreseeable future; however, I still needed to make an income. I found out that I was pregnant in July of 2015, and a special education service provider who worked with a student in my classroom told me about her position. After learning about the pay rate and flexibility of being a SEIT, I immediately pursued positions at agencies that she referred to me. I interviewed and signed with four agencies that are located in New York City and Brooklyn, and started working in October of 2015 as a SEIT for the remainder of my pregnancy. It was the best career choice that I have ever made. I loved everything about this position and knew that it would be the perfect job to go back to as soon as I felt Paul was ready for me to leave him for a few hours a week.

Right before I gave birth, I decided to enroll in an online post graduate certificate program to work towards earning 30 credits post masters because I knew that I would be taking at least a year off from work. I made the choice to return to school because as a teacher in New York City, the additional 30 credits drastically increases one’s salary as a full time public school teacher (which is something that I may choose to go back to when all of my children are in school full time) and because financial aid would provide us with an income. I started the program one week after giving birth to Paul in February of 2016 and stopped working as a SEIT for the remainder of the year.

When Paul turned 14 months old (in September of 2017), I decided to go back to work as a SEIT for two days a week for a total of six hours a week in addition to taking courses at school. Just as I had thought, working as a SEIT was the perfect career choice for me to pursue as a mother. When I returned to work, I was unknowingly pregnant with baby girl. In January, I increased working to three days a week for a total of nine hours a week still in addition to taking courses at school. I will work as a SEIT through May and I will complete my 30 post masters credits in May as well. Baby Girl is due in June of 2018 and I will take at least one year off from work.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have a happy Monday! =)

Paul’s Second Birthday Celebration

Paul’s Second Birthday Celebration

Happy Saturday! I am so excited to share pictures from Paulie’s second birthday celebration! It was so wonderful spending time with people that we love so much <3 There is nothing more important to us than spending quality time with people that we love; and that quality time is exactly what made his birthday so special! Everyone who couldn’t make it due to illness or distance was wholeheartedly missed and present in our hearts. Paul had such a fantastic time and he was so happy to play with his cousins =) We are so lucky to have such a big family; and I am so happy that Paul Bear has so many wonderful cousins that are around his age that he can grow close to =D He absolutely loves them! It was so awesome to see how outgoing, friendly, and happy he was to spend time with them; and today will forever be such a special memory in my heart.

Everything about this celebration was super exciting for Paul. Paul had such a blast going food shopping with Matt and I to get everything we needed for his special dinner; he had fun helping Matt cook the morning before the party; he had a blast blowing up balloons; he had fun making the goodie bags and handing them to his cousins; and a smile did not come off of his face throughout the entire duration of the celebration =) Thank you for everyone who was able to come and celebrate with us to make his birthday so very special! <3

On the Celebration Menu:

  1. Sweet Sausage, Peppers, and Onions
  2. Meatballs
  3. Pasta
  4. Sauce
  5. Salad
  6. Birthday Cake

Here are some pictures:

   

Thank you for reading! I hope you have a happy Sunday! =D

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