pregnancy favorites, part 2.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pregnancy faves part 2
So, I’m due NEXT WEEK. That just blows my mind. Since my pregnancy took a turn towards uncomfortable at week 36, some of these favorites more like necessities, especially because I’m still working. My top 10 for the second half of pregnancy:

1// Bump Nest Pregnancy Pillow- I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep without this pillow, especially during weeks that Dave has been away on business. Every night and during meditation, I’m wrapped around it for support. Hip pain started for me these last few weeks, so it has been a must for me to have something to wrap my legs around. Even Dave and Winston love it. My only complaint is that the jersey fabric doesn’t ever really get “cool” like normal cotton does (I’m always flipping over my pillows to get to the cool side), but it’s still a lifesaver.
2// Stability Ball- I brought this to sit on at my two-hour birthing long classes… SO much more comfortable than sitting on the floor. I’m such a fan of stability balls (so much that I had this Balance Ball Chair at the office), but especially now, during pregnancy. It’s great for helping me maintain my posture and releasing the tension in my hips. We’ve been practicing a few different laboring positions using it, and Dave has been using it for sit-ups. After Baby is born, Dad can even sit on it to bounce him. I’m so glad they have these available at the hospital that we’re birthing in because I feel like it will be one of my most used comfort measures. I have two different stability balls, and this one with the weighted sand base really makes a difference, where you don’t feel like you're about to go sliding all over the place. Basically this thing is a must-have.
3// Sutter Home Fre Alcohol Removed Brut- Ok, so this has the tiniest amount of alcohol in it even though it’s “alcohol-removed.” It doesn’t bother me, but it’s not for sticklers... I guess it might matter if you drank the whole thing yourself? I’ve made mimosas with this to celebrate my mom’s birthday and other special occasions, and I honestly can’t tell the difference between it and regular prosecco from Trader Joe’s. They used to sell this at Target, but I haven’t seen it there lately, so I plan to stock up at Total Wine & More for post-baby brunches and celebrations.
4// Dohm Sound Conditioner - We got this for when the baby comes, but we decided to try it out a little early, and let me tell you, it’s amazing. Dave swears he sleeps so much better with it on. I’m already waking up throughout the night to go to the bathroom, so getting woken up by outside noise is a super pain. We live in an apartment complex, so whenever Winston hears another dog, he wakes up to bark. This not only drowns out the outside noise, but we’ve “tuned” it to produce an ocean-like sound that’s really soothing and helps all of us sleep better.
5// Cuisinart Egg Cooker - I bought this a while back because it makes the poached eggs SO easily (my poaching skills are lacking), but it also makes perfect hard-boiled eggs, which are my go-to pregnancy snack/on-the-go breakfast. I pop a couple of eggs in this thing, add a little water, flip the switch, and it steams my eggs to perfection. I set it while I’m making my decaf, and it’s super quick for those busy workday mornings. No standing over the stove watching the water boil and so much better than having days-old hardboiled eggs sitting cold from the fridge. This version is even better than the one I have, with the capacity to cook 10 hardboiled eggs and a bonus omelet tray.
6// Hypnobirthing Home Study Course - I’ve been following guiding hypnobirthing meditations throughout my pregnancy, but especially now with barely weeks left. This particular “album” has my favorite tracks - Birth Affirmations and Visualize Your Amazing Birth. Relaxation Triggers from Part 5 is also a good one. I haven't tried all the tracks from the course, but I tend to get into a groove with the ones I have. I’ve learned from doing Cross Fit that so much of what you can do physically is determined (or at least helped) by your mental state and perspective, so I appreciate the mental “conditioning” that these meditations facilitate.
7// Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond - I wrote about Mind Over Labor, but I discovered this book, and it is SO MUCH BETTER. I feel so much more mentally prepared for birth after reading this one. I even downloaded the iPhone app with the guided meditations. It offers a really insightful perspective on labor that I rely on more as the time grows closer. And unlike so many alarmist birth stories out there, the anecdotes in this book are positive, even when things didn’t go as expected or desired for these women.
8// Yogi Woman's Raspberry Leaf Tea - I try to drink at least a cup of this tea a day because it's supposed to help strengthen your uterus. I haven’t had any contractions yet, so obviously I don’t know if it really helps, but I’m up for trying anything to increase the productivity of my labor. Read the reviews on Amazon - those women make it sound like a miracle beverage.
9// ASOS Maternity Dress - I have this exact dress, and it’s one of the 4 dresses that I have in rotation in my work wardrobe. THANK YOU, ASOS, for making not-so-expensive dresses that are so comfortable and can be worn at the office - I would look homeless and fat if it weren’t for you.
10// BabyList - This online registry is wonderful because you can pull from any store on the interwebs. I think you can do that with Amazon too, but this site was so user-friendly, with great customer service and free insert cards. I’m still using it to keep track of additional things we need or cool products I come across for future reference.

Next up, a post on (anticipated) postpartum essentials (eek, that time is just around the corner!).

happy september! (and the easiest pulled pork).

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pulled pork
I am excited beyond excited that DUE MONTH is here! The little guy can surprise us with his arrival any day now. Since he probably won’t come until after his due date, we’re following our birth instructor’s suggestion to turn his “due date” into “date night,” with dinner reservations for Nick’s Laguna Beach. Part of me hopes he comes like tomorrow, and the other part of me hopes that he holds out until the 14th, so I can splurge on ahi and warm butter cake.

Now that it’s officially September 1, with summer coming to a close and my laziness growing by the day, it’s the perfect time to break out the crock pot and Le Creuset. September for me is all about comfort food - apple pie and hot cider, BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and homemade mac & cheese. I made this super easy BBQ pulled pork the other day, serving it over lettuce & veggies from our CSA basket and for another meal on a toasted brioche bun with a salad on the side.

5-Ingredient Easy Pulled Pork
2 1/4 lb. bone-in pork shoulder
Trader Joe’s BBQ Rub & Seasoning with Coffee & Garlic
1/2 -1 cup apple cider vinegar
1-1 1/2 cups apple juice (I used unfiltered apple juice from Sprout’s)
1/2 bottle Trader Joe’s Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce

Rinse the pork shoulder and pat dry. Season all sides with the BBQ rub and return the pork to the fridge. I used my 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset for this recipe. Heat your pan of choice, adding a pat of butter and grapeseed/olive oil after the pan is hot. Sear the meat on high/medium-high on all sides until the meat is a dark, crusty brown (at least several minutes on each side). Add a half cup of apple cider vinegar to start and about a cup of apple juice. Reduce the heat, and let the liquid simmer away. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and then pop in the meat. I kept the liquid at a minimum, probably around a fourth of the way up the meat, adding more cider and juice when necessary. I checked and rotated the meat every hour, for a total of about 3 1/2 hours in the oven. Once the meat is fork-tender, use two forks to shred and add the BBQ sauce. I’ll probably make these for little Hawaiian roll sliders next time we have company.

Happy September, friends!

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