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My birth story

Hello all 1-3 people who might read my blog! I’m obviously not pregnant anymore…. I had a baby girl who was born 7/20/16….yes that’s right, 2 weeks and 2 days after her original due date of 7/4!!! I highly suggest if you are pregnant and especially if you want to have a natural birth you do not read this; come back to it later! I found reading birth stories during my pregnancy to be extremely anxiety inducing….but maybe that’s just me !

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My midwife started talking about inducing me if I made it to 42 weeks but I was in disbelief that I actually would make it. I knew it was possible and common for first time moms to be late but I personally never knew anyone who was as late as I was. That was why it was so frustrating. Everyone kept texting/asking me if I had had the baby yet and it just got me even more irritated thinking that something was wrong with me when people were in shock that I was, yes, still pregnant. Now I will never ever EVER ever ask an overdue woman if the baby is here yet!!!! They will let  you know!!!

The “is the baby here yet?” questions sort of tapered off after week 41 because people could probably sense I was getting annoyed, but then they quickly turned to “are you getting induced?” questions. This annoyed me because it also insinuated that there was a reason to induce, which there wasn’t until I started approaching 42 weeks. My midwife had the induction scheduled but I really agonized over the decision. I knew that it would be much harder to go natural with the birth like I had prepared for, and it just seemed wrong to “force” the baby out when he or she wasn’t ready. After talking to people I trusted, I decided to just go ahead with the induction on the day I reached 42 weeks. There were many pros and cons, but I honestly felt like I’d end up with a healthy baby either way and I was so emotionally and mentally ready to meet her. It may have been a selfish decision but I didn’t feel bad about it and I still don’t really after the fact.

So I went in on a Monday night after eating a large meal. The midwife started with the gel that ripens your cervix. I was already 1 cm dilated and almost 100% effaced for the two weeks leading up to the induction so I was confident that the induction would go positively. My big fear was having a c-section. I thought I would just hang out and sleep Monday night and I didn’t really think the cervadil was going to do anything, but I was wrong. I started to have contractions about 2-3 hours later, not too painful but annoying enough that I literally only got like 1 –2 hours of sleep. I already knew I was at a disadvantage going into active labor on no sleep. Can you imagine trying to run a marathon when you haven’t slept the night before?

In the morning my midwife came in and broke my water at about 7:30, she said I was about 2 cm dilated, which I was happy about cause I doubted the cervadil was doing anything. I knew that this would make contractions more painful but I was willing to do everything to avoid pitocin. I got up and took a shower and the contractions started to get a little worse, I started having to concentrate really hard during them. I was surprised that I had no back labor at all, which was what I was prepared for because I totally thought that baby was posterior. All the strategies I had come prepared with were for back labor, so I felt totally unprepared and I just felt like there was no where to go to escape the pain. The only place where the contractions were tolerable was on the toilet, lol.

I also spent a lot of time in the tub, which helped. I probably spent the majority of the day in the tub and on the toilet. I honestly wanted nothing to do with my husband, he was trying to help and rub me, but like I said my back didn’t hurt and I just wanted to be left alone. This lead to me just feeling totally alone and like I could never get through it. When my midwife came back at about 1 pm, I was asking for an epidural. I was just so exhausted from no sleep. She said she would check me and then we would talk. When she checked I was like 5-6 cm so that was encouraging, but I thought I still had to get through transition and I just felt like I couldn’t do it. So they had to hook up an IV because I needed a full bag of saline before getting an epidural.

Knowing some relief was coming calmed me down, and I spent the next hour waiting for the IV bag to drain. When she came back she said “Let’s just check to make sure you’re not ready to push before you get an epidural.” I thought yeah right, but when she checked I was 7-8 already and she said “You could be pushing within an hour!” This was at like 2:30-3 pm. I was so happy and recharged thinking I was actually going to do this!

Unfortunately for some reason I got back in the tub and the contractions kind of slowed down. I had a suspicion this wasn’t a good thing but she said sometimes before you push your body kind of slows down and conserves energy. I wanted to make the contractions stronger by moving around and squatting but it was just so hard. 2-3 more hours passed and I felt “sort of” like I had to push. She checked and said I just had the soft lip of my cervix left and that she could reach around and move it while I tried to push.

So we did….for 2 hours. It was incredibly painful trying to push with her trying to push the lip around and stuff was just not happening. I kept saying it felt like nothing was happening and I think I was right because after 2 hours of pushing I hadn’t made much progress. I felt so defeated and like I was destined for a c-section. My midwife said basically as a last ditch effort I could get an epidural and relax (I was so exhausted…it was 7:30 pm at this point) and let the baby’s head move down more. They had to hook up me to another IV and said the anesthesiologist would be about 20 minutes……

Probably an hour an half later he shows up, full of sass and wanting to read me every risk and scary thing that could happen. I was so out of it at this point I was basically just tuning him out. The process of getting the epidural was scary, I won’t go into detail. After I got it I couldn’t feel contractions but I was shaking uncontrollably and thought I was maybe going to die, lol. My mom came in and held my hand and I just remember being so scared. I tried to relax and after a couple hours I started feeling more pressure so I called the midwife in to push (it was 11:15 pm).

Finally, after two more hours of pushing (which was much easier and less painful with epidural by the way) my baby girl made her way into the word at 12:54. To say I was ecstatic I didn’t have to have a c-section would be an understatement, because that’s where we were headed after nearly 4 hours of pushing. My midwife had called the doctor she works under in and she was very motivating during the second round of pushing and I believe that is what kept me going. She kept saying she could see the head and that I was almost there. My husband was holding one of my legs and I remember him saying “You’re gonna do it!” and finally it was over! I remember her crying really hard and I asked if she was okay!

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Even though it was a long and difficult labor I forgot it so quickly once my baby was here. It’s one day of pain for a lifetime of unimaginable joy! I did mull over how labor went and had some regret about how I handled it. I underestimated what kind of support I needed, I probably would have done better if we had gotten a doula. As concerned and helpful as my husband was, I think you just need a woman’s support during that time. My baby’s birth ended up being 100% what I didn’t want- induced, a medical event with lots of pain medication, but I can’t really spend too much time getting hung up on it. I did what I had to do and now she’s here. It was the happiest day of my life regardless.

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So I don’t know if I am going to be doing the traditional monthly updates with my daughter. As much as I want to so I can have the information down and go back to it, I just don’t know how I feel about putting my daughter’s name and pictures all over the internet. Not saying anyone who does it is wrong, and I do feel bad because I love reading those updates on other mom’s blogs….but I just don’t feel great about it right now, so if you don’t head from me for awhile, that is why.

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Pregnancy Update: 37 Weeks

I know I’ve been slacking on writing updates, it’s been awhile!!! I’ve been kind of lazy. Or busy growing a human. Either one. Anyways we’re full term over here! I thought since the last time I did an update I was wearing this outfit, I would do another one.

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I’m at 37 weeks and I officially made it to full term. Anytime baby wants to come now is fine with me :). I do however have one week of work left so perhaps I should focus on making it through that. I timed this pregnancy thing quite perfectly if I do say so myself.

Weight gained:

I think I’m topping out around 30-40 pounds, which is fine with me. I gained the majority in my second trimester, and it had me a little scared, but once I hit 34 weeks I was only staying the same or going up 1-2 pounds. Pretty decent since I haven’t had a formal “workout” since March!! My eating has somewhat gotten back to how I was eating before I was pregnant. Somewhat.

Workouts:

See above….stopped formally working out in March because of SI joint. But I have been going to the pool 1-2X a week. It’s better than nothing. My back really started acting up around 32-35 weeks but the last two weeks symptoms have eased (no idea why). Last week and this week I started adding in morning yoga sessions again, and even toying with the idea of going to the gym (!!) to do arms. Not beating myself up about anything though!

Symptoms:

All the unpleasant stuff that I’ll spare you of. Lovely swelling in the ankles, and A LOT of Braxton Hicks. They aren’t painful (in the front), but some wrap around and start bothering my back depending on where baby is laying. Right now he’s favoring my left side which is the bad side (of course) so when I have the contraction it only makes my back issues worse. Husband doesn’t seem to get when I tell him to “push harder” during a back rub that I mean he could literally drill a hole in my back and I wouldn’t care.

Movement:

Of course. Whenever I feel him/her move I am obsessed with trying to figure out what position he’s in!!!! I know from a recent ultrasound that the head is low but I am pretty sure we are posterior (eek) or at least side lying. I just can’t really figure it out! For about a month I have been practicing optimal fetal positioning but I still haven’t felt him move to a fully anterior position. My chiropractor has been working on loosening ligaments down there and I also have an acupuncture appointment scheduled. But I have a feeling the little guy is pretty settled.

Food Aversions: Not at this point.

Food Cravings: I might be all ice-creamed out. Pizza is my BFF, but I have been doing really well eating healthy for the majority of my meals! I can’t wait until my garden starts producing so I will have fresh home grown veggies.

Sleep: Surprisingly has been pretty good since we got our new mattress. Pretty much only waking up 2-3 times a night tops, which honestly isn’t any different then before I was pregnant. Rolling over is quite the struggle though. Cherishing this good sleep while it lasts. Although we have a woodpecker at our house that has decided that the rain gutter is a good place to drill at 5 am. I think he’s getting us ready for having a baby.

Stretch marks?  Nope!

Miss Anything? Sleeping on my back, beer, and bring a normal person, working out,not waddling everywhere.

Baby Items Purchased: We pretty  much got everything at our shower. We are all set and I am waiting for the baby to be born to buy anything else with some of the gift cards we got.

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Nursery is really small so it’s hard to get pictures of it.

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Looking forward to: Just so excited to meet my baby I can’t even contain myself. I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. I am looking forward to not being pregnant lol.

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Pregnancy Update: 31 Weeks

Hello! Single digit weeks left here! Things are starting to feel real and I am kind of freaking out a little. I just want to feel prepared and ready for baby and there are so many decisions to be made it really stresses me out sometimes! I have to take a deep breath!

31 Weeks

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We enjoyed my sister in laws wedding this past week which was fun but extremely tiring. Weddings=way more fun when you’re not pregnant, in case you were wondering. We are supposed to go to another wedding in June when I’ll be 37 weeks and I reeeeeeallly don’t want to miss it, but gosh it was exhausting. I’m playing it by ear and seeing how I feel.

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Still feeling generally good and able to get through the days. My main issue has been SI joint and back pain, inhibiting me from doing basically any exercise besides swimming. I plan on going to a physical therapist to get their opinion but I doubt it will help considering it never did when I had this issue before. I just want to know what I should be avoiding and what I should be doing to help this. For example everyone says yoga is so great for pregnant women but last week after my weekly class I was in quite a bit of pain. If it’s just gentle stretching on my own it’s fine but being in a class  you don’t really control the moves you do and I, craving and wanting so bad a decent workout, push myself to do the moves. At least I can still swim and hopefully the pain will subside when baby is born. I knew in my heart this was going to be an issue again since I had it before I was pregnant and at least I can say it didn’t really hit until 24 ish weeks and I was able to workout for the majority of my pregnancy.

Some other symptoms:

*Some shortness of breath and rib pain on the left side (something’s poking me! Hoping it’s a foot and not a head!)

*Random heartburn

*Severe addiction to ice cream

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*Sweet tooth in full force. Not hungry for anything but ice cream or cookies honestly.

*Feet swelling- this was lovely- especially at the wedding last week

*Sleep has been better since we got our new mattress!!!!!!! Hallelujah. I’m now only waking up like 1-2 X to pee (!!!!!!) and maybe like 3 times total each night.

*General fatigue when doing too much

After the wedding last week I basically kicked it into high gear with getting ready. I want to get as much checked off the list because May and June tend to fly by under normal circumstances! We got a door for the nursery (the room didn’t have one previously), I did some post partum food prep, and I also ordered some nursing bras and tanks.

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Food Prep- homemade frozen pizzas! This idea is brilliant because I’ve been spending like $5-6 on those Amy’s Organic frozen pizzas for busy nights. These are really going to come in handy.

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Two chicken dishes frozen and ready to cook! I also made around 30 (un-pictured) twice baked potatoes. I’m thinking I might have to do a massive prep like this once a month regularly. I still do food prep on Sundays but it is really tiring and I generally dread it. If I did this like once a month that would leave less to do on weekly Sundays.Eating healthy is hard work! But worth it. I keep telling myself that it’s worth the money I’ll save ordering out when we have a newborn.

Like I said I just want to be prepared and ease as much stress as possible for before and after the baby is born. I’m patiently awaiting my shower so I can go crazy buying up everything I don’t get. Is this stupid? Should I start buying stuff now? Waiting is giving me extreme anxiety. I feel like I should have had the shower sooner. Like all I have is a crib. With no mattress. In an empty room. And 2 nursing bras.

I’m still trucking along with the Hypnobabies birth program. Can’t help feeling some anxiety however about going ahead with a natural birth, but have to try to stay positive and stay off the internet (ha).

Well this was pretty random and rambling but I figured an update was due. I really am excited and over the moon about baby and trying not to be negative and worried but sometimes my thoughts just take over.

What made you feel most prepared for your first child? Or do you just not ever feel ready?

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Pregnancy Update: 20-21 Weeks

Okay here we are half way through!!! Ugh, at some times it seems like it’s going fast and other times it seems like it will be forever until I meet my little baby. Trying just to take it day by day! I think it’s safe to say I’ve had it a lot worse during the second trimester than the first, which is opposite than usual. But still nothing terrible and serious going on so I’m considering myself lucky. Here’s a bump date as of today:

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I’m enjoying at little extra time this week for winter break, which is great. And we have another one in four short weeks!! Love being a teacher.

Anyways, we just got back from spending the weekend at our parents’ houses in Syracuse which was a fun time. I got to try out a new-to-me brunch spot in downtown Syracuse that was worth blogging about- called Modern Malt. It was everything I ever dreamed. My sister and I ordered the fruity pebble encrusted (!!!!!) french toast and breakfast tacos, followed by a peanut butter milk shake for dessert.

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No mimosas for me :(. If you’re local you should DEFINITELY check it out! I will be back. Okay here’s a little update on how the pregnancy has been going.

Weight gained: I think about 10-12 pounds. I was up nine from the last time that I had only gained three but that was about two weeks ago. It’s really frustrating that none of my clothes are fitting and maternity clothes are SO expensive. I also sometimes really wish that I was one of those cute pregnant ladies with just a belly, but no,  it seems as though my entire waistline has just decided to expand and make me look pear shaped on the bottom. People keep saying “you don’t look pregnant!” and I’m like….so I look like I’m getting fat?!?! Hopefully when I pop out a bit more I will look less like a beached whale.

Workouts: Still doing pretty good! I had been visiting the gym 1-2 times a week and then doing workouts and yoga at home. But I think I might switch it up and try to do shorter workouts at home like 4-5 days a week. We had a case of chicken pox at the high school and although I’ve already had it, it made me paranoid just about germs in general at the school gym. It’s disgusting and never gets cleaned or disinfected (as far as I know). High school and middle school students don’t generally follow the “wipe down after use” rule. I generally wash my hands 2-3 times while I’m in there but I figure if I can get a good workout at home why even take the chance? Thanks to my blogging favs Courtney and Giselle, I’ve had some great ideas for workouts at home during pregnancy!!

Symptoms: Still getting some headaches, which my doctor just said to take the freakin’ Tylenol (which I did) and it helped. Drinking a bit (about a half a cup) of coffee a day I think keeps them at bay as well. Sleep is getting difficult as well, trying to stay on my side. Can’t really think of anything else specifically, besides just feeling “blah” most of the time. Still having anxiety about certain things but trying really hard to keep it under control.

Movement: Yes! Around the end of 17 weeks I started to feel it. Now that I know what it feels like I realize how much he/she moves around! Some days it will feel like he/she is doing somersaults in there and other days it’s quiet. I absolutely love the feeling and it’s great to have another reassurance that I am indeed pregnant. It was hard waiting for just one ultrasound to make sure everything was okay. Here’s a pic from our anatomy scan:

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My heart just melts. I can’t wait to meet this little one!

Food Aversions: Not really anything at this point. But I’m definitely preferring cupcakes over broccoli still. Asian/ginergy- lime stuff still freaks me out.

Food Cravings: I’ve been a lot better on the diet front, but weekends are still kind of a free for all, which I’m okay with. Cheese is still a must-have.

Sleep: Been kind of crappy. Waking up anywhere from 2-5 times at night, to pee or just because I’m uncomfortable and my mouth is dry. Getting a humidifier helped a bit and cut it down to waking generally 2 times a night. I really need a bigger bed, and foresee me not being able to sleep in the bed with my husband when I get bigger. We have a full and it’s miserable. We tried going to the mattress store in Syracuse that sells organic mattresses but it was closed 🙁

Stretch marks?  Still none. Still mainly just look bloated rather than pregnant.

Miss Anything? Beeeeeeeeeer. Wahhhhh. And sushi but I know I can have a California roll or something if I want it that bad. Not like there are any good sushi places near me or like my husband would ever go, so it’s not like a struggle.

Baby Items Purchased: I got some cute chevron pattern gray storage canvas boxes at Marshall’s the other day. I have also been diligently adding items to my registry via Myregistry.com. It’s great because you can add items from any store you want, including Amazon. Since many of the things I want are natural and organic and  you may not be able to find them in stores. I am loving this option. This is not sponsored lol.

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Looking Forward To:

Besides meeting my baby….. I guess growing my bump a little more so I look pregnant and not fat? Also, for the warmer weather to approach. We have my sister in law’s wedding in April and all the fun stuff for that will also be happening soon.

 

What must haves did you have on your registry?

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Candida Cleanse Update

Wow! Well three weeks went by fast. I expected to post more, but as you may suspect, this whole cleanse thing has been REALLY difficult and I haven’t really felt like commenting on it. This is the start of week 4 for me. I’ve wanted to quit about 50% of the days so far.

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The first week, I came down with a cold. So that was fun. Trying to deal with symptoms without taking Nyquil was awesome. So I wasn’t really sure if I felt like crap because of that or “die-off” symptoms.

What are “die-off” reactions? It’s when the toxins (candida) you are trying to kill are leaving the body too fast and your liver can not keep up. From the Whole Journey website:

“Die-off is a sign that the candida is leaving your body, so it is a measure of progress. It just depends on how much your liver, kidneys, digestive system, lymph, and blood can take to determine the intensity of die-off since everyone has a different current state of health. Die-off symptoms that persist for longer than seven days indicate that you are cleansing too quickly, and your body is having a hard time eliminating the toxins and candida fast enough. This is when colonics and other detoxing suggestions are helpful.”

The second week I wanted to quit and eat pumpkin donuts. The sugar cravings were OFF THE CHAIN. I was sure that there was no way I could do this. I was googling “is candida even real
to justify my desire to quit.

Last week (week 3) I was still dealing with some brain fog. Feeling blah, like the whole world was just underwater. Not to sound cliche, but I feel like I’m living my life in black and white. I think this was the die-off symptoms that everyone kept talking about. Either that or a reaction to one of the supplements. Some days I even felt like I was hungover. I had trouble concentrating. I was definitely ready to quit. Why am I giving up all these foods to feel like utter crap?

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I decided to look into the program a little and there was a suggestion for a supplement (I was like…..ugh ANOTHER one?) that helps with mood, energy and stress. It’s called Max B-ND and I got it on Amazon (affiliate link). Holy crap did I notice a difference! It’s only been three days but after taking a teaspoon in the morning I am no longer dealing with the “blah” feeling. I feel perfectly fine and even more upbeat. So hopefully this is going to help me get over the hump with the cleanse and finish out strong.

I was able to survive last weekend at home visiting family, without going to my favorite restaurants or going off the diet at all. It wasn’t easy. I faced ridicule by others and temptation. Next weekend I have a Halloween party, and I am worried about what people are going to think of me not drinking. I know it’s so shallow. But I was always the one wondering “why aren’t they drinking”. Hopefully they just assume I’m pregnant or something and don’t ask. LOL.

Planning on going at least 6 weeks on the diet (so two more), hopefully 8. I don’t think I will feel the need to drink until the holidays. I know that’s a whole new topic so for now I will just focus on staying strong these next two weeks.

 

What do you do when faced with ridicule by your friends/family about your diet?

What would be the hardest thing for you about not drinking?

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What I ate {and drank} in Key Largo

I’ve mentioned before that I feel that vacations are all about the food. My husband and I had a disappointing food experience at our honeymoon (Dominican Republic) and after that I vowed that I would never do the all inclusive thing again! It’s just not my thing. I’m not a “quantity over quality” type of person when it comes to my food.

The food in the Keys did NOT disappoint!  Omg, fresh seafood and delicious key lime pie. Not to mention the drinks. I know you’re just dying to find out what I ate. I endured being “that person” taking pictures of every meal and drink for this so enjoy!

I think the first night there I had my best meal at Snappers. The whole time on the plane I was craving a margarita so that’s what my first drink was! It was fine but pricey for how small it was! My meal made up for it though.

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It was the restaurant’s special- Hogfish (I’d never heard of it before) with a conch (pronounced CONK) crust and a key lime sauce. OMG! It was supposed to be over mashed potatoes but I subbed sweet potato fries because duh.
I obviously had to end my meal with key lime pie.

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The next morning we hit up a restaurant for breakfast that had great reviews on Yelp (Made to Order Cafe). It also had some of the best food we ate there. We ended up going twice! The first day I had the “Country Eggs Benedict” which was eggs Benedict with BBQ pulled pork underneath. I had to have grits on the side since I was in the south! The grits were probably just boxed and not really worth it but the eggs Benedict was out of this world.

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That afternoon while laying on the beach I had to indulge in this:

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Because why not?

In Key West we went to another recommended restaurant called Pepe’s cafe, which looked like nothing from the outside.

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But it was amazing!! I started the party with the drink special which was a strawberry blueberry screwdriver. Had a couple of those, one accidentally ended up on my (and my husband’s) lap.

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For breakfast I went with the special which was another version of eggs benedict. It had scrambled eggs on the bottom, hogfish with hollandaise sauce and spinach and tomato. On the side was a scallion potato pancake.

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That night at dinner in Key West was pretty good. Another yelp recommendation- Southernmost Point Cafe. The view was excellent. I got pork tacos with corn on the cob. I don’t know why I didn’t stick with the seafood theme!

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We also got some great key lime pie in key west at Kermit’s Key Lime but I was too busy shoving it in my face to take a picture. It was the best key lime pie I had there (or ever).

And I guess I didn’t take any pictures of my food the third day! We ended up back at the same breakfast place since it was so hard to decide the first time we were there. And I think I was too cold at dinner to worry about taking a picture! The view was nice but the wind was cold!

I love doing these recaps because it makes me realize how much fun I had! And how much food I ate and drank!

Do you splurge on food and drink while on vacation?
What are some good places you’ve been in the keys?

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Key Largo Vacation 2015

Back to reality and below zero temperatures this week. A terribly rude awakening considering I spent last week enjoying temps that were 60+ in Florida. Nothing like a vacation to make you question why the hell you ever chose to live in the Northeast. Spring is coming. Spring is coming. Spring is coming. (Just keep telling yourself that).

I wanted to share, more for more sake, some of the wonderful times I had last week in Key Largo and Key West with my husband and in-laws.

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We stayed at Ocean Pointe Suites, which is a condo complex in Key Largo. I was worried because the reviews seemed to be hit or miss, depending on who owns your condo. We lucked out because ours was amazing (clean, beautiful, large and right on the water). Sorry I didn’t take pictures of the inside but this was the view from my deck. If you found this blog from a search of the place, we had room 4416 and it was awesome.

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The first day the weather was beautiful! We hit up a local state park for some kayaking. No pictures because I didn’t wanna drop my phone in the water. Shortly after we were done I took up camp on the beach!

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Ahhhh……to be right there again.

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The first day was really warm and I managed to get sunburn on my legs. Oh well. The following days weren’t quite as warm, but I’ll take 65-70 degrees over the balmy 2 degrees it was here today. The next day we drove from Key Largo to Key West (about a 2 hour drive). We planned on eating, walking around, shopping and enjoying some drinks! I’ll share more about the amazing food I ate on WIAW this week (or next week if I don’t have time).

There were chickens everywhere in Key West! I don’t know why I was so interested in them considering I owned chickens.

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Hogs Breath Cafe was cool.

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Duval Street. It was raining when we got there 🙁

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Drinks for breakfast!

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Cutting in line at the southernmost point:

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This was the view from the restaurant we ate at Key West. It cleared up in the afternoon but was still a little chilly by Florida standards.

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The next day was beautiful but also a little chilly and windy. It was about 60 degrees and it was hilarious seeing everyone in Florida wearing winter coats, hats and gloves! I kid you not! It was unreal.

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We did a little shopping and ended up at a restaurant in the afternoon. There was a little disappointment over the weather but I mean looking at it now you can’t really complain. I’d give anything for it to be at least 30 degrees here!

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This was Robbie’s Marina, there was a restaurant, a Marina where you could rent boats or charters, and a cute little section of shops. It was fun!

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Another highlight of the trip was the Islamorada Brewing Company. I was surprised there weren’t more craft breweries around and the bartender explained that there are a lot more regulations to get around than in NY.

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Their beers we really light and delicious. After a misunderstanding about just how many flights we should order, I was forced to drink all of these. Pull my leg, I guess.

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Later that night for dinner I went to a restaurant one of my friends recommended. The sunset there was beautiful, but once the sun went down the wind was COLD which made it hard to enjoy our food. We quickly boxed up our food once the sun was down. Couldn’t beat the view!

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All in all despite some less than ideal temperatures the Keys were awesome! Now I’m back suffering in the cold. Help!

However I don’t think I’ll ever top the vacation to Charleston where Austin and I got engaged, and once we got back from Florida I started begging him to go back to Charleston! I hope we can next year.

Have you been to the Florida Keys? What were your favorite spots?

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Paleo Crockpot Venison Stew

A lot of people have a “love it” or “won’t touch it” attitude when it comes to venison. However I don’t really have a choice due to the fact it comprises about 50% of what I have in my freezer right now!

I definitely don’t mind! Venison isn’t my favorite meat, but it was more or less free and that’s what makes it so good! My husband got a deer in the fall and we processed it here and saved it all with our vacuum saver. Voila- non-supermarket unadulterated

meat in the freezer and I basically didn’t have to do a thing!

Venison is also higher in protein, lower in calories and higher in some vitamins than beef! I prefer the taste of beef, when I cook venison with a variety of different flavors that compliment it, I can hardly tell the difference!

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The main benefit for me is obtaining meat that hasn’t been raised by our industrial meat system. Sometimes I don’t get why people don’t want to eat venison because they think of a “cute deer” or something. I mean that deer probably had a better life and death than the cow from the burger you ate from your supermarket meat so there’s little to that argument. And if you’ve been reading my blog for a bit you know I have experience with eating animals that I’ve raised!

Anyway, I bet you were hoping for the recipe sometime soon. This venison stew is super fast to prepare and easy! I made it in about 10 minutes on Sunday before I went to the gym in the morning and it was done by dinner time. Feel free to add potatoes or other root vegetables of your liking. We ate the stew with side salads and still had enough leftovers for the next night! Enjoy!

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Paleo Crockpot Venison Stew
Serves 5
A hearty, warm dish perfect for a cold night!
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1-2 lbs venison stew meat (cubed chunks)
  2. 9-10 carrots, peeled and diced
  3. 2 white onions, sliced
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. 4 cups beef or chicken broth
  6. 3/4 can of tomato paste
  7. 1/2 cup red wine
  8. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  9. 1 tsp salt
  10. 1 tsp pepper
  11. 2 tsp dried oregano
  12. 2 tsp fresh rosemary
  13. 2 bay leaves
Instructions
  1. Place everything in the crock pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until the meat is tender.
  2. Salt, pepper and season to taste.
Pencils and Pancakes http://pencilsandpancakes.com/

 This is a great recipe for a weeknight- virtually no dishes and leftovers for the second night (depending on how big your family is). If venison isn’t your thing you can easily sub beef!

Are you a fan of venison?

What are your favorite easy weeknight meals?

 

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What I’ve been eating lately Wednesday + Thoughts on Whole 30

I really haven’t been putting much time into the blog lately, and I definitely have not done a WIAW in a bit, but I had the urge to share what I’ve been eating lately in relation to doing the Whole 30. I decided that with the blog, I am not going to force myself to blog. When I feel like it, I’ll do it! That’s what I’ve been doing. I don’t know why but the past year it’s been up and down with feeling the urge to blog and honestly I don’t want to force out stupid blog posts just to get something up. I hope you’ll stick with me! Here’s some tidbits about what I ate and my thoughts about the Whole 30 I’m participating in this month:

What I Ate Wednesday Button

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{typical breakfast: kale, tomato and bacon quiche with parsnip fries and sauerkraut on the side}

Sooo…Whole 30…it’s not going as great as it was last year. I am hungry ALL THE TIME. This is normally not me. Over the past year I really have settled into routine and developed really NORMAl eating patterns as opposed to how I used to be in restricting food and calories and obsessively worrying about it. So yes, the Whole 30 last year was like a jump start for me and over the year of 2014 I really did develop much more natural, healthy eating patterns. Like, I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. Very novel idea.

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{Lunch- tuna sushi rolls and salad}

However the Whole 30 (although it is very very similar to how I regularly eat) has extra rules I don’t normally follow- like not being able to eat dessert or paleo baked goods. To tell you the truth, these rules are stressing me out. Like normally I would just eat dinner to when I’m full knowing that I am going to have a little snack later. Now during the Whole 30 I’ve been like “better eat as much as possible for dinner because there’s no snack” mentality, which isn’t really healthy. I thought I had abandoned this mentality.

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{Excellent Dinner- Venison steak taco salad with jalepenos, avocado, tomatoes, peppers, onions and plantains}

So to tell you the truth, I really wanted one of my husbands gluten free granola bars this weekend, so I ate one. Oh well. I am still following Whole 30 for the remainder of the month, but I’m not going to let these rules stress me out, especially when I’ve worked so hard to not have them. So if I want to eat something of plan, I am consciously making that a decision and not punishing myself for it. I highly suggest everyone do the Whole 30 strictly at least once in their lives. However, this just isn’t where I am on my journey of eating, so I’m not that strict about it. Mostly the lesson learned is- do what works for you!

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{Another yummy lunch- Liver/Pork Meatballs and Sage noodles from The Paleo Kitchen<<Sooooooo Good! + a salad}

 Another thing I’ve noticed is that if I’m really going to eat enough at each meal to not snack in the afternoon, I have to eat a LOT. It’s possible but I really don’t have a ton of time to eat in the morning and shoving down that huge breakfast you saw above is difficult! Oh well, there’s no laws against snacks in my world!

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{typical snack- figs with coconut butter YUM!}

 That will be it for what I’ve been eating. Kind of random, but many delicious things. Hope your Whole 30 is going well!

How do you feel about breaking the Whole 3o rules??

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Whole 30 Week 2 Meal Plan

Like many other whole food and Paleo bloggers I decided to do the Whole 30 in January. I got a late start because I was too >ahem< sick to start on New Years Day. Then I wasn’t prepared to start on the Friday after New Years because I didn’t have the right food in the house. SO I started last Saturday.

Today is Day 8! Here’s what I have planned for week 2 of my Whole 30. 

Breakfasts-

Pork Soup
*I made soup with butternut squash, Swiss chard, pork stock and bits of leftover pork. I usually make soup for lunch but it’s been annoying carrying it into school so I decided to just eat it here for breakfast.

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Lunches-
Venison Stew (Mon-Wed)
Tuna Sushi (Thu-Fri)

I got these awesome Nori rolls at a natural food co-op I was at Saturday. Can’t wait to put them to the test!

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Dinners-
Monday- Leftover Spaghetti Bolognese (over zucchini noodles)
A recipe from Practical Paleo

Tuesday- White pork chili from Meals Made Simple (Against All Grain)
Got this book for Christmas and haven’t made much from it, I was really looking forward to trying this recipe.

Wednesday- Leftovers!

Thursday- Country ribs with mashed parnsips/potatoes and green beans

Fri- Wing it?

Saturday- Pork Arrabiata over zucchini noodles (Also from Meals Made Simple).

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A week into Whole 30 and I am feeling better, trying to get in some grass fed beef liver. It tastes gross but I am really trying to force myself to like it. I hide it in some meatballs and it’s pretty good. I picked up a large haul from my farmer the other day. #nutrientseeker

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I’ve been feeling very blah and just unmotivated and I’m pretty sure the winter is getting to me. At the natural grocery store I visited this weekend I picked up some Whole 30 compliant vitamins to help with this at the advice of my naturopath. I never even thought of the vitamin D issue. I’m probably getting next to zero vitamin D right now…. Ugh, winter.

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Have a great week!
Are you doing Whole 30? How are you feeling?

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