Are Rodan + Fields skin care products natural? Here is my experience.

One of the questions I get asked most often about Rodan + Fields products is “Are they natural?”.

Truth be told, it’s a bit of a tricky one to answer. And while I sometimes feel like a bit of a sell-out in admitting it’s not 100% natural, let me explain, and maybe you’ll be able to relate…

 

Through years of skin dramas (I’m talking since the age of 12), I was on the natural train… this was handed down from my mom, who got it from her mom, etc. Tea tree oil was a top contender, as were various creams, scrubs, lotions and potions from the health food store.

Going natural seemed like a smart and logical decision. The products smelled nice, felt great, and were safe to use.

The issue? They didn’t work.

Month after month, and year after year, my acne was just as bad, and as I got into my twenties and beyond, fine lines started appearing on my forehead and around my mouth. Rather cruel that I couldn’t have at least a few “good years” in between being a pimply pre-teen and a wrinkly old lady.

The search for the perfect (and effective) skin care products continued, and I eventually got wind of Rodan + Fields, seeing their dramatic before & after photos. I was curious.

But I also wanted to keep things natural and not spread loads of chemicals on my body. Looking at the ingredients list, I could see that they certainly weren’t “all natural” like lots of other “green products” out there, but I had the inkling to keep digging.

 

In a nutshell, here’s what I found:

The products are developed by dermatologists, are clinically tested to be safe, and are super effective at doing what they say they will do. For example, if they say they’ll diminish your sun spots, and fine lines and wrinkles, or get rid of your acne, etc… that’s what they’ll actually do (as long as you are diligent and consistent with use (twice a day)).

While using natural products is a good idea in general, there are many “natural” products out there that aren’t actually safe for you at all. Think rubbing poison ivy on your skin, using cocaine, or drinking goat urine. 😉

Also, many beauty products that are labeled as “natural” actually aren’t. There isn’t very tight regulation on claims that companies make on being natural, so any company can say their products are “natural,” and pretty much be lying.

Or worse, some companies put natural ingredients into their products that haven’t been tested, and could therefore actually be harmful to you.

That being said, some of the Rodan + Fields products do contain natural ingredients, such as macadamia seed oil, shea butter, lemon peel extract, olive fruit oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, yucca glauca root extract, and chamomilla flower extract.

 

This is me, before and after using Rodan + Fields’ Unblemish regimen.

All this being said, I gave the Rodan + Fields Unblemish regimen a whirl, and was amazed by the results. Within a few weeks I started to see my acne go away (and stay away), and over the next several months my skin kept improving. I’m still using it now, since being “acne-prone” is often a life-long condition, which needs to be maintained.

I’m also so won over that I’ve started selling it; I LOVE seeing my clients’ skin transformed, and getting happy messages from them. Brings a smile to my face every time.

As for my initial concerns about it being natural?

Well, I’m willing to compromise a small part of my body (my face) for not-all-natural products in order to achieve an acne-free face and get my confidence back.

 

And in other parts of my life…

Do I still use shea butter and aloe on the rest of my body?  Yes.

Do I use aluminum-free, non-anti-perspirant deodorant?  Absolutely.

Make my own pumpkin-spice drinks and treats instead of buying store-bought ones that have likely never been near a real pumpkin?  Yup.

Chemical-free laundry detergent?  You bet.

Have I tossed my microwave?  No. Way too convenient.

Do I eat organic foods? Mmm-hmmm.  Whenever possible and affordable.

You get the picture… within reason, my life is as healthy and harm-free as reasonably possible, but when it comes to facial skin care products, I’m sticking with the most effective option.

 

 

 

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Lululemon Haul & Product Review

It’s a good day when the Hubs releases you from all wifely & motherly duties for an entire day of shopping in the city.

Actually, this was my request for my birthday present.  Or Mother’s Day present.  Not quite sure, since the two events are mere days apart.

Anyways, suffice it to say that I set out with a generous collection of birthday cash from my parents, in-laws, and Oma, and was stoked to go as fast or slow as wanted for the day, and try on as many things as possible.  After all, this isn’t gonna happen again anytime soon, so go big or go home, right?  Or both.

After cruising up 4th Ave (in Vancouver), I wound up at my fav Lululemon store.  After trying on half the store, here’s what I decided on, and a few thoughts on each item:

Align Pant II in black: since I’ve had my one pair of black Wunder Unders for 7 years (yes, SEVEN years), and have worn them almost every day and through two pregnancies, they are getting a tad worn, so it was time for an update.

I would never have gone for the high-waisted Align Pants online, but trying them on in person was a different story. They are buttery-soft, not too thick or thin, and 7/8 length makes for a great experience.  I find that even with regular-length Lulu pants, I still have to get them hemmed as they’re a tiny bit too long.  Although hemming is a free Lulu service, pick-up is tricky as I don’t live anywhere near a Lulu store.

Extra bonus: the high waist pulls in my little bit of leftover mummy tummy.  Gotta love that feature.

Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Crew in dark forest green:  this was a no-brainer since I already have a few of these in other colours. This season seems to be more block colours, and less heathered shades, like last year.
Fits just right, and is great for a bottom layer, or over a tank.  (The tank pictured below the Swiftly (above) is one that I already owned: the Cool Racerback in “boom juice” from last year, which I love).

Love Tank in dark forest green:  similar to the Cool Racerback both in length and feel.  Three difference are that it’s much looser, made of pima cotton (not Luon), and the racerback part on the back is wider on the Love Tank.  Love it.

And saving the very best for last…

More Than Modal hoodie in black:  this was SO not on my shopping horizon, and I actually didn’t even find this on the floor, but I asked the guest educator to bring me all the nice sweaters she could find (during my 1-hour fitting room time… I’m not even joking), and this was one of the ones she brought me.

I also don’t usually do black on top, but I sort of fell in love at first touch.  It is SO soft.  It’s also nice and lightweight, especially in relation to my much heavier Lulu Scuba Hoodie, which is perfect for winter, but not as much for spring.

Sorry to say, but the More Than Modal is sold out both online and in all stores in Canada.  Here’s hoping there are more in the works.

Thanks again, Lululemon, for a great in-store experience.

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I’m Baaaaaack

Hey there,

It’s been absolutely AGES since I last posted… what can I say except for babies, diapers, spew, and a whole lotta newborn cuddles?

So, quick update: We moved back to Canada from Australia to be around family (which has been an amazing support), Hugo is now two, and Carter was born a few months ago.  He’s fab.

Carter at 2 minutes old

Carter at 2 minutes old

 

Hugo's 2

Hugo at 2

To be honest, I’ve been a little more busy than fit as I adjust to life with two.  Microwave dinners are a thing (as is cereal for meals other than breakfast sometimes), and there’s not so much fresh baking going on (apart from the muffins kindly delivered by my mom and Oma).

But along with Spring, change is in the air.  The workouts have started up again, and I’ll have a few openings for personal training clients coming up.  Let me know if you’re interested.

As for new recipes here on the blog… nope.  Refer to the clean eating recipes already here.

My biggest recommendation is to keep washed & chopped veggies on hand in the fridge so you’re good to nibble at a moment’s notice.  I try to do it as soon as I get home from the grocery store, fyi.

So long for now…

 

 

 

 

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Quinoa Wonder Bars recipe

Full of protein, fibre, magnesium, and other nutritious goodies, quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) is a magic super-grain that is amazingly beneficial for your body.  Combine it with a few other tidbits, and you’ve got yourself some Quinoa Wonder Bars, perfect for a pre- or post- gym snack, or a quick breakfast as you run out the door.

I’ve already doubled the recipe here, as I’m assuming you’d like to make 38 at once.  Am I wrong?

1 cup quinoa (dry)
2 cups dried appleQuinoa Wonder Bars recipe
2 cups raisins (aka sultanas)
1 cup dates
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas)
3/4 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chia seeds (black or white or mixed)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
6 eggs
4 Tbsp maple syrup 
4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp powdered ginger (optional, but adds an extra zip of flavour)
rind of 1 orange

(Try to go for organic, chemical- and preservative-free ingredients… a bit hard with the dried apples, but try.)
 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 160° C (320 F).

Line two baking trays with baking paper.

Cook the quinoa: Add the 1 cup of dry quinoa to 2 cups water in a pot.  Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for about 12 minutes.  

Then cool the hot quinoa to room-temperature or cooler (or cook it the night before and put it in the fridge overnight.  If you skip this step, you’ll wind up with cooked eggs, so don’t.)

Chop the apple and dates into small pieces, or use a food processor for this. 

Mix all the ingredients together. 

Divide the mixture in half and spread evening across the two baking trays.  Press it down firmly. 

Bake for around 28 minutes.

Cool on a cooling rack, then slice into bars with a serrated knife (try for store-bought granola bar size).

Makes about 38 bars.  If you’re not feeding an army, put some in the freezer for later as they freeze really well and thaw quickly.

 

Hugo eating Quinoa Wonder Bar

Even Hugo (8.5 months old) loves these. (Don’t worry, there’s no choking going on.)


(To give credit where it’s due, this recipe is an adaptation of the one found at http://naturalnewagemum.com/gluten-free-nut-free-muesli-bars/  Many thanks for the great idea, Sonia.)

 

 

 

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Raw Chocolate-Almond-Craisin Fudge recipe

Hey Guys,

Well, after a rather lengthy blogging hiatus due to post-baby happenings (you can read all about Hugo’s birth story here), I’m back with more nutritional shenanigans, the most important of which is DESSERT…

…and a healthy one at that.

I’ve been trying super hard to eliminate any and all chemicaly yuckiness from my diet, but still have some fairly enormous chocolate cravings, so this recipe ticks both boxes.

Now, if you have massive self-control issues when it comes to all things chocolate (like me), you might want to reduce this recipe by half… or share share share a full recipe with many, many friends.  It is seriously SO hard not to eat the whole pan in one day.

Raw Chocolate-Almond-Craisin Fudge

Although they look brownie-sized here, they are actually cut into teensy, bite-sized pieces.

So, here you have it… raw chocolate-almond-craisin fudge:

Ingredients

•¾ cup coconut oil
•½ cup coconut butter (aka coconut paste)
• ½ cup cacao powder
• ½ cup maple syrup (I put an extra dash of this in)
•pinch of fine sea salt
• 1/3 cup craisins (dried cranberries) or freeze-dried raspberries
•¼ cup slivered almonds
• 2 tablespoons cacao nibs

 

How to make it:

•melt and mix coconut oil and coconut butter together (I did this in a glass measuring cup in the microwave)

•whisk in the cacao powder until smooth, then add the maple syrup and salt. Whisk again until completely combined

•mix in the craisins, slivered almonds, and cacao nibs

•pour into parchment-lined cake pan, dust with additional cacao powder, and leave to set in the fridge for at least 1 hour

•cut into small, bite-sized pieces

store in fridge (also freezes nicely, and thaws very quickly- ie, in your mouth)

 

ps- to give credit where credit is due, this recipe has been adapted from http://www.flannerys.com.au/recipes/post/raw-chocolate-raspberry-fudge

One Response to Raw Chocolate-Almond-Craisin Fudge recipe

  • Bizzybutfit says:

    Hi ,
    Really nice post , I see how remarkably you have listed the recipe. I tried to make it but I failed ( but taste was not that bad for the first time ).
    Keep rocking

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The Birth Story

There was one massive reason that I was so looking forward to November 18th- it was the day I was supposed to be getting my hair cut and streaked… you know how it is when you’ve let your hair go just a bit longer than you should, and then you’re just desperate for that haircut?

Well, I was timing the hair appointment for two days before my due date since my hairdresser had pointed out that I’d want good hair for all the post-birth pics.  Good point.  I agreed, and booked the appointment especially for that day, fully knowing that I was cutting it really close to the birth.

Well, that haircut never happened because something a little more important came up… or should I say a little someone?

HugoI had been praying that when I went into labour it would start in the morning, not at night, so that I’d be well rested for the adventure.  Looks like my prayers were answered, because on Sunday morning, November 17th, I woke up at 6am with some strange, uncomfortable feelings… kinda like I was getting my period, but quite infrequently.

Not knowing if these were actually contractions or not, I went about my day… Andrew made a special request for pancakes for breakfast, which we hadn’t had in ages, so I got busy concocting those while he kept working on applying for jobs for next year.  (He had just found out that his contract from this year wouldn’t be continuing, so he was working hard on finding a new job).

After the pancakes, the pains were coming a little closer together, but I still didn’t know if they were contractions or not… how are you supposed to know your first time around what they feel like?  I quickly Googled “best contraction timer app” and downloaded one on my phone, just in case they were contractions.  I started timing the pains, but they were about 10-12 minutes apart, so I kept puttering around the house, doing my nesting stuff, and trying not to disturb Andrew’s job search.

I remember pestering him to walk with me to Mooloolaba (a town 20 minutes walk away) to exchange these two t-shirts I’d bought him the day before.  They ended up not fitting him quite right, and were bugging me lying on the kitchen table.  I knew that if we didn’t take care of it soon, I’d have the baby, and the shirts would sit there forever, past the date you could exchange them.  Clutter drives me absolutely crazy, so I was super keen to get rid of them, but Andrew was busy with job applications (how dare he ;))

The pains were coming closer together, like 5 minutes apart at around 3pm, but I still wasn’t sure if they were truly contractions.  My biggest fear was going to the hospital only to be told they weren’t contractions, and to have the midwives think I was a big fat liar, so I decided to call some people who’d had babies before to ask them what contractions felt like.

First up on the call list was my Mom, who was driving up the coast from Sydney with my Dad to come visit us.  Unfortunately, her phone was off, so I left her a vague message, asking her to call me back asap.  Next was my friend Adri, but she’d just moved to the sticks where there’s barely any phone coverage, so I had to leave a cryptic message on her phone too.

By this time, I figured that if these pains were not contractions, then there must be something else majorly wrong since they were getting pretty painful.  I was trying all the tricks I’d read in the Active Birthing Book, which mainly included doing a lot of moving.  I must have looked pretty silly marching around the apartment, doing squats and horsey kicks off the kitchen table.  Good thing Andrew was in the other room, otherwise he’d have had quite a good laugh at me.

Nambour General HospitalFinally, I called the hospital, where the midwife told me to wait until the contractions were consistently 3-4 minutes apart, and then call again.  This happened quite quickly, and by 4:30pm I was calling her again, telling her I needed to come into the hospital NOW.  She said she’d get my room ready and see me soon.

The next half hour was a flurry of activity.  Andrew emailed in his last job application and called church to cancel him playing on worship team that night, I threw the last few things into my hospital suitcase, and Andrew packed his backpack.  I remember being in a lot of pain, Andrew throwing the baby carseat into the car, and then him grabbing me in a big hug in the kitchen and praying for us before getting into the car.

I grabbed my purse, and we headed down the three flights of stairs from our apartment into the car.  By 5:30pm we’d arrived at the hospital, and things were well underway.  The midwife, Alanna, checked me out and told me I was 5cm dilated.  The contractions were coming closer together, which is when I asked Andrew to grab my lime essential oil out of my hospital suitcase, which I thought was beside the bed, so I could use it to calm down and massage my legs.

Andrew was like, “Oh, did you leave your suitcase in the trunk?”  I was like, “You put the suitcase in the trunk?”  He was like, “No, did you?”

At this point, we figured out that we’d forgotten my suitcase at home… I thought I’d asked him to grab it, and he assumed I’d taken it myself, when really it was only my purse that I’d grabbed.  I started freaking out a little, upset that my lime oil was MIA, and sad that we’d have a naked baby since all his cute little outfits, blankets, and diapers were in that suitcase.  Also missing was the carefully typed up and highlighted birth-plan, which I’d worked on for weeks, and which outlined all of Andrew’s and my instructions for the various stages of labour… slightly important.

Andrew offered to drive home to get the suitcase for me, but the round trip would take nearly an hour, at which point the midwife commanded him to just stay put.  She said we wouldn’t need a thing for the next several hours and that the baby could borrow some clothes from the hospital.  So Andrew stayed, and I got over the lime oil thing and hopped in the shower for some water therapy.

What happened from then on in is a bit of a blur.  I remember vomiting, being in and out of the shower, bouncing around on an exercise ball, leaning on Andrew during contractions, and squatting ungracefully on a sparkly purple birthing stool.  A few hours later I was 8cm dilated, but my water still hadn’t broken, so Alanna pulled out these tools that looked like long chopsticks and broke my water for me.  This intensified the contractions, but there was still no baby in sight.  I was in a world of pain, and still had quite a ways to go.

Alanna’s shift was over at 11pm, so she took off and was replaced by not one, but three other midwives, since I was the only one giving birth there that night, and I guess they all wanted in on the action.  Helen was British, Sylvia was German, Stacey was Australian, and we had a Nepalese doctor pop in on us every once in a while.  Talk about an international experience  🙂

Throughout the whole thing I never once had the urge to push, so the midwives had to tell me when exactly I was meant to do that, which was a totally weird sensation.  They put me in a kind of kneeling position on the transformer bed with handles to hold onto up top, and a mirror between my knees down below so I could watch the baby’s head slowly make its appearance with each push, which was a really cool experience.

post-birthMidnight came and went, and finally at 2:22am on November 18th, our little Hugo Martin was born.  Right away the midwives passed him up between my legs to my chest so I could cuddle him to my chest while kneeling there… it was such a surreal moment, mainly because I was so tired and my lady parts had just been stretched to epicly painful proportions.

We hung out like that for a while before they flipped me over onto my back and I cut the umbilical cord.  Andrew wasn’t too keen on doing it, so I figured it would be a memorable life experience for me to do.  In the end, it wasn’t a huge deal- just felt like I was cutting the gristle off a chicken breast in the kitchen.  Speaking of no huge deals, I was completely non-emotional when Hugo came out.  I always figured I’d be bawling my eyes out at the birth of my firstborn child, but that just wasn’t the case for some reason.

After that, they took Hugo over to the little baby station in the room where they weighed him and did whatever other medical stuff they do.  Stacey the midwife asked me to guess how much he weighed… I said 7lbs, and she told me he was actually 7lbs 14oz- so nearly 8lbs.

Next it was placenta time.  They asked me if I’d like the injection to make it come out right away, but since I’d been drug-free up until then, I said I’d rather wait for it to come naturally, which it’s meant to do in about half an hour.  At one hour and 20 minutes, it was still inside me with no signs of exiting, so they gave me the shot and out it came.

Since the placenta had taken so long, they hadn’t had a good look at what damages I’d incurred during the birth, but when they examined me, it turned out I had a hematoma (burst blood vessel) on one side of my perineum that had swollen to the size of an orange, plus a second-degree tear on the other side… I was in rough shape, and was immediately wheeled down to the operating room for surgery.

Compared to giving birth, going for surgery felt like a day at the spa.  It all went well, and I was back up in the maternity ward a couple hours later, feeling much better, but drugged to the hilt.

From there they handed me my sweet baby boy, and life with little Hugo began.

We ended up staying in the hospital for four days, which is a bit longer than the average two days that the other chicks in my room seemed to be being processed through the place, but let’s just say that breastfeeding wasn’t quite as easy as it looked, and I was still healing up from surgery and on a lot of painkillers, so it worked out for the best for us stay in a bit longer.

 

The Name

We had plenty of girls names up our sleeves, but when we found out it was a boy at our 20-week scan, we were at a total loss for names.  Eventually we gathered a few, but nothing that particularly wowed us.

Then one day I posted my rollerblades for sale online, mainly to clear up precious closet space for the baby, and also because I didn’t think I’d be rollerblading too much throughout my pregnancy and early mom days.  The lady who came to buy them brought her two little girls along, and when I told her we were expecting a boy, she shared her top names for if she’d had boys.  Hugo was one of them, which we hadn’t even thought of before, but grew on us from that day onwards.

When we looked up the meaning, we liked the name even more.  Hugo means “brightness of mind, spirit, and heart,” which we pray will be true for him as he grows up.

His middle name, Martin, is in honour and memory of my little brother who died of cancer when we were young.

 

ps– A HUGE shout out to my parents who came all the way from Canada to help out after Hugo was born- I seriously could NOT have done it without them.  Meals, laundry, dishes, shopping- nothing was too much for them, and they did it all with great generosity and joy.  Plus they took us to the zoo, the markets, the beach, and heaps of other fun stuff.

heading home

Heading home from the hospital

Also, I have to mention that Andrew has been such a star throughout this whole thing… if I were writing him a report card on the last couple months, I’d give him an “exceeds expectations” in all areas- even the diaper changing  🙂

pps– A massive public thank you to the wonderful midwives at Nambour General Hospital who helped me through the birth: Alanna, Helen, Stacey, and Sylvia, and also the midwives who cared for me afterwards: Haley, Helen, Claudia, Suzie, and Tracey.  I could never in a million years have done it without them, and if/when I have another baby, I would want those exact ladies to be there again- that’s how good they were.

ppps– I got my haircut the next week- all good again.

pppps– please expect NOT to read any more posts on this site for a little while now- just found out we are moving (since Andrew got a new job), plus this post has taken me about 5 weeks to write, typing one-handed while nursing little Hugo.  Insane.

 

3 Responses to The Birth Story

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Pregnancy Update – 39 Weeks

Hey Guys,

Well, here we are at 39 weeks… Andrew and I are so pumped to welcome this little beach baby into our lives next week sometime, assuming everything goes according to plan, which it very well may NOT, but we’re not too worried about that.  If he’s late, he’s late, and that means we get more pre-baby time with my parents who have just flown all the way from Canada to Australia to meet their first grandchild.

39 weeks pregnant

39 Weeks

Everything with the pregnancy is going super well, apart from the usual little things that I guess are bound to happen somewhere along the way… sausage fingers, chubby cheeks, and swollen feet.  I’m thinking I may never be able to remove my wedding rings again, but that’s okay- I like ’em.

I was gonna show you a pic of the baby’s room, but then changed my mind since there’s not really that much to see… it doubles as Andrew’s office, so half of it is a desk, filing cabinet, etc.  Pretty boring.  We hung up a few flags and lanterns, etc, but I’m guessing once we hit our heads on them one too many times we’ll tear them down and go for something a little simpler.   😉

My official due date is November 20th, and I’m working till the 19th, which is fine with me since I think I might go a little stir crazy if I were just sitting at home for the next week.  On my days off though, I’ve been going hard trying to get heaps done at home… mainly nesting-type stuff.

nesting before baby comes

Nesting- organizing the drawers

For example, yesterday I cleaned out some drawers and got everything in there organized, went through the filing cabinet and got rid of old papers, printed my birth plan, put together my parents’ welcome to Australia folder, bought, washed, and labelled a bunch of new Tupperware, and packed my hospital bag.

Last week I washed and vacuumed the car, dusted and vacuumed the house, cleaned out the fridge, did a bunch of baby clothes laundry, bought a car that fits the baby’s carseat and stroller, baked and froze four extra batches of chocolate chick cookies, and ordered some last-minute baby stuff on Amazon.  Definite nesting in progress.

See that blue kneeling pad in the nesting pic on the right?  I just bought that for kneeling on while bathing the baby, but so far it’s come in knee-saving handy for tons of other kneeling projects.  The midwives have said that it’s good to get into the all-fours position, go swimming, etc, as it gets the baby into the right position for birthing, so kneel and crawl around I will.

computer desktop

Digital Nesting- a clean desktop at last

The biggest nesting project, however, has been what I’d call “digital nesting.”  You know how it is when your computer desktop is all cluttered with files that need to go somewhere, but you don’t really know where, and don’t have time to deal with it?

Well, it was finally time to do something about it since I don’t know when I’ll ever have a chance after the baby is born.  So I’ve spent a number of weeks organizing files, deleting old documents, and then backing up my computer every couple weeks.

The other big digital thing has been unsubscribing from those pesky daily emails you sign up for but never actually have the chance to read, so they just pile up in your inbox and annoy you.  That and deleting “friends” from Facebook who you’re not really friends with anyways, and who end up cluttering up your newsfeed with stuff that doesn’t really interest you.

I know that might sound a bit harsh, but I just want everything to be calm, uncluttered, organized, and uncomplicated when the baby comes so that I can focus 100% on being there for him, rather than my Facebook non-friends.

Fitness-wise, things are going okay.  Pretty much the only thing I’m doing is walking lots, plus being on my feet all day at work, which definitely takes it out of you at this stage of the game.  Still throwing in a few squats, butt kicks, lunges, etc, but I’m getting pretty tired, so just trying to do the best I can and not worry about it too much.

Let’s see… what else is new?  Well, today my grade 9s threw me a surprise baby shower… sneaky kids trying to get out of doing their assignments 🙂  It was so lovely of them, though.  They told me I couldn’t come into the classroom, which was kind of a dead give-away, but a few minutes later they came to collect me and yelled “surprise” when I walked through the door.  They had balloons and streamers all over the place, plus a big fruit platter, games, and presents… not too shabby.  Gonna miss those guys.

pregnancy annoucement poemOkay, one more thing… a bit of a throwback to how I told Andrew I was pregnant many moons ago.

The story is that he knew my period was late so kept on asking if I was pregnant.  I suspected I was, but wanted to surprise him if I was, so I took a pregnancy test while he was away one day, and bingo- I was up the duff.

Our 6-year anniversary was coming up that weekend, and I thought it would be so fun to surprise him with the news, so even though it was killing me not to tell him all week, I kept on concocting reasons for him that I might not be pregnant just to throw him off, and he totally fell for it.

Then, on our anniversary we went out for a nice dinner, and, after ordering, I told him I had a present for him and gave him this little envelope from Starbucks (our fav coffee place around here) with the start of a poem on the outside (first pic on the right).  He began reading it with NO idea what it might even remotely be about.

pregnancy announcement poem 2When he got to the bottom of the poem it said to open the envelope to read the rest of it, which of course filled him in on the big news (second pic on the right).

He was sooo happy and couldn’t believe it at first, which was funny since I’d already had a few days to process it all myself.

From then on we didn’t really tell anyone for a couple of months because we wanted to surprise our families and tell them over Skype on Mother’s Day, which was the end of my first trimester.

Good timing all around, first with our anniversary, and then Mother’s Day.

By the way, I totally can’t take credit for writing the poem… my friend Katie wrote it for her husband when she was pregnant with her first, and I asked her if she could resurrect it so I could borrow it.  So I guess, technically, Katie knew I was pregnant before Andrew did… oops.

Anyways, that’s the tale of telling Andrew.

I’m guessing this will be the last pregnancy update post… hopefully the next post will have a pic of a cute little bundle in it.  Soooo excited for that.

 

ps- I’d love to hear your thoughts on birth photography… did you have it done, are you glad, do you regret NOT having it, etc?  I’m looking into it right now, and the first quote I’ve received starts at $1200, which just isn’t gonna happen, people.  Craziness.

 

8 Responses to Pregnancy Update – 39 Weeks

  • Kelly says:

    Newborn pics are totally worth it! However find a style and price you are happy with!

  • admin says:

    Thanks, Kelly, but I was more talking about birth pics… like having the photographer in the room as the baby is born.

  • Becky says:

    I fully believe that it is a very personal thing. We had a few things go wrong and I don’t think I would have stayed as calm if there was someone I didn’t know in the room. Plus I reckon it is such a special thing for the mummy and daddy that I didn’t want anyone else in there. Lol

  • EB says:

    Agree it is a personal thing. I didn’t think we’d want photos but I am so so grateful my sis in law thought otherwise. I look at them all the time and discover new things. Not sure I’d pay 1200 for it but I LOVE having them now to look back on.

  • kristina says:

    Praying for you and Andrew and little one!! We are so excited for you. I love seeing your updates on Facebook (when I can access it…) Awesome how you surprised Andrew!

    Birth photography- YES DO IT! It is really special- but also important to have someone you trust- a good friend (mom friend if possible- who won’t pass out) so you feel comfortable if you happen to be uh.. in the nude.. I was in labor for 12 hrs, and as you can image by hour 10 I was pretty exhausted to the point of falling asleep. Timon was struggling to keep me awake- and so I don’t remember some parts (and b/c I had my eyes closed) so having photos was a good way to remember the amazing birth that God designed and brought me through!

    I had been in labor for 6 hrs when I realized I wanted a photographer- one of our good friends had volunteered, She (also a mom) showed up in 30 minutes and was super duper! Its way more about the little one and his first breath! and those first moments together are just so precious.

  • Anita says:

    We did a 1 year package… Maternity, hospital, newborn, 3 month, 6 month and 1 year cake smash. Totally worth the $$ we spent. Got so many beautiful pictures of babe…. She changed so much in that time period

  • corinnanairn says:

    Good thoughts… thanks Kristina and Anita.

  • corinnanairn says:

    btw, Anita, that sounds like SUCH a good deal/package.

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Pregnancy Books Not to be Missed

A few people have been asking me what books I’ve been reading to prepare for the baby (which is due in 12 days, by the way- ahhhhhh), and in looking back, I guess it’s been quite a few.  In case it’s helpful to you, here they are:

 

Up The Duff book
Up the Duff: the real guide to pregnancy by Kaz Cooke

This one is just for a bit of a laugh and was lent to me by my neighbor, TJ… it follows a woman’s diary who kinda does it a bit messed up… drinks a little on the side, gains 100 pounds, lazes around, etc.  I think it definitely makes the average woman feel a lot better about herself, plus giving some good tips in a Week 1-42 format.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save Our Sleep book
Save Our Sleep: Helping Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night from Birth to Two Years

by Tizzie Hall

This book was recommended to me by our friend Drew, whose wife Jodie just had their first baby.  Drew said that they followed the sleep/feeding schedule in this book to the letter, which had their baby sleeping through the night by 3 weeks old, so of course he totally recommended it.

Turns out it’s pretty popular since I had to wait on the library reserve list for it for ages.  After reading it, I decided this is one of those books you just HAVE to actually own if you’re gonna follow it, since it’s got a bunch of by-the-minute schedules in it for the baby.  Wouldn’t want to be stuck without it.

I ended up buying it online at bookdespository.com which ships for free all over the world.

 

 

 

 

 

What to Expect When You're Expecting book cover What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 4th Edition by Heidi Murkoff & Sharon Mazel

Honestly, I haven’t read this one too thoroughly yet, mainly because it seems like more of a reference book that you looks up things topic-by-topic in, rather than something you’d read cover to cover like a novel.

Lots of great info, though.  Definitely a keeper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child (Sears Parenting Library)

by Dr. Sears (I forgot to take a pic of this one before returning it to the library, so click on the above link if you want to see what it looks like)

I’ve already covered this book pretty extensively in my post about baby vaccinations, so go there to check it out if you’re curious and wondering.  Basically this book goes through all the various baby vaccinations and explains what’s in them and what the risks and advantages are.  Super important info to have in order to make informed choices on vaccines.

Reading these kinds of books can be super boring, especially compared to shopping for cute baby stuff which is waaaaay more fun.  I thought it would be an important one to read though, so if you’re in the same boat but short on time, definitely check out the post I did, since I summed up the book chapter by chapter- will save you heaps of time.

 

 

The Natural Way to a Better Pregnancy book cover The Natural Way to a Better Pregnancy (Better Babies) by Francesca Naish & Janette Roberts

The naturopath at Flannerys (the health food store I shop at) highly recommended this one, so I went on a chase to find it… wasn’t easy, but finally found a used copy online.

It pretty much tells you how to have a really natural pregnancy, which is good stuff to know, but a lot of it I’d say, is common sense.

Personally, I think it went a bit overboard in some respects… like advising you not to eat too much fruit, getting your partner to stop drinking during your pregnancy (since you can’t and he should be supporting you in this way), etc.

Definitely one of those books to take a few good nuggets from and not worry excessively about the rest.

 

 

 

 

 

Praying Circles Around your Children book coverPraying Circles around Your Children by Mark Batterson

Got this in the mail from my Oma a few months ago, and would certainly recommend it.  Short and sweet, it makes a lot of solid points, and backs them up with examples from Mark’s own life with kids.  Andrew and I have both read it, and I think we’ll do a re-read of it next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Active Birth book coverActive Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally (Non) by Janet Balaskas

If this book about giving birth could be summed up in a few words, it would be: keep upright, and keep moving.  That’s pretty much all I took from it, but it also gave a ton of background information and science on why this birthing method is better than lying on your back in a bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birth Skills with Sarah Murdoch book coverJuju Sundin’s Birth Skills: Proven Pain-Management Techniques for Your Labour and Birth   by Juju Sundin and Sarah Murdoch

Like the previous book, this one is a huge advocate of birthing in an upright position, and keeping active during labor.

This book is much better though, as it gives you heaps of examples on things to do during labor to take your mind off the pain.  Basically, if you focus on the non-painful parts of your body and direct stimulus to them, it can nearly override the pain stimulus being sent to your brain from your contracting uterus.

Sounds a bit new-agey in a way, but not really, since scientifically it makes a lot of sense.  I took heaps of notes, and will definitely be trying out all of Juju’s little tricks and suggestions during my own labor and delivery sometime in the next couple weeks.  Anything to avoid that epidural (hopefully… although I’m not 100% opposed to it if I’m in crazy amounts of pain… we’ll see).

 

 

Congratulations Sunshine Coast Hospital booklet cover“Congratulations” booklet from the hospital

… a must-read so I know what time the meals will be brought by and how many maxi pads to pack in my hospital bag 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it… hope that helps.

 

One Response to Pregnancy Books Not to be Missed

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Chocolate Chick Cookies

My friend Jolene recently linked to a healthy cookie recipe on Facebook- she said it was not to be missed, and she was definitely spot-on.  The great thing about these little “chocolate chick cookies” is that they are high in protein from the chick peas, and also contain the good type of fat that your body needs (from the peanut butter).

Chocolate Chick Cookies

Hot outta the oven – at their most delicious stage

The first time I made them I just did a test run with a single recipe to see what all the rage was about, and decided everyone was right- they’re amazing.

However, they were also a bit of a pain in the butt to make since the peanut butter and honey got a little crazy, so the next time I decided to go big or go home.

Since I’m having a baby in a couple weeks and probably won’t be in the baking spirit for a while afterwards, I made 5 times the recipe last weekend and froze most of them.  They thaw out really quickly if you just leave them out on the counter for a few minutes… no need to microwave them or anything.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed (=1 can =420g)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup natural honey

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (leave these out if you really want them to be sugar-free)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional, but I’ve tried them with and without, and they’re definitely better with)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F / 177 C

Cover your baking pans with baking paper.

1. In a food processor, or using a hand blender like the Bamix, combine all the ingredients (except for the chocolate chips and walnuts) and process until very smooth.

Tip: heat the peanut butter and honey a bit in the microwave to make them easier to measure and pour, but not too hot or else the dough is too runny and the chocolate chips melt when you add them   🙁

2. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts

3. Use two spoons to plop the dough into 1-2 inch drops on the baking paper

4. Bake for about 12-15 minutes. They are soooo amazingly delicious when the chocolate is still warm!

 

-makes 15 cookies

-store in the fridge

 

ps- original recipe is from Bethany Jane’s blog, although I’ve changed a few things around 🙂 Thanks, Bethany.

 

2 Responses to Chocolate Chick Cookies

  • Pingback: Pregnancy Update - 39 Weeks | Busy and Fit

  • Emily Dick says:

    I have made these cookies a number of times now, and they are sooooo amazingly good! I have experimented a bunch, and have some ideas to make them even more delicious (in my opinion :))
    I always double the recipe, so I add (to the doubled recipe) 1/2c. almond milk during step 1 while blending everything together (this obviously makes it more runny)
    Then, in step 2, I add 1 1/2c quick-cooking oats, 1/2c. unsweetened shredded coconut, and 1c. craisins.
    I find the extra ingredients give the cookie more oomph!
    The cooking time I’ve found is a bit longer (maybe because of the added liquid?) Just keep an eye on them.
    These are so so so good…. whenever I feed these to people they first: think they’re amazing. And second: can’t believe they’re healthy and made with chickpeas!
    Def a winner of a cookie 🙂

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Pregnancy Update – 34 Weeks

Hey Guys, I just realized it’s been 7 weeks since the last official Beach Baby pregnancy update, so it’s high time I fill you in on what’s happened between then and now.  First, a pic from last week:

Busy & Fit @ 33 weeks pregnant

33 Weeks

Generally, things are still going super well… the baby is moving around TONS, and responds especially well to Andrew’s voice, guitar, and singing, which of course Andrew is thrilled about 🙂

I’m finally feeling more “pregnant”… the way I thought I’d feel all along: big, round, and bumpy.  The first half of my pregnancy when I wasn’t really showing much, I wondered if everything was alright in there… if there was actually a baby growing inside me, but now I definitely don’t doubt it.

Here are a few more details:

 

The Symptoms:

No matter how well a pregnancy is going, I guess there will always be a few “side effects.”  Recently mine have included getting up about 3 times a night to go to the loo, insomnia, puffy cheeks, and heartburn.

With the heartburn, a very smart friend of mine on Facebook suggested a little trick of drinking the juice of half a fresh-squeezed lemon (mixed with water) 20 minutes before eating breakfast.  I totally doubted her at first, since lemon juice is acidic, just like the lovely acid rising from my stomach to my throat, putting me in pain.  How could one type of acid possibly cancel out another?

I looked at my other options first, which included milk (hate it), health food store remedies (didn’t work), and ant-acids (didn’t want un-natural stuff in my body), and finally decided to give the lemon juice a shot, and to my surprise, it totally worked.  Not 100%, but probably 80-90%.  And I knew it wasn’t just a coincidence, because a couple times I forgot to drink it in the morning, and suffered badly that same night.

So there you have it… the lemon juice trick to solving pregnancy heartburn.

That’s about it for symptoms… thankfully there are no signs of cankles just yet, and my rings still fit.  🙂

 

The Baby Shower

baby shower diaper game

The finished product: suspender-style diapers

A couple weeks ago, our good friends Monica and Graeme put on a super sweet Beach Baby-themed shower for us beside the pool and palm trees of their place.  The love and effort they put into the afternoon was amazing, and we were so thankful for everyone’s generosity.

Of course with every shower comes a few games, and this was no exception.  I think the best one was the “create a diaper” game… Andrew and I were each the “model” for a team, who had to wrap us in toilet paper to create a diaper.  Needless to say, it was a teensy bit awkward repeatedly spreading our legs for our friends to pass a roll of toilet paper between, but at the same time it was a super good laugh…

… and somehow we both ended up with suspender-style diapers 🙂

There was also the “taste the baby food and guess which flavour” game, and another clever one where we had to match baby names with their country of origin, which is a lot harder than it sounds.

At the end of each game, the winner got a prize that they had to hand over to us… so more presents for the baby – yay.

 

The Stroller

Ahhh, the stroller.  Who knew it would be like shopping for a new car?  But I kid you not, there are a LOT of features to consider, none of which I had any CLUE about even a few months ago.

Phil & Teds Vibe stroller

This is the one we ended up getting – the Phil & Teds Vibe stroller

I never used to notice these things, but now, I could pretty much walk down the street and tell you the name-brand and style of any stroller that passes by.

A couple weeks ago I set myself the goal of purchasing a stroller by the end of the school holidays, since after that I’ll be working another six weeks, and then the baby will be born.  This was pretty much my last chance to put some thorough thought and research into it before the clock really started ticking.

Another thing is that I really wanted to buy it second-hand, since these contraptions can run well over $1000 when bought new (once you add in all the attachments, etc that you need/want).  So that threw another wrench into things as I was scouring websites looking for the perfect product, and then driving all over creation examining them at people’s houses, only to not really love any of them.

Then, to make things even a little more crazy, I posted a simple question on Facebook about which stroller to get (already having a pretty good idea in mind, but just wanting to double-check with people in-the-know).  I thought one or two people might reply, but the response was huge and probably left me with more questions than answers.

The overwhelming majority of my friends said to go with the BOB Revolution over the Phil & Teds.  So off I went to the baby store to test-drive some of these lean machines, and the people were right, the BOB is amazing.  It turns on a dime, has incredible suspension for running, and looks pretty sleek.

However, the BOB didn’t have some of the major features I was after (that the Phil & Teds did had), most importantly, the ability to attach a second seat for another child/baby (since we’re thinking of having two kids within not too long of each other), and thereby not having to buy another stroller when #2 comes along.

Also, the BOB is soooo expensive, and although I understand that a stroller is an investment in your lifestyle, it was looking like it was going to cost us about twice as much to do the BOB thing, especially since I could not find a single BOB for sale second-hand.  Weird, I know, but true.

So in the end it was looking more like a Phil & Teds, which is still good for keeping fit, but just not to the extreme running level that the BOB would offer.  So the search continued, and in the end we were able to pick up a second-hand Phil & Teds Vibe stroller that came with pretty much every attachment I was after and more: a second seat, a baby carseat/capsule that clips into the stroller and car, seat liners, a travel bag for taking the stroller on airplanes, a little carry-bed that fits into the stroller, covers for both sun and rain, and a base to make the second seat into a baby bouncy chair.

All of this for less than a third of what the chick paid for it all new, plus it’s only been used for a short while.  I was sooo happy with the purchase, and totally feel like taking the stroller for a bunch of test-drives along the beach, but am thinking that might look a little strange without there actually being a baby inside.  We’ll see… 😉

(ps- fun fact: Here in Australia they call a stroller a “pram,” which in my mind is an old British word for the same thing, so I just kept using the word stroller.  However, a “stroller” here refers to one of those cheapy umbrella strollers that you can get from Kmart for $20, so I’m having to shift my vocabulary a bit here to be understood.)

 

The Fitness Regimen

Pregnancy Fitness Lunges

Poolside Lunges

To be perfectly honest, the fitness side of things is slowing down a bit for me.  It seems the bigger I get, the more tired and less motivated I am.

That being said, I know I can’t quit altogether, so I’m trying to incorporate fitness into my life as much as possible, but not necessarily in the form of long workouts.

I try to sneak it in, so for example, doing squats and butt kicks while I brush my teeth, lifting some weights in between cooking dinner, doing lunges on our balcony while I wait for Andrew (if we’re going out and I’m ready first), and most recently, poolside exercises.

Now that the weather is getting a bit toastier again, the pool is the perfect place to work out, because when I get hot, I can jump in for a quick cool-off.  Plus, doing all the moves on the edge of the pool encourages good form and balance, because if I lose it, I’m in the drink 🙂

The fence behind me (in the picture) is also good for holding onto to do standing wall push-ups and butt kicks.

I wonder what the neighbors must think when they look out their windows… but whatever, in the end I don’t really care that much.

So there you have it… the full update on the pregnancy so far.  Only about six weeks to go now until Andrew and I are parents… so exciting.  Totally can’t wait.

 

5 Responses to Pregnancy Update – 34 Weeks

  • caroline says:

    WOW! don’t even know what to say. By 34 weeks with my 1st preg, I was sitting on the couch, complaining about my back pain- exercise never even crossed my mind. My 2nd preg- my dad died when I was 6 months prego— so that was a total right off. Couldn’t tell you any details about that preg. Glad Olivia made it out safe! You are in inspiration miss C. Good for you. One day you will inspire me so much, I will make it to exercise. (Doing weight lifting while making dinner…. really?!? That’s dedication… and you have the outcome to prove it. You are looking great… hawt as always!! 😉
    Are you coming back to Canada for Christmas again? I remember what a fantastic Christmas you had last year. I was living so vicariously through you! Are we going to have the same Christmas again this year?!? lol

    • admin says:

      Hey Caroline, great to hear from you. Can’t believe we didn’t get to actually see each other while I was in Canada last Christmas- would have been a blast. No, we aren’t coming back this Christmas as we aim for roughly every other year, plus I’ll have just had a baby a month ago this Christmas, so might not feel like braving the 17-hour plane ride 🙂
      Yes, I bet one of these days you are gonna get super inspired by someone/thing to get that exercise going, and you’re gonna look GREAT 🙂

  • EB says:

    How about going on a test drive with a doll inside. No one will know! Unless they stop to check out the cute baby in the “pram”! 🙂
    Fun update – keep them coming, mama!

    • admin says:

      Good idea, Esther… maybe I’ll try that. I have to borrow a doll this week anyways to take along to the prenatal class… maybe I’ll push the doll all the way to the class in the stroller, just for extra practice. 🙂

  • Miley says:

    Great review Esther! I think i will try this out. I love double strollers.

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