Soup days

It’s that time of year again, when warm liquid food starts sounding really good. Our neighbor keeps saying what a nice November it’s been, and I can only inwardly sigh and feel sorry for the Germans, who have a very strange sense of what ‘good’ weather constitutes. We’ve been having lots of cold and fog. So much fog that the skyscrapers of Frankfurt can’t be seen for days on end. Add to that a few sprinkles of rain, and you can understand why I dream of an escape to Arizona.

'Good' November weather

‘Good’ November weather

Instead, and in preparation of Roo’s coming, I decided to mass produce several liters of soup for our freezer. We now have potato soup, carrot soup, and creamy pea soup ready to go!

soup days

Ingredients for a warm winter

Winter, do your worst! Roo, please be gentle :)

 

Funny things about being pregnant – the later days

(This list is longer than the early days and the middle days due to the fact that my belly has taken on epic proportions in this final trimester. And I didn’t believe them when they said I wouldn’t believe just how big it can get…)

Wondering where my feet are.

Not looking forward to putting socks on.

Not remembering why I got up to go to the kitchen although conceivably I had a really good reason. I guess I’ll get a snack while I’m there…

Watching my belly literally take on a life of its own. Is he doing the wave in there?!

Feeling like a druggie with my little baggie of Tums. It’s easier than carrying around the 150-pack.

Knowing a belly growth spurt must be coming because of the fact that I’ve been craving (and eating) meat for 7 days straight. (Even more interesting considering I am a near-vegetarian.)

Noticing that the fronts of most of my shirts are starting to pill. That’s what you get from too much belly rubbing!

Going to look out the window and running into the glass with my belly.

When Roo gets the hiccups. And it rattles my bladder.

Hearing my tummy in its new location up under my rib cage when it rumbles.

Realizing how soft the skin inside my now popped-out belly button is.

Little things

It’s that time of year again, when winter begins its slow and steady approach. Although we are still safely in the plus digits, this Arizona girl has busted out her warm winter boots and down jackets (thank goodness one or two still fit!). In Frankfurt, there was a persistent fog hanging over the skyscrapers until yesterday. And one sure sign it’s getting chilly, even the Germans aren’t sitting outside as much – my favorite little coffee house is starting to burst at the seams.

But there are definitely some nice sides to this inevitable change of seasons. Cozy things like homemade soup for dinner, reading a book cuddled under a blanket, and clementines. I love them! They’re like little packets of sunshine and goodness!

clementines

Kugelfisch

I’ve always been a cardio lover. There’s nothing like the sweat dripping from your pores, the panting for air, the lactic acid flushing your muscles, all combining to give you that feeling of being alive. Favorites over the years have been running (depending on the phase of the planets), spinning, kickboxing, Zumba, and swimming. There’s always been swimming.

Now that I’m pregnant, I’ve rediscovered my love for swimming. Shortly after we moved to Frankfurt, I found a pool close enough to ride my bike to. Initially I didn’t understand just how nice swimming can be for the pregnant body. Now that I’ve gained considerable girth (so much that I purchased my first-ever sport bikini because that’s just so much easier), I love the buoyancy the water provides. And being in the water helps relieve swelling in your feet and legs. Double bonus!

I haven’t had to modify much. I’m a big freestyler, and that works really well with a baby belly. Backstroke was never a favorite of mine, aside from the fact that you can’t keep as careful an eye on what co-swimmers are doing to make sure they keep the their flailing arms and legs away from your precious cargo hold as it slices through the water. Breaststroke, the non-granny kind where you dip your head under with each stroke to avoid too much pressure on your lower back, works well too. I just get bored with my lack of speed after a while. Butterfly seems like too much effort for my cardiovascular system, so, while I will dolphin kick a few laps, I never do the full-on stroke.

A big question I asked myself recently was whether or not flip turns are still a good idea. There are a lot of great discussions in the U.S. Masters Swimming forums. From what I can tell, the standard advice goes here too – if it feels good, do it; once the belly is too big, you won’t want to anymore anyway. I’d been flip-turning away until just this week, week 34, when all of a sudden it became obvious. There’s just no more space to roll into a ball and flip over.

I keep it relatively low-key, but my typical swim workouts combine any of the following:

alternating 200 freestyle + 200 flutter kick + 200 freestyle stroke with pull buoy

alternating 100 flutter kick + 100 freestyle stroke with pull buoy

alternating 100 breaststroke + 100 dolphin kick with single-sided stroke

5 x 200 freestyle (on 5 minutes if I’m feeling strong)

5 x 100 freestyle (on 3 minutes if I’m feeling strong)

I usually aim for 2,000 meters total. Since my heart rate monitor doesn’t work under water, I go with how I’m feeling to monitor my intensity using the Rate of Perceived Exertion. Some days are faster. Some days just aren’t. I always give myself extra time between sets to get my heart rate down again and to catch my breath. And the water bottle is never far from reach.

The most fun part about swimming? When people smile and say that Roo is already getting his first swim lessons. And I like when Toby calls me a Kugelfish (puffer fish, literally ball fish).