food, travel, lifestyle, and a hearty serving of motherhood

Month: February 2016

31 Weeks!

No nursery or baby clothing pics this week… so a handful of cat and food photos will have to suffice. You know you love the cat photos, though.

31 Weeks

Weeks: 31 (9 to go!)

Maternity clothes: As the weather begins to warm up, I’m on the hunt for comfortable (and cute, of course) maternity dresses. I’m loving that I can still get away with leggings and tops lately, but leggings are going to start to look odd when mid-March rolls around.

Sleep: Still waking up at least twice each night for trips to the bathroom. Also, I reallllllllly miss sleeping on my stomach. Like, so much.

Miss anything? As mentioned in my last post, I miss running. February has that cool, crisp air that makes running so invigorating! I see many evening walks with Richard in my near future, as I get into the “okay, I’m ready for this baby to be here” stage!

Richard explaining to Merlin that he won't be "the baby" for much longer...

Richard explaining to Merlin that he won’t be “the baby” for much longer…

Movement: Baby’s movements are a bit more slow and gradual now that he’s running out of space. I feel more turns and rolls, rather than jabs and pokes. Still hiccuping like crazy, though!

Food cravings: Mediterranean food galore! Hummus, pita, lentil salad, black beans… Oh, and donuts (from Duck Donuts, of course).


Symptoms: The heartburn creeps up during the day sometimes now. It’s annoying, but manageable.

Belly button: Still an innie!

Emotions: You guys. My eyes literally well up with tears when we watch these birth videos in our labor class at Rex Hospital. IT’S ALL SO BEAUTIFUL! And also frightening.

Best moment this week: This has been a great week so far. I had lunch with my Mom yesterday, which was a real treat (see our selfie below)! Also, Richard and I had our third (of five) classes at Rex last night where we learned about all of the various pain management options for labor. I also picked up a few hospital bag essentials today from Target… since I really need to work on starting to pack that bag!

Not our best photo... but hey, it was a rainy, bad hair day!

Not our best photo… but hey, it was a rainy, bad hair day!

Looking forward to: Richard and I leave for Asheville tomorrow morning! I suppose you can call this little getaway our official “babymoon”. I can’t wait. Will be sure to snap lots of photos and provide a recap, of course!

xo Cassie

Aiming for Balanced

Full-disclosure: I am a SparkPeople-turned-MyFitnessPal addict.

I am well-versed in counting calories, tracking sugar and sodium intake, monitoring daily activities, etc.

Yet, things have changed.

My diet and activity level over the last 7 months has been vastly different from my “normal” habits. The truth is, with the arrival of our little guy only two short months away, it’s time to start rethinking my habits. Yes, I’ve been enjoying my fair-share of indulgences whilst pregnant. Pfffft, why shouldn’t I? However, all along, I’ve kept in mind that I’d like to return to my “normal” eating/fitness habits as soon as possible.

The truth is, it’s been difficult.

I enjoy being active. I enjoy cooking healthy meals. I certainly enjoy seeing the results of hard work.

For example, I had every intention of continuing to run throughout as much of my pregnancy as possible. Instead, I missed out on two half-marathons in the fall because my body wasn’t in a place to train. Hell, the first trimester can be summed up like this: feeling hungover every single morning without the thrill of actually getting drunk the night before.

By the time the second trimester rolled around, I felt great. I actually felt pretty fantastic. I walked some, but I was afraid to run.

I hadn’t run in months.

The fitness aspect of my life fell completely to the wayside because I was terrified to push myself past “uncomfortable”.

I wanted so badly to run, but I didn’t want to injure myself or overdo it and somehow threaten my baby’s life.

You see, it’s too easy to read about the woman who gave birth hours after finishing a marathon in Chicago and wonder why that couldn’t be me. But hey, all pregnancies are different!

The bottom line is, my whole life is about to change. I don’t know what I’m in for. I do know that I’m not aiming for an outrageously perfect lifestyle.

I’m just over here aiming for balanced.

xo Cassie

30 Weeks!

First, how ADORABLE is this 6-12 month Patagonia down jacket?! I found it on the clearance rack at REI. Baby is going to be stylin’.

I hope that you had an enjoyable Valentine’s Day weekend and that you stayed safe during our very brief little ice episode here in the Triangle. Here’s a little update from me!

30 Weeks

Weeks: 30 (10 to go!)

Maternity clothes: Well, I’m finally starting to fit into the few maternity dresses that I purchased months ago, but it’s mostly been too cold to even think about wearing them! I did wear a dress on Sunday to dress up a little for Valentine’s Day. And yes, my legs were pretty damn cold. But at least I looked cute!

Valentine's Day

Sleep: Sadly, I’ve been needing to use the entire bed to find a comfortable sleeping position… so poor Richard has occasionally (lately more often than not) been sleeping in the guest bedroom. I hate it, but when he IS in the bed with me, I am so restless! And when he isn’t in the bed, I wake up stretched across the entire bed feeling quite well-rested! I’m hoping that when our king bed arrives in early March, we can both fit in the bed comfortably.

Miss anything? Missing breweries more and more… though this is likely because we are headed to Asheville next week. Sigh.

Movement: Baby has been hiccuping daily — sometimes multiple times per day! It’s cute, but not easily felt from the outside, since the movement is so subtle.


Food cravings: Chocolate, peanut butter, and cheeses (goat cheeses and various gruyeres, to be specific) — baby is going to have quite the palate!

Symptoms: Mild heartburn at night.

Belly button: Still an innie!

Emotions: I had my first VERY realistic baby dream a couple of nights ago! Granted, the baby in the dream was a girl, but holding the baby and kissing her little forehead still seemed very real. This dream likely signifies how little time we have left before our little guy is here!!


Best moment this week: On Valentine’s Day, I unexpectedly had the day off! And, since Richard and I rarely get to spend an entire day together, we planned a day of fun activities around Chapel Hill and Durham. We started the morning off with a gentle yoga class at Carrboro Yoga Company. I was happy to see that I wasn’t the only pregnant lady in the class! The instructor had plenty of modifications for us, so that we could participate fully while staying comfortable. From Carrboro, we ventured to Durham and enjoyed a delicious brunch at Vin Rouge, a delightful French bistro. After brunch, we headed back toward Chapel Hill to see the long-running “Carolina Skies” show at the Morehead Planetarium on UNC campus! We closed out the day with gelato affogatos at La Vita Dolce and picked up a few groceries (for a dinner at home) at Weaver Street Market in Southern Village. We had such a great time exploring our local community!

Looking forward to: My massage today (yay!) and Richard and I are going to dinner with friends this evening in downtown Raleigh!

xo Cassie

Hello, Third Trimester!

So, I don’t intend on turning this into a “mommy blog”, but I would like to share weekly pregnancy updates from here until our little guy’s arrival! The first trimester crawwwwwled while the second one flew by, so I’m definitely anxious to see how the third and final will go.

29 Week Bump

Weeks: 29 (11 to go!)

Maternity clothes: I’ve been wearing my various Athleta maternity leggings almost every day for the last couple of months — so glad that it’s winter! I occasionally wear my normal jeans for a night out. I’m still fitting into them just fine when they are unbuttoned (with the hair-tie trick) and of course with my trusty BellaBand! As far as tops, I’ve been mixing maternity (mostly from Target and StitchFix) and normal loose-fitting tops, typically with an Athleta tank underneath for a little extra coverage and support.

Faux plant

Sleep: While sleep is getting more uncomfortable, I feel lucky that I’ve only had a couple of terrible nights thus far. I certainly toss from side to side (and I really miss sleeping on my stomach), but I am currently sleeping with just my normal pillow. I tried a “pregnancy (body) pillow”, and it was too overwhelming. Maybe I just move around too much to have a giant pillow engulfing me. Unfortunately, I get up at least twice each night to pee each and every night. It’s all so glamorous!

Miss anything? I mostly miss going to breweries and enjoying as many delicious craft beers as I want! I miss raw oysters, too.

Baby boy clothes

Movement: From kicks to rolls to jabs, this guy moves around every single day now. It’s really neat (and weird) to see his movements from the outside! I joked to Richard that perhaps our baby will be the next Arsenal star player!

Food cravings: Popcorn shrimp (which I so happily devoured for dinner last night) and chocolate. But when do I not crave chocolate?

Laundry basket

Symptoms: Heartburn at night and some sleepiness in the afternoon.

Belly button: Still an innie!

Emotions: Same old me — I haven’t cried or gotten emotional about anything… yet!

Best moment this week: I got to see the renovation progress on my brother’s house in downtown Raleigh on Tuesday and I treated myself to coffee and a pastry at Night Kitchen while in the area. And oh yeah, this trimester is all about that TREAT YO SELF.

Looking forward to: We start our childbirth classes at Rex Hospital on Tuesday, so I’m both excited and nervous about that. And then on Wednesday, I have a prenatal massage around lunchtime followed by an OB appt in the afternoon to see how baby is progressing!

Nursery updates

It seems like there is a pregnant blogger boom happening right now — if you’re out there, I’d love to hear how you’re feeling lately!

xo Cassie

Fill Your Cup

We all know that we should take care of ourselves, right?

However, most of us struggle to grasp the difference between “self-care” and “indulgence”.

Self-care: noun, care of the self without medical or professional consultation.
Indulgence: noun, the act or practice of indulging; gratification of desire.

For me, both of these nouns are necessary when paving a road toward a fulfilled life. The phrase “You can’t pour from an empty cup” means to put yourself first. Literally. You have to take care of YOU. How can I be a good friend / wife / sister / daughter / mother if I cannot first find a sense of peace and stability in my own life? I’m not much use to anybody if I’m feeling worn out or overworked.

With our little guy’s arrival only 11 short weeks away (wait, what?), it’s time to make self-care a habit so that I can be the best mom that I can possibly be.

After reading countless blogs about healthy habits, self-care, and little indulgences, here’s a list of things that I vow to work on:

Read an actual book — Not an iPad. As per recommendation, I’ve started reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I can already tell that this book is going to prove incredibly useful as Richard and I prepare for our baby boy to arrive.

Keep the calendar up-to-date — Richard and I share a Google Calendar. We can both add (and edit) events and appointments, so that we are constantly in the know. This helps us avoid “surprises”.

Drink tea — Yep. It’s that simple. When you really sit down to enjoy a cup of tea (or coffee), you are able to practice complete mindfulness. You aren’t thinking about what comes next or what task you still need to work on… you’re just enjoying life in that very moment. And to me, that’s big.

Create a haven — Make your bedroom your happy place. We have new bedroom furniture coming (which I’m SO excited about), and this is going help move our bedroom in the direction of being a peaceful place. Right now, we have a miss-match smorgasbord of furniture from before Richard and I met!

Hug someone — This sounds stupid, I know. But when I come home after a long day on my feet, a big hug from Richard seems to melt any lingering stress away. Hugs are awesome. Don’t underestimate their power.

Drink water — And lots of it. I feel infinitely better on days that I drink 10+ cups of water. Ask anyone who knows me, I LOVE water. I drink it constantly. It helps my mood, I swear. Plus, it’s just good for you.

Get a massage — My brother recently gave me a Groupon for a prenatal massage at a nearby spa. What an amazing gift. I was able to indulge AND experience something that actually helped me recharge. I’ve decided to make massage a regular part of my life. After all, I’m not spending money on craft beers lately… So that calls for a “treat yo self”! If massage isn’t your thing, get a manicure or pedicure. Get your hair done. Buy a new outfit. Sometimes these little things can change our outlook on an entire week.

Carry snacks with you — I’ve been a fan of boxes for about a year and a half now. (Thanks, Mom and Kara!) I throw them in my lunchbox and my purse, I pack them on trips (sometimes pretzels on an airplane just doesn’t cut it), and I most certainly bring them to the gym. It’s nice to feel prepared when that afternoon hunger pang strikes!

Travel — This is a must. Richard and I have a few places that are very special to us, and it’s important for us to get away from everyday life every once in a little while. So, get out there and see it all.

As my 91-year-old grandfather so often (and so wisely) says,

“Just do everything.”

Acadia 2

Acadia National Park, October 2015

Our trip to Acadia National Park, October 2015

How do you feel when making time for you? Does it come easily, or do you feel a bit selfish from time to time? What does self-care mean to you? I’d love to hear your tips and thoughts!

xo Cassie

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