Wednesday, January 23, 2013

39 Week Update

This week I started my maternity leave. I thought relaxing would be a lot of fun, but after 2 days, I am going stir-crazy! It hasn't helped that the weather here has been frigid.... around -25 or -30 degrees with the wind chill. I don't have a proper winter jacket that fits my large belly, so the daily walks I had planned have not been happening. I tried a balance ball exercise from YouTube and quickly realized I am waaaay beyond sit ups on a ball. Oh well. My goal today is to get out of the house. Maybe to a mall, where I can walk!

Other than that, things on the pregnancy end have been going ok. I have been having some sciatica pain (it comes and goes!) but otherwise feel pretty good! I am definitely at the stage where it is "The Waiting Game". I am getting antsy, and so are baby B's grandparents! 

I've been thinking more about the sex of the baby lately. For most of my pregnancy, I was SURE it is a girl. Lately I've been feeling more like it may be a boy. After telling Joe last night that I thought it is a boy, I had a dream that it was a girl. What it comes down to is... I have no clue! I no longer have that instinctual feeling. Whether a He or She... baby B will be the perfect match for our little family! I can't wait to meet him/her. I'm feeling really glad that we didn't find out the sex, as I am feeling pretty excited about the moment that Joe and I find out. It will be so special! Our midwife even said that she'll leave it up to us to figure it out (instead of telling us), which I think it great! 

Anyway, here are some photos!

39 Weeks 

And even though I was SURE I would never publish a photo of my bare preggo belly... here it is. I couldn't resist! It really is quite amazing... 

One week until Due Date! Although I have a feeling this little guy or gal may decide to take his/her time coming out... I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

on becoming vegan

Since the beginning of the New Year, Joe and I have converted to eating vegan.
It has been a definite challenge, but we feel pretty convinced that it is the best choice we could make. We've had a few people wondering why we made the switch, so I thought I'd explain a little bit!

Back in November, we watched the documentary, "Forks Over Knives". The gist of the documentary is that eating animal products (including dairy, eggs, etc.) is THE cause of the obesity problems and all of the icky diseases that are killing North Americans. (ex. Heart disease, diabetes, many types of cancer, liver disease, etc.) It claimed that eating plant-based prevents (and can even reverse!) these diseases. Since Joe and I generally strive to live healthy lifestyles, we thought we would research a little further.

Through a lot of reading on the topic, we became pretty convinced; Eating a plant-based diet is the best thing you can do to live a long and healthy life.

It was a huge challenge at first. We thought we could start cold-turkey, but found it challenging to cut out eggs (our high-protein, filling, daily breakfast) and yogourt (my favourite snack!) So, for about a month, we still ate those. Then at Christmas it was extra challenging, with so many yummy goodies around. We did pretty well, and only indulged on a few things. 

That being said, in the New Year, we have cut out all animal based foods. We have been eating oatmeal, fruit and peanut butter to fill up in the morning, and I have simply been choosing to snack on plant-based foods like fruit and nuts. There are definitely moments (especially being 38 weeks pregnant!) where I crave things: mostly it has been chocolate or a glass of milk. But, so far we have stuck to it.

Of course, there are other huge benefits to going vegan. As many of you know, I was previously a vegetarian for environmental reasons... so that was no surprise. I still ate eggs and dairy, though. What did surprise me, however, was to learn that the production of eggs uses more energy than the production of chicken meat! So vegetarian eating can still have quite the negative environmental impact... Anyway, here are some of the benefits we have discovered, besides the healthy benefits:

1. Environmental
 Meat production is the number one producer of Greenhouse Gas emissions worldwide. Yes...more than cars! Eating plant-based drastically decreases your carbon footprint, and that is always a good thing in my opinion!

2. Ethical
Of course... there is the fact that not relying on animals for food means that we're not supporting any inhumane treatment of animals that are raised for that purpose.

3. Financial
Relying on beans, legumes and grains for your protein tends to be much less expensive than meat. And yes, we do still get enough protein! 

Becoming vegan has definitely required a complete change in mindset around food.
By eating this way, you need to view foods more according to their nutritional benefits than whether or not they taste good. I have learned so much about the nutritional value of foods, and what nutrients my body actually needs in order to be healthy. Never before would I have considered eating a raw piece of kale, but now I do because I know how beneficial it is to my health (and my unborn child's!)  

That being said, there are still SO many delicious foods that are vegan. I'm not saying food around here is boring! 

Anyway, that just scratches the surface. It has been really eye-opening to learn about and become a vegan. We'll see how it goes!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Updated House Tour!

As of now, we have been living in our home for just over 7 months!
(It is also just over 7 months since finding out we were pregnant... I took the pregnancy test the day we moved in to determine whether or not I could go into our new hot tub :)

Anyway, I thought it is about time that I do an updated house tour. We have done a lot of smaller projects and things are really starting to shape up around here. Most of our rooms are still "in progress".

Some of the things you will see on here are things I have already blogged about. Feel free to browse!

Front of House
When we moved in, the garage and doors were painted an outdated reddish brown.
We repainted the doors/garage in a more modern neutral. We have also done a bit of pruning and removing of some plants in the front. It is looking much nicer!

The Main Floor
1. Front Hallway
Unfortunately the only "before" picture we have of the hallway was taken during our initial house tours before buying the house. As you can see... the hallway was painted the same yellow as the rest of the house. 

Since moving in we repainted in a dark teal and we love how it turned out! It helps to balance out all of the other neutral colours we have chosen.

2. Living/Dining Room
We have made quite a few changes to this room. When we first moved in, we didn't even have proper furniture for the room, so we simply put in some existing furniture for the time being while we awaited our new couch and chairs.

Since then, we have made quite a few changes:
- We repainted the walls in a lighter and more neutral colour
- We replaced the window coverings with white curtains (The front window had heavy, dusty yellow drapes)
- We purchased a new couch and chairs and a new carpet
- We scored a cheap and large teak coffee table on Kijiji!

And we finally found some nice throw pillows for the couch to add colour and pull a few things together. We still want to add more art to the walls and a few more accessories.

3. Sitting Room
The same ol' yellow. The same heavy yellow drapes. At least the previous owners were consistent ?


We have made quite a few changes to this room, including:
- Repainting in a neutral grey
- Replacing the drapes with white curtains
- Replacing the light fixture (originally a heavy, ugly fan)
- Adding a couple of big bookshelves




4. The Kitchen
The kitchen is the room in the house that I have the most issues with. It is u-g-l-y! However, we looked into cabinet refacing, and it was so expensive it just isn't worth it right now. Instead, we simply freshened it up with new paint. It looks much more inviting!



1. The office

 The office has now been turned into the spare bedroom, since our spare bedroom has turned into a nursery :)
We have repainted the walls using leftover paint from our sitting room downstairs (why not?!) and simply removed the heavy yellow drapes. It looks much better! Although it could still use some sprucing up with accessories.

2. The main bathroom
A great example of the "special" tile that was a part of our house when we bought it. I painted the tile and Joe took down the sliding brownish glass door over the tub and the awkward hanging cupboard. We replaced it with an extra-long, fun shower curtain. I also replaced the light fixture covers to make it match a little nicer.


3. The spare bedroom
This room is currently being converted into our nursery! Here is the before.

We replaced the curtains, repainted the walls, and have been slowly aquiring some baby things to fill the room. Only 2 (or so) weeks to go until this room gets some use! We  have quite a bit of work to do in here still, as it is still really an empty palette, ready to be decorated according to our baby! We also plan on repainting and refinishing some of the furniture...all of which we bought off of Kijiji!

4. The Master Bedroom
When we moved in, the master bedroom matched the rest of the house in colour. Since then, we repainted a light blue and changed the window coverings. We still need to add some artwork and maybe a few colourful throw pillows to add interest. 

5. The Ensuite bathroom
We decided we wanted to take down the wall cupboard and replace the pedestal sink with a vanity that has storage underneath. We thought this would be a small project, but it ended up being much more challenging than we originally thought! Mostly because I attempted to do the plumbing myself with zero experience. Needless to say, I learned a lot through trial and error, and am pretty impressed that I did it! And we are really happy with the result... it is a much better use of the space. 


The Basement

We have pretty much left the basement as-is so far. I think this will be the last part of the house we tackle, since it is the part of the house we use the least. 

Main area
Spare bedroom...aka storage room
The "Fun House" is still the same...Yikes!

Laundry Room
The Backyard

We haven't needed to do too much in the backyard. However, we did choose to rip out the awful fountain (it just wasn't my style!) and re-seeded that part of the lawn. It looks much better!

After taking out the fountain and adding seed
It is fun to look back at all of the progress we have made. It's exciting to think about the changes we still have to make!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

36 Weeks!

Today marks 36 weeks!
That means I'm starting my 9th month. Scary! And exciting!

Joe and I have definitely been talking more about the reality of what's coming...and fast! It is starting to feel really real! It has always felt like Baby Barlen's birthday is off in the distance, but now it is feeling like it is around the corner. I can't wait to meet the little munchkin, and see what he/she looks like! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013!

Happy New Years 2013, everyone!

2012 has been a pretty exciting year at the Barlen household. Like I did last year in this post, I am going to write out my top 10 highlights of 2012! It is a really fun way to think about your year... I recommend it :) I will also write out some goals for 2013.

10. Hiking new sections of the Bruce Trail: My Mum and her partner, Rick, bought a house in Eugenia. It is right on the Bruce trail, which made for a great excuse to hike more of it!

9. In late April, we joined Joe's friend, Chris, on an early spring Canoe trip at McCrae Lake. It was a fun adventure!

8. Hiking through the German Alps at Neuschwanstein Castle. I visited this place back in my year abroad, but didn't hike around much. It was amazing!

7. Mum and Rick got married!

6. Buying our second house! We moved in on May 23rd, and have been busy with it ever since. It has been fun!

5. Paris with Joe: it was a lot of fun to show Joe around one of my favourite cities! And it was also fun to explore Paris WITHOUT a student budget... That was a first for me! Although we did do many things on a budget still.

4. Reuniting with my French host family, the Sechers. Joe and I spent 4 days near Nantes, France catching up with them, and it was just like old times. Except the kids were much older! It was so wonderful.

3. On July 30th, my newest nephew, Spencer James Bauman was born! He is the one of the sweetest and happiest babies I've met!

2. Celebrating our first anniversary! As some of you may know... Joe and I got married one year from the day we met. This year on our first anniversary we were expecting! Things have definitely moved quickly, but I couldn't be happier! I am one lucky girl! Married life with Joe sure is easy!

1. Finding out we were pregnant! Although the baby won't come until early 2013, he/she has been one of our biggest focuses this year... Since I've been pregnant for much of the year! It has been an exciting (and uncomfortable!) time. I can't wait to meet him/her!

Goals for 2013

It is more challenging to make goals this year with so much unknown coming our way... so they will probably be more open-ended this year!

1. Be the best Mum I can be! It's hard to believe I'll have a baby.... And soon! I'm really excited and anxious.
2. Get back in shape after baby.
3. Eat more vegan. As of now, I have cut out all animal based products except for eggs and yogurt. I must say I have noticed some huge improvements in mood and health! (I haven't really been sick this fall, and when I had a sore throat it was minor and lasted only 2 days.) I also notice the difference when I do eat animal products (ex. Over Christmas!), which isn't always good. I would love to become fully vegan. (This should probably be a full-post that I do...)
4. Some sort of a trip next summer ??

I hope you all had a great New Years, a wonderful 2012, and an even better 2013! 
I'm looking forward to all that this new year will bring!