Italy Recap

Hi friends!

I wanted to hop on here and do a quick recap of our Italy trip. We went for a total of 9 days and that included flying. 

Dave and I had been wanting to go to Europe for a while now but it just never worked out until now. I asked my OB doctor what the max cutoff date for me flying was and she said 34 weeks. So, I figured that at 28/29 weeks I could do it.

For this trip, we wanted to go to a lot of places and see a lot of things so I made sure we booked everything in advance. That included flights over there, lodging, train tickets and skip the line tickets for major sights. 

For flights we booked through Expedia. For trains we booked through ItaliaRail and it was really upfront and forward on how to book. Our flights over there were around $750 a person and then trains were around $150 a person for all the traveling we did. We also bought a 3 day metro pass which was very easy to purchase at the metro station. We did take a taxi a couple of times and that was around $10 - $15 a ride. However, at the end of the day my pregnant legs and belly just couldn't take it anymore and we had to taxi back. =)

Everywhere online recommended to purchase 'skip the line' tickets to get into major sights. We bought walking tours to the Colosseum and to the Vatican and I believe we booked through Enjoy Rome.  We also booked tickets to climb the Duomo in Florence and to climb Pisa tower. You didn't need a tour for those two places but you definitely needed tickets or you weren't climbing.

Now, somehow Dave and I went during cultural week and all the museums were free! Had I known that we would not have booked tours but would have just purchased tickets to climb the Duomo and Pisa. I honestly have no idea how someone would find that out but if you can, plan it around that time as it will save you loads of money. I also e-mailed the Colosseum tour and they reimbursed us for our ticket portion. We actually went to the Colosseum twice because of the free tickets. Also, if you follow me on IG you know this, but if you are pregnant you get marched to the front of every line of all the major sights. I am not exaggerating when I say we passed about 2,000+ people. At first I felt bad but the more I walked and stood around the more I was grateful that they were so nice to pregnant ladies.

If you are on a budget and don't want to pay for tours you should download the Steve Ricks free app. He has tours on there that will guide you through the Colosseum, the Forum and lots of other major sights in Italy. His tours are as good as the paid local ones and you don't have to wait on your group to diddle daddle around. =) We listened to a lot of his audio guides on Italy and it was really interesting. 

For our trip we stayed in Rome, in Florence and in Venice. Pisa is close to Florence and it only takes about half a day to see the leaning tower so we just made a day trip out of that. 

Here are a few things I noticed/loved about Italy:

1. Their coffee scene is amazing! They have walkup coffee bars. You pay in advance, show your receipt to the barista and they make your drink and you just stand at the counter and drink it. It is very affordable and so incredibly delicious!

2. Bathrooms are a pain in the rear. You have to pay for most bathrooms or buy food from the restaurants. And being pregnant I had to go 1,290,099 times ;).

3. So many people smoke in Italy. It was nasty and I could hardly believe the amount of smoking that went on.

4. Commuting and getting around is incredibly easy. The people are nice and will help you too.

5. The food! Oh my word! I'm so glad we walked 20,000+/- steps a day so I could justify eating load and loads of pasta, pastries and pizza. 

6. I loved seeing people's reactions to our baby! Even when we didn't speak the same language so many people asked if it were a boy or a girl. Literally, every time a man asked he would like at Dave and shake his head and laugh but when a women asked she would smile and get really excited that it was a girl. It was fun!

7. The leather shops all over Italy are so spectacular! I went to so many in search of the perfect handbag and I found one! But even the smells of those leather shops are sublime.

All in all we had a really good time! I'm so thankful we could take this trip and see a new culture and lots of history. I will try and do a few more posts with some of the highlights and if you have any specific questions just ask me and I will do my best to get you an answer.


A Fitness Update: Working Out While Pregnant

Oh hi blog world! I haven't sat down and written in so long on here but really got this urge to write so I am sitting here typing this out.

If you don't know by now Dave and I are expecting our first child (baby girl!) in June and we are super super excited. It is crazy how much your heart can change so quickly towards a little person you haven't even met yet.

Today I wanted to talk about fitness in pregnancy. I've talked about fitness several times on the blog and you can read last year's post here about how I talked about doing all the hard things. And truth be told, Dave and I knew we wanted to have a family and I figured one of the best things I could do to prepare myself was to be fit. And I gave it 110% last year. I did the crossfit open, I did pullups (hooooray and finally!), I PR'd my half marathon, PR'd my deadlift and a few other crossfit lifts. Basically I busted my butt knowing I probably couldn't push it that hard while pregnant and for some time thereafter. BUT....I'm still working out while pregnant and wanted to share a bit about that journey.

The first trimester was tough to workout during but once I finally did workout I felt so much better. I gagged a lot during workouts but thankfully never vomited and I somehow managed not to hurl barf everywhere when people at the gym had BO. =)

I'm learning that pregnancy will make you feel like the strongest most amazing person and it will also humble you and make you feel like you have nothing in you to do a workout with. I'm learning that little baby J inside me will definitely tell me when she is getting smashed during a workout and I'm okay with backing off or just doing something completely different. Before I get into my workouts do know that my doctor approves everything I am doing. She said since I did crossfit before being pregnant I should keep with it. She said the recovery will be so much better if I stay active. The only thing she told me not to do was to lay flat on my back and do abs after 20 weeks, which I gladly will not do that. So, with that being said here is a summary of what I've been doing while pregnant:

Yes, I am still doing crossfit (Shout out to Crossfit Wichita for being awesome). In my first trimester I somehow managed to PR my deadlift with a total weight of 215 pounds and it didn't feel that hard or I wouldn't have done it. I was doing pretty much everything like normal in my first trimester but I was just huffing and puffing and was so incredibly slow. Actually, that is how I really figured I was pregnant. One day at crossfit, the new people were beating me and when that workout was over I went straight to Walgreens and got a pregnancy test and when that positive sign showed up it all made sense.

Now that I am in my 2nd trimester I can't do all the things. I tried to do a pullup the other day and that was comical. I told my coach I could still climb a rope (which I think I could....) but he told me in a very nice way that wasn't a good idea and he had me do ring rows instead. And I'm thankful my coaches are smart enough to tell me no and give me other options. My coaches at the crossfit gym are very supportive of pregnant people and they always find ways for me to modify a workout. Sometimes I cut a workout in half or some days I will look and see what the workout is and decide that isn't the best thing to do while pregnant.

I will say crossfit has been a saving grace for me during pregnancy. It is something I can still do I just modify and listen to my body and the support network there is incredible.

I was 13ish weeks pregnant in this photo and after this crossfit workout I went home and took a 2 hour nap. Keeping it real over here... =)

I wish you could see me eye rolling right now. Running is barely happening on my end. Apparently baby J sits really low and running just feels so uncomfortable. I finally bought a Gabriella belly band and that helped so much. In fact, I took off sprinting on a treadmill with it because I was so happy it finally didn't hurt to run. But don't worry, the sprinting didn't last long at all.

When I run I will jog about .10 of a mile and walk some followed by a .10 jog. That's just where I am at now and it's okay. I've done a lot of walking and that has a lot of health benefits too. I will admit it is hard and weird to not be able to just decide to go hop on a treadmill or go out for a run. I can't do that right now. And that's okay it's just different.

YMCA Classes: 
On the days I decide crossfit isn't the best idea for me I usually go to the Y and powerwalk or do a class. My two favorite classes are Barre and LesMills SheBam.

Barre doesn't look that hard but it really targets little muscles and BURNS! I also like that it is a great workout but low impact. SheBam is a dance class. I had no idea what to expect but it was really fun and I got around 5,000 steps in just from a 45 minute class. It's also a great low impact workout.

That sums up what I have been doing while being pregnant. People sometimes ask you what your "why" is for doing something. We were asked that at crossfit and I can tell you that now my "why" is labor, delivery, recovery and a healthy baby. I know me working out helps baby J too. I also think pushing will be like the biggest crossfit workout and marathon rolled into one and I can't imagine not training for it. So many people keep telling me that recovery will be easier if I workout so I am hoping they are right.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask. If you were pregnant let me know what you did while pregnant, I'd love to hear what worked for you and what didn't.


Macaroni & Cheese

It's been forever since I blogged so I figured I would make a comeback with a mac n cheese recipe.  Question - how does one actually spell mac'n'cheese? I can never figure it out. Help me out all you grammar peeps.

Yes, I took this photo in my car. Don't judge. ;)

Anyways, I came up with this recipe and it is super easy and delicious and kids (and adults) love it.

-1 package of noodles of choice
-1 can of evaporated milk
-1/2 bag of shredded cheddar cheese - let's just go with 1 cup
-1/2 pound of American Cheese cut up into cubes (I get this from the deli department and they cut me one slab of cheese and I dice it up at home)
-3 T. butter
-1/2 c. sour cream

Cook the noodles and set them aside. Next, in a sauce pan put all other ingredients in over low heat and stir until everything is melted. Then add the noodles back in and stir.

I like to serve mine right away because the cheese is all ooey gooey and so tasty! Another delicious alternative is to add chopped up sausage into the mac and cheese. You could also put Hatch Green chiles in there, which I plan to do next time I make a big batch of this.

Got a favorite recipe you've been making lately? Please do share!