ETC: Week 40

Hello friends!

I hope all is well! This past week, we made it to 40 weeks! It’s very bittersweet because I am very happy baby girl is fully cooked, but I’m also very anxious to meet her already!

We had a rather busy week and even had some visitors, but still, no baby!

Our 40-week weekend was beautiful; warm and filled with sunshine! Saturday we ran our weekly errands and Sunday we didn’t move until about 1pm. After relaxing all morning, we decided to go on a long walk. We walked down to the lakefront path and took a stroll through Andersonville on the way home. It was nice to reminisce along my old running path. Once Naomi is here and old enough to be in the jogging stroller, she will quickly become well acquainted with that path as well!

I worked from home this week which was extremely stress relieving. Not having to commute on crowded public transportation or worry about my escape route from downtown to up north if labor were to start was a blessing. Also, not having to try and fit in to office maternity clothes was pretty nice. At this point, a few maternity items still fit because they are stretchy, but are they by no means comfortable.

My mom and sister also came to visit this week. Unfortunately for them, when they booked the trip, they had planned to spend time with the baby since it was technically 2 days passed my due date that they would arrive. Joke was on all of us because, Naomi never made her grand entrance into the world.

It was nice to see them both one last time without a baby though. We went to Homeslice pizza one night and Xoco another night. Two places we wouldn’t have been able to check out with a newborn. We also stopped and walked around Oz park. Did you know, the statues can talk to you?!?! You enter a website on your phone then Dorothy or Tin Man will call you and talk to you for a minute or two. It’s a neat idea and I can’t wait to take Naomi to see them, once she’s old enough to understand the hype.

My mom and sister left at the end of the week but booked another stay the first weekend in May. They will be guaranteed to meet Naomi this next time around!

It was also our precious Pumbaa’s birthday this week! He is 7 and I cannot believe where the time went. I adopted Pumbaa when I moved to Whitewater for college and since then, he’s become such an important part of our family. I hope he loves Naomi as much as he loves us. It may take some getting used to, but he’s a cuddly lover so I have faith in him.

We made it the entire week, everyday asking ourselves ‘is today the day?’ We’ve tried nearly every home remedy people suggest and have answered the “where is she” or “how are you feeling” question at least 55 million times (little to no exaggeration on that estimated number). I’m fully convinced that all of these “at home labor inducing tricks” only work if baby is ready and Naomi is just not ready yet.

It’s definitely bittersweet going past your due date. Yes, I am so happy she’s fully developed in my belly, but we are anxiously awaiting her arrival. There’s a sense of frustration that kicks in when you wake up in the morning and realize it’s time to get up for work but you haven’t had any contractions and today may not be the day. However, it’s a blessing to continue feeling her movements. Soon, she will only be able to kick me from the outside 🙂

Currently, I am 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Our next update WILL have a baby update because I will be induced at the end of the week if she doesn’t come out on her own. I personally think she just wanted to wait for the month of May because Te’s birthday is also in May; so we have a serious daddy’s girl on our hands! 🙂

We cannot wait to meet our little bundle and I cannot wait to be done with pregnancy! We’ve got quite an exciting week ahead – Stay tuned!!

Until next time..

ETC: Week 39

Hi friends!

I hope your weeks are going well! We’ve had a great week so far as we continue to await the arrival of our little princess.

Our favorite part of the city 🤗


During our 39th week we didn’t have much going on, and it was amazing! The weekend weather was absolutely beautiful so we went on several super long walks. Walking is supposed to help induce labor, but I’m not sure it works for those of us who ran (marathons) during our entire pregnancy. Usually, the walks are just a way to stay sane and get out of the house. Also, it’s a fun way to explore the city as just Te & Leah, before we have a minion tagging along with us 🙂

We walked down to Lincoln Square in search of some raspberry leaf tea. The tea is supposed to help with labor (shorten it and make it less painful) we found it so, we’ll see if that’s true! We stopped in several little shops and had a really wonderful day! 

The rest of the week was pretty uneventful, and that was amazing. All week, I was wondering “is today going to be the day?”, “will I go in to active labor on the rush hour train home?”, “when will this baby come out?”. All week, she stayed in her cozy apartment, aka my belly. 

Thursday, we went to eat and it ended in quite a scare. I ended up having a full blown panic attack due to a strange feeling I got in my lips after eating. It was very scary but after I spoke with the midwives and Te helped talk me down, I was able to relax and get some rest. It was definitely a wake up call that even though I’m pretty relaxed about the transition ahead, there’s a lot going ‘behind the scenes’ and even a small uncertainty can trigger a big reaction. Thankfully, I have a great teammate in my corner to help me work through it all. ❤

Friday, after work, Te pointed out that it was the last time we’d be driving home together (I’ll be working from home until maternity leave starts). It was a tough realization because not just our after work routines, but literally, our whole lives are going to change. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very excited to start the “family” chapter, but it’s kind of sad knowing that the “Te and Leah only” chapter is coming to a close. It also made me sad realizing all of the times I would get sassy towards Te on the way home for no big reason. So, I cried. 🙂 haha 

After pulling it together, we decided to go out to dinner again because there are only so many more days of just us, plus I wanted to end our twosome date nights on a good note instead of the panic attack feelings of the night before. We went to a delicious burger place in the city and afterwards, we got deep dish cookies. Seriously. They were amazing! It was such a wonderful night and I have never felt so in love with my husband, who very soon, I will have to share with another little lady. 

Even though Te and I will have completely new schedules and routines and worries and frustrations, I am so confident in our partnership that I’m not worried about figuring it out. He’s such a wonderful partner in every way and I couldn’t be more excited to start this journey with him!

I am getting so excited to meet this little girl! I hope she comes soon! This Saturday, we hit 40 weeks and still no baby. Stay tuned for next week’s update. Hopefully we have a bumpdate + a baby update from our 40th week!

Until next time..

ETC: Week 37

Hi friends,

I hope everyone’s week is going well!

This week, was a milestone week as we have now technically reached *full term*! I cannot believe we are so close to meeting our little girl! In an effort to keep my weekly post promise as we wind down, here is my week 37 update!

One of many amazing flamingo walls in Chicago to match my pink shirt and the safari/jungle theme of Naomi’s room. This flamingo wall is in Humboldt park. 


Unfortunately, this week I was SICK! On Monday’s I always have my weekly check ups at the doctor. Well, last Monday, I woke up and went to the gym just like every other Monday. When I got there I stood on the elliptical and just thought to myself “nope.” Something was off. I walked on the treadmill for about 40 minutes then got ready for the day.

I was going through my normal Monday job tasks and I just felt terrible; nauseous, FREEZING but my body was warm, tired, just completely not myself. I made it through the day (barely) and met Te after work to head to the appointment.

Once we got to the doctor, I told them I felt awful and they checked my temperature. Sure enough, 100.5 – low grade fever. Due to my fever, the baby’s heart rate was elevated so we had to stay in the office for 30 minutes while they hooked me up to a non-stress test monitor and checked to see if over the span of time, Naomi’s heart rate went down. 30 minutes later, it did not. We were sent down to labor and delivery so I could get some IV fluids in me and be continuously monitored for a longer period of time to make sure baby was ok. 

4 hours, 3 tubes of blood drawn, 2 bags of IV fluid and one other miscellaneous test, I was re-hydrated, Naomi’s heart rate went down and we were stable enough to be discharged. Woof. It was 11 pm and Te and I were both exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally, but we were super thankful that both baby and I were doing better.

Luckily, my fever did not follow me throughout the week but I did battle a virus all week long. I finally felt better on Saturday. Luckily my hubby took great care of me all week and allowed me to rest and recover.

Being sick was my first real scary moment as a parent. There was nothing I could do but rest and recover as this virus passed through my system. It was awful. I’m so thankful God protected me and Naomi through it all. Ever since, she’s been moving around like crazy in preparation for her big debut (very soon, I hope!). It’s so bizarre that Te and I never EVER get sick (knock on wood) but of course this year we both got hit. It was definitely tough but again, I’m so thankful we all pulled through! 

Looking ahead to week 38, I’m very excited! We are so close and with each day that passes, we are getting ready to celebrate the birthday of our first human baby (because, Pumbaa is our first baby.. 😻). I’m so READY – we both are. Hopefully next week, I will have a more positive update for you all, sans any illnesses. I may even have a baby announcement! Stay tuned friends!

Until next time..

Explore: A World Without TV

Hello friends,

I hope your weeks have been going well as the new year is upon us! Have you been sticking with the resolutions you made?

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve come to the realization that  in order for me to achieve a lot of my goals, I’ve really got to change my routine. I discovered there’s a huge distraction in my world that gobbles up my time and does not allow me to focus on more important things, like my resolutions. That big distraction, is our television.

I am in a routine where immediately in the morning, I wake up and turn on the TV. After work, I come home and before even making dinner, I’ll turn on the TV. Mind you, while I’m cooking I cannot hear or see the TV, so that’s a wasteful habit in and of itself. I’m in a rut where TV is just comfortable background noise. And to be honest, a lot of times even if the TV is on, I’m not watching it. I’m probably laying on the couch, scrolling through my phone or as of late, you can most likely find me sleeping.

Once the TV goes on I feel as though my night is just that. TV watching, phone scrolling and sleeping by 8pm. I lose the motivation to do yoga or write a blog or read my 10 pages, because I get sucked in to being a comfortable blob while my mind is not challenged to grow. This is not how I want to live and I definitely do not want my child to be raised in front of the TV screen. Life without TV is quiet and pretty soon, I will not know ‘quiet’ as I do now, so before baby comes, I’m going to soak up every second of it.

Now, maybe some of this routine has to do with the fact that it’s currently winter in the Midwest. That means, when I get home at 6PM, it’s dark (and already has been for nearly 2 hours), it’s freezing and there’s not a whole lot to do outside. Because of this, us Midwesterners get trapped into our homes and most of us sit in front of a TV to pass the time.

Over the next month, I plan to challenge myself to break this habit. Instead of watching TV all night once I get home, I plan to go in a separate room and do something productive – read, yoga, write a blog, etc. I’m not going to cut it out completely because there are still a few shows that I’m interested in watching; Wheel of Fortune, This Is Us and Teen Mom (stop judging me, you know you watch it too) to be specific. Instead of watching TV all night, I’ll pop in front of the TV when these shows are on and once they’re over, I’ll leave the TV and go do something else.

I talk a lot about health and wellness, and I do a lot to keep my body healthy; working out and eating a mostly healthy diet. However, wellness is mind, body and soul and TV is not fostering any healthy habits for my mind, or body or soul for that matter.

Do you have a TV in your home? How often do you watch it? Does it distract you from completing other tasks?

Do you want to join me in this monthly TV cleanse? If so, let me know in the comments below. We can hold each other accountable and then in a month, talk about all of the amazing things we accomplished with the extra time we had! Good luck!

Until next time..

ETC: Time Flies When You’re Growing A Human

Hi friends! I hope all has been well with you. I’m back with another pregnancy update. We’re really cruising along in the pregnancy. This past New Year’s Eve weekend, baby girl turned 24 weeks old which means I am officially 6 months pregnant. Whoa! I feel like it was just yesterday that Te and I were telling people we were 12 weeks pregnant and now, we’re a mere 16 weeks away from meeting our baby!

Over the past few weeks, we’ve done quite a few things and celebrated several holidays. Of course, we have bump photos as evidence 🙂

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Four our honeymoon, we had originally planned to travel to Ecuador. Seeing as how we couldn’t fulfill that plan due to the Zika outburst, we were able to get a flight credit and travel somewhere else. So, we decided to go to Palm Springs, CA on a baby moon! It was actually the same weekend that we celebrated our 5 year dating-versary so our getaway was the perfect opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come in the past 5 years and look ahead to our new future as not only husband and wife, but mom and dad. This photo was taken at Joshua Tree National Park. I must say, what a BEAUTIFUL park! The trees were SO cool – they reminded me of something out of a Dr. Seuss book. The mountains and rocks were beautiful as well. Additionally on our trip, we visited In-N-Out burger (YUM!), The Tram (Te went up, I stayed grounded), a Christmas parade in the desert and downtown Palm Springs. The cherry on top of our wonderful vacation was that Te and I both were able to feel the baby kick for the first time!

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One week later, we were back in cold and snowy Chicago. It was so cold this day that I couldn’t bear taking off my coat for the photo. It makes a pretty funny contrast comparing this photo to the week prior 🙂 Despite the cold temperatures and the ground covered in snow, we were happy to have arrived home safely. Plus, the holidays were right around the corner so we had a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks!

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Merry Christmas! This photo was taken at a ginormous tree near Lincoln Square. Unfortunately, we couldn’t fit the entire tree in the photo, but trust us, it was ginormous. Baby girl met our families once again over the Christmas celebrations. Typically, we drive back home to Wisconsin and visit both of our families. This year, Te and I held our title as ‘Foosball champions’ at my Uncle Jeff’s house. We then traveled to celebrate and open gifts with Te’s family. Finally, before we went home, we met my mom and sister for an authentic Mexican brunch 🙂 Naomi was spoiled already this year with tons of clothes, slippers, toys, a baby book and her first ornament. She’s one lucky little girl 🙂 Overall, it was a wonderful holiday season; Te and I’s first and last Christmas as a married couple without children!

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Happy New Year to all! Happy new month to baby. We are officially 6 months along this week. Where has the time gone? This photo was taken outside of our church. You’re probably thinking, that’s an interesting entrance to a church. Yes, it is. And that is because our church service is actually held in a local school, so these four pillars are the front entrance of that school 🙂 As you can see, luckily, the temperatures have been a bit more cooperative the past couple of weeks, so we can get some great bump photos, without my jacket hogging up the photo.

This past week I tried a new prenatal fitness studio which I loved. I plan to go back and train there for the duration of my pregnancy and for some time postpartum while getting back on my feet. We also completed our baby registry and are getting things ready for our baby shower in WI with friends and family next month. She’ll be here before we know it and I can’t wait!

This coming month will slow down for us a bit. We have no plans to travel and not many other plans in general, which is actually very exciting, in my opinion. I’m feeling more and more tired lately (Whoever said all that nonsense about energy in your second trimester was mistaken) and my hormones have definitely started to kick it up a notch (Let’s just say ‘Cue the Waterworks’ happens more often than not), so I’m looking forward to a month of taking it slow. It gives me time to simply enjoy every moment of this journey.

The down time may also allow me to have time to go out and buy actual maternity clothes one of these weekends. I’ve still been pulling off as many outfits as I can without maternity gear [except for one pair of jeans and one pair of work pants]. I’ve found plenty of comfy alternatives, but I’m pretty sure papa wants his clothes back 🙂

We’re getting closer and every day I’m more and more excited [and also a bit nervous] to become a mama. I’d love to hear about your pregnancy journey or your journey in motherhood in the comments below!

Until next time..

ETC: Another New Year

Hi friends,

The time has come, yet again, to ring in another new year. I hope everyone had a safe and cheerful new year’s celebration. Today, as they say, is page 1 of the 365-page novel we call, “2017”.

Before I set new goals, I am going to take a moment to reflect on the goals I set for myself in 2016. I created resolutions that represented each category of my blog: Explore, Thank, Create, as well as a few additional. Let’s take a look at what I accomplished and what got pushed to the side.

2016 Resolutions: Explore
1. Explore 20 new things (cities, states, restaurants, fitness classes, recipes, etc).
This goal was definitely accomplished. I traveled to Grand Rapids, NYC and Palm Springs, joined NRC run club, started practicing ‘Yoga with Adriene‘, went to several new restaurants for brunch and dinner around the city. I visited the Field Museum in Chicago and rode the CTA Holiday Train, both for the first time. Also, I tried lots of new recipes ranging from no added sugar to tasty new desserts. This past year was definitely one of exploration and I couldn’t be more thankful for all of the new experiences I created.

2016 Resolutions: Thank
1. Continue serving at church as needed & attending small groups when offered
Although there was a short break I took from church, once I went back, I jumped in full force. I joined a serving team and a small group right away. I’m happy for the supportive community who welcomed me back.
2. Read my Bible

Eek. I did not do good on this. I did try to keep up with my daily verse on the Bible app but I must get more disciplined in reading the word of the Lord regularly.

2016 Resolutions: Create
1. Continue posting 1 or more blog posts per week
I took several long breaks from my blog this year with a few ‘catch up’ posts.
2. DIY as much wedding stuff as possible to save some dinero🙂
Well, we DEFINITELY DIY’d our wedding. After quickly changing our plans from an October 2016 wedding to a February 2016 wedding, we didn’t have time for many expensive decisions anyway 🙂 . I was able to borrow a dress from an amazing friend, created invites online and made TONS of decor at home. We saved a ton of money and had the wedding of our dreams just 4 short months after our engagement. Best. Decision. Ever.

2016 Resolutions: Wellness
1. Run 15 or more miles each week
On average, this happened for the majority of the year. AND, I completed the Chicago marathon. 🙂
2. Practice yoga 2 times per week
On average, this did not happen. I definitely found an awesome yoga channel I can tune in to at home, but I was not disciplined in my practice.
3. Become Personal Trainer Certified
This one is still pending. I’m trying to figure out if this is truly the route I want to take. More to come on that. 🙂
4. Be less stressed out/anxious – Trust God more
Eek. I have not been the best at this. It’s a process and I’m still working on it.

2016 Resolutions: Community
1. Have a friend date once per month
This happened! I even started a monthly lunch club with some of my best gals. 
2. Get married to my best friend in front of some of our closest friends & family
Check! And I couldn’t be happier 🙂

2016 Resolutions: Follow Up
1. Practice Spanish 3 times per week for 1 hour each
Well, this did not happen. I need to get more disciplined with this because I really want to teach Naomi Spanish. Mama’s workin’ on it!
2. Read 10 books (2 of which in Spanish)
Ah, reading. Well, I read my small group book, I read ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ and I read a LOT of articles. As far as book, I haven’t been reading much. I’ll need to rework this goal.

WOW! I was ambitious last year 🙂 There were many goals I accomplished and some that fell by the way side. This year, I have to be realistic in my goal setting because I will soon be a mommy and it will no longer be all about me. However, that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up on my personal goals for the coming year. Naomi needs a role model 🙂 Here are my 2017 Resolutions:

2017 Resolutions:

  1. Practice Yoga 2 times per week.
  2. Run a total of 365 miles over the course of the year.
  3. Read [at least] 10 pages of a book every day.
  4. Post a blog update [at least] twice per month.
  5. Keep a jar of memories; Each week Te and I write on a slip of paper the highs and lows of the week. Next NYE we will read each note.
  6. Remind myself every day that I am doing the best that I can; speaking positive reinforcements to myself instead of always telling myself I could/should be doing more/better.

I definitely cut down on the list of resolutions this year. I tried to focus in on some of those that I let slip last year, and added those which I can keep up with, despite becoming increasingly busy [and tired] new mommy.

How do you hold yourself accountable to your resolutions? One of my friends creates a ‘dream board’ each year. Her dream board is a visual representation of her goals for the year. I think this is a great way to remind yourself of your goals and stay focused on your plans. This year, I probably won’t create a dream board, although it’s a fabulous idea, but I do plan to write these down in my phone and on paper at my desk, as well as at home, so I am forced to remind myself of these goals each and every day.

So, what are your goals for 2017? I’d love to hear about your 2016 reflections, as well as your goals for the upcoming year. Leave it in the comments below!

Happy New Year!! May God bless you and your families this year.

Until next time..

Explore: 30 days with no added sugar

Hi friends! I hope all has been excellent with you all! The busy summer has taken over but I’ve had a bit of a revelation over the past week and I wanted to share my thoughts and observations with you!

We’ve got a lot to catch up on, but I’ll keep it brief. If you are following me on Instagram (@MrsLeahBates), I’m sure you’re already in the know. First things first, the marathon is in 62 days (WUT!). I’m up to 16 miles as my longest run so far and I’m feeling great. Secondly, I reached my fundraising goal of $1,000 for Girls on the Run!! Along with all of the generous donations from friends, I planned and organized a fundraiser, Shred To Inspire. It was a huge hit with 20 people signed up and $500 raised!

All of my training has forced me to really examine my nutrition. I indulged a bit too much in July and used the excuse ‘well, I ran a lot today so  large ice cream and a beer is ok.’ Don’t get me wrong, it IS ok. It’s not so much the calorie intake I was worried about, it’s more so the way that I felt and the way that I trained due to my diet. For this reason, hubby and I decided to cut out added sugar from our diet for the month of August.

Before starting, I knew things like ice cream and cookies were going to be cut out. However, I didn’t realize ketchup, mayo, bread, some deli meats and bacon.. literally almost everything, has added sugar. It’s scary and eye-opening to realize all of the places we can find added sugar without necessarily indulging in anything sweet. During this process I do still plan to drink protein shakes a couple of days per week. My protein powder has <1g of sugar so technically, I guess you could say, I’m on a very low, no-sugar added diet. But throughout the month, that along with the occasional piece of gum will be my only added sugar intake.

You might be thinking, ‘So, what are you eating then?’ Well, pretty much nothing that is prepackaged. No ketchup or mayo or dressing from a bottle, everything is homemade using whole30 and no sugar added recipes. It does takes a little bit of extra time to meal prep on Sunday’s now, but once I’m done, we have breakfast, lunch, snacks and sauces ready to go for the week. Then, once I get home I just make dinner with all of my precut veggies or warm up my roasted veggies and that’s it!

You’re probably asking yourself, “but is all of the extra meal prep time worth it”? So far, yes!! The first 2-3 days, I felt extremely tired. My body was probably on a super detox because we had just topped off our last sugary day with a largeeee ice cream, beer, nachos, a burger and #alltheranch. Other than that, throughout the week, I felt pretty normal and didn’t have too many sweet cravings (probably because of all of the fruit we’ve been eating).

I did have an awesome ‘aha’ moment this passed weekend on my long run. When I started no added sugar, I was thinking I’d make and exception for Gatorade and Gu or blocks during my long runs. Then I realized I could try dates, a naturally occurring form of instant sugar and carbs. I brought 2 dates with me for my run + 1/2 of a lara bar (I ate the other half of the lara bar before I left the house). At mile 5, I was about 45 minutes into my run and could tell I was starting to wear down. I ate my first date and instantly felt better. I didn’t get achy in my knees or have to rush to the bathroom at mile 6 or 7 either. Once I hit mile 9.5, it was time for the second date. I thought for sure I’d have to make a stop soon, but no, I felt great. Around mile 12 I ate one half of the piece of lara bar I brought with me and then I rounded out mile 14 with the other half. I got home and felt incredible. 16 miles was my longest run yet and it’s a record breaker because I didn’t stop once for any sort of break except very short water breaks.

However, I will have to see how the next couple of weeks go, as this will now be my new plan for marathon training. I will say that I think eating complex carbs, protein and fat without any added sugar really helped regulate my system throughout the week. By sticking to a no-added sugar diet on my run and finding natural ways to stay fueled, it helped with my success.

I’m so excited to continue this journey and will keep you updated on the outcome of my next long run.

Have you ever done a no added sugar diet? Any tips? Did you notice anything difference in your training or just day to day life? Leave it in the comments!

Until next time..