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..

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..

Thank: Martha, Martha, Martha!

[I pray you are not to young to understand the pun fully intended with this tagline and featured photo..]

Resolution: To read my Bible at least once per week, although more is preferred.

I want to push myself to continue to grow in my walk with God. I want to prepare myself to be a godly wife. I want to know God; who he is, his thoughts, his desires, his commands. I also want to learn to trust Him.

I looked in to a reading plan for the Bible. There are now several verses sent to my email each day which I can read on the train or my down time. These emails help me achieve my goal of ‘at least once per week’ however, I’m still working on making extra time to meditate and fully reflect on the words I read. It’s still a great start to get me in the word.

One story that I came across this week was one which I heard before. This particular week it stuck with me.

Luke 10:38-42
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I am Martha. I can see her running around making food for everyone, cleaning the house, going from task to task to make sure everyone else is taken care of. It is in those moments of busy-ness I can see her asking the Lord to command Mary’s help. I feel as though I would be Martha and I would think the same way.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the busy-ness in my life. I am busy because of the many, many blessings and opportunities the Lord has given me. What strikes me about this story is that the Lord was there for Martha to admire and listen to, but she was still in a state of worry about the non-important ‘clutter’ going on. She didn’t make time for the Lord because she put HER to-do list before Him. This is my struggle.

I worry about the chores and the to-do list I have planned for myself; when I’m in a pinch, I choose MY to-do list over reading my Bible or prayer or meditation on the Lord’s word. This selfish choice leaves me feeling empty and frustrated.

My hope over this next year is to be able to keep the story of Martha and Mary in the back of my mind, realize what is really important and know the sometimes the best thing I can do is simply trust God to handle it. That’s not to say I should just sit around and wait to sense a sign from God. I should continue my journey onward, but when I’m in a pinch, and especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I would like to keep in mind my takeaway from this story; Trust God. Sometimes that’s all we need to do!

When you’re in a bind, do you make time to seek the Lord or do you struggle through whatever you’re going through and go back to the Lord once you’ve ‘got it figured out’? What are some ways you learned to trust the Lord when busy-ness sets in and the enemy plants feelings of frustration? Let me know your tips in the comments below!

Until Next Time..


ETC: 2016 Resolutions

Can you believe that it’s (basically) 2016 already? Where did this year go?? It’s true, the older you get, the faster they go!

Inevitably, a new year means new goals. I’d like to briefly reflect on the goals I made in 2015 and then lay out some new goals for this year, 2016.

First things first, how did I do in 2015?
My 2015 resolutions were: 
1. Read 10 books –> 2 or more books must be in Spanish.
I ended up reading 4 total books, I started 1 in Spanish and I recently started reading my ASCM personal trainer book. I didn’t quite hit my goal of 10 so I’ll have to keep working on my reading habits!

2. Practice Spanish 3 times per week for an hour or more (includes meetup events, reading, watching novelas/news in Spanish, Duolingo app, talk with a friend, blog practice homework activities, reviewing old notes and flashcards)
Eeek! I did not do well at this AT ALL. I practice here and there in my head but about midway through the year I fell off using Duolingo or any at home practice. I really need to work on this so I don’t forget all the progress I’ve already made!

3. Get involved with a Serving team at church – 1 time per month or more.
Check! Mark this one in the books. I’m a regular refreshments team server at church and it’s such a wonderful blessing.

4. 1 time per month have a friend date – coffee, lunch, dinner, movie, etc.
I lost track of exact friend dates per month, but I’m confident I’ve done a great job at this! Between brunch dates, sushi dates, workout classes and traveling across the country with my sissy to see my other sissy, I know this goal was achieved and I must say, it feels so great!

5. Travel/Explore –> 3 new states and/or 6 new Chicago experiences.
Another one in the books. I passed this goal early on in the year with the 6 new Chicago experiences. Although I only visited 2 new states this year, it was an exciting year of travel and experiences!

As for 2016, I feel as though I need to categorize my goals, because I have so many.. Let’s see how this goes!

2016 Resolutions: Explore
1. Explore 20 new things (cities, states, restaurants, fitness classes, recipes, etc).

2016 Resolutions: Thank
1. Continue serving at church as needed & attending small groups when offered
2. Read my Bible
–> At least once per week, but more than that is so necessary!

2016 Resolutions: Create
1. Continue posting 1 or more blog posts per week
2. DIY as much wedding stuff as possible to save some dinero 🙂

2016 Resolutions: Wellness
1. Run 15 or more miles each week
–>  I plan to run a marathon, if not this year then next. This will be a good place to start.
2. Practice yoga 2 times per week
–> It’s great for the body, mind and spirit and I need to learn to love relaxing.
3. Become Personal Trainer Certified
–> The sooner, the better.
4. Be less stressed out/anxious – Trust God more
 –> I’ll need to learn how to put this in to practice, but it’s a necessity for not only 2016, but my entire life. “Worry cannot add a single hour to your life..”

2016 Resolutions: Community
1. Have a friend date once per month
2. Get married to my best friend in front of some of our closest friends & family 

2016 Resolutions: Follow Up
1. Practice Spanish 3 times per week for 1 hour each
2. Read 10 books (2 of which in Spanish)

Wow, I have a lot of ongoing goals for this year! I’ll definitely need to stay determined and focused amidst wedding planning, crafting, work and the hustle and bustle of life in general. Each of these goals will help me become a better person and I am so excited to work towards each one!

With a list like this, it’s easiest for me to write out each goal and put it somewhere; in my phone, in my planner, on my wall, at my desk, etc. That way, I can constantly be reminded about what I’m working towards.

Do you remember your resolutions from 2015? How did you do? What do you plan to accomplish in 2016?

Always remember ‘If you fail to plan, plan to fail.’ Write down your goals and make them tangible then go achieve the heck out of them.

I saw a quote today I fell in love with ‘Fail harder.’ Set your standards HIGH and shoot for the moon. If you fail, you’ll learn something and become #betterforit.

One last thing – thank you all so much for reading! I really do enjoy the ability to write and express my thoughts about a variety of topics. Each blog post allows me to tell a new story which clearly, I love to do! So thank you again and I hope you continue to follow my journey in 2016! You can also follow me on instagram & twitter @leahbeutler 🙂

I wish you all a happy and healthy new year! Be safe this holiday!

Until next year..

Explore: Colorful Bridges and Great Food

Can you guess how many bridges the city of Pittsburgh has total?

446 bridges. You’re thinking, “Seriously?” Yes, seriously. However, the bridges in Pittsburgh are unlike the bridges in the Midwest; they are steel, colorful and a beautiful accessory for the city skyline.

More impressively, Lea (my sister) and I drove 8 hours to Pittsburgh from Chicago without one song playing or moment of silence. We literally talked the entire drive. So much so that when we arrived in Pittsburgh, I had a sore throat!

This was my first ever time visiting Pittsburgh. Lea and I visited our other sister who currently lives there. #GirlsWeekend Aside from there being Pittsburgh Steelers stuff everywhere, traffic worse than Chicago and the mean drivers, I really enjoyed the city.

Our adventure began on Saturday when we first visited Station Square to do the ‘Just Ducky Tour‘. We grew up with the Ducks tours in the Wisconsin Dells so the nostalgia definitely kicked in. It was also a great way to see the beautiful city of Pittsburgh on not only the land, but water as well.

Our Duck for the tour

“The Castle” My favorite building in the Pittsburgh skyline

Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Bronze statue of Mr. Rodgers

The beautiful bridges of Pittsburgh

After the Duck tour, we had to try a local classic for lunch. We visited Primanti Brothers. Primanti’s was sports bar-esque with delicious local grub. Their claim to ‘almost’ fame is their variety of delicious sandwiches that are served with the meat and fixings of your choosing. What makes these sandwiches special you ask? They add French Fries ON your sandwich. Yes, ON your sandwich. I know, unbelievable.

Aside from the fries on my sandwich, the bread was delicious. It was strong enough to hold together the entire sandwich, yet soft enough to be warm and fluffy. Also, the chicken breast was juicy and flavorful.

This spot was delicious. I would recommend Primanti’s with 4 out of 5 stars. YUM!

I ordered the Cajun Chicken sandwich. It was delicious. There are fries ON my sandwich!

After Primanti’s we did what we do best, we went roller skating.

We luckily decided to try the Neville Roller Drome and we definitely lucked out. The people were so kind and welcoming, they learned our jams and invited us back for a private party the next night. You can check out some of our moves on their Facebook page (Neville Roller Drome) or here Step in the Name of Love Remix Moves. We had the best time and FINALLY have a video to show you how we drop the mic. 🙂

I must say though, driving around downtown Pittsburgh was a nightmare. The main tunnel downtown was closed for construction which caused serious back-up traffic. I felt like I was home in Chicago. Not to mention, some of the drivers were very vocal with their anger. It was tense and a bit intimidating. Thank goodness we made it out of there with stories to laugh about. People were being a bit crazy!

The next day was Sunday, aka Packer game day. Naturally, we went to eat burgers, drink beer and watch football. Even though our Packers weren’t televised, we still had a great time at Burgatory AND it was so yummy! You could customize your own burger down the the type of party and bun. I got a Wagyu patty with a whole wheat bun, Smoked Gouda cheese, spinach, tomato, onions, avocado and a fried egg.YUM!

I would definitely rate them 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Create Your Own Burger sheets

My Burgatory creation

After stuffing ourselves with delicious burgers, we visited The Duquesne Incline. The incline is what the minors used to use as transportation to and from the mines. The view at the top was breathtaking, however the ride going up was scarier than the vertical drop on raging bull at six flags. The view and experience is well worth the $5, just make sure you have exact cash change. Seriously.

B r e a t h t a k i n g sunset view of Pittsburgh

We went skating again Sunday evening and skated with a 68 year old rockstar, Don. It was a fun party and we were happy to see our new skate family in Pittsburgh once again. We even got to try a potato and cheese perogi; a Pittsburgh classic. It was very tasty, as was all of the food we tried.

The next morning was bittersweet, as it was time to hit the open road. Before we left, we went out for a delicious brunch. We dined at the Square Cafe and I tried the Crab Benedict with over easy eggs and again, it was delicious. Also, they had awesome photography from local artists on sale as their wall decor and the coolest coffee mugs. It’s definitely a must-try in Pittsburgh!

All in all, our trip was a success. Pittsburgh is a beautiful city with tall and winding hills, colorful steel bridges, beautiful rivers  and great food. I would definitely go back to visit!

Have you ever traveled to Pittsburgh? What do you like or dislike about the city? What should be on my ‘must try’ list for next time? Let me know in the comments!

Travel safe and stay well!

Until next time..