Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Argentinian steak

It's official, we found the best steakhouse in San Francisco - El Raigon Argentina. Walking home from Bay Club one night I took the "direct route" up and over Coit Tower hill and down Union Street. Tucked away in between houses and apartments was El Raigon - a simple steakhouse with exposed brick walls, butcher block tables, and a simple menu - meat and potatoes. We wound up going last weekend to celebrate Matt's test success and were SO impressed. I love steak and I love eating out and this place took the prize for best of both out of all the restaurants I've tried in my 6 years living in the city.

So bueno.

Here's what we ordered:
  • Salad
  • Empanadas
  • Entrana
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Red potatoes
  • Squash
And, the waiter (seeing as I couldn't partake in the great Argentinian wine) ran across the street and bought a non-alcoholic Beck's so I could celebrate, too.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I won the (Nike) lotto!!!

I'm so excited - I just got my registration for the Nike marathon this year - I'm in! Woo hoo! Come October 18th hopefully I'll be ready for the 26.2 run finishing with firefighters in tuxes and Tiffany's necklaces (now that's a finish) - and, I can't imagine a better thing to train for.

Money Saver Monday: Know your insurance plan

Ever since I first got insurance I've been a PPO partaker. I've always heard HMOs were not as good or more difficult, and Kaiser was good but you just get Kaiser. I like having the option to go to any doctor anywhere I want.

Now that my insurance will have to cover a) a hospital stay (operation (C-section) or not (hopefully!) and b) two new family members, I've been looking a bit closer at total costs.

Insurance varies by company/offering, but here's my bottom line:
  • C-Sections cost $50,000+
  • Natural birth with twins is more than $50,000 (!!)
  • If one or both twins is/are pre-term, they count as individuals and the deductible and max payments start again per child (which means if the kids are pre-term and need to be in the hospital a few days to a few weeks, I pay buckoo bucks

  • Pays 90% of hospital stay after my deductible is met ($400/year) - the max out of pocket payment per year is $2,000
  • $20 co-pay for doctors leading up to the actual birth(s)
  • Pays ALL of hospital stay
  • $30 co-pay for doctors leading up to the actual birth(s) as long as they're in network
  • After the boys come, I need one primary physician who can suggest other doctors (chiro, etc.) as needed

Sunday, March 29, 2009

To do: Enjoy San Francisco when it's warm!

It has been a perfect San Francisco weekend - the sun is out, there's not a cloud in the sky, and we were in town to enjoy it all! Matt's parents came to town Saturday and we went walking all around Coit Tower Hill and North Beach. The afternoon brought a nap in Washington Square (along with 100 of our neighbors). Saturday brought another walk (this time around the Financial District) and another nap.

On the way to the tower:

Matt and I in the park:

Park view:

The rest of North Beach in the park:

Friday, March 27, 2009

The running gear

I get to run for 3 more weeks per my doctor - woo hoo 3 more! I'm not looking forward to the day I have to stop (some people smoke for stress, I run), but I really am loving getting into yoga, swimming, and spin so the tri-fecta will help ease the transition.

My new running gear is made up of a few staples:Here's some post run fashion:
(not sure why I always default to Super Man poses ...)

Blue steal and twin belly? Hah! I tried.

The infamous girdle - hot, right?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

22 weeks

So I'm now 22 weeks pregnant with twins and I swear I'm changing daily.

Looking down I can no longer see my toes (I used to love my toes ... when housed in bright Choos or Pradas ... now I just hope my shoes match).

My ever-growing stomach also continues to be a surprising factor - I keep bumping into things (like door frames) forgetting what's going on up there.

Per Baby Center, here's what's going on in there:

How your baby's growing:

At 11 inches (the length of a spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound, your baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His eyes have formed, but his irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment. If you could see inside your womb, you'd be able to spot the fine hair (lanugo) that covers his body and the deep wrinkles on his skin, which he'll sport until he adds a padding of fat to fill them in. Inside his belly, his pancreas — essential for the production of some important hormones — is developing steadily.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's Spring, I'm blooming

It's finally warming up outside, the trees are blossoming, and oh-my-God-my-boobs-are-huge. Get it? Spring blooming / I'm bloooming? Heh.

I took a "Yoga flow" class tonight (side note - LOVED it! I used to get bored in yoga but when there's constant movement and music where the words aren't just chanting, I'm a happy stretcher) and during one of the side twists (which I have to modify to not twist) I realized I am giant! I couldn't help it - I'll admit, I felt myself up in yoga class. There, I said it.

My goodness I wonder what the next few months will bring! Here's a clue from the weight gain standards... bottom line, take me now (I've gained 13 pounds), double the gain (or more), and BAM! Twins. And bigger twins.

Gain criteria for twins (per Family Education):

Recommended Weight Gain in Multiple Pregnancy (in pounds)


First Trimester

Second Trimester

Third Trimester


Twin Pregnancy





Just think - with another 20-25 pounds on me I might be pushing Pamela Anderson size + a beach ball.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Power Foods

As I haven't cooked anything new and exciting recently, I'm referencing the "must eats" for pregnant women (everyone really).

SF Gate suggests the following Power Foods:
  1. Sardines - personally I like the giant ones in Portugal on a cobblestone street with live music ... the can stinking up the kitchen just doesn't do it for me. But, these are packed with omega 3s which help babies brains and eyes develop.
  2. Frozen wild blueberries - yum! I love all berries. Frozen are good because when they're frozen they retain their nutrients.
  3. Swiss chard - I do love chard. I like it steamed, stir fried, etc. etc. Chard packs beta carotene which helps babies cell and tissue development.
  4. Spelt - when I do no wheat/sugar/dairy, spelt bread is a staple. Bottom line, it is easily digested and just ... well, makes everything go right through.
  5. Kidney beans - I have to admit, I haven't enjoyed these red beauties in quite some time. I should, though, they're packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants, and iron. What more could you ask for?
  6. Sesame seeds - I am a sucker for the sesame seed treats they sell in China Town. These are packed with calcium. Does the fact I always get them stuck in my teeth mean they're a "slow release calcium" food?
  7. Plain yogurt - lately I have been having a love affair with Greek yogurt. I love it with honey, fruit, nuts, jam ... really just about anything. And, it has 25% of the daily calcium requirement plus protein and other vitamins.
I just ate dinner but this tasty list is making me hungry again! Maybe it's the boys and not the list ... whatever, I'm off to eat a yogurt and blueberry treat. Hold the sardines.

To do: let it go

I've decided people are really weird. There, I said it. When there's an unfamiliar incident or surrounding, people do weird things. People are especially weird around pregnant women. Here are a few examples that I find amusing (isms):

  • In the Market: At Whole Foods (fondly known of as "whole paycheck" because that's where all my money seems to go) on Sunday, the baggers rushed looking irritated to be bagging groceries and crammed a week's worth of groceries for 2 (4?) into 2 bags. Needless to say, they were heavy. When the baggers went to hand the bags to me, I was rubbing my belly (I'm telling you, these kids can kick!) and their entire mood seemed to change: "Oh my God - these are too heavy. Can I re-bag these for you? I'm sorry. Can I help carry them?"
  • On the street: On Sunday I was doing a photo shoot for Lululemon when a woman with her new baby walked by: "Woot! You look HOT. Go mama!" (I dig it :o) )
  • On the bus: Well, I thought this one would be a bit different, but on the jam packed 1 back from the Dr. today the 20-something man in a suit stinking of cig smoke just stared at me. Nothing.
At work:
Work is the oddest - it seems all normalcy and ways to treat people go out the window. When I first found out I was pregnant, before I told anyone, a co-worker grabbed my breast saying how big I was. Lately I've gotten comments like this:
  • Boy: "You need to stop wearing tight sweaters - you look like you have a beer gut."
  • Girl: "Hi baby lady."
  • Boy: "What's happening baby maker" or "How's it popping baby machine?"

Monday, March 23, 2009

Money Saver Monday: mani / peddi

I am a sucker for spa treatments. Mani / peddi? Hair? Facial? Love it all!!! But good treatments typically come with a hefty pricetag and after hearing many stories of bad pedicure (insert image of fungus in the foot sink - nasty) I typically stick with the higher end spas - hence, the already high pricetag is squared.

Introducing, the husband mani / peddi. One of the many joys of being pregnant is Matt is so eager to do anything to help (OK, I'll admit, he's always been amazing in this capacity). My spa 'ala Matt mani / peddi option is better than any spa in town and it only costs the cost of polish.

  • Husband mani / peddi: $8
  • Love that goes into it: priceless (so cheesy)
  • Spa mani / peddi: $50+
  • Not being sure what the people are saying about you when you're getting a spa mani / peddi: kind of entertaining

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Race day!

Saturday, Matt and I did the PCTR Pirates Cove 8k. Beautiful race, ans so fun to run with Matt.

GGRC - ready to go:

Matt an I at the finish (brrrrrrrr):

Thursday, March 19, 2009

21 weeks and counting!

The boys are moving more and more every day and I love it - a little kick to remind me what's to

By the cribs (yes, we still need to put them together):

Boom - there it is:

Oh where oh where has my belly button gone? Answer: out!

All covered up by some cute onsies from auntie Ryan (from our almamater Cal Poly):

According to Baby Center, here's what's happening with the boys:

Your pregnancy: 21 weeks

How your baby's growing:

Your baby now weighs about three-quarters of a pound and is approximately 10 1/2 inches long — the length of a carrot. You may soon feel like she's practicing martial arts as her initial fluttering movements turn into full-fledged kicks and nudges. You may also discover a pattern to her activity as you get to know her better. In other developments, your baby's eyebrows and lids are present now

To do: pushup contest!

The best way to challenge people now, I'm finding, is to pull the: "What, you don't think you can beat a girl? Oh, or you don't think you can beat a girl pregnant with twins?" That second line gets 'em every time. This afternoon the boys at work were gloating about how many pushups they can do and how "buff" they are.

Intro ... the pushup contest ...
Yes, I did "girl style" (I'm a girl!) no, I didn't win (I came close ... ish)

Take it and Run Thursday: Spring Training Tips

Spring training tips... The welcome change from winter to spring season brings a natural change in our running as well. We start to running more, longer, faster or just different than we did in our "off months".

I love Spring training (the running kind, not the baseball kind). It's a time of transition (think high school - cross country turns into track), of great races, beautiful runs, and great weather (sometimes, in San Francisco we're not always so blessed). Here are my tips and tricks for Spring Training:
  • Get out early - early morning runs are great because they get your day off to a good start AND during the Spring and Summer months they're important to beat the heat
  • Explore - with the clouds and rain lifting, running in the Spring is the best time to see things around the city or on the dirt trails
  • Incorporate other types of training - outside yoga? Rad. Swimming? A great complement that cools you down.
  • Drink water! This is important with any run short or long but in the hotter months, or during those times when you're running further because it's nicer out, hydration is key.
  • Layer - the sun may be out but the weather can still surprise you; you don't want to be 10-miles out and have the sunny sky turn to rain

Street trash

Of all the jobs out there I think handing out fliers on the street, and holding up the "Going Out of Business" or "Eat Here" signs are some of the worst. They're also two opportunities to tell the general public what you really think...

Walking back to work from lunch today, a man handed me a flier - the undertone being: "Your face needs some work, and you look fat. Oh, and can you throw this away for me?"

OK, I'm sure he was a very nice man who thinks everyone is beautiful and perfect just the way they are - a bit funny, though, that he was only handing the fliers to women over 25 who were either pregnant, or waistline challenged.

Cynicism aside, I really wouldn't like that job much. So I took the flier with grace and a "thank you."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

To Wear: Chi chi gym

I've decided to join the Bay Club - after my test of the pool and quick tour, I'm hooked! Plus I'm hoping to hear more juicy locker room conversations ;o) . Being about 50x chi chi-er than Crunch (which I still love, BTW) I've decided to dawn a chi chi outfit for the gym with my favorite sports apparel designers.

chi chi gym

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How the workout matrix is like a marketing matrix

In today's 2.0 blog-wiki-mashup viral marketing and social media world, a good marketing mix involves:
  1. getting the right content for your audience
  2. getting content distributed through the right mediums to capture your target audience (among hundred's of other marketing tactics)
One way to think of it is:
  • A .com website is fairly static only changing with a web "facelift," product launches, and minor updates to pages; A good CMS can help a .com site get updated more often, but it's important to have consistency through look/brand/message
  • Blogs that keep a community engaged and pushes people to the website(s) - posts include new and interesting offerings, community member interviews, cool use cases (beyond the "glossy" PDF'd use cases on the .com site), etc.
  • A .org site that lives with the projects and/or products (for open source companies) and includes community interaction opportunities and documenation to help get users off the ground
  • A twitter feed to push people to the blog and websites and to "talk" to media, partners, community members, etc. that map to the offering
  • Facebook and/or Linkedin groups where people can interact, bond over the project or products, share stories (but drive use cases to the site and blog), and "hang" in the virtual world
  • A podcast feed to give your offerings a voice
  • Syndicated videos and content across pubs relevant to your site to engage prospects and push more people to your site
Some of this helps SEO through linking and text, some helps move people forward in a learning/purchasing process, and some helps drive raw leads through linking.

A good fitness mix is similar to a marketing matrix and involves:
  1. Activities targeted towards your key sport (for me, running helps me run (duh) for some, sprint repeats and hoop practice helps basketball)
  2. Activities that improve your core (not just literally (that too) but your general fitness)
From a runner's point of view, you could think of this as:
  • Running in the environment you're going to race in (i.e. if you're racing in Hawaii, run somewhere humid)
  • Incorporating hills and dirt trails (I'm a huge fan of the dirt) to help increase cardio fitness and improve your stride (yes! I think hills and trails help stride - I'll explain another time)
  • Working on core - plan is my favorite here (this helps with posture and maintaining for the long haul ... er, run)
  • Supplemental workouts (biking and swimming are mine - they get the heart rate up and fatigue different muscles than you use when running so you're not over-exerted for your next workout. These are great workouts to incorporate during marathon training - I've seen many athletes fall to shin splints or stress fractures from over training with running - if they got in the pool for one of their runs (and did pool running, not just laps), though, impact would be averted
  • Yoga (I'm becoming a true believer here - yoga helps decrease stress and on the running front it helps open up muscles that have frozen - during a 1/2 marathon I once pulled my groin muscle; I had another 1/2 a few weeks later and by doing yoga I was able to alleviate the strain)
Some of these help running (or whatever the core sport is) through working muscles and form for that sport, and some help improve through giving the body a break, but still working cardio, when a break is needed.

What women talk about in locker rooms

As I'm tapering down my running, I've decided to "embrace" biking and swimming - hopefully over the next few months increasing my bike/swim workouts will help parlay me into a few tris next year. Crunch (hands down, my favorite gym in San Francisco) doesn't have a pool so I've tried:
  • Sports Club LA (love it, but too expensive at $160/month)
  • Equinox (eh, a little on the banker side)
  • Club One (OK - I liked it better when I got a teacher's discount - the pool is only a "C")
  • North Beach pool (best by far for the price ($4/swim) but closed for construction - must be a big drain "need)
  • 24-Hour Fitness (two words - "pick up")
  • Golden Gate Swim and Tennis (love it! The pools are outside, though, so when it rains or is too cold it's not appealing to go from the locker room to the pool)
  • Bay Club (my latest conquest - I'm loving this gym ... the clientele are a different than the 20-30 San Franciscans I'm used to at Crunch - chi chi-er)
I think you can tell a lot about a gym by the locker room. At Crunch I have never heard people talking or seen people hanging out. Bay Club is another story - while getting out of my wet suit (oh, and by the way - buying a red bathing suite when pregnant with twins? Bad idea. I look like "Bump Watch" instead of "Bay (Babe) Watch") I heard the following:
Blondie: "Yeah, so for Christmas I bought Edwin (side note - what kind of a name is that? I'm on a name kick right now. Spanish?) a camel"
Brunette: "A what?"
Blondie: "A camel"
Brunette: "A what?"
Amber (interior voice): "WTF?"
Blondie: "Yes! A camel. ... So, back to you and your man - has he told her yet?"
Brunette: "Kind of. He decided he's going to stay with her."
Blondie: "Jerk!"
Brunette: "I knew he would. I'm going to keep him, though. I told him I wanted to become 'the one' - he said he'd talk to her tonight."
Blondie: "You know, she's going to think it's all you. He's going to blame you, and she's never going to talk to you again, and then he's still going to stay with her."
Brunette: "No - I have proof. I have pictures, and stories."

By this point I was totally intrigued, but the gossip twins had walked away to the shower room (which is bigger than my house).

The gym locker is like a Mexican soap opera - love it! The stories alone are almost compelling enough for the $105 monthly dues.

The dream mile: 1981 Dream MIle - Ovett, Scott, Cram, Walker

Fueled by Irish luck and a lot of training, check out the last 200 yards of this amazing race.

Tasty Tuesday: St. Patty's feast!

(I'm drinking soda, BTW, not wine)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Being St. Patty's Day, here is a recipe I hold near and dear from Healthy Cooking. I'm a huge fan of corned beef so any excuse to make and eat it is good enough for me...

Corned beef brisket - 3lbs
Cabbage - 1/2 head (cut in 1 inch size)
White Onions - 2 (cubed)
Beef soup stock or water - 1 to 2 cups
Salt and pepper (add to taste)

Mix the ingredients in the crock pot, except the cabbage. Cook on low for 6 hours and then add in the cabbage for 2 more hours.

The cabbage is added near the end for the second corned beef crock pot recipe because it doesn't take long to cook.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lululemon Fun Run!

Another Monday, another great run with Lululemon. Today was a great day for a Lululemon Fun Run. Weekly we've been doing fun runs on Monday nights meeting up at Lululemon. Being a bit tired from our trip to San Diego, I lead a 3-miler instead of the standard 5. Post run - I'm feeling AWESOME! Great group, great loop, great way to start off the week.

Now that I've hit 5-months, I've been thinking a lot about "can I still run while pregnant with twins" and doing as much research as I can. Here are the cliffs notes - the problems with running can include:
  • Getting the heart rate up too high - if I have trouble breathing, the boys do too
  • Putting strain on my pelvis
  • Putting strain on my cervix which can cause pre-term labor
On the flip side, and after talking to my doctor, since I ran before getting pregnant:
  • My body is used to the running
  • If I watch the bouncing, I'm better off
  • If I stick at conversational pace, I'm OK
For now, I have the thumbs up to keep going, so I'm going to keep listening to my body (and the growing boys) and run.

Weekend Roundup: San Diego

This past weekend we drove to San Diego for some Taylor family time. The drive down was pretty brutal - I took the train to San Jose and Matt and I drove to SD, arriving at 1:30am - ick! Once there, though, it was a jam packed weekend.

Saturday was a dinner party with the fam:

With tons of wine (I had water):

A quick run on Sunday:

During the loooooooong ride home, a stop at Andersons Split Pea Soup:

Home again home again and I'm beat! I need a weekend to recover from the weekend.

Money Saver Monday: Pay yourself and your family first

With such turbulent economic times it's hard to think about "squirreling away" for the future. Many of us have felt the hit of the stock fall (aka, my retirement plan has plummeted by over 50%), but that doesn't mean mattresses are the way to save now. I'm a fan of the mix: invest, high interest savings, checking account. I still invest because when the upturn starts I don't want to miss the spike.

Every paycheck I have money go into 6 different accounts before I even see the check - the beauty of direct deposit. Because the money comes out directly, I don't see it and have gotten used to living with less.

The breakdown is as follows:
  • Grad school loan
  • 401k through work
  • Roth IRA through Fidelity - I've diversified here, even though the market is lagging, I'm hoping an upswing will hit soon
  • Savings - this is our "rainy day" fund; this year we're using it for taxes but moving forward it's house savings
  • Baby savings - I opened this account as soon as we found out we were expecting, now I have $100 ($50/baby) go into a high interest savings account every paycheck, at first this'll pay hospital bills and then it'll turn into a college account
  • Checking - I love ING - it's the highest interest and is super easy; we use checking for rent, groceries, eating out, running shoes, races, etc.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tales of the cramped arch(es)

The past three days when I've gone out running I've battled:
  1. Needing to use the bathroom a half mile away from my door (for that I attest the twins)
  2. Foot cramps
Having already gone the orthodic route and battling the pain leading up to it, I know the cramps are not facitis. So I did what any wise runner would do - I took to the Internet to figure out what's going on, try to fix it, and keep on running on.

Per How Stuff Works, foot or arch cramps in running can come from:
  • Dehydration (from perspiration)
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Shoes without the right arch
Runner's World gives 9 prevention and helping tips (note, most of these are for new runners):
  1. Before running, walk slowly for 5 minutes to warm up the feet
  2. Don't stretch. Stretching often causes a "stretch reflex" that triggers cramping.
  3. Run 1-2 minutes per mile slower during the first 2 miles of the run
  4. For the first 10 minutes of running, run a minute and walk a minute. During the second 10 minutes, either stay at 1-1 or go to 2 minutes running and 1 minute walking.
  5. Visit a specialty running store to make sure that your shoe is right for your foot.
  6. Be sure you're drinking 6 to 8 ounces of an electrolyte beverage within 2 hours after you run.
  7. Never sprint at the end of your run; walk for 5 minutes before getting in your car or the shower.
  8. Consider asking your doctor for a blood analysis. You may be low in some of the electrolyte minerals.
  9. Examine your meds: some can produce cramps as side effects.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Take it and Run Thursday: Only in running

Today's theme is .... Only in running... Have you ever noticed that your definition of "acceptable" changes when it comes to your running? Your standards of public dislays of bodily functions lower, you find it acceptable to give bear hugs to sweaty complete strangers who you bonded with in the last mile of a tough race, you easily pay $100+ for a pair of shoes you may wear a few months, and on and on. Share your take of the interesting and peculiar things running brings into our lives.

When I was a kid my mom read me Ms. Manners to go to sleep. I'm a please and thank you person. I try to hold the door for strangers, I always introduce myself to the "new kid" at work, I never litter, I let the pregnant lady or older woman sit on the bus ... pretty standard stuff, really. Don't get me wrong, though - I absolutely have my "real life"quarks. Living in San Francisco I fume when out-of-towners don't know how to drive (I often give the tall finger hello - terrible, I know). I can't stand when people walk 4-in-a-row on sidewalks so often briskly walk around. But running brings out a different side.

Before a race I'm no stranger to the outdoor loo. I'll try to be discreet, of course, but there are times when action is required - the Kaiser half marathon was one of these for example. Before the Kaiser race, the line for the port-a-potty was 300 yards long so I ran to the woods. Once there I found a group of men and women around a tree. Shamelessly, I joined.

I'm a big fan of the "runner's etiquette" - shouting "on your right!" Is not rude during a race, it's required. On the flip side, staying to one side of the trail is imperative.

Even though as a kid parents taught us to never talk to strangers, during races strangers are my best friends. 1,000 ft. climb in the middle of a trail race? The guy next to me turns into family and we egg each other on. All runners coming the other direction get a wave, a smile, and a "great job!" On the street in "real life" I would never be so bold as to say hello to everyone (there was a crazy lady in San Anselmo that used to do that - it didn't work so well for her).

Bottom line, there's race world/runner's world, and then the rest of it. Different rules but similar gestalt - be polite, proper action for proper situation, have fun.

This just in: Running pic from race

I had to buy this picture from the Marin Trails 10k... What a fun race! And what a beautiful day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

20 weeks - I have POPPED!!!

I'm now 20-weeks, or 5-months exactly. Time is flying and my belly is growing day by day (which people LOVE pointing out - especially at work ... not sure how I feel about that one).

When I was a kid there was a pregnant Barbie where you could pop on a belly and pop it off. I feel like something has been popped to the front of me - it's funny, sometimes I turn quickly and hit my stomach against a door or wall because I'm not aware it's out there! Then there are times like tonight - I took a yoga class with Linz and when we were in the final resting pose the boys were going nuts! I guess they did not zone out in yoga - their belly button kickball made me quite aware.

Per Baby Center, here's what's going on:
At 20 weeks hair on the scalp is sprouting and sensory development evolves rapidly. The nerve cells serving each of the senses - taste, smell, hearing, seeing, and touch - are now developing in their specialised areas of the brain. Nerve cell production slows down as existing nerve cells grow larger and make more complex connections. The smell of a newborn seems to be the most developed of all senses, enabling them to recognize you immediately.

You no doubt feel the kicking and somersaulting of your growing twins. At times, they may be so mobile that they will wake you up during the night. The next ten weeks or so will be your twins' busiest and most active time, until the uterus gets too crowded.

A whitish coat of a slick, fatty substance called vernix caseosa will begin to cover your twins. It protects their skin during its long immersion in amniotic fluid and acts as a barrier against infection after birth. Your twins are swallowing an increasing amount of amniotic fluid, good practice for their digestive systems.

Until now your fetuses have been measured from crown to rump but from 20 weeks the measurement will be from crown to heel. And from crown to heel they are approximately 10.5 inches/ 27 centimetres long. Their eyebrows and eyelids are fully developed and fingernails cover the fingertips.

Your babies can now hear your conversations. If you talk, read, or sing to your twins, sound waves are transmitted along your spine to make them progressively familiar to your voice, helping them to recognise you after they are born.

Your twins can hear other sounds through the skin covering your belly, but they are distorted as they pass through your fat and muscle, the wall of your uterus and amniotic fluid. Only your voice will be clearly recognisable to them by the end of your pregnancy.

To wear: pregnant and chilly

The sun has peaked out in San Francisco but it's still chilly. Remember the old saying: "The coldest Winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco," by Mark Twain? Well, Winter > Spring is even colder!

Not one to shy away from style, though, here's my (chilly) San Francisco "bump" outfit for the day - oh, and this is celebrating week 20!

p.s. before I give you the preg outfit, you may want to check out EmilyStyle - that girl has a knack for everything style and even does consulting sometimes.

to wear: pregnant and chilly
to wear: pregnant and chilly - by Marathon Mom on Polyvore.com

Blouse - Stella McCartney silk (I'm wearing a much cheaper version of this one)
Pants - Theory (I love love love these! I can still wear my pre-preg Theorys because of the low waist)
Cardigan - Theory cashmere (their cashmere sweaters are a staple)
Kitten heel - GoJane (I can't wear my tall shoes anymore (oh how I miss 4") because I keep wobbling over - not cool)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Run like a woman

I love the saying "run like a girl" because to me it means run powerfully, and have fun doing it. Recently I've been thinking about what "run like a woman" might mean. Does it mean a more mature runner? Maybe. A more refined runner? Probably not - are runners ever really refined? To me to "run like a woman" means:
  • How how to train - with your mind and your body
  • Have fun! If it's not fun, you're probably in the wrong sport
  • See the walls and know you can overcome them
  • Push to do better - do better than you did before (and, if you're competitive like me, do better than the field)
  • Run to inspire - inspire yourself and run to help others

Tasty Tuesday: Baked and boiled baby artichokes

I love artichokes. I love dipping them and eating them like chips, pealing leaf by leaf to get to the sweet center, and spending my time with dinner. My new favorite trick is boiling then baking. With baby artichokes you don't need much time so these are a perfect in-a-pinch healthy treat.

  • Boil artichokes for 20-min (2 at a time in one pot)
  • Cut artichokes in half and drizzle balsamic vinegar and salt on the center
  • In pre-heated oven on 350, bake for 10 minutes
  • Eat and enjoy!
I love dipping the leaves in mayonnaise with lemon. This is the not-so-healthy add-on.

Check out the California artichoke advisory board for more recipes (yes, there's really an advisory board).

Cyclical sociology

It's interesting watching human behavior. I think that innate behavior is cyclical and comes out in infancy, tweenhood, adulthood, and senior-hood.

The need for nourishment:
Over the weekend while babysitting, baby W woke up balling his eyes out. At 2-months old he still isn't sure what's going on with his body or feelings so if something is off crying is the solution. As it had been 2-hours since he last ate, I knew it was milk time and went to heat the bottle for the precursory 2-min. That was the longest 2-min of the day - baby W started wriggling and crying louder and louder.

This morning, I stopped at Peet's for my morning wakeup (half decaf, half regular). Just as I ordered, the coffee ran out ... of all 4 pots (side note - Peet's, how can you let that happen?!) As I waited for the coffee to brew, the line grew behind me and more thirsty adults were left waiting for their jolt. The result? Not crying (close though) but a weird rocking side to side - peoples' impatience for their "nourishment" was entertaining ... and a bit scary (you should have seen some of the looks).

The need to be held:
I'm going to wrap this post with an experience from a few years ago. Again, over the weekend I awed at one of the basic human needs - to be held/touched. Baby W did not want to be put down. In college I spent a summer working 3-days a week at a retirement home, and 3-days a week at a daycare.

At the retirement home I led activities (aka, Bingo) and read to people. While they loved hearing numbers and letters called out and occasionally winning an extra sugar free coffee for "cleaning up" in Bingo, the retirees seemed to love company more. One week I was reading to a man who had been on bed-rest for 2-weeks. He didn't talk - the entire summer I had been there he hadn't spoken so this wasn't new. As I read Moby Dick, Buzz kept looking up scheming something in the back of his mind. At the close of a chapter, he raised his blanket where I was surprised to see ... nothing. Well, something, just no clothes. "Want to get in?" Buzz grumbled (seems he could talk!) I shook my head and walked out - looping this instance to my analogy here, though, people - old and young - just want some kind of affection.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Inspired: Paula Radcliffe

I think Paula Radcliffe is amazing. She's an incredible runner mom or not, and an inspiration to running moms-to-be. I will sit back and watch her in awe... and I won't "try this stuff at home." For now, I'm happy with 10ks and half marathons. After the boys come, we'll see.

To buy: crib

We're buying baby stuff as we see it. The cribs were the big purchase - they need to fit in the room, be safe, and be affordable! We knew we wanted white, hoped for adjustable (infant to toddler), and knew we wanted modern. The choices were endless...

cribs - by Marathon Mom on Polyvore.com

We wound up lucking out and found 2 cribs on Craigslist.com for $100 TOTAL!!! Including mattress and handmade bumper from Paris. I love Craigslist.com. I love checking things off our baby list.

Money Saver Monday: Family Dinner

I love eating out. I love going somewhere for a great meal with friends and the hub. For some reason, food cooked by someone else always tastes better (this is not a slam to my or Matt's cooking - I think it's more a testament to enjoying having something done). With so many amazing restaurants in San Francisco, eating out can get really expensive - $20 at Pesce one night, $50 at Bar Johnny the next, you get the picture.

Intro - Family Dinner.

Last night I had the BEST dinner and time at Jamie's - Jamie, Courtney, Hibret, and I got together to "break bread" and talk babies and it was so fun. Jamie cooked (a million thanks to Jamie) and we all hung in the kitchen talking about everything from work, to family, to stuff I won't write publicly.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

On the trails again - my first 1st place!

Today was the Marin Trails 10k and 20k race in China Camp. I ran the 10k and ... drumroll ... placed 1st female and 7th overall!! I ran the 10k in 45:02 - not too shaby for a lady toting a bowling ball belly (OK, beach ball). Whoo hoo! Peoples' reactions were so funny and varied from pointing and staring at my belly, to "WTF? You're pregnant? I need to get pregnant so I can go fast, too!"

Our GGRC running coach, Mark, also took first - our grand prizes? Rubber chickens. Rad.

Not a terrible course map - beautiful run:

The lineup:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Taking it and Run Thursday: Common Mistakes

Today's theme is .... Common mistakes and cardinal sins of running. What are some of the most common mistakes you make with your running? Why? What did you learn from them? And of all your mistakes, which ones have you vowed to never to again and would urge other runners to avoid this most evil pitfall.

There's a thin line between pushing it hard enough to PR and pushing it too far in running, and I've erred on both sides of that line. I think the biggest mistake in running is pushing it too far/too hard - I've done this a few times and the downside is much more massive than the up. Our bodies are pretty good about telling us when enough is enough (i.e. a stress fracture rearing its ugly bum is a great sign to stop for a while, ice, stretch, and hit the pool or bike instead of track or trail).

A long time ago when I "ran in uniform (aka high-school track) - I really pushed it and wound up pushing my knee right out of place. I ran off and on after that but it wasn't really fun and I kept hurting myself - the end result, I didn't' really run for 10-years.

On the flip side, and it's a bit funny lumping these two together, it's important to remember the mind tires before the body. In a marathon that little voice at mile 20 always seems to whisper "don't worry, it's ok to stop." This is the thin line paradigm - it is indeed OK to stop if your body is breaking down BUT often times runners (like me) fall into the mind-game pitfall and stop because of the little voice.

What a balancing act!

I guess the moral of my TiART entry this week is to find the balance in running and not fall to the body breaking side or mind melting side - just listen to your body and have fun.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Nike Marathon!

It's that magic time of year again - Nike Marathon registration/lotto. I just signed up, the marathon would be 3-months after having the boys and a perfect thing to train for and get back into shape ... fingers crossed ...

19 weeks and growing!

Here's what prompted the "Oh my gosh - you've grown" comments at work today (the actually belly live (but sweatered - I'm not a belly-shirt-at-work kinda girl, not the photos):

Full frontal - bumpity:

BAM! There is is (there they are):

To do: Eat!

Fit Pregnancy gives a great list on superfoods for a healthy pregnancy. The good news? I love these all!


Although there is no official limit on egg consumption for pregnant women, the American Heart Association recommends no more than one egg per day for a healthy person, as long as total daily cholesterol does not exceed 300 mg. (One egg has about 213 mg of cholesterol.)
What you get
Protein, more than a dozen vitamins (including A and B12), minerals
and choline.

Most berries, including blackberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries, contain beneficial
phytochemicals, which
act as antioxidants
that rid the body of cell-damaging free radicals.
What you get
Carbohydrates, vitamin C, fiber, folate and fluid.

Plain yogurt contains more calcium than milk does and is the richest of all yogurts in zinc. Some new brands are now fortified with vitamin D; check the label to be sure.
What you get
Calcium, carbohydrates, protein, B vitamins and zinc.

*whole grains
Whole grains, including oatmeal, whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat pasta and brown rice, contain more fiber and trace nutrients than processed grains, such as white bread, white rice and white flour.
What you get
Carbohydrates and fiber. Enriched whole grains are fortified with folic acid and other B vitamins, iron and zinc; some grain products may contain added calcium and vitamin D.

*Lean beef
Eye of round, top round, round tip, bottom round,
top loin and tenderloin are among the leanest cuts available.
What you get
Protein, vitamins B6 and B12, and the minerals zinc and iron in their most absorbable form.
Beef is one of the most concentrated food sources of choline.

Eating cheese after a meal may thwart cavity formation by neutralizing the
mouth acids that promote dental decay and gingivitis. Why is this important? Because gingivitis during pregnancy can result in premature delivery.
What you get
Protein, carbohydrates, fat, calcium and vitamin B12.

Legumes *
Chickpeas, lentils, black beans, soybeans and peanuts are part of the legume family. Peanuts excepted, legumes are a great alternative to fatty sources of protein and are a good source

Sweet potatoes*
There are two main types of sweet potatoes:
dry-fleshed and moist-fleshed. Throughout
the United States, the moist-fleshed, orange variety
is often improperly referred to as a yam.
What you get
Carbohydrates, vitamin C, folate and fiber.

The florets contain a higher concentration of nutrients and phytochemicals than the
rest of the plant, though the stems and leaves are also nutritious.
What you get
Carbohydrates, fiber, calcium and folate.

While seafood is generally low in fat, the type of fat it does contain is largely the heart-healthy omega-3 variety. Fattier species, such as salmon, cod and haddock, are excellent sources of omega-3.
What you get
Protein, B vitamins and small but significant levels of iron and zinc.

Soy milk is an acceptable alternative to cow’s milk as long as it’s fortified with at least 30 percent of the daily value for calcium and at least 25 percent of the daily value for vitamin D.
What you get
Calcium, carbohydrates, protein, fat (if not fat-free) and vitamins B and D.

19 weeks: the halfway mark!

(pic from Baby Centre UK)
I am officially half way. Typically during a race this is my "wall" where I need to turn up my iPod and push forward. Luckily, my body is doing the forward push for me - or should I say, bump push. In the past week I swear I've grown about 3 inches - I continue to get comments from managers like: "Whoa - you've grown!" or "Where did that come from?"

Per Fit Pregnancy, here's what's going on:
"Your baby is between five and six inches long and weighs about seven ounces—about the size of an apple. If the baby is a girl, early ovaries contain follicles with forming eggs. Soon, half of the genetic material for your potential future grandchildren will be formed. Pictures of babies at this age show them touching the membrane of the amniotic sac, touching their own faces, reaching for the umbilical cord, pedaling their legs, and sucking their thumbs. If you're carrying twins, they may already be swatting at each other. Your baby may already have a preference for the left or right hand. In the brain, areas of the nerve cells that serve the senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing are becoming specialized and are forming more complex connections. Loud sounds as well as any feelings you may have of stress or alarm may be communicated to the baby. The baby responds to these stresses by becoming more active. Practicing yoga and meditation can be good for your sense of calm and balance."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Skillet Steak

When I get too tired it's typically because I need iron or vitamin B. Tonight I thought it was the former, so we made a Skillet Steak the "clean" way (aka, no frying).

1 lb steak
1/2 onion
1/2 red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot peppers to taste

1 C loose spinach
1/2 avocado
1/2 tomato
1/4 C black olives

Pre-heat oven to 350, once warm, put steak in a skillet and season with salt and pepper
Cook for 15-min (this is medium (I'm a medium rare or rare fan but I need to stick to thoroughly cooked right now))
Bring pan up to stove-top on medium heat and add chopped up onions and red bell pepper
Saute meat with veg until the outside of the steak is crispy and the veg are soft
Plate with hot peppers to taste

Plate loose spinach with chopped up avocado, tomato, and olives
Oil/balsamic drizzle
Salt and pepper to taste

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lululemon Fun Run!

I can't believe Monday is already here. It's been a looooooooong day catching up (it's amazing how much work can pile up with just one day off - I can't imagine what my 6-week maternity leave is going to bring!...) and a run is quite needed.

Here's what I'm thinking for the Lulu Fun Run tonight (I've dubbed this the "park run" as we circle 5 parks):

  • Union > gough
  • Up to Sacramento > Right
  • Sacramento > Steiner > Left
  • Steiner > Jackson > Right
  • Jackson > Scott > Right
  • Scott > Broadway > Left
  • Broadway > Lyon> Right
  • Lyon > Marina Blvd > Right
  • Marina Blvd > Webster > Right
  • Webster > Bay > Right
  • Bay > Laguna > Right
  • Laguna > Union > Left
4.68 mi

If you're around, come on down!

The biggest liar

Recently, The Biggest Loser's Dane Patterson and The Biggest Loser the show, claimed Dane and his wife, Carli, finishing the Arizona Desert Classic Marathon in under four hours. The truth? Dane didn't think he'd make the cutoff time for the marathon so instead of running the entire thing just ran a portion of it.

My take? Anyone who even tries to do a marathon is incredible in my eyes - they're mentally and physically brutal and even an attempt is amazing. Lying on the other hand? Not cool. The problem is our country is getting so used to getting by on an "almost-truth" and now with entertainment/sports supporting this fallacy, Pinoccio-hood remains acceptable. I do understand Dane's dillema, don't get me wrong, but I think publicising something as amazing as finishing the race with his wife is too much. Audiences would be impressed that he a) tried it and b) completed a half (which in itself is huge).

Enough of my rant - you can read the full article around the marathon story at RW Daily.

p.s. I think my moral meter is on high with the boys in the oven - I definitely hope they're runners (I'm happy if they're not) but more than anything I hope for truth.