Sunday, May 1, 2016

A 38 Week Belly Peek and A Last Minute List of Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Just a couple of days ago, I sent out an SOS on Facebook to any of my readers who would be willing to share with me their favorite tips on how to overcome the maternity blahs in the final stretch of pregnancy. Next to getting a pedicure and perking up what's left of my shrunken wardrobe with pretty earrings and some new lipstick, my favorite tip was going on a date with Steve.

I wish I could report that he is feeling top-notch, but unfortunately, he's hit another rough patch, so if you could keep those prayers coming, we would both be eternally grateful!  Knowing that his Lyme/mold symptoms are pretty ramped up, I hesitated to even suggest that we get away for an evening, but I'm glad I did, because he was totally on board.

He even agreed to snap a couple of pics of me and baby before we left, since I haven't taken much time to document this pregnancy:
I'm so thankful for maxi skirts and dresses right now, because pants are just evil, and most of my tops have mysteriously shrunk at least a size (or two).  So weird, because I'm sure it's not the pan of Paleo Almond Joy bars that I snarfed down last week.
I'm also hoping that the two dresses I can still squeeze into will not only help me feel more put together, but will also ramp up the grace and coordination factor a bit.  Last week I knocked over three saint statues and a box of rosaries while browsing at my favorite Catholic bookstore, and of course that all happened after giving the boys the don't touch anything, because if you break it we have to pay for it blah, blah, blah speech.

Super. Duper.

I was going to suggest that management consult some pregnant women the next time they consider product layout and floor design, but that might have been a bit much given the fact that, thanks to my rotundness, St. Patrick just lost his shamrock. I just hope that the Franklin I spent on all of the First Communion and Confirmation gifts was enough to make up for my belly blunder.

Anyway, despite the public humiliations, uncontrollable swelling and crazy vein action this baby is cranking up, just knowing that he or she will soon be outside my womb and inside my arms is such a wonderful consolation.

The boys are also getting very excited. It's fun to hear them chat about how cute he/she will be with their tiny toes and sweet smelling skin. Listening to them express with so much joy their great enthusiasm over being blessed with another sibling, turns my fears and anxiety into deep gratitude for the great privilege of carrying another life with me!

Motherhood is indeed a most precious gift!

Speaking of motherhood and gifts, Mother's day is just one week away! If you still haven't found something special for the beautiful mama(s) you may be shopping for, I'd love to help you:
Instead of a bouquet that will only last a few days, give her something that will last all summer! Local, family-owned greenhouses have the best selection of flower baskets and potted plants. Or, put a little extra love into it, and design one for her yourself! 

2.  A Frame Worthy Quote
I love all of the beautiful work my friend, Katrina, offers on her Etsy Shoppe, Hatch Prints.  Put one of her works of art in a pretty frame, and it makes a truly lovely gift.

3.  A Pretty Bottle of Wine
This is your excuse to buy a bottle based on the label alone.  When I spotted this one, I couldn't resist!  Write a toast to your special mom, and attach it to the bottle, for an extra nice touch.

4.  My Saint My Hero Accessories
I'm really loving so many of the pieces from this shoppe.  You'll be sure to find a perfect gift for the spiritual mom here.

5.  Write Her a Letter (On Pretty Paper)
Hand written notes are a lost treasure and, though simple, can make the most memorable gifts.  My sister has sent me a variety of stationary from Rifle Paper Co., and it is all truly beautiful.  They also offer many other gifts such as phone cases, calendars, and personal planners.

You absolutely cannot go wrong with a gift that pampers.  My super-fun and sassy friend, Tara just introduced me to a new line of products called Perfectly Posh. When she told me they are "natural" and made in the U.S.A., I was hooked! You can check out all of their fabulous products here.


Friday, April 29, 2016

A 20 Minute, Once a Day Power Clean With Your Kids In Five Simple Steps

Happy Friday, Friends!

A couple of days ago, I shared a quick pic of the boys tackling a few of the tasks on our twenty-minute power clean list.  This is a new idea/effort that I'm hoping will become a habit that will help us all keep the house a little cleaner before baby arrives. Since we've been working on it for a week now, I thought I'd write a little bit more about how the idea has taken off.

There are a couple of reasons why I decided to rethink our current housekeeping plan.
1.  I'm nesting in a major way (almost 38 weeks)!
2.  The boys' activity and school schedule is so full that finding time to clean is becoming more and more difficult. Read: the goober/dirt magnets I'm raising are taking over the house, and I cannot handle it any more!!!

Steve and I feel that it's very important to teach the boys good stewardship and generosity by requiring that they share in the maintenance of the home.  A big family = bigger messes, more dishes, laundry, etc. etc.  So we have to work as a team to keep the house running efficiently.  Everyone around here helps out in some way, even the little ones.  

{Sometime I will post in more specific detail the responsibilities that we set in front of the boys and at what ages we expect them to fulfill those responsibilities.}

But lately, especially with the older boys devoting more time to their studies and sports, it is becoming more and more challenging to tackle even the basic daily and weekly chores.  And moms, for what it's worth, the housekeeping duties should not fall upon your shoulders alone.  The home is the perfect environment for children to learn so many vital lessons on virtue and to also develop life-long skills that are unfortunately under appreciated and underrated, but no-less important to daily living and family harmony.

With our seventh angel due to make his/her entrance into the world any day now, I decided to come up with a simple, yet effective way to spread the housekeeping tasks out during the week, instead of trying to gather the troops to tackle the entire house in one laborious event.  

This isn't really a new or novel idea, but for what it's worth, I'm throwing it out there for anyone who is also reconsidering the distribution of major chores during the week.  Since we homeschool, I like to begin the day with our 20 minute power clean (that's what we're calling it).  But, if you have kids at school, you could always try to squeeze it in after they get home, or right before/after supper.

The goal is not perfection, because there will be those days when things just don't go as planned. But, with consistency, I'm hoping that the home will not only be a more ordered and clean environment for us all, but a more peaceful one as well!
After breakfast is eaten, teeth are brushed and everyone is dressed, the 20 minute power clean method (so far) begins, following this plan:

1.  Prayer and Scripture.  
We keep it simple.  Spontaneous prayer, the Our Father, Morning Offering or Angelus, then one of the boys reads a scripture passage for the day.  I choose the verses ahead of time and make sure they are always virtue-centered so that they reinforce obedience, generosity, sacrifice, joy, helpfulness, attentiveness, kindness etc.  You can Google "bible verses on (insert specific virtue)" to find a great just what you're looking for. No need to go into a long lecture here, just keep it sweet and simple. They'll be getting a small dose each day, so (fingers crossed) much of the teaching will eventually sink in.

2.  Write the daily list of tasks on a white board or piece of paper. 
Let the kiddos check the chores off as they go.  They love to do that - it gives them so much satisfaction! And, it helps you to see what's been done in relation to how much time is left.

3. Assign tasks.
I like to start with asking for volunteers, and if there are not takers for the task, it simply gets assigned. Then, I briefly review how the tasks are to be completed if they require any instruction.  I try not to labor to heavily over this.  Things won't be done perfectly, but with praise and encouragement, the children will improve from week to week.  Any task that is not completed will be finished before lunch or the next privileged event. *See our list of tasks below.

4.  Turn on the music! 
For our family, praise music and/or songs from my Christian play list are the only option during the power clean, but only because if we crank up the classic rock or country, it almost always results in a lot of air guitar and wrestling, and that's not what we're going for here.  (Matt Maher and Third Day on the Pandora app were the boys' top picks this week.)

5.  Set the timer.
This one doesn't need an explanation, but it is very important.  The kids need to see the countdown, (and so do I!)
6.  Inspection.
This is a really important step, and one not to be skipped because it gives us as parents the opportunity to praise and thank our kids, but also to teach them the value of finishing a task and finishing it well, as well as learning to embrace constructive criticism. I discovered this week that if I praised the boys individually to their father at the supper table, they worked even harder the following day!

7.  Rewards!
This one is totally optional, and I'm not always big on rewards, but in this case, it's a necessary good. The boys know I'm a bit of a sugar nazi, so the thought of receiving donuts or a cereal of their choice on Saturday morning is highly motivating!  Of course, this may not interest your older children, but perhaps a cash allowance or something more suitable to their ages might be.

Finally, here is a list of the tasks we are currently working from (many of them can be done more than once a week), and a few of the helpful cleaning items we used:
Task List:
Vacuum all rooms 
Wipe down kitchen appliances and cabinets
Clean sinks and counter tops in bathrooms (every-other-day)
Sweep Kitchen and Dining Room Floors
Mop kitchen floor
Wipe down kitchen table, seating, and high-chair
Wipe dirty fingerprints off of doorknobs doors and walls 
Clean mirrors and windows 
Tidy up clothes drawers
Match/fold socks and laundry
Sweep off front porch and deck
Organize game cabinet and/or major toy area
Clean family vehicle (this one we do as a team, and it's the only task we focus on for the day.)
Clean Showers/Bathtubs (weekly)
Mop bathroom floors (weekly)
Water Flowers/Plants

Cleaning Products:
Cleaning products are such a personal preference, but if you're like me and always searching for effective/efficient items, here are a few that I can't do without:

1.  Norwex Enviro Cloths.  I know they are pricey, but so worth the investment.  They clean EVERYTHING so well (even stains off of carpet!), and don't leave streaks.  I can give a damp one to my toddler and turn him lose around the house. He loves to wipe down his high-chair and the bar stools for me.

2. Bona Mop System.  I really love this for our kitchen floors.  Nothing beats a good old fashioned hands and knees clean for the floors, but this is a great way to maintain the deep clean during the week.  It doesn't leave streaks and is easy for kids to use. If we had more hard woods in the home, I would probably invest in the Norwex mop system, but since our kitchen/dining space is small, this works for us.

3.  Baby wipes. Sounds crazy, I know, but we use these for detailing the car interior, because they are gentle and don't leave streaks or film.

4.  Thieves Multi-Purpose Concentrate from Young Living.  This is my go-to cleaner that I can let the boys use without worry over toxicity.  It's the germ bomb, and a little goes a long way!

How do you tackle household tasks with your family, and what are your favorite products?? 
I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Memories for Henry of Your First Holy Communion

Henry is the fourth child in our family to receive his first Holy Communion.  Because we homeschool, it is up to Steve and I to prepare him well for this beautiful sacrament. We used many of the same materials (scripture, this book, this one, and this one, too), engaged in daily conversations about the Eucharist, and prayed with him as we did when preparing his older brothers.

But, Henry's preparation was different from the others in the sense that, as his parents, our own personal relationship with the sacrament has deepened significantly over the past two years since Steve has been ill.  

It's a difficult thing to grasp, the mystery, the gift, the glory of the Eucharist and how it is all charged with unfathomable graces, graces steeped in the sacrificial love of the cross.  For Steve and I, the cross of Lyme disease and mold toxicity has drawn us in more deeply to this mystery, and our utter dependence upon the graces we receive from the Eucharist naturally shape the way in which we approach the formation of our children.

As Henry grows and matures into manhood, perhaps he will remember very little of the time we spent preparing him for this spiritual milestone.  But I do hope, with all my heart, that what we have taught him is not limited to our time of study together, but that his knowledge flourishes and takes root deep in his soul through a real and continual example of love and devotion to the sacrament by his father and I as well as his older siblings.

Memories For Henry of Your First Holy Communion...
For weeks leading up to your special day, you continually asked, "How many days until I get to receive Jesus?" I loved your great anticipation and awareness of what was to come.
{Thank you to my friend, Kristen, for the great photos!}

Tradition is very important to our family, and one tradition that began with your brother, Benedict, was that all of the boys in our family would wear the same attire for your 1st Communions, the necktie being the most important.  Unfortunately, the red striped First Communion tie got mixed in with the clothes that were laundered during our mold remediation and was ruined. You were a great sport about it, though, and did not complain about having to wear something different.

This picture of you with Fr. Aaron is great! He is an incredible priest, and you admire him very much. I have a feeling you will always remember Father and the great enthusiasm he has for our Catholic faith. He is a great blessing to our family and to our parish!
On your special day, I woke up very early to decorate the house and to prepare the brunch before Mass.  Before the sun was up, I heard the faint sound of footsteps on the stairway carpet and I knew, without a doubt, that it was you who would be the first to greet me that morning.  You were so eager to admire all of the decorations and to get dressed in your special attire.
Because Holy Mass is early at our parish, we decided to host a celebratory brunch afterward instead of waiting until lunch.  You helped me plan the menu: 
Egg & Mushroom Kielbasa Casserole
Cinnamon Rolls
Cranberry Orange Scones
Mini Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
Fruit Platter
Assorted Juices & Coffee
When I asked you what you would like for me to bake, you chose three things (THREE! Really??), and I just couldn't say no to your innocent, enthusiastic request. 
{We decided to make candy-dipped pretzels instead of a traditional cake.}
You even helped me do all of the shopping earlier that week, and we stayed up on Friday night making your party favors while watching the Royals beat the Twins.  We had so much fun!
You and your brothers declared the brunch to be a feast, and stuffed yourselves with multiple helpings of everything.  Watching you guys eat with such gusto is something I will never grow tired of.
Thankfully the weather was so nice out that day that you were all able to jump off all of the sugar on the basketball court and trampoline.  Even Rose thought she was a part of the party!
We don't have very many pictures of you with your Godparents, Uncle Doug and Aunt Jen, so this one is a treasure.  They gave you the chalice tie clip that you proudly wore to Holy Mass that day.
George has this very saint book and since you are always asking him if you may look at it, your dad and I thought you might enjoy having a copy of your own.  The stories and illustrations in it are very beautiful.
Granny and Grandpa gave you a four-way medal, which included a description of what each symbol on the medal means. You wear it every day with the St. Henry medal we gave to you for your first reconciliation.
A good friend of mine suggested that we give you this Lego representation of the Mass, and I'm so glad that we did!  You put it together right away, and it really is a fun memory of your reception of the sacrament.  You can also use it to teach your younger brothers about the Mass.

Because the third name we chose for you is Augustine, you and I often talk about St. Augustine and his incredible conversion story.  I know that at such a young age this quote from his writings is too deep for you to grasp, but I hope that one day (perhaps at your confirmation?) we can return to it and converse at greater length his inspiring words on the Eucharist:

"The Body of Christ" you are told, and you answer, "Amen."  Be members then of the Body of Christ that your Amen may be true.  Why is this mystery accomplished with bread?  We shall say nothing of our own about it, rather let us hear the Apostle, who speaking of this sacrament say: "We, being many, are one body, one bread." Understand and rejoice.  Unity, devotion, charity!  

One bread: and what is this one bread?  One body made up of many.  Consider that the bread is not made of one grain alone, but of many.  During the time of exorcism, you were, so to say, in the mill. At baptism you were wetted with water.  Then, the Holy Spirit came into you like the fire which bakes the dough.  Be then what you see and receive what you are.

Now for the chalice, my brethren, remember how wine is made.  Many grapes hang on the bunch, but the liquid which runs out of them mingles together in unity.  So has the Lord willed that we should belong to him and he has consecrated on his altar the mystery of our peace and unity."

{Excerpt taken from Catholicism - Christ and the Common Destiny of Man by Heri De Lubac}

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Rise & Shine Breakfast Basket ~ A Gift For Mamas of Newborns

Every time Steve and I welcome a new life into the world, we are truly spoiled by the kindness of family and friends who bring us delicious meals, thoughtful gifts, and offer to help with the little ones. One of the most memorable gifts I've received was given to me by a friend after the birth of our fourth son, Henry.

In lieu of freezer meals or new clothes, she brought me a breakfast basket. Aren't mornings the most difficult part of the day for mamas of newborns? They are for me! Her gift was such a bright surprise. Filling the basket were little baked goods, special coffee, jam, tea, and even a morning devotional with short readings that I could soak in before facing the day.

Her thoughtfulness and creativity has inspired me to to recreate the same gift for many of my friends over the years.  After choosing a cute, sturdy basket, I usually line it with a lovely hand towel, and coordinate the gifts to match. Before delivering the basket below, I tucked in a few pieces of white tissue paper to fill in the empty spaces, and to provide a little bit of cushion for the breakable items. 

Below is a list of ideas that might inspire you to make a breakfast basket for someone you know!
1.  A bag of really good coffee.

2.  Flavored syrup for the coffee.

3.  A delicious tea in a pretty tin.
{I really like this brand, which you can usually find at Target.}

4.  A special mug for the morning sips.
{The one I found in the picture above is from the Pioneer Woman line at Wal-Mart.}

5.  Pancake Mix
{My favorite shortcut is to buy a quality mix, and add mini chocolate chips to it.  Look for one that requires only the addition of milk or water.  Be sure to measure out an exact serving size and place it in a pretty jar or sturdy bag, and write the directions on a label.}

5.  Quick Breads, Scones, and Muffins
My go to recipes are for pumpkin bread, vanilla bean scones, and lemon poppyseed muffins.  Just choose your time-tested favorites. Even a nice sized batch of one thing is great!

6.  Gluten Free or Paleo Options
For the mom with special dietary needs, you can find a number of yummy gluten-free baked good recipes on my Pinterest page, and also a nice variety of Paleo options (including a delicious granola) on this page, too.

7.  Devotionals
{Just a few of my favorites:}

8.  Energizing Essential Oil Blends
I love to keep essential oils beside my bed.  A deep breath of their aroma in the morning, and a couple of drops on my wrists or behind the ears can have such an positive affect on my morning mood!

Do you have any suggestions for me? 
What would you put in your breakfast basket?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Answers to Every Question I've Ever Been Asked About Running During Pregnancy

Can you believe it was almost 80 degrees here yesterday? 

What a glorious feeling to crawl out of the cave of winter in the sunshine of spring! This time of year always fills me with a renewed energy to set goals and tackle projects inside and outside of the house. One of the goals on my list is to dedicate more time to blogging.  The winter season was a rough one for our family, but now that we're finally coming up for fresh air after drowning in mold toxicity, Lyme disease, tonsil surgery and a broken collar bone, I think I might actually have enough energy to write!
One topic I miss writing about most is running.  At 33 weeks, I've had to trade my running shoes in for a walking pair, but I'm okay with that.  This is the longest I've ever been able to run during a pregnancy, and with just 7 weeks to go before baby (fingers crossed - they like to take their time entering the world), I'll be running again soon.

Over the past few years I've received a lot of questions from my readers about running during pregnancy, and thought it might be helpful to summarize those questions and answers all in one post for those of you who are looking for more information on the topic.

*Please note that I am not an expert in this field, or a trained medical professional.  Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program while pregnant.
1.  Is it okay to start running if I wasn't running before pregnancy?
The answer to this question depends on whether or not you were engaged in some type of exercise routine (besides running) prior to your pregnancy.  If the answer is no, then I don't suggest you begin running right now. Walking, swimming, or Pilates designed for pregnancy are a better option for you. If, however, you exercised on a regular basis prior to pregnancy, and walking at a brisk pace brings you no discomfort, then running is definitely an option for you!

2.  What are the benefits of running during pregnancy?
There are many wonderful benefits to running throughout your pregnancy (or as long as your body permits), which include more balanced hormones, increased energy, easier labor and delivery and quicker post-partum recovery.  You can read a more detailed list here.

3.  Do I need to change my regular workout attire? 
For the most part, no. Thankfully, it's becoming easier to find fun, comfortable, and stylish maternity athletic wear in stores and online. But tights and tops aren't the most important things you should consider when it comes to running.  The three items I suggest you focus on are:
:: bigger shoes
:: a better bra
:: the best belly support belt
Not everyone, but many of us naturally need to size up a bit in the shoe department during pregnancy. So, if you're clinging to your favorite pair of kicks, but notice that you're feet are feeling a bit squished in them, don't worry, you'll be able to sport them again one of these days.  But for now, your feet need plenty of cushion, support, and wiggle room, so consider purchasing a new pair a half size, or size up. 

As for the bra - keeping those girls tucked in neat and tidy means less chafing and more comfort during your run. Think structure, support, and sizing up (which is a bonus for people like me!) when looking for a new bra. Athleta and Title Nine both offer a wide variety of bras that meet very specific shapes and sizes, but if you're sticking to a budget, Target and athletic stores like Dick's Sporting goods will also provide a nice selection for you.

Finally, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of wearing a support belt (I really like this one). Not only will you find, as your tummy begins to grow, that the belt supports your expanding abdomen, but it also alleviates some of the pressure on your lower back and bottom, which can be quite a relief if you struggle with pain in either of those areas during pregnancy.

4.  How fast and how far can I go?
Distance and speed are primarily determined by two things: the level of shape you are currently in, and your personal comfort level as you are working out.  No matter what your exercise goals are for the day, you must listen to your body.  If you're feeling overly fatigued, light-headed, short of breath, or experiencing ANY pain at all, you must stop running, or at least slow down if you are pushing the pace. Fighting through the pain is a familiar routine for many runners, but it shouldn't be during pregnancy, so listen to your body.  With regards to distance, achieving a particular number of miles per day may be your goal, but perhaps not a realistic one right now.  Consider running for a particular amount of time rather than distance, or if you just can't let go of your mileage, try mixing some walking in with the run to give your body the much needed break it is asking for.

5.  What should I eat after a run?
While fuel is an important factor to consider when running, even more important is hydration.  I cannot stress how vital it is for mamas to stay hydrated throughout their pregnancies, especially before and after a workout. Dehydration can be dangerous for baby and for you.  If you plan to run (or take part in any exertive exercise) for thirty minutes or longer, then I highly recommend replenishing fluids with an electrolyte replacement.  I prefer Nuun, because it is lower in sodium than Gatorade type drinks, it's very low in sugar, and doesn't contain any artificial ingredients such as food coloring or flavorings.  If you are working out in warm weather, be sure to dress appropriately and consider carrying a hand-held water bottle (like this one) with you when you run/walk. 

Post workout replenishment should be simple and nutritious (you really don't need as many calories as you might think).  I like plain, non-fat Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, a small scoop of paleo granola with coconut milk, fruit and veggie smoothies with a whey protein mix (I like this one), or a banana topped with a couple of teaspoons of almond butter. Quality protein and slow digesting carbs will help repair your muscles and replenish your energy for the remainder of the day.

6.  Should I consider my posture and form when running?
Yes! There are a couple of really important things to remember when it comes to posture. First, because your center of gravity is going to shift a bit as your tummy begins to grow (which can effect your balance), and your loosening joints and ligaments can also cause some instability, you will find it necessary to shorten your running stride.  Doing so will give you greater stability, balance, and sense of security out on the road.  

Second, take a posture check in the mirror.  Is your expanding belly causing your back to arch? If you feel a dip in your lower back, try bringing your spine into a neutral position, by tucking your pelvis in a bit.  The posture correction may feel a little strange at first, but really you are just aligning your spine over your hips, and this should take some pressure off of your lower back.  In doing so, you will find a greater level of comfort while running by simply keeping the posture of your lower back in check. 

7.  Is it okay to race while pregnant?
To me, racing means training and working towards a PR, and pregnancy is not the time for either of those things.  If your definition of racing means signing up for a local 5K and running/walking for fun with your friends, then sure, if you were running prior to pregnancy, go for it! On the other hand, if racing means long runs, speed work, and strength training to meet a goal race time, then it's time to set aside those ideals for the next few months.  Shift your focus to the health and strength of your body for the benefit of the baby and to achieve a smother labor and delivery. What race could be more important?

8.  What should I do about an overactive bladder while running?
Multiple births have a way of making a mom feel a little insecure when it comes to bladder control. My suggestion is to hydrate well throughout the day, but avoid drinking anything 1 hour before running. Then, be sure to replenish fluids post-run.  Run close to home, in case you have an urgent need to go. And, if the motion of running is simply too much, it's simply time to start walking.  I know that no one (including myself) likes to do those annoying pelvic floor exercises, but if it's a choice between being able to run and having to postpone exercise until after birth, then it may be well worth your time to devote a few minutes a day to doing them.

9.  What are some signs that I should stop running?
I can speak with confidence in this arena, because I have had a myriad experiences over seven pregnancies.  During some of them I felt fantastic running, while with others I wasn't able to endure more than a few weeks of running. The decision to stop running and switch to another form of exercise should primarily be determined by the first and most obvious symptom, which is pain or discomfort. Pain is always your signal to stop! Also, if you are unable to catch your breath, or feel extremely thirsty, do not continue running. Consistent low blood pressure or aching joints and ligaments post-run, may also be serious reasons to postpone any future runs. If you are going to run pregnant, you must run smart for your own safety and for baby's as well.

10.  How did you run a marathon while pregnant?
Given the answer to question #7, I hope I don't sound like a hypocrite here.  First of all, you should know that I didn't set out to run a marathon while pregnant.  It was during the last couple of weeks of training for the Chicago Marathon that I discovered Steve and I were expecting baby #7.  Since I was on the taper portion of my training, and was very early on in my pregnancy, I knew that I could finish the race if I fueled properly, paid extra careful attention to hydration, and abandoned any goals to finish with a PR.  

Even though I faithfully followed through with those specific conditions, I was still pretty tired throughout the race (first trimester fatigue is tough!), but I finished, and was happy with that.  If I were a newbie at running, I would not have attempted the race. But, with years of running experience and the advice of experts on my side, I was confident that I could make it to the finish line safely.

Looking for more information? I highly recommend these two resources:
2. Fit and Healthy Pregnancy by Kristina Pinto