Mom to Be Mondays-Week 18: It’s all about Nutrition

Happy Monday! After I did Zumba this morning & hubs went to the gym, it’s been nap central over here.  We’ve spent the majority of our day watching Bethenny Ever After and catching up with Mad Men.  Sometimes, it’s good to have a lazy day 🙂 

I thought it best to blog about nutrition and pregnancy today since I spent the greater part of last night dreaming about food.  The first dream had to do with Cinnamon Toast Crunch and the second dream had to do with deli meat from Subway.  I woke up craving cereal & wanting to stay away from deli meat.

Last week in our Bradley Method class we discussed the topic of prenatal nutrition and the importance of good nutrition in pregnancy (I would like to add that I’m by no means experienced in this topic, I’m just going over what the nutritionist discussed with us and what I know from my own experience).  Here are some tips that I’ve picked up along in class and along the way: 

  • Drinking a lot of water & upping your protein intake will help with swelling in puffiness that’s associated with pregnancy.  The nutritionist didn’t clarify how much water to drink, as it varies based on your weight which obviously changes through pregnancy.  She just advised to drink so that your urine is a pale to clear yellow.  The amount of protein you take in should be 50% of your weight.
  • When you’re pregnant, you should be eating something every 2-3 hours to help keep your blood sugar stable.  Usually I eat a small snack (hard boiled egg or yogurt) around 6am when I get to work, breakfast (oatmeal/cereal) around 8:30am, a piece of fruit at about 10:30 if I’m hungry, lunch around 11, snack around 3 or 4pm, then dinner around 6 or 7pm.  My snacks are usually a piece of string cheese, fruit, yogurt, nuts – something that’s usually low cal and high in protein.
  • Eating more organic fruits and vegetables is important but if you have to choose what foods to eat organic, make sure it’s your meats and dairy.  Your fruits and vegetables can be washed but the amount of chemicals and growth hormones that are put into animals is astounding.  
  • When buying Omega-3 vitamins (DHA), make sure you don’t buy the vegetarian version.  If you want the purest version of fish oil pills, they have to come from, well…fish!  The recommended amount for a pregnant woman is 2-3 grams. 
  • Take a daily probiotic.  I was taking them pre-baby but then stopped when I became pregnant because I wasn’t sure if they were safe.  I’m happy to have learned that they are perfectly fine and even recommended.  You should be taking 30 billion cultures per unit, but if are having problems staying “regular” like a lot of pregnant women do, 60 billion is recommended.  Pregnant women are also more prone to yeast infections and a probiotic is recommended to help with that problem, especially as it gets closer to delivery time.
  • One of the most important things I learned: Cut out all cow’s dairy at 8 months.  A lot of colicky babies have trouble digesting cow’s dairy and this just helps to prevent that issue.  It’s recommended to do it at 8 months because it takes about 3 weeks for cow’s dairy to leave your system.    

I could honestly go on and on about the things that I learned last week at our Bradley Method class about nutrition, but this post would just get way too long.  If you have any questions just e-mail me at

My favorite dairy free/gluten free snack at the moment?  TJ’s strawberry ice cream made with coconut milk, topped with crushed chocolate covered almonds.  Heaven!

Our Little Bambino


Little Baby C has grown into a cute little sweet potato 🙂 Baby is busy flexing its little arms and legs.  Blood vessels are still visible through the translucent skin and baby’s ears are in their final position.  Myelin is beginning to form around the baby’s nerves.  This will continue for a year after baby’s born.  Today we found out that our little baby passed the first and second trimester screening tests with flying colors. The receptionist at our doctor’s office said that baby got the best numbers it possible could.  I have myself a little overachiever in there 🙂

How I’m Feeling

Wonderful!!!! If it weren’t for the growing belly, I wouldn’t even know I was pregnant.  Definitely back to my normal self over here.  Still a little emotional, but more with sentimental stuff and not so much craziness.  Also, the biggest thing this week: I FELT THE BABY MOVE!!!! I first felt these flutters on Wednesday and I’ve felt them every day since.  I was sitting down, leaning over and writing on a notepad in my co-workers office.  All of a sudden I felt this feeling, almost like a little nerve twitch/tapping in my stomach.  At first I was thought to myself, “That feels weird.” I sat up and didn’t feel it again, I leaned back down and went back to writing and I felt it a little stronger this time.  I gasped! My co-worker looked at me and I said, “I think I just felt the baby move for the first time.” And sure enough, this little worm’s been wiggling away ever since 🙂 It’s an amazing feeling, one that I can’t even put into words.   The baby seems to love it when I talk and when I’m moving around.  I never knew I could love something so much 🙂

I’m off to watch Donald on Dancing with the Stars and to catch up with some blogs.  Enjoy the rest of your evening!


Belly Up to the Bar

Sometimes, the weekends with no plans end up being the most productive.  Yesterday ended up being one of those days.

I started my morning off with a bagel from Against the Grain and an orange.  While I LOVE their pre-made pizza crusts, I’m not such a huge fan of their bagels.  They’re airy and very light, not the kind of consistency I look for in a bagel.  Udi’s is still my fave.  


After breakfast I tackled our filing cabinet and got rid of old papers that we didn’t need anymore.  That turned into a monstrosity that I wasn’t expecting.  I found leases from my first apartment, which was 8 years ago, and cell phone bills from 2007.  I apologize to my husband and my step-dad for having to move that thing from apartment to apartment for me…love you guys 🙂  

When the paper shredding fun was over with, I headed over to Bar Method in Lakeview for my first official prenatal class.  It was awesome!  I’ve taken the regular classes since being pregnant, because the prenatal is only offered one day a week.  I tell the instructors that I’m pregnant and they help me modify the poses.  The prenatal class teaches you ways to modify the poses on your own so that when you do take a regular class,  you’ll need little help from the teacher.  It was also nice, working out along side with other fellow preggos 🙂 There was one women there, still working out and she was 36 weeks pregnant.  Very impressive to say the least.  Bar Method is, hands down, my favorite toning workout.  It helped me shed inches for my wedding day and now I’m hoping that it keeps me in shape during my pregnancy.  When I’m in WI, I use their DVDs.  While they are very good and comparable to a class, I prefer the motivation of a real-life instructor.  I feel a little giveaway in the near future 🙂   
One of the things that I miss about being in Chicago on a full-time basis is my kitchen.  I enjoy cooking, and now that I’m at a point where most of my food aversions are out the window, I like to spend as much time in it as I can.  Pre-Wisconsin during the week, our weekends were spent dining out.  Now I much prefer to make dinner at home.  Last night I made hubs and I grilled salmon over a bed of greens & quinoa with olives, artichokes, mushrooms and goat cheese.
 LC told me that I could make this every day if I wanted, it was that good 🙂 I seasoned the salmon with olive oil, lemon, rosemary, oregano, pepper and sea salt.  I agree with him, it was probably the best salmon I’ve every made.  
I also got some use out of pampered chef chip maker and turned these sweet potato rounds

into these crispy sweet potato chips. 
 The key to getting a crispy, instead of chewy, chip is to make sure that all the moisture is out of the sweet potatoes before putting them on the crisper and then into the microwave.  I’m happy that I made enough of them to snack on through the week.  Maybe next week, I’ll explore with apples. 
Today’s not going to be quite as busy as yesterday was.  We have our Bradley Method class where tonight we’re discussing the first stage of labor.  This morning I’m headed to Bar Method and off to enjoy the rest of this beautiful Sunday! Have a great day.

Mom to Be Monday: Week 17. Busting into Maternity Clothes

Happy Monday friends!  I skipped out on a baby update post last week because I was busy studying and worrying about a test for work.  But I passed it and all is good here 🙂

As soon as I woke up on Saturday, I feel like my stomach just expanded overnight with zero signs of it shrinking anytime soon.  Up until this point, everyone’s been commenting on my lack of having a bump, stating that I’m “still so small.” HA!     



This weekend I also broke down and purchased my first pair of maternity jeans.  The rubber band trick and belly band just weren’t cutting it anymore.  While it was good in the beginning, when I wore fitted tops, it became evident that my pants were unbuttoned.  Not quite the look I am going for.  Plus, getting them undone to go to the bathroom was just becoming a hassle.  I decided to head to the Gap because they have true to size pants.  Every other store I’ve visited have just had small, medium, or large and the jeans end up being too short for me.  At the Gap, I can still wear the same jean size pre-baby, they just have the panel added in.  I decided to just splurge on one good pair of jeans, because with the way the weather’s been here the past few weeks, I’m sure I’ll be spending the majority of my summer in dresses, shorts and a swimsuit.

I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t had to purchase too much for maternity clothes.  Currently I’m working at the base, and they provide you with maternity uniforms at no cost.  Free work clothes are always nice 🙂 When it comes to basic every day stuff, I’ve been scrounging Craigslist for good deals and I have found some really cute stuff so far.  See the outfit that I’m wearing for this week’s picture?  Top is compliments of a Craigslist purchase and capris are borrowed from a co-worker.  I just don’t see the point in going overboard with clothes that I will only be wearing for such a short period of time.  I will buy the a few basics and just save them for the next pregnancy.  On my first trip to Motherhood Maternity a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a buy one get one 50% off.  I left with a maxi dress, and 3 tank tops for about $50.

Our Little Bambino

Baby C has blossomed from an orange into an onion this week.  Baby weighs about 5 oz. and is about 5 inches long.  The big thing this week is that baby came move his/her joints and is developing sweat glands.  We’ve been working up a sweat here with our daily walks and some low-impact Turbo Fire.  The baby is also making the switch from soft cartilage to hard bone, which means one thing for mom: CALCIUM!!!  The umbilical cord and placenta are also growing stronger and thicker.  Some of my apps tell me that baby can now start hearing my voice, so I’ve been talking and singing up a storm.  We like to listen to the Michael Buble station on Pandora as well as recite ABC’s and Twinkle Twinkle.  Hubs also likes to chime in and talk to the baby from time to time. 
How I’m Feeling 
Large, but in a good way.  Not the “I feel bloated & chubby” way.  I find myself from time to time randomly touching and rubbing my stomach.  Hubs and I  have been going to our Bradley Method classes and so far I’ve been really enjoying them.  I like that it carves out a set time in our week to just focus on baby and what’s happening here.  Our instructor couldn’t have put it any better.  “He gets to leave the pregnancy at any point in his day, but you, the mom are sleeping, eating, breathing this baby until the very end.”  
My energy levels have been pretty good.  I’ve been doing some form of exercise just about every day.  I’ve also added Turbofire and jogging/walking back into the mix but only with my husband in attendance.  That way, if something were to happen while I’m jogging, he’s right there beside me.  I’m pretty careful when I run and I always stop and slow down when I get tired.  But it feels good to be running again.  I’m not sure how long it will last, but I’ll savor it while I still can.  At our last doctor’s appointment, our doctor said the heartbeat sounded very strong  and healthy so to keep doing whatever it is I’m doing.  One thing I’ve stopped doing is weighing myself on a weekly basis, it was just so up and down and all over the place and it frustrated me so much.  So, I’m leaving that in my doctor’s hands and so far she’s happy with the results.  According to her scale, I’ve gained about 6lbs between my 8wk appointment to my 16 wk appointment.
I’m off to start chopping veggies for a stir-fry, enjoy the rest of your evening!     

Jumping one Hurdle at a Time


Today, I can breath a sigh of relief (ahhhhhh!) feels good 🙂  I completed a course for the Air Force and today, I passed a test that I have spent the last 3 months studying for.  Three months to study for a test seems reasonable, but most people get a year to complete the course and take the test.  As much as I love being in the military, sometimes it can be completely unorganized and so up in the air.  Somehow my training records got screwed up and I had to file an extension to get them completed.  The pressure was definitely on, but I got through it. 

One big personality trait about me is that I’m a planner, almost to a fault.  I have a daily to-do list (sometimes even on the weekends), I plan out my workouts for the week, my meals, I feel lost at the grocery store without a list, I love taking trips just because I get to research and plan an itinerary, and I received lots of comments about how organized and detailed our wedding was.  Like I said, almost to a fault.  I thought the military would help with my type A personality, but I don’t think that it has.  (Every day, I amaze myself that I’m completely okay and even excited with not finding out the sex of our baby.)   

If I’ve learned anything so far with being pregnant, is that some things are out of my control and that I can’t plan for every moment of my life.  And that’s okay.  Some of life’s greatest moments are unplanned 🙂  LC and I are over the moon about this baby.  We’re excited and our families and friends are just so happy for us.  But the past few months have been very stressful for me and I’ve been doing everything I can to reduce that because I know that stress can effect the baby.  Lesson learned?  My body is no longer my own, it belongs to the beautiful baby that is growing inside of me.  Food, workouts, lifestyle all revolve around my baby and his/her best interest.

Last night I was crying (a pretty usual occurrence over here in the 2nd trimester) to my parents about how overwhelmed I was.  The Air Force test, the job, a possible 2-3 week deployment for my husband, where are we going to live, should we cancel our bradley method classes if LC is going to miss a few, where am I going to have this baby…blah blah blah.  My parents basically told me that I’m getting ahead of myself and that I need to calm down.  They told me to take it one day at a time and maybe some days, one hour at a time.  Advice I’ve heard before but never really followed, it’s just not how my brain works.  But my step-dad put it into to terms that made a bit more sense to me.  All these things I am worried about are hurdles and you can’t jump hurdles all at once.  It’s impossible to do.  He told me to take it one hurdle at a time and I’d eventually make it over all of them. 

My mom advised me to stop worrying about things that I cannot control and to step out of the negative frame of mind I was currently in and focus on the fact that I am pregnant with my first baby, something that only happens once in a lifetime and to realized what a gift it truly is.  As happy as I am about being a mom, I never thought of it that way.  So today, I started singing to the baby again and spending some quiet time today just focusing on my pregnancy.  For a few minutes, I sit back with my eyes closed and my hand on growing belly and think about what the baby will look like, if it’s a boy/girl, and I think about what kind of mother I want to be. 

From today on, I’m trying to focus on taking it one hurdle at a time and to step back and enjoy the moment now instead of worrying about the future.  I’ve also learned that you’re never too old to take your parents advice 🙂            

Friday night Pizza Night

The long awaited weekend is finally here.  After last weekend’s drill, I am ready to just take it easy and relax this weekend and get outside to enjoy this beautiful weather we’re going to be having.  No big plans for us today.  We’re going to pick up Oliver from hub’s parents and probably take him on a short little walk, since he’ll likely be tired from playing with the other dogs all week.  Tomorrow we start our birthing classes & Monday we get to hear the sweet little baby’s heart beat.

Last night, LC & I went on a little date night to Transfer Pizza.  It was our first time visiting so we didn’t really know what to expect.  I had heard a lot of good things about it from co-workers and friends so I thought we’d check it out.  Plus, the baby really wanted some pizza.  When we got there, the hostess told us it would be about a 30 minute wait.  We waited about 10 minutes before two spots opened up at the bar, so we decided to eat there instead.  Their bar is much roomier than other restaurants, we weren’t smooshed up against the people to the sides of us so it was a good alternative when you’re extremely hungry and don’t want to wait for a table.

One problem that I find at restaurants that offer gluten-free options, is that they’ll have gluten-free meals but no gluten-free appetizers.  What fun is eating dips without bread or something to dip it in?  Not at Transfer.  Imagine my excitement when I saw they offered gluten-free toasted bread along side their artichoke and spinach dip.  I was in heaven.

Full of cheese and spinach, just the way I like it.  Hubs, let me have the last few pieces because he knows that it’s not often we go places and I can just eat bread freely.  What a guy!  And when the bread was gone and it was just the dip left in the bowl, I picked up the spoon and ate it.  He gave me this look like, are you serious?  To which I responded, “What?  Spinach and cheese are good for the baby!” That put the judgy looks to rest.

A few minutes after we I was done demolishing the spinach dip, our pizza came out.  The gluten-free pizza only comes in a small, but that is definitely enough for one, if not two people.  Torn between what kind of pizza to order I settled on a traditional deluxe with peperoni.  They had everything from BBQ chicken pizza, to pesto and cheese pizza and it can all be made on a gluten-free crust.  It was a tough decision.  Hubs ordered their special for the evening, which was something similar to an italian beef sandwich.  He loved it and ate the whole thing, probably because he got shafted from the appetizer 🙂 I ended up taking 1/2 of my pizza home with me.

Today’s lunch!

The pizza was very good and loaded with tons of toppings.  I had whole olives falling off of my slice.   The crust was nice and crispy.  We both decided that we would definitely be back here again since we both enjoyed our pizza very much.  I’d like to go back on a Monday because they don’t do an up-charge for gluten-free crust and they have 2 for 1 bottles of New Grist, Lakefront Brewery’s gluten-free beer.  That latter part will have to wait another 7/8 months or so but still a really good deal!

I’m off to go do my prenatal Bar Method DVD, a nice strengthening workout for the day.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.    

Mom to Be Monday (on Tuesday): Week 15-Birthing Class

Happy Tuesday 🙂 I’m a day late with this post, but yesterday left me completely exhausted.  I started my morning off with a sweaty gym date at Flywheel with my friend, Kristine.  Then it was off to the grocery store for lunch fixin’s and and cupcake baking necessities.  When it was all over, I took a snooze on the couch and I woke up still feeling groggy.  Needless to say, I missed out on The Bachelor, women tell all and was in bed by 8:30 p.m. WINNING. 
I can’t believe that this Sunday is already March 11th and we start our birthing classes!  I know 16 weeks may seem a little early to do them, but with our life kind of in limbo right now as far as location/relocation goes, I thought it would be best for LC and I find something that works with our schedules now rather than trying to push more into our already uncertain future.  I was so happy that I found a Sunday night class in Chicago for the amount of time that I knew we would be there.
Confession: Up until I became pregnant, I had thought I would want to go the elective C-Section route.  I just wasn’t crazy about the thought of pushing a baby out of me and going through all of that hard work.  When I became pregnant and realized what a gift this truly was, my whole thought process on delivery changed and I decided that I wanted to do this as naturally as I possible could.  A woman’s body is designed for this and I think a lot of times we don’t give ourselves enough credit as to what we’re actually capable of doing.  So with being set on a natural, positive birth experience and with also wanting my husband to be as involved as he comfortably wants to, I decided that The Bradley Method would be best for us.  Now, I just want to put it out there that I know things don’t always go according to plan and even though I want to have a natural birth, our main goal is just to get our little out into the world safely and happily 🙂 
What is the Bradley Method?  The class teaches you natural childbirth and views natural childbirth as a process.  They believe that most women, with the proper education and preparation along side a supportive coach (husband), can be taught to give birth naturally.
When I tell most women that I’m aiming for a natural birth they tell me that I’m crazy and that I’ll change my mind when the time comes.  “Get the epidural, it will make you feel so much better!” I just sit there and smile because I honestly don’t know, I’ve never been in labor before.  Natural birthing isn’t something that I normally discuss with people until asked, just because of the reactions I get from women.  
Our Little Bambino
Baby has sprouted from a little lemon to a navel orange!  He or she is about 4 inches long and weighs about 2.5 ounces.  For something so tiny, I feel rather large 🙂 Our little peanut is busy moving amniotic fluid through its nose and upper respiratory tract which helps the primitive air sacs in her lungs to develop.  Although baby’s eyes are still fused shut, he or she can sense light.  If I flash a light near my belly baby’s likely to move away from the beam.  Taste buds on starting to form and if we were to have an ultrasound this week, we’d be able to tell if Baby C is a he or a she!  I finally got hubs to admit that he thinks that we’re having a girl 🙂 I’ve been feeling that way from the very beginning, but he would never tell me what he was thinking/feeling.  Of course, I’ve also tried to stay neutral and just be happy with whatever, as long as our baby’s healthy because in the end that’s all that matters.  But I can’t help but love the idea of pigtails and ballet lessons 🙂 We’ll know by the end of August.       

Looks bigger than an orange to me!

 How I’m Feeling
Great, for the most part.  I find myself a lot more hungry this 2nd trimester and I need to be careful because I could sit and eat all day if I let myself.  I usually find myself grazing on things throughout the day to help curb my appetite.  I’ve also been suffering from some really annoying headaches for the past week or so.  They happen almost daily and at first I thought it was from not drinking enough water, but now I’m not so sure.  Something I’m definitely going to talk to my doctor about on Monday.  I’ve taken Tylenol, made sure I’ve eaten and stayed hydrated.  Sometimes it works but most often it doesn’t.  I think I just need to take it easy and remind myself there’s a baby in there because today when I sat down on the couch and just closed my eyes and focused on breathing, it went away :-/ Maybe I would benefit from some prenatal yoga… 

Some exciting news, I THINK that I felt my first baby flutter last night.  I was laying in bed on my right side and I flipped over to my left and right after that I felt like a little flutter or tickle in my lower abdominal.  It kind of took my breath away because I wasn’t sure of what it was.  It just as easily could’ve been something else.  If it was the baby, I hope I feel more of these sweet little flutters soon!

Gluten-Free in Milwaukee

I’m so happy tomorrow is Monday…seriously not joking at all 🙂  This past weekend we had drill and were getting stuff ready for future inspections so I ended up working 13 hours last night.  It wasn’t physically tiring, just a lot of waiting around for other people to be done so that I could finish my job.  I’m so happy that I get off Mondays.  This mama needs a little break.

My week in WI was filled with lots of good GF food.  On Tuesday, my mom and I went to the monthly gluten-free get together hosted by Sarah.  I think what Sarah has done with this group is pretty awesome.  Not only does it offer support and a chance to connect with other people who have to be gluten free (for a variety of reasons), but it also gives you a chance to discover new places and makes restaurants more aware of people with food allergies/sensitivities.  I’m looking forward to participating in more events. 

It was the 2nd anniversary of this group and it was held at Marty’s Pizza in Delafield, WI.  My parents love Marty’s and have ordered pizza from there before, but something about it this time around was so much better.  Maybe it was the pleasant company or the fact that we ate it there, but the pizza was mouthwatering.  My mom and I ordered the garden pizza and added some sausage.  We split a 10-inch and it was more than plenty.  Their gluten-free crust only comes in a 10 inch size.  She only had a few pieces, while prego here finished it off (my appetite has increased by a tenfold this second trimester).

On Thursday, hubs took the Amtrak in because he also had to be in Milwaukee for some military stuff.  I picked him up after zumba and we headed to Stack’d for dinner.  I’ve been here a few times before, twice I’ve had a burger.  The first time I ordered one that was premade on the menu.  The second time, I did a build your own burger and was not impressed.  It was kind of dry :-/ So when we went this time, I did away with the beef and ordered the portabella burger.  Next to peanut butter and jelly and peanut butter and chocolate, portabella mushroom and goat cheese is the next greatest combination.  I had not been in the greatest of moods when we got there, feeling kind of blah, and this burger (and just eating in general) cheered me right up.  It was a portabella mushroom stuffed with goat cheese and a balsamic soaked tomato served on a gf bun.  My stomach’s growling just thinking about it.  The burger came with french fries and then I went ahead and ordered garlic aioli for dipping because I’m not a fan of ketchup.  Stack’d makes their fries in a dedicated, gluten-free fryer.  BONUS!

On Saturday, I was really in the mood for some sushi, cooked of course.  That’s all I could think about all day.  After drill hubs and I were all set to go to dinner.  Well, 5 o’clock rolls around and there’s no sign of this exercise drill letting up and the sushi dreams were dwindling.  We were released around 8 p.m. and my last real meal had been around noon.  I was STARVING.  My boss made popcorn and let me have most of it.  Bless his heart 🙂 But there was no way that this appetite would have been satisfied with just sushi the last thing I felt like doing was getting dressed to go sit in a restaurant.  I had two things on my mind: food & sleep.

LC got released a little early, so I sent him a text telling him that sushi was out, Mexican take out was in.  We ordered from El Fuego, one of my favorite Milwaukee area Mexican restaurants who I found out recently started offering a gluten-free menu.  I ordered the steak taco meal.  3 fuego (fire) tacos with a side of beans and rice.  Demolished in a matter of 15 minutes.

I stopped myself after devouring the first taco to take a picture of my awesome meal.  I love El Fuego because it’s in a good area of Milwaukee, it’s pretty authentic tasting & the service is good and fast.  They also have an awesome patio for the summer time and delicious margaritas 🙂

Hubs is actually on orders to work at the base in Milwaukee for a few weeks, so I’ve moved out of my parents for the week and we’re staying in a hotel closer to the base.  I was kind of bummed at first about this because it kind of puts a wrench in our little system we had going here (and it kills me to know that we’re still paying rent for an apartment we’ll barely be at this month), but Oliver’s staying with his Chicago grandparents and playing with their dogs, and I get to see my husband during the week after work so I shouldn’t complain, everyone’s happy.  The only thing is that we don’t have a hotel with a kitchenette, but thankfully my parents are just a short drive away and this just gives me a chance to check out what Milwaukee has to offer for gluten-free options.