Tuesday, July 19, 2016

25 Week Bump Update

Time has been flying, and I can hardly believe how quickly - I swear, I blink and another week has passed! Here's a quick 25 week bump update!



How far along are you? 
I am officially 25 weeks pregnant! It's really crazy to me to think that I have been pregnant for about 6 months now... time is flying, I'm almost in the third trimester, and there are only 15 weeks left! 

Although I am well over half-way done baking this babe, we just recently got around to sending out our pregnancy announcements in the mail - so just in case it wasn't official before, it's officially official now!



Size of baby? 
The baby is about the size of a head of cauliflower! 

As the weeks go by and my belly is getting bigger, Scout has to work a little harder for cuddle room... she makes it work, but I can certainly tell that she is wondering where the heck this cauliflower belly came from!

Movement? 
Tons - I feel like I have an alien rolling around inside of me, ha! But I have been totally loving all of his kicks and jabs. :)

Symptoms? 
Still super blurry vision... I'm not used to not being able to see things, and it is the weirdest thing ever! And I'm still hot all the time when I am sleeping... the AC needs to be low, low, low or I will absolutely die - dramatic, I know, but it's true!

Sleep? 
Sleep is okay... I have been waking up in the middle of the night, and I am absolutely unable to fall back asleep. I've found that I can go back to sleep a little bit easier if I go sleep on the couch or in the guest bedroom, because otherwise, I will literally lie awake until it is time to get up for the day.

Gender? 
Baby boy! I was recently gifted four boxes of baby clothes (which was perhaps the single most helpful thing EVER... praise God for hand-me-downs!), and the boxes are filled with football, dinosaur, and truck onesies - all things boy and I love them all!



Craving? 
Nothing really! I was just talking with a few ladies about this - let's be real, are pregnancy cravings even a real thing?! I mean, sure, sometimes I really crave Chick-fil-a or cool ranch Doritos, but I don't really think that has anything to do with me being pregnant...!

Maternity clothes? 
Yes! I don't have a ton of clothes, but my sweet friend from my church community group lent me a few dresses and a couple pairs of pants which have been total life savers for me - especially for wearing into the office for work!

It's gotten to the point where I can still wear non-maternity items, but they are quite unflattering... so unless I'm just hanging out around the house, I much prefer a maternity item.

Missing most? 
Mostly just different types of food that I am not supposed to be eating. If I'm going to be honest, I am actually not all that concerned about deli meat, non-pasteurized cheeses, raw juices, etc... They've never gotten me sick before, so I feel like the chances of them getting me sick now are quite low. 

BUT, my sweet husband, on the other hand... he gives me all sorts of side eye if I even mention the thought of a deli sandwich!!! He follows the rules, and insists that I do to... but can't a girl just eat a turkey sandwich?! If you know my husband, you know that this is so him... But this is one of the many reasons I love him. Gold star dad award, for sure. :)

Hubby? 
Aside from making sure that I follow all of the pregnancy rules, he is as sweet as can be! He recently added a baby hiking backpack to our registry so he can take the babe fly fishing with him and on adventures (which makes my momma heart melt!).

Nursery? 
Complete disarray! But we have a vision, and that's the first step, right?

I found a tutorial for a board and batten on Pinterest, and it required you to pull off the trim from the wall... and let me tell you, after pulling the trim off the wall, I started to get a little concerned about needing some professional intervention getting the room back to normal. We will see how it goes... but please keep your fingers crossed for us!

Although the nursery is a bit of a mess, we are already getting things/gifts to fill it, which makes the whole process super fun to envision the end result... yay, for baby gear!! :)




Best part of the week? 
Last week was the first time that I had a stranger approach me about being pregnant... and I totally loved it - in fact, it was the best part of my week! I am always asking John whether or not it is clear that I am pregnant or whether I could just be looking pudgy, and it was nice to have a non-invested person assume that I was pregnant and talk to me about it.

Looking forward to? 
Feeling set up... I am in Arizona for work this week and then immediately leave for a bridal shower in Michigan afterwards. We have been traveling so much and have been quite busy with life that we really haven't done a whole lot in terms of baby prep.

I am sure this is just my nesting instincts kicking in, but I really just want things to be in order so we can relax and enjoy the process a bit more! All in time, right? :)


For more baby Pray:

Monday, July 18, 2016

Alaskan Adventures: Girdwood and Seward

Well, it took way longer than it should have to share the second half of our Alaskan adventure, but I have finally gotten around to it... and better late than never, right?!

The first half of our trip was spent exploring Denali and Talkeetna (interior Alaska), and the second half of our trip we spent in Girdwood and Seward (coastal Alaska). We loved being able to explore both the interior and coastal areas of the state... Alaska is so large and there was so much that we didn't see, but it was a great taste of the two, very different aspects of what the state has to offer.

***

We started off in Girdwood and stayed three nights at The Hotel Alyeska, and to say I didn't want to leave would have been an understatement. It was an absolutely beautiful resort with shops, restaurants, hiking trails, and so much more all within the resort.


Our first day in Girdwood was spent hanging around the resort and relaxing... John even insisted I get a prenatal massage at the spa - don't have to tell me twice! It was a very nice break from all of the hiking that we had been doing in Denali and Talkeetna.


One of the hikes that we did in Girdwood conveniently started at the resort. The trail was called the Winner Creek Trail, and is well known for its hand tram that you have to use to pull yourself across a large river. I'd love to say I pulled us across, but really, John did all the hard work and I was just along for the ride! ;)



The river that the tram crosses.


Log crossings: John's favorite part of the hike.


View from the Winner Creek trail head - still snow covered in June!


The trail was absolutely beautiful and had rivers and bridges all throughout the hike without too much elevation gain - that's my kind of hiking!



The resort has a restaurant at the top of the mountain, Seven Glaciers, and John made us reservations for dinner. To get to the restaurant, you take the ski lift tram to the top of the mountain, so you get to enjoy a fun ride and beautiful views on the way to dinner!


Our table at the restaurant had the most incredible view, and come to find out, when John made reservations he requested "the best view in the house" - one of the many reasons he is my favorite vacation planner... all about the details! :)


We headed to Seward the next morning where we went to the Kenai Fjords National Park for a scenic boat tour. It was cold, cold, cold - but incredibly beautiful.

Note the bald eagle on the sail boat mast below... does it get any more picture-perfect than that?!


The scenery during the boat tour was incredible - which is a good thing, because a 6 hour tour on a boat could perhaps be a bit much if it wasn't engaging!


Raining, but braving the cold!


In addition to bald eagles, we saw several species of whales, otters, mountain goats, seals, and way more birds than I will ever remember. My favorite, of course, were the whales, and they actually got quite close to our boat! The tour wasn't a whale watching tour, but a tour of the National Park, so getting to see so much wild life was a real treat!



The tour took us to view several glaciers, and let me tell you - they were beautiful, but just looking at them had me freezing to the bone... not to mention the icebergs in the water!



Our next day in Seward was spent hiking Exit Glacier. We had done so much hiking during the first part of our trip that I wasn't sure I would be up for the glacial hike, but I absolutely loved it - in fact, it was one of my favorite things that we did in Alaska.



The hike was guided by a local company, and they really kept us moving at a good pace, so I was thankful that I was able to keep my pregnant butt moving without too many issues. In order to stay balanced on the glacier, you really have to drive the crampons into the ice, which as you can imagine, gets pretty tiring after awhile.

We were totally decked out in helmets, snow pants, ice trekking poles... the works!



John drinking fresh glacial water... although I am sure it was super clean, I decided to just stick to my CamelBak. ;)


Our Alaskan adventure came to a close back in Girdwood where we had our last dinner at Jack Sprat - a perfect spot to reminisce over our beautiful vacation!

We headed back to Anchorage in the morning to catch our flight home; we were sad to leave, but are confident that we will be back - it's just too beautiful to not share with baby Pray when he is old enough! :)



You can read about the first part of our trip here!


Monday, June 20, 2016

Life Lately!

This past weekend John and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary! It feels like it has been so much longer and shorter, all at the same time... isn't it funny how that happens?! We had a perfect weekend of relaxing pool side with beautiful weather and eating our fair share of delicious food... spot on fabulous, if you ask me!

It's been a while since I've shared all that we've been up to, so I thought I would do a quick catch-up post. Here's a peek at some of our recent adventures.

***

On the way home from our trip to Alaska, we decided to tack on a day trip to Seattle. We spent last Thanksgiving there, but this was my first time visiting in the summer... the weather was lovely and the mountain was clearly visible with the clear blue skies!


An obligatory stop to Pike Place Market... I swear, if I lived in Seattle, I would frequent this place daily for all of the fresh produce and flowers!


Summer fruit has been my delicious go-to my whole pregnancy, and my mouth was certainly watering with all of the delicious fresh fruits and vegetables!


...And these peonies - be still my heart! Bucket, after bucket, after bucket of freshly cut flowers!


Let me tell you, no one plans better trips than this guy! I wouldn't want anyone else as my travel buddy... if he wasn't a lawyer, I would suggest he become a professional vacation planner. ;)


Immediately after Seattle (and Alaska before then), I had to head straight to Arizona for a week of work. Let me tell you - I was happy to be there, but was definitely struggling to find clean clothes to wear, and my body was quite in shock going from the beautiful cool summer to the 115 degree Arizona heat!


With all of the recent airport travel time, I figured there was no better time to start a new Bible study. I picked up Gloria Furman's new study, Missional Motherhood, and so far, I have quite enjoyed it! It is much, much less intensive than a Beth Moore study, which is good for me given how busy I am.


I was so excited to be back home in Texas with John and to finally spend some time with these two hooligans. They are just too much and so silly together - I absolutely love it.


John and I recently took Scout and Lily to the absolute best dog park in Austin - Red Bud Isle. The park is an island and the pups can swim, run, and explore the whole area off leash... it was so great!


A delicious lunch at The General Public (paired with a little shopping!). I couldn't be more happy to be married to this man, and I am looking forward to a long lifetime together!



Friday, June 17, 2016

Bump Update: The Countdown Begins!


I can hardly believe that my first pregnancy is already over half complete - it's crazy to me especially because it still hasn't totally hit me that I'm pregnant. 

People are always asking me how I feel, and I really have nothing exciting to say other than that I feel like a normal person! So praise God for an easy pregnancy... and here's to hoping it stays that way!



How far along are you? 
I am about 20.5 weeks – officially on the countdown (instead of the count up)!

Size of baby? 
The baby is about as long as a banana and weighs about 13 oz. 

Gender? 
Boy! We had blood work done very early in my pregnancy, so we didn’t have to wait until my 20 week appointment to confirm the gender. I love knowing, but I will say, I am intrigued by the idea of not finding out for future pregnancies. 

Movement? 
Tons! Every now and then I really get startled by some of it too! About a week ago, John was able to feel the baby move for the first time too, which was pretty cool to share. 

Sleep? 
Not too bad, although I am totally missing sleeping on my back... I’m not much of a side sleeper, and I am trying to make it work, but nothing is quite as restful! 

Craving? 
Summer fruit... cherries, nectarines, watermelon – I can’t get enough. I also have been totally into spicy foods – salsa, curry, more spice the better! 



Maternity clothes? 
I just went shopping last week to pick up 3 maternity dresses since I was heading to Arizona for a week of work. I am at this strange size where I can still wear the majority of my pre-pregnancy clothes, but they do look a bit awkward; however, most pregnancy clothes look way too big on me. Oh well, all in time! 

Symptoms? 
Oh my goodness – I have always had very stellar eye sight, and now, all of a sudden, I cannot see a thing! Has this happened to anyone else? I’ve read that your eyesight generally goes back to normal, so there is no need to get your eyes checked, but it is so strange to all of a sudden not be see things! Also, I am hot ALL the time - like, I can't get cool!! Normally I am constantly cold and John is heating up, but recently, it has been total opposite.

Missing most? 
Sleeping on my back, a good margarita, and... a Jimmy John’s sandwich (gross, I know)! I never realized the convenience of deli meat until I couldn’t eat it – boo! 

Hubby? 
Sweet as can be... he is such a proud dad already! And he has taken such great care of me too. 

Best part of the week? 
Getting to see the babe via ultrasound! Although he wasn’t super cooperative with getting a good shot of his face (hopefully this isn’t an omen for his future feelings of pictures), it was so cool to see his heart, spine, brain, and other various organs. He was kicking and moving the whole time! 

Nursery? 
We have been pretty busy lately, and although we have a pretty good idea of how we want the nursery to look, we haven’t done much yet... but John did start priming the walls and ceiling this past weekend, which is a great first step! Next step, a new light fixture...



Looking forward to? 
Getting to hold my baby!! Honestly, I really just want him here already! 

But until then, I will look forward to making progress on the nursery... I feel like things will get more real as the room starts to transform into (one of) the places where he will be sleeping! And collecting things... babies need a ton a stuff, and once this stuff starts showing up around our house I think it will start to be a constant reminder of what is right around the corner,

Monday, June 13, 2016

Alaskan Adventures: Denali and Talkeetna

A few weeks ago, John and I took a trip to Alaska... America's last frontier! 

We spent the first part of our trip adventuring in interior Alaska and the second part of the trip exploring coastal Alaska. The whole trip was absolutely incredible, and there is zero doubt in my mind that we will be back again some day.


Once we landed in Alaska, we picked up our rental car (which, with John, is always a rental truck), and drove the 4 hours from Anchorage to Denali... our first stop: Denali National Park!

On our drive up to Denali we were so excited to actually be able to see the mountain. Only about 1/3 of people who travel to Alaska actually get to see Denali (due to all of the cloud coverage and weather conditions at 20,000+ feet elevation), and we were so fortunate to have beautiful views of the mountain all 4 days that we spent there! In fact, we were talking to another traveler, and he said it was his 5th time to Alaska, and this was his very first time actually seeing the mountain!


Our first day in Denali was spent on the hop-on-hop-off bus. With your personal car you can only drive about 15 miles into the park, and to go any farther you need to take the National Park buses. The full bus loop takes about 7 hours (give or take an hour depending on the wildlife you stop to see), and you can get off the bus at any point to start your hike.

In Denali there aren't any trails, so all hiking is based off of landmarks - which makes for a fun, but never-sure-if-you're-quite-right kind of experience! Our guide book had instructions like, walk 20 feet, keep the pond to your right, hike until the mountain run-off ends... and I'm all like - wait, what?!


Hiking in Denali was unlike any other hike that we have done... and if there was one word that I could use to describe it, it would be "wild." We hiked through heavy brush, came across a grizzly bear (that was way too interested in us...), and "met" a number of Dall sheep that were keeping a close eye on us!




Although the sun was shining the whole time we were hiking, it was quite cold (well, for me at least!)... I'm just thankful it wasn't rainy because at 50 degrees, I was quite chilly! We spent a large portion of our hike hiking in tundra and the ground literally felt like we were walking on a sponge from all of the moisture... praise God for Gore-Tex hiking boots!



Everything about Alaska, and specifically Denali is so vast... the mountains just go on forever and everything is so untouched - I hope that it stays this way over the years so that it can really be enjoyed in it's natural state. In addition to a grizzly and Dall sheep, throughout our trip we also saw moose, caribou, fox, marmot, mountain goats, bald eagles, and all sorts of other critters!


After our hike and exploring Denali we headed into Glitter Gulch (which is basically Denali's very small touristy area). We ate dinner at the Salmon Bake and enjoyed some ridiculously delicious fish and chips... a perfect end to a long day of hiking!



In Denali we stayed at McKinley Creekside Cabins... and it was so great. Our cabin was literally on the river (which was a beautiful sound to fall asleep to!) and had beautiful mountain views. We enjoyed a large portion of our evening just sitting by the river and relaxing.

Although it looks like broad day light in the photo below, it was actually taken after 10PM. In Alaska, during the summer the sun doesn't set until around midnight and the sun starts to rise around 4AM, and since it isn't "night" for very long, it doesn't even really get all that dark after the sun sets. The whole time we were in Alaska, we didn't see darkness once!




Our next day in Denali we spent with the Alaskan sled dogs. We weren't sure what to think at first (whether or not it was going to be too touristy), but we absolutely loved it! The demonstration was put on by the National Park, and we were able to meet and greet all of the dogs (that are still working within the park pulling sleds of supplies during the winter).




After Denali, we headed the two hours to Talkeetna where we were staying at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. The lodge was amazing and is known for their beautiful porches which have the best views of Denali... and lucky for us, Denali was showing off all week! 

People staying at different places in Talkeetna will often come to the lodge just to check out the view - and we were so fortunate enough to have the below view from our hotel room!


I couldn't help but capture a (at the time) 18 week Alaska bump photo. I have been feeling great all pregnancy, and felt very fortunate to not be missing a beat keeping up with John and all that he had planned for us. And I'm pretty sure the little babe had just as much fun... he was all sorts of rockin' and rollin' in my tummy throughout the trip too!


One of the can't-miss things in Alaska is a bush plane tour on a sunny day... we just couldn't say no! Our plane took off in Talkeetna (about a 2 hour drive from Denali), and we flew back into the National Park to see the mountain and glaciers up close and personal.



About an hour or so into the plane ride, we made a glacial landing (you know it is legit when they use standing up sleds as landing markers!) and were able to get out and explore for a little bit. It was SO cool to actually be in the middle of all of the mountains on the glacier. The snow was quite wet, and there were places that you would step and be knee-deep. 

I was a little concerned about flying pregnant since the cabin was unpressurized, but the whole flight turned out to be very smooth. The views were incredible, and it is certainly something we will never forget.




Funny story: on the plane ride there were 7 other passengers (not including the pilot), and it just so happens that one of my coworkers from Arizona was also in Alaska and on the exact same trip as us... how funny is that?! Talk about small world!

After our flight we headed into downtown Talkeetna (which is likely the cutest little town in America!). We had dinner at Denali Brewing Company, where John ordered reindeer meatloaf...


Our last day in Talkeetna was spent on a guided fly fishing trip on Montana Creek. Aside from falling into the freezing cold water and having my wading hip boots completely fill up with water and my clothes completely soaked through (which was colder than anything I hope you ever have to experience...), it was a pretty fun day!



After falling into the water I was more interested in trying to dry out than pretend like I was going to catch fish, so I mostly sat on the boat as John reeled them in. He caught some beautiful rainbow trout and arctic graylings!

After lunch I was feeling drier, and figured I would give the fishing a second shot, and after not too long, I caught my very first rainbow trout on a fly rod. I swear, John was so proud of me, I couldn't even believe it - I just love that man so much, and seeing him so excited for me made my whole day!


All in all, it was a beautiful day spent on the river, and although we didn't catch a ton of fish, it was a total must-do item for our trip! I've even let John talk me into going fly fishing with him back in Texas - it may not be my favorite hobby, but seeing how much fun he had with us fishing together would definitely be worth another round!




We had such an wonderful time exploring the interior of Alaska - it was the perfect mix of adventure while still be relaxing. Hiking, wild life, glacial exploring, bush flights, and fishing trips... it was a great time!

Part 2 of our trip (coastal Alaska) coming up next!

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