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. 

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. 

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. 

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! 

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! 

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! 

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! 

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!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Baby Pray Q&A!

Well it's officially official - John and I are expecting a baby this fall, and we could not be any more excited! My radio silence in the bloggity blog world may make a bit more sense now, but I'm excited to share a little (or very long, rather...) baby Pray Q&A!
You can see our Instagram announcement here!
Finding Out!

How did you find out you were pregnant?

John and I had been watching TV, and I really wanted glass of champagne, but I knew that there was a chance that I could be pregnant. John lightly suggested that I take a pregnancy test to find out. I told him that there would be no point in taking a test since, even if I was pregnant, it would be way too early to show up on a test. I passed on the champagne and went to bed wondering whether or not there was a chance that I actually was pregnant.

In the morning after John left for work, I was like hey, why not just see... and sure enough - positive! 
To be honest, my initial reaction was very skeptical – something surely wasn’t right. I decided to take a second test and the test (which was digital) gave me an error sign! At this point I was basically like, hmm, this all seems a little hokey, and decided I would run out later in the day to get a new set. After purchasing and taking a new test later in the day, sure enough it said pregnant again!

What was your first reaction to your pregnancy?
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was really not at all emotional – mostly because I had a hard time believing it was true! Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited, and was then too, but the pragmatist in me was more like "hmm, that is interesting information."
I was definitely very skeptical, but sure enough, it was true – I was pregnant! And I am thrilled!

How did you tell John?

I wasn’t about to call or text John while he was at work to tell him the news, because news as exciting as this should only be shared in person! When he got home from work he was very hungry, so I wanted to wait until after he had eaten to tell him the news (that way we could fully enjoy it!). 

We went out to eat and headed home. Once we got home I told him I wanted to show him something on my phone (which was a picture of the positive pregnancy tests), and oh man, his reaction was possibly the most wonderful thing ever. His eyes swelled, and honestly, he was a little bit overcome with the news – which was absolutely perfect for the non-emotional state that I was in. Sharing the news with John and seeing his reaction really is what made me believe that it was all possibly real. It was pretty perfect.

What were your first pregnancy symptoms?
I have an immune system like a rock, and am very rarely sick. Yet as soon as I found out I was pregnant I had a terrible sore throat for the next week; I was so uncomfortable! Immediately thereafter, I had a terrible cold/congestion. I’m fairly certain it was pregnancy related (however, it could have just been a normal seasonal cold since my immune system was suppressed), but I’m going to label it as my first pregnancy symptom. :)

Other than a cold, my sleeping rotation looked a little like this... a terrible night’s sleep and going through the day like a walking zombie, and then 14 hours of hard, solid sleep the next night... then, another terrible night’s sleep and a walking zombie the next day, followed by a solid night’s rest. Thankfully that cycle is over!

How far along were you when you found out?

I found out right away (or at least, so I thought). After finding out, I thought that it couldn’t have been more than a week after ovulation (which is part of the reason I couldn’t believe that the test showed positive!). However, after going to the doctor for my first ultrasound, I found out that I was actually quite a few weeks farther along than I had thought I was.

How did your parents/family react?

We told our parents when I was 10 weeks along... not because we were concerned about miscarrying baby (because if something went wrong, we would of course still be telling them for support), but because there are few things in life as exciting as being pregnant and having a child, and John and I really wanted to enjoy the news just the two of us before starting to tell people. It’s fun (and romantic!) having a secret that only the two of you know about! :)
Our families were so, so excited, and not surprisingly, they were my favorite people to tell. They were all so happy for us, and there was so much joy in the news - and as much as we loved secret keeping, telling them made it more fun for us because we had people to share our joy with!
How did you tell your friends?

Oh man, I was so excited to tell our friends too – especially our community group at church. Two other ladies in my group are pregnant (one of which has the same due date as me - how fun is that?!).

I feel so blessed by our San Antonio community, and I think this is truly a testament to God caring about all details of our lives – not only am I pregnant, but I am pregnant at the same time as two other ladies that I get to spend time with regularly. Another momma in the group has three young kiddos, and she has been such an awesome resource to me... y'all - I am not really super comfortable around babies, so this is a pretty big blessing!
Since I do not have family in Texas, this is huge for me, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Baby Details

Due date?

November 1st, 2016
Actually, it's October 31st, 2016, but I'm not super into Halloween, so I requested that the doctor change it November 1st (just kidding - but she was going back and forth between the two days, so I figured why not throw out my preference... never hurts to ask right?!). ;) It's not like it will make a difference anyway... the babe will come when he comes regardless of the date I tell people.

It is absolutely insane, terrifying, and exciting (all at the same time) to think that come this Thanksgiving and Christmas, the "John and Lisa Pray" family will be a family of 3... I feel like most pregnancies have a holiday season where it is the “last Christmas” as a family of 2, but we didn’t get that – so the thought of how soon this babe will be here blows my mind!

Will you find out the sex ahead of time? 

Yes! And we actually already know! Baby Pray is a BOY!
You best believe the planner in me found out the gender of this baby as soon as possible - via genetic testing at 11 weeks! I had zero "mother intuition" as to whether baby Pray was a boy or a girl, but honestly, everyone else guessed boy, so I was like, hey! I guess boy too then! And sure enough, everyone was right. :)

How did you tell John the gender?

When the doctor's office called with the genetic testing results, I was originally going to ask them to write it in a envelope so that John and I could find out at the same time, but I really didn't want to bother the nurse by making things complicated, so I just had her tell me over the phone. 
To surprise John with the gender I bought a blue cake, blueberries, blue corn tortillas, Blue Moon beer (for him!), and blue Gatorade (for me!)... with just a little bit help of pointing out that everything was blue, he was able to guess that we were having a baby boy!

Pregnancy Life

Will you be sharing weekly pregnancy updates on the blog?

Fingers crossed, yes! Perhaps not every week, but for sure as often as I can! I really want to make sure that I capture this stage of life - it is just as much to be celebrated and enjoyed as it is when the baby comes... so I want to make sure I can look back on this pregnancy and remember everything.

How far along are you now?
15 weeks - which is so crazy to me!! Time has been flying...

How have you been feeling?
Honestly, I have been feeling pretty great! I did not have any morning sickness (and praise the Lord since I was traveling for work the first month, or so, of being pregnant), and I only really experienced fatigue. But the truth is, I'm always down for a good nap, so the whole fatigue thing didn't seem that unusual to me (regardless of being pregnant)!
Do you have any cravings?

Not really... when I first found out I was pregnant I was drinking a ridiculous amount of ice water - more ice the better. I wanted it to be cold, cold, cold! Other than ice water, in my first trimester I was really enjoying carbohydrates (go figure, right?!).
Have you had a hard time eating healthy?

 Eh, not really so long as I have healthy options around me that I can grab at a moments notice... but when I'm starving with no healthy options, all bets are off - just being honest. A few days ago I had no food at home and got take out from Panda Express, and on my way home I stopped at Target to get cookies... basically, I have no self-control once I hit get hungry. Oi vey...

I have been making a concerted effort to not let myself get starving, and to stay filled up on healthy foods as to avoid poor food choices.
Any mood swings?

No way, I’m totally even-keeled 100% of the time per usual... ;) This is probably a better question for John to answer (or maybe not, actually...).
Do you have a baby bump?
I refuse to be one of those “eating for two” people, but the truth is, throughout my first trimester my appetite significantly increased. I didn’t eat huge meals, but I pretty much didn't stop eating... I was hungry, people!! I was even waking up in the middle of the night absolutely starving. 
Since entering the second trimester my appetite has gone back to normal (mostly)... but it has left me a little confused on whether I'm growing a baby bump or a first-trimester-pizza-bump. ;)


Pup Questions

Do you think Scout and Lily know?
Do they look like they know...? Yeah, no. ;)

Okay, mommas... your turn: what are all of your go-to resources (blogs, apps, books, etc.) that I should know about?! 
I had that What to Expect app but got over it pretty quick with people posting questions like "can I hula hoop pregnant?" ...really? Any other apps that you recommend instead?!

Monday, May 2, 2016

San Antonio Touring!

John and I love having company in town for many reasons... one of which happens to be because it is the perfect excuse to take them to all of the places that we've been meaning to try! 

And recently, we've had the pleasure of hosting John's mom and step-dad, as well as my good friend Elizabeth and her fiance, Graham. We wined and dined, and had a fabulous time showing them around our new home and city. 

Here's a sneak peek of some of the things that we've been up to!


A visit to the Alamo!

Spring on the River Walk... I just love seeing everything blooming and lush again!

A visit to Gruene which is basically the cutest town ever in the Texas hill country... we loved being able to show John's mom and step-dad some of the "hidden" gems of central Texas.

Dinner at the Gristmill, which is located on the Guadalupe River.

When we were talking through some of the fun shops in Gruene, John spotted the ultimate housewarming gift: a new Yeti!

Dinner at the Pearl with Elizabeth and Graham... Elizabeth was one of my bridesmaids, and I am absolutely thrilled to be standing by her as she gets married later this year!

Delicious (and very unique!) eats at Cured.

Mission hike and bike trail... it had been pouring rain about an hour earlier, but we decided to chance the weather, and it was a pretty perfect day!

Mission San Jose

Gettin' our bike ride on... Graham's tire popped so we needed to be rescued, but other than that, it was smooth cruisin'!

Mission Concepcion - I would take this over visiting the Alamo any day... it was incredibly beautiful and about half as crowded!

Gruene Dance Hall and Robert Earl Keen - basically my night was made... and as it turns out, this was Elizabeth and Graham's second time seeing REK (they are basically groupies!).

Hotel Emma and brunch at Supper

The most amazing spread ever - seriously, ever. I haven't stopped thinking about that pimento cheese biscuit or millionaire's bacon... out of this world tasty!

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