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!

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