Grand Canyon Road Trip

November 27, 2016
Antelope Canyon

Over the Thanksgiving holiday we decided to take some time to check off another bucket list item before this little girl gets here. We opted to do a “Grand Canyon road trip” through Southern Utah and Northern Arizona to see a few of the national sights on our way to San Diego, where we ultimately celebrated Thanksgiving with Andrew’s side of the family.

We had a lot we wanted to see and covered a lot of ground in a very short amount of time. I’m sure we would have loved to add a few more stops but being preggo and it being cold outside is slightly limiting as far as intensity of activities and flexibility to camp where-ever. May not be such a great idea to camp in the snow on a deflated air mattress while lugging around those extra lbs on your belly. Don’t ask, but I will say, getting in and out of an air mattress that isn’t completely firm is near impossible while expecting. – If I may though, I have to give myself credit for being ok camping and sitting in a car for 2000+ miles considering the circumstances.

The ride was well worth it. Here are the stops we made:

Death Valley: Our first stop was in Death Valley. Here we stayed at Stovepipe Wells a first-come first-serve campground with a solo bar and general store. We arrived as the sun was going down and got to see an amazing light show by way of the infinite stars and when we left in the morning got to walk out through the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. 

Zion National Park: Our first day here we were able to do a couple hikes through the park and overnight it started to storm. On our way out, due to the flash flooding, we were in for a treat because the entire national park turns into a bed of a million waterfalls. – Anywhere you can imagine water pouring, there is. It was quite incredible. I am just sorry I don’t have any good images capturing the beauty of it.

Antelope Canyon: It was actually quite pricy to get in here, about $46 per person, which to me is a lot for what lasted about 30 minutes. The land formations are unlike any other though, and I don’t regret splurging to have checked it off our list. Our guide was really informative and, due to the rain, which miraculously let up as soon as we got inside, the crowds had dispersed leaving us to take some really wonderful pictures without interruption.

Horseshoe Bend: Horseshoe bend was one of the most beautiful places. We were standing on top of the cliffs and it simply didn’t look real. The photo where I am sitting on the ledge I remember thinking, and it took a moment to realize how small and vulnerable we are in this huge and incredible world.

Monument Valley: Monument Valley closes around 4:30 in the wintertime so I would definitely recommend looking into that before you go. We got there at 4:31 and after a little shameless begging, somehow, convinced the lady at the gate to let us in. We had currently been watching WestWorld which made us appreciate the amazing monuments even more.

Grand Canyon: BRR! We got up early for some sunrise pictures, froze our fingers and noses and didn’t even get anything worthy – you won’t see any of the pictures we took here. However, it was definitely awe inspiring to actually be there overlooking the landscape as the sun woke up.

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It’s a girl!

October 30, 2016
it's a girl, gender reveal

I had moved up my anatomy scan appointment from 21 weeks to 18 weeks because I just couldn’t wait any longer and, believe it or not, it’s a girl!

Or so they say… I am still a little hesitant to commit to the idea for sure, just because I wanted it, and I know there is a chance, albeit small, but nonetheless a chance they may be wrong. However, we (my mother, Andrew and I) were all in the room and there was nothing there between those legs, except for an umbilical cord; they show you the fluid going through it to differentiate to avoid any confusion. Additionally, there was no mistaking the three lines that indicate girl parts.

Andrew’s first words: “You really know how to get what you want”. I guess we had a 50/50 chance of getting a girl even if Shettle’s Theory didn’t work for us. You can read about my prediction using nub theory here.

I’m so excited to finally be able to place a gender to this growing nugget though! Let the shopping begin!

By the way, we got to reveal to everyone on Halloween in our awesome, yet simple, unicorn outfits; Andrew was super into it, haha just kidding, but what a trooper. 🙂

 

 

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It's a girl ultrasound

Nub Theory

October 5, 2016
Nub Theory Girl

Before I got pregnant I had read that nub theory is one of the ways that doctors can predict gender at week 12 without a 3D ultrasound. Most doctors, however, won’t comment at this point because it isn’t 100% accurate, closer to 94%, from what I have read. At our nuchal translucency test I specifically asked for a picture that showed the nub and have been excruciatingly analyzing it ever since.

I openly admit that I went into this pregnancy hoping for a girl. While I will love all of my children no matter what (I feel like this should go without saying) I have always pictured my first child as a daughter and have felt like this was a fact  I have known my whole life. I realize this is crazy and I would consider myself a scientific person, you can’t dream your child into existence, but I knew how disappointed I would be if I never got the girl that I have dreamed my whole life for. Additionally, I knew that having that girl first would take any pressure off of our subsequent children because, of course I would love to have a son too. All of this being said, we used Shettle’s Method when trying for a baby and hence my reason for spending hours scouring all of Google for the secret clues in our ultrasound.

Here is a post that I wrote for a forum for what I have learned and how I came to my conclusion that based off of this theory we are having a girl:

“I initially read the obvious, the angle from the lower back:
Greater than 30 degrees = boy
Parallel or less = girl
Then, after curiosity got the best of me, I posted here and immediately got the three boy responses above which threw me through a loop. Why, if my nub looks so parallel, am I getting the opposite guess? I started learning about forks and stacking.
Stacking, from my understanding, is the small line(s) above the nub that indicate the beginning of a scrotum, some people say they look like stones being stacked. (Again, please correct me if I’m wrong.)
Forks are where it the nub seems to split at the end and don’t necessarily mean one gender or the other, though this is where the confusion comes in for me about whether my nub was “stacked” or “forked”.
Some of the most useful information I found, however, is that the lines on an ultrasound show something is round. That being said, if you color in the shape of the nub and the line you draw across the top (not the bottom of what you have colored in), can indicate the angle that is being used to determine the gender.
Below is a second image, only slightly different. I have drawn the lines and colored in the nub to double check that it doesn’t actually go up (and then moved what I colored in out of the way so you can actually see what’s under it, hence the odd green phallic shape lol.)
Anyway! If anyone is more knowledgable I’d love to hear because, believe it or not, I may have exhausted Google’s extent on nub stacks vs forks! >.<“
Maybe this will help someone else but I couldn’t find information written out in this manner anywhere on the internet. You can find the entire forum post here.
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Italy – Positano, Amalfi Coast

September 25, 2016

Positano was like a dream. Cute shops and boutiques overlooking the mediterranean, salty sea water, fresh salami and prosciutto, basil, tomato sandwiches, cotton candy sunsets, and what feels like a million stairs to climb.

I have always been inspired by the mediterranean for my home decor so I was in heaven for the three days that we were in Positano and on the Amalfi Coast. I just want arches of morning glory and bougainvillea dripping from my fence. – Luckily both of these grow pretty easily around here so perhaps next summer I can make my vision come to life.

We dipped our toes and floated in the sea, looked for sea glass, made some friends and on our last night we attended the locals’ annual fish festival, listened to live music, and worn out and sun-toasted passed out in our beds only to be woken up a few short hours later to the booming of a major firework show right outside our balcony. Ugh, take me back to Positano right now please.

 

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Italy – Tuscany, San Gimingano and Siena

September 22, 2016

As I mentioned last time, we spent a day taking a guided tour through Tuscany, San Gimingano and Siena. While we were extremely worn out by the end of the day it was a really wonderful way to get to see all of these places with someone knowledgable to show us around and teach us about the difference cultures, wines, histories, architectures etc. For example, did you know that Siena was a gothic city? Now you know ;-).

San Gimingano was a small medieval village that is, unfortunately, completely taken over by tourism. That being said, I realize it’s hypocritical that we took a tour there, and we did get an immersive experience, visiting cafes where Andrew and Aileen got wine, and I got chocolate.

Note: unless you REALLY love pepper don’t opt for peperone rossa chocolate. Contrary to my assumption, this does not mean you are buying some exotic rose flavored Italian chocolate… I am not a picky person but didn’t feel right throwing away expensive chocolate but every time we opened our bags the [incredibly potent] smell would overcome us until we finally gave up and tossed it.

Tuscany we got to wine taste (well Aileen and Andrew did) real Chianti in the Chianti region and eat lunch overlooking the rolling hills.

Siena was an amazing little town with gothic architecture and a wonderful history. I love that there has become a mix of buildings that are so archaic and modern shops in so much of Europe. It is so much more immersive, like you really feel as if you get to be a part of history; unique from having to stand behind a bunch of ropes and just look.

 

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Italy – Florence

September 21, 2016

I received insight from so many people that despite Florence being walkable, it was worth staying there longer than we did Rome. We were trying to decide where we wanted to spend three nights and I am really glad with our decision to stay here for the time we did. This allowed us to take a day trip to see the Tuscan countryside, Siena and San Gimignano, which I will post about in a separate update. Between the friendly pigeons, historic sights and architecture, delicious food and amazing street music we had an amazing time. The only thing I missed out on was being able to consume wine on the streets, a good trade for the opportunity to go with our little babe. – Already so well traveled!

I think one of the most magical moments in Florence was when we were walking through the streets and stumbled upon three string instruments being played in the courtyard of the Ufizzi Gallery. We had a chance to just sit and enjoy the beauty and really absorb the culture.

Aside from finding hole in the wall restaurants the one big name meal we would recommend getting is La Giostra, order the pear ravioli and you won’t be disappointed! Yum!! Ironically, we also had really good ramen in Florence, right by our AirBnB. It was what changed Andrew’s mind, he wasn’t a big fan prior.

Again we were able to walk all of Florence, and did so numerous times, twice (again) with our suitcases, those poor suckers really held up well!

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Italy – Venice

September 18, 2016

We had been anticipating going to Italy for 10 months. I bought our tickets last February after I got a new job, Andrew had never been to Europe and I was excited to get to see the parts of the Mediterranean that has long inspired my home decor tastes. Due to the limitations of Andrew’s rigorous job, we had ten days to squeeze in as much as we could of the historic and scenic country from Venice to Positano.

Here is our itinerary:

1 night in Venice

3 nights in Florence

2 nights in Rome

2 nights in Positano

1 night in Naples

After all of our anticipation, as travel does, our trip’s start didn’t get off on the right foot. Our first flight was delayed which would have caused us to miss our connection. Long story short, we didn’t get to Venice until 12 hours after we were planning. Hence why all of our pictures are during the night time and very early morning.

Venice is incredibly magical with hidden secrets around every corner, and when they say Venice is a city to get lost in, that’s exactly what you do there. You might think you are going west and somehow find yourself going north. Either way, we were able to walk around the entire island, to our AirBnB and then to the train station – even while dragging around our suitcases.

We took a water taxi to the island where we had to get off at the Ospedale stop which Andrew pronounced osen-dayle in his very Californian accept ::forehead smack:: it took us about 48 hours to realize that ospedale actually means hospital in Italian; which explains why the first place we walked into, looked like some sort of campus, with everyone dressed in white…. Imagine someone walking into a hospital with their suitcases asking where they are. Ah memories.

Now excuse my photo dump:

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Holding the wine for effect, don’t worry I only tasted it 😉

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Eight Weeks Pregnant

August 2, 2016
Eight Weeks Pregnant

I officially have confirmation that the pregnancy sticks and my imagination are not, in fact, conspiring against me. At eight weeks pregnant we have a peanut, and the peanut has a heartbeat. It was a very unique and surreal experience to hear the heartbeat and how prevalent it is.

I think for Andrew, who has only gone by what I have been saying this entire time, it was a very momentous occasion. He revealed to me, this far in, that he didn’t even know how a pregnancy test works, i.e. what looks positive and what doesn’t. “So you weren’t sure? You just blindly believed me? Good thing I’m not a crazy girl trying to force you into marrying me!” Oh boys… 

At eight weeks pregnant we finally started telling some of Andrew’s family, which is wonderful because I felt that he didn’t really have anyone to talk to about all these major changes. Particularly because his brothers have (almost) three kids each and are a wealth of knowledge. I don’t know how he survived so long without speaking to anyone about it. But then again, I’ll mention his lack of knowledge of how to read a pregnancy test.

I still don’t have many symptoms, which was definitely worrying me for a bit there before this confirmation that everything is moving along healthily.

Aversions:

Cookie dough ice cream – probably for the best.

Cravings:

Raw fish – ceviche, sushi, I have never wanted it so bad. – Fish is much harder than alcohol honestly.

Peanut Butter – I have never eaten peanut butter so regularly, a little on apples or banana slices almost everyday.

Emotions: 

I really see some hormones coming through. Getting upset with Andrew over things that I probably shouldn’t; he’s been very patient and understanding with my volatile moods. 

 

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Preggo at a Bachelorette

July 31, 2016
Preggo at a Bachelorette

Here is a riddle for you. You are seven-almost eight weeks preggo at a bachelorette, how do you hide it? Well, it was pretty hard for me. I actually had a great time, considering I wasn’t drinking. However, between, pouring my champagne down the sink when no one was looking, (what a waste! I know,) and feigning headaches/hangovers etc. it became a little overwhelming to keep up the charade for an entire long weekend.

Luckily the bride is one of my closest friends and I did end up revealing it to her halfway through. I hit my tipping point when I asked the bartender for a virgin vodka soda with fruit in it, and he brought me some elaborate Mai Tai. Of course someone ended up tasting it while I was away from the table, paying my tab and trying to cover for the “virgin” that was going to end up on the tab. ::sigh::  Whatever, luckily it became a lot easier to just stop drinking at that point, AND there was another “preggo at the bachelorette” (as I have now lovingly coined it) who was incredibly sweet and insightful and I spent my time with her.

The rest of the girls were courteous enough not to ask what was going on and why I wasn’t indulging in any libations.

My recommendation if you’re really trying to keep it on the DL? Bring/request some vodka and supply with soda water. Another mixed drink that I invented, and love is a Bloody Mary with soda water, particularly Lime La Croix. – This way you don’t have a drink that is all just Bloody Mary Mix, and the fizz adds something special.

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Still no bump, (no wonder) and taking advantage.

Mai Tai

Extremely sweet Mai Tai – The bartender really up-sold me on that one, without even asking…

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Beautiful sunset over Lake Tahoe, I made everyone sprint to catch the colors on the clouds, still I couldn’t do it much justice.

 

Five Weeks Pregnant

July 6, 2016
Five Weeks Pregnant

I apologize for the fuzziness of these pictures, I promise to work on taking better ones. Not much change between the last couple weeks. At five weeks pregnant I am still having minimal symptoms. Occasionally I get the feeling that I can relate most to being hungover.

I always thought that I would have horrible morning sickness because apparently it ailed my mother immensely when she was pregnant with me and my sister, however, I did read that boys cause less morning sickness than girls, but it only really makes the difference by about a percentage or so. How many people didn’t suffer morning sickness with girls and did with their boys?

We have begun to tell our closest family members as we see them in person. It becomes easier each time we reveal it to someone else, one less person to hide in front of (Andrew no longer has to drink both of our drinks) and open up to.