18 Weeks and Counting!

It is hard to believe we are almost halfway there! In fact, it is kind of scary as well! I feel like there is a lot left to be done, and I just hope we are doing enough now so we aren’t incredibly overwhelmed the last few months of pregnancy. But, instead of dwelling over my lack of productivity, I will fill you in on some things I have found interesting about being pregnant.

Everyone cares way more about your wellbeing than they ever did before.
How are you feeling? This is definitely the most frequent question received to date. Sometimes it throws me off when it is asked and I have for a brief moment forgotten I am pregnant. Sometimes I respond with, “Gooood?” Like it is almost a question back. Why wouldn’t I be feeling good? Then I am reminded that they are inquiring about the pregnancy. People typically seem really genuine when asking which is nice.

Napping is the best thing in the world.
I’ve always been a pro-napper, but seriously, the exhaustion felt during pregnancy, especially the first trimester, is incredible. There were quite a few weeks that I would get home and have to lay down for at least 20-30 minutes if I expected to get anything done that evening.

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I desperately need this shirt.

Simply rolling over could leave you breathless. 
Walking and talking? I am trying to focus on walking and breathing! Justin and I have tried to remain active by taking our dog on a 1.5-2 mile walk each night. Sounds simple right? Well, I have found that I become winded a lot quicker than usual. Today for instance I was hiking up a flight of stairs, carrying food (of course), talking to a coworker and chewing on a mint. No joke, I almost choked. The poor girl, who probably doesn’t know I am pregnant, was probably thinking, “You should probably consider less Thai takeout and more stairs.”

Eat, and eat often! 
I do find myself getting fuller quicker, but when hunger strikes I better be prepared otherwise I might get real hangry. The hunger is intense!

Drink, and drink often!
Unfortunately, I am referring to water here. There is a good chance I will be giving birth to a water baby because I drink water ALL day and still feel thirsty a lot of the time. That reminds me, I am outta water and I have to pee.

Maternity clothes are kind of scary.
When you realize that your pants are so uncomfortable that the only way you will survive your commute home is by unbuttoning them, then you know it is time for maternity clothes. When this happened to me I thought I’d first check out the selection at Target. Looking at the weird waistbands and the full panel of extra fabric had me realizing what was to come and I sort of panicked. So, leggings and tight pants it is for a little longer! I did order some online from the GAP (because online is less scary) and they are expected to arrive this week. I will let you know when they arrive.

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Sexy? I will be the judge of that!

I could continue to go on, but it is after 9pm which means it is past my bedtime. Good night!

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The Blue Door Pub

While we should be prepping for our first child to join us in about 22 weeks (is that for real?) we have also been focusing on making sure I complete my 30 Before 30 bucket list.

Last weekend Justin and I decided to check off a restaurant on my list that we have both been wanting to go to. For lunch we headed to St. Paul to eat at The Blue Door Pub.  They are known for their Blucys, their version of the ever so popular (in MN) Jucy Lucy. We have often heard how quickly the small pub fills up and there is almost always a wait. We went shortly after it opened for the day and there was a wait by the time we got our food, but luckily we were seated right away. When you go, go early or have enough time to wait a bit before being seated.

Justin had the Breakfast Blucy with tots and I had the Luau Blucy with fries. We were both super happy with our decisions but later heard the Jiffy Blucy is definitely the way to go.

If you're curious, I removed the bun. #GF
If you’re curious, I removed the bun. #GF

If my counting is accurate, I have complete 5 out of 3o. I better get moving!

Baby On Board

Do you ever have those moments when driving where you look away for split second only to return your eyes to the road and realize everyone is at a dead stop in front of you? Usually you screech to a halt, say a few swear words, catch your breath, and vow to be a more present driver for the rest of your years on the road. Well, what happens if you are just a fraction of a second too late? Then you have a Thursday like I did!

Car accidents are never recommended, but they are especially frowned upon when there is a baby on board. That goes for kids in utero too. I will keep the story relatively short because let’s be honest, car accidents are no fun. Luckily in my case, all four of us involved are fine, but I am sure there were plenty of curse words sent towards the blonde chick who rear ended a guy who then rear ended another guy.

After the smashing occurred I quickly called Justin. Not knowing what exactly he was going to do, but I guess I kind of hoped he’d be like, “Omg, I happen to be behind you and can come rescue you from this horrible nightmare.” Turns out, he didn’t happen to be right there (go figure since he left two hours before I did) so I had to deal with everything head on…literally.

After apologizing to the man in front of me who I hit, and the man in front of him who he hit, I called the authorities and a nice State Trooper quickly joined us on the side of the road. Everyone asked, “What happened?” And I didn’t have an answer for them. How dumb. I can tell you for sure I was NOT looking at my phone. That was in my coat pocket so did I look at the radio, reach for a drink of water? I. Have. No. Idea.

One bright spot…one of the guys (car #1) was driven by a young 20 something who had better style than me by a long shot. While we were on the side of the road his friend past us and sent him a message, “You should get her number, she looks cute.” Thanks for helping the situation out random guy driving by!

Anyway, once I finally got to the parking ramp at work I called the doctor since I had to be sure Baby Bradshaw was fine and I didn’t dislodge them. (Anyone else have this fear while pregnant? I get nervous on bumpy roads too.) Anyway, they recommended I go to the ER. Say what?!!! After also phoning my insurance company, I kind of started freaking out and my emotions got the best of me. I made it into work, grabbed my computer and quickly retreated.

That brings us to Baby Bradshaw’s first trip to the ER and mine for that matter. They checked me in, checked the usuals like blood pressure and oxygen levels, and then checked for the heartbeat. At first she only found mine which made me a bit nervous, but luckily she quickly found a super rapid one…BABY’S!

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Heartbeat…Check!

After that I waited to see the doctor who was a physician’s assistant about the same age as me and we have a mutual friend. Small world. She suggested we do an informal ultrasound just for fun, and I wasn’t going to turn that down! After a bit of trouble with the machine I was able to see the baby wiggling around and waving its arm. Still can’t feel the movement but just thinking about it swimming around in there is crazy. I saw the spinal cord too which actually made the baby appear to be more alien/lizard like that human, but it was a lovely looking spinal cord. No shots of genitalia so still an unknown gender. 😉

After that I ended up working from home for a few hours, brought my car to the shop to really assess the damage I had done, and then worked some more before finally napping. OY! Hope your day was better than mine, but we are all thankful me and baby are gonna be just fine! Wishing I could unwind with some wine, but I suppose a Tylenol and bed will have to do!

Trip Out West

I thought I’d spend a little more time this morning highlighting some of the other great aspects of our trip last week. In my previous post I shared our Bottle Feeding Experience at Yellowstone Bear World. It was awesome! That came early in our trip though and we spent three days in Montana afterward.

Our time spend in Idaho Falls was quick. We flew in to a fairly small airport, especially compared to MSP. The flight was just over two hours and was pretty easy. I was slightly nervous about flying, well, I am always nervous about flying, but this time around due to the fact that I still have a little nausea every now and then. It is very minor, but who wants that on an aeroplane? Not me!

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Seriously, where is everyone?

Once we made it towards our hotel we decided to stop for lunch since it was about 11:30am and we were both pretty hungry. We stopped by a place called Snake Bite. They had amazing waffle fries (obviously! It is Idaho after all.) and I enjoyed shrimp tacos made with fresh corn tortillas. Yum. Justin started out vacation right with a flight of local beers. Lucky.

Snake Bite.
Snake Bite.

After lunch we strolled through a local farmers market and then went to check in at our hotel. We ended up using our points and stayed at Marriotts while on vacation so nothing too crazy to report there. We are always happy with Marriotts and know what to expect which is nice.

Before heading back for a quick nap before dinner we stopped by the Museum of Idaho. They were featuring, The Race to the End of the Earth exhibit. It was a nice exhibit and we learned about the first two groups to make it to the south pole, which has nothing to do with Idaho. 😉  We had dinner at a recommended spot, Jakers. They had a separate gluten-free menu which I was happy to see, and I had a massive baked Idaho potato and was happy as can be!

Before heading to Bear World the next morning, we stopped down to the falls that give Idaho Falls its name.

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Really gloomy, but pretty falls.
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First of many selfies.
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Gimme all the potatoes.

Bear World is recapped here so after our eventful afternoon we drove to Bozeman. Unfortunately we did not stop for any pictures on the beautiful drive. Not even through Big Sky!!! That is our one regret, but both agreed we would be back and spend more time in Big Sky. The drive was amazing and took about 3.5 hours. We had dinner at Montana Ale Works. We shared a gluten-free spinach dip with tortilla chips, and I enjoyed some fish tacos and a pomegranate No’jioto! Our waitress also is also dating a guy from Afton, MN. I haven’t cracked open my yearbook to find him yet, but talk about a small world.

Cheers to Bozman!
Cheers to Bozman!

Waking up and seeing mountains out the window is by far one of my most blissful ways to wake. For our first full day in Montana we decided to head to Livingston. It had a nice and quaint downtime with a beautiful view. It was labor day so perhaps that is why it seemed like it was also an empty town. We did some walking around though and then enjoyed lunch at Rib and Chop House. They were donating part of the proceeds that day to the Wounded Warrior Project and we couldn’t pass that up. They also offered us 25% off since Justin is in the military. How awesome! They also had a separate gluten-free menu. Wins all around.

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Downtown Livingston.
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Can’t get enough bear time.
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Sacajawea Park.
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Paradise Valley.

Before heading back to Bozeman we drove through Paradise Valley which is on your way to an entrance to Yellowstone National Park.  It was amazing. Once we returned to Bozeman we took a nap (such a great vacation theme) and went to the Museum of the Rockies.

Museum of the Rockies.
Museum of the Rockies.

In an effort to wrap this post up before it gets way too long, I will end with our final full day in Montana. We decided to head into Gallatin National Forest and hike to the Palaside Falls. I researched it ahead of time and it was only about a half mile hike to the falls. Nice and easy for this newly pregnant lady.

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Gallatin National Forest.
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Palisade Falls.
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We made friends with wildlife.
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Top of the falls. 
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Trees for miles and miles.

Hiking at that elevation while pregnant turned out to be slightly more difficult than I expected. It took me awhile to catch my breath, but it was a fairly easy pace and we brought plenty of water and snacks. Justin made a nice chipmunk friend and we really enjoyed the view. On our way back to Bozeman we stopped by a little river since we didn’t feel ready to leave the beauty of it all. While we were sitting there having a quick snack, Justin noticed some black animals coming out of the woods. His initial thought was black bears, but we were happy to see they were just friendly cows looking for a bite to eat.

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Cows. Not bears. Phew.
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Peaceful.

As we left the forest and received cell service again, I messaged my parents to let them know we’d be in a tent by the river and they should start driving out with Selby. We LOVED it there. The Gallatin National Forest was about 25 minutes outside of Bozeman and offered other hiking trails as well. It was gorgeous.

For the rest of the afternoon we toodled through the shops in downtown Bozeman. The rest of the evening was spent just relaxing and taking in the last few hours of our vacation. We got a lot of reading done (I finally finished Wild and LOVED it!), took plenty of naps, enjoyed the company of each other and of course, enjoyed the beauty that is Montana. We are already talking about when we will go back and what we will do.

Bottle Practice

Justin and I just returned from a trip out west and it turned out to be one of the most beautiful vacations we have ever been on. We debated driving out west for quite a while but when realized how long it could take we decided to fly. I need to really focus on saving my PTO days for the spring!

We ended up starting our trip in Idaho Falls to try to complete an item on my 30 Before 30 list. Really, this was the sole reason for our vacation. #6, hold a baby bear, is kind of an odd bucket list item, but I was bound and determined to get as close as I could to completing it. As it turns out getting someone to let you hold a baby bear is kind of difficult, but I do believe it is possible. However, I didn’t think at this point, with a baby on the way, it was going to happen before the big 3-0 came along. So, I decided it was ok to settle and found a place in Idaho that would allow us to bottle feed cubs. We flew in to Idaho so we could visit, Yellowstone Bear World.

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And for those that don’t know, I will provide a very brief back story about why this item was even on my list to begin with. When I was a young kid at Lily Lake Elementary I repeatedly checked out the same book from the library. It was a book about bears, my favorite animal, and inside had a picture of someone holding the cutest and cuddliest baby bear. Ever since then, I have always dreamt of holding one myself.

On Sunday morning we checked out of our hotel in Idaho Falls and drove about 25 minutes or so to Rexburg, Idaho. It was a bit rainy, but all in all, it was the most prefect day to bottle feed some baby bears. We got there about an hour before feed time, which was recommended. We had some time to kill after checking in so we bought some gifts from the gift shop, including baby Bradshaw’s first teddy bear, and spent a lot of time watching the bear cubs play before their feeding.

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I probably wouldn’t survive, but look, I still fit into my jeans!
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The cuteness was overwhelming.
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Playing and rolling around.

 

The bears were born in late January/early February so they were already about 70 – 80 pounds. Picking one up at this point in the year was clearly not an option. I have trouble with my 40 pound goldendoodle, so a seven month bear cub would have been real tough. I was still beyond excited to get up close and personal during feeding though.

They brought about 10 of us into the first enclosure that had three cubs. Unfortunately we weren’t able to take any videos or photos while we in the enclosures because it tends to distract the bears from the task at hand…eating! The youngest person in our group was four and a half, and the oldest was probably in his 50s. They allowed us to feed the bears a half bottle each to hopefully allow each person to meet and pet all of the cubs.

Once the handlers got the bears situated, they would invite us forward to hold the bottle and pet the bear’s adorable little heads. Some of the bears would just stare right up at you, while others had their eyes closed as they quickly downed their bottles. Once the three went through their allowed ounces, we moved to the next enclosure with three more cubs.

By the time we got next door the bears were crying and pacing. They were definitely done waiting for us and wanted to be fed immediately. They were so loud and much closer to us in this enclosure, but still staying behind the wire. Some of the bears, in both enclosures, were quite aggressive with their bottles and made it hard to hold sometimes. The handlers were sure to remind us that they weren’t being aggressive in a mean way, but rather they were just trying to get the milk to come out as fast as possible. One bear, Zeus, looked like he was foaming at the mouth because he was drinking so fast.

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Justin with Zeus.
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Me with Jake.

Once all the bears were fed we had a few moments to ask some more questions. As a woman who sees breast-feeding in her nearish future, I was interested and terrified by the way the bears were treating the nipples on the bottles so I asked if they were that aggressive with the mama bear. The answer…yes. :/ Poor girls. I also found out that mama bears can have babies from multiple fathers in the same litter. As I was told this, I was petting Ziggy, whose half twin brother is Zeus and said, “You’ve got yourself a scandalous mama, Ziggy.” The reason behind this is the mama bear hopes the papa bear will remember mating with her and not kill her cubs. :/ Again, poor mama bears.

As we finished up, the bears were all nooking and getting ready for a nap. Nooking is simply sucking on the arms of the handlers. They were making purring noises like crazy as well. Once we left the enclosures all of the bears kind of cuddled up and took a nap. So sweet.

The pictures came with the feeding experience so once we received those we drove around the park which takes about 3o minutes or so. There we saw the bigger bears, moose, wolves, and a few other animals roaming around.

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We both felt like the experience exceeded our expectations. Everyone on staff was so friendly and helpful and the bears were very well-behaved and beautiful. If you ever find yourself in the area, and you have a thing for bears, I would recommend stopping.