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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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.

An Active 4th of July Weekend

Anyone else wishing today was not Sunday? I am not ready for the long weekend to be over yet! It has been a lot of fun and Justin and I have really enjoyed not having an agenda all weekend.

Of course we had a few places to be, but they didn’t feel like an obligation and they were all in the name of fun! We’ve spent a lot of time on our bikes, which is a summer favorite of ours. Friday morning we biked to Downtown White Bear Lake, about four miles from our house. Every Friday they have a Farmer’s Market, but we can rarely make it since it only goes from 8am – Noon. We picked up a few goodies, had brunch and picked up a belated Father’s Day gift for Justin’s Dad. In the process of picking up the gift, we met a local writer, Julie Kramer. Sometimes it is fun to make a point to read a local author so I am going to add her to my list!

The 4th of July is a favorite holiday of mine so after a quick nap after our biking adventure, we headed to my parent’s boat for dinner and to watch the fireworks. Stillwater always puts on a good show and rarely disappoints.

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Justin & I
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My Mom (right) & her BFF
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Captain Betty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a chilly night on the boat we wanted to continue to enjoy the outdoors the next day. It was warmer than the day before but pretty windy. After our morning walk with the dogs (we were dog sitting the neighbor pooch) we headed back to Downtown White Bear to check something off my 30 Before 30 list. I recently revised the list and this was a newly added item, #23 – Try Stand Up Paddle Boarding.

We went to Tally’s Dockside, and there was about an hour wait for the paddle boards (we did not call ahead so we considered this wait time lucky!) so we ordered lunch from C.G. Hooks which is the BBQ joint located at Tally’s. If you like BBQ & pulled pork (or pulled anything as they have chicken and beef as well), this place is a must. Plus you get to eat outside and watch the sailboats on White Bear Lake.

Once it was our turn we headed down the dock with one of the nice kids who run the show. Talk about the best summer job ever! He gave us some quick tips, took our picture, and sent us on our way!

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We spent about an hour on the choppy lake but had the best time! We started off on our knees, as suggested, which was great way to get the feel of things and at least get ourselves out of the marina. Once we reached a slightly calmer bay, we stood up. I knew stand up paddle boards provided a great core and upper body workout, but holy. It works you from your shoulders all the way down to your toes. Literally, our feet were exhausted.

We both decided that once we have the money (stand up paddle boards are not cheap!!!) we wouldn’t mind owning two. We live near three lakes, and my parents have a boat on the St. Croix so we know they would get used. And just think of the toning that happens while you have fun in the sun!

After our adventure on water, we decided to bike around another nearby lake. The wind certainly picked up and after the paddle boarding and the bike ride, I was exhausted. But we cleaned ourselves up and went to a backyard BBQ to celebrate my cousin and his wife’s one year wedding anniversary. They didn’t have a big reception so that is why they decided to have this party a year later. It was fun to see them and to finally meet their baby girl.

I hope that your holiday weekend has been just as fun as ours. Now, here is to a semi-productive Sunday as we get ready to head into a new work week.

Hello 2014!

Don’t you just love the feeling of a new year? A fresh start. The opportunity to do things differently. To do them better. Although some of us will lose momentum fairly quickly once their busy lives take over again, I plan to ride the wave for as long as possible.

I have spent the last week or so really thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2014. While I was mulling over some ideas I also realized that 2014 is my last full year in my twenties. In just a few months I will be turning 29 and staring 30 directly in the face. Ok, ok…if I am going to be completely honest in 2014, I didn’t just realize this. I have been thinking about 30 a lot. That is what lead me to develop not only a list of goals, but a 30 before 30 list.

While I was developing the list, I reviewed it with and asked my husband for input. He reminded me that although it is a fun idea to develop a 30 before 30 list, he also wanted to make sure I took a moment to recognize what I have already accomplished. So I did just that. I stopped to reflect on everything I have already accomplished, and while it gives me pride in the life I have lived so far, it also gives me more momentum to make the next year even better than the last.

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  1. Read 30 Books – including Little Women. (and yes, the book I finished last night counts towards the total)
  2. Take a Photography Class
  3. Go on a Cruise
  4. Meatless Mondays
  5. Have Dinner With Each of my Immediate Family Members Individually
  6. Lose Weight (No List is Complete Without it!)
  7. Hold a Baby Bear
  8. Write a Letter Once a Week
  9. Blog Once a Week (Lucky You Guys!)
  10. Try a New Recipe Each Month
  11. Do One Craft Project a Month (First One…Happiness Jar)
  12. Go to the MN Zoo
  13. Special Date Night Per Month
  14. Yoga More
  15. Workout 4x Per Week (Should Help Achieve #6)
  16. Go to a Water Park
  17. Figure Out What I Want to do (And Develop my Portfolio)
  18. Less Technology Time (Unplug More!)
  19. Make a Pie From Scratch
  20. Learn About Spices and Herbs
  21. Be Almost Done With my MBA (Can’t Speed That up Even if I Wanted to)
  22. Be Able to do Push Ups on my Toes
  23. Learn Calligraphy
  24. See a Show on Broadway
  25. Go For a Run in Central Park
  26. Master Gluten Free Living
  27. Attend a Cooking Class
  28. Learn to Use InDesign
  29. Take a Trip With The Girls
  30. Have the BEST 30th Birthday Party Ever!

As I head out to embrace 2014 with open arms, I will be keeping these goals with me. I may not be able to complete ever single one by the time I turn 30, but I think it is going to be fun to try.

Also, if anyone has any other fun ideas I am not opposed to adding to my list so feel free to comment or share yours with me. And if you can help me reach a goal (anyone recently find a bear cub?) lemme know! I am sure my list will grow and morph as the days go by, but I think it is a solid start.
 

Here is to a fun and successful 2014!

Bump Watch

There is quite an obsession, or perhaps just an expectation, for women of prime childbearing years to start a family. I have been married over three years, I am almost 29 years old, and have not started a family. GASP! Sometimes I feel like people around me have put me on, “Bump Watch.”

We see it all over the celeb gossip news channels, and even regular news channels, when a celebrity is suspected to be expecting. Are they or aren ‘t they attempting to hide a baby bump? Did they eat a large burrito or do they have a bun in the oven? Of course it is exciting to speculate because there is nothing more pleasing than your favorite beautiful celebrity to procreate with another beautiful celebrity to make a beautiful celebrity baby. And while I am nothing near a celebrity, I feel like the people around me, bless their hearts, are eagerly awaiting Baby Bradshaw.

Which brings me to a fun little story from yesterday morning. I was attending a meeting that is primarily made up of people two to three generations older than me. I left the house in my new forest green dress from Primp that I picked up the week before, and paired it with a fun, leopard print shoe I found at Target for only $10. I was feeling great about my outfit choice and even Justin commented on it before I left.

While waiting for the meeting to begin I was doing my best to mingle. It doesn’t come naturally to me that early in the morning. An older woman approached me with bright and excited eyes and asked, “Elizabeth…are you expecting?” Dun-dun-duuuunnnn. She asked me with such excitement that I quickly put my hand on my belly and exclaimed, “Ummm… No!” Her excitement quickly turned to embarrassment, and I quickly took my seat feeling all of the confidence I had when I left the house instantly seep out of me.

We were seated at the same table so after the meeting was over, and I had downed my buttery hash browns, I scooted for the door. I immediately called Justin to have him reassure me that I didn’t look pregnant when I left. And of course I texted my mother (not while driving) and she asked me what the cut of my dress was like. When I told her I must not be able to pull off an empire waist she said, “Not when you’ve been married for that long and are almost 30. People are looking for it.”

I spent the rest of my day eating my feelings with my supportive coworkers. One of them was even nice enough to remind me that it was just another thing I have in common with Duchess of Cambridge. I learned that this has probably happened to almost every woman at least once and her life, and because of this experience I will continue to live by this philosophy…

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And on that note, I am probably going to watch Modern Family from the treadmill. And for those people in my life anxiously awaiting Baby Bradshaw, I thank you for thinking it is a good idea for me and Justin to make a mini version of ourselves. That is awfully flattering. But for the near future, please understand that any bulging belly is simply due to a lack of working out and  an over consumption of wine. :0)

Mud Run

Yesterday Justin and I teamed up with another couple to participate in the Mud Factor mud run. I did the Dirty Girl Mud Run last year, but no one else from our team had done a mud run before. I filled them in on a little of what I expected the run to be. While some of my predictions were correct, it was quite different from the Dirty Girl race.

Our race course was in the middle of a field in Ham Lake, MN. We had record low temperatures this weekend, and I don’t think our high even reached 60 degrees yesterday. That is insane for the last weekend in July!!!

After checking-in we fastened  our bandanas and put on our temporary tattoos with some seriously sketchy, damp towels. Even Justin was surprised I was using them. But when at a mud run, you do what mud runners would do! After getting all of our gear on we waiting patiently for the run to start so we could warm up our bodies.

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Team: We got the runs!!! (Adam, Jenn, Me and Justin)

The pre-race wasn’t rocking like I am used to from other races. There wasn’t any music to pump you up. There were only dark clouds rolling in towards us! Once we got started we were ready for some fun in the mud (because we clearly weren’t going to get any sun!).

The first part of the trail was through a grassy field. The long grass had been flattened and it almost felt like you were running on a trampoline. It was really bizarre and something I totally wasn’t used to. It was tough to navigate which part of the trail had a secret hole under the grass, and we heard multiple people say they hoped they wouldn’t break their ankle! It definitely worked my legs in a completely different way and made me feel incredibly out of shape!

There was a lot more running than my last mud run, but we did encounter a couple of mud pools, downed trees, a climbing wall, cargo net, slip n’ slide, and a few other obstacles. All the obstacles were challenging in their own right, but everyone on our team conquered them without fear! Go team, “We got the runs!!!”

Halfway through the race it started to rain which made everything a little bit colder. However, it wasn’t raining hard enough to make the soft sand that the second half of the race trail was covered with harder. Kudos to the beach runners out there! That shit is tough!

Overall, I ended up walking a little bit more than I thought I would have, but it is making me consider adding some trail runs to my training schedule.

By the time the race ended, my legs were feeling spent, and I was ready for a HOT shower. The clean up accommodations weren’t quite as extensive as the last mud run I did, but the water was significantly warmer. We rinsed some of the major mud chunks off of us, but just decided to throw down some towels and just shower back at our house.

We were also able to donate the shoes we used if we wanted too. I was happy to see that there was a group there who would take all the muddy shoes, would clean them up and donate them to people in need.

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Can you tell the boys are BFFs?

After we got cleaned up we were all so incredibly hungry we ruined all benefits of the run and had a massive lunch with yummy drinks. We had so much fun getting together though it was worth the cold and the over indulging. We don’t often get to see Jenn and Adam, but when we do, we always feel so blessed to be able to call them our friends!

 

It Is All About Perspective

Do you ever have those days that by the time you go to bed you feel like you had a really good day? I sure hope you do, and for me, today was one of them.

My day didn’t actually start off as I had planned. I wanted to go for a run before work, get there early, and then leave early enough to attend yoga at 4:30pm. None of those things happened. I had a really busy, but productive day at work. So I guess that was ok.

Then I saw this…

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It is all about perspective people.

I had a lovely lunch date with my husband who was also working downtown. I tried Thai Iced Tea for the first time, thinking I’d have a “healthier” drink. Then I got this:

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Straight up creamy goodness. (There also appears to be something green in my glass, but that is neither here nor there.)

Then this happened:

photo-113We had been tracking the Popsicle truck on Twitter all day. They must have been reading our tweets and ended up outside the Mill City Museum. They even tweeted me back letting me know they were there. It’s the little things in life!

By the time I got home I was fairly wiped, but my friend Kali text me and said she wanted to meet for dinner. Instead of lying on the couch playing Candy Crush liked I planned, I threw on my running shoes and ran two miles. My legs were still sore from my 3.1 miles on Monday, but my speed was 29 seconds faster per mile. I will take it!

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Then I hustled off (after a quick shower) to meet two of my gal pals for dinner. Nothing beats a little cardio and then some girl time to round off this popsicle, Thai food, busy Wednesday.

I hope you guys found some joy in your Wednesday as well!!!