Thursday, July 27, 2017

Vaycay Recap Part 2: Beach Life!

If you missed the first part of my summer vaycay recap, click here.

On Sunday morning we met up with AJ's brother Matt to make the 90 minute drive to the coast. Matt arrived in Portland Saturday after his Mexico trip and stayed with friends that night. We hit the road and Matt was an excellent DJ. We arrived in Lincoln City (where we got engaged and honeymooned!) around lunchtime and met up with AJ's parents at a seafood restaurant. It was so great to see them again. After lunch, we headed to our beach house! This place was adorable! It was 3 big bedrooms, a nice kitchen, a game room, and a beautiful balcony just steps from the beach. I sort of wished I lived there!

Our living room windows

Our 3 days were full of family time, some casino time, visiting the outlets, cooking at the beach house (well, AJ's awesome mom cooked!), sleeping in, walking the beach, going to Depoe Bay to see a whale, going out for delicious pizza (recommendation from Seattle cousins. Thanks guys!), and reading on the balcony. On Tuesday evening we had family photos taken. AJ and I took some maternity shots during that time too. Our beach house days were heavenly! There's no place like the the Oregon Coast!

Our cute coastal house 

One of my favorite parts of the beach was on our last night there we made a fire on the beach, ate S'mores and watched the sunset. The beauty is majestic!

Wednesday afternoon we headed back to Redmond (about a 3 hour drive). We stopped by Oregon State for some beaver gear. Go Beavs!

When we got back to Redmond we went to dinner with some family friends. Our time in Redmond was really fun and relaxing. We went to the movies (little known Leslie fact: I LOVE Planet of the Apes movies and the new one was no exception), AJ golfed with some buddies, we went to Bend and explored, AJ's mom and I went to a Parade of Homes thing. We went to some million dollar homes with incredible views. AJ's extended family from Medford came to visit on Saturday and Sunday morning we hit the road and after 12 hours we arrived back to home sweet home!!
AJ's dad made us this adorable shelf for next to our couch. It's rustic and has X's on the side. I love it! 

This little bunny was always in the backyard in Redmond! I loved him! I left him lettuce, celery, and bread cubes one night and he ate it! 

million dollar view at Parade of Homes

We had a wonderful summer vacation! We love our friends, family, together time, and road trips! Until next time!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Vaycay Recap Part 1

Our trip was so much fun and in our ten days we spent:

1 night in Pendleton, OR
2 nights in Portland
3 nights at the coast in Neskowin
4 nights in Redmond

We had a great time and it was wonderful to catch up with family and friends along the way. Grab an iced tea, maybe some popcorn (my snack of choice) and get ready for picture overload!

Well----before I get into our trip, I have to share about before we left on the trip. It was a bit of a comedy of errors. So the Tuesday before we left, AJ was golfing that morning and as I was getting ready I discovered TONS of ants crawling all over my nightstand. I promise we are clean people but yours truly may have dropped a kernel of caramel corn while munching in bed and well, the ants decided to have a party. On top of that, there were all sorts of nasty beetle things by our downstairs windows. Bugs and I are not friends. At all. I left the house because AJ texted me that he was going to attack those suckers with some serious bug spray and I didn't want to be around the chemicals. I got my nails done, went to Starbucks and worked on making blog headings (See those at the top of the page now in web view? Aren't they cute?). Late that afternoon AJ called and said our house was practically saturated in intense bug spray and I probably shouldn't sleep there that night. Ummm, ok. So I called my mom to let her know AJ and I would be crashing at their house. My dad was in the hospital recovering from his hip surgery (he's fine now, hi dad!) and my mom was staying at the hospital with him. So AJ packed up our stuff and we spent the night at my family's house. Staying at your childhood home without your parents there is weird. Just sayin'. We left a care package for my dad for his return the next day We had fun picking things out for it.  The next day we arrived back to a bug free house and got started on laundry, packing, and waiting for Comcast, because did I mention or internet and TV also stopped working? That day was also our 3 year anniversary so we went to dinner (which I threw up about 20 minutes after eating. Pregnancy life!), and went to a fun show at Salt Lake Acting Company (a gift from my parents). We got home around 11:00, and fell straight into bed. We had to be up early to load the car and get to the doctor for my 8:00 appointment.

Around 10:30, Starbucks in hand, my baby appointment was over and we were finally hitting the open road after a whirlwind couple of days! We spent our first night in Pendleton, a nice stopping place between SLC and Portland. There's a casino there, so of course we had to play some slots while we were there too!
at dinner our first night of vacation 

I was reading this book the first leg of our trip and really liked it. 

The next day we woke up bright and early and headed to Portland! My good friend Marie and I had not seen each other since my wedding three years ago, so when I told her we were making an Oregon trip this summer, she and her hubby Jonathan decided to visit Marie's family near Portland the same time we were there so we could meet up! Friday afternoon after we settled into our hotel, we walked to lunch at a cute pub, took ridiculously long naps, and then set off to find Roloff Farms. So, Marie and I are big fans of Little People Big World on TLC and were so excited to do the private VIP farm tour. We called months in advance and they told us to check back 30 days before our visit. We did and sure enough, they said no tours that weekend. Booooo! So AJ and I went to check it out and see if we might be able to get in. There were signs that said "Respect our privacy, please turn around now" so obvi we didn't go further, but it was still fun to see the gorgeous area by the farm. I vowed to return again during Pumpkin season!

This cracked me up because with my class last year, every time the cafeteria got a delivery (the big truck drove right up against our classroom windows), the kids would get SO excited and chant "Cookie Van! Cookie Van." It became sort of a classroom tradition and I cracked up every time seeing how thrilled they were. Then I found a real Cookie Van!! 

On Saturday, we headed to Blue Star Donuts. AJ and I had already tried Voodoo Donuts a few years ago and heard Blue Star was the place to go. I had a raspberry rosemary cake donut and AJ had a hard cider fritter. YUM! 

After our yummy morning treats, we walked around town and of course, needed to make a stop at Powell's Books. I was in heaven. We must have been there for over an hour. I ended up buying 2 new books that I would start on the trip and since we already own "Boss Baby," we bought baby the sequel!

I cannot even explain how much I loved this book

We walked through the Portland State Farmer's Market next. We did A LOT of walking but it was a gorgeous sunny day and it was nice to catch up with our friends as we walked. We stopped at a lunch spot and then went to meet our tour guide for our "Underground Portland Tour." Marie and I are both major history nerds so it was fun learning new facts as we walked through the city. We went back to our hotel and AJ and I found this delicious noodle restaurant that we had for dinner. The next day we would pick up AJ's brother Matt in Portland and we'd all drive to the coast to meet up with AJ's parents! The beach part of the trip was my most favorite, so stay tuned for that coming soon!

We managed to only get one pic together and didn't even include our guys. Whoops. 

Don't you just love summer vacation?! 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Baby #2

This post has been on my heart and mind so much lately! Every time I've sat down to blog this summer I've wanted to share our baby news with you all and all the thoughts and feelings that go along with it. We are back home from our summer vacation and I have plans to blog a recap of that and some other fun things soon. But I couldn't blog anything without first sharing these feelings about being pregnant again!

First things first:

-We are due early January. I'm currently 15 and a half weeks pregnant.
-I pregnancy tested alone on a Friday afternoon (just like with Hadley!) and was convinced I was just being paranoid, there was no way. Newsflash: there was.
-We will find out gender mid-August and I have absolutely no intuition or guesses and no preference.
-Our beloved doctor has moved away and we are in the care of a new, wonderful one who I actually met when I was in the hospital last time. I still text with our old doctor frequently and I love having her always on our team.
-I had an early bleed and an ER visit (again, just like with Hadley!)
-I've thrown up consistently 2-3 times a day since about 8 weeks and yes, I've tried everything to keep it at bay. I think that's how my body just does pregnancy. I spend a decent portion of each day kneeling over the toilet.
-I am starting work at a new school and was so nervous to tell my principal about it. He was so kind and happy for us. The plan is to take the winter months off on maternity leave, return in the spring, and fill in baby care for the last few months of school with AJ's time off and the grandparents.
-I started feeling "flutters" last week. So much sooner this time around!
-I've taken a break from Boot Camp workouts and have been walking and doing light weights.
-I sleep so much. So much. Naps are my best friend.
-We read to baby every night and I love it!
-We visit the doctor about every other week and will continue to do so. There are different procedures and things we are on the look out for with this baby. We are doing everything we can to avoid pre-term labor. I see the Maternal-Fetal Medicine doctors.
-I feel BIG already. I started showing by 10 weeks and now there's no covering this baby bump.
-I will have a scheduled C-Section and pray that comes before any labor.
-I pray I make it to at least 35 weeks. That will be amazing!
how I told AJ 

We are overjoyed. We are terrified. We are excited. And honestly, I think we're still a bit in shock that we are here again. We were given the green light to "try" again around April and well, I guess you could say baby was in a rush to get here! I had borrowed a fertility monitor from a friend and downloaded a fertility tracker app but before I was able to use either, bam! Positive test. I took the test the first week of May and wrapped it up along with a book and a picture of Hadley for AJ to open when he got home from work. We both cried and cried with joy and joked that Hadley went searching on her Harley for the perfect baby for us and yanked him or her up to send to us. I imagine her pep talk goes something like: "Ok, so your mom and dad are kind of weird. They are going to be like obsessed with you. Mom will coo at you constantly and dad won't be able to take his eyes off you. Just keep cool. They mean well."

In a word, I'd say it's all been very bittersweet. After our first ultrasound, I safely tucked the pictures in my nightstand drawer and honestly didn't look at them much. I was terrified of falling in love with this baby only to have my heart shattered. I hesitated buying a pregnancy journal (I since have gotten one, but am about 3 weeks behind. Uh oh, is this how it goes the second time around? haha). I spent many nights crying to AJ and wondering how I could have room in my heart to love Hadley's sibling. My love for her is so deep, and my heart was so broken, I didn't know if I had it in me to walk that road again. I had morbid thoughts and my mind raced to the what if? I have walked this dark side of the parenting journey and I never ever want to go back there. It's too cruel and too soul crushing. I stayed like this for a few weeks. Excited, even though it doesn't sound like it, but also so so so terrified. Around 10 weeks, we went in for another ultrasound and this time, seeing our little baby on the screen (we call him or her "Boss Baby", an acronym for "Baby of Steele."), something in me stirred and changed. I felt like a mom again. I felt attached and I felt in love. There was no fighting these feelings: I fully embraced our little Boss Baby and was ready to stop holding back. I displayed the latest ultrasound proudly on the fridge and we bought baby a stuffed whale (we named Maurice) on the way home from the appointment (until then, I wouldn't let myself buy a thing).

baby doing headstands at around 11 weeks 
So that's where we stand (well, in my case, lay. See? So tired). We are thrilled, ecstatic, overjoyed, but also cautious and yeah, scared. Someone recently gave me the advice to try and put my experience with Hadley "away" to make room for this new one. I simply cannot. I mean, which one of your babies and their births and time inside you could you just "temporarily forget?" Boss Baby is tied forever to Hadley, and as it should be, they are siblings. I understand making way for the hope and love and joy of a new little one and not letting past experiences freak me out. But I can't not think back to the only experience of pregnancy and birth I've known: Hadley's. A few days after Hadley was born, I told my mom, "If I had known how amazing it would feel to be a parent, I would have been even more ecstatic as we prepared for her." I cling to those words and I am reminded every day to hand it over to God (AJ consistently reminds me to do so). I have to let it go to God day after day after day. I feel fortunate to know what the love of a parent feels like and I am ready to let it wash over me all over again. My physical, mental, and spiritual selves are all fully engaged in this process of growing our second child and we are nervous, but oh, so so so so joyful too. We love you, Boss Baby.