Category Archives: Travel

Howdy from the half way point

Man, am I ever horrible at updating!

So, it’s Christmas Eve and I’m 20w3d along now. I can’t believe how fast this pregnancy flying by! With Caleb, I felt like the time between appointments always felt like forever and this one, it’s the total opposite. I’m enjoying my time in the second trimester now. I get to eat (and enjoy it), I don’t need a daily nap though I started watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix so there have been many late nights.

Let’s see what’s been going on. Caleb and I flew over to Chicago and had a mini reunion with the Lisa and Angela (we were all Army wives with husbands stationed at Fort Hood, TX) to celebrate the first birthday of Lisa’s daughter, Caroline! It was an interesting challenge flying pregnant with a toddler while lugging a heavy Britax carseat with me, but it all worked out. We spent a week there catching up and relaxing–even got to see snow!

At the airport when flying back, I sat down at the gate and took off my wedding ring to lotion my hands (they were SOOO dry in Chicago). Caleb distracted me and before I knew it, they were calling people with kids to board. It wasn’t until we had landed and we were out for lunch with Steve that I realized that my ring was missing and that I had never put it back on after lotion my hands.

I was SO upset and I was sure the ring was lost forever. I looked up the lost and found for the airport and it said that if an item was left at the gate, to contact the airline. Well, Frontier only has a form that you can fill out and if you do not heat back in 30 days, they said to consider it permanently lost. I thought there must be a way to contact the airport directly so I called the Chicago police at the airport and after they asked me to describe the ring, SOMEONE HAD TURNED IT IN! I was so relieved and it restored my faith in humanity. Lisa was kind enough to go back to the airport to pick it up and mail it back to me–still in the police evidence bag.

We spent a week at home before I packed up again with Caleb in tow and drove to MA to photograph a wedding of a friend’s younger brother. Smecky was my sidekick and she did great! I also ran into some people from high school. What a small world. I got to meet my mom’s puppy, a doberman named Bella, who is already HUGE!

When I was 16 1/2 weeks along, we went in for an elective ultrasound with Steve’s mom and her mom’s cousin (who had never been to one) and we found out that Caleb was going to have a little sister! We were all ecstatic :) We even got to sneak a peak in 3D/4D which is a little creepy that early on, but it was still really neat. We watched her brush her cheeks with her hands and move all around. The tech said our baby was already “meaty” haha.

a profile view

sneak peak in 3D

The next day, I had my 16w appointment with my doc and she had been noticing weight loss and no gain. I had lost some weight during the 1st trimester since I had all day nausea, but I had been eating legit meals for a month now, but nothing was sticking. She was concerned and wanted me to return in two weeks to get weighed so I told Steve to make sure I got third and fourth helpings at Thanksgiving to pack on the weight.

Chanukah was early this year so I cooked a Thanksgiving-type meal on a smaller scale to celebrate and get a jump start on pigging out. We spent Thanksgiving day with friends and family. Steve’s older brother, Jeff, and his girlfriend came into town to spend the long weekend with us so that was nice.

On Black Friday, I went a little crazy shopping for a little girl. Lots of lil’ dresses, jumpers and rompers :) People were telling me not to buy so many things so that they could buy something…haha. I’ve bought two baby carriers (a ring sling made from the Natibaby dandelions wrap, and a mei tai made from the Hoppediz purple pune wrap), and a JuJuBe BFF diaper bag in a purple/pink begonia print. I also bought fabric to make the nursery bedding which should be fairly simple. For $90, I bought enough material to make 2 crib sheets, 2 changing pad covers, crib skirt, two bedding blankets and 2 stroller blankets.

I had won tickets in a lotto to the National Christmas Tree Lighting at the lawn of the White House, but Steve couldn’t come with us so I invited my friend, Kelly and her son, Patrick. It was a super crappy and rainy day so before leaving, Caleb and I made a stop at REI where I bought ourselves waterproof rain pants and I bought Caleb a raincoat and waterproof boots, especially since umbrellas weren’t allowed to be up during the performances.

We met at the metro station and took the train into DC. We walked a few blocks, went through security and found some seats. We bought plenty of snacks for the boys and they did great! They lasted an hour before it became too much with the rain, wind and cold so we left. We got to see the tree get lit, the Obama family, Train, and Aretha Franklin perform. We found a Starbucks for hot chocolate and to warm up before trekking back home.

Obama counting down the Christmas tree lighting with silly faces from Caleb

Train performing at the NCTL
Train performing

The Obama family

Aretha Franklin performing

The next day, we spent a long weekend at Great Wolf Lodge in VA with friends of ours who have an 8 year old son who Caleb just adores. Kelly and her family also met up with us that weekend. They had a blast! It was a bit chilly in the waterpark even though they say they keep it at 83*f. It didn’t stop Caleb despite shivering and getting purple lips. We’re definitely planning to return–maybe in the summer.

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When we returned to MD, there was snow on the ground. That night, it snowed even more so Steve got a snow day from work and Caleb got to build his first snowman (the previous winters never snowed this much). He also had fun throwing his first snowballs :) So, I let the boys have fun while I shoveled and salted the driveway.



I went back to the doc at 18 1/2 weeks to get weighed and finally gained some weight! I guess Thanksgiving and pigging out on vacation will do that to you :) So, we’re back to appointments every four weeks and I have my anatomy scan on January 7th.

Baby name! Steve and I had a lot of difficulty coming up with a name for our baby girl. We just could not agree on anything and it just felt like it was going to be a battle of the wills before one of us caved. Steve like Alexis, Alexa, Alexandra, Cara, Maya whereas I liked Emma, Ava, Brinley, Clementine and Journey. We FINALLY agreed on the name Jenna. It’s not in the top 200, but it’s not too far fetched or a name that people would really mispronounce or mispell. Her middle name will be Mackenzie after Steve’s dad who passed away this summer whose name was Kenneth. So, there you have it–Jenna Mackenzie! Caleb took to the name right away and will refer to the baby by name.

Little Miss Jenna is very active a night–kicking and moving. Caleb was always in-sync with my sleeping schedule and would be active during the day and sleep at night. This little girl is just the opposite! I just hope she sleeps at night once she’s out of the womb.

belly progression weeks 4-19

the half way point

That’s the news here from here :) I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas! Steve is coming home from work and we still need to do some last minute Christmas shopping. Fun times!


Hi friends! Merry Christmas Eve & 5th Night of Hanukkah

I honestly cannot believe it’s been over two months since I last updated. In short, Amazon Local (via Living Social) featured my photography business the weekend before Halloween. And from that weekend on, I have been working non-stop. I sold 144 vouchers and since it was peak foliage and the holiday season, everyone wanted to get their photos done so I traveled to all different parts of VA and DC photographing families, babies, pets, head shots and a wedding.

Weekends were my busy days and I’d leave the house early in the morning and come home at dark. I’d spend a few hours with the family and once Caleb was in bed, I was up late editing pictures. Steve’s schedule has been flexible enough where he has been able to watch Caleb on the weekdays when I have sessions.

Thankfully, it has slowed down and I’ve been able to catch up on some R&R. We just got back today from a week long cruise to the Bahamas on Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Sea with Caleb’s godparents, Brian and Roxie. It was fabulous not to have a schedule, eat, sleep and eat again…lol. The staff was unbelievable with Caleb. They all knew him by name, would always stop by to greet him, our waiters always brought out some fruit for him when they handed out the menus and other people on the ship only recognized me because of him.

I still have sea legs and the room feels like it’s swaying back and forth. Hopefully, I can shake it off in the next couple of days. I currently have my famous Oreo cheesecake baking and will be hitting the sack soon.

Hope to be back to blogging soon :o) I have many pictures to share!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

maternity photoshoot – 29 1/2 weeks on Flemming Beach in Maui

Yay maternity pictures! They were taken by Jennifer Rosenblad of Blue Kanoe Photography. The weather was crappy the beginning of the week so we had to reschedule a few times. Luckily, the 3rd time rescheduling and on her last free day, the sun came out and we got to proceed with the shoot! Jennifer picked us up from our resort and took us to a beach that also had tall palm trees and a few painted murals. We spent 1 1/2 shooting and so here are the pictures! I love them so, so much and I’m so glad we got them done :o)


one big photo dump of pictures

Babymoon/Christmas in Maui recap

Hi everybody! I would have had this update done earlier, but the weekend after we returned, we went to Louisiana where I left my laptop charger! Boo. So, my trusty laptop is dead and I have to resort to our 5 year old desktop that is slower than molasses. But, at least it still works and I wanted to at least get this entry out of the way before I forget since I have lots to talk about and even more that I will put in separate entries.

Anyway, our trip started bright and early on Dec. 18th at 3:30am. I woke up to finish packing and we had planned on leaving the house by 5am, but fell behind. By the time we parked, shuttled, checked our bags and went through security, our flight was practically boarding! I was sooo hungry so Steve waited in line for breakfast tacos while I waddled my way to the gate since I walk a lot slower now. We made it in time and scarfed our food in our seats. Then, I passed out for the entire 3 hours to LAX.

We had an 8 1/2 hour layover in Los Angeles so we had made plans to spend some time at Santa Monica Pier, but it ended up being a really crappy and rainy day! Booo. Plan B was in full effect. We picked up our rental car and went to the closest Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles since we were told by a few people that it was a must eat and boy, were they right! Steve was the only white person there, but man, fried chicken and waffles for breakfast? DELICIOUS!

nothing says breakfast like fried chicken & waffles

the rest of the trip details…lots of pictures!

We’re back!

We came back from our babymoon in Maui yesterday afternoon and I went back to work today. I’m still trying to get back into reality and off island time. I also feel really big and pregnant these days…yowch. We’ve got less than 10 weeks until my due date…craziness!

I’ll be trying to catch up in the next couple of days and will hopefully recap our wonderful vacation with lots of pictures–including maternity ones we had done! I was just emailed that they’re ready and will be mailed in a CD soon…can’t wait! The photographer also mentioned that the day we flew out, they got 4″ of rain and there was a shark attack…yikes!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas! I spent that morning snorkeling with giant sea turtles–it was amazing! One floated right over to me and another swam over to me which I didn’t see until I turned…eeks! It was a great way to end our visit–especially we’ve taken 2 snorkeling trips SPECIFICALLY to snorkel with turtles and both times, turtles were spotted after I had gotten out of the water and was already back on the boat. This time, we just went to a beach on our own and there they were.

snorkeling with turtles at Black Rock Beach
sea turtles at Black Rock in Maui :o)

More to follow later.

a short getaway into the middle of nowhere

Friday after work, Steve scooped me up from work and we headed to Utopia, TX, some 3 hours west of Austin. We got stuck in traffic so naturally, I fell asleep. I woke up when Steve stopped into a gas station so I took that time to empty out my bladder and collect some snacks for the road :o)

We finally arrived at Utopia just after 8pm at the Sabinal River Lodge where the owner greeted us and showed us around our room. We were very close to downtown so we headed that way for the only place that was open for dinner, the Lost Maples Cafe. Since I ate junk on the way over, I wanted something mildly healthy, but my choices were pretty much steak, burgers, sandwiches or chicken-fried something. I opted for the chef salad, but the bacon and ham outweighed the lettuce. Ah well.

We literally were in the middle of no where. Neither of our phones had service and we have Verizon! Luckily, there is wifi at the lodge.

Sabinal River Lodge
we’re here!

our home for the next couple of days

China Part 2: Xi’an and Chengdu – continued Day 5-7

Welcome to part 2 of our trip to China! This portion covers the rest of day 5 when we flew to Xi’an, home of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Chengdu, home of the Giant Pandas! I meant to post this yesterday, but I forgot to upload videos that I had wanted to share so I hope you check them out.

As always, this is only a snip-it of my pictures. If you’d like to check out my full sets, Xi’an is here and Chengdu is here. There are probably 1000 pictures between them. Enjoy!


Xi'an & Chengdu – Day 5-7

China Part 1: flying to China & Beijing: Days 1-5

Hi all!

Here is my first entry about China featuring the city of Beijing! Just a warning–there are a LOT of pictures, but if you’d like to see my entire set, feel free to venture over to my Flickr page! Pictures taken with my SLR are geotagged so you can see exactly where I was when the picture was taken–pretty neat :o)

beijing collage

Getting to and around Beijing!

China entry–it’s coming…

I was working on my first entry about China when I realized I had a whole section of pictures that I hadn’t uploaded yet…UGH. So, it’s uploading now and should be done within the hour. Therefore, my update will probably come tomorrow since the pictures I wanted to post aren’t online yet…blah. I was so confused looking through Flickr and not seeing pictures I specifically wanted to note in my blog. Ah well.

So far, I’ve uploaded through half of day 7 of our trip–almost 1/2 way done! Just over 1200 pictures, too. I’ve pretty much given up trying to edit the pictures because it’s just taking too much time. I now just edit a few that need it for posting and the rest are good enough :o)

In other news, I made my first harvest from my garden–dill! There’s just so much of it and since my cucumbers aren’t ready yet (I grew the dill for pickles), I decided to make carrot-dill soup–it’s so good! Then, today Steve made dinner which included dill new potatoes…YUM!

1st harvest from the garden--dill!
all this from one plant!

I checked on my patio plants & snapped a friendly dragonfly

And also some mushrooms that have sprouted where my broccoli *used* to be…it’s since been re-purposed.

Steve booked a party boat for my birthday on Lake Travis! I’m so excited because it’s got a SLIDE :oD I sent out an Evite so I hope people can make it and that the weather cooperates. It’s 2 floors so you can sun on the top and shade below. It’s also got a propane BBQ pit so we’ll be grilling it up!

All in all, first China post will come tomorrow.