Monday, November 23, 2015

Quick, healthy breakfast: egg muffins

I've been working hard over the past several weeks to watch what I eat in an effort to be more consciously healthy and also to be sure that I am eating enough and a variety of things as I go about each day taking care of the Little.  One of the key things that our discharge nurse stressed in the hospital before leaving was the importance of eating enough food and that the food be in the form of well balanced meals and snacks.  I've also got lots of pre-maternity jeans that I would love to squeeze back into when I get rid of this baby weight as a little added incentive.

With all that said, breakfast tends to be one of the more difficult things for me to throw together - until a lovely friend from our Bible study brought over egg muffins during our first week home from the hospital.  I had seen them floating around Facebook links very recently, and I was excited to try them.  I've cooked a dozen every weekend since to have on hand for the following week.

I love them because they are quick, easy, nutritious and versatile.  Really, you can add almost anything you'd like.


For my muffins, I add green pepper, spinach, sausage, and a little cheese.  You could also use bacon, different veggies, etc.  

Ingredients
10 large eggs (for a 12 muffin pan, like the one above)
1/4 cup milk
1 lb ground sausage (you could also do less, but I just cook the whole roll) 
1/2 bell pepper
4 cups uncooked spinach (this is an estimate, I really just get a big hand full)
Just a little cheese

Directions
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 and grease muffin tin
  • Cook sausage on stove top.  Once cooked thoroughly, drain.  Don't put all that grease in your egg muffins.  
  • Cook spinach on medium heat on stove top until wilted and let cool. 
  • Chop pepper into small pieces
  • Once spinach has cooled, you should use a paring knife to cut it into smaller chunks as well.  
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.  
  • Add other ingredients and mix well.  
  • Use a ladle to fill muffin tin with mixture and sprinkle with just a little cheese.  
  • Cook for 20-25 minutes until the center of the muffins are not liquid.  (You'll be able to tell that the center is not too squishy or jiggly - this means the egg is cooked through)  I usually leave them in for about 23 minutes.  
You can store these in the fridge and eat them all week long.  Just re-heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds and you're good to go.  You can also wrap them individually and freeze them if you want to make an extra large batch.  

I've found these to be so easy when I am trying to get in something healthy and quick in the mornings.  Way faster than cooking eggs each day and I love that I get veggies too.  

What is your go-to nutritious breakfast on the go?  Please share.  Variety is the spice of life.  ;)





Thursday, November 19, 2015

I wish someone told me: on going home with a Little

We celebrated our Little turning 2 months old this week and him turning 9 weeks old - two celebrations in one week, and good grief, how quickly the time is going by!

I've had this conversation about a thousand times it feels like with friends and family and poor hubs has heard it almost every single one of those times.  But, today I want to share the one thing that I wish someone told me before having a little and bringing him home:  it's hard and scary and exhausting and not always cuddly and fun.  And by that, I mean for me it was I think one of the hardest things I've ever done - trumped by pushing the 9 lbs 2 oz of his sweet baby love out of my body.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Welcoming our Little: a birth story

It's crazy to think that we welcomed our Little over a month ago at this point.  Now that I am feeling someone human again, I figure it's high time to share his birth story on le blog.  Before that though, I should go ahead with a little disclaimer that as handsome as our boy is, I don't intend on sharing lots of photos of him solo in my little corner of the internet.  Not because I don't think you'd love them (you would), but because they're his photos and he's too little to decide to have them made public.  We've got our own handwritten journal that we keep for him to document fun things about his days as a family.  I'd like to keep the blog (at least as it relates to mothering) focused on things that I'm learning (and it's a MAJOR learning curve over here), and family stories.

So there's that.

Our little was due on September 12.  It was a Saturday, and that would have been perfectly ideal - especially for family to come and visit.  But of course, Saturday came and went with no sign of labor.  I really didn't experience many signs of labor until it started.  No real Braxton Hicks, nothing.
The following Wednesday, though, I woke up and was feeling a little bloated and crampy.  I had a gut feeling that that would be the day.  We had an afternoon appointment at the OB and I was feeling confident that labor would begin soon.  At the doctor, we found out that I was about 90% effaced and about 4 cm dilated.  We decided I would come in on Friday if there was no change, and I could tell that the doctor thought we had a big guy in there.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Daydreaming about fall fashion

Stopping by today to share some of what I've been pinning lately while on maternity leave.  More substantial posts are to come (our birth story, life after becoming parents thus far, etc.), but those take lots of thought and time to put together.  And so today, I'm sharing this little post of what's also been on my mind lately while up in the middle of the night, or taking a shower in the wee hours while everyone is still sleeping.  Or just daydreaming about going to Starbucks easily and getting a venti basically anything vanilla (or caramel) latte - I'm not a huge pumpkin coffee girl...

I am getting a real itch to update my wardrobe.  This happens every year and this year it is happening even more since I've been in maternity clothes for so long.  That said, I'm not ready to splurge just yet on a totally revamped wardrobe since my body is still in its very new post-babe state and I haven't been out of the house for more than a couple of hours at a time.  

I'm looking forward to unpacking my old clothes though and getting rid of things I don't love to make room for updated things whenever I take the leap.

That certainly hasn't stopped me from pinning away all the things that I love about fall fashion.

Favorite Wardrobe Basics for Fall and Winter by @Amy Lyons Lyons Lyons Lyons Lyons Johnson / She Wears Many Hats:
Source
I love everything in this one.  Every single thing. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

On conduits and buckets

It's October already.  How did that even happen?  Time is going by so quickly.

For today's post, I'd like to share a little something that has been on my mind a lot recently:  conduits and buckets.  But first, I'd like to share what trusty Google has to say about the definition of both:

Source

We know this of course - a bucket is something that holds things.  It stores up, if you will.  You can fill a bucket full of all sorts of things if you'd like.  

Source
A conduit on the other hand should not be filled up.  It is only for transmitting things from one place or person to the next.  In fact, by definition, if the conduit was full, it would not be functioning correctly, because how could something get through it if it was stuffed?  

I'm thinking about these things in light of an overwhelming sense of gratitude for our friends and neighbors and co-workers and families over the past few months as we have prepared for and welcomed our little one into the world.  A pastor of ours once said something that has stuck with me since.  That is, that we should be conduits and not buckets of our blessings.  I think it is a similar sentiment to "blessed to be a blessing" which is essentially that we shouldn't hoard up our blessings and things which we've been given for the sake of just our own benefit, but that we should be conduits instead.  Blessing others because we have also been blessed.  

Whether it has been with gifts, money, hand-me-downs, meals (oh, the meals...the delicious meals) time, conversation, well-wishes, and prayers, we have seen more and more how blessed we are.  We are surrounded by truly wonderful people who we love and who love us back.  

We are so thankful.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Our Little One is Here!

Hey there, blogland!

I'm happy to report that our little bundle of joy has made his grand entrance into the world almost 2 weeks ago and we are in love.

This is actually the first time I've gotten on the computer since his birth so don't have a ton to post just yet - but figured I should share rather than going totally quiet over here.

All of us are doing well, albeit tired.  And mama is looking forward to finding a routine soon.

It's crazy that we have been parents for almost 2 weeks.  We actually started keeping a journal each day to jot down highlights and reflections from each day.  I want to remember all of these little times.
Dad is going back to work this week and I am nervous about it.

What a learning curve - but one that we are happy to be on.  :)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Our 2015 Fall Mantel

If you've been around here since the beginning, you might remember our fall mantel from the first year we were in our house. I was so excited to have a mantel and to decorate it that I went a little crazy at HomeGoods aka one of my favorite places to shop and bought all the fall decorations.  And it was fun.  

We also decorated last year, but I was slacking and didn't write about it.  And since then, I've adopted a little more neutral, year round, everyday mantel that frankly, I really enjoy.  It's full of white and cream, and neutrals and metallics.  It looks like this: 


For me, it's simple enough and I've enjoyed it.  (especially little one's ultrasound pic from his anatomy scan...be still my beating heart)

Remember these vases
 This year though, since I spent quite a bit of time it felt like waiting for the babe's arrival, and the weather took a wonderfully surprising turn toward fall, I decided to pull out some of those old decorations and spruce the mantel up for the season.  It was basically a now or never decision, since I was pretty sure I wouldn't be concerned about fall decor when I had a fun little one to snuggle.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

DIY Nursery lampshade cover

Today, I'm sharing one of my favorite parts of our guy's nursery - the little lamp on his bookshelf.  We actually got this lamp for free from a college friend who was moving out of his apartment years ago.  We have two of them and they looked like this: 

Perfectly functional and hubs loved it because it was free.  And I kept it because I couldn't justify not and I really did love the shape of it and knew that we would use it.  I just didn't love the shade.  That said, I never got around to recovering it or buying a new shade because the lamp just served its little purpose in the guest room and that was that.  

But, since I wanted to use it in the nursery, I sat down one Friday night for a little craft session and wrapped that thing right up into a perfectly suitable nursery lamp.  And I love it.  


The first thing I did was tape together lots of copy paper - 16 sheets to be exact and I was shocked at how much paper it took.  Second, I laid the shade down on its side - note:  NOT like it is in the picture above, but actually on its side.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

On decorating the nursery

One the things I was most excited for during our pregnancy was decorating the nursery.  Basically as soon as we found out we were having a boy, I grabbed the alligator canvas prints up from Home Goods and just knew that we would have an alligator themed nursery.  I didn't want to repaint the walls, since we had just painted them about a year ago and they are a neutral enough color that I really liked.  

But, then I saw that sweet little whale canvas in Hobby Lobby and loved it too and I didn't want to get rid of our map on the wall, so I ended up just filling the nursery with things that I liked rather than just one theme.  


And to be honest, I prefer it that way (notice all our college pictures still on the wall...).  I love all the bright colors and that we won't end up with tons of themed things to change out once the baby grows bigger.  The result?  Not so pinterest-esque, but totally warm and comfy like the rest of our home, so we like it.  :)


And we finished it without spending a ton.  The crib is actually the one I slept in, just cleaned up, the bookshelf was already in the room with lots of books from our own childhoods plus some new books from friends, a lamp that was an old college friend's, etc.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pregnancy update: How is our due date this weekend?

Y'all.  Do you remember this?  We were just 8 weeks pregnant.  It seems like so long ago and yet not at the same time.  


Flash forward to 2 weeks ago and here we are at 38 weeks.  

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Product Reviews: Sunshine VoxBox from #Influenster

Y'all.  I've been missing - again from blogland over here.  Things have been busy as ever and fun as always as we start to wrap things up over here before the babe makes his grand arrival.  One of the perks of these last few weeks though, has been some of the awesome mail days we've been able to come home to.  Sometimes from my online shopping, others from gifts being delivered (thanks, friends!) and one afternoon, thanks to #influenster!

I have been using influenster for a while now and just love when I get an email that I've qualified to test new products for review.  Recently, I got a great #voxbox filled with all sorts of summertime goodies and let me tell you - I have certainly enjoyed testing them over the last few weeks.


As you can see, this box was PACKED with all sorts of little treats.  Now that I've had some time to test them, I figured I'd share my thoughts with you all.  Of course, I received this box for free, but all the opinions are solely mine.  I've linked up each product below as well, if you'd like to check them out.  

So without further ado - the #sunshinevoxbox:  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Gender Reveal: We're having a boy!

I planned to do a whole detailed post about our gender reveal parties for you all.  Yes, we had 2 parties - one with our families and another with our friends from college and church.  There just isn't enough room in our house for all the people, so we decided to split it up.  

And I didn't get nearly as many photos as I wanted to and in fact, my fave photo (below) was kindly snapped by one of our friends.  

Monday, July 6, 2015

Weekending: Mountain Vacation for the 4th

Happy Monday, friends!  I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing 4th!  We certainly did.  Both hubs and I were off work on Friday, so we headed out Thursday night after work to get up to the mountains to meet hubs' family.

It's a few hours of a drive, but not a bad one by any means and frankly, after a couple of weeks without AC, I was excited for some cooler mountain air.


We spent almost the whole day on Friday outdoors.  We went caving - a walking cave tour - my pregnant tummy doesn't quite allow me to do much climbing and/or squeezing into tight spaces.  Then we went on a short little hike to visit these beautiful falls.  I think I could have sat out here for hours.  The water was so peaceful and just wonderful to be near.  There are actually several different views you could hike to, but we let the fam hike ahead after just one to avoid over exertion.  No complaints though.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Happy 3 years, my love

Man, time flies when you're having fun.  Today is our third anniversary and I am so thrilled to be celebrating with this man.  

This anniversary is even more special since it's the last one before we welcome our little babe into the family!  


I could go on and on and on about the ways I love this man and how incredibly thankful I am for the way he loves me and maybe one day I'll write some of the things I've learned in marriage.  But man oh man, I am thankful to do life with this one.  

This has been one of the most fun and challenging years of marriage yet and I can honestly say that I am more in love today than I knew I could be three years ago.  We have both grown so much in so many ways.  We've seen God at work in our marriage and in our lives in truly awesome ways in our marriage.  So, happy 3 years, my love.  Here's to infinity more.  

I love you, hun.  Today and all the others.  We make a really great team.  


Monday, June 29, 2015

Tips & Tricks for Cruising Comfortably

We recently took an awesome babymoon vacation to Cozumel and Grand Cayman on Carnival Cruises.  I had so much fun sharing with y'all about our trip that I decided to share a separate post with tips and tricks for a cruising comfortably.  Some of these tips are exclusive to traveling pregnant and others are just things I wish I had remembered before we went.  

When we decided to cruise, I was a little nervous.  To be honest, I was a little nervous about the trip anyway in the beginning because I wanted to be sure no matter what we did was safe for the babe.  Carnival lets you cruise up to 24 weeks pregnant and requires confirmation from your doctor that this is the case prior to allowing you to travel.  My doctor didn't express any concern, so we decided to go for it.  That said, it was still shockingly hard to find tips from people who had cruised while pregnant before.  So, hopefully, if you're pregnant and considering a cruise, this will help a little.  If you're not pregnant and going on a cruise, I think there are so pretty good tips here for you, too.  


1. Make a packing list.  And yes, you should write it down..  I actually promised hubs I would do this ahead of time.  After our honeymoon in 2012 and our first cruise back in 2013, I finally learned my lesson about packing.  On each trip I WAY over packed actually to the point of feeling bad for having to have hubs carry my luggage around.  

Most cruises are casual.  That is, you do not need to take 3 pairs of sandals, wedges, and heels on your trip.  I took 1 pair of walking sandals, a pair of flip flops, and a flat pair of sandals that I just liked.  You need a swimsuit and sunscreen, but skip the towels - they've got them on board.  I packed cotton dresses that folded easily for dinners and tank tops/t-shirts/athletic shorts for each day.  Of course this isn't an extensive list, but the point is to really think about what your're going to do each day and pack only what you need.  They've also got shampoo on board, so don't bring your bulk sized product...

2.  Take a watch.    This is the one thing I really wished I had remembered.  When we were out of the country, we kept our phones on airplane mode the whole time, but we still had to carry them with us since we used them to track time.  I can assure you, it would have been WAY easier to just where a watch on excursions and at port than to have had to carry an expensive phone around everywhere just to be sure we knew the time.  I will definitely have a cheap digital watch the next time we travel.  
3.  Take an empty water bottle to fill and carry at port.  Again, useful for anyone, but being pregnant, I really wanted to stay hydrated and didn't want to have to buy water off the ship or drink local drinks.  We packed an empty water bottle for each of us and filled it up on the ship prior to leaving so we could sip on it throughout our days at port. 

4.  Also, snacks.  You don't need to pack your pantry and good grief is there ever enough food on the ship, but us pregnant ladies sometimes need to snack.  And when you're off the ship, or if you don't have time to get breakfast because you slept in before your excursion, you'll want that little granola bar.  

5. Ask for extra pillows.  I needed the extra pillows to sleep comfortably with my growing belly.  The ship staff are so wonderfully and accommodating.  Seriously, ask and you shall receive.  


6.  Pack medicine for motion sickness.  I don't get motion sickness.  Never really have unless I read in the backseat of a car.  I even asked my doctor to confirm medicine that I could take (of course, you should always talk to your doctor first) and then totally forgot to pick some up for the trip.  I regretted this of course on the first day at sea when our ship was rocking the entire day.  Everyone (at least at our dinner table) even mentioned it.  It really threw me off and while I don't think it was totally a pregnancy thing, I would have had a much better day had I not been feeling so unstable.  

7.  Take advantage of priority check-in.  Seriously.  It's there for you.  I certainly didn't feel disabled or even incapable of waiting in the long check-in lines to board.  But, my feet definitely appreciated being able to quickly get on board and sit.  You're pregnant.  You qualify for priority.  Take advantage of it.  Just trust me on this.  

8.  Don't be afraid to go on an excursion.  Cruises don't typically have pregnancy special excursions, but some of them are definitely do-able and a lot of fun even while pregnant.  We went on a city tour, visited a turtle farm, went to the beach, and toured Mayan ruins all during this trip.  Talk with your doctor about what you can do and don't be afraid to ask the excursion specialists on board.  There is plenty to do and enjoy!


I really wish I could think of an extra 2 tips to make this an even 10, but that's what I've got for now.  I might have more after our next cruise, but for now this is it.  We have really loved both of the cruises we've been on  and look forward to more in the future with our growing family!



  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The time our AC went out in the middle of the summer

Our air conditioning is broken.
Our air conditioning has been broken since last Monday.  
That's 10 days ago and I think the lowest high that we've had in those days has probably been 93.  It was 100 yesterday.  
Our house has been a nice 85-93 degrees.  
It is blazing hot in here. 

Good things happen to those who sweat. @Lorna Riojas Jane @Harriet Adkins Approach #lornajanespringclean
Source
And would you think I was crazy if I told you it was okay?  

Our neighbor has a window AC unit that we've installed in our master bedroom, which has actually been keeping the bedroom/master bathroom pretty nice and cool while the rest of the house is essentially sweltering.  

Is it ideal?  No.  But, to be honest, I think it's been a good lesson in patience and perspective.  

I'm learning to not take things like air conditioning for granted.  Everyone doesn't have central air, and how fortunate am I that this is not a regular state for our family in the summer time?  Perspective.

I'm learning that when a situation is beyond your control, it's better if you figure out the best way to deal with it rather than complaining.  Complaining makes you more aggravated and causes you to focus on the perceived problem and isn't that helpful in finding a solution.  Complaining make you less patient and less tolerant of your teammates.  Hubs and I make a really good team.  We were actually sitting on the couch just the other night surrounded by fans with all the windows open to let in the cool[er] night air and I just realized that just how thankful I am to do life with that man.  He's a good partner and we really make a good team.  There's no one else I'd rather be stuck in a hot house with than him.  Patience. 

I'm learning that outside isn't a bad place to hang out.  There's a breeze out there, HELLO!

I'm also reminded that we have an awesome group of friends and neighbors. We've got a borrowed window unit running nicely beside me now.  We've got lots of borrowed fans that pull in the morning and evening air when we get home from work.  And we've got extra places to stay if for some reason the window unit stops keeping the bedroom cool...or if we just wanted to go somewhere different.  

We're working with our warranty company and service providers to agree on the way forward. But essentially, the unit is original to the house and it's most likely going to have to be replaced.  And we hope that happens soon.  Then we will bask in the coolness of circulating air conditioning and probably not even know what to do with ourselves.  

Until then, I want to remember all of this.  We'll tuck this away in our mental memories bin and we'll smile when we think about that time our AC stopped working smack dab in the middle of summer. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Easy Cheesecake Recipe

To follow up on our strawberry date, as soon as we got home from picking our fresh berries, I immediately wanted to make a cheesecake.  I'd never made one, but I got a spring form pan for Christmas specifically so I could learn.  And let's be real, what better time to learn than a weekend after just picking fresh strawberries with the one you love?  


Naturally then, I hopped over to Pinterest to see what I could find.  After looking through several recipes, I decided to add the word "easy" to my search and found a lovely little recipe from Plain Chicken.  (If you've never checked out Plain Chicken, I HIGHLY recommend it.  It's packed with tons of great recipes that are clear and easy to follow.) So, when I saw it was from a favorite blog already (and it used fewer ingredients than some of the others I found, I immediately jotted it down and began to bake.  

The original recipe is here.  

Basically, you'll need to make the crust and cake separately.  You could also use a pre-made crust, but I wouldn't recommend it.  

INGREDIENTS

Crust:
1.5 cups of graham cracker crumbs (about half a box).  We crushed ours in a big bowl with a wooden spoon.  It was hubs' idea and it worked WAY better than me trying to break them all by hand.

5 tbsp sugar

1/3 cup melted butter.  


Cake: 
(3) 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened (don't microwave, just let it sit on the counter while you make the crust)

1.5 cups sugar

4 eggs, separated (save the yolk and whites though)

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp vanilla (original recipe calls for 1, but I really like it, so 2)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325. 

For the crust, combine all ingredients in a bowl and press against the bottom of a greased 9-inch spring form pan.  



For the cake:

Mix cream cheese, sugar, egg yolks, lemon juice, and vanilla.  I used a hand mixer and it worked great for this step.

In a separate bowl whip the egg whites until stiff.  I added a pinch of extra sugar here to help them stiffen, but you don't have to if you're more patient than me.

Fold the stiffened whites into the cake mix and empty bowl into spring form pan.





(Thanks, hubs for the action shots.)

Once it's put together, bake at 325 for 35 minutes.  Then turn the oven off, but leave the door closed and continue baking for an hour.  

You'll know the cake is down when the edges look firm, but the middle is still a little wiggly. Take it out, cool it to room temperature on a wire cooling rack and move to the freezer for a couple of hours.  


Serve however you like, but I like strawberries and whipped cream.  


Just want to say again, although I adapted this recipe and added my own little notes from my baking experience, the original recipe is found over at Plain Chicken.  Check her out for real.  



Friday, June 19, 2015

Summer date: Strawberry Picking

Does anyone else love a good date night/day?  I love when hubs plans a fun date for us, but I also realize that the burden shouldn't totally be on him to always come up with ideas for us.  I recently made a list for us of fun date ideas for the summer of things I would like to do and places I'd like to go.  These are all things that are local to us because the summer weekends pile up so quickly with traveling and other events that I really enjoy spending time close to home.  


I plan on creating a full post of all the fun dates that we've got planned for the summer - especially since they were planned to be local, simple, and relatively inexpensive.  Spoiler alert:  they are mostly fun things that we forget about doing, but that are really fun when we can do together. 


Recently, we checked off the first of our summer date list ideas - picking strawberries at a local farm!  We have actually never been to pick strawberries or any fruit together and it was a fun way to spend an early Saturday morning before it got too hot in the day.


Because we waited until June to pick, the berries were a little limited to be honest.  We really had to search for some good ones since it's getting close to the end of the harvest.  But, we managed to make it through and found some really good, fresh berries to bring home.  Props to the hubs for the photos on this date.  He knew I'd like to blog about it and wanted to be sure it I had good photos.  Love him!


We ended up with a full box lid of berries to take home for part two of our date - making a cheesecake!  Another thing I'd never tried to do before, but have been wanting to.  I actually got a spring form pan for Christmas that had been just waiting to be used.


It turned out to be delicious.  (Recipe forthcoming)  We had such a fun and perfect morning.  We followed this little date with home chores, lunch with family, and a fun afternoon with friends.  

Normal things really can be the best things when you do them intentionally with people that you love.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Babymoon: Part 3 - Cozumel

Our second port of call for our vacation was to Cozumel, Mexico.  I was super pumped about this since we'd gone to Cancun on our honeymoon and had an absolute ball.  I knew that Cozumel would be different since we'd be there only for the day and not for a full week, but I was happy happy happy to get back to Mexico.  


We booked a shorter excursion to tour Mayan ruins at San Gervasio.  We went to Chichen Itza on our honeymoon and it was by far a highlight of the trip.  We just really love walking around old places and learning new things.  Had I not been pregnant, I would have opted to go into the mainland all day to tour Tulum, but it wasn't recommended that I take up that hike and I was happy to follow safety precautions for the babe.  Next time though...


San Gervasio ended up being really great though.  Our tour guide was excellent and the site was really well preserved.  There is enough walking to feel like you've had an active day, but it was something that I could easily do and our group was pretty mixed in terms of ages and everyone seemed to have a really good time.  


The weather was perfect for exploring also.  It was really overcast and even lightly sprinkling rain on and off.  I walked around comfortably without an umbrella, but I was thankful for my light weight sweater in the morning for sure.  I don't think the people with all day beach excursions loved the weather, but it was perfect for our excursion.  Cool and comfortable.




After we left the ruins, our tour guide took us to a local beach where we got to spend some time in the hammocks, walk around, and just enjoy being on the beach.  And I found this cute little sign on the side of the road.  We didn't see horses, nor did we go horseback riding, but I thought the bright colors were so festive and vacation like.  It looks like a postcard to me.  


And of course, the beach was beautiful.  Everywhere we went, I loved to see the different shades of blue, green, and turquoise out on the ocean.  It's incredible to me to really stop and think about the ocean - it's really magnificent - like a whole other world under there.  





And of course once we got back, we showered and got ready for dinner.  Somehow, we didn't get a ton of photos on the ship, since we spent our time playing trivia, eating, and laying out by the pool.  We did manage to get one good shot of both of us though on our last night.  


We actually drove all the way home once we got back from Tampa instead of breaking our trip up.  I like travelling more slowly on the way, but once vacation is over, I was ready to get back home.  

We truly had a wonderful little babymoon.  Even though we were only at week 20, it felt like a big last hoorah while it's just the two of us.  Next week, I think I'll write a post of cruise travel tips both in general and while pregnant with some of the things I forgot about from our first cruise and learned on this cruise.  But for now, I'm just basking in the memories of our vacation and thinking about getting in the pool this weekend.  




Monday, June 15, 2015

Babymoon: Part 2 - Grand Cayman

After we left St. Augustine and made it down to Tampa, we set off our on cruise.  We traveled on the Carnival Paradise down to Grand Cayman and Cozumel.  We opted for a cabin on the main deck with port holes.  We don't spend a ton of time in our room when we cruise, so we prefer to have the little port holes rather than a big window or balcony.  


Our first day was out at sea, so we actually arrived at Grand Cayman on the second full day of the cruise.  What I didn't realize until the day before was that Grand Cayman is surrounded by a reef, so we had to dock out at sea and take a smaller boat with other cruise guests to actually get onto the island.  


How beautiful is that?!  The island was just stunning.  For our excursion, we took a submarine boat tour (not exactly a submarine...but a boat with an underwater cabin with windows.  They made very clear that the boat was not intended to be submerged.)  This lasted for about 45 minutes to an hour, but we got to see lots of the reef, a couple of shipwrecks, schools of fish, and a few really unique fish. I would definitely recommend this to someone who wants to see the reef, but not go snorkeling (or who is pregnant and unable to go snorkeling).


Once we got off of the boat, we had a city tour where we saw lots of local landmarks, beaches, and the Rum Cake Factory.  Apparently this is a big deal, but I didn't try it, so I can't tell you that.  I can tell you though that our tour guide was awesome and the weather was perfect!  




And finally, our last stop was the Turtle Farm  where we got to learn about the turtles and some of the wildlife, and even hold some of the smaller turtles in the pools.  There were smaller pools where kids could get in with the turtles, but I wasn't taking my chances on that.  I didn't have a towel, or a swim suit and knowing me, I would have definitely fallen.


Hubs was awesome at catching the little guys swimming around!


And finally, just before we got back on the boat, we snagged a photo at the port.  (Tip - to avoid standing in the long line to get back on the ship, just sit in the shade while the line passes in front of you.  When it gets to the end, stand up and get in line.  You'll be on the last boat in, but you won't be exhausted from standing in the long line...That was hubs idea and it was brilliant.)


We really loved Grand Cayman.  It was clean and beautiful and the people were so friendly.  It is one of my favorite places we've been.