Family Picnic

Funny story… while berry picking last weekend a friend of mine noticed a band around Luna’s toe. We thought a small string or hair got tangled around her toe, squeezing it very tightly and we spent a good two hours trying to get it off. We poked, pulled and prodded my poor baby’s toe and could never get a hold of whatever was tied tight around the middle of her toe. It didn’t take long for me to work myself into a frenzy and imagine Luna needing her toe amputated. We decided to call our plastic surgeon friend and he was kind enough to meet us at his office on a Sunday to take a look at her toe under some microscopic lenses. However, the second he looked at her toe he calmly said, “Oh, that’s just a restriction band she was born with it and it’s no big deal. There’s nothing tied around her toe. Seriously, nothing.”

“Um, could you look at it again…just to be sure.”

Talk about “Mom of the year”. The child is 4 months old and I never noticed this so-called restriction band. I was honestly hoping he’d find a hair around her toe just to save face. Whatever, I’m blaming it on sleep deprivation.

After our strawberry picking/plastic surgeon extravaganza we headed to the park for Luna’s first picnic. We were given a super cute picnic basket a couple of years ago and we finally put it to use. We laid out our blanket, took over a picnic table and relaxed because that’s what Sundays are all about, right?

picnic luna

We have taken Luna on walks around the park numerous times, but this was her first time to actually get out of her carseat/stroller. There’s a nice playground in the middle of the park and I just had to see if she would fit into one of the “baby swings”.

first swing

She is definitely too small to fit in the swing appropriately, and I’m not sure if she enjoyed it, but we still captured the moment on camera because it is a “first” after all. After her few minutes in a swing, we went back to our regular walks in the stroller.

walking

Sundays seem to be the best day of every week. I love spending quality downtime with our family and friends…especially during summer. Bring on the pool, beach trips and weekend getaways!

batgirl

Cheers!

Babies, Babies, Everywhere

There’s a scene in Gilmore Girls where Lorelei calls Rory to make sure she is doing what she needs to when it comes to uh… protection. Rory, obviously confused by this sudden worry, asks what is going on with her Mother.  “You have got to figure, if he shoots, he scores. I mean, look around you. There are babies popping out all over the place!” exclaims Lorelai. Rory responds with “You are in a maternity ward! You’ve got a skewed sample there.”

This is how I feel about the amount of baby boys being born. Everyone is popping out baby boys! In Texas, between 6 friends, 3 cousins and my sister there have been 11 boys born in the last 3 years and 0 girls. ZERO. The odds are definitely in favor of me having a girl. I don’t care either way, but it just makes sense.

I love all these precious boys though…just look how stinkin’ adorable they are…

Meeting 3 week old Nolan for the first time.
Meeting 3 week old Nolan for the first time.
One day old Orian!
One day old Orian!
Big boy Lain holding little Micah
Big boy Lain holding little Micah
the boys having too much fun at the BBQ
the boys having too much fun at the BBQ
Miles with rice and beans from his hair to his chin!
Miles with rice and beans from his hair to his chin!
Micah showing off his fancy pants helmet.
Micah showing off his fancy pants helmet.

I hate that they boys barely know me since I so rarely get to see them. I miss their births, most of their birthdays and every other sort of celebration. My friend, Danica, was due to have her baby boy in a couple of weeks, but I kept insisting that she must have him over Labor Day weekend so I can be there for at least one birth. So, being the great friend that she is, she went into to labor less than 12 hours after my arrival.

Meeting his honorary Aunt.
Meeting his honorary Aunt.
One day new!
One day new!

I am so over the moon that I got meet him on his actual birthday! It was really special to visit my friend, with my other best friends, and celebrate the birth of this beautiful little boy.

the four of us
the four of us

My other good friend just had a baby boy 3 weeks ago! We basically went from baby to baby all weekend.

Look at all that hair!
Look at all that hair!

Besides, all my friend’s precious boys, I got to spend so much (yet not enough) time with my nephew, Micah. Last time I saw him he was only a month old, now he is almost 6 months! This was also Husband’s first time to meet him.

Uncle Husband
Uncle Husband

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Micah with his new PacMan helmet decor
Micah with his new PacMan helmet decor

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Husband meeting Micah for the first time
Husband meeting Micah for the first time

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I know I’m biased, but you all have to admit that he is one friggin’ adorable little boy. He obviously takes after his Auntie.

IMG_20130831_200512 IMG_20130831_102908

My new favorite picture ever!
My new favorite picture ever!

We had the best weekend and are now more excited for our little bambino. Only 23ish more weeks to go!

Cheers!

Labor Day Weekend in the Lone Star State

Husband and I just spent a very relaxing, long weekend visiting family and friends in Southeast Texas. For the first time ever, we flew into the teeny-tiny local airport near my parent’s home. (Normally, we fly into Houston and then drive a long two hours to their house.) This local airport is so small that it has one line through security and only two gates. The check-in counters, baggage claim, metal detectors, EVERYTHING is all in one room, one floor, one terminal.

Check-in and baggage claim
Check-in and baggage claim
Check-in and baggage claim
Security line
A total of two gates to wait for your flight
A total of two gates to wait for your flight

It’s awesome. There is no hassle, no wait and hardly any people. Welcome to small town USA.

We spent the entire weekend eating and snuggling baby boys. I will have to save the adorable baby boy photos and stories for a separate blog because they are just too cute to not have their own post. Anyways, we ate A LOT. My baby bump definitely grew over the weekend, but I’m positive it’s all food.

In the last 5 days I have had more seafood gumbo than should be legal, so much TexMex I should be speaking Spanish, fried goodness, and everything a vegetarian can possible eat at family BBQ. I’m afraid the doctor will find a burrito instead of a baby at the next ultrasound.

NOTHING is better than my Mom's seafood gumbo
NOTHING is better than my Mom’s seafood gumbo

Other than eating myself silly we got to visit LOTS of my best friends and spend time with my beautiful Grandmother. This young lady has 19 grandchildren, 20 something great-grandchildren and 4 great great grandchildren. Woah.

4 generations!
4 generations!
Visiting our beautiful friend in the hospital after she gave birth to her son...love these girls so much.
Visiting our beautiful friend in the hospital after she gave birth to her son…love these girls so much.

We got to enjoy the country around my parent’s house by taking out the side-by-side for a few spins, and get bit by about a bazillion mosquitos in the process.

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My Dad also took us out for a ride in his new boat on Cow Bayou….yes, that’s the actual name of the body of water. I love relaxing on a boat, but holy cow, I truly forgot just how hot Texas is during the summer! Luckily, we had a little break for lunch. We tied the boat off to the side of a restaurant, and basically hopped off the boat and into our booth.

Captain Husband
Captain Husband
Woohoo!
Woohoo!

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Stepping down from the restaurant into the boat
Stepping down from the restaurant into the boat
Captain me!
Captain me!

And, the highlight of the weekend may have been convincing my Mom to do Insanity with us.

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Just kidding, the babies were obviously the highlight…just wait till’ next post.

Cheers!

Saturday on the River

This past Saturday was possibly the most beautiful day middle Tennessee has had all summer. It did NOT rain, it was sunny, warm and a perfect day for going out on a boat. A friend of ours invited us for a boating trip with lots of other friends and there was no way we were going to miss out on this opportunity. About 20 of us ended up spending 7 hours on the water around Rock Island.

boat

We took out a pontoon boat, a speedboat, a grill, so much food, large tubes, knee boards, skis, 2 jet skis and a wakeboard. With that much going on I was sure of two things 1) Good times are sure to be had and 2) Someone is bound to get hurt.

15 months pregnant and looking like have a baby gut.
15 weeks pregnant and looking like have a baby gut.

Being pregnant means I can’t be as adventurous as I want, but I still got to tube a couple of times with someone who I trusted not to throw me off in my delicate state. The boys on the other hand did everything they possibly could to hurt themselves. Besides jumping from giant rocks and pulling multiple people behind the boat at top speed, they pulled multiple tubes and attempted to battle each other.

Me and my new friend getting a nice relaxing ride.
Me and my new friend getting a nice relaxing ride.

niki on tube rock climbing steve jump 3 boys blur

This little stunt turned out to be the most entertaining part of the entire day. It was absolutely hilarious to watch them all try to hold on for dear life while simultaneously knocking other people off and jumping from tube to tube. They built pyramids, attempted surfing the tubes, wrestled and somehow managed to not get hurt. (minus a few scrapes and bruises)

slant on tube

stacking pyramid all 5

It was the best day on the water. It was so relaxing to just ride, eat and hangout with some of the best people I know. We met a lot of new friends too. It’s always a little (or a lot) nerve racking to meet new people, but these particular people were instant friends. Everyone was just happy to be there and excited to be with other people who love to have a good time.

sunrays turtle grill mark

It was a two-hour drive for us, and we didn’t get home until super late, but it was all worth it. September is fast approaching and I think we all know our hours in the sun are quickly coming to an end. I want to soak up every list bit of warm summer weather while I can.

sunset

How did you spend your weekend?

Cheers!

Live on the Green

I have had a few days off from blogging, and even though I LOVE writing it is so difficult to get back into the swing of things! The fact that our Internet has been down since I woke up yesterday morning (thanks Comcast!) doesn’t help. Anyhow, my weekend was AWESOME!!!

On Thursday we (friends and whatnot) went to Live on the Green in downtown Nashville to see Michael Franti and Spearhead perform for FREE. Live on the Green is a series of free summer concerts held on Thursday nights at the Public Square Park. There are three performers each night, the last being the most popular, obviously.

I have loved Michael Franti for ages now, but have never had a chance to see him and Spearhead in concert. We got to the park at the beginning of the second act (The Delta Saints). They were great and we sat in our lounge chairs relaxing and eating Subway. The concert is surrounded by dozens of local food trucks, but we came prepared with drinks, sandwiches, chips and a dog.

The park was completely packed with local music lovers, hippies, families, puppies and surprisingly, people of all ages. One of the best parts of outdoor concerts are all the hula hoppers, poi ball swingers and hippie dancers. I don’t know what it is about concerts that bring out these unique talents, but it is so fun to watch.

As soon as Michael hit the stage the entire crowd got to their feet. Michael Franti and Spearhead is kind of like Jack Johnson in the sense that he sings about happiness, peach, good times, loving everyone and bringing people together. His music is a combo of hip-hop, reggae, jazz, folk and rock. I think everyone knows him best from “Say Hey”, but he’s been around for much longer and has much better songs.

Personally I love “Nobody Right, Nobody Wrong”. Its less dancey and fun, but such a good message. Michael is very involved in multiple charities and always finding ways to give back. He’s just an all-around impressive good person.

Everyone seemed to be having a blast as we all danced, swayed and sang along with the band. Towards the end of the concert, random people began walking around with giant trash bags and almost everyone instantly began helping and picking up all the trash around them. That is something I have never witnessed before.

It was a wonderful night and I have a feeling we’ll be back for more in the coming Thursdays. If you are in the Nashville area and wanting to check it out here is the site for Live on the Green and the schedule for the last few weeks. Have fun!

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Cheers!

Our Wildest Spelunking Adventure

The day I announced I was pregnant my Mom basically said “No caving!” along with a list of other dangerous activities we enjoy. I assured her I  would not be caving while pregnant, “I’m not crazy, Mom.” Mostly, I was sure the opportunity to go caving wouldn’t come up anytime soon. If it did, I assumed I’d be big and pregnant and unable to crawl around in tiny tunnels of mud.

Enter Sara.

While planning Sara’s itinerary I thought about caving, but decided not to mention it (hoping Husband wouldn’t think of it). It took him a total of 5 minutes to plan a caving trip from the moment the idea came to him. The fact that I am carrying his child did not phase him. Let’s face it, if everyone else is going caving, so am I! I’m still early in my pregnancy and I  promised myself I’d be extra careful and take things extra slow. After all the doctor only said NO skydiving.

We went with a group of friends that included our expert caving friend, Mike. I have entrusted my life in Mike more times than I would like to admit. We always go caving with him, and because we are clueless inside a deep dark cave we believe every word he says. So, once again we followed him into the woods in Middle of Nowhere Tennessee to the opening of a big empty cave. This particular cave, is one we have searched many times before. We call it the “water cave” because, well…it’s wet and full of water.

Mike told us that new passages were recently found in the cave, so it would be a new adventure for ALL of us, including Mike. Now, before I get into the details of this caving exhibition I want to explain that 1) It is VERY difficult to take photos in a cave. It is pitch black (except the light of our headlamps). It is wet, dusty and muddy. Plus, none of us would dare take a nice camera into a cave. 2) It is very hard to describe what spelunking is like, but take my word for it…this was the wildest caving trip we have EVER had. (Wildest, not most dangerous)

It all began when we entered down through the mouth of the cave. It gradually got darker as we inched our way over the large stones and into a cave with 6 inches of water flowing across the bottom. We have had A LOT of rain in Tennessee lately and it showed in this cave. To avoid treading into deeper water we walked along the edge of a wall lined with rope from previous cavers. It was slippery and scary, but we had each other, the rope and lots of previous experience.

entrance

deeper
You can see where the water starts here.

close-up

After the slippery edge, we crossed over the water, up a muddy wall and into a tunnel just big enough to crawl through. At the end of the tunnel we had to slip through a skinny crack head first in order to get to the next room. Believe it or not, head first was easier than feet first. Lucky for us, Husband let us use his back as a brace for each of us as we followed him.

Me and Mike looking up from the crack we slid through.
Me and Mike looking up from the crack we slid through.
Stalactite and stalagmite
Stalactite and stalagmite
We found this little guy on the way. He's proof that we aren't the only crazy people who do this.
We found this little guy on the way. He’s proof that we aren’t the only crazy people who do this.

Then, the fun arrived. In this next room was a tunnel made of mud. Not only was it made of thick slippery mud, but it sloped down hill. We all took turns sliding all the way down the tunnel getting covered from head to toe in mud. Unfortunately, we found a dead end at the bottom of our muddy slide. We had to crawl up through the mud to get out, which wasn’t hard until someone started a mud throwing fight.

the aftermath
the aftermath
"You got a little mud on your face..."
“You got a little mud on your face…”

From here, things got REALLY interesting. We searched, climbed and crawled a lot more and came to a drop-off, a drop-off over a large pool of water. Of course, Husband and one of the other guys immediately climbed down to check things out. After lots of persuading, the rest of us were convinced to follow. They managed to convince me to follow them by carrying me through basically any scary spot I refused to do by yelling, “but I’m pregnant!”

The room we dropped into was un-be-liev-a-ble. There was a waterfall in the distance that ran into the most beautiful flowing small pools of water which flowed into a very large pool of water and at the top of a huge rock was a raft! Obviously we got the raft. I mean who has the opportunity go rafting in a cave?!?! Three of us (including pregnant me) got to lay on the raft and paddle while the rest of the group had to swim in the freezing cave water. We paddled/swam to the edge of the water. We realized we could go no further and paddled back. It was a surreal adventure.

Now, freezing, muddy, wet and tired. We decided it was time to find our way out of the cave.

We didn't get any photos of the big pool or the raft because we were so preoccupied...
We didn’t get any photos of the big pool or the raft because we were so preoccupied…
These are the small pools that flowed into the large pool. The do not do the sight justice. It was beautiful in person!
These are the small pools that flowed into the large pool. The do not do the sight justice. It was beautiful in person!

Mike, of course, knew the way out, but it took more climbing, crawling and knee scraping to get there. Caving is always fun, but there is no bigger sigh of relief than when you can see the sunlight coming through the opening.

before after

Sara got a real Tennessee spelunking experience, and thankfully, she loved it. However, I think my next caving trip will be after Baby Z arrives.

Cheers!

 

Climbing King’s Bluff

Our 3rd day of Tennessee adventures (yup, 3rd day…I’m saving the 2nd day because it’s a doozie) was rock climbing day. We took Sara, some friends and two dogs to King’s Bluff to climb, get some sun and tear up our fingertips.

roric trail climbinb shoes

 

Sara had never rock climbed before, and if you have ever climbed you know the first time is brutal. She was such a trooper. We cheered her own, yelled at her, encouraged her and gave her every tip we could think of AND she made it to the top! That’s got to be one of the best feelings ever!

sara climbing sara climb

 

We took turns climbing and resting. I, yes 3 months pregnant me, managed to climb three routes before being worn out. Don’t worry (Mom), I was perfectly safe. The doctor even said I can do basically anything I want right now. Although, he did say no sky diving…pity.

Rorik tried to get some climbing action too.
Rorik tried to get some climbing action too.

me climbing

Every route has a unique name. This one is "dip in the river". My favorite was "Bob the Builder".
Every route has a unique name. This one is “dip in the river”. My favorite was “Bob the Builder”.
Go Derek!
Go Derek!

We managed to climb most of the day and come out barely scathed. I’m so glad that I’m still able to be adventurous…. I don’t think climbing will be so easy in a few months.

I did it!
I did it!
The group, minus Rorik.
The group, minus Rorik.

Now, keep in mind…if you’re planning to visit Tennessee, pack your climbing gear, swimsuit, hiking boots and caving clothes. Yeah, we went caving too. More to come soon!

Cheers!