I just have to say, I am having a really fun time being pregnant! Every day I feel different than the day before for better and for worst sometimes. I am so enjoying watching my tummy get bigger and bigger and my belly button disappear into oblivion. My belly button used to resemble butt cheeks. However, by week 20 the butt cheeks were spreading further and further apart. Lovely image isn’t it? Now, my once little belly button butt is flush with my growing belly leaving only a darkened spot on my skin where it used to live. I’m wondering how deformed that poor little butt is going to look afterward. :P
Justin and I were asked in our centering midwifery class we attend how stressful the pregnancy has been thus far. We listened a many of the other group members reported high stress with many questions and worries about pregnancy, birth and raising children. Justin and I looked at each other with a relieved smile and reported to the group, so far so good. Stress has been very minimal. I think I’m actually less stressed now than I was before I got pregnant. Of course not getting a lot of sleep and dealing with discomforts is not all happy go lucky but it hasn’t created what I would call stress or anxiety. I’ve been making sure to give myself breaks from work when I feel stress coming on and taking on more realistic tasks for what my body can handle right now. Plus, I have a wonderfully supportive husband who is going through this with me which is key.
At our centering class we were also asked to name our favorite and least favorite aspect of pregnancy. Justin’s least favorite thing about me being pregnant was that he hated seeing me go through all the prodding; giving blood and getting needed shots. How sweet! His favorite part was that he could cater to my impulse cravings…he loves being impulsive. Last night after dark he rode me on his bike to the grocery store so I could buy the ingredients to make raspberry turnovers that I HAD to have before bed.
Maybe my mood will change as I get more and more uncomfortable but right now, I’m enjoying this fun new time.
Here are some pics of my growing belly.
About…1 month ; 4 months ; 5 months ; 6 months
Okay, so everyone including my work place knows our exciting news now so I can FINALLY write a blog page about it. Justin and I are just about 18 weeks along and experiencing lots of new fun things together. Our “official” due date is June 9th which is perfect timing for work.
Things we have learned thus far:
–Women don’t have to jam themselves in their jeans when there is the great invention of maternity pants. Yay for that! I went a couple weeks wearing long shirts so I could keep my pants unzipped all day. As professional as that sounds, I’m glad I switched over to prego pants when I did.
–Babies put their Mom’s through a series of tests even prior to their birth. –”How about feeling like puking all day every day for a month. No, didn’t break down yet? How about making your body ache like having the flu? Really? Didn’t break you down yet? You just wait for the 3rd trimester.”–
–My husband doesn’t REALLY smell like rotting flesh. That was only during the first trimester. It was amazing that no mater how thoroughly I cleaned the house it still continued to smell like skin!
–Body aches occur before your stomach gets much bigger than a food baby. Which doesn’t make sense in my mind.
–Justin is a great masseuse.
–Bedtime at 10pm is lovely!
We have heard the heart beat twice already. The first time it sounded like a little squirrel was inside me the way the heart was beating so fast. The second time it sounded like I might be birthing an alien the way the heart beat sounded like in chorus with occasional kicking from the little one.
During the first trimester, hearing the heart beat was really my only clear evidence that I wasn’t making this whole pregnancy thing up. I felt like puking all day every day for about a month but I could rationalize that with, “you’re making yourself sick because you THINK you’re pregnant” or “you came down with a funky stomach bug.” Hearing the heart beat was so incredible. ”I’m not crazy after all” I thought. Well, not fully crazy anyway.
We find out the gender on January 11th which means I can then start making a quilt, curtains and paintings for the wall. Yes! We are SO excited!Read More
Over the weekend Justin and I went camping with 2 of our friends at Lost Lake. Prior to us leaving for this camping trip I had researched campgrounds near apple orchards with hikes nearby. I found a campground that we had not yet explored in the Hood Valley region which is chalk full of orchards. I was a bit weary of the luxurious name of “Lost Lake Campground and Resort” until I saw pictures of the campsites looking just as rustic as usual so I thought we should give it a try.
Off we went in our clown car stuffed to the gills with the four of us and lots of gear inside plus the gear in the roof box. Good old Fit coming through for us again! The shocks had definitely hit their limit but it drove just fine. The directions I got from the campground website were super vague and the cell service was non existent toward the end of our trip making us wonder over and over again if we were on the right path. The very windy curvy road we were on was Lost Lake Rd therefore we figured we couldn’t be far from our resort destination.
After following the curvy back road for quite some time around dusk we came upon a campground and decided to park ourselves there for the night. ”Oh well” I thought. ”I guess we’re not going to stay at the ‘resort’ but at least we found a campground to stay in.” The campground was empty giving us our choice of sites. We chose a campsite with a hefty space for our luxurious very large tent and a pull through driveway for our car…we were planning for a resort after all. The campsite was rustic but nice with a clean outhouse supplied with plenty of toilet paper. Yes!
In the morning we headed off on a 2 mile 1400ft climb to Lost Lake Butte Trail giving us a view of Mt. Adams, Mt. Baker, Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens. It was a perfect moderate hike with a consistently steady grade up to the top and back down. We found that the wind was fierce on top of most of the butte. However, we were able to find a spot that in some magical way was blocked by most wind yet was completely exposed to the sky. It seemed as if a tiny grove of 2-3 pine trees to our one side was taking the brunt of the turbulence. What a lovely day to hike! It was a cool, crisp sunny fall day with dashes of warmth from the sun.
When we had finished this hike we figured we still had most of our day free to explore so we decided to hike the easy 3.2 mile Lakeshore Trail around the lake. The lake was beautiful and not nearly as cold as we had all expected. NO, we did not go in the water. We’re not crazy! More than half way through the trail we bummed that we hadn’t seen a close-up of Mt. Hood from the lake shore. We had almost lost all hope when…POP…out came Mt. Hood into our view. That sneaky honkin’ mountain is always hiding on us!
When we walked back to the road we started on we saw that our starting spot was only a handful of yards from a ginormous lodge with a sign that said, “Lost Lake Resort and Campground.” We had made it after all! Just as I was thinking they must not be aware of the definition of ‘resort’ I saw that there were mini apartments people could rent as well as little cabins in the woods. I guess the title is true to their name; it is a Lake resort….AND, separately…a campground. It was a lovely campground with nice little unique set-ups for each site yet the word ‘resort’ has never been in the title of a place with outhouses.
The next morning we had a chillaxing breakfast in front of a lovely roaring breakfast fire. I love those! Off to Kiyokawa Orchards we went to pick till our fingers dropped. It was the perfect fall day for picking apples. We must have arrived just as they were opening because we were one of the only ones there. I had my heart set on apple homemade donuts but we learned it’s a New England thing…sad! Instead, Justin and I bought some delicious apple turnovers to eat before we started picking. We picked and ate and picked and ate! Good times!
Between the four of us we went home with one large box and 3 full bags of apples. Easier said than done when the car was already packed to the gills! We made it work for the sake of apple desserts.
It was a wonderful fall camping weekend with friends!Read More
Justin and I had been away for so much of this summer that this past weekend we were itching to get outside and go on a backpacking trip. We ended up choosing a moderately difficult 10 mile hike which allowed us to camp at Burnt Lake. In the description our guidebook told us that most of the trail used to be an old service road therefore I immediately thought, wide trail. We thought it was a happy medium between a long day hike and a longer backpacking hike. After-all, our bodies had not gone on a serious hike in a few months.
We started our day late afternoon on Saturday and drove to the cut off road that the trail was on off Rt 26. The guidebook we were using told us we would drive on a couple small roads until the pavement ended. At that point we were supposed to turn off onto a dirt road called Zig-Zag Mountain Pass. The guidebook did warn us that the last 1/2 mile of the 4 1/2 mile road might require a 4-wheel drive vehicle during the rainy season. ”No problem” we thought, “worse comes to worse we park the car at the last half mile and hike it.”
As we drove along in our little Honda Fit we saw that the pavement was coming to an end but were confused as to where to go from there. We saw a Prius parked at an angle in front of us. ”Did we read the directions correctly…is this the trailhead or are we supposed to keep going?” we thought out loud. We inched up farther and farther until we saw a very narrow bumpy dirt road to our left. ”Ah, there it is…but why is that Prius just sitting there?” ”Oh well…” As we drove further and further we realized this might not have been such a good idea. Our very low clearance tiny Fit was certainly getting jostled around quite a bit. Justin calculated that if we went only 5 miles per hour (the safe and reasonable speed to go on this road) it would take us almost an hour which was too long in his book. Therefore he proceeded to drive 10 miles an hour then…Eeekkk slammed on the breaks for the crater like pot holes, rocks and culverts that appeared every couple feet. The idea of getting there faster was great but execution…not so much. Oh, did I mention that it was an extremely narrow road we were driving on with a sheer drop off one side for most of the way? White knuckled in the passenger side, gasping for our poor car’s sake we finally…CRUNCH…came to a point where we could go no further. Rocks do not give! Very, very carefully Justin backed the car down the road to a wider part of the road where we could park. After exiting the car we realized how amazing our little car really was. For most of the road we had no more than an inch clearance under our car! Nice little Fit!
We sat and ate our lunch in the car as we watched another small car cruise past us. Before we were done with our lunch we saw the same little car pass us again going the other way. Guess his car didn’t appreciate it either! We got our gear together and walked and walked and walked seeing various car parts along the way from the unfortunate cars who’s owners dragged up there. About 3 miles or so and an hour and a half later we got to the trail head! :) Ironically, no fires were allowed on Burnt Lake.
We figured that since the guidebook considered the rough dirt road we were supposed to drive on to be in good condition that the trail that “used to be a road” would simply be a somewhat wide trail. And that it was. The trail started out as a somewhat wide trail yet soon became a dense brush filled path. Just before entering this brush we read signs on a tree informing hikers that from September through October the forest service was using pesticides on invasive species therefore hikers were cautioned not to touch the brush. Yea…easier said than done when it’s completely covering the path!
The weather was perfect for hiking. It was fairly chilly out if you were sitting still but felt nice while backpacking. A couple hours into the hike we summited where Burnt Lake trail meets up with Zig-Zag Mountain trail. From here there was an incredible view of Mt Hood! I’m always surprised when a mountain is able to sneak up on me. It happens often here in OR. From behind a big cloud or two the mountains blend into the sky then…BAM…there it is! Pretty awesome! You can tell its the end of the summer because only the glaciers on Mt Hood remain. From this view we could see Burnt Lake and what looked to us like animals in the water. We later found out that YES, there were animals in the water! Drunkie male homosapien animals!
Down we went, 500ft in 1/2 mile to Burnt Lake. I have to say, it’s much harder to keep your balance and footing with a pack on your back. When we arrived at the lake we found that it was packed! Not only were there no open backpacking sites but the “day use” areas were also full of loud volumed groups. ”What the heck??” we thought. We only saw two vehicles at the trail head one of which was a truck and couldn’t fit more than two people and the other was a jeep that passed us as we hiked on the road carrying only 3 passengers. ”Where did everyone come from??” After looking at our map we found that there was an easy 3 mile hike leading to the lake that came in from the North that we failed to recognize when choosing the hike. Booo!
After searching around the lake we found a somewhat private spot where two trails off the designated backpacking areas converged. It was just our size! We not only found a spot to camp but still had a little daylight left to relax and read books by the crayfish infested lake. It was a beautiful lake but it seriously had honkin’ 4-5″ crayfish all along the shore line. Yeeps! We found that as soon as the sun went behind the mountain, literally within a minute the air got too chilly to sit still without a sleeping bag or additional layers.
We had a relaxing evening and ate a much anticipated dinner. After “sleeping” on our backpacking crash pads, Justin and I realized that one of a couple things happened; 1: our bodies are falling apart and can’t take the thin crash pads 2: our pads stink at providing support or 3: our bodies are not used to this abuse. Whatever the reason, our backs and hip bones were extremely sore!!
The good thing that came out of not being able to “sleep” one more second on our crash pads is that we were awake to see the fog rolling off the lake which was so beautiful! Off we went for our hike back. It’s always a little sad putting on your pack the next morning after hiking a good distance. Bones and muscles that are somewhat forgotten in the trek back seem powerfully and painfully obvious. The thought of latte’s and a big breakfast at a local cafe kept us going strong for most of the hike back. On our way back Mt Hood was hiding again in its mystical cloud cover.
We had a lovely backpacking trip but I’ll tell you what, by the time we got within 2 miles of the car my feet and Justin’s legs were screaming for us to stop. Thank heavens for hiking poles to carry my weight. By the time we had reached the car we had walked over 16 miles and made it to the Zig Zag Mountain Cafe in time to order breakfast. The breakfast was the most amazing home cooked meal ever! Of course any place that had running water was a luxury and breakfast probably would have tasted good almost anywhere…but every detail of the meal was home cooked and lovely. Yummm! I got two thick blueberry pancakes with more blueberries on top, an egg, piece of toast and 2 pieces of bacon! It was delicious!!
Our plan was to stop at the Navajo National Monument to check out cave dwellings and Antelope Canyons to explore the slot canyons on our way to the Grand Canyon. However, after checking the weather and finding that it was going to be well over 100* F we decided to skip those areas and go straight to the Grand Canyon where the weather was forecasted to be more mild. Driving, driving, driving past absolutely nothing! There were stretches of not seeing any civilization for hours at a time. There were a couple hitch hikers on the way going to who knows where. I always feel so terrible passing these people by (usually men). Most had nothing but the clothes on their back…no water, no food, no nothing! I also know it is very dangerous to pick up hitch hikers so I always resist but it doesn’t help the feelings of guilt and sadness. Maybe carrying extra water we could give them? I don’t know.
On the way we decided to make a detour to check out the four corners, where Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico come together. This was quite the tourist trap– we had to pay $3 per person to get in to see the state line markers, and then got hearded into a ring of vendors that surrounded the marker. We took our picture standing in 4 states at once and then took off– one more thing we can check off of our places to see
It was very late and Justin and I were an hour outside Grand Canyon so we decided to pull off onto a four digit national forest road and camp for the night.
In the morning we woke up to a great show. Out our front window we watched as a completely spastic squirrel leaped, zig-zaged, zipped up and down trees, spun around in circles and bounded through the forest in a spastic, uncontrolled way. We must have watched this nut for 5 minutes or so before he continued his crazy elsewhere. Hours later once in the park we found that this spastic creature was the Kaibab Squirrel sporting a large black body the size of a small cat, hair spiked black ears and a white tail. Apparently, these squirrels are unique to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. A similar, yet different color and sized squirrel lives in the South Rim which is unique only to that area. Man was that thing wacky!
It sporadically rained throughout the day and the ranger told us it was forecasted to pour the next three days. We were planning on attempting to get a permit to hike down the Grand Canyon half way and stay at the Cottonwood Campground but after hearing that we decided to explore what we wanted to during the day and head onto our next location during their thunderstorms.
We hiked along the Transept Trail. This relaxing trail through a forest more familiar to our own landscape minus the abundant greenery, served as a lovely place to cool off and chat. It was mostly overcast which felt like a nice break from the sun. We found a cute little cliff to relax on. Justin played Negotiator with Priceline for our upcoming Vegas stay while I read my book. As we soaked in the view and cool air from our perch we saw periodic scurrying lizards and curious birds. On our hike out I catch Justin sheepishly using his electronics on trail which is frowned upon. He gives me a sly giggle and hides it behind his back assuring me he was just checking the internet signal.
The next trail we explored after checking out a number of scenic outlooks was Cape Royal Trail to Angel’s Window. Angel’s Window gave us a great view of the valley below. It got it’s name because of the high peak a large whole exists in. We actually walked on top of Angel’s window out onto a rock cliff to get the view. A bit scary knowing that you’re walking on a stretch of rock over a known large whole with drop off’s to the valley floor on three sides. It was a leisurely hike which is something we were ready for at this point in our trip.
Sadly by the time Justin and I got to Arches, the highly recommended campground inside the park was full. We figured this would be the case since it is an extremely popular campground, a congested time of the year and by the time we arrived it was evening.
We had passed a couple campgrounds heading to Arches so we decided to go back to snag one before those filled up too. The first spot the campground gave us was dreadfully hot. The temperature was in the high 90's and there was absolutely no shade! There was one bush about knee hight so we tried to move the picnic table next to it to have the slightest bit of shade but the table was chained to the ground! Really? The campground was overly strict with a key card to get in and out of the campground as well as separate gated entrances and exits. It seemed strange since we have stayed in MUCH more luxurious campgrounds with no security what so ever and a lot cheaper for that matter. Oh well, they had a pool so we finally decided to take advantage and took a dip after moving our campsite to a more shady (and more expensive) area.
Our plan was to get food in our rumbling tummies at the campsite and then take a trip into Arches to catch a sunset. Yet again our timing was screwy. Justin and my phone disagreed with the time resulting in us thinking it was an hour earlier than it actually was. Determined to see a sunset in Arches we scarfed our food and booked it into the park.
We made it!! Yay! We hiked to North and South Window Arches and Turret Arch near the Garden of Eden. The arches, colors and reflections the sun gave was magnificent! It was a beautiful warm evening with a slight breeze making watching the sunset over the arches perfect! Everybody else loved the idea of doing the same thing! making it tricky to get pictures without a dozen camera happy tourists in the background. I'm sure they were thinking the same about us.
In the after glow of the sunset Justin spotted a jack rabbit! It had huge almost stocky ears with a large body similar to a small wild dog or cat mirroring their long legs and had a 4-6″ black tail. At the time we thought it might be a small dog or coyote but after talking to a ranger it was confirmed that what we saw was a jack rabbit. So neat to see! We hiked around the beautiful arches until it was dark. After hearing what we thought might be a rattle snake every twig and small rock formation looked like a snake to me. Justin's fake snake bite pinch to my leg sent my body in a complete panic. Very funny Justin!
The next morning was even hotter!! The heat in the high 90's seemed outragous on top of being exhaused. We still managed to explore beautiful arches such as Delicate Arch, which is the classic arch on Utah's license plate, Sand Dune Arch, Pine Tree Arch, Tunnel Arch and Skyline Arch. We agree that the North and South Window Arch and Turret Arch were our favorite but in a close second was Pine Tree Arch. It was a lot more spectacular when we could actually get up inside the arch itself as well as get a view from inside. Sand Dune Arch was in a really unique setting. As you can probably guess it was located in a sand dune but the sand was not ordinary sand. It was extremly fine bordering on dust and was the color of the beautiful red rock that the arches were made from. A handful of kids brought their sand buckets and shovels to play in the sand while parents took pictures of the arch.
On our way our of the park Justin and I decided to check out the desired campground within Arches boundaries. It was lovely! The campsites were placed on the beautiful red rock with wonderful views of the surrounding landscape. Justin and I couldn't help but pretend we stayed there for the night. We sneakily drove into a campsite with no tent or camper in it at the time to take pictures of our fantacy campsite.
We entered this park, re-named Candylands by me, mid-afternoon after exploring Capital Reef that morning. Canyonlands was somewhat like Capital Reef in that we explored the park through overlooks and short walks.
Our favorite part of the park we checked out was Mesa Arch. This arch was incredible with it's over stretching rock ledge giving us a phenomenal view of the mesa valley below. The neatest thing about this arch was that we could walk on top of it AND look through it's center. It was certainly scary being up there. I only stood for the picture we took. The rest of the time I slinked across the top and/or sad down. It wasn't all that narrow but when you look down thousands of feet it really messes with your mind. I kept trying to distract myself with the pretty rocks I was walking on…sort of helped.
Since we just skimmed this park I can't say much about the hiking trails there but it seemed as if none could beat that of Mesa Arch. Off to Arches we go!